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Posted at 8:30 AM ET, 04/23/2009

Open Mike: Which Post Comics Would YOU Keep--or Cut?

By Michael Cavna


"JUDGE PARKER": Heated development. Enlarge Comic


If you read The Post's print comics, then you lost "Zippy" and "Pooch Cafe" and "Judge Parker" nearly perished thanks to 3,000 or so people you've never met.

The Post, as has been explained, employed an outside survey to gauge which of its comics were least popular. Thousands of aggrieved respondents helped save the Judge, but the takeaway lesson was clear: Total strangers sometimes are "entrusted" to pick your comics.

So if -- and that's only a big IF -- there were another round of comics-cutting in the months or years ahead (no plans at present) -- or some strips are reassigned to other sections -- I want to be ready by soliciting your input for the Official Comic Riffs Power Rankings. You can call it a Pre-Emptive Popularity Contest.

So: What is YOUR favorite and least-favorite comic strip from among The Post's dozens of print funnies? 'Riffs invites you to passionately note what you love and what you loathe. From this, your humble blogger will cull a working list for all to debate, deify or wildly deride.

The "Comments" floor is yours. Feel free to air your preferences willy-nilly.



"AGNES": Reassigned to KidsPost Enlarge Comic

By Michael Cavna  | April 23, 2009; 8:30 AM ET
Categories:  The E-Mailbag  
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Comments

Move Mark Trail to KidsPost, move Agnes back. Or kill MT. And Spidey.

Posted by: wiredog | April 23, 2009 8:33 AM | Report abuse

I would think Gene Weingarten's strip will get a strong look to join the lineup. Or Gene will really rant.

Judge Parker should be untouchable now.

It comes back to the legacy strips. The ones in reruns or being recycled with jokes from yesteryear.

Plus how many new strips that have been in the paper for a few years haven't caught on.

And, as a finally point about the "outside research" the Post did. If it was over the phone? How do you research over the phone? If it was online, obviously comics fans were missed. If you want to do research, make sure these are real newspaper comics readers.

Posted by: alevine76 | April 23, 2009 8:48 AM | Report abuse


For those of us in Fly-Over Land, give us a list as a subscription to print WaPo is alittle out of the budget. Then, we can vote too!

Posted by: ZeldaJane | April 23, 2009 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Get Rid Of:
1) Mark Trail
2) Spidey
3) Agnes
4) Dennis the Menace
5) Family Circus
6) Watch Your Head

Bring Back or New to the Post:
1) Pooch Cafe
2) Cow & Boy
3) Good Local Comics
etc etc etc

Posted by: buckeye96 | April 23, 2009 9:01 AM | Report abuse

I feel fairly confident in assuming that the 3000 people who made this decision are in fact Post subscribers who really don't care all that much about the funnies, so they named as their "favorites" the old stand-bys that they can remember by name simply because they are old and famous rather than because they are any good. The poll no doubt showed the "favorite" strips as being reprinted Peanuts, Beetle Bailey, Family Circus, etc. These strips are no longer being drawn or written by their creators, and they are coasting on a reputation that was earned decades ago (when people's tastes were rather different). Dump them. Use the extra space to print Judge Parker large enough for the art work to show effectively, and bring back Zippy so that it can be printed large enough to be read (finally!). Then add My Cage as a new strip, and life will be better all around in the WaPo universe.

Posted by: seismic-2 | April 23, 2009 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Please get rid of Bo Nannas and Boondocks. Run Peanuts only on Sundays. Bring back the new For Better or for Worse and One Big Happy.

Posted by: fruitloop1 | April 23, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Absolutely keep:

Agnes
Baby Blues
Doonesbury
Sally Forth
Zits

The rest? Well, frankly, WP, I don't give a darn.

