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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 02/ 2/2009

How Do You Read Your Comics--Online or on Paper?

By Michael Cavna

As I was hanging in the bookstore's Humor Section, as I so often do, a short streak whisked past. It was a boy of about 8, making a beeline for the comic-strip books.
Within seconds, this Norman Rockwell Boy cracked a large-format "Calvin and Hobbes" and let his eyes bathe in the beautiful Sunday strips. Soon, his dad walked up and asked what'd he found.

THE FIFTH WAVE: A computer-themed comic you can find on -- but not the print edition. (Universal Press Syndicate) Enlarge Comic

"Hey, Dad -- look!" the boy said. "This looks so much cooler than on the computer!"

The sight was encouraging for two reasons. First, because years after its demise, "Calvin and Hobbes" was still finding new readers. And second, because the kid who looks at comics online still could also enjoy the hard-pulp presentation.

Which leads to me to my Question O' the Day. As both a joy and an occupational hazard, I scour comics both print and online. But I'm curious, comics fans: How do you get your comics? Do you:

1. Read them in the print newspaper only?
2. Read them online only?
3. Or read them both ways, fairly equally?

In short (and yes, the fact you are blog readers may skew this result a skosh):
Are you primarily a PCR (print comic reader) or OCR (online comic reader)? And if you've a reason for your choice, feel free to elaborate. The floor is yours.

By Michael Cavna  | February 2, 2009; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
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Definitely online. Not only is it more convenient than subscribing to numerous newspapers in order to get the range of strips being offered by the various syndicates, but there are a number of e-strips that are redrawing the boundaries of comic strips and going places where more conservative editors fear to tread.

Posted by: drazen1 | February 2, 2009 8:44 AM | Report abuse

Online. I moved from Northern Virginia last year, to a decidedly comic-less area. The local paper is released on Tuesdays and Fridays, and they run the average, "popular" comics.
I HAVE to keep up with my Post favorites, as well as a few other webcomics (Dr. McNinja, Megatokyo). Without them, I would be lost.

Posted by: sophiex | February 2, 2009 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Both, about equally. My newspaper has a very good comics section - lots of actually funny comics, no zombies, no soaps. I only go online for the ones I like that they don't carry.
Sometimes, when life is especially busy, the comic section is the only thing I read in the newspaper. I know if they dropped it I'd have to think seriously about my subscription.

Posted by: marshlc | February 2, 2009 9:19 AM | Report abuse

PCR here. There are about 4 strips I read online because I like them and they aren't in the paper, but I read almost the entire Post comics section, in print, every day.

Posted by: oceanchild | February 2, 2009 9:20 AM | Report abuse

I read about 95 percent of my comics in print. Filling a printed page with comics (as the Post does) allows easy, efficient reading of multiple strips as the eye can wander down the page quickly. Online works fine for copy-filled news articles, but to click every time after spending 15 seconds reading a comic is too inefficient. (Plus I still get home delivery of the paper anyhow.)

Posted by: OTBerbur | February 2, 2009 9:33 AM | Report abuse

Much like sophiex, I moved out of the DC area.

I'm one up on her because our local paper is a daily, but considering it's mostly a rehash of AP stories and the local stories are rarely more than local gossip, I canceled my subscription pretty quickly.

So I'm an online reader. But it also meshes in with a couple of the online-only strips I read (UserFriendly and XKCD).

Though when OPUS first came out I was still in DC - there is a file in my file cabinet bristling with original newsprint versions of about the first year of the strip. When I was in DC, I read them in the paper for the most part.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | February 2, 2009 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I read online only. I gave up printed paper for environmental reasons, but for comics, my reward is that most are in color, and in larger print. I love that!

Posted by: Maddocks | February 2, 2009 10:31 AM | Report abuse

As the San Antonio Express-News gets thinner and thinner...I read more and more on line. The SAE-N did have a great comic spread...not so much now.

I really prefer print, but one takes what one can get.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | February 2, 2009 10:38 AM | Report abuse

About 50-50. Most strips I like to read at the breakfast table, but there are some strips not carried in the Post's print edition that I like to read (e.g., "My Cage"), so I go online for them. Then there are some strips that I don't bother to read in print in the Post, because they are "wordy" and the space allocated for them is so small that trying to read them there would be too much eye strain. Browsers to the rescue!

Posted by: seismic-2 | February 2, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

The dead tree first, then catching the crumbs online. The Houston Chronicle (my hometown paper) has gone from nearly four pages of comics to two in the last decade, so I have to catch gems like MyCage online now. The Chronicle at least gives me print versions of Pearls Before Swine and Get Fuzzy, but it's still a little sad that the front page of the Sunday comics section has three comics, two of which (Peanuts and For Better or For Worse) are simply reruns from decades earlier.

Posted by: RoyReynolds1 | February 2, 2009 10:49 AM | Report abuse

Mostly online because I'm at the computer all day (and some of the ones I read aren't in print here -- 9 Chickweed Lane, Kevin and Kell, and Two Lumps -- and I don't see a print edition until late in the day, if at all. But when I have the print edition, I read more of them. I.e., when I have the paper in hand, I read everything in the section; if I'm reading online, I pick and choose.

Posted by: IndolentCin | February 2, 2009 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I would really rather read all the comics in a paper. I grew up reading the funny pages and it gave me a daily newspaper habit. Unfortunately nowadays between newspapers cutting down on the number of comics they carry, the abundance of comics online and the fact that I moved to where I can't even get a decent paper delivered daily I get all my comics online. I get to see many more than I ever would have before, but because I have to click on each one it is rare that I actually stumble over a great one because it's right there on the page. I like e-mailing a good one to a friend, but I miss just clipping one out to put on the fridge. I also miss coming across an old one that makes me laugh all over again.

Posted by: elyrest | February 2, 2009 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Print almost exclusively.

I was a voracious consumer of the printed book compilations of comics starting back in the late 60's and still love that medium the best.

But coffee and comics being the sublime combination that it is, the daily paper is second best.

Posted by: JkR- | February 2, 2009 12:43 PM | Report abuse

PCR about 65%, OCR 35%. I prefer printed, but my local paper (not the W-Post, since I moved away from the DC area 8 years ago, alas) just doesn't carry many of the best. I buy the big collection books of my faves!

Posted by: dal2 | February 2, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

About 50-50. I read the WaPo print comics; I never go to the comics link. But I have a script that gives me today's comics for 50 or 60 comics. I'm not sure of the total because sometimes one goes away and I forget to pull it from the script. There are about a dozen more I want to check out but just don't have the time!

Posted by: MAL9000 | February 2, 2009 7:56 PM | Report abuse

50-50 because one paper(Lee group) I read daily eliminated their e-edition(PDF) and said "Go to our website" (where there are no comics). I complained. They didn't care.
It's the Yahoo comics page for me.

Posted by: Montanan | February 2, 2009 11:04 PM | Report abuse

Online, I live too far out to get the WP and I like the ability to enlarge the comics so I can read them. I read comics from various sources: Yahoo,, GoComics and WaPo. I also like the archives at Houston Chronicle(free) and GoComics (pay). I also enjoy the political cartoons and there is no paper that gives you more than a few of their favorites(?) on the weekend.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | February 4, 2009 9:36 AM | Report abuse

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