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Diamondback Ceases Print Edition – Launched Kinney, Cho, McGruder Cartooning Careers

The student newspaper of University of Maryland, The Diamondback, has published its last print edition after 110 years. It will continue as online-only.

From The Diamondback:

After 110 years in circulation, The Diamondback will cease its weekly print publication in March, the newspaper’s parent company announced Monday…

According to Tom Madigan — board president of Maryland Media Inc., The Diamondback’s parent company — the paper’s digital readership is eight times as large as the print audience…

According to [Leah Brennan, the newspaper’s editor in chief], the website saw about 150,000 visitors last April, the most recent full month of school that data is available. Print editions of the newspaper, meanwhile, bring in around 5,000 readers per week — or 20,000 a month.

The student paper is proud of launching a few very famous cartoonists.

Perhaps the most famous and successful of the Diamondback cartoonists is Jeff Kinney. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid creator began by getting his Igdoof comic strip in the Diamondback.

Samples of the strip show that even then Jeff like his words as much as his art.

The strip ended in 1993.

After graduation, Kinney tried to syndicate Igdoof, but there were no takers, so he shifted his efforts to Wimpy Kid.

 

The following year, 1994, saw a new comic strip in The Diamondback, University² by Frank Cho.

When Frank Cho transferred from Prince George’s Community College in the early 1990s, he brought his artistic talents to The Diamondback. He published multiple comic strips, including University2 and Everything But The Kitchen Sink.

This time the cartoonist was successful in getting his strip syndicated. Frank’s University² ended in 1995, by 1997 it was appearing in newspapers around the country under the Liberty Meadows title.

Unsurprisingly, to those who read Liberty Meadows, Frank Cho has become a famous “Good Girl” artist.

 

The 1990s was a goldmine for The Diamondback. Jeff KInney from 1991(?) to 1993, Frank Cho from 1994 to 1995, and then Aaron McGruder began The Boondocks there in 1996.

The comic strip was published in The Diamondback from December 1996 to March 1997, before a technical error resulted in the printing of the word “OOPS!” instead of the comic strip. When the paper didn’t print a correction, McGruder permanently pulled the strip.

In 1999 The Boondocks was picked up for syndication and papers eagerly signed up for the edgy humor. The strip was a favorite of readers, but became a bane for newspaper editors who got letters about the sharp reality portrayed on the comic pages.

Aaron, like Frank, would get fed up with the confines of a daily comic strip and leave for greener pastures.

The Diamondback, in its final issue highlighted the famous cartooning alumni.

 

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