Our readers love their comics. And we love that about our readers. With that in mind, here are some answers to the kinds of questions we get whenever we make any comics changes.
Q: Does anyone still read the comics in print when so many of them are available online?
A: Oh, yes. Absolutely. Many, many readers want their favorite strips in their daily paper – the easier to cut them out and post them on the refrigerator or share with a friend. There’s nothing quite like reading them in print. That said, we do have many comics online – even more than in print. Find them at: www.newsobserver.com/entertainment/comics/
Q: Why are we getting rid of “Get Fuzzy”?
A: Because the strips running now are reruns, not originals. We would rather use this valuable space for something that readers haven’t seen before. It’s the same reason our editorial staff recently dropped the daily “Doonesbury” on the op-ed page. Those were previously run strips, too. The Sunday “Doonesbury” strips are new and continue to run on the op-ed page. (You can still find “Get Fuzzy,” “Doonesbury” and “Marmaduke” online at the above link.)
Q: What about “Peanuts”? Aren’t those reruns?
A: Yes. That’s the one current exception to our no-reruns policy. Why? Because it’s a classic, and the humor is timeless. Readers still want their “Peanuts” and don’t mind that the strips aren’t originals. After all, TV runs the Charlie Brown Halloween and Christmas specials each year.
Q: What about “Calvin & Hobbes”? That’s a beloved and timeless strip, too.
A: We hear this often. Next to “Peanuts,” that’s the other classic strip that readers clamor for us to bring back. But it is not available for syndication to newspapers in the United States.
Q: Why are “Mallard Fillmore” and “Candorville” on the comics page instead of the op-ed page? Shouldn’t all political strips be on the op-ed page?
A: Our editorial page staff is not looking for other comics now, beyond the Sunday “Doonesbury.”
Q: But I don’t think politics belongs on the comics pages.
A: Our edgier, controversial, political strips “Mallard,” “Candorville,” “Non Sequitur” “Bizarro” and “Argyle Sweater” are grouped together in the bottom corner of our second comics page. That way, readers who don’t like politics on the comics pages can avoid that spot. It’s worth remembering that there have always been strips, such as “Pogo,” that dabbled in politics on the comics pages.
Q: Why make any changes to the comics?
A: There are new strips being introduced all the time. You never know when one might be the next “Far Side, “Calvin & Hobbes” or “Bloom County.” We’ve heard “Big Nate” is good, so we’re giving it a try.
Q: Shouldn’t the comics be for kids?
A: Absolutely, some should be for children, and we have a number of them, including “Mutts,” “Garfield,” “Family Circus” and “Red & Rover.” But there have always been strips for grown-ups, too, from the serials such as “Mary Worth” to satirical humor like “Lil Abner.”
Q: The creator of “B.C.” died, yet The N&O still runs it. But the creator of “Kudzu” died, and The N&O dropped it. Why the difference?
A: “Kudzu” was discontinued by its syndicate when Doug Marlette died. It was not passed on to a new artist, as “B.C.” was when Johnny Hart died. Often, older strips continue with the original creator’s children or a new artist. Such comics are known as “legacy” strips, and we have several of them, including “Shoe,” “Blondie,” “Dennis the Menace” and “Hi & Lois.”
Q: Why aren’t the same comics in the Sunday N&O that are in the daily N&O?
A: Space and money. Sunday comics take up more room and cost more because of the larger drawings. In addition, some strips, such as “Fox Trot,” are Sunday only.
Q: I just don’t like “Scary Gary” and “Lio” – they are too creepy.
I hate “Mallard Fillmore.”
“Beetle Bailey” is old and boring.
“Funky Winkerbean” isn’t even funny.
A: Trust us, every comic strip has its fans – even the ones you think are stupid. We could never find a lineup where every person will like every comic. We’ll bet you don’t like all the flavors at Baskin-Robbins, either. Feel free to read those comics you like and skip right over those you detest. It’s perfectly fine – recommended even – to pick and choose.