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The MacPherson family (from left to right; Wanda, Wren, Zoe, Hammie and Darryl)
|Author(s)||Jerry Scott, Rick Kirkman|
|Current status / schedule||Running|
|Launch date||January 7, 1990|
|Syndicate(s)||Creators Syndicate (1990–1995)
King Features Syndicate (1995–present)
|Publisher(s)||Andrews McMeel Publishing|
Baby Blues is an American comic strip created and produced by Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott since January 7, 1990. Distributed by King Features Syndicate since 1995, the strip focuses on the MacPherson family and specifically on the raising of the three MacPherson children.
When the strip debuted, the MacPherson family consisted of Darryl and Wanda and newborn Zoe. The first strip took place in the hospital room shortly after Zoe was born. Later, two more children—Hammie, the middle child and the only son, and Wren, the youngest child—were added to the family. Both Kirkman and Scott have drawn from their own parenting experiences as a source for the strip's content.
Characters and story
The strip features three families, according to the strip's "Family Tree" page.
Main family (MacPhersons)
- Darryl MacPherson: The father. A manager by profession, noticeable with his large nose. He is sometimes unaware of his wife's exhausted state. In various strips, Zoe, Wren and Hammie wait to meet him right when he gets home from work. In some strips, he appears to dislike a kids' show called "The Whistling Monkey Cowboy Band". One example is while Wren is obsessed with the merchandise, Wanda states that Bill Murray and Robin Williams have recently finished working on a "Whistling Monkey Cowboy Band" movie whereupon Darryl retreats to the roof. He also tends to swear when accidentally injuring himself or frustrated which Wren repeats in some strips. He also tends to make mistakes, such as in Wren's ultrasound, he mistakes her for a boy. He has orange hair. He is possibly an only child because they never said anything in the comic that he has siblings.
- Wanda MacPherson (nee Wizowski): The mother. Though she originally had a job as a public relations executive, she chose to become a stay-at-home mother after Zoe was born. However, she becomes frustrated and jealous of the women she regards as better mothers. She is afraid of snakes. She is sometimes upset with her children but still loves them. She often springs into action without thinking twice, such as when she saw a woman hit her child in the middle of the grocery store and promptly intervened whereupon she got into a major scuffle with the woman in question. She later wondered if she did the right thing or not. She has breastfed Zoe, Hammie, and Wren and currently breastfeeds Wren, but not as much as she used to and it isn't focused much on in the newer strips.
- Zoe MacPherson: The oldest sibling (name pronounced // ZOH-ee ) (first appearance January 7, 1990; her birth starts the strip), age 9. She tends to fuss the most over what Wanda does. She likes to blame things on Hammie a lot, even when she was the one who actually did something wrong. Originally, her middle name was Jennifer, but a strip dated April 9, 2007, identified her middle name was changed to Madison. Zoe is not usually a brat but an average child. This is represented when she is shown playing with toys, watching children's shows, playing with other children, and not having a clear view of the world earlier on in the strip. She, Hammie, and Wren do not have any known cousins because the only uncle or aunt they have(Rhonda) is single and has no kids.
At one point early on, she was a huge fan of Barbie, though her ideas about how she is a fan of Barbie vary between wanting to become a real life Barbie when she grows up (with Barbie related items) or basically using her to beat up her toys while pretending that she's some sort of monstrous freak (the latter of which was because of Wanda referring to Barbie as a "freak of nature").
- Hamish MacPherson: The middle sibling, usually called Hammie (first appearance April 29, 1995), age 6. He has great fondness and uninhibited enthusiasm for trucks, and can tell their model by sight, as proven in several strips. He has freckles and his hair is black like Wanda's. He is the only MacPherson child that doesn't have orange hair. He did not have freckles until this strip. His first words were "buh-dozer" and "bazooka," much to Wanda's dismay. He often likes to tell Wanda or sometimes Darryl when Zoe teases or bullies him, but generally he gets mad less often than Zoe. He also likes annoying Zoe or watching her get into trouble (without doing anything himself). He was named after his great-great-grandfather, who was called "Ham".
- Wren MacPherson: The youngest sibling (first appearance October 26, 2002). Age 2. She does not seem to be as much of a nuisance as her older siblings. Wren is a very curious baby. She often is shown climbing on top of things or grabbing at things. She said her first words (First "ma", then "da" and eventually "no") on Monday, May 19, 2008. Wanda explained that she thought of her name when a bird collided with a window during breakfast time in the hospital. As of February 16, 2009, Wren is officially able to stand. She has also learned the words "up", "down", and "%*@#! cramp"(from Darryl). She has shown an annoyance several times to her parents by holding her legs completely stiff so they couldn't change her diaper. More recently, she had her first birthday. On September 27, 2014, she has grown a full head of hair instead of a hair tuft. Her eyes are less wide than the other MacPhersons.
