In the past several years, Johnny Hart has received a lot of criticism over his newspaper comic strip, B.C. The biggest complaint was about how Hart used his comic as a vehicle to preach his gospel of Christianity, and other complaints that it wasn't funny or even interesting to read.
I've always loved B.C. myself and thought it was funny. Being a Christian myself, of course the timely Christmas and Easter messages Hart liked to make never bothered me at all. However, at one time (much like the rest of the comics page), B.C. was a hell of a lot funnier than it was in later years.
This was posted at the blog Those Fabulous Fifties. Ger Apeldoorn uploaded some classic B.C. strips from the 1960's.
See, this is a perfect example of a comic being funny. It's ridiculous, it's violent, it's cartoony. The dinosaur and the whale are just pummeling each other for no reason - the punchline is there because it has to be there. Otherwise it serves no purpose, because you're laughing before you even get to it.
Everything about the comic is fun, from start to finish. This is something you just don't see in the newspaper funnies anymore - just about every comic starts with a dialogue setup, a dialogue reply, and then a dialogue punchline - with one of the characters lightly breaking the fourth wall by despairingly staring at the viewer. If you're reading this, though, I'm most likely preaching to the choir.
Let's take a look at another kind of comic I really like, something not suitable for the conservative standards of the newspaper page but important nonetheless - the 60's underground comic.
Notice how every panel is a completely different, detailed drawing. They're not copy and pasted, the characters aren't facing off at each other in every panel, and the characters are expressive, wild, and not stock.