Wick Communications, a media group with 24 newspapers mostly west of The Mississippi, will be consolidating their comics pages beginning in February 2024. The group has signed a deal with Andrews McMeel Syndicate.
Beginning on Wednesday, Feb. 14, we will be introducing a new comics page that will still include the puzzles and fun things you have come to enjoy.
So what is changing? Our comics line up will change slightly.
Here is the new line up: Baby Blues, Big Nate, For Better or For Worse, Garfield, Peanuts, Pearls Before Swine, Pickles, [emphasis added] Universal Crossword, Wonderword and Sudoku.
Efforts to find the current make-up of Wick newspapers have met with failure. (Sorry.)
An obliging reader (thanks Les) with access to The Argus Observer has sent us the daily comics and puzzles page from that paper. Whether it conforms with the other papers in the group prior to consolidation is unknown though I would guess that the others would be similar in configuration if not comic choices.
And now back to our previously scheduled program.
From another Wick newspaper, this one The Daily Iberian which carries a weekend comics section:
Here is the new line up: Baby Blues, Big Nate, For Better or For Worse, Garfield, Peanuts, Pearls Before Swine, Pickles, Universal Crossword, Wonderword and Sudoku. Our weekend comic lineup will include all of those plus Doonesbury and Wallace the Brave [emphasis added].
Why are we doing this? Our parent company, Wick Communications, is moving to a centralized vendor source for the whole company. This enables our pagination teams to create efficiencies while streamlining the process of building comics pages. In today’s environment efficiencies like this are needed at all levels of newspaper production in order to be successful.
The notices of change includes a note that political cartoons will continue to appear in Wick newspapers:
We will also continue to publish political cartoons and sometimes these can be controversial, enraging and thought provoking. Political cartoons are one of the oldest forms of political discourse/satirical communication. As the publisher of The Daily Iberian I can tell you that I get a fair share of calls from readers regarding political cartoons. It seems like whoever is president or campaigning to be president usually takes the brunt of the slings and arrows that come from being the subject of a political cartoon. Cartoons about the National Rifle Association (NRA) also gain a lot of attention. The fact that I get calls regarding political cartoons tells me that the cartoons are getting the response that the author/artist has intended.
The Arizona Sun was recently acquired by Wick from Lee Enterprises which had already standardized their comics pages with exclusive AMS comics content. The change in The Sun will be minimal, except to the cartoonists losing a platform – Scott Hilburn, John McPherson, Tauhid Bondia, and Greg Evans. A Lee comics page from November 2023: