The comic strip FoxTrot has been written and drawn by Bill Amend since 1988. The comic strip has spawned fans the world over and is widely accepted and is printed in many newspapers. Mr. Amend favors Apple computers over Windows-based PCs, and this theme often pops up in his comic strip. Of course, Apple computers are not safe from his parody either; recent comics have featured the family using an 'iFruit' computer.
Roger Fox Roger Fox is the father and a not-too-bright corporate slave and one of those guys who just can't seem to get it right. He is 45 (the mid-life crisis years) and was born in Chicago. Roger is a fan of sports and chess, though any time he attempts to play them, he finds himself either losing (chess) or breaking bones (sports). He often indulges in foods of all kinds (despite the dubious cuisine Andy produces, he remains perpetually overweight). Roger can practically destroy a computer by touching it and when he tries to barbecue, all too often he ends up burning the food and himself. His ideas of a good family vacation are quite similar to those of Calvin's father (from Calvin and Hobbes). Of the primary cast, Roger, while not an idiot, is probably the most oblivious to the world around him, though he has been the family's primary breadwinner from day one.
Andrea (Andy) Fox Andy Fox is a stay-at-home mother; earlier strips showed her employed as a writer or columnist for the newspaper, but nowadays she mostly just monitors her unweildy brood. When she was an English major in college, someone used to slip anonymous love notes under her door. Her paramour, unfortunately, turned out to be a total dweeb—but she married him anyway. She is now 42 years old and the center of the household: without her, it would "collapse in a day or two." Andy cooks absurd "health-food" meals, such as lima bean cobbler or tofu curry. A penny-pincher when it comes to heating, she insists on keeping the thermostat extremely low during the winter months, often low enough to freeze soft drinks, milk, hot chocolate and oxygen. Andy also experiences heavy alergies, and sometimes she puts herself on strong decongestints that frequently make her oblivious, for example, in one strip she is on decongestiants and she cooks ice cream for dinner without noticing. For the most part, Andy keeps the family grounded and acts as a straight man to their antics, although she has been known to crack under pressure, usually during the course of visits from her mother. Many of her storylines center around new obsessions—collecting "Bitty Babies," the movie Titanic, and her Mango-Kiwi-colored iFruit computer. She also went through a mid-life crisis once, but not for as long as Roger.
Peter (Pete) Fox Peter Fox, the oldest child at 16, is a junior in high school. He habitually procrastinates on schoolwork until the last minute ("I should start on my book report. Ah, there's always tomorrow. I suppose I'll need a book. When's the library open?"). He is a sports fan and likes to pretend he is football/baseball/basketball star, although in truth he is generally relegated to bench-warming, if he makes the team at all. Peter also entertains fantasies of becoming the lead guitarist in a rock band one day. He is capable of ingesting massive amounts of food, but never gains a pound. Peter usually works a summer job at the local movie theater as a janitor and ticket collector, although he often blows his entire paycheck on food from the concession stand. Peter met his girlfriend Denise in 1988 and has been dating her ever since. He wears a blue and white baseball cap with the letter A on it, a grey sweatshirt, and blue jeans and has rarely worn anything else since birth. Despite his typical macho fantasies and fixations, Peter also shows signs of sensitivity and being a good student, albeit oft-suppressed ones.
Page Fox Paige Fox, the middle child at 14, and only daughter of the Fox family. She's a stereotypical American teenager, obsessed with shopping, boys, and tormenting her younger brother. She is style-obsessed sister and a freshman in high school. She is always depicted with a ponytail. It has been suggested in the strip many times that Paige get a new hairstyle. When Amend was asked if it would happen, he said probably not, because no one would recognize Paige otherwise. Paige can't get herself a prom date, unless one counts geeky Morton Goldthwait (which Paige does not). Most of her jokes center around the idiosyncrasies of high-school popular culture, as well as Jason's attempts to annoy her (which mostly end with him getting beat up). Her frequent attempts to cook only yield charcoal, smoke and the fire alarm going off. Unlike Peter, Paige does not have a single object of her affections, though her naptime dreams often feature a dashing French hunk named Pierre.
