The Better Half

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For the play, see The Better Half (play).
For the tv show of the same name, see The Better Half (TV series).

The Better Half is the title of an American comic strip created by Bob Barnes. It follows the lives of a married couple, Stanley and Harriet Parker, and the usual annoyances couples have with one another after years of marriage. It was distributed by The Register and Tribune Syndicate and King Features Syndicate from 1956, and in 1958 won Barnes the National Cartoonist Society Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award. The strip ended on November 30, 2014 after a 58-year run.

James Coco and Lily Tomlin made a sitcom pilot based on the strip for ABC in the early 1970s, but no series was ever made.


  • Stanley Parker is a stocky, middle-aged office manager who tends to be lazy, especially at home.
  • Harriet Parker is Stanley's thin (and thin-tempered) wife. Her cooking does not always agree with Stanley.
  • Bert is the proprietor and head cook of Bert's Beanery, a greasy spoon which Stanley frequents.


Cartoonists who have worked on the strip include Bob Barnes (1956-1970), Ruth Barnes and [Rogers (1971-1979), Vinnie Vinson (1979-1982), and Randy Glasbergen (1982-2014). Between 1982 and 1992, Glasbergen wrote under the pseudonym "Jay Harris", so as not to confuse publishers who were familiar with his different style of humor and character design. As he was able to transform the characters to his own style, he began using his own name. In the process, Stanley became much shorter than Harriet and lost his scruffy mustache. "Harris" was his wife's maiden name.

Comparisons to The Lockhorns[edit]

The strip is seen by many as a much tamer version of The Lockhorns, which began later but is more widely syndicated. There are few differences:

  • Though both are single-panel strips featuring one character talking most of the time, The Better Half occasionally shows frames where both are talking, which The Lockhorns never does.
  • Like the Lockhorns, Stanley and Harriet do not have kids. However, they do discuss wanting to have them from time to time.
  • While the Lockhorns do not have pets, Stanley and Harriet have a cat that often appears in the background of strips. Prior to approximately 1979, a dachshund was occasionally seen.
  • While the Lockhorns appear to generally hate one another, Stanley and Harriet do appear to try to love one another despite everything.


See Also[edit]