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Bad economy showing up in the comics

Two different comic stories have an underlining commonality. First, E&P reports that the Brenda Starr character (from the self named comic) will be furloughed from her job as a reporter. Mary Schmich, who pens the comics and is a columnist at the Chicago Tribune, tells E&P, “The budget cuts inside Starr’s fictional newsroom reflect the bottom line at real-life newspapers, which are slashing staffs and freezing salaries in the face of steep declines in advertising and circulation.”

Ironically, the Chicago Tribune who has filed for bankruptcy and had many lay-offs of their own, write that the downward economy has been good for Scott Adam’s Dilbert. In a Q&A with Scott, he is asked why it is easier to write the strip in a bad economy to which, Scott replies:

Humor is the flip side of tragedy. So the worse things are, the easier it is to find humor. And I think there is naturally more absurdity. There was a time during the dot-com era that I literally couldn’t get anyone to complain about their jobs. But now, if something is wrong with your life, it’s always someone else’s fault. It’s either the bankers, the politicians or your own managers being greedy and sucking up all the money for their bonus. So you always have someone to blame. And that gives the comic teeth.

Community Comments

#1 P.S. Mueller
March/27/2009
@ 4:47 pm

First they shrunk ’em and made ’em hard to read. Hobbling content first always makes disposal easier when, finally, the suits are looking for change in the couch.

#2 Mark Tatulli
March/27/2009
@ 6:52 pm

The Philadelphia Inquirer has taken their Sunday comics pages, a 5 page broadsheet, and reduced it to a six page tabloid format and stuck it inside the COMCAST TV schedule. They have not dropped any comics, but in order to fit them in the different format, they have added the title drop-panel in, further deducing the size of the Sunday strips to just a bit larger than the dailies. Wiley’s strip is almust illegible. BIZARRO looks like an ink smear and PRINCE VALIANT looks like an overwrought ad from the 1950’s. Like P.S. says, a hobbling to irrelevence to soften the blow of eventual elimination. Terribly sad. The end of an era. Inky Sunday comics were a part of my growing up; something I aspired to and eventually attained. Now it’s just a joke, and not in a good way.

#3 Rich Diesslin
March/27/2009
@ 7:25 pm

Yes, but think of the hours of fun you can have with silly putty now. First you put it on the whole comic you want and then you can stretch it out until it’s readable! You used to have to do it panel at a time.

#4 Bob Quick
March/27/2009
@ 8:28 pm

…or one can read them on the internet and enlarge them with a click.

#5 Stacy Curtis
March/27/2009
@ 11:00 pm

I can’t imagine knowing my comic runs barely legible in a newspaper. It would drive me crazy.

#6 Mark Tatulli
March/27/2009
@ 11:57 pm

Something else: One thing I always appreciated about the Inky Sunday comics was the quality of the pages. Everything always looked as good as it gets. A sight better than the printing of our local papers.
But the insert I received last Sunday was pathetic…the colors were so misregistered it was a distraction, which added to the ugliness of the reduced size. Seriously, I could only imagine the most devout comics fan being interested in looking at this mess. Certainly not something that would attract a newer reader.

#7 patty leidy
March/28/2009
@ 10:03 am

I’m cringing…why am I doing this again..someone please remind me?….
Denver Post is smaller than the Rocky Mtn. News was…now ZIPPY has lost it’s gleem., barely readable most days…I sniff a little tear every morning…cringe , then eat my cheerios…….sigh

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