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Allison Barrows’ PreTeena to come to end

Journal Register News is reporting that Allison Barrow’s PreTeena is coming to an end mid-May.

“I didn’t want to stop,” Barrows said. “I love Teena and seeing how she deals with her world, but it was time to start another chapter in my own life.”

That chapter appears to coincide with changes in her family as a daughter heads to college and a son starts high school.

The article goes on to say that retiring the strip will allow newer creators a open slot to fill.

“Newspapers are running ancient comic strips and not giving new strip writers a chance to grow an audience,” she said. “The authors of ‘Peanuts’ and ‘Calvin and Hobbes’ are long gone, but their work is still being used, because it’s a safe bet.”

Barrows said if more innovation and the ideas that come with new writers and artists were showcased, newspapers might attract younger readers.

Her new plans are centered on being a “producer of events featured on the Internet.”

Community Comments

#1 Tom Heintjes
April/18/2008
@ 1:18 pm

I’m sorry to hear this–PreTeena was a charming strip.

And the author of Calvin and Hobbes is gone? Did I miss Watterson’s obit?

#2 Jimmy Delach
April/18/2008
@ 2:44 pm

I’m sure Bill Watterson is still with us but what newspapers still run “Calvin and Hobbes” (with the exception of September-December 2005 to promote the Complete Calvin and Hobbes book)?

I’m surprised the hybrid “For Better Or For Worse” was not mentioned.

#3 Charles Brubaker
April/18/2008
@ 2:50 pm

“but what newspapers still run Calvin and Hobbes?”

The strip can still be seen in foreign newspapers. I know International Herald Tribune is rerunning thestrip and The Daily Yomiuri in Tokyo does as well.

#4 Andrew Shuping
April/18/2008
@ 4:36 pm

That sucks..I really like the humor in this strip. It seems like a lot of the unique ones have been ending in the past few months. I think I’ve counted at least 7 that had a different perspective than the normal…stuff…that continues to run on the comics page.

#5 Eric Burke
April/18/2008
@ 6:54 pm

I like Preteena. The strip seems to have a loyal following, one that might follow it online? Consider it, Ms.Barrows…

…and as much as I agree with the “papers still run old comics” arguement, at the same time I can’t help but put some blame on all these talented cartoonists for ending their strips after just a few years(be it 3 or 5). Fresh strips like James, Top of The World, Lucky Cow, Big Top, Citizen Dog, The Big Picture, The Hots, and now Preteena are all strips that were just what the funny pages needed, but they gave up. Which is their right, and while I respect that, it just seems like such a waste.

Maybe the reason the syndicates continue to distribute the old strips is because the fresh talent is retiring while the hired ink slingers aren’t

#6 Dawn Douglass
April/18/2008
@ 7:41 pm

Good luck and best wishes in your new adventures, Allison.

#7 Susan Abe
April/18/2008
@ 11:06 pm

Man …

“James, Top of The World, Lucky Cow, Big Top, Citizen Dog, The Big Picture, The Hots, and now Preteena”

… what a lot of wonderful potential we lost there. And add Humble Stumble and (my most deeply mourned) Pat Byrnes’ Monkeyhouse.

Shouldn’t newspapers be realizing that four-page daily comics sections are the one thing that can reliably stand between them and terminal reader loss?

#8 Wiley Miller
April/19/2008
@ 6:32 am

“Shouldnâ??t newspapers be realizing that four-page daily comics sections are the one thing that can reliably stand between them and terminal reader loss?”

Yes, they should. But editors today still have no idea why they carry comics in the first place. No one taught them in J-school why comics were created (by publishers and editors) and what function they serve in business of newspapers. Instead, they view comics as a necessary evil and deal with it grudgingly rather than welcoming it as something that’s keeping them employed. Comics are the last bastion holding readership to newspapers, yet they resent it.

As a result, they conduct these moronic and completely inaccurate comics polls rather than learning anything about the art form. And they can’t understand why circulation continues to plummet and why they can’t attract young readers.

#9 Jeff Darcy
April/21/2008
@ 4:12 pm

Right on, Wiley! Recently I read a history of Cleveland Newspapers written by a guy who was an Editor and exec at several of them from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. In one chapter he talks about how thrilled he was to discover and hire the Plain Dealer’s first cartoonist and couldn’t wait to put his work on the front page for all the attention and sales it would bring. Can you imagine the clueless group leading newspapers into the oblivion today reacting like that?

By the way, if anyone finds Bill Watterson, please tell him that he’s dead, along with Preteena!