- Butch and Bunny: Bunny and her seeming perfection in terms of appearance and lifestyle is the target of any possible jealousy from Wanda. Nearly all main adult characters dislike Bunny and have frequently tricked her in some way or another. Bunny seems to be oblivious to how she irritates Wanda, or anyone else around her. She is similarly oblivious to the needs of others and thereby often comes off as self-centered and tactless. Bunny has a husband, Butch. Together, they have three sons: Bogart (the oldest), and identical twins Wendell John and Wendell Jon. The latter two were born August 10, 2002. In one strip, Zoe has said that when Bunny is not looking, she shuffles the twins, which proves that even Bunny cannot tell the difference between the two. Bunny once looked for identical twin goldfish for Wendell John and Wendell Jon when they get older.
- Yolanda and Mike: Yolanda and her husband, Mike, are close friends to the MacPhersons. Together, they have two daughters: Keesha and Dziko (nickname "Dizzy"), the latter of whom was born November 11, 2002.
- Rhonda Wizowski: Wanda's younger sister. Enjoys the life of being a single woman, except when given a hard time about not "having children and settling down" by her mother. She usually shows up as the babysitter when Wanda and Darryl go out and leave their children behind. She is sometimes even tricked into babysitting for them. Recently, she is shown wanting to find a man and start a family. In one series of strips she is shown to have an online relationship with a person named Thom, who called her Linda (He said "I love you, Linda") and caused her to throw wine at her computer; she broke up with him.
- Hugh and Maggie Wizowski: Wanda's parents.
- "Mac" and Pauline MacPherson: Darryl's parents. Darryl gets his big nose from Mac.
- Keesha: Zoe's best friend and neighbor. She has medium skin and black hair in braids and is about the same age as Zoe.
- Dziko: Keesha's younger sister and Yolanda and Mike's youngest daughter who is a baby like Wren. She doesn't appear as often as her parents and older sister. Her eyes are less wide and more circle shaped like Wren's.
- Trent: Best friend of Hammie since kindergarten. He and Hammie like to do many weird things (especially to annoy Zoe). Another character of the same name has appeared as a friend of Zoe on May 6, 1997. It is unknown if it is the same Trent or not.
- Bogart: The oldest son of Butch and Bunny. He is Zoe's age, which is currently 9 years old and he has short black hair.
- Ashley: Ashley is one of Zoe's friends who has black hair. She has an unnamed pet gerbil and is an only child according to Zoe. In her first appearance, June 20, 2007, Ashley makes it clear that she is a snobby rich girl (i.e.; saying that the MacPhersons' house was small, asking Zoe if they picked the wall colors for the house, thinking Wanda was the maid). In both the first and last comic strips of the story, Zoe admits her reason for inviting Ashley was so that Wanda and Darryl would appreciate how nice she is.
- Mr. Doyle: Zoe and Keesha's teacher.
- Dr. Joseph: Dr. Joseph is the MacPhersons' doctor who has blonde hair and a big nose similar to Darryl's.
- Bethany is a friend of Zoe, who is never seen or heard and is only mentioned by Zoe. She threw a boy-girl party and for some reason did not invite Zoe.
- Bryan Barge is a boy in Zoe's class who was first mentioned by Zoe on March 5, 2011 as the boy she likes, but doesn't know she exists. She is in bed because this was part of a story where she is sick. He has never appeared in the comic and was only mentioned by several characters in the strip. He is one of the few characters besides the MacPhersons and Wizowskis that have a known last name.
- Frank and Lois: Lois and Frank are a couple Darryl and Wanda know. They have never made an actual appearance in the comic strip and have only been mentioned once. According to Wanda, they live in a cottage at a lake.
- Alex, Connor, and Noah: Alex, Connor, and Noah are 3 brothers that have only appeared in one strip in which the MacPherson's go to their garage sale and Zoe asks where the girl's toys are. Alex says that they don't have any because their parents only have boy kids. At the end of the strip, Zoe says that she wants a big sister for them. They never appeared again after that strip. Alex and Connor have dirty blonde hair and Noah has light blonde hair.
Vehicles and objects
- Minivan: A purple minivan owned by the MacPhersons that both Darryl and Wanda (but usually Darryl) drive. It is possibly the only vehicle the MacPhersons have in the comic, because they don't show them driving other vehicles.
- Wren's stuffed puppy: A stuffed animal puppy owned by Wren. Wren named it a bad word, possibly from hearing Darryl swear. Wanda suggested different names for the stuffed puppy, but Wren didn't listen. Zoe convinced Wren to change the stuffed puppy's name. After Zoe convinces her to change the puppy's name, Zoe says little sisters do anything big sisters tell them to do, when Wanda and Rhonda are at the table drinking coffee. It is unknown what Wren changed her stuffed puppy's name to.
