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Blondie and Dagwood: New sparks find way into loveless marriage

Here's a sight we thought we'd never see in the funny pages ever again: Blondie and Dagwood Bumstead, getting it on.

For years, we've long felt the zip had gone out of this comics-page relationship. Chalk it up to decades of the same routine day in and day out; Dagwood's inability to gain momentum in the working world; and Blondie's roving eye.

Yet in today's strip, a sweaty Blondie straddles her husband as he lies prone on the family couch. For years, this has been a place where Dagwood would to to rest, knowing he'd more or less be left alone. Today, it's a place for the beast with two backs.

Could this herald a new era of sexual freedom in newspaper comics? With their roots in the conservative Depression- and McCarthy-eras, the most durable funnies all but missed out on the hedonism of the 1960s and 70s...are we now due for an era in which they try to indulge in what they missed? Are Hi and Lois Flagston due to experiment with swinging? Might Mark Trail finally succumb to the wiles of temptress Kelly Welly? Could even that bastion of good Christian values - the Keane clan of "Family Circus" - be up for a threesome now and again? Perhaps the kids in "Luann" might be ready to progress beyond first base?

Heavens knows the medium could use it. Anyone concerned about kids reading comics should be soothed by the fact that kids don't read newspapers. And the adults who linger on would probably not raise an eyebrow at whatever Blondie and Dagwood are ready to show in their three panels per day.

We suspect Dagwood's stamina may last only a few seconds - but we also think time will tell if funnies-page favorites are ready for a little exhibitionism.

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