Oh, Those Kids Next Door!

Here we have a feature from C.M. Payne, creator of the classic strip S’Matter Pop? Those Kids Next Door is precursor to that feature; eventually he would rename the strip and it would run for thirty years. But though there’s definitely a through-line, I feel like Those Kids has a feel that’s separate enough from S’Matter Pop to warrant consideration on its own.

It’s a fun strip which is really mostly about the man who lives next to those kids, Nippy’s Pop. Pop is a wonderful character, a perpetually five-O’Clock shadowed father with a genuine affection for kids, though he’s frequently given to exclaim, “Consarn! Consarn! Consarn!” when their hijinks get the better of his temper. But I like that he’s not the stereotypical comic strip father: a grouch or an idiot or an idiot grouch. He’s really a fellow who generates a lot of sympathy, and that makes the strip a lot of fun, and awfully funny.


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