Comic page gains and losses (UPDATED)

A few things of interest when looking at the comic page changes reported this week.

Firstly, The Colorado Springs Gazette has announced the results of their latest comic poll. After 6000 votes cast, For Better or For Worse, B.C., and Peanuts will stay. Wizard of Id and Frank & Earnest were dropped and in their place are two guest comic spots. First comics up in those spaces are Signe Wilkinson’s Family Tree and Richard Thompson’s Cul de Sac.

The editor noted that they will run For Better or For Worse as long as Lynn is doing her experiment. Since yesterdays’ news that Lynn will be ending the hybrid in the future, we’ll see if the paper will let it go or keep the re-runs.

Florida Today trimmed back their comics to save money on newsprint, but after reader’s wrote in, they’re going to be brining some of the features back. Specifically, they’ve added Chuckle Brothers and are returning The Piranha Club and a promise to bring back others. They’ve also had to restore some of their features to a larger size after readers complained.

San Antonio Express-News made some changes a couple of weeks ago that I just picked up. The paper picked up Retro Geek, The Other Coast and Family Tree. Snuffy Smith and Willie ‘n’ Ethel were dropped. Curtis went to Sunday only, The Amazing Spider-man went exclusively online and Dilbert went to the financial pages.

UPDATE: Tak Toyoshima writes in to tell me that his feature, Secret Asian Man, is now on a trial run at the Contra Coast Times and was picked up by the University Times (Cal. State University).

9 thoughts on “Comic page gains and losses (UPDATED)

  1. It’s only been a short time that I’ve been reading this blog, a month or so, and thus had an increased interest in the happenings of the comics industry. When I see posts like this, I get the impression there is more change happening in the comics section of the papers than I had previously thought.

    I know many of the long-time cartoonists are retiring (or dying) and it is common for strips to continue under another artist or be reprinted. Is more of this happening now than a few years ago, hence bringing more attention to the syndicate’s/paper’s struggle to find the balance between launching new strips and continuing old ones?

    My question is, how common is all this? Has it always been like this, just hard to tell because it happens so slowly? Are we in a time of change or is it business as usual?

  2. I’m still trying to get over the fact that Snuffy Smith is still running somewhere.

  3. OK, Dilbert came from the financials and is now in the regular line-up, taking up valuable space in the San Antonio Express-News comic section.

    Retro Geek also takes up valuable space…

    The Other Coast has beeb great for years and Family Tree is a nice addition.

  4. Actually, I take the complete opposite opinion. I think that it’s a bad thing to have single comics floating around in all the different sections of the newspaper. Chance are, comics readers aren’t going to go out of their way to dig out the Style section or the Food section or the Financial section and page through it just to read one comic strip. If you want to put “Doonesbury” on the Editorial page, that’s one thing, but at a certain point it becomes ridiculous.

  5. Based on what the newly shrunken (again) Chicago Tribune has done to shoehorn comics on two pages, I would love the idea of seeing comic strips spread out throughout the newspaper. Some of the word ballons and artwork is absolutely microscopic. Wiley’s comic is barely readable even though it has great art.

    What would be the point of great art and funny punchlines or storylines if they are crammed so tightly. And yet, they are still better than the Sun-Times pages when it comes to size of the individual strips.

  6. Louis,
    Yes, it would be great if the comics were printed larger, but I’m not sure if spreading them out through the paper would cause newspapers like the Tribune to print them larger. (I think the main reason newspapers have reduced the size of comic strips is so they could have more ad space, and printing the comics throughout the paper but bigger doesn’t allow for more ad space.) Thus, I think it would be a big disadvantage for comics readers to have to leaf through the paper and in essence go on a treasure hunt for their favorite strips. People who are in a hurry in the morning while reading the comics probably would prefer to have them all in one place.

  7. Chris,

    If I was a newspaper editor or publisher, my heart would leap with joy. Spreading out the comics and making you search the entire newspaper for them? Sounds like something that I would promote to advertisers. Even the “boring” sections of the newspaper get the once-over by those looking for their favorite comic strips.

    There are no ads in the Chicago papers on the comics pages.

  8. Louis,
    I’m sure that newspaper publishers and advertisers would love it, and it is indeed an ingenious advertising scheme — but I think that most readers would be enraged and complain. And there are no ads on my newspaper’s comics pages either, but I’ve seen papers that do have ads on those pages. It looks tacky, in my opinion.

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