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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 09/29/2008

The E-Mailbag: The Final Smackdown: Which Comic Would YOU Drop?

By Michael Cavna

Comic Riffs inquired and, with wit and passion and indignation, you delivered.

Last week this blog took on The Post's print comics, page by page, polling readers about which comic they would drop. Some 1,500 votes later, one thing became clear:
Beetle and Sarge and Halftrack and Otto are on very thin ice with Post readers.

"Beetle Bailey" wasn't the only strip near or past the half-century mark that has many detractors, however; "Classic Peanuts" and "Family Circus" and "Judge Parker" and "Mark Trail" also got swarms of negative votes.

The "middle-aged" strip most targeted was "Zippy the Pinhead." And the newest strips to draw the most fire were "Prickly City" and "Little Dog Lost," the latter having debuted in The Post mere weeks ago.

So now that we've whittled down the field, it's time for a head-to-head smackdown. These are the eight strips that, as of Friday, received the most negative reaction.

Now we ask you: Pick the single comic that you think The Post should drop. (Reminder: The Post's editors are not promising to abide by the results.)

And if you've got a replacement strip in mind, we again invite you to give it a shout-it in the Comments.


By Michael Cavna  | September 29, 2008; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  The E-Mailbag  
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All of those comics are heritage comics.

I would say Zippy, Prickly City and/or Little Dog Lost can go. Although "Dog" just got onto the page.

Why didn't you include Spiderman, it seemed to garner some negative votes last week?

Keep Judge Parker. Engaging stories, characters and the artwork is much better.

Posted by: Tom Glassman | September 29, 2008 11:20 AM | Report abuse

I voted against Prickly City - it's just gotten mean and the art has gotten really bad.

Bring on 9 Chickweed Lane. Smart, funny, bizarre. And a siamese cat named Solange.

Posted by: Tom Murphy | September 29, 2008 11:28 AM | Report abuse

I don't know how you can keep Family Circus. Uninteresting, not funny, average artwork, has already had a long run.

Beetle Baily is Doonesbury in comparison.

Posted by: JkR | September 29, 2008 11:36 AM | Report abuse

ONLY one?! ooooh. Tough choice.

I second the nomination of 9 Chickweed Lane.

Posted by: IMissCalvinandHobbes | September 29, 2008 11:39 AM | Report abuse

May I suggest that "Beetle Bailey" do something simalar to "For Better or Worse" and go back to his pre-Army college days. It may refresh the strip.

Posted by: JSK | September 29, 2008 11:42 AM | Report abuse

Why aren't more people voting for Classic Peanuts? Give a living artist a chance.

Posted by: yellojkt | September 29, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Drop Judge Parker? As Dixie lounges around in a bikini top? What's the matter with you people?

Posted by: Mike Rhode | September 29, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow - I see that so far Prickly City is leading the way. That must be a political reaction to the right-wing slant. Because, while it is weak, I wouldn't even put that in the bottom ten. It's right in the middle of the pack.

I agree with yellojkt 100 percent. Get Classic Peanuts out of here. Schulz must be rolling over in his grave that it is still running.

Posted by: Satchel Pooch | September 29, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

I continue my heralded comments campaign for the death of Beetle Bailey. Die, strip, die.

And Mr. Glassman, how is Little Dog Lost a "heritage" strip? It was syndicated in 2007.

Posted by: Julia | September 29, 2008 12:07 PM | Report abuse

Beetle and Peanuts (and Garfield) are gateway drugs. They're the reason my youngest picks up the newspaper.

Little Dog deserves a chance. But if something interesting doesn't happen soon....

Prickly City is the comics page car wreck. I want to look away, but the horror keeps bringing my eyes back to the scene.

Zip is unique. It's a 3 or 4 on a one-to-ten scale, but what would you replace it with?

Mark went once and came back (which I don't understand). Either he or the judge can go. Tough call. Girls in bikinis or talking wildlife.

Heads, it's Mark. Tails, the judge.

(flip coin)

The coin rolled down a sewer. GET RID OF FAMILY CIRCUS.

And yes, bring on 9 Chickweed Lane.

Posted by: f2 | September 29, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

Now, what replaces what?

FC OUT, Bizarro or Loose Parts in? Different audience.

I can see, say, Stone Soup replacing Sally Forth. Or Funky Winkerbean replacing Zits (I am not endorsing either substitution; just looking for comparable replacements).

Hmmmm.... Maybe Chickweed is quirky enough to replace Zip.

Posted by: f2 | September 29, 2008 12:18 PM | Report abuse

Poor Zippy!

Posted by: Jesse | September 29, 2008 12:47 PM | Report abuse

"Classic Peanuts." Its author is dead, and the strips are recycled. Free the space for a living artist!

Posted by: wombatua | September 29, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

I'm still trying to figure out how "Little Dog Lost" got the slot instead of any of the comics tried out during various hiatuses. I particularly enjoyed "Knight Life" when "Doonesbury" was taking a break.

Posted by: Barb | September 29, 2008 1:26 PM | Report abuse

It was a tough choice, but I had to go with Family Circus just on principle. My hatred of that strip smoulders deep within my soul.

Posted by: Drew | September 29, 2008 1:30 PM | Report abuse

"Funky Winkerbean replacing Zits"


Posted by: Drew | September 29, 2008 1:51 PM | Report abuse

Replace Beetle or Mark Trail with User Friendly.

Posted by: wiredog | September 29, 2008 1:53 PM | Report abuse

Prickly City is smart and clever. Can't figure why it's on the list.

I'd like to see Knight Life replace whichever is jettisoned.

Posted by: Luvin the Comics | September 29, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

Another vote for 9 Chickweed . . .