Posted by: BraleyPJ | April 23, 2009 9:34 AM | Report abuse

Comics in the daily WaPo:

Strips: Garfield, Zits, Prickly City, Non Sequitur, Big Nate, Beetle Bailey,Tank McNamara, Judge Parker, Candorville, Cul de Sac, Amazing Spiderman, Watch Your Head, Baby Blues, On The Fastrack, Pearls Before Swine, Mutts, Red and Rover, Frank & Ernest, Classic Peanuts, Rhymes With Orange,Lio, Hagar the Horrible, Blondie, Dilbert, Frazz, Get Fuzzy, Pickles, Mark Trail, Get Fuzzy,Baldo, Sally Forth, Sherman's Lagoon, Curtis and Brewster Rockit: Space Guy!

Panels: Close To Home, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace and Speed Bump.

The Posts fill out the rest of the two pages with Sudoku, Scrabble, Jumble Crossword, Horoscopes,Crossword Puzzle, Bridge and the Sudoku/Scrabble Grab Solution from a previous day.

Posted by: catman2530 | April 23, 2009 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Pay attention...Bo Nannas and Boondocks haven't been in the Post for some time.

Posted by: catman2530 | April 23, 2009 9:46 AM | Report abuse

And, for the record, Doonesbury runs in the Style section, just now on the two comics pages.

Posted by: catman2530 | April 23, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Kill Prickly City (it actually died a long time ago; put us out of its misery)and all zombie strips. Return Zippy and Pooch, and add Weingarten's new strip.

Posted by: CafeBeouf | April 23, 2009 10:00 AM | Report abuse

Restore Pooch Cafe. Restore Agnes. Lose Watch Your Head. Move Tank to sports pages.

Posted by: BaileysCrossroads | April 23, 2009 10:25 AM | Report abuse

Restore Agnes. Restore Pooch Cafe. Lose Watch Your Head. Move Tank to the Sports pages.

Posted by: BaileysCrossroads | April 23, 2009 10:29 AM | Report abuse

Zippy was my favorite. It's unique, and should not have been cut. Zippy has many loyal fans. Weingarten's strip should be added. I bet Gene is a Zippy fan, too. To make room, you could always move more strips to KidsPost. How about Mutts, Red and Rover, Lio, Spiderman, Curtis? I realize that the "classics" or legacy strips have many loyal fans, so I'm willing to concede that they stay.

Posted by: Rizzy | April 23, 2009 10:52 AM | Report abuse

Judge Parker should be off limits for removal for quite some time.

Agree, strips like Peanuts, Dennis, Hagar, Frank & Ernest, etc should be removed or moved to the classifieds.

And, taking Tank to the sports section would be a good call.

Posted by: RobM1013 | April 23, 2009 10:53 AM | Report abuse

Another vote to restore Pooch Cafe and Zippy.

Another vote to kill Prickly City along with some of the zombies.

If they're going to keep Peanuts, at least pressure the syndicate for daily 50's and 60's material, not the current stuff from the 90's dead zone.

And if anybody touches Brewster Rockit, Cul de Sac or Pearls Before Swine, I'm outta here.

Posted by: Alan_A | April 23, 2009 11:14 AM | Report abuse

In my ineffable opinion:

Keep "Pearls Before Swine", "Candorville" and "Non Sequitur"

Lose "Big Nate" and "Spiderman"; give "Beetle Bailey" his honorable discharge

And let zombie strips like "Peanuts" rest in peace while publishing artists who are creating new and current material. (My personal choice to replace Snoopy and 'the round-headed kid'? "9 Chickweed Lane".)

Posted by: greggwiggins | April 23, 2009 11:26 AM | Report abuse

Lose the "legacy comics." Especially Peanuts. When Peanuts was on, especially in its earlier years, it was fantastic, but the strips the Post is running now are unfunny, unremarkable pap from what looks like sometime in the 80s when the strip had long since lost its nerve. Ditch Peanuts. Ditch Hagar, ditch Beetle. Ditch Dennis and Family Circus, which has gotten somehow even more annoying with the persistent sneaking of two levels of text into the panel and below. For goodness' sake, ditch Spidey; if you have to lose a soap strip, why can't it be the one about the most boring superhero in the world? Ditch Prickly City. I'll be happy to read conservative comics when they can be funny.

