Lee Action Reaction (Dilbert Update)

No matter what kind of change, other than doubling the amount of comics while keeping all the regular ones, newspaper editors must be prepared to receive negative comments from their readers.
The latest change to Lee Enterprises newspapers brought the inevitable response.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which went from 34 comics to 10, has been upfront about publishing reader’s letters.

Where is the promised news benefits from comics cuts?
I have yet to find the increased local news coverage that was promised to result from the gutting of the comics section.

Comics page is often a child’s first introduction to newspaper.
But now the paper has all but eliminated the comics, which are in many cases a child’s first introduction to a newspaper.

No More frittering away time with comics enjoyment.
Perhaps I will spend the extra time that I now have meditating about why I am spending a great deal of money subscribing to a …

New generic feature stories are a waste of ink and paper.
The latest move to homogenize all the feature sections across publications, putting the Post-Dispatch in the same category as …

St. Louis newspaper market different from small towns.
The Post-Dispatch now offers our large, diverse, vibrant market the same generic coverage that parent company Lee Enterprises …

The Post-Dispatch suffers death by a thousand cuts.
I have been a Post-Dispatch subscriber since the 1960s, and I believe the newspaper’s parent company, Lee Enterprises, is harming the paper.

Ditch new format, bring back the old comics and puzzles.
I’m not satisfied with the new comics and puzzle page and am seriously considering canceling my subscription to the Post-Dispatch.

And many more.

And cartoonists from competing syndicates are understandably upset that only selected Andrews McMeel comics are allowed in the daily newspapers or on the e-edition platforms.

From Dan Piraro:

Wayno and I have received numerous emails from readers this week about Bizarro having disappeared from their local newspaper. Sadly, it is true.

Lee Enterprises, a newspaper group that is majority-owned by a large investment firm, stopped running Bizarro and many other comics in their papers this past week. Lee Enterprises owns more than 75 newspapers across the United States and they are standardizing their comics pages with a handful of features they think Americans should read.

Although most of you who read these blog posts read our comics online, newspapers are our most reliable—and almost only—revenue source and provide the income that allows us to continue to make comics. Many readers figure that since Bizarro is well-known that I must be rich. That’s never been the case and as more people turn to reading comics exclusively online, the industry has continued to shrink along with my income.

Until now, newspaper client losses have been gradual and we’ve taken them in stride.

Wayno also commented.

© Bizarro Studios;               © King Features Syndicate

John Rose reached out to fans on his Facebook page:

Is your local newspaper suddenly missing SNUFFY SMITH?! Please let them know that you want Snuffy and the gang from Hootin’ Holler back in the newspaper! Lee Enterprises newspapers recently made the decision to stop carrying a number of fan favorite comics. Call or email your local newspaper or reach out directly to Lee Enterprises at Lee.net. Newspapers listen to and love their readers. Your voice matters…


The Democrat Herald was the only other Lee paper I found that printed negative reactions to the changes:

No on comic change.

Please bring back “Baby Blues,” “Red and Rover,” “Mutts” and “Zits.”

Get rid of “Luann,” “Crabgrass,” “The Argyle Sweater,” “Close to Home.” Your readers are not teenagers; most are older adults. “Red and Rover” always makes us happy.

© Brian Basset;                       © Dana Simpson

And from a Phoebe and Her Unicorn fan:

Why did you remove the comic strip “Phoebe and Her Unicorn” from its rightful place in the funnies section?

I am disappointed. It was one of the highlights in my school day to read it. Dana Simpson wrote the strip with lots of sparkle, many strong (and fun!) female characters who lead the way, and a diverse range of important roles who accompany her magical setup and dash of goofiness to accompany her easy-to-read humor. It’s a popular comic strip for many kids, so why get rid of it?

So even fans of AMS strips are not happy as a number of those were also cut.


As Scott Hodges reported Lee is consolatory, but will ride out the storm.

I’m sorry – truly – that these changes have upset you. I wish I could make you feel better about them. All I can ask is that you understand that we’re a local news company, and our investments and decisions reflect the responsibility we have as a company to make sure that accurate, fair and balanced community journalism continues to thrive throughout our local news markets throughout the rest of the country.


Next day Update (September 20):

Another Andrews McMeel syndicated cartoonist is not happy with The Change:

The “Dilbert” comic strip named after its title character struggling to make it up the corporate ladder and often pokes fun at office culture with satirical humor and social commentary has been canceled in nearly 80 markets, its author told Fox News.

Scott Adams, who has written and illustrated the popular comic since 1989, said Lee Enterprises stopped printing it this week. The media company owns nearly 100 newspapers throughout the United States.

