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Posted at 8:50 AM ET, 03/23/2009

The Showdown Poll: 'Judge Parker' vs. No Chance of Parole

By Michael Cavna

Today, The Post announces its funnypage changes in the print edition. But Comic Riffs readers have had the chance to vote informally for their fave of five dropped Post comic strips -- or to check "none of the above" -- for a week now. (A sixth, "Brevity," was later announced.) And with more than 150 comments and nearly 900 votes in, the clear favorite was still "Judge Parker."

So now the question goes out to all readers, in a head-to-head mega-showdown. Judge Parker vs., well, oblivion.

In the hopes that Post Management will throw a life preserver to at least one dropped strip IF enough readers respond in unison, you can participate in today's non-binding poll. With a week till D-Day, "Judge Parker" needs as many votes on the bench as he can get:

NOTE: The Post encourages feedback, so if you have an opinion about the changes, 'Riffs urges you to call the official hotline -- 202.334.4775 -- or to e-mail By phone or e-mail or snail mail, make sure you weigh in before it's too late.

REMINDER: You can follow Post comics updates @

By Michael Cavna  | March 23, 2009; 8:50 AM ET
Categories:  The Morning Line  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: This Just In: Post to Drop 'Brevity'
Next: The Interview: Animator Bryan Brinkman


Besides saving Judge Parker, please, Post, don't sacrifice the unique beauty that is your three pages of comics. We in DC boast of this.

And, why don't the bean counters realize that the more they send us to the web for content we've faithfully enjoyed for years as paper subscribers, the less time we'll spend with the paper edition? In fact, expand the comics pages, add new comics to the paper based on web hit rates and lure readers from the web to paper!

Posted by: alicezzon | March 23, 2009 10:27 AM | Report abuse

One of the things my wife looks forward to each morning is reading the comics while she has her morning coffee. Comics such as Judge Parker provide her considerable pleasure which in these times is getting very hard to find. Also, because she is attracted to the comics, she looks at the paper in the morning. After reading the comics, she then finishes the Style section and then on to the Metro and the A sections. As the comics get fewer and fewer, she may read the rest of the paper less and less. If she goes onto the web site to read the comics, it is very unlikely that she will go on to read the other articles on the web site and very unlikely that she will even look at the print edition. Are you sure this is a wise decision?

Posted by: h_mcclendon | March 23, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Reading the comics online is completely unsatifactory. Way too much jumping around. I like to relax and read at my breakfast table. I go online at work. I love my PAPER newspaper.

Posted by: blankeng1 | March 23, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Since the Post is dropping Zippy, I let my print subscription expire.

I think that Eduardo Barreto should produce a special strip for the Judge's last day in the Post. The strip should feature all the female characters in all the glamor that Eduardo Barreto can give them. More cleavage! More butts!

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | March 23, 2009 11:09 AM | Report abuse

Michael, so will this poll's results mean anything? You say it's "non-binding". So, is this an exercise in futility for us Judge Parker readers? It seems like the Post comics people didn't seem listen last week.

Posted by: erinaustindj | March 23, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Final Judge Parker strip in the Washington Post:

[CIA agent April Bower bursts out of a cab, in front of the Washington Post headquarters. Bob Woodward is waiting at the curb to greet her.]

Woodward: “Did you get it???”
Bower: “Yes, I did. Using my cover as an employee of the World Bank engaged in environmental issues – and a few obvious female wiles - I managed to infiltrate the inner workings of the world’s economic forces in Zurich, Tokyo, Wall Street, and especially the oil ministries of the Middle East. And what I learned – this whole “recession”, “economic downturn”, “subprime meltdown”, and “credit default swaps” story is a complete scam! The real story is so much more nefarious that it uses all these terrifying headlines to hide what’s really going on, which is so much worse! I tell you, when you run this story on the front page of the Post tomorrow, it will blow the lid off everything that we have ever believed about how the world’s military, diplomatic, and economic complexes operate! This will make the Post’s ‘Watergate’ coverage look like nothing more than a footnote to history. Of course, uncovering this story and now leaking it to the Post has placed my life in great danger, and the only way I was able to smuggle it out was by transcribing it to microfilm that I have hidden in my brassiere. Here, let me pull it out…”

[April hastily unbuttons her blouse and fumbles with the bra clasp.]
[Fade to black.]

Posted by: seismic-2 | March 23, 2009 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Since I live 3000 miles away from Washington, and only read the Post online, maybe the editors won't care what I have to say, but I have to put in my two cents worth.

I have a 17 year old daughter. She has been reading the comics page in our local rag since she was about ten. And the comics have turned out to be, well, let's call it a "gateway drug" into the newspaper addiction she now has. Looking through the paper to get to the comics leads to reading headlines on the way, to reading articles, to caring about what she reads in the paper and not being able to imagine breakfast without it. Isn't this what newspaper editors want? Young people reading the paper?

Please keep vibrant, varied, and up to date comic sections in your papers. Cutting comics is doing exactly the opposite of what you want.