#10 Michael Shonk
April/21/2008
@ 6:16 pm

I wonder if we can continue to say the comics are vital to the survival of newspapers. The original reason for comics was to sell tomorrow’s newspaper. Today’s gag a day strips and story strips that recap the action every other day so the casual reader won’t get lost don’t sell today’s paper let alone tomorrow’s. Newspapers are traveling a path taken by old favorites such as magazines (Life and Saturday Evening Post) and radio (Jack Benny Show and The Shadow). The audience has left for a newer format.
The internet, however flawed for the business needs of the cartoonist, appears to be where the newspaper reader has fled. My concern is how few newspaper websites carry comics, and the few that do often have a small sample available through a link to go comics or comics.com. Hardly the treatment of a product vital to the newspaper.
BTW, maybe I read the last paragraph of the article wrong, but it seemed to say “Pretenna” will continue on the web.

#11 Dawn Douglass
April/21/2008
@ 7:23 pm

Hi Yup!!

I agree with you. I don’t think people will buy newspapers just to read the comics. In fact, if you look at the statistics, comics are no longer the most read section of the newspaper.

Comics are not even the second most popular section. It’s like fourth or fifth, as I recall.

#12 Malc McGookin
April/21/2008
@ 7:37 pm

Editors aren’t idiots, they’re looking at the cartoons in their funnies pages and saying “THESE sell my paper?”

Of course those cartoons don’t sell their paper, it’s a ridiculous notion. The vast majority of the comics featured today are crap.

We all know the real five or six comics page A List members, they’re the ones most usually mentioned in every forum, and NONE of them are more than twenty years old.

Yes, comics COULD be the saviour of newspapers, they COULD arrest the decline in sales, and they were once the reason many people bought newspapers, but that was when Popeye was relevant to his audience.

Wizard of Id, Peanuts and BC have come along since, but these big hitters are few and far between, and stay long after their sell-by date is up.

The hit rate from the syndicates is about one every fifteen years. In any other business that would spell catastrophe, and the cartoon feature business is no different, it’s just that the funnies page train wreck is happening in slow motion.

#13 Dan Reynolds
April/21/2008
@ 10:16 pm

MALC…
I could not agree MORE. I have nothing to add. One has to really wonder how it is that the syndicates successful choices are so few and far between. I don’t think it’s for lack of talent.

#14 Dan Reynolds
April/21/2008
@ 10:21 pm

Re: Dawn’s comments –

That’s right, but it’s BECAUSE the choices reader’s have to read.
If I had a nickel for everyone I’ve spoken to in the last number of years who said ‘there’s nothing good anymore in the comics section anymore”, I’d have a good start on my retirement. When you probe these commentors, you learn what they really mean is the choices of toons they like are only one, maybe two. They’re actually upset about the quantity of quality toons.

#15 Dan Reynolds
April/21/2008
@ 10:27 pm

The site below lists the national median salary for cartoonists. Can this be right?

http://bit.ly/6RhfDl

Editor’s note: The URL above was shortened to preserve the layout of the blog’s comments section.

#16 Malc McGookin
April/21/2008
@ 11:30 pm

It’s an easy experiment to undertake – Get a piece of paper and divide it into Column A and Column B, then list in Column A how many comics presently in the newspapers you would buy in book form.

Then in Column B ask yourself which comics actually DO achieve publishing success as books?

Both lists would be more or less identical.

There are too many comic features – ancient, irrelevant and unread, which presently clutter up the funnies pages, using newspapers as life support units.

#17 Mike Peterson
April/22/2008
@ 2:53 am

Nobody buys the newspaper for one thing — not long term. Of course, you always sell more papers during an election campaign or when the home team is headed for the playoffs. But a good comics page becomes one of the benefits of a newspaper and that’s a major marketing tool.

A newspaper is like a diner, not a fine restaurant. People go to the restaurant once in awhile for a special occasion, but they drop in at the diner every day for lunch. They don’t come out raving about the french fries, they don’t go on about the texture and piquancy of the cole slaw. But they do come out feeling like they got a good meal for not very much money.

Which means the french fries and cole slaw should be good, because they’re part of the mix. For newspapers, that means a good solid comics page helps sell the paper, along with crisp printing, a coherent editorial page and a general policy that puts interesting news and features above random crap dropped in to fill the page.

With the Internet, this means a selection that puts a great deal of quality and interest in the reader’s hands, because they are no longer a captive audience. You can’t hold a feature on fashion for three days because Thursday is the day you run fashion features — by then, readers will have seen it on-line and your page will be so-what.

