Wallace the Brave and Garfield Return – Separated by 45 Years

The Providence Journal gave notice that Will Henry’s Wallace the Brave comic strip returned to the newspaper on Monday January 29, 2024 after a two week absence with a front page above the fold feature story:

Fans of “Wallace the Brave” rejoice! The syndicated comic strip about the life of a young boy in the fictionalized town of Snug Harbor, Rhode Island, returned to the pages of The Providence Journal on Monday after a brief hiatus.

But Journal editors – and, more importantly, readers – would have none of that, so the editors scrambled to find another home for the student from Moonestone Elementary School and his friends — real and imaginary.

hat tip to Freedom Forum/Newseum for the Page One shot.

There is a clarification from their first announcement of Will and Wallace’s return when they said that “‘Wallace the Brave’ will have a new home, on page 2A most days.” Now the comic will appear on all days:

Readers will now find “Wallace the Brave” seven days a week in its own special home on Page 2A, not competing with other strips on the comics page.

The ProJo followed up the announcement with a great interview with the cartoonist.

What inspired ‘Wallace the Brave’?

“Then there’s kind of an ‘aha’ moment.”

He saw a group of friends hanging out on the pier in front of the liquor store one summer. One kid was standing on a piling and another pushed him off the piling into the Bay. They all clearly enjoyed it.

So Will began drawing a strip about a community of friends.

Unfortunately the reinstatement comes two weeks into the current Wallace the Brave story.

© William Wilson

The interview ends with this Will quote:

And, while he still hasn’t come to grips with being the author of a popular strip, he thinks “Wallace the Brave” has years left to run – unless it all comes crashing down.

“Every day, I feel like the ride might come to an end,” he said. “I still haven’t gotten comfortable with the idea of being a full-time cartoonist.”

Which is where we start with a story about Garfield being dropped by its largest paper The Chicago Sun-Times four months after it began in 1978 and Jim Davis, the creator of that comic strip, saying about that time:

“I’d got Garfield in about 40 papers,” he remembers. “But then the Chicago Sun-Times dropped the strip. As that was the biggest paper I had, I thought this was the beginning of the end.”

But the Sun-Times readership had other ideas. More than 1,300 of them lobbied the newspaper demanding the return of Garfield, and the management eventually capitulated. Davis drew a cartoon with the cat triumphantly returning through the lobby of the Sun-Times.

hat tip to the Garfield Wiki for the image; © PAWS Inc.

Jim Davis continued:

It was the last time anybody was going to drop Garfield. Now the strip runs in 2,100 newspapers and has a readership of more than 200 million.

“Newspaper bosses hate strips like Garfield,” laughs Davis. “And that’s because they can never drop them! There are only a handful of strips like that… Peanuts, Blondie, Beetle Bailey.”

Maybe Wallace the Brave can achieve half the success of Garfield.

3 thoughts on “Wallace the Brave and Garfield Return – Separated by 45 Years

  1. As much as I would love to see Wallace the Brave get the huge success that it clearly deserves, I seriously doubt that the strip will ever be able to complete with Garfield’s mass-market volume. A large part of its charm is based on its collection of peculiar oddities (not to mention the energy of its edgy artwork: sometimes elegant, sometimes messy, always beautiful). If Will Henry ever makes the mistake of “normalizing” the strip to appeal to a wider, more lucrative audience, he will destroy the soul of what he has already created.

  2. (suggestion for this article: a hyperlink for the “Garfield Wiki” mentioned in this article)

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