DETROIT, July 27, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Comic strip heroes are where you find them. And not all of them are caped. Consider the wholesome wisdom that readers have found in Charles Schulz's Peanuts—or the surprisingly spiritual inspiration they've gleaned from Johnny Hart's B.C. When we need a pick-me-up, a morale boost, a fast distraction, or a slow guffaw, the odds say we can find it in the funny papers. And in this issue, we find the funny papers in American Road. We celebrate locations that pay homage to comics, and our first feature sets sail from Chester, Illinois, with Popeye the Sailor. In 1929, Chester native E. C. Segar drew the squinty-eyed swab into his comic strip, Thimble Theatre, and sketched the world a new symbol of scrappiness. Spinach Can Collectibles, in Chester, marks the start of what we call American Road's Popeye vs. Superman Route, a 120-mile drive through the Land of Lincoln that encounters Moon Mullins, Neptune the Navy Pig, and the comical pottery creations of the obscene Kirkpatrick brothers before it ends in Metropolis at the big red boots of the Man of Steel.
No comic strip character approaches roadside attractions with more zeal than Zippy the Pinhead, the microcephalic, free-associating, philosopher-clown created by cartoonist Bill Griffith. We interview Griffith to learn about Zippy's taste for Spam, his love of the Doggie Diner dachshund, and his respect for Nash Metropolitans. Afterward, we take a cartoon ride in "Comic Book Cars." Our road departments drop into the Okefenokee Swamp with Walt Kelly's Pogo; hail the Hall of Heroes in Elkhart, Indiana; and sit down with Charlie Brown in Santa Rosa.