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Ill-timed Broom Hilda strip on movies, gunshots (UPDATED)

Broom Hilda

Today’s Broom Hilda is another example of ill-timed cartoon in light of the Aurora Colorado shootings. Francesco Marciuliano, writer for Sally Forth, issued an apology for Sunday’s Sally Forth strip that had a far looser connection to the events in Aurora. It kind of raises the question – at what point after a tragedy can a cartoon run that depicts something – even indirectly – and not feel obligated to issue an apology or statement.

As far as I know, there hasn’t been any reaction from the public on this Broom Hilda cartoon, nor any pre-emptive apology/statement from either the cartoonist or syndicate. Then again – it just hit papers today.

UPDATE: The Chicago Tribune has posted a notice explaining that the strip got past them. If any paper came to mind that would have pulled it, I would have guessed the Chicago Tribune. Here’s part of their statement.

We review all comics a week before we begin publishing them (and in the case of the preprinted Sunday funnies, two weeks earlier). During that review we inspect 164 strips in one sitting. If a strip doesn?t meet our standards of fairness and taste, we routinely ask for substitutes from the features syndicates that provide our comics. When news breaks that turns a harmless cartoon into one of bad taste, someone flags it in time.

But not this time. Today?s ?Broom-Hilda? had passed from memory by the time the slayings occurred.

That?s not an excuse, it?s just the explanation. We hate when anything like this gets past us, so we?re kicking ourselves — and trying to make sure it doesn?t recur.

Community Comments

#1 Mike Cope
July/25/2012
@ 11:24 am

Those in the syndication business can hopefully clarify this, but how many days are needed to “pull” a potentially insensitive cartoon?

Being a Wednesday cartoon, that means they would have had only Monday and part of Tuesday to remedy the situation — if they had immediately made the connection.

But since comic strips are drawn and submitted so far in advance, this one could have been honestly forgotten.

It’s sincerely too bad.

Then again, what the hell are the newspaper editors doing running strips without screening them themselves?

I’d be curious if any newspaper editor/publisher cares enough about the comics to read the material they print in their own papers.

#2 John Read
July/25/2012
@ 11:49 am

You can bet that editors keep a much closer eye on strips that often contain a political “message” (like “Doonesbury,” “Prickly City” and “Mallard Fillmore”) than they do the typical gag-a-day strips.

#3 RYAN BROWN
July/25/2012
@ 12:26 pm

Wow, the coincidence is startling, unfortunately.

#4 Darryl Heine
July/25/2012
@ 2:16 pm

The Chicago Tribune still runs Broom-Hilda, and it carried today’s strip, the loud mouth girl reminds me of short lived 1954-1955 Peanuts character Charlotte Braun.

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