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Sunday Comic Strip Panels Missing In Action

As we all know the internet, unlike print newspapers, has a limited space.
So syndicates must abridge some comic strips on their websites.
This has happened most recently with Comics Kingdom’s offerings.
The recent revamp has seen a number of the older Sunday comic strips
now displaying only eight of their nine panel grid.

Inexplicably not all the comics have been affected,
there is space for full showings of some, like Marvin and Popeye.

There are some whose title panel never changes, remaining the same Sunday after Sunday,
but to completists the half-page format is ideal.

Hagar the Horrible, Hi and Lois, Beetle Bailey, Blondie, and Dennis the Menace
are some who are now shown in tabloid or quarter-page format without the title panel.




But then, for some reason, they will choose to run the title panel of some pages
while dropping a top tier panel with new art and script (gag).





Then there is the problem with cartoonists like John Rose and Jeff Weigel who regularly create new title panels. Barney Google and Snuffy Smith gets a new title panel every Sunday, while The Phantom gets a new title panel at the start of every new Sunday adventure.
As it now stands comic fans don’t see those bits.




Some of the newer comic strips that don’t have a half page configuration do have title panels so newspapers can run them as third- or quarter-page comics. (These half, third, and quarter page designations are obsolete but they remain part of my comics vocabulary.)  (Anyway…)

Mutts is famous for these, while Sally Forth is nipping at Mutts tail.
On old Comics Kingdom clicking on the strips got those title panels.
No longer.

  the title:

the title:

And then there’s Crankshaft:


The story strips (Judge Parker, Mary Worth, and Rex Morgan) all show at half-page.

Mutts © Patrick McDonnell; Crankshaft © Mediagraphics; 
all others © King Features Syndicate or North America Syndicate

Most of the full comics above come from Arcamax; Jim Keefe and Jeff Weigel supplied the others.


But don’t think GoComics is free from this sin.

Most famously the Doonesbury title panel has a new illustration every Sunday,
but you won’t find it at GoComics (or at Arcamax, or even at the Doonesbury home site).

© G. B. Trudeau

Nancy is created with a nine panel grid, but GoComics only shows eight, dropping a gag panel.


Luann is a quarter page Sunday IF the (new every week) title panel is included,
which it’s not.

© GEC, Inc.


These, and many more, are only available if your local newspaper runs them.

So it goes.

Maybe someday the internet can make more space
and these missing pieces of comic art will be available.



Community Comments

#1 Andréa Denninger
@ 3:38 pm

Ironic that Bill Watterson complained constantly about the ‘lack of space’ in dead tree outlets (a/k/a newspapers), and now we have the same issue on the internet which has, I thought, unlimited space.

#2 Rich Furman
@ 3:58 pm

I’m seeing all of Mary Worth (including title panel with quote) on CK.

The space is there. Really it’s there. I’m a subscriber, and it always amazes me how awful they are at user experience. Keenspot was doing this better in the early aughts. Even if advertisers are your real customers, if users flee your site, the advertisers aren’t going to stick around.

#3 D. D. Degg
@ 4:32 pm

Rich – the half page format is the entire strip, so yes it is all there

#4 D. D. Degg
@ 4:50 pm

As an oxymoronic comics fan it should be noted that
I totally approve of the Prince Valiant title panels being
available only to newspaper subscribers.
Of course that is one I get in my local paper.

#5 Jason Ball
@ 9:33 pm

If I had to guess, they’re probably showing those comics in the more vertical, tabloid format because of the smartphone audience. It makes them easier to read when holding your phone in portrait mode, which would be a fine practice if it weren’t cutting out genuine content on some of these strips as a side effect.

#6 Mikael Kennborn
@ 12:28 pm

One more problem now on Comics Kingdom is that the proportions of the comic panels in The Phantom in tabloid format are wrong. It shows in the pictures in this blog post. For example, look in the first story panel on the wheels of the black van.
I think it’s the same problem with the proportions of the comic panels now in Prince Valiant in tabloid format, although I haven’t the half page version to compare with. At least the “©” in the title is an ellipse now.

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