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Seven Days Explains It All

Seven Days, Vermont’s weekly alternative paper, is getting some negative feedback for its choices in rearranging their comics pages. As reported here earlier this month, Seven Days had decided to add Keith Knight’s The K Chronicles to their line-up. It turns out that meant cutting a comic strip, and the one they cut was Mr. Brunelle Explains It All by local cartoonist Robert Waldo Brunelle Jr.

Above is the July 8 and the July 15 issues showing the change (and a bit of shuffling).
In the July 22 edition the editor prefaced the letters expressing dismay with a note:

Wow, “Mr. Brunelle Explains It All” has some passionate fans! We’re grateful to have had the opportunity to publish the comic strip, but as stated in response to a letter last week, we have discontinued it, along with “Red Meat,” and added “The K Chronicles” to help us meet two goals: to lower the expenses of the “funny pages” and to add a Black voice to the selection [emphasis added] of comics that focus on national politics. Fans of local artist Robert Waldo Brunelle Jr. can still find his weekly strip on his Facebook page and at mrbrunelle.com, where he also sells his original art. The tagline: “Genius You Can Afford!”


The comments followed a similar line:
“I am writing to express disappointment…”
“I hope you’ll reconsider…”
“I am very disappointed…”
“I am very sad that you…”
“We need more, not less, locally sourced adult humor…”

The editor’s note and letters can be read here (scroll down).

It does seem an odd choice, for a paper well-known for supporting cartoonists, to drop a local one. Though I think they would have gotten grief no matter who they dropped.

At least Mr. Brunelle was switched out with another comic strip.
It appears that Red Meat was replaced with an in-house promo:

  

Community Comments

#1 Loran Skinkis
July/24/2020
@ 6:51 am

I know space is tight in these freebie newspapers but with a little creativity in layouts couldn’t they just keep the existing and expand? I think readers are looking for more content not just the same or less. Just my 2 cents.

#2 Paul Berge
July/24/2020
@ 7:00 am

I’m trying to figure out exactly how to respond to an editor who messaged me yesterday asking if he could save a few bucks by bypassing the syndicate that distributes my work. Times are hard in the newspaper biz, and I’m not sure I’m equipped to break my contract and self-syndicate.

But to return to the topic at hand, kudos to Seven Days for adding a cartoonist of color to its pages, but yank that kudos back for axing the local guy. I’ll bet his Facebook page makes money only for Mr. Zuckerberg, and his website is more likely an expense than income for Brunelle.

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