Flashbacks is ending

Not sure how many readers are familiar with Patrick Reynolds’ Flashbacks strip. It appears on the comics pages but isn’t funny (deliberately, unlike The Family Circus): it’s a Sunday strip about historical events that’s been running, mostly in The Washington Post, for 31 years. He hasn’t put it on the web, further reducing its exposure.

It has provided a fascinating look into sometimes-small, sometimes-large bits of history, and is ending this Sunday, September 25, 2022. It will be missed by those of us who saw it every week, but at 79, I’m sure everyone would agree that Mr. Reynolds deserves the time off!

For his last five strips, he’s been running stories in which he had some personal involvement. We’re running the first four below, and will add the fifth once it comes out; it seemed better to run this now, so anyone who was vaguely aware of the strip would have a chance to see it “in the flesh” one last time.

You can find more about the end of Flashbacks here, and this is Mr. Reynolds’ home page, including links to his books.

The final strips are below. Alas, I missed scanning the first two. I got the first one from the article linked above; the second I got directly from Mr. Reynolds, hence the super-high quality!


  1. I’ve never heard of this comic before. Thanks for the update; looks like it was a nice read.

    But, uh… Family Circus isn’t funny?

  2. I always read (nearly†) all of the Washington Post’s comic section for as long as I lived there, and “Flashbacks” was no exception, but it was never a particular favorite. I quite liked the last two in this set, having suffered through hurricane Agnes and its aftermath, which in some respects lasted more than a decade. Coincidentally, I had also visited Three Mile Island before the “incident”, but even back then, I found their self-assured presentation about how the facility could “never” have an accident to be more than a little suspicious.

    In contrast to that, the first two strips demonstrate the heavy-handed pathos which I never particularly cared for. The air of patriotism and cameraderie might have been appropriate in 1969, but in 2022 it might have been better to acknowledge that the “enemy” was merely attempting to evict foreigners who never should have been sent there in the first place.

    P.S. I agree with Powers: Family Circus is definitely funny, it just has an extremely limited target audience: parents and/or grandparents that have regular contact with small children. It also helps if the reader is a pious, God-fearing Christian, but that is not a requirement.

    P.P.S. † – I avoided “soap opera” strips like the plague (and still do), this is the primary reason why I quit reading Josh’s “Comic Curmudgeon”.

    P.P.P.S. As far as I’m concerned, the newspaper version of Spiderman is just another worthless soap opera strip.

  3. With regard to “… have a chance to see [Flashbacks] … one last time“: I wasn’t able to find a syndicated archive anywhere, but in addition to the link to Reynolds’ “Red Rose Studio” (already mentioned above), I discovered a pair of selections: “Flashbacks 1” and “Flashbacks 2“, neither of which has an obvious link from the main website page.

    P.S. @ Powers: Like I said, it’s not a requirement. I enjoyed reading Family Circus whenever I had access to a newspaper in which it was printed, but the formula has gotten a little stale since it became a legacy zombie, so for me, it’s no longer worth adding to my online list. For those who feel otherwise, I recommend Arcamax.

  4. OK, well, if you find Family Circus funny, that’s your right. I didn’t enjoy it when I had small children, still don’t. My daughter used to read it every Sunday, then announce, “Still not funny”.

    Dysfunctional Family Circus, OTOH, is hilarious. If you’ve never checked it out in its various incarnations, highly recommend you do so.

  5. I’m another who had never heard of Flashbacks, but thanks for these.

    I don’t know why, but I enjoy Family Circus. Not exactly funny, sure, but kinda cute, imaginative, worth a smile.

  6. Often times literally stale on Family Circus. One of the few remaining people on rec.arts.comics.strips tracks when a “new” strip is just an old one with some tweaks to the artwork and/or dialog.

    I remember when RACS was a booming concern. It was nice to have a central forum for discussion of comics. Like much of usenet it’s become a near ghost-town.

  7. Depending on your provider, you might not see much spam. I use Eternal September and it does a pretty good job. Idiocy is another story.

  8. Reddit does have some of the same characteristics, like centralization. There’s typically more moderation than usenet has. I don’t like the Reddit interface and threading. A good usenet reader is very useful.

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