Tampa Bay Times Changes Comics Page


Tampa Bay Times Executive Editor Mark Katches notes:

There is an openly shared sentiment among top newspaper editors that changing comics is like touching the third rail. Readers tend to react with fervor.

But that doesn’t stop newspapers from updating their comic strips occasionally, usually after a reader poll so they can deflect any blame.

So the Tampa Bay Times is changing the lineup.
(And like the government with its climate change report, dropping the news on Black Friday.)

Readers told us they love “Pickles,” “Zits,” “Peanuts,” “For Better or For Worse,” “Garfield” and “Blondie.” Worry not. They aren’t going anywhere.

“Peanuts” aside, we’re parting with comics that are in reruns.

[>cough< FBoFW <cough>]



The added strips are an eclectic mix. Whimsical and charming or laugh-out-loud funny. “Baldo” chronicles the life of a Latino teen and his family. “Red and Rover” is about a boy and the unique bond he shares with his dog. “Big Nate” follows the life of a rebellious sixth-grader. And it happens to be my 11-year-old son’s favorite.

Breaking Cat News” features the three household cats of comic artist Georgia Dunn. She paints each panel with water colors, one of the few artists to do so. The strip grows on you.

Other new ones include “Macanudo,” “The Duplex,” “Cornered,” and “Reality Check.” “The Argyle Sweater,” which we’ve run only on Sundays, will appear every day. All the new strips will be featured seven days a week.



To make room, we’re no longer going to be running “Get Fuzzy.” The creator stopped doing original strips more than a year ago. We’re keeping Gary (sic) Trudeau’s iconic “Doonesbury” strip on Sundays but replacing it the rest of the week. Trudeau long ago stopped producing original material except on Sundays. “Dennis the Menace” and “Marmaduke” also move to Sunday only. The creators of both of these strips have long passed away.

The lowest-rated strips in our readership survey, meanwhile, will be gone. You will no longer see “Lio,” “Prince Valiant,” “Mark Trail,” “Wumo,” “Candorville” or “Tundra.”


“Here’s the best news”

We’re going to be giving you more comics than before – and all of them in color. The new pages will begin Dec. 1 in the Tampa Bay Times.


end note: It always saddens me to see a paper drop Prince Valiant.






3 thoughts on “Tampa Bay Times Changes Comics Page

  1. D.D.,

    re: Prince Valiant. I feel pretty much the same way about Dennis The Menace (he was the reason I grew up reading the comics regularly). For 32 years, I have been accustomed to seeing Dennis in the Times regularly. Now the daily version is gone. While I will miss seeing Dennis Monday through Saturday, things could be worse. A girl you liked could’ve moved to another town (that happened to me 2 1/2 years ago – haven’t seen or heard from her since).

    “Breaking Cat News”, “Baldo”, “Big Nate” and “Red And Rover” are all deserving. “Macanudo” is an odd choice but it’s definitely an offbeat one. The others are weird but I assume they probably see them as good as “The Far Side” (as if “Bizarro” wasn’t enough).

    If it was up to me I would’ve sacrificed “Shoe” or “Herman” instead of “Dennis” but it is what it is. At least “Get Fuzzy” is finally gone (and Charlie Brown, Snoopy and the rest of the “Peanuts” gang stays).

  2. Once again, asking your readers for feedback will get you feedback from your retired readers who have time for such things but not the younger ones your advertisers want, and will ensure only that you please current readers, not attract new ones.

    It would be nice if editors would take responsibility for their content, or hand over the comics to the marketing dept, which might understand the process better.

    Also, Harumph.

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