Jason Fox Jason Fox is the youngest child, at 10, who's brainy and precocious and lacking in social graces. Jason has a pet iguana named Quincy, and a best friend named Marcus. He is the often annoying nerdy little brother as his life mission appears to be to annoy Paige, which often results in her beating him up and breaking his glasses. Ironically, we never see Jason without them on. Jason has frequently tutored Paige in math, though he prefers to be referred to as a "math consultant". He is smart enough to know the average temperature on Venus and to solve complex equations that most adults would find staggering, but at the same time believes that Santa Claus and the X-Files are real. He is also a genius with all things computerized, having once written his own Internet browser and, another time, crashed the entire Internet itself (by accident) with a "Darth Jason" virus. He also wrote his own operating system, Jasondows. He can also be found frequently entertaining outrageous schemes to either earn or spend huge amounts of money: he once attempted to found a dinosaur-themed casino in Las Vegas and once attempted to build a skyscraper comic book shop—only to scrap that plan, as it would take up space that was already reserved for his Star Wars-themed amusement park, including a life-sized Death Star ride. Jason's favorite activites besides bothering Paige are playing video and computer games, such as Doomathon, drawing Slugman cartoons, and maintaining romantic tension between himself and Eileen. His favorite pastimes include aeronautics experiments with Marcus, and tormenting Paige with Quincy.
Quincy Quincy is Jason's pet iguana. Quincy specializes in two fields: chewing on things, and scaring the wits out of Paige. Jason's hypothesis that he could conjure a similar reaction out of all girls was disproved when he brought Quincy to school for show and tell, and Miss O'Malley, his teacher, thought Quincy was cute. Paige once saved him from choking on a shoelace while Jason was out of the house. Quincy is a frequent observer of the Fox household antics, but he has only ever shown three facial expressions: his standard, calm-eyed gaze; a scrambling panic when Jason throws him in the air; and dizziness after landing. He is by far the most unflappable member of the household.
The I-Fruit After Roger's disastrous attempt at earning a living through online trading ended with him selling the family's old computer, Andy purchases a Mango-Kiwi iFruit (based on the original Apple iMac). The iFruit can talk, criticize font selection and even change the wallpaper (of the room). Though initially mortal enemies with the geeky Jason due to its emphasis on ease of use, Jason grows attached to it, especially after matching colour schemes persuades his mother to buy all manners of peripherals, such as scanners and CD-ROM burners. The iFruit once beat Roger in chess 250,000 times in a row; the one time Roger beat it, Andy was convinced to call the repair center. Evidently, it is durable enough that even Roger cannot damage it (It's made of bullet-proof plastics).
Recurring characters who are not part of the Fox family
J. P. Pembrook Pembrook is the CEO of Roger's corperate company, who - unbeknownst to him - has his million-dollar deals analyzed by a ten-year-old, Jason. In the strip, we never see his face, only his hands; given his ruthless personality, that may be a good thing. He has won the Iron Fist Award and the Golden Gallows Award, acording to trophies seldom seen on his desk.
Fred Fred is Roger's friend at work. Often plays golf with him (and always wins). Roger apparently considers Fred to be an authority on everything (if Fred says something's popular than it is.)
Steve Riley Steve is Peter's best friend from high school. He owns an electric guitar and amp set that Peter sometimes borrows, much to his parents' dismay. Steve also apparently has a job at the local pizza parlor. Unlike Peter, Steve doesn't seem to have a girlfriend, however in one strip, he does take a girl, Mindy, to the prom and they seem to be in love.
Denise Russo Denise is Peter's blind girlfriend. Denise's parents have been heard to speak, but have never been shown on Peter's visits to Denise's house. Denise is clearly the one in control of the relationship. Once Peter attempted to break up with her, but that ended in failure. Peter frequently goes over to Denise's house to study "Chemistry", however they really just make out.
Nicole Nicole is Paige's best friend, also fashion-obsessed. Seems to have better luck with boys then Paige (which doesn't say much), which causes problems in their relationship.
Pierre Literally the boy of Paige's dreams, Pierre is a perfect French lover who appears in Paige's daydreams. Usually when he appears, the last panel shows Jason doing something she would freak out at. For example, if Paige is dreaming of kissing Pierre, in actuality it might be Jason holding Quincy up to her lips. Usually, all Paige says to Pierre's antics is "Ooo, Pierre!" Once Paige dreamed about Pierre at school and mentioned his name out loud just when the teacher asked for the capital of South Dakota (Pierre). Pierre fans should look to pages 187-192 of Enormously FoxTrot, there is a special collection of Paige and Pierre art panels.
Morton Golthwait Morton is the "biggest geek in school" according to Paige. He has a crush on her and hasn't given up, despite what she thinks of him. He took the SATs as a freshman and was mad he got a 1590 (one raw score below perfect). Considered a hero by Jason.
Ms. O'Dell Margaret O'Dell is a woman Paige babysits for. She likes to leave Paige endless lists of phone numbers and instructions. She doesn't seem to be married.
