The NY Post drops its comics section—who noticed?

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Media watchdog Jim Romanesko was the first to catch that the New York Post had dropped its comics section. The section was wizened with age and neglect—only seven meagre strips—but evidently the Post dropped the page and hoped no one would notice. One who did was King Feature’s editor Brendan Burford:

“It caught everyone by surprise,” King Features comics editor Brendan Burford tells me. “We got zero notice.”

King, which sold three comics to the Post, was told of the move on Tuesday – the day the strips vanished. (The paper had only seven strips; King sold “Mallard Fillmore,” “Rhymes with Orange,” and “Dennis the Menace” to the Post.)

The Post hasn’t explained why it killed the section, says Burford, and King is trying to get the strips back into the paper.

“Our conversation is ongoing. …I would be shocked if they’re not hearing from readers” about the missing comics. (There’s not much of an outcry on Twitter.)


The move is especially grieving to me as the Post and the Newark Star Ledger are the papers I read as a child and the playgrounds where I learned of such Titans as Cathy and Tumbleweeds. But newspaper strips have been on the sick list for a long time, and thus far public outcry has been restricted to bloggers. Michael Cavna also investigated the case but came up with few clues.

Now, I’m not yet convinced that few people noticed. I’d hazard the scenario that thousands of New York Post readers looked to feed their daily comics demi-fix in recent days and, flustered and flummoxed, just gave up the hunt as their subway stop approached or a neighboring de Blasio headline beckoned.
I mean, it’s not as if — if reports are accurate — the Post clearly alerted its readers of the dramatic change or anything. Not even a ransom note, apparently.


If you want your strips back, complain often and early.

Comments

  1. Star Ledger reference! Going local! I used to read the comics in that while eating Taylor Ham.

  2. Johnny Memeonic says:

    They’re probably dropping the comics because they can’t afford to pay King for them. No one under the age of 40 something subscribes to or reads a newspaper. News is free on the net, both financially and ideologically. Hell, I get annoyed that newspapers still toss free samples on my yard several times a week that I have to then dispose of.

  3. Torsten Adair says:

    Well, I never read the Post, so I didn’t miss most of those strips.

    The Daily News seems to have shrunk their selection as well.

    *SIGH*
    I remember back in 1995, when the Houston Chronicle bought the Houston Post, and immediately added ALL of their comics to the Chronicle’s lineup.

    Were I the Daily News, I’d buy the rights to these strips. Possibly even add them to the paper edition, then run a competition/survey to see which strips should be dropped.

  4. Jeff Trexler says:

    In the end probably inevitable given the utter lack of any attempt to make the comic page as attention-grabbing as Page Six or Andrea Peyser – like lopping off a vestigial tail. Sometimes I wonder whether the Village Voice couldn’t have expanded its market share by aggressively pursuing the next Feiffers.

    The one surprising thing: it seems that the conventional discrediting of Freud has had a direct impact on the Wizard of Id.

  5. Darren says:

    I suspect the reason people aren’t outraged is because most strips are available in some form online, that and dwindling newspaper circulation of course. Sad, growing up I loved to read the comics page, my farther brought the NEW YORK DAILY News every day mostly so I could read Dick Tracy and Spider-Man. Newspaper comic strips will soon be a fond memory. On the plus side we seem to live in the golden age of newspaper comic strip reprints, as a kid I would have never dreamed of owning a complete run of Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy or Shultz Peanuts, but now that is entirely within the realm of possibility.

  6. It’s always annoyed me that newspapers will print comic strips so small that they are almost impossible to read. And if the strips run in colour, they are pixilated low res files. Then they wonder why circulation drops and why people are complaining about legibility. Self fulfilling prophesies.

  7. I guess the people and events on the front page are funnier than the comics section now.

  8. RDaggle says:

    A bottom-feeding tabloid like the NY Post no longer carries comics?
    Rejoice industry; your prestige has just increased!!
    (oh, dammit – I bet they still have their homegrown ‘editorial’ comic. Oh well, maybe that will go away too. Baby steps.)

  9. When I feel like reading newspaper strips, I always picked up the Daily News–even though I could read the Post for free.

    To the main point: it hurts me to see the newspaper strip format struggle because most of the industry’s problems appear to have been self-inflicted, a long time ago. Comics as a medium has often underperformed when the people running the business side have devalued comics or second-guessed the worth of comics. Also: when the creative side repeatedly buckled and capitulated to the requests of people who have no eye for design, no head for story and no passion for art.

    There are many reasons why this story took so long to catch the attention of the comics media. All of those reasons stem from the fact that “comics media” has also abandoned the newspaper strip, by and large. We don’t advocate for the comic strip format, we don’t push for stronger placement in the newspaper platform, we haven’t pushed for better visibility on news organizations’ online platforms, we have never, EVER pushed for the simple and corrective and *obvious* change of simply getting comic strips printed at a reasonable size…

    Let’s be honest, we as a people don’t love comic strips. Not anymore.

  10. MBunge says:

    “News is free on the net, both financially and ideologically.”

    The vast majority of news online is not free. Somebody is paying for it, even if you aren’t.

    Mike

  11. WELL, AS A SUBSCRIBER I NOTICED! The comics page was the first page I went towards (if my carrier decides to deliver papers on a daily basis!) because I check the answer to the Wonderword (puzzle) that I did the day before (the next thing I do is count the pages, because sections are deliberately stripped out for Maryland subscribers). When I couldn’t find the comics or the puzzle, I was seriously going to stop my subscription and/or stop reading the paper. So glad the Post is keeping the puzzles (that they now call The New York Post Puzzle Page).

  12. @ “Johnny Memeonic” (sic) : That is exactly the sort of comment I would expect from someone who can’t even spell his own pseudonym correctly…

  13. I would suspect that there wasn’t any outcry because of the 7 strips that they were running.

    Who’s going to mount a letter writing campaign to get back their daily dose of Mallard Fillmore? Or Garfield? Or Dennis the Menace? Or Wizard of Id? I mean seriously – if I wanted to read either of the latter three I could find a paperback full of strips at a garage sale for a quarter. If I wanted to read Mallard Fillmore I could … does anyone actually WANT to read Mallard Fillmore? I always figured it was the one that got thrown in for free if you bought some other strip.

  14. So a dead format (strip comics that are generally amusing to the doddering set) in a dead format (newspapers) disappears and we are supposed to have some sort of outcry? lol…try yawn.

  15. VAL DECKER says:

    NEW YOUR POSST BRING BACK THE COMICS

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