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Oh Brother! comes to an end

Jay Stephens and Bob Weber, Jr are ending Oh Brother! due to lack subscribing papers just after one year in syndication. The strip was launched June of 2010 by King Features.

In an email to me, Bob writes:

The Oh, Brother! syndication has ended. The comic failed to gain enough of a foothold. Obviously It didn’t help to launch in this economy and at a time when many newspapers are cutting comics, and are certainly not eager to add new comics that are perceived to be for kids, a demographic that papers have largely given up on. The great news is that there will be a life for Oh, Brother! beyond newspapers. I can’t be specific at this time, but I’ll be in touch.

The point about having a feature that appeals to kids in today’s market was also cited by Jay in an email to the Guelph Mercury.

“The fact that it had a kid-friendly appeal worked against our chances,” Stephens said in the message. “Editors routinely dismissed us with comments like: ‘Kids don’t buy newspapers.'”

Community Comments

#1 Stephen Beals
July/28/2011
@ 7:08 am

Kids don’t drive up to movie theaters and spend part of their paycheck on movies, either, so we better stop making those.

Let me get this straight. The reason newspapers have a frustrating 1950s mentality when it comes to comics is because “this is a family newspaper” where, presumably, kids will see shocking things like the word “suck” coming out of a teenager’s mouth and their worldview will be irreparably altered forever. But a comic specifically geared towards kids is not welcome either.

Newspapers that survive the digital evolution will have to at least provide the entertainment content that you can find on basic cable.

I hope there is a future life for Oh Brother. It’s a quality strip and deserves it.

#2 Ed Power
July/28/2011
@ 7:28 am

NNNNNNNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

#3 C. Hart
July/28/2011
@ 7:33 am

This is terrible news. It’s depressing to think that an editor would rather have a 70 year old strip on their comics page, rather than a new, fresh strip.

#4 Ed Power
July/28/2011
@ 7:35 am

RE: “Kids don?t buy newspapers.?”

That’s why I’m starting a new strip…”Teddy the Technophobic Neo-Ludite!”

Every strip will be the adventures of who Teddy meets while he rides his bake into town to pick up the newspaper. Every. single. strip.

His catchphrase will be “What’s a webcomic?”

But sereiously, I loved this strip. It sucks that it’s cancelled. :(

#5 Norm Feuti
July/28/2011
@ 8:11 am

My kids read the comics every day.

Any newspaper that doesn’t have at least one comic that’s specifically geared towards children has given up on their own future.

#6 Larry Levine
July/28/2011
@ 8:28 am

Sad news, it was an excellent strip.

#7 David Jones
July/28/2011
@ 9:08 am

It is a sad state where a high quality, friendly strip cannot get picked up by enough newspapers to support the creators. Oh Brother is a great strip and I hope they find life beyond the newsprint.

It is also a sad state where comics with an edge cannot make it either. I too believe that newspapers need to get with the times and stop living in the 1050’s. I am lucky to live in Houston where the Houston Chronicle has such a great variety of strips to read each day… new and old.

News like this is not going to disillusion me.

I plan on sticking with my plan and hopefully see success in the future. If not, I’ll blame myself and not the state of the newspapers and the world economy. I believe if you just keep plugging along and work hard, only good will grace you… bwa ha ha…. No, I’ll blame someone else.

#8 Tom Falco
July/28/2011
@ 9:11 am

“Kids don’t buy newspapers.” A self fulfilling prophecy and a stupid attitude to have for future newspaper readers of America.

#9 Scott Metzger
July/28/2011
@ 9:20 am

This is surprising news. I remember when it launched – it looked like a great strip. Sorry to hear about it coming to an end.

#10 Eddie Pittman
July/28/2011
@ 9:40 am

very sad, such a beautifully drawn strip.

#11 Daniel Boris
July/28/2011
@ 11:15 am

?Kids don?t buy newspapers”, yet adults will always be kids at heart. Newspapers are their own worst enemies…

#12 Howard Cruse
July/28/2011
@ 11:38 am

I’m sorry to hear about this. “Oh, Brother” has been consistently charming and elegantly drawn.

#13 Andrew Farago
July/28/2011
@ 12:05 pm

The only Oh Brother! headlines I want to see are about blockbuster syndication numbers, book deals, and maybe an animated series spinoff. It’s sad that a strip like this can’t get a foothold in newspapers.

#14 Tom Stemmle
July/28/2011
@ 12:40 pm

Sorry to hear of this…the strip had a keen vitality and was always fun to read. In another era it would have become a long-running feature.

#15 Anne Hambrock
July/28/2011
@ 12:49 pm

Terrible news!

I echo all the above sentiments.

#16 David Jones
July/28/2011
@ 1:06 pm

I thought I heard an echo. Relieved to know my hearing isn’t screwing up again!

#17 Jason Nocera
July/28/2011
@ 2:13 pm

Wow, that’s too bad. Oh, Brother was an excellent strip – well drawn and great gags. I’ll be sad to see it end.