Posted by: EF | September 29, 2008 2:44 PM | Report abuse

I love Prickly City; and really was bummed when it was dropped from my hometown paper. At least I have Non Sequitur, and I REALLY don't want THAT one dropped!

Posted by: Alex | September 29, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

>>Wow - I see that so far Prickly City is leading the way. That must be a political reaction to the right-wing slant. Because, while it is weak, I wouldn't even put that in the bottom ten. It's right in the middle of the pack.>Drop Judge Parker? As Dixie lounges around in a bikini top? What's the matter with you people?<<

She appears to be wearing a body-stocking with it. That or someone pulled a Cheetara and just took an eraser to her chest.

Posted by: Wroll Triangular | September 29, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Is one of my favorites. I loved the commentary during the olympics.

Posted by: Prickly City | September 29, 2008 3:35 PM | Report abuse

This is really the kind of poll that requires check boxes rather than radio buttons. The correct answer is actually:

* Beetle Bailey AND
* Classic Peanuts AND
* Family Circus AND
* Judge Parker AND
* Little Dog Lost AND
* Mark Trail

...Seriously. Plus Blondie, anything by a Walker or a Browne, and Dennis the Menace.

There's too many good new people out there to waste time on this filler tripe. But if I have to choose just one, I'm going to have to go for "Classic Peanuts," just because it impugns Schultz's legacy by seemingly deliberately chosing to reprint his least amusing material from the nadir of his career.

Posted by: Tad | September 29, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

The Post **did** drop Zippy, once (remember?). The mobs rioted in the streets and stormed the barricades, bearing pitchforks and torches. It turns out that a lot of people who read "Zippy" read nothing else in the comics, so I daresay they don't read this blog either, and they certainly didn't vote vote in the poll. Now, in my estimation, Zippy has lost its, well, "zip" in recent years - it is now more nearly tedious than insightful - but I think you should prepare yourself for a huge backlash if you drop it. On the other hand, I just can't understand why the Post chose to pick up "Little Dog" in the first place. Was it on sale by the syndicate, or what? That strip is indeed a dog; it should be put down.

Posted by: Seismic-2 | September 29, 2008 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I think the Post picked up "Little Dog Lost" because it is distributed by their sister company/syndicate, the Washington Post Writers Group.

It's probably FREE. A nice way of doing a
"budget cut".

That's great guys, cut your way to success, so no one wants to buy the paper.

Posted by: Punisher | September 29, 2008 5:27 PM | Report abuse

No "free" lunches, Punisher, even for Writers Group strips. Even Steve Boreman's scrawny dog has gotta eat.

Posted by: M.C. | September 29, 2008 9:44 PM | Report abuse

I say keep the old soap strips like Judge Parker and Mark Trail... for their unintentional hilarity. Any of the others on the poll are dump-worthy, but of them all, Family Circus has been the least funny the longest. Having worked in newspapers, though, I understand that killing a panel comic (as opposed to a strip) would require replacing it with a panel comic, of which there are very few any better than FC. (Your choices are Marmaduke, Heathcliff, and a slew of untalented Far Side wannabees.)

So, my vote is, ditch Zippy and replace him with My Cage. ( It's a new strip that's like nothing else on the page, and it deserves a shot. The art may say "talking animal gag strip," but the humor is character-driven and pointed. Another good replacement would be Frazz (, which is best described as "Calvin (of Calvin & Hobbes) grows up and gets a job as a school janitor." Smart and witty.

Posted by: The Spectacular Spider-Brick | September 29, 2008 11:55 PM | Report abuse

"Frazz" is in fact published daily in the dead-tree edition of the "Washington Post". It's one of several strips that the Post publishes in print but not on-line. :(

Posted by: Seismic-2 | September 30, 2008 3:26 AM | Report abuse

I was just recently introduced to 9 Chickweed Lane by this blog. And I've rapidly become a fan who'd love to see it in the dead-tree Post as well as on my screen.

Posted by: Another Vote For Edda and Amos | September 30, 2008 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Any strip which was created by a now-dead cartoonist should automatically be replaced with live, developing up-and-comers.

And Little Lost Dog is just terrible.

No more Peanuts, Beetle Bailey, Blondie, etc.

Posted by: No Dead Cartoonists | September 30, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Uh...Mort Walker, who created Beetle Bailey, is still alive.

I'm just sayin'.

Posted by: Dead Man Walking | September 30, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Look zippy is the weirdest strip that's still around. That to me is enough reason to keep it around: it tries to do something different. On the other hand Family Circus is repetitive, trite, and just plain bad on a regular basis.

Posted by: Daily Comics Reviewer | September 30, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Daily Comics Reviewer, keep Zippy for the weird. It's a head scratcher, but that's head scratching without the eye-rolling, like some lesser strips cause.

Mark Trail deserves to stay because there are actual messages about the environment in some of the strips. Granted, it's a pretty hokey strip, but the Sunday strips in particular have some good, simple lessons about the planet.

Other than Zippy, Mark Trail, and even Judge Parker, all the rest should disappear, IMO.

Posted by: emb | September 30, 2008 5:47 PM | Report abuse

Let us vote on ALL the comics we'd like to see dropped. My choices without looking at the print edition:

Beetle Bailey
Family Circus
Judge Parker
Little Dog Lost
Mark Trail
Zippy the Pinhead
Dennis the Menace

Posted by: Arlington Gay | September 30, 2008 11:28 PM | Report abuse


Why pick on the Judge and Mark Trail?

Great strips that should remain in the Post.

Posted by: Ur Gay | October 1, 2008 9:21 AM | Report abuse

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