Katie Katherine "Katie" O'Dell is Ms. O'Dell's daughter whom Paige babysits; the only character to age over time: when she first appeared she was nine months, but she has since aged to two years. She once had an obsession with the children's TV show, Blue's Clues, but seems to have gotten over it. She once cut up her dress while Paige was sleeping; another time she learned a swear word from Paige and Paige had to shut her up with several jars of peanut butter.
Marcus Jones Marcus is Jason's best friend, with whom often he emulates Star Trek and bothers Paige. Marcus has four sisters (Doreen, Lisa, Lana, Cybil). His mother is a nurse. All members of Marcus' family, exept Marcus himself, are unseen characters, similar to Denise's parents.
Eileen Eileen Jacobson is Jason's sometimes nemesis, sometimes semi-friend, whom he doesn't want to admit he secretly likes. A Harry Potter fan, Eileen didn't appear in the comic until 1995, when she got a higher grade than Jason on a math test, and ended up going out for ice cream with him. Eileen also showed when Jason and Marcus went to summer camp. She has made quite a few appearances since and Jason eventually admitted he liked her.
Miss O'Malley Miss O'Malley has been Jason and Marcus' teacher since 1991. She's the replacement for Jason and Marcus' former teacher, Ms. Grinchley. Considerably younger and more "on the ball" than Ms. Grinchley, she appears to have a marginally better handle on Jason as well, much to his dismay.
Slug Man and Leech Boy Slug Man and Leech Boy are comic book characters created by Jason, to an extcrushiating detail (You can tell the episode number by the number of notches on Slug Man's belt), in a Batman and Robin parody. Slug Man and Leech Boy are almost always fighting their arch-enemy, Paige-O-Tron, the most evil robot in the universe (although they once were said to have had an "epic battle with Gargantutron last summer"; Jason has also drawn a comic story titled "Slug-Man Battles Miss Grinchley").
Recurring characters who do not appear often
Grandma Gradma is Andy's mother, whom everybody loves and calls perfect, especially in comparison to Andy herself. Needless to say, this doesn't make Andy herself feel very good, as their feud has been going on since fifth grade. Grandma's real name is not known (since she is Andy's mother, her last name wouldn't be Fox, but rather Andy's maiden name). The two appeared to have made peace on their first meeting, but affairs have relapsed since then, probably because Grandma is simply too interesting a character to be discarded after a single use.
Phoebe Wu Phoebe is a friend of Eileen. They met at Camp Bohrmore Science Camp in 1997. She kept a journal for her time at camp, even saving samples of the food. Although initially bitter rivals with Jason and Marcus, the four eventually formed a "Super-Secret Friendship Club" while at camp, something the two boys have had varying cause to regret since then.
Eugene Wu Eugene is Phoebe's arrogant brother. His friends call him The Brain--or at least, they would, If he had any friends. He once arrived in Jason and Marcus's neighborhood along with his sister Phoepe, and then succeded in breaking the Jason, Marcus, Eileen, and Phoebe's friendship club by stealing Phoebe's camp journal and planting clues pointing to members of the club.
Miss Rockbottom Paige's gym teacher. Paige once called her a "power-hungry neo-Nazi fascist tub of lard," but believes she took it as a compliment.
Dr. Ting Paige's biology teacher, who has come to rely on her lab reports as a source of weekend entertainment.
Characters who no longer appear in the strip
Linda Downer Linda was Peter's unrequited crush before he met Denise, however Linda always thaught Peter was a jerk. She has not appeared since 1988 and apparently is a friend of Paige.
Miss Grinchley Jason and Marcus' teacher before Miss O'Malley. Despite her name, she does not seem reminiscent of the Grinch.
Skip Riley Skip was Roger's summer intern in 1990. He was the ultimate sycophant, who even called Roger his "light and inspiration", before jumping ship to become an intern for Charles Diggs, the head of Roger's department.
Common Story Lines
- Jason pestering Paige, often with antics involving Quincy. For example, there are quite a few strips in which Quincy destroys something belonging to Paige (whether it be a
favorite sweater or an autographed boy band poster), and Paige then takes vengeance on Jason.
- Jason being a stereotypical nerd, he often has too much fun either conducting bizarre science experiments in the back yard or dressing up like the latest hit movie. Marcus is generally involved in these escapades, and on occasion Jason manages to bribe his older brother into also participating. Several strips have also been devoted to the tortuous relationship of Jason and Eileen.
- 'Health food' meals served by Andy - the rest of the family is less than excited about all the tofu casseroles. There are several strips in which Roger manages to save his children with fast food or pizzas, and there are other strips where the children manage to manipulate each other into eating awful concoctions.
- Peter going to insane lengths to avoid any kind of work. There have been strips where he tries to trick his mother into doing his homework for him, where he tries to rely on the old fable of sleeping with the book under his pillow, and more than a few last minute all-nighters. Peter apparently inherited these traits from his father, as other strips feature Roger tricking the kids into doing his share of the household chores.
