Gannett’s USA TODAY Network of newspapers will
all carry the exact same comics from a seemingly select list on their comics pages when the largest publisher of newspapers unifies the comics they carry beginning October 2, 2023.
While newspapers across America will be informing readers of the changes over the next week, today it was Mark Russell, Executive Editor of The Memphis Commercial Appeal, breaking the news:
[L]ike other mainstays of society, the comics have transformed in the print edition. Some have migrated to online platforms. And, through the years, The Commercial Appeal and other newspapers have launched new strips and retired others.
On Oct. 2, The Commercial Appeal is debuting a new lineup of daily and Sunday comics as part of a larger rollout across the USA TODAY Network [emphasis added].
This unified lineup of 28 daily comic strips and 29 in the full-color Sunday edition is an increase for Commercial Appeal readers. The lineup was developed through a combination of a survey of readers across the nation and continued feedback from our loyal subscribers.
This change will allow us to further invest in the exclusive journalism delivered across the more than 200 communities served by USA TODAY Network newsrooms. My hope is that the change also gives you enjoyment for years to come.
Below are the current comics pages of The Memphis Commercial Appeal:
Editor Russell gave us the new Gannett lineup of comic strips for the Commercial Appeal; here are the lucky ones:
Full lineup of comics that you’ll see in each Commercial Appeal print edition:
28 comics Monday-Friday (and in the Saturday e-edition): Blondie, Zits, Beetle Bailey, Family Circus, Hagar, Dennis the Menace, Garfield, Peanuts, For Better or Worse, Baby Blues, Pickles, Pearls Before Swine, Jump Start, Ziggy, Marmaduke, Non Sequitur, Crabgrass, Crankshaft, Luann, Baldo, Frank & Ernest, Born Loser, Close to Home, Argyle Sweater, Mother Goose, Rose is Rose, Wizard of Id and B.C.
29 full-color comics on Sunday: All weekday comics, plus Foxtrot.
The list starts with 6 King Features Syndicate strips and panels, followed by 20 Andrews McMeel Syndication offerings, and ending with 2 comics from Creators Syndicate. The Sunday Foxtrot adds another AMS strip.
29 Sunday comics on four pages averages 7¼ per page. Maybe five on the front page and eight on the others?
The pages will run two comic strips in rerun status and only three (or four, depending on how you count) comic strips that began in the 21st Century – Pearls Before Swine (2002), Argyle Sweater (2006), and Crabgrass (2022); Baldo began in the year 2000.
This has to be a great, unexpected bonanza for Tauhid Bondia and his brand new Crabgrass comic strip.
Sadly this may ring the death knell for one classic comic.
Long before Gatehouse bought Gannett there was, and still exists, what I have called The Gannett Standard Sunday Comics Section. Quite a number of Gannett newspapers then and now ran the section:
I may be wrong but I have long thought that the Gannett Standard Section was an important part of keeping new Prince Valiant adventures alive. Like the Lee Enterprises and the McClatchy group of unified Sunday Funnies, Prince Valiant will not be in
The New Gannett/Gatehouse Standard Sunday Comics Section any of the new Gannet Sunday papers. A shame.
Gannett has sent correction to The Daily Cartoonist saying I have misinterpreted the Commercial Appeal story:
In your “The New Gannett Unified Comics Pages” post, you note all USA TODAY NETWORK publications will carry the “exact same comics” which is inaccurate.
We are unifying our print comics package, but our comics may still vary by market. The majority of our publications will maintain a similar number of comics after the transition.
In addition, your post states the transition will be effective Oct. 2, which is also not correct. While many of our publications will make the transition in October, others will be transitioning in January or later.
Kindly update your post to reflect these changes. In addition, sharing a statement from Kristin Roberts, Chief Content Officer, Gannett in the event you’d like to include in your post:
“Our mission to provide essential journalism in the communities we serve means we are always evolving our content to ensure we are relevant. Refreshing our comics provides a consistent and modern presentation for our audience while incorporating beloved favorites they love.”
Changes have been made to the original article as a result of information from Gannett PR. The Commercial Appeal list is specific to only that paper and not all Gannett newspapers will make the switch on October 2.