2020 Comic Strip Detours and Deviations

This is an installment of 2020 Newspaper Comics: Debuts, Departures, and the Dearly Departed.
(part 1:Debuts – – part 2: Departures – – part 3: Dearly Departed – – part 4: Detours/Deviations)

2020 Detours/Deviations
Detailing some changes in syndicated U. S. newspaper comics in 2020.

© Batom, Inc.
There were a number of guest artists on Funky Sundays in 2020.
Thom Zahler with Rob Ro drew January 5, February 16, and July 5.
Rick Burchett drew the April 19 Sunday under a “Fairgood” signature.
With Rob Ro, Rick Burchett also drew May 31 and November 29 Sundays.
September 13 saw Craig Rousseau team with Rob Ro for that Sunday.


© King Features Syndicate
online only comic strip continued into 2020.
January 05, 2020 by Magnolia Siddell
January 12, 2020 by Samar Barrett
January 19, 2020 by Kara Leopard
January 26, 2020 by Sarah Winifred Searle
February 2, 2020 by Susan Camilleri Konar
February 9, 2020 by Rina Piccolo
From May 28 – June 19, June 23 – June 30, and July 2 – July 6, 2020
saw Randy Milholland do a combination of daily and Sunday format strips.

Six Chix © King Features, cartoon © Bianca Xunise
2020 saw a changing of the Tuesday guard when Martha Gradisher left.
Martha Gradisher created Tuesday dailies from March 28, 2017 – January 21, 2020
She also did every sixth Sunday from April 16, 2017 – January 19, 2020.
Bianca Xunise replaced Martha on January 28, 2020 dailies,
Bianca’s Sunday debut was March 1, 2020.


© Creators Syndicate
Steve Sack retired from the Doodles feature after 35 years.
Beginning February 2, 2020 Chris Foote, who started on the feature January 6, 2013, became the sole cartoonist there.


© Harry Bliss
Comedian Steve Martin began contributing gags to the Bliss panel beginning February 27, 2020.


© King Features Syndicate
Having been in rerun status since late 2019, 2020 Mallard Fillmore saw new strips with a new cartoonist.
On Monday March 9, 2020 saw cartoonist Loren Fishman debut with new strips.
Loren began new Sunday Mallard Fillmore’s with the April 5, 2020 issue.
Then Mallard Fillmore creator Bruce Tinsley returned in September 2020.
After doing two daily strips in September (the 21st and 22nd),
Bruce did four dailies in October (12, 13, 19, and 20).
October also saw Bruce return to the Sunday page on the 11th, alternating with Loren to begin with.
By the end of the year the cartoonists had settled into a routine with Bruce doing two dailies a week and the Sundays, while Loren did the other four dailies each week.


© Tribune Content Agency
A few guests relieved Mike and Joe during 2020.
Minit Mysteries by Charlie Wise (script & art) ran daily and Sunday April 12 – April 26, 2020.
Minit Mysteries by Mark Barnard and Jorge Baeza ran August 23 – September 6, 2020.
Mark Barnard subbed for Mike scripting the regular Dick Tracy November 1 – December 5, 2020.


© Andrews McMeel Syndication
Mark Tatulli turned Heart over to another cartoonist in 2020.
Mark’s last daily was April 25, 2020; his last Sunday was May 17, 2020.
Cristina Stewart, as “Steenz,” began her run on Heart on the City
on Monday, April 27, 2020. Her Sunday debut was May 24, 2020.


© Tribune Content Agency
2020 saw Rick McKee begin to contribute to the Pluggers panel, and then take it over.
May 2, 2020 saw Rick begin to alternate dailies with Gary Brookins (Sundays on May 10).
Gary Brookins’ last daily was August 22, Gary’s last Sunday was August 23, 2020,
since those dates Rick has done all the daily and Sunday Pluggers panels.


© Pail Jon Boscacci & Normaqn Felchle
Continuing the tradition Norman Felchle did the Memorial Day (May 25, 2020) Sunday Fort Knox.


