The Cleveland Plain Dealer replaced the defunct Funky Winkerbean comic strip with Beetle Bailey which led to some complaints.
We went with Beetle Bailey, and nary a day has gone by since without someone writing me to question that decision. They say Beetle Bailey is a sexist, violent cartoon that was rightly removed from our pages years ago.
My response is that the Beetle Bailey of 2023 is not the Beetle Bailey of yore. We don’t see the shameful leering by military brass. The pummelings that regularly left Beetle in a pile of squiggly lines are gone.
Or so I am told. I’m not an avid reader of comics.
Plain Dealer Editor Chris Quinn thanks the readers for writing as, “We place great value on people taking the time to share their thoughts.”
Then explains that their opinions don’t mean crap as far as the larger picture is concerned:
The Plain Dealer is the only newspaper in the Advance Local chain not publishing it, and readers in our other markets like it. That is the chief reason we selected it. Having uniformity among our markets will eventually make it easier for us to prepare our comics pages – and expand them.
Jeff Glick, director of enterprise on the team that designs The Plain Dealer, sees a day in the not-distant future when his team will lay out as many as six pages of comics every day, for the entire enterprise.
Like other newspaper groups the Advance Local brand is moving toward a more uniform product for reasons of ease and cost and the readers really have no say in the matter.
Why create uniform comics pages? If Jeff’s team starts adding extra content to the digital edition, he will need efficiency. Having unified comics pages across all of our markets might be one strategy for efficiency.
Read the entire, lengthy Plain Dealer editorial here.
These days it seems comics are more trouble than they are worth.
“I think it’s a dying art,” Jeff told me.
6 thoughts on “Beetle Bailey Remains in Uniform and The Funnies as Part of Uniform Comics Pages”
Comics not dying just not newspaper
I get most of my comics on line. That is because many papers have not heard of my favs. There is a large productive comics industry. I do not know if it is easily available to magazine/Newspaper editors though.
Good luck. If Jeff’s vision of a 6 page comic spread ever happens, tell me. I am likely to subscribe, though the competition is moslty free.
Newspaper comics are dying, with the help of editors like these, and syndicates that keep their IP alive without bothering to pay attention to the quality. Either this strip, being in the condition it’s in, is cheaper than others, or the paper is leaning toward the absolute oldest of their readership, with no thought toward nurturing any possible future readership.
“Or so I am told. I’m not an avid reader of comics.”
And yet, here he is making decisions on what comic strips they’ll run.
Blondie is not the same old comic strip either, Since I’ve read both since I was a kid I really appreciate that we have all changed a bit.
Newspaper comics are dying, along with newspapers unfortunately. But there are more cartoonists today than there ever were, since cartoonists are not controlled by the whims of newspaper editors and syndicates anymore. Anyone can publish a comic online, their own print version, social media, etc. And so many of them are wonderful, funny, adventurous and something new to look forward to. Not the same old legacy stuff that is printed year after year, decade after decade in the newspapers. Even the National Cartoonist Society has noticed that and has opened their membership to all the new and wonderful cartoonists out there that are not on the daily printed newspaper pages, or what’s left of them anyway.
I liken Comics being a dying art to what my old pal Bernie Lansky used to say about Yiddish; it’s been a dying language for 500 years.
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