Joining The Memphis Commercial Appeal’s announcement of comics page changes yesterday are dozens more Gannett newspapers letting their readers know about the new comics pages they can expect soon.
Most are explaining the change with some form of “The USA TODAY Network is standardizing its comic offerings across its more than 200 publications.”
I’m thrilled to announce The Newport Daily News, along with newspapers across the company, will debut a refreshed comics page on Oct. 2. The decisions surrounding which new comics we offer were made after surveying and listening to our loyal readers.
… But things change, even in places as seemingly innocent as the newspaper’s “funny pages.” Starting Oct. 2, those changes will include some here in The Gleaner.
The USA TODAY Network is standardizing its comic offerings across its more than 200 publications. In Henderson, we’ll publish 17 comics each Tuesday through Saturday morning (two more comics than before), and there will be tweaks to the lineup.
We’ll publish: “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” and “Crabgrass.”
You’ll notice that several of those are new. They’ll take the place of the following comics, which will leave our Tuesday-Saturday pages: “B.C.,” “Crankshaft,” “The Lockhorns,” “Hi and Lois,” “Drabble,” “Tank McNamara” and “Herman.”
So the 28 daily comics The Commercial Appeal will run is apparently the high end and that number of comics won’t be seen in all the Gannett newspapers.
Yes, the comic strip Peanuts, which was created by the late Charles Schulz and spawned television shows and movies, is returning to the newspaper. (Ironically, Peanuts made it first newspaper appearance on Oct. 2, 1950.)
The cherished strip lives on in reruns.
It’s one of several changes coming to the Independent comics pages. The USA TODAY Network, which includes the Independent, surveyed its loyal readers and opted to refresh the comics offerings at all its publications.
The Independent is welcoming three comic strips, including the classic Peanuts. The others joining the daily paper are: Zits and Baby Blues.
Meanwhile, we are saying adieu to six comics: B.C., Crankshaft, Hi and Lois, Mutts, Overboard and Pearls Before Swine.
The Sunday lineup, which Independent readers receive through the Canton Repository, also is changing with the addition of Baby Blues, Baldo, Foxtrot, Jump Start, Luann, Non Sequitur, Pearls Before Swine and Peanuts. The following comics will no longer appear on Sundays: B.C., Color Me Posh, Gasoline Alley, Hi and Lois, Mark Trail, Rex Morgan and Wizard of Id.
Next week, we’re going to refresh our comics with a new lineup…
The changes are part of an effort across the USA TODAY Network to best serve our audiences. This unified, consistent package will be available for all USA TODAY Network publications, including The Topeka Capital-Journal.
The comics that will debut in our print and online editions on Monday, Oct. 2, will be “Pearls Before Swine,” “Non Sequitur,” “Crankshaft,” “Luann,” “Baldo,” “Dennis the Menace,” “Born Loser,” “Marmaduke” and “Ziggy.” Back in Topeka after a several-year absence will be “Peanuts” and “For Better or for Worse.”
Also returning will be “Baby Blues,” “Jump Start,” “Crabgrass,” “Beetle Bailey,” “Frank and Ernest,” “Garfield,” “Pickles,” “Zits,” “Hagar the Horrible,” “Family Circus” and “Blondie.”
Our Sunday lineup will be similar to the daily lineup.
Changes to our comics offerings are coming, not just to the H-T, but across the USA Today Network, our parent company. Thanks to Schurz’s enthusiasm for the art form, the H-T publishes a lot of comic strips, and that’s not changing. We’ll still offer 28 strips Monday-Friday in print and in the e-edition on Saturday and we’re adding two more on Sunday.
On Oct. 2-8, the Coloradoan will debut a new lineup of daily and Sunday comics as part of a larger rollout across the USA TODAY Network.
The St. Augustine Record; The Erie Times-News; The Green Bay Press-Gazette; The Petersburg Progress-Index; and so on and so forth. Expect an announcement from your local Gannett paper sooner or later.
