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My family and I have a game that we play around the dinner table every so often, unofficially titled “Name Your Favorite Little Lulu Story.”

For my teen daughter, it’s inevitably the story where Lulu and Alvin fall into hysterics over the sound of the word “foot.” My wife prefers the one where the gang goes to the beach and a crab keeps stealing hot dogs. For me, it’s always the story where a vengeful Lulu cons the neighborhood boys into wearing diapers and then sends them careening (via wagon) down a hill into the middle of the road. My son isn’t as big a fan as the rest of us, but he does like the one where Tubby attempts a daredevil act and Alvin keeps yelling “fake.”

There aren’t many works of art, cartoonish or otherwise, that can get us all gushing like that during mealtimes, to the point where we’re acting out our favorite lines of dialogue. But those Little Lulu stories hold a special place in our home. In an age where any media that claims to have an “all-ages” appeal usually just indulges in cynical, tired jokes and simpering cliches, these decades-old comics manage to be that rare work that can inspire genuine delight in both children and adults.

More… “Life with Lulu”

By day, Chris Mautner is the mild-mannered social media producer for PennLive.com. By night, he writes about really nerdy things for The Comics Journal . . . and this site. He is one-quarter of the podcast Comic Books Are Burning in Hell.

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Everyone has that one book they fondly remember from their childhood that takes them back to the cozy winter nights snuggled up to mom or dad. Perhaps, like me, you’d beg them to read it through one last time before you drifted off to sleep, never satisfied hearing the words only once though you’d memorized nearly all of them. We all have that one book that was just magic for us, whether your favorite was the novel your mother tirelessly read a chapter from each night, or the picture books that your dad always created a new story for. My book was P. D. Eastman’s Are You My Mother?, the cardboard pages long since chewed, tattered, and thrown away. A five-year-old me found it hilarious that the poor little bird thought a dog or a “snort” could be its mom.