Delighted at the return of the Judge; that strip has terrific art and a real soap feel. Get Fuzzy actually has been known recently to make me laugh out loud. Bring back Zippy, but not at the current size-- the current space is just too small to do the dense art and text justice.

Posted by: MaxineofArc | April 23, 2009 1:14 PM | Report abuse

I think seismic-2 nailed it on why doing a phone poll on comics is such a mistake. It is the job of the editors of the paper to decide what strips they want to print; it's not something that 3000 possibly clueless random subscribers ought to be involved in. Frankly, given the choice of the editors to move Agnes--which, hello, is not a kids' strip!!--to KidsPost, makes me wonder if the comics editors are up to the job either. Red and Rover would have been a far more obvious choice.

So, I'd like to see Zippy back, but it wouldn't work in the tiny space. I miss Pooch Cafe. Funny how no one is mentioning the loss of the Piranha Club. Jeez, I feel bad for Bud Grace, but I don't miss it either!

Strips I really like: Candorville, Pearls, Fuzzy, Judge Parker, Lio, Pickles, Brewster Rockit, Agnes, Cul de Sac, Big Nate.

Strips that make me ask, "Why, oh why are these still in the paper?": Classic Freakin' Peanuts, Hagar, Family Circus, Dennis the Menace, Curtis, On the Fastrack, Frank & Earnest, Spider-Man, Prick City, Mark Trail, Beetle Bailey.

As someone else said, the 1950s/60s Peanuts strips would be better than the sludge from the 80s, but they're too rectangular to fit in a modern paper.

Posted by: stickler | April 23, 2009 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Restore Zippy (my favorite).

Best of what's left: Pearls Before Swine, Rhymes With Orange, Brewster Rockit, Get Fuzzy, Frazz, Candorville, Agnes (restore her to the main page!)

So bad it's good: Mark Trail

Absolute worst: Prickly City, Family Circus, Red And Rover, Hagar The Horrible, Beetle Bailey.

Walking dead: Peanuts, Dennis The Menace.

Posted by: Theophylact | April 23, 2009 4:44 PM | Report abuse

There are only two strips that I would actively lobby for removal from the Post: Beetle Bailey and Classic Peanuts. Beetle for its frequently offensive (sexist) content, and Peanuts for using reruns to take the space of real, living artists.

I don't read the serials, but I know others enjoy them, so I don't mind their staying.

My favorite strips at the moment are: Cul de Sac, Candorville, Non Sequitur, Pearls Before Swine, Frazz, Sally Forth, Brewster Rockit, and Doonesbury.

Then there are many more in the middle that I would be sad to see go but probably wouldn't raise much fuss. I felt that way about Pooch Cafe.

Posted by: oceanchild | April 24, 2009 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Brewster Rockit is the best. By far.

Posted by: spudart | April 24, 2009 11:59 AM | Report abuse

CUT: Peanuts, Dennis the Menace, Beetle Bailey and Prickly City.

RESTORE IMMEDIATELY: Pooch Cafe.

Posted by: greasypores | April 24, 2009 12:38 PM | Report abuse

A few comments on the canceled strips:


Pooch Cafe - This strip grew on me since you added it, and I think it's very good and definitely should be kept.
Piranha Club - Used to have some good moments, it seems to be the same gag over and over nowadays.
Judge Parker - Good riddance, never read it.
Little Dog Lost - I have no idea why it was added. Has never once been funny, charming, or anything interesting. I gave up on it a while back
Brevity - Not the best of the single panels; Close to Home should appear daily.
Zippy - I will miss Zippy, but I can understand its limited appeal.


If you were canceling strips, I would recommend the following ones:


Classic Peanuts - I hate to say it becuase it would be missed, but at least give a living artist the space.
Frank & Ernest - Similar gags over and over.
Mother Goose - Another strip that has outlived its humor.
Cul de Sac - I guess I just don't get its charm.
Agnes - I keep hoping this strip will have some humor, but it fails again and again. Nothing remotely funny. I try to avert my eyes from it like a bad car accident.

