At the opening of the wonderful television special Those Fantastic Funnies….the host of the program, actress Loni Anderson, does an introduction to the program by introducing some of the “songs of the funny papers”….which features music from Popeye The Sailor….Barney Google with the “googlely eyes”….“Dennis The Menace”…..“Lil Orphan Annie”…..along with the entire funny paper cast singing about an American tradition for over 129 years….“The Funny Papers”.
Starting around the 1890’s in the United States, newspapers carried a page or pages of single-frame comics mixed with “comic strips” of several cells which covered a band from left to right across the sheet. On Sunday, the weekend edition might have a larger number….which were sometimes printed in 4-color lithography. During the early 1920’s, these came to be called “the funny papers”….since most of them were jokes of one sort or another. This usage was quite common until the late 1940’s….when separately published comic books influenced the daily versions to be called “comics” as well….so “funny papers” or “funny pages” is a dated term with a popularity of about 100 years…..as they are still referred to in those terms today in 2018…..which refers to the comics section of the newspaper.
This American tradition also carried with it a light-hearted way to say goodbye…..“See you in the funny papers” was not derogatory at all…..as it could used with a friend or casual acquaintance….for it was just a breezy way to say our lives are crazy…..like the characters in the comics. Our lives are funny, ironic, interesting. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone started writing a comic strip based on folks like this….so I’ll see you around….just as likely in the funny pages as anywhere else…..“Hey, see you in the funny papers.”