Charles Schulz, Peanuts. In a bittersweet story befitting his comic, Schulz announces a retirement forced upon him by the ravages of colon cancer, then dies quietly in his sleep the night before his final Sunday comic strip appears in newspapers.
Gary Larson, The Far Side. A decade after he ended his daily feature, new single panel comics are still accused of being “Far Side ripoffs.”
Thomas Nast, political cartoonist. Corrupt politician William Marcy “Boss” Tweed — a constant target of Nast's political cartoons — offered the artist more than $100,000 to “study art abroad.” The offer rose to half a million and then turned into a death threat. Later, Spanish authorities used a Nast cartoon to identify and apprehend the fleeing Tweed.
Will Eisner, The Spirit. Although Eisner is widely known as a pioneer in the comic-book industry, he got his start when The Spirit started appearing in newspaper comic-book supplements.
Walt Kelly, Pogo. Devastating political satirist and a master of language rivaling Dr. Seuss, Kelly paved the way for future satirists like Aaron McGruder and Garry Trudeau (see #6).
Garry Trudeau, Doonesbury. Besides being one of the foremost examples of political satire, his comic strip is one of the few that achieved longevity without becoming stale.
Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes. One of the rare cartoonists who boasted consistently funny writing with breathtaking illustration, Watterson made us remember our childhood the way no one had done before.
Berkeley Breathed, Bloom County. Mixing thoughtful political and social satire with heavy doses of plain old lunacy, Breathed defined the 1980s for many comics fans.
Bud Fisher, Mutt and Jeff. The first successful daily newspaper comic strip, appearing in the San Francisco Examiner for the first time in 1907.
Scott Adams, Dilbert, and Jim Davis, Garfield (tie). Both cartoonists have proven to be both excellent humorists as well as savvy businessmen, parlaying their creations into formidable wealth.