After announcing earlier this week that the Orange County Register was dropping Get Fuzzy and Pearls Before Swine, the editors have been “persuaded” to return the two features. Immediately.
Late last year, possibly in a moment of holiday giddiness or Santa envy or irresponsible eggnog consumption, Register editors thought to ask Register readers what they liked and didn’t like about our comics. The thinking was that if a comic was found to be particularly unpopular, it would be replaced.
And that’s what happened. In late 2007, after toting up several hundred comic-focused letters and e-mail communiquÃ©s, it became clear that “Pearls” and “Get Fuzzy” were unpopular. Though it took us months to secure replacements and organize an effective changeover, this week we swapped out the unpopular comics for new, potentially popular comics.
Or so we thought.
See, turns out that what’s deemed an unpopular comic strip for some readers can, for many others, be necessary in the way that water and oxygen and HDTV are necessary. Pearls and Get Fuzzy apparently fall into the latter category. Within minutes of getting newspapers sans Pearls and Fuzzy, several hundred readers called, e-mailed or (we can only speculate on this) stuck their heads out of windows and screamed that they wanted those strips back.
The response in favor of Pearls and Fuzzy was far greater than the negative response we’d seen earlier. Given that the change was initiated in the spirit of customer service, it seemed wise to respond to what readers want.