- Other typical Peter strips focus on his desire to succeed at sports, even though he's a runt hated by all the coaches, despite his ability to put away extraordinarily large amounts of food in record time. The coach appears to allow Peter onto the various teams solely to serve as an errand boy to run and fetch snacks during the games.
Subtleties in the Strip
If one were to observe closely, (s)he would notice that in any scene where a character is reading a newspaper, there are headlines that say things such as "Cartoonist Delivers Triplets in Elevator" or "Cartoonist to direct Jurassic Park II." In scenes with large crowds, Calvin from Calvin and Hobbes can often be seen in the background. In some scenes, characters from various comics can be seen in the background. On one occasion, pictures of Cathy, Dilbert, and Calvin and Hobbes were seen as pictures above a staircase. On another occasion, Peter is shown wearing a Calvin and Hobbes T-Shirt, at a time when Bill Watterson was having licensing conflicts with his publisher. Often signs in the theater are edited to have a humorous effect (such as "Mission Impossible 2: The Comic Strip Deadline"). Peter's posters in his room also are often edited to read things like "Baywitch". Almost all of Peter's posters are a parody on Baywatch. Furthermore, many products seen in the strip have altered names, such as "Chips McCoy" (Chips Ahoy!), "Toridos" (Doritos), "Cap'n Sucrose" (Cap'n Crunch), "Fax Mactor" (Max Factor), and "Arper Shimage" (Sharper Image). Most of the magazines shown, at least starting from around 1994-95, are parodies of real magazines or magazine genres. For example, Paige often reads "Fourteen" magazine (Seventeen), and other altered magazine titles seen frequently are "Thyme" (Time) and (at least for a while) "Illustrated Sports" (Sports Illustrated). The fast-food restaurant that the Foxes occasionally patronize has two M's back-to-back, parodying the McDonald's logo. Also, in the cinema where Peter works you can also often see names such as Trek Wars. Other signs on walls have been seen to change message between panels. For example, in the first panel of a cafeteria scene, a paper sign in the background reads, "No food fights!" In the next panel, it reads, "Really!" In the last panel, it reads "We mean it!"
The first one of these 'subtleties' to appear was a dryer which had the brand name "Dry Queen 1000" on it. Also, we see a partial view, the "OX" on a bottle of bleach, presumably Clorox. This was the third strip; it was shown April 13, 1988. The first subtlety to be shown in a color Sunday strip appeared April 17, 1988 in the "throwaway panel" identifying the strip. It shows Jason eating "Honey Skulls" (Honeycomb) cereal.
Beginning with Death By Field Trip, the size and shape of the regular collections changed to accommodate a new Sunday strip layout. The books were also made smaller to give a larger gap between anthologies (see below). They (as well as the anthologies) are published by Andrews McMeel Publishing, and are available wherever books are sold. The collections (in cronological order) are:
- FoxTrot (1989)
- Pass the Loot (1990)
- Black Bart Says Draw (1991)
- Eight Yards, Down and Out (1992)
- Bury My Heart at Fun-Fun Mountain (1993)
- Say Hello to Cactus Flats (1993)
- May the Force Be with Us, Please (1994)
- Take Us to Your Mall (1995)
- The Return of the Lone Iguana (1996)
- At Least This Place Sells T-Shirts (1996)
- Come Closer, Roger, There's a Mosquito on Your Nose (1997)
- Welcome to Jasorassic Park (1998)
- I'm Flying, Jack ...I Mean, Roger (1999)
- Think iFruity (2000)
- Death By Field Trip (2001)
- Encyclopedias Brown and White (2001)
- His Code Name Was The Fox (2002)
- Your Momma Thinks Square Roots are Vegetables (2003)
- Who's Up for Some Bonding? (2003)
- Am I a Mutant, or What! (2004)
- Orlando Bloom Has Ruined Everything (2005)
Anthologies Originally, the anthologies were made up of the previous two smaller collections, with color Sunday strips (as opposed to black and white in the smaller books). Starting with Assembled with Care, the anthologies are made up of the three previous smaller books. Here are the anthologies listed in chronological order:
- FoxTrot: The Works (1990)
- FoxTrot en masse (1992)
- Enormously FoxTrot (1994)
- Wildly FoxTrot (1995)
- FoxTrot Beyond a Doubt (1997)
- Camp FoxTrot (1998)
- Assorted FoxTrot (2000)
- FoxTrot: Assembled with Care (2002)
- Foxtrotius Maximus (2004)
See Also: Calvin and Hobbes
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