UPDATE – Some announcements that came sooner: The Visalia Times-Delta/Tulare Advance-Register; The Reno Gazette Journal; The Richmond Palladium-Item; The Canton Repository; Victorville Daily Press; Cape Cod Times (“The total number of comics in the daily paper will go from 15 to 17 strips.); Rockford Register Star (“The new, uniform comics packages will allow Gannett to further invest in local journalism in communities across the country.”); Pensacola News Journal (“Pensacola’s own Shrimp & Grits by former Pensacola News Journal cartoonist Andy Marlette will remain, albeit in a different location.”); Hutchinson News; South Bend Tribune (“The updated comics package will affect all newspapers within The USA Today Network.”); Florida Today; Fort Smith Southwest Times Record; The Daily American (“During the week, we will no longer run Animal Crackers, Bound & Gagged, Brewster Rock It Space Guy, Dick Tracy, Gasoline Alley and the Middletons.” – all Tribune Content Agency comics); Gadsden Times; Houma Courier–Thibodaux Daily Comet–Lafayette Daily Advertiser; Shelby Star; Cherry Hill Courier-Post; Pocono Record; Appleton Post-Crescent (“All told, the Sunday edition will go up to 29 strips, from 28, and the other editions will go up to 22, from 20.”); Palm Springs Desert Sun; Salem Statesman Journal; and so it goes.
The announcements are coming faster than your beleaguered correspondent can keep up with so we’ll leave it here, at least for now. I do want to make one comment – while Gannett corrected The Daily Cartoonist about the October 2nd change not including all 200 Gannett newspapers it is seems that most will be falling in line and instituting the change at that time. And though every Gannett newspapers will not all carry all the comics listed in the Commercial Appeal article, they are printing, if not all, portions of what seems to be an “approved” list.
From The Lakeland Ledger:
… on Sunday, our comics will be increased to five full pages, instead of the current four.
Two seven-day titles will be eliminated on Sunday but continue Monday through Saturday: “Hi & Lois” and “Curtis.” “The Lockhorns,” which currently runs only on Sunday, will now run Monday through Saturday instead.
The Lakeland Ledger announcement notes an increased Sunday funnies page count, and adds three King Features Syndicate strips not on the original Memphis Commercial Appeal communiqué, or any list of the others.
The Sunday comics section will look largely the same: we’ll continue to run “Family Circus,” “Peanuts,” “Blondie,” “Garfield,” “Pickles,” “For Better or For Worse” and “Zits” and add “Baby Blues” (which previously only ran during the weekdays,) “Dennis the Menace,” “FoxTrot,” “Beetle Bailey,” and “Hagar the Horrible.”
The biggest change to the Sunday section is that the comics will now be more condensed, being spread over two pages instead of the former three.
UPDATE: Next day (September 23) additions.
Lansing State Journal (Starting Oct. 2, the Lansing State Journal will have a different comics lineup for the first time in a decade. It’s part of a USA Today Network initiative to standardize and modernize our comics page offerings across more than 200 newspapers.); Newark Advocate; Treasure Coast Newspapers (the Indian River Press Journal, St. Lucie News Tribune and Stuart News);
Treasure Coast Newspapers will run 28 daily strips – the exact same 28 strips as The Commercial Appeal:
Monday-Saturday: Baby Blues; B.C.; Beetle Bailey; Blondie; Born Loser; Crabgrass; Dennis the Menace; Family Circus; Frank and Ernest; For Better or For Worse; Garfield; Hagar the Horrible; Jump Start; Marmaduke; Peanuts; Rose is Rose; Wizard of ID; Ziggy; Zits
Monday-Saturday: Argyle Sweater; Baldo; Close to Home; Crankshaft; Luann; Mother Goose & Grimm; Non Sequitur; Pearls Before Swine; Pickles
Ventura County Star (“The Star will have roughly the same number of comic strips as it has now”); The Daily Messenger; The Register-Guard; Zanesville Times Recorder; Hillsdale Daily News (“Comics have historically evolved to reflect the culture and taste of the times”); Staunton News Leader; The Herald-Mail; Corpus Christi Caller Times; Alliance Review; The Patriot Ledger; Hornell Evening Tribune/The Spectator
Some notes on a couple editor remarks among the above announcements:
The Corpus Cristi Caller Times notes “I think you’ll find many of your favorites are probably still in the rich selection of comics in our new lineup. There will still be six pages and 34 different offerings [emphasis added].” That thirty-four number is more than the maximum 28 daily or 29 Sunday comics announced by any other paper.
The Ventura County Star notes a bonus: “This unified, consistent package will be available across all USA TODAY Network publications by early 2024, so wherever you go, you can follow your favorite funny, whether it’s in Ventura County, Fort Myers, Florida or any number of places in between.” Back in the day before all comics were available on the interwebs, one small joy of traveling was to find unfamiliar comic strips in out of town newspapers. (My family had to accept that when traveling by car we would stop every fifty miles to buy a new set of papers.)