#18 John Platt
July/28/2011
@ 2:16 pm

Kids don’t buy newspapers – they wait until Mom or Dad has finished reading them and then read the comics sections. Then become hooked on the rest of the paper as they grow up to become future suscribers.Who do they think reads Slylock Fox, Junior Jumble, Garfield (post 1986)etc if not a majority of kids?

#19 Mike Cope
July/28/2011
@ 3:31 pm

This is more a reflection of newspapers failing to deliver content to kids in our digital age, as “Oh, Brother!” is an innocent, clean, wholesome feature. Perhaps Bob & Jay will have better directly marketing the content to kids themselves. I wish them both continued successes!

#20 Tom Falco
July/28/2011
@ 4:49 pm

I remember we couldn’t wait for the NY Daily News on Sundays and I think it was the Knickerbocker News from Albany because they had the most comics. We were kids, maybe 8 or 9 years old. Our parents bought the papers, we didn’t, but we read them. Also the Long Island Press, which I delivered from age 10 to 14, I used to love their comics.

I remember going through the daily newspapers at my grandparents’ houses in Brooklyn, the comics were spread out in the Mirror and Post and Daily News, different comic strip on each page, I had to be 8 or 9 then.

So I guess kids don’t buy the newspapers, but they surely read them when they are in the house.

In middle school I read the comics in the Miami Herald, the Miami News and the Homestead News Leader daily and when I could get them, the Ft. Lauderdale News, the Sun-Sentinel and the Hollywood Sun Reporter.

#21 Roy Delgado
July/28/2011
@ 5:27 pm

I believe Tom Stemmle hit it right on the nail . . . in these times we are in, things are rearranging themselves and at another time it would have had a definately different more successful outcome.. It was beautiful, simple, crisp and I loved the quick well-written light humor. Like Bob Dylan said: ” Times, they are a changing . . . ”

Roy Delgado

#22 Mark Hill
July/28/2011
@ 8:46 pm

To hear newspaper editors quoted as saying “kids don’t buy newspapers”, it sounds like they have begrudgingly ‘accepted’ a fateful reality.

But with decisions like this, it is clearly a reality they helped to create.

#23 donna lewis
July/29/2011
@ 1:37 pm

Boo. Hiss. x2.

:-(

#24 donna lewis
July/29/2011
@ 1:56 pm

Are kids now paying for cable television, Cheerios, Wii and clothes from The Gap? Maybe we should stop making those things if they’re not.

#25 David Reddick
July/29/2011
@ 2:06 pm

Such a shame. It truly is a classic in the making and of absolute quality. I look forward to its evolutionary next step!

#26 Stephen Beals
July/29/2011
@ 2:11 pm

Exactly, Donna. Kids don’t pay for anything. We give them the money! Or they tag along.

I think “kids don’t buy newspapers” is the most frustrating thing I’ve heard from a newspaper in at least … a couple of hours. My nephew still reads the comics in the newspaper, but it’s when he visits his grandma.

Tobacco companies try and hook the kids early and newspapers don’t. What a weird world.

#27 donna lewis
July/29/2011
@ 2:19 pm

Newspapers as aggressive, creative and as dedicated to the hook as cigarette companies….now THAT would be new and different.

If only we could sell the idea that comics are fun. And then make fun things popular. And if only we believed in the power of newspapers the way we believe in the power of nicotine.

Dang.

#28 donna lewis
July/29/2011
@ 2:28 pm

Okay, last post, I swear.

Maybe we could get newspapers to advertise on “As Seen on TV”…..the products there seem to do pretty well.

I bought a Perfect Brownies pan, pajama jeans and a snuggie for my dog…even though I didn’t realize I needed any of those until I saw them on the commercial.

They also have the Animated Classics DVD collection + Storybook, but kids don’t buy movie collections, so I’m sure they’ll discontinue that item very soon.

End of snark….d

#29 Stephen Beals
July/29/2011
@ 3:22 pm

The Los Angeles Times (as seen on TV!)

I love that.

Now I’m working on comics you can smoke.

#30 Gerry Mooney
July/29/2011
@ 3:55 pm

Haven’t seen this strip. I wonder is it online somewhere, since I obviously won’t be seeing it in the papers?

#31 donna lewis
July/29/2011
@ 4:03 pm

Here you go, Gerry…
http://ohbrothercomics.com/

Hey! What about making comics illegal? Now THAT is good for business.

d

#32 JW Wills
July/30/2011
@ 4:13 pm

Why the surprise? Newspaper editors are gutless in the wake of corporated financial morons injecting themselves into running newsrooms across the country. When did the title of CFO become “Editor”….sadly, this is the reality of newspapers today. Editors have stopped editing.

#33 Alex Hallatt
July/31/2011
@ 11:19 pm

Guh (*holds head in hands*).

#34 Gerry Mooney
August/1/2011
@ 3:45 pm

First, Donna, thanks for the link! Second, dang, these are good! I laughed out loud at several of them, and that’s not easy to get me to do.
Now it’s even more of a shame than before I’d seen them.

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