“It was part of a larger overhaul, I believe, of comics, but why they decided what was in and what was out, that’s not known to anybody except them, I guess,” he told Fox News.

Adams noted that other comic strips were also permanently canceled but the decisions on which ones to get rid of were made individually.

Fox News reports.

As does Bleeding Fool:

The “Dilbert” comic strip, which takes its name from the figure who attempts to climb the corporate ladder, frequently makes fun of office culture with satirical comedy and social commentary, Adams told Fox News. This is probably why it was abruptly discontinued in nearly 80 regions, Adams told FOX News.

Critics of Scott Adams claim that Lee Enterprises presents as a right leaning corporation and that other comic strips were similarly cancelled. They contend the decision was more of a budgetary decision, rather than cultural.

8 thoughts on “Lee Action Reaction (Dilbert Update)

  1. Pretty sad. Sounds like another dying organization cutting corners in all the wrong places. Trying to make it political won’t help as the company won’t see any advantage in getting themselves involved in someone’s victim complex.

  2. I stopped reading newspapers on a regular basis long ago as the news and comic sections got smaller and other sections that I didn’t read got larger, like sports, auto, and home.

    It’s called a newspaper. If the news isn’t a prominent feature, then it’s not a newspaper. One can argue sports and the other topics are news, but not to me. Hence why I stopped reading them..

    And now with all of the bias in online news, I’ve again reduced my reading of news. And don’t get me started on videos, most of them take 10 minutes to explain 3 minutes of real news.

    Maybe someday real journalists will be in demand again by society instead of pundits and influencers.

    And then I’ll start paying for news again.

    If not, may they all rest in peace.

  3. I grew up on Dilbert, practically learning to read with my dad’s collections from the 90s. 90s Dilbert is still pretty fun, the drawings were more expressive, the writing was less stilted, and there were enough funny talking animals to keep my little kid self engaged between the office parts. It’s been getting less and less funny over the last 15-20 years, especially so after like 2015.

    Scott Adams also went hilariously off the deep end since then too. (though reading some of his books, he was probably there to begin with. “The Dilbert Future” from ’98-’99 has an entire section dedicated to the virtues of controlling reality with affirmations. I actually believed him for a second… when I was like 13. Then I realized how dumb it was) Whether you agree with his stated political opinions or not, it isn’t hard to see he has some sort of complex. He’s always describing himself as some sort of master hypnotist and genius and only-sane-man-around. Dilbert’s been around over 30 years, hasn’t been funny for half that, and only gets politically weirder and artistically staler every year, I doubt there’s any great loss ending it here.

  4. It’s a shame to see the Dilbert fans trying to play the victim card, but that does seem to be their norm these days.
    While that strip is getting a disproportionate amount of attention, it’s only one of the 24 (more or less) the company is sadly cutting.
    Bizzarro is one of my all time favorites, and it too has been cut.
    Perhaps if enough people drop their subscriptions and directly support their favorites (through patron accounts), at least the artists will be have some support.

  5. After Approximately 30 years of subscribing to the Post Dispatch
    I am cancelling my subscription. The comics were the only saving grace of this paper and now they are gone.

  6. The Daily Herald Utah newspaper has shrunk the comic strips in first half and second half but kept The Born Loser comic strip.

    To the Daily Cartoonist. When I heard that the Daily Herald was going to shrink the comic strips. I was hoping that “The Born Loser” comic strip was going to get removed. But nope they insist on keeping that outdated problematic comic strip.

    Why is my Daily Herald Utah still promoting The Born Loser comic strip? It is the most negative, depressing comic strip ever and there’s too many outdated adult jokes that Art Sansom and Chip Sansom wrote which haven’t aged well and Chip Sansom still promotes women stereotypes with Ramona the mother in law with a clown hairstyle and with Hurricane Hattie showing her upper leg thighs which is very discriminatory to women and the outdated weight shaming jokes which is also discriminatory and offensive, Chip Sansom is clearly out of touch with his audience.

    I want Andrew Mcmeel Syndicate to remove The Born Loser from the Daily Herald and replace it with a different comic strip like Cat Breaking News or Big Nate. It’s time for the Daily Hearld to cancel The Born Loser comic strip it’s problematic and the 1960s adult jokes are inappropriate and insensitive to modern readers in the 2020s.

  7. I started reading newspapers as a kid through the comics section. Beetle Bailey, Blondie. Snuffy Smith, Hagar the Horrible,
    And Shoe we’re must reads. This is a sad time for the entertainment section…RIP my friends.

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