© Creators Syndicate
In 2020 Dog Eat Doug jumped syndicates before the comic strip didn’t.
On Monday July 13, 2020 Dog Eat Doug, with a Brian Anderson copyright, began appearing in newspapers from Andrews McMeel Syndicate and continued to do so until Sunday August 2, 2020.
At which time newspapers carrying the strip once more got the strip from original syndicator Creators.
At the same time Creators Syndicate ran the new strips under their own copyright until July 18, 2020.
Creators then syndicated rerun strips until August 3, 2020 when new strips returned to Creators.
(Creators then ran the AMS-only strips with Brian’s copyright on those strips.)


© MacNelly
Gary Brookins turned over the Shoe daily comic strip to his assistant Ben Lansing in 2020.
Gary’s last signed daily was September 12, Ben began signing the dailies on September 14, 2020.
Gary’s signature continues to appear on the Sunday page into 2021
(on the November 15, 2020 Sunday only Susie MacNelly signed the strip).


© King Features Syndicate
Mark Trail joined the list of comic strips that changed creative hands.
James Allen left Mark Trail (mid-story) on July 25, 2020 for dailies (his Sundays ran until August 16).
After running an old Jack Elrod daily sequence from 2001, a new cartoonist took control.
Jules Rivera began writing and drawing the Mark Trail dailies on October 12, 2020.
She took over being the Sunday cartoonist on November 8, 2020.


© Tribune Content Agency
As has become an annual tradition Jeff Knurek has bribed/coerced/held children hostage to get fellow cartoonists to spell him on the Jumble feature.
2020 Guest Jumblers were Joe Wos (Nov. 16), Russell Myers (Nov. 17), Ryan Pagelow (Nov. 18), Jan Eliot (Nov. 19), Dean Young (Nov. 20), and David Macauley (Nov. 21).


© MGN Ltd.
After 20 years Roger Mahoney took a break from the Andy Capp comic strip.
The dailies on November 16-20, December 4-5, and 7-10 (from The Daily Mirror dates) lacked Mahoney on the credit slug.
And then the last week of 2020, December 28-31 (again Daily Mirror dates) also lacked Mahoney’s name on those dailies.
The last Sunday of 2020, December 27 (Creators Syndicate date), had no credit Mahoney credit.
Lawrence Goldsmith and Sean Garrett credits remain on the non-Mahomey strips.


© King Features Syndicate
Following the success of Popeye’s Cartoon Club, KFS does the same with Flash Gordon.
The concept is no longer an experiment, but it does remain online-only.
November 15, 2020 – Jim Keefe
November 22, 2020 – Pia Guerra
November 29, 2020 – David Reddick
December 06, 2020 – M. Victoria Robado
December 13, 2020 – Sina Grace
December 20, 2020 – Tom Reilly & Tyler Boss
December 27, 2020 – Rod Whigham


Additions and corrections
welcomed and encouraged.

6 thoughts on “2020 Comic Strip Detours and Deviations

  1. You didn’t mention for a time in Summer 2020 Gasoline Alley temporary went into rerun mode with current year copyright.

  2. These days many (most?) cartoonists take a week or three off for vacation during the course of any year. Mallard Fillmore was an exception because it went into rerun status for months and then returned with a new cartoonist.
    A strip going rerun for a week (or a day) here and there isn’t, in my humble opinion, important to me or worth tracking.

  3. Not even mention that every week Pickles during 2020 was a mix each week of first run strip mixed in with at least once a week a rerun strip daily (and every few weeks Sunday)?

  4. Even Get Fuzzy was all 100% daily/Sunday rerun mode during 2020 and Andrews-McMeel hasn’t declared to end the strip run for newspapers for good!

  5. I fumbled the ball on Susan Camilleri Konar’s turn on Popeye’s Cartoon Club. Susan has been added to the entry above, along with the title panel of her delightful take on the original Popeye meeting the modern Popeye. Apologies to SCK.

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