When Arlo and Janis Beat Calvin and Hobbes

From Jeffrey Lindenblatt’s new Paper Trends installment:

Since we started this survey one thing has remained constant: when an NEA strip is cancelled and the syndicate replaces it with a new strip, that new strip will have fewer papers than the cancelled strip.


In 1985 we have the opposite; Levy’s Law was cancelled and replaced by Arlo and Janis; the new strip got into 28 papers, compared to 22 for the cancelled strip.  That good start, helped by being an NEA replacement, takes our honors as the top rookie of the year.

Some of you fanatics may recall that the year Arlo and Janis debuted was also the year
that Calvin and Hobbes first showed up. Wonder how that comic strip did initially?

In third place we have a strip that will become a modern classic, Calvin and Hobbes (Universal Press) with 14 papers.

© Bill Watterson

Third place? What other strip beat Calvin and Hobbes in opening circulation numbers for 1985?

Coming in second this year we have Luann (News America) with 15 papers; this strip of course will eventually earn a place as a perennial top strip.

© GEC Inc.

Lindenblatt lists twenty strips that debuted in 1985 (20!) as part of his survey of 300 newspapers.
Six of those strips are still around, five still syndicated to newspapers for print.

Check out the latest edition at Stripper’s Guide.

One thought on “When Arlo and Janis Beat Calvin and Hobbes

  1. Well, THERE is a piece of shocking nostalgia – the Kenosha News is the paper I’d read from 1957-2015. Always leaving ink on my hands, and in the later years, wondering why they fired their copy editor ’cause errors were egregious.

    The fact that their editor at one time booted CATHY off the comics page, claiming that she was ‘irrelevant’, is what started me on reading the comics online. He actually did me a favor, as there were more and more comics I read than I ever found in the dead tree newspapers I read every day.

    PS. I still read CATHY CLASSICS and CATHY COMMISERATIONS every day, and find them both still very relevant. Is it because the editor was a man and I am a woman? Who knows . . . I do know that he’s dead and I’m still reading CATHY.

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