Posted by: agefen | April 24, 2009 3:49 PM | Report abuse

Any strip that returns to its beginnings because the writer has run out of ideas needs to be cancelled. The Washington Post had the sense to cancel For Better or Worse. It should have had the sense to cancel Spiderman.

I agree that Agnes isn't suitable for Kids Post. Garfield or Classic Peanuts would be better choices, since we seem to be stuck with them, and kids may not be old enough to have read the same jokes over and over and over. Hagar and Beetle Bailey, however, are bad influences, and should not be inflicted upon innocent eyes. :-)

My favorites: Cul-de-Sac, Brewster Rocket, Pearls, Rhymes with Orange.

Posted by: magicdomino | April 24, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

agefen>>:

Pay attention. They "uncanceled" Judge Parker.

Posted by: catman2530 | April 24, 2009 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Please keep the number of comics you've
got now. I'm envied by friends outside the
Post subscription area for having a big
comics page. They're very very rare.

Add/bring back: Zippy, Apartment 3G,
Pooch Cafe, 6 Chix, Knight Life (daily,
not just Sunday). Open to more new
ones!

Must keep: Pearls Before Swine, Zits,
Frazz, Get Fuzzy, Judge Parker,
Candorville, Brewster Rockit, Mutts,
Rhymes with Orange, Cul de Sac,
Mark Trail (so we can keep discussing),
Sunday: Knight Life, Foxtrot

Drop: Family Circus, Dennis
the Menace, Beetle Bailey, Hagar the
Horrible.

I have mixed views on Peanuts: why not
put Peanuts and Garfield in Kids Post
as "gateway" comics? It seems like
a good rationale for them staying.

I have a mixed view on Blondie: much
of the time it is a zombie and then
it perks up and seems lively. But on
the whole, it should go.

I really like the comic strip form;
it takes a lot for me to totally write
one off on personal taste. This is
my short list of personal writeoffs:
Prickly City, Watch Your Head, Lio,
Spider-Man, and Baldo

Posted by: alicezzon | April 26, 2009 12:46 AM | Report abuse

I've been reading comics for roughly 65 years, which makes me something of a connoisseur. Apart from recycled Peanuts, the present offerings aren't much compared to The Toonerville Trolley, Terry and the Pirates, Lil Abner, Pogo, Calvin and Hobbes, and The Far Side. Zippy is a contender, so of course he was thrown out.

Bring back Zippy! Bring back Zippy! Bring back Zippy!

Doonesbury should be restored to a place of honor among comics, not exiled to the gossip page. Trash Lio, Watch Your Head, Prickly City, and one-joke Beetle Bailey. Put the daily Mark Trail out of its misery. Consolidate all the antiques and kids' strips on one page -- makes them easier to skip

Better to have a few good, full-sized comics than a slew of scrunched up bad ones.

Posted by: MerlinCrab | April 26, 2009 7:45 AM | Report abuse

Agnes needs to be back with her comic friends. She is not a kids strip and never should have been moved. If you need to move a strip, Garfield or Peanuts or Dennis the Menace would be better choices. Children do not get Agnes and we need her in our adult world.

Posted by: Bzzzzzz475 | April 27, 2009 5:48 PM | Report abuse

As a Washington Post Home Delivery subscriber, bringing Zippy back would go a long way toward guaranteeing my subscription renewal. If not, my renewal may be in doubt.

Zippy stands out with a unique perspective, distinct flavor and content that is topically and socially relevant.

So many of the other comics that remain are so much alike. Not to unnecessarily pick on any single one, but would many folks really miss "Frank and Ernest"?

Posted by: molenda | April 28, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Well.... Agnes needs to be back home on the comics page. I agree she is not a comic for KidsPost but is a wonderful comic for the rest of us. Original, funny, timely, artistic. Restore her now. Perhaps you could trash Hagar the alcoholic or Beetle the sexist. Family Circus would be a good alternative for the kids. Time to get rid of legacy strips like Peanuts. Thanks for cancelling For Better or For Worse. About time. Now let's get Agnes back.

Posted by: Birdgirl31 | April 28, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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