The children in Baby Blues have aged as the strip has progressed, although at a slower rate than real-time. Kirkman and Scott have stated that the strip's timeline is "about a 3 to 1 ratio." As of 2016, Zoe, Hammie and Wren are 9, 6, and 2 respectively.
|Baby Blues: This is going to be tougher than we thought.||April 1991||0-8092-3996-5|
|She Started It!||September 1992||0-8092-3266-9|
|Guess Who Didn't Take a Nap?||March 1993||0-8362-1715-2|
|I Thought Labor Ended When the Baby Was Born||March 1994||0-8362-1744-6|
|We Are Experiencing Parental Difficulties… Please Stand By||March 1995||0-8362-1781-0|
|Night of the Living Dad||March 1996||0-8362-1310-6|
|I Saw Elvis in My Ultrasound||September 1996||0-8362-2130-3|
|One More and We're Outnumbered!||March 1997||0-8362-2692-5|
|Check, Please…||March 1998||0-8362-5423-6|
|Threats, Bribes & Videotape||August 1998||0-8362-6750-8|
|If I'm a Stay-at-Home Mom, Why Am I Always in the Car?||March 1999||0-8362-7845-3|
|Lift and Separate||March 2000||0-7407-0455-9|
|I Shouldn't Have to Scream More Than Once!||August 2000||0-7407-0557-1|
|Motherhood Is Not for Wimps||March 2001||0-7407-1393-0|
|Baby Blues: Unplugged||March 2002||0-7407-2323-5|
|Dad to the Bone||August 2002||0-7407-2670-6|
|Never a Dry Moment||March 2003||0-7407-3304-4|
|Two Plus One Is Enough||March 2004||0-7407-4140-3|
|Playdate: Category 5||September 2004||0-7407-4665-0|
|Our Server Is Down!||October 2005||0-7407-5445-9|
|Something Chocolate This Way Comes||April 2006||0-7407-5686-9|
|Briefcase Full of Baby Blues||April 2007||0-7407-6355-5|
|Night Shift||October 2007||0-7407-6842-5|
|My Space||March 2009||0-7407-8089-1|
|We Are Not Alone||May 1996||0-8362-1325-4|
|The Super-Absorbent, Biodegradable, Family-Size Baby Blues||September 1997||0-8362-3657-2|
|Ten Years And Still in Diapers||August 1999||0-7407-0008-1|
|Butt-Naked Baby Blues||August 2001||0-7407-1852-5|
|Wall-to-Wall Baby Blues||August 2003||0-7407-3811-9|
|Driving Under the Influence of Children||May 2005||0-7407-5005-4|
|The Day Phonics Kicked In: Baby Blues Goes Back to School||September 2008||0-7407-7738-6|
|X-Treme Parenting||April 2008||0-7407-7097-7|
|The Natural Disorder of Things||October 2009||0-7407-8540-0|
|It's A Boy||February 2010||978-0-7407-9166-6|
|It's A Girl||February 2010||978-0-7407-9167-3|
|We Were Here First||April 2010||978-0-7407-9111-6|
|Ambushed! In the Family Room||October 2010||978-0-7407-9740-8|
|Eat, Cry, Poop||November 2011||978-1-4494-1458-0|
|Scribbles at an Exhibition||May 2012||978-1-4494-0972-2|
|BBXX: Baby Blues: The First Two Decades||October 2012||978-0-7407-9828-3|
|Wetter, Louder, Stickier: A Baby Blues Collection||November 2014||978-1-4494-5825-6|
|No Yelling!||October 2015||978-1-4494-6303-8|
In 2000, Baby Blues was adapted into an animated cartoon series which aired on the WB Television Network for a few weeks in the summer, from July 28, 2000 to August 25, 2000. The animated version's timeline was from when Darryl and Wanda first gave birth to Zoe. Mike O'Malley supplied the voice of Darryl while Julia Sweeney played Wanda.
The Baby Blues television series differed from the comic strip by focusing on Darryl and Wanda's relationship with the Bittermans, a neighbor family with three children (Rodney, Megan, and Shelby); Kenny, Darryl's co-worker; and Bizzy, the babysitter for Zoe. Rick Kirkman and Jerry Scott had little creative control over the animated version.
The WB typically aired two episodes each week, thus enabling eight different episodes to be shown in the five-week run, but abandoned plans to air additional episodes which had been completed. Previously aired episodes were later shown by the Cartoon Network in its Adult Swim block. Like fellow WB primetime animated series The Oblongs and Mission Hill, this show was cancelled after 13 episodes. Thirteen nearly-completed episodes of Baby Blues have never been shown.
- "Baby Blues Family Tree". King Features Syndicate. Archived from the original on June 2, 2004. Retrieved January 14, 2009.
- See Strip 1
- See Strip 2
- See Strip 3.
- Baby Blues comic strip, October 29, 2002
- See Strip 4
- See Strip 5
- See Strip 6
- Tobin, Suzanne (2003-04-18). "Comics: Meet the Artist". Washington Post. Archived from the original on 22 December 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-04.
- Kieswetter, John (July 27, 2000). "Network puts too much blue in 'Baby Blues'". Cincinnati Enquirer. Retrieved January 26, 2012.