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Interesting survey on the popularity of certain comics

I don’t report much on the weekly ups and downs of which comics are getting picked up and dropped, but the recent results of a comic survey in the Capital-Journal (Topeka, KS) is interesting. In fine pie-chart form, they report the popularity of the comics they run in the paper. Obviously this is specific to readers in Topeka, but overall, some interesting findings. The top-five popular features were Pickles (95%), Family Circus (92%), Hi and Louis (89%), Blondie (88%) and Beetle Bailey (82%). I think 95% approval for a single comic is amazing (congratulations, Brian). Aside from Pickles, four of the five top comics are “legacy” strips. The five least favorite features were: Pearls Before Swine (66%), Doonesbury (59%), Get Fuzzy (53%), Dilbert (51%), and Judge Parker (42%). Note four of the five strips in the bottom five are NOT legacy strips. This probably speaks more to the demographics of the paper.

Visit Capital-Journal website for more details of their survey and the changes they made if you’re interested.

Community Comments

#1 david essman
April/3/2014
@ 1:01 pm

Summary:

They added ?Dustin,? ?Mutts,? ?Rhymes with Orange,? ?WuMo? and ?Shoe.?

They dropped “Pearls Before Swine,” “Get Fuzzy,” and Doonesbury”

Any comics page without Pearls Before Swine isn’t worth subscribing to.

“?Get Fuzzy? has had numerous rerun weeks during the past year, and ?Doonesbury? will be in repeats for at least the remainder of 2014, making the decision to eliminate them painless. Nobody likes paying twice, or thrice, for the same content.”
(hint to newspapers still running peanuts reruns)

#2 Tom Racine
April/3/2014
@ 1:29 pm

Interesting…would be better with some demographic data. What age groups voted for what…etc. The splits of “like/don’t like” on Dustin, Lio, and Mutts were interesting. And the Rex Morgan graphic looks like the Martians from “War of the Worlds.”

#3 Mike Witmer
April/3/2014
@ 1:55 pm

The problem with these sort of surveys is that they are slanted and biased. And it’s a fine example of why the Newspaper business is faltering.

I’m with Tom. I’d love to see the demo for the folks who took the time to vote.

#4 Mike Cope
April/3/2014
@ 1:58 pm

How many respondents participated in this survey ONLY for the chance to win one of the three $100 Gift Cards?

#5 Steve Ogden
April/3/2014
@ 2:12 pm

Wow. This is one of those surveys I don’t want to believe because it goes against my opinion. But, OK. That demographic likes – and almost exclusively – legacy strips. Pretty tough medicine for anyone looking to present something new. Yowza!

#6 Mike Peterson
April/3/2014
@ 2:14 pm

Here’s a survey that shows three things:

1. The people who sit around with time to take surveys tend to be quite old.

2. Newspaper editors should never be permitted to make marketing decisions.

3. Some businesses would rather cling to their existing client base than reach out for new business.

About 90 percent of the “comic surveys” that come out of the newsroom prove those same three things. The only change is that the sample size keeps getting smaller, and smaller, and smaller. Editors are stumped.

#7 Graham Nolan
April/3/2014
@ 2:18 pm

According to this survey, the edgier the strip the less it was liked. My guess is the demographic is skewed older. After all, that is the group that actually buys papers. And in the Capital-Journel world, that’s all that counts.

#8 Joe Corrao
April/3/2014
@ 3:29 pm

soooo Family Circus is one of the best?

#9 Tom Falco
April/3/2014
@ 5:21 pm

That Topeka sounds like a swinging place.

#10 Justin Riley
April/3/2014
@ 5:23 pm

They missed an important question.

“Which is your favorite strip?”

If they’d asked that, I think Pearls and Dilbert would’ve done well.

#11 mtatulli
April/3/2014
@ 7:13 pm

The amount of red on my chart indicates to me that I’m doing something right

#12 Darrin Bell
April/4/2014
@ 5:40 am

They missed another important question: “Would you like those kids to get off your lawn?”

#13 Joel Bader
April/4/2014
@ 11:07 am

“Note four of the five strips in the bottom five are NOT legacy strips.” I thought Doonesbury, Dilbert and Judge Parker had been around for years if not decades–but then what IS a legacy strip?

#14 Pete McDonnell
April/4/2014
@ 11:29 am

Joel; a legacy strip means it’s a comic that’s being produced by people other than the (deceased) creator. Only Judge Parker qualifies among the 5 at the bottom.

#15 Philip Taterczynski
April/4/2014
@ 12:52 pm

“Hi and Louis (89%)”

Hi & Louis? Is that the strip about the suburban family with four kids and two dads?

#16 Pete McDonnell
April/4/2014
@ 12:56 pm

Maybe I should have said deceased or retired…are Mort Walker and Jim Davis still working on their strips?

#17 Paul Fell
April/6/2014
@ 1:43 pm

Before you lend too much credence to this unscientific survey (just because they use pie charts doesn’t mean they know what they’re doing), keep in mind that this is, after all, Kansas.

A little insight about what goes on there will reveal that Kansas (and their flagship right-wing newspaper) are far from a reflection of the rest of the country. Except for Oklahoma. And Texas.

#18 Rich Diesslin
April/7/2014
@ 12:19 am

Here’s and idea, keep the cartoons a paper currently runs and rather than drop one to add one … start a new page of different cartoons and see how that goes.

Reasons:
1) why tick off any readers that like what is currently run
2) see if adding more is better and of interest to any other readers.

Perhaps it would backfire, but it’s thought.

Or could just add twice as many in the same space and give out magnifying glasses with the newspaper … you pretty much need them now …

#19 mark mason
April/8/2014
@ 5:01 pm

I don’t know how far ahead Pastis works on “Pearls,” but today’s installment was surprisingly relevant to his strip being dropped.

#20 Brian Fies
April/8/2014
@ 5:33 pm

Pastis stays many months ahead of deadline.

#21 Keith Brown
April/8/2014
@ 8:35 pm

I wish they would poll readers about who would just like to see more comics in the papers.

#22 JD Willis
April/16/2014
@ 11:13 pm

No Pearls in Topeka, KS? Another good reason that I’ll never go to Topeka. How un-American can you get?

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