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Comic landscape unchanged after FBOFW transition

Lynn Johnston’s For Better or For Worse is finally into its “new-runs” – successfully making the transition on Monday. I’ve tried to ascertain just how much of the comic page landscape has changed since Monday and preliminary notes would indicate that it hasn’t much. Kathie Kerr, Universal Press Syndicate Assistant Vice President for Communications, tells me that less than 2% of Lynn’s papers have opted to replace her feature – the Washington Post being one of the largest of them.

From talking with other syndicates and compiling news reports, I can’t see a clear replacement winner in a single strip, but anecdotal evidence would suggest that the family based genre has has taken most of the available slots as evidenced by pickups by Signe Wilkinson’s Family Tree, Sandra Bell-Lundy’s Between Friends, Terry Terri Libenson’s Pajama Diaries, and Tony Rubino and Gary Markstein Daddy’s Home.

Several papers, such as The L.A. Times, The Arizona Daily Star, Virginia Pilot and Yakima Herald-Republic, are taking a wait and see approach. For those of you who dislike the comic poll, brace yourself. Many are being planned. I believe between now and the end of the year the landscape could shift a bit more, but if Lynn’s goal was to maintain as many papers as possible, she’s done a remarkable job.

Community Comments

#1 Malc McGookin
September/2/2008
@ 10:03 pm

Lies, d@mned lies and statistics, as the saying goes.

It’s in the syndicate’s best interests to talk down the replacement issue, as newspapers are as cowardly as Greek ferry boat captains. One sniff that they’re backing the wrong horse and they’ll drop FBOFW like a hot tattie.

On the other Daily Cartoonist thread, which documents whether FBOFW is being replaced or not, I counted fourteen reports of replacements. The link below announces that the Detroit Free Press is also dropping it. Those are reports from people on a couple of sites alone. Those fifteen reported papers make up 1% of FBOFW’s US papers.
You would have to multiply that by an unknown factor (I would say x 10 at least) to get a truer picture, and the number of papers which decide not to run the “new” FBOFW can only grow.

http://community.livejournal.com/binky_betsy/400976.html

#2 Dena Rosenberry
September/3/2008
@ 9:31 am

We dropped FBOFW from The Gazette in Colorado Springs, CO. So far, I’ve heard from about 20 readers, half are ticked and half are tickled.

#3 Jeff Darcy
September/3/2008
@ 10:22 am

Our paper has dropped FB for the Pajama Diaries. It’ll be interesting to see what Pearls Before Swine might look like 50 or 60 years from now when it’s put into reruns and redrawn by a ghost cartoonist.

#4 Larry Levine
September/3/2008
@ 10:51 am

The NY Daily News dropped FBOFW months ago during the inital hybrid experiment. The News also dropped Peanuts Classics.

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