And your comics page must be dynamic — something for everyone, because it’s a mass medium, but with the specific demographics and interests of your community in mind, and with the goal of not just satsifying your steady readers but of building interest in the people who don’t read the paper regularly.

Few editors and publishers spend as much time contemplating these issues as it took me to type this. Instead, they mimic what some other paper is doing, or they follow orders from corporate HQ or they do “what we’ve always done.” If they were a diner, they’d be shuttered. Which is to say, about as successful as they are as newspapers, but sooner.

#18 Allison barrows
April/22/2008
@ 4:56 am

For the record, I didn’t say Bill Waterson was dead, just that the strip was ended. I was, of course, misquoted.
Thanks to many of you with your kind words and well wishes. I hope to give PreTeena new life online in the future. You’ll be the first to know!

Allison

#19 Dawn Douglass
April/22/2008
@ 6:04 am

Dan and Everybody,

There is a nifty little site called http://www.tinyurl.com. When you have a really long URL like the one above, you can go there, input it and instantly get back a tidy little one that works just as well and won’t overrun the comment area.

#20 Mike
April/22/2008
@ 6:07 am

What, a newspaper misquote someone? Never! :) My local paper, the Manchester Union Leader is looking for recommendations from the readers as to what to replace PreTeena with, but after seeing them censor (by not printing) the “Hey-soos” series of Dilbert strips a few weeks ago, I can’t think of a strip that wouldn’t offend them at some point (I was going to suggest “Get Fuzzy” but while I love that strip, it’ll definitely cross the U-L’s moving line of decency at some point. Anyone have any suggestions?

#21 Wiley Miller
April/22/2008
@ 6:23 am

“The hit rate from the syndicates is about one every fifteen years. In any other business that would spell catastrophe, and the cartoon feature business is no different, itâ??s just that the funnies page train wreck is happening in slow motion.”

This has more to do with editors than syndicates, which is precisely why editors need to be educated about the product they’re editing. It ain’t brain surgery.

#22 Roger Jacob
April/22/2008
@ 12:18 pm

Oh Man! You keep your eyes off of the Net for a few days, and Yoops! Something goes seismic!! Loosing PreTeena is a shame, BUT you gotta respect the cartoonist & their decisions. Sure we can all go on at great length about our favourite hobby-horse in the cartoon field (Mine? Since no one was asking… in my opinion US cartoonists have the creative and humour lead over UK ones both strips and editorial..anyway!!)(By the way:Never thought the great Bill M was dead, from reading any reports anyhow- anyway-gotta keep tight with your intrepretations people)
Anyhow I fer one wish Allison all the very best in her new ventures. You brought a lot of wry smiles, cheerful nods of agreement and outright laughs with Teena and her world, and that for those who followed the strip meant a great deal. There is a lot of gloom and grim out there, Teena was a ray of warm sunshine.
All the very best with whatsoever you do in the future.

Roger
Wrexham
N Wales
UK

#23 Dan Reynolds
April/22/2008
@ 12:30 pm

It seems no one has THE answer. I’ll tell you one thing that would save comics in newspapers for sure…If Watterson came out of retirement. Calvin and Hobbes, by itself, would have people buying papers (if it weren’t also shown online. I know I would subscribe to a daily paper again!
It only follows, if what I said above is true, that if we had MORE quality (and by quality I mean FUNNY and ingeniuous) cartoons being published in newspapers, at a higher percentage rate, the comic might find it’s revival.

#24 Malc McGookin
April/23/2008
@ 12:11 am

Wasn’t it a famous American who said “you can’t go back?”

Not the same famous American who said “I shall return”, of course.

Watterson will not return, of that I’m sure, and it would be a big mistake if he did, he’s too astute a character to do so. He knows that he has changed, the world has changed, and he knows that Larson tried a “comeback” after his hiatus and almost ruined what would have been a wonderful legend.
Larson’s revived panel did not have the magic of his original work, he had done his dash, and had no more original magic to offer.

Watterson is undoubtedly in the same boat.

#25 Mary Jo Hostnik
May/20/2008
@ 8:33 am

The Plain Dealer USED to carry Preteena, but when they dropped it, (and ignored my email protest) I continued to follow it on-line. I’m very disappointed that the strip has come to an end, I always looked forward to reading it. And other commentors are right, comic strips DO sell newspapers. I’m a subscriber and always save the best for last, the comic pages.

#26 Cliff Gerhardt
May/22/2008
@ 9:13 am

I am very disappointed that PreTeena is leaving us. I just discovered PreTeena about eight months ago and it became one of my favorite comics immediately.

