Feb 14, 2010

Shaking up the Comics Page

The Omaha World-Herald has done something that I hope the Lincoln Journal Star will do in the near future: they’re updating their line-up of comic strips. More specifically, they’re getting rid of several comic strips that ceased having a point to their existence a long time ago.

The strips getting dropped include: Love Is, Hagar the Horrible, Gil Thorp, Sally Forth, Cathy, Drabble, Adam@Home, For Better or For Worse, Willy ‘n Ethel, Non Sequitur, Mary Worth, Rex Morgan, Gasoline Alley, Prince Valiant and Andy Capp. Dennis the Menace and Shoe will be dropped from the daily pages and appear in the Sunday pages only.

In their place will be Get Fuzzy, Between Friends, Fort Knox and The Flying McCoys, which will all appear in both the daily and Sunday comics pages.

I’ll admit to occasionally chuckling to Adam@Home and Non Sequitur, and I’ve enjoyed For Better or For Worse at times. But overall, I wouldn’t shed a tear for their departure. The only strip whose passing I might lament is Prince Valiant, because it’s struck me as the only strip that’s sought any sort of artistic achievement — has anyone noticed how ugly and simplistic comics have become over the last few years? And the less said about Gil Thorp, Mary Worth, or Rex Morgan, the better.

The only thing that bothers me about this whole transition is that they’re essentially replacing fifteen comics with only four. The comics page is a dying breed in America: over the last few years, it’s become increasingly marginalized. Much of this is due to the general crunch that newspapers have experienced lately, but there’s no doubt in my mind that it’s also due to the growing number of relics that populate its pages, comics that no longer interest and amuse people but are kept primarily out of what I can only assume is some sort of nostalgia (or maybe cheap licensing rates).

All that to say that the simple math of the transition is a little sad to me, even as I’m glad to see some new blood being injected into the comics page. It’s something I’d like to see more newspapers attempt, especially Lincoln’s. Because honestly, Garfield has got to go.

Related: The 10 Newspaper Comic Strips that Need to F**king End, 10 More Comic Strips That Need To @#$%ing End

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