Posted by: marshlc | March 23, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

I really hope that the management of the Post is considering keeping Judge Parker in the paper. The poll numbers sure look like it deserves to stay in print, but as someone already asked, is this a big bunch of wasted energy?

The fact that they didn't even explain why they are cutting what strips they picked also makes no sense, either.

Posted by: brainiac1077 | March 23, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

From the day I moved here in '97, a WaPo subscription was one of the first things I went for. And I recall at least three comics page putsches during the years.

This one is unique in that it wasn't announced well in advance, and there was no formal readers' poll conducted (and then with the results subsequently printed in Style).

It appears that the changes were made without any concern for readers' preferences, because Zippy readers are notoriously loyal and prepared to retaliate, so it's never made any kind of sense to dump the Zip. A poll would have borne this out, but clearly someone at WaPo has him on their own personal enemies' list.

We all know very well where the campaign to save "Jugs" Parker originated, and I'm quite happy to go there to read my comics (and a heaping helping of snark).

On the other hand, if WaPo keeps butchering the good stuff (Book World last month, comics this month, who knows what next month) without even a pretense of reader input -- it'll be a hoss race as to what happens next -- my sub canceled, or WaPo out of business entirely.

Posted by: laboo | March 23, 2009 6:41 PM | Report abuse

This is a sad day for me. I will let my subscription to the Post expire. It's the proverbial straw. Too much of what I bought the paper for is gone or going, there's little left. A sad end of an era. I will use the savings to subscribe to the TV Guide. Or sure, I could have requested the Wapo keep sending my their tv section but I don't have any faith that or any part of the paper will be around long. What's with this bi-weekly drip drip of what the Wapo is dropping next? Every couple of weeks they tell you what you won't be getting next week. What do they do, drop a section and then see if they saved any money the following week? No? "Then we'll drop the next thing and see if we're profitable next week." Surely this is foolish - get it over with. Good Bye old friend...

Posted by: hdradio | March 23, 2009 9:13 PM | Report abuse

NOTE: I encourage readers to continue to voice your thoughts about the comics changes -- especially in light of the fact that the Comics Feedback hotline is currently full.


Posted by: cavnam | March 23, 2009 9:39 PM | Report abuse


With Comics Editor Carswell on vacation this week (nice time to take a vacation after you publish the announcement of comics cutting), no wonder the mailbox is full. Who is going to even note the comments, since she is the one who made the decision and has not chosen to say why which comics were picked for banishment over others?

Not a lot of confidence that she or any other Post editor cares to reverse the decision. Save the Judge. Long live the Judge (Parker).

Posted by: RobM1013 | March 23, 2009 9:50 PM | Report abuse

I don't like the comics section - or the rest of the paper - getting smaller any more than anyone else, but I won't cancel my (long-distance) paper subscription over it. It's the economics of it that is creating the need for the paper to downsize, so if you're getting anything at all from the Post, please don't cancel your subscription. There must remain a bastion of loyal, yet vocal, subscribers and supporters.

I agree with the person above who called the comics a "gateway drug" to newspaper readership. With my son, it started with the sports section and now he has regular forays into other sections.

Posted by: mat00 | March 24, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

C'mon...this is beyond dumb. Almost 900 votes. 90% saying "Save My Judge!"

Watch, the Post editors will ignore this and keep Trail, Spidey, Agnes, Frank & Ernest, Peanuts, Beetle, Dennis or any other zombie strip in the Post over re-instating Judge Parker. I hope I am wrong.

Posted by: catman2530 | March 25, 2009 7:42 PM | Report abuse

Sending comments to the comics editor may be encouraged, but don't expect a reply. I haven't gotten one to my email of over a week ago, at least.

Posted by: drewdane | March 26, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

Following up on my earlier comment, any chance Ms. Carswell would post up here or sit for an interview with you? Or do I have to break out the flapping elbows and chicken noises?

(Apologies if this has been addressed and I missed it.)

Posted by: drewdane | March 26, 2009 12:09 PM | Report abuse

drewdane, i took a shot an emailed the WaPo's Publisher (Katharine Weymouth) and Editor (Marcus Brauchli). And, surprisingly, I received a nice email back from both of them. Mr. Brauchli actually said nice things about Judge Parker, from both an art and narrative perspective. I hope they are listening to those of us who are upset. I know they have to make tough choices when reducing content in the paper. I just hope it doesn't have to be Judge Parker.

Email for them respectively are:

Posted by: robbinsondave | March 26, 2009 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Judge Parker needs to stay. Though most every comic strip has its ardent followers, few strips have been around as long as has been Judge Parker, one of the ties to the past. Based on the Post on-line poll, a self-selected group, of course, the voting is nearly 10-1 in favor of retaining the Judge. Removing it seems a capricious decision on the part of an editor who may not be in touch with those legions of us, over the age of XXXXX, who still read the paper in preference to reading on-line. With the new two-page format, it is difficult to believe that the Judge cannot be retained, especially in light of apparent decisions to retain several inane strips, banal in content, and some with off-putting artwork to boot.

Please keep Judge Parker in the Post's comics line-up.

Posted by: Lindsey | March 30, 2009 9:30 AM | Report abuse

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