I would say the very first comic that I ever got really into was actually Garfield. My elementary school library had multiple bound volumes of the Garfield newspaper comic strips. As a third grader, I would check those books out every chance I get. I remember laughing so hard at that cat and his antics.
My love of Garfield would eventually lead me to discover the manga section at my local library and eventually pick up my first manga, Magic Knight Rayearth.
It wasn’t until recently that I began reading comedic manga along the same format as Garfield. A lot of these gag comic strips are drawn in a yonkoma (“four cell manga” also called “4-koma” for short) format–literally, as it sounds, each page is made up of four equally sized panels from top to bottom.
This is the same style taken by newspaper comics in the United States, and reading them gives me the warm fuzzies remembering my first foray into loving comic books when I was eight years old!
Kids Say the Darndest Things
Father and Son
8 volumes (ongoing)
English translations published simultaneously with Japanese releases
Father and Son is a lot like Garfield to me because it’s a simple storyline that brings a lot of laughs. Seriously, so funny.
The manga follows You, a former gangster and hands-on dad, and his son, Shou, a lively and wild preschooler. Their daily life is always eventful, whether it’s You’s past coming back to haunt him or Shou’s crazy antics. It’s a very basic premise, but it’s funnier than you can imagine.
I love Father and Son because I think it takes all these outlandish situations and prospects and yet manages to convey the hilarity of kids, parenthood, and family in such accuracy that it feels relatable.
You actually is married, but his wife gets hopeless lost. Like, ending up on another continent lost. When the story begins, she’s been gone for a couple of years. It’s a really ridiculous but quite humorous addition to the story.
Shou really is the front-runner to funnies, though. This kid is horribly clumsy. He is constantly breaking cups, blowing up microwaves, and busting through walls.
That little boy is also the true embodiment of “kids say the darndest things”; the things that come out of his mouth are beyond awesome and may make you pee a little from laughter.
As the manga goes on, you get to meet the families of Shou’s friends as well as You’s high school students–all very, very entertaining people.
Let me just say it clearly: You will love this manga. It’s a funny, light read that you can pick up any time to make yourself smile. The characters are funny and completely individual, from the children to the adults, all are so distinctly themselves. It’s plain ol’ entertainment.
Father and Son is currently translated and published on Crunchyroll (along with TONS of other manga and anime). You can read simultaneously with the Japanese releases for free for fourteen days, otherwise you need a Crunchyroll subscription.
Do you have Shou in your life, a crazy-destructive kid? Were you Shou growing up?