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Posted at 11:00 AM ET, 03/ 5/2009

Would You Miss Your Sunday Funnies If They Went Away?

By Michael Cavna


Would you miss your Sunday funnies? Enlarge Comic

In a decision that's unfortunately all too frequent, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution has announced that it will trim its Sunday comics section from eight pages to "six full-color pages."

According to its Web site, the newspaper says the move -- which involves eliminating three comics -- will allow it "to simplify our press runs and and produce the newspaper more efficiently." (Thanks to the Daily Cartoonist for alerting us to this news.)

This, of course, is just the latest reduction of comics by an American newspaper, but it presents an opportune time to discuss the larger issue. As comics are available online -- often for free -- editors and readers alike must ask themselves: What is the life expectancy of that century-old staple that is the Sunday color comics section?

Ever since the Yellow Kid slummed it decades before the Great Depression (giving birth to the term "yellow journalism") -- and since a slumbering Little Nemo began toppling out of bed -- color newspaper comics have been a vital diversion for millions of adult readers, and a prime entree into papers for generations of young readers.

Now, even among the comics faithful, some have converted entirely to online. So today, though, it's time to ask the all-important question of fans who need their comics:


By Michael Cavna  | March 5, 2009; 11:00 AM ET
Categories:  The E-Mailbag  
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Comments

But if they're not in print what is the impetus for continuing the Sunday strip. They have nothing to do with the current story arc. Some strips are Sunday only.
I remember when the Sunday comics were the front page/first section of newsstand displays, they helped sell the paper. I haven't seen that in many years.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | March 5, 2009 11:36 AM | Report abuse

The Sunday Funnies are about the only ones that are still printed large enough to read.

Posted by: seismic-2 | March 5, 2009 12:06 PM | Report abuse

Talk about your self-selected statistically invalid sample population.

And speaking of Sunday funnies, what is with Dennis the Menace being printed vertically. The panels never fit right and it looks like a waste of space.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2009 12:12 PM | Report abuse

And speaking of Sunday funnies, what is with Dennis the Menace being printed. It looks like a waste of space.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 5, 2009 12:12 PM


Fixed it for you!

Posted by: JkR- | March 5, 2009 12:15 PM | Report abuse

Newspapers have a much more broader reaching question to ask themselves than whether they continue with the Sunday comics. The whole model is nearing collapse as top line revenues continue to fall for the print edition and newspaper owners struggle to monetize their online space.

Comics are probably one reason readers still care about getting the print edition, so it seems foolish to me that the continue to cut comics. However, as was pointed out to me by a couple editors, it is NOT the cost of the comics, it's the cost of the pages and pages and pages of newsprint that they will save over the course of the year.

But, unless syndicates can figure out a way to monetize comics online for themselves and their creators, they may die out with the print edition of the paper. Which will be really sad.

Is the Comic Kingdom from King doing anything to make papers money online? Or any of the other online ventures for papers from syndicates that provide comics for online versions?

Posted by: RobM1013 | March 5, 2009 12:23 PM | Report abuse

When has "Dennis the Menace" ever **not** been a waste of space?

Posted by: seismic-2 | March 5, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

Our daily paper just began printing the comics In Color, although I believe the total number of strips was reduced.

I betcha they would introduce 3D if the printing technology were that advanced. :-)

We still get the Sunday dead-tree edition and I enjoy the comics, but I still go online.

Posted by: MSchafer | March 5, 2009 2:56 PM | Report abuse

Without the comics, I can guarantee I'd never bother to open -- and read anything in -- that big, fat advertising packet that I receive *two* copies of every week (no wonder the Post is losing money). Come to think of it, without the comics, why would I want the Sunday paper at all? Youve dropped the Books section. The Style section (along with the Style Invitational) has gone down the tubes, and I read all the news stories, sports, and travel online the night before. So, without the comics, I'd be perfectly happy with just my Sunday NY Times.

Posted by: pltrgyst | March 5, 2009 6:00 PM | Report abuse

"Talk about your self-selected statistically invalid sample population."

Yeah, no kidding. Next, we'll poll parishioners at St. Patrick's Cathedral to find out if Americans believe in God ...

Posted by: MikePeterson1 | March 5, 2009 8:59 PM | Report abuse

Well, the Post already has cut down their funnies from one section to two, but yes, I'd miss them. And more importantly, you guys are screwing with the next generation of newspaper readers - my daughter's just become a Garfield zombie and she gets it in the paper, not online.

Posted by: Mrhode | March 7, 2009 6:58 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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