I think comics do sell newspapers, anyway in my case they do. I get most of my news from the internet, but I subscribe to a newspaper for the comics, and the local news, in that order.

Unlike Mary Jo, I read the comics first just in case I don’t have time to read the rest of the paper.

#27 Virginia Davies
May/25/2008
@ 9:56 am

I found this site because I wondered what had happened to Preteena. I have followed that strip for years. Although I loved the last strip (with the “perfect” gaden-no allergies), it is one of the 3 I chose for my Yahoo home page and I wondered after an entire week why no update. Although some others may miss a day or two. A favorite that came out this year is F-Minus. Some newspapers may want to add that to fill a void. I hope there will be an announcement when and if Preteena returns to us online. I read comics on Washington Post’s site as well as AZ Central, and still read others on Go-Cmics and Comics.com.

#28 Fred Knox
May/26/2008
@ 4:20 pm

Sorry for the loss of Preteena. Will miss it. I’m glad it was the authur’s choice and not a dumb move by the paper. My other favorite is Non Sequitur. If we lose it, I will cancel my subscription. Not really, but after the sports, it’s on to the ‘funnies’.

#29 Mark Rainey
May/29/2008
@ 8:06 am

I, too, found this site after wondering why PreTeena stopped. This was in my list of Top 5 comic strips. Saddened I am.

#30 Paul Spracklen
May/30/2008
@ 9:27 am

Most sad. I’m with Virginia and Mark, I didn’t even know this site existed until I started hunting down why and what was going on with the strip. Ms. Barrows, please do reconsider. Particularly online. As a world traveller I get all my news and a good portion of my entertainment from the internet, that includes comics.

#31 Jamie Dorsey
June/3/2008
@ 2:09 am

I’ve missed PreTeena for the past couple of weeks…wondering where it went. Now I just found out that it’s gone for good. It is a sad moment…it was a highlight of my day. I wish Allison the very best in her new career, however. She is a wonderfully talented person. –Jamie Dorsey in W.Va.

#32 Lee Magee
June/10/2008
@ 4:51 am

I really miss Preteena. It always gave me a chuckle in the morning. Good luck to Ms. Barrows but too bad for the rest of us who enjoyed a strip that was clean and funny and right on the money!

#33 William Smith
June/11/2008
@ 9:34 am

My morning routine has been to start the day at work by reading the comics on the Yahoo News site. Preteena was one of the few I looked forward to. I’m sorry to see it come to an end. My best wishes to Ms. Barrows

#34 Jim Swavely
June/19/2008
@ 9:19 am

I, too, am saddened to learn that PreTeena has ended. I saw it as a commentary on family life as opposed to a strip for “tweens,” and I enjoyed reading several strips at a time on-line every week or so. The ending dream sequence was beautiful, especially the final cell. I sincerely hope Ms. Barrows finds success in her new career.

#35 Angela Forrest
June/27/2008
@ 8:36 pm

Man, I lvoed that comic. I am really gonna miss that one. I wish I had got hooked on to it sooner. Oh well, best of luck to the cartoonist on her new endeavors though something tells me that if she would continue, no one would complain.

#36 AIMAN RAZAK
July/22/2008
@ 10:54 pm

oh. that’s why our local(i’m from malaysia) newspaper(the star) did not display the strips anymore.

i thought they dont have anymore space for your strips.

it used to be in the papers every wednesdays.

i still remember reading the last strip. long time ago.

every wednesday fo the past couple of month i waited for preteena.

boo-hoo.

why oh why?

#37 Ted Rall
January/13/2010
@ 8:53 am

“Comics are not even the second most popular section. Itâ??s like fourth or fifth, as I recall.”

Um, no. The comics section still rates as the first or second most-popular section of newspapers–sports is the other one.

No doubt, though, that comics pages have been moribund for many years.

I agree with Wiley’s assessment. Editors don’t even understand why comics run in their papers in the first place.

#38 Shane Davis
January/13/2010
@ 1:39 pm

@ Wiley
“This has more to do with editors than syndicates, which is precisely why editors need to be educated about the product theyâ??re editing. It ainâ??t brain surgery.”

But how does that get done? Apparently, they’re not going to pickit up one their own…

#39 Phillep Harding
July/12/2010
@ 1:57 pm

I’ll miss that young lady and how she deals with her insufferable sister. Lot’s of fun.

(Incidently, a warmer climate means more evaporation, and more rain, not less. Lot’s of muggy heat, and not much dessert.)

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