Comics can be serious business.
In February, I asked our readers to share their thoughts on our comics lineup.
Scores responded. They let me know of what comics they love, and what they’d like to see on our comics page. Others told me what we should drop.
With their feedback, we narrowed down the list of potential new comics to 10. In early April, we ran a week’s worth of the “new” comics. Unfortunately, I screwed up and ran the same “Mutts” comics three days in a row, but I was able to get a full week’s worth on another page.
Each day that week included a form seeking input on what current comics we should keep and get rid of, and what new ones we should or shouldn’t add.
The response was amazing. People love their comics. More than 310 people took time to fill out the form or email me with their suggestions.
And I was quite surprised by some of the results.
One of my first thoughts going into this project was that since “Peanuts” is all repeats, it should go.
Our readers told me they thought differently.
They love Charlie Brown and the crew, with 163 people saying we must keep rerunning the adventures of the “Peanuts” gang. Only 23 people said it was time to say good-bye to Snoopy and Woodstock.
Even more surprising to me was the response to “Blondie.” It garnered the same number of “must keep” responses as “Peanuts” but only 13 wanted to no longer see Dagwood, Blondie and the cast of characters that have been around for 80 years.
Two other longtime comics, “Hagar the Horrible” and “Beetle Bailey” also got high marks.
One comic that I do like, but our readers aren’t as enthusiastic about, is “Dilbert.” He just got a “meh” from our readers.
On the “new” side, people really liked “Baby Blues,” “Wizard of Id” and “Zits,” with each getting about four times more positive response than negative.
They certainly didn’t like “Nancy” and “Macanudo.” And I was beginning to wonder if anyone was a fan of “Daddy Daze.” But eventually six people said they wanted us to add it.
By far the comic that got the largest response didn’t really surprise me a bit.
Just like in life, politics in comics evoke strong emotions.
A large majority (about five-sixths) offered their opinions on “Mallard Fillmore.” And most (215 people) did not want to see “Mallard” on the “funny pages.” Some wanted it gone for good, others wanted to see it moved elsewhere in the paper.
Many others also asked why we wouldn’t reconsider resuming “Non Sequitur.” Maybe some missed the explanation in my February column. But others didn’t think that one transgression should have disqualified the comic. But I stood by my word. We are not bringing back “Non Sequitur.”
Now that we’ve tallied up the responses, we are ready to announce the changes we are making to our daily comics page starting with the Monday, May 27, comics*.
The beloved comics “Peanuts,” “Blondie,” “Beetle Bailey” and “Hagar the Horrible,” are staying. So are “Mother Goose and Grimm” and “Dog Eat Doug,” which polled well.
We are also keeping “Dilbert.” It didn’t wow our readers, but we didn’t have any new ones that had a strong enough showing to replace it.
We will replace “Mallard Fillmore,” “Take it From the Tinkersons,” and “Dustin” (which really was a placeholder after “Non Sequiter” was pulled) with the three readers said they really liked: “Baby Blues,” “Wizard of Id” and “Zits.”
You’ll also see a change in the daily comics page Saturday. It will remain in the comics section, but it will look the same as during the week (with the horoscopes and advice columns next to the comics). On the facing page will be Sunday horoscopes and the “Weekend Fun Corner.”
We know our decisions won’t make everyone happy, but we do hope our readers will give the new comics some time.
I thank everyone for their input, because as someone who doesn’t read the comics daily, I really needed your help.
And I’m asking for it again, as we start taking a look at our color comics selections.
Feel free to send me your thoughts on the color comics and the new look to the daily comics at the contact information below.
Denielle Cazzolla is editor of The Daily Star. She can be reached 102 Chestnut St., Oneonta NY 13820, firstname.lastname@example.org or 607-441-7259. Follow her at @DS_DenielleC on Twitter.
*changed at 12:53 p.m. May 21 to reflect a change in date of the new comics debut.