For lovers of democracy, as much as for lovers of print, the decline of newspapers is troubling.
A hundred years ago, papers found an effective way to increase circulation. They hired artists to make comic strips. Many of the artists were in their early 20s. Their comics often filled a whole page, and they had the vitality and humor of youth.
Since then, comics have diminished remarkably, with little room for the imagination to range. They must be mediocre because readership spans the globe. Many of the most famous strips have been written for decades, by people now in their old age. Some are continued by the children of creators who died decades ago.
There is nothing new to find on the comics page. But comics are popular. People in their 20s and 30s read them online, in comic books and graphic novels. Across the country there are conventions that draw people costumed as their favorite characters.
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If a few pages were given to new artists, I think the papers could begin to attract young adults again. Before comics were syndicated and long before they went online, Hearst and Pulitzer fought to capture the best artists. People chose which paper to buy, partly by what comics were in it.