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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 11/17/2008

The Morning Line: Newsprint? (Sigh.) We Remember Newsprint

By Michael Cavna

Ah, looky here in today's "Mark Trail" -- that conniving feller in the third panel is luxuriating over an old-fashioned newsprint-type newspaper. Tarnation, what will this retro strip think of next?

Ah, reading an old-fashioned newspaper... good times. (NAS) Enlarge Comic

And right nearby, there's "Amazing Spider-Man," once again depicting life at an actual print-newspaper newsroom, the Daily Bugle. It's enough to warm our little ink-stained hearts.

Another "big-time" reader. (Marvel/KFS) Enlarge Comic

Wait a minute, maybe we're ON to something here. This -- this! -- is how we'll lure more readers back to paying for a newspaper they can hold and fold. Yes, if we can get all syndicated comic-strippers on board, we can create: Operation Newsprint: Higher Circulation Through Subliminal Suggestion.

Indeed, online readers will see these strips and for many, that warm tickle of nostalgia will run through their fingers as they remember the cozy sensation of picking up a hard paper. (We're reminded of James Earl Jones's Americana-fuzzy "baseball" speech in "Field of Dreams.") Maybe we've been going about it all wrong -- running so many strips that feature computers and mobile devices, practically becoming an accomplice in turning off readers to our print side.

Can this wacky plan work, if all newspaper cartoonists are in cahoots? Why, it's worth giving it the ol' junior-college try, ain't it? And if it works, we can follow the lead of today's "Sherman's Lagoon" and -- by the same "logic" -- get everybody hooked on ol'-time radio, too.

Euphemistically speaking. (KFS) Enlarge Comic

So full speed ahead, folks. You can do this, cartoonists -- the future of print is literally in your hands. Good drawing, and Godspeed!

Wait, what? We're told that to make this work, we'd have to give up both blog AND our iPod?

Umm. Nevermind.


Dumb like a Fox-worthy. (UPS) Enlarge Comic

For our money, the best lone panel in today's strips is the first panel in "Pooch Cafe." It's a beautiful, self-contained joke in and of itself; the next three panels are just gravy: The visual to complement the opening panel's verbal. Well-played, Mr. Gilligan. Well-played.

By Michael Cavna  | November 17, 2008; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Next: The Interview: Steve Greenberg: Life as a Pink-Slipped Political Cartoonist


I apologise for the lack of details. The strip wasn't particularly memorable. I don't even remember if it was in print or on-line (oh, the irony!).

BUT a couple of days ago there was a single panel with a younger person/older person sitting on a couch. The younger is looking at a small electronic device. The older has a newspaper. The younger was saying "I'm reading the newspaper. What are you doing?"

Also, a couple of days ago "Close to Home" and one of the strips I read on-line had the same joke, about a football player getting a 15 yard penalty for texting while playing. Again, not funny, not memorable but interesting for the coincidence.

Posted by: f-squared | November 17, 2008 8:08 AM | Report abuse

Mark Trail's heroism apparently made the front page of that local paper. Must have been a slow news day.

Posted by: greggwiggins | November 17, 2008 8:29 AM | Report abuse

I too wonder about the Mark Trail story. Did that item appear in his own newspaper column? Will all newspapers now try to survive by relying on such blatant self-promotion?

Apparently things are even worse at the Daily Bugle than at most other papers - Jonah Jameson apparently doesn't know that "Big-Time" was a crook. Setting aside the question of how dense must an editor be not to figure that out from such a Dick Tracy-style nickname, it shows that he doesn't even read his own newspaper, since surely Spiderman's capturing that guy and helping send him to prison years ago must have made news (even if Big-Time was just Small-Time then!), especially in a paper that so often runs features and photos about Spidey. So if the editor doesn't bother to read that rag, why should he expect the public to do so, either?

Posted by: seismic-2 | November 17, 2008 11:27 AM | Report abuse

It's confirmed by Tuesday's Mark Trail strip. Not only was his pet raccoon rescue front page, it's front page ABOVE THE FOLD. When I need someplace quiet to retire to, I now know what part of the country I should visit to look at real estate.

Posted by: greggwiggins | November 18, 2008 7:05 AM | Report abuse

Newsprint? Who cares about paper? The important commodity is INK!

Here's a suggestion for the newspaper industry. Partner up with a winning enterprise that knows how to sell ink. Hewlett-Packard.


Posted by: MSchafer | November 18, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Get rid of Spiderman and bring back For Better or Worse. Spiderman runs the same old plots weeks after week. For Better or Worse was my favorite strip, and I was looking forward to reading them from the beginning but the Post chose to replace it with the lame, unfunny Little Dog Lost strip.

Many of the Post's comic strip leave a lot to be desired, such as humor. For Better or Worse is a much better strip than Spiderman, Garfield, Tank McNamara, Zippy the Pinhead, and Little Dog Lost. What is it the Post has against women cartoonists? Most of the strips that appear in the print edition are by men.

Posted by: PhoebeKate | November 18, 2008 1:09 PM | Report abuse

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