Gannett Standardized Comics Page Reminder

Everyone was delighted about the original announcement this past September so Gannett newspapers are reminding people that the final group of The USA TODAY Network will soon implement the standardization of their comics pages.

The Nashville Tennessean via The Coloradoan:

Classic newspaper comic strip legends like Dennis the Menace, Blondie and Beetle Bailey are here to stay.

But the nation’s largest newspaper publisher, USA TODAY Network, will complete the rollout a refreshed slate of comics this January in this and other publications.

Roughly two-thirds of USA TODAY Network’s more than 200 publications made the transition in October, with the remainder set to adopt the new lineup in early 2024. Gannett Corp., Inc., which owns the USA TODAY Network, is making the changes in part to standardize and modernize its comics page offerings.

In a side bar The Coloradoan refreshes our memories as to The Gannett 34:

Group 1: Blondie, Zits, Beetle Bailey, Family Circus, Hagar the Horrible, and Dennis the Menace

Group 2: Garfield, Peanuts, For Better or Worse, Baby Blues, Pickles, and FoxTrot

Group 3: Pearls Before Swine, Jump Start, Ziggy, Marmaduke, Non Sequitur, and Crabgrass

Group 4 Crankshaft, Luann, Baldo, Frank & Ernest, and The Born Loser 

Group 5: B.C., Wizard of Id, Close to Home, Argyle Sweater, Mother Goose, Rose is Rose 

Group 6: Hi & Lois, Mutts, Curtis, Shoe, and The Lockhorns

The Appleton (Wisc.) Post-Crescent was a paper that made the switch earlier, here’s a sample of their daily page utilizing Groups 1, 2, 3, and 4.

But a question arises – Do the newspapers that chose the King Features’ Group 6 get to keep The Lockhorns when that panel switches to Andrews McMeel at the beginning of the year?


In other newspaper comics page news: The Paulding Progress is bringing comics to their pages.

They don’t say what comics but it is a weekly so a guess would be a selection from the King Features Weekly Service

3 thoughts on “Gannett Standardized Comics Page Reminder

  1. The King Features Weekly Service has always fascinated me. Mixed in with the reprints of ’40s-era King Features strips like Henry, and panels like Mr. Breger and Hubert when it ran locally in the Dunn County (WI) News were about six “daily strips, Jim Keefe’s Flash Gordon reprints plus the new Katzenjammer Kids and Popeye by Hy Eisman. I know the legacy strips were probably done for minimum salary because so few papers carried them in Sunday color sections, but who was supplying those “daily weekly” strips? How much could you make from one three-panel strip a week? Were the cartoonists on staff doing corrections and other bullpen work and being promised that they’d eventually graduate to true daily strips? I took note of their names, and to date, have yet to see one of them on Comics Kingdom in any format. I’m not surprised they found people to do them–it may not have been much but at least they were in show business. (Note: after decades of carrying the comics, the Dunn County paper dropped them about a decade ago, so I have no idea what’s being used these days.)

  2. Out of all the papers that have made the change, it looks like there was only one that utilized Group 6. It would’ve been nice to see all 34 strips in these papers in some way so they can all be offered. The King Features strips they have are only in the first group which you can find pretty much anywhere. While I like the fact that my paper, the Burlington Free Press added Beetle Bailey, Pearls Before Swine, and upgraded Hagar the Horrible to 7 days a week (it was previously only on Sundays), I hate the fact they got rid of some of my favorites (including Hi and Lois, this was the only paper in my neighborhood that had it everyday, and in Vermont in general). I wish they would bring back Hi and Lois, Curtis, The Lockhorns, B.C., Wizard of Id (the last three were Sunday only). The strips in Group 6 definitely deserve to be in the package more than Non Sequitur (the cartoonist had the nerve to drop an F-bomb in the comic section, a section of the paper that kids read across the country!). I also question why For Better or For Worse is still among the top ones even though it ended 15 years ago and has been in reruns ever since! The Group 6 strips should’ve been at least in the Top 4, which would’ve provided a little more variety in the lineups across the country, instead of the mostly McNeel comic package we’ve gotten. I don’t believe this lineup was determined by readers, but instead by executives in an attempt to save money. If it was truly up to the readers, there would’ve been a survey conducted. I hope Hi and Lois & Curtis come back to the Burlington Free Press!

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