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Posted at 12:10 PM ET, 06/16/2009

You Be the Editor: What Should Be the Fate of 'Family Circus'?

By Michael Cavna

'FAMILY CIRCUS' (KFS)Enlarge Image

In her introduction to "Best American Comics 2008," cartoonist Lynda Barry -- in editing the anthology -- professes her fanlove and attachment and devotion to "Family Circus" and "one of the greatest of all time," Bil Keane. The power of the portal, she terms it, referring to that strip's circle as a window to a compelling world.

On the flip side are those who wish the "Circus" would leave town. As 'Riffs commenter "adrienne_najjar" posted here yesterday: "Someone should kill off The Family Circus once and for all. What an inane collection of garbage."

The one argument I make for "Circus" is that, at least at this stage in its long career, it is primarily a children's comic -- the funnypages' version of "Mr. Rogers," a gateway cartoon for mostly the pre-tween set.

So the Official 'Riffs Reader Question of the Day is: If you're the empowered Post Editor, do you move "Family Circus" to the KidsPost page, where it would be housed with much of its intended audience? OR: Do you keep "Family Circus" right where it is?

The unspoken option, of course, is not running "Family Circus" at all. For that option, I'll let you do the speaking.

By Michael Cavna  | June 16, 2009; 12:10 PM ET
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Ideally, get rid of it. Otherwise bring Frazz back to the main comics page and put FC on the Kids Post page.

Posted by: steveh46 | June 16, 2009 12:21 PM | Report abuse

Put it on the Kids Page if you're going to keep it. But I would dump it, along with all of the legacy strips.

Posted by: tomtildrum | June 16, 2009 12:40 PM | Report abuse

While I am tempted to say let the Family Circus have a quick sugary death I then realized without FC what would Stephen Pastis have to parodied in "Pearls Before Swine."

One of my all time favorites is the Osama bin Laden followed Jeffy home strips. My God I almost needed reconstructive surgery from laughing so hard!

Posted by: dre7861 | June 16, 2009 12:53 PM | Report abuse

Move FC and Peanuts to the kids page and bring back Frazz. I cannot say this strongly enough.

Posted by: marybindc | June 16, 2009 1:08 PM | Report abuse

I vote for C -- not running Family Circle at all. It's a good start.

Posted by: JodiReeves | June 16, 2009 1:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry -- Family Circus has had its day. I can't look at it anymore without thinking that Thel is no longer with us. Frazz is one of the best -- display it prominently on the comics page, and move Family Circus, Classic Peanuts, etc., to the kids' page. And bring back Piranha Club and Zippy.

Posted by: evilade | June 16, 2009 1:24 PM | Report abuse

Cut it or move it. It doesn't belong on a quality cartoon page.

And boy do I agree with the above: Bring Frazz back to the regular page! It has no relevance to the KidsPost. The target ages of Frazz and KidsPost don't match. KidsPost seems to be aimed at 2nd graders, and Frazz is clearly not. Find another juvenile strip for KP if you must.

Of course if we're cutting stuff, I cut KP and FC.

Posted by: JkR- | June 16, 2009 1:29 PM | Report abuse

Before reading a single comment...move Family Circus to the Kid's Page. It will all be cute and funny to them, just like Peanuts. And, dispite the critics, Lio and Pearls can be moved out..deleted. nuff said.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | June 16, 2009 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Reduce Family Circus to the size of a period and put Frazz back on the comics page.

Posted by: fulletk | June 16, 2009 1:49 PM | Report abuse

It's terrible. Get rid of it! ALL papers should get rid of it!

Posted by: doobrah | June 16, 2009 2:07 PM | Report abuse

Family Circus has never, ever been funny. Get rid of it! I'd also love to see the last of Prickly City and Lio.

Posted by: teapotsmom | June 16, 2009 2:13 PM | Report abuse

Family Circus is not for kids. It is for grandparents and great-grandparents who are still a little irked that Lawrence Welk is no longer on the air.

Posted by: goldbergjeffrey | June 16, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

If it gets frazz back on the main comics pages, I'd drop family circus..

Posted by: k5user | June 16, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

Keep it. I like it. I read it.

Posted by: jeb4 | June 16, 2009 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Keep FC. It would be a welcome addition to the kids page.

So many readers who are now adults forget how a comic forges impressions on a young readership.

Billy is the anti-"Dennis the Menace".

Keeping FC allows for intergenerational comics to continue. I used to like Nancy and Sluggo and Gasoline Alley as a kid, the same comics my parents grew up with. We could talk about them.

My Dad and I, until he died, would talk about Prince Valiant as well. I miss those chats, but still follow PV.

Of course, now the internet is my source for Ziggy and Zippy.

Posted by: ziggyzippy | June 16, 2009 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Kill Family Circus and Peanuts.

Please print Get Fuzzy in a large, color format.

Posted by: SatchelPooch | June 16, 2009 2:32 PM | Report abuse

Keep it. FC and the other "legacy" strips are the only reason I still read the Comics section anymore. The vast majority of the newer comic strips are NOT funny.

My local paper that I read on Sundays along with the Post recently apparently dumped Garfield entirely. I'm probably never going to read that paper again on Sunday.

I would also not be surprised if a study showed that the majority of readers of Sunday comics are over 30 like myself. We like the comics we grew up with, including FC.

Posted by: CJMARTIN04 | June 16, 2009 2:33 PM | Report abuse

If it has to be kept, move it to the kids' page. But the Post should stop recycling strips by dead cartoonists (Ketcham, Schultz, Thaves), and should drop ones that haven't changed their time-frame in thirty years (Beetle Bailey, Blondie, Mark Trail). I also don't understand the idea behind Red and Rover; it might as well be drawn by a dead artist, since it seems to be happening in the era of black-and-white TV.

Posted by: Theophylact | June 16, 2009 2:35 PM | Report abuse

I guess this is really just a popularity contest. Either you like a strip or you don't. My personal take is, whenever someone tells me how bad a comic strip is, I reply, "At least it's not as bad as The Family Circus."

Posted by: GordonCash | June 16, 2009 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"Frazz" is a much better cartoon than "The Family Circus." I would not be sad to see the latter end its long run in your pages.

Posted by: Heron | June 16, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Family Circus should be kept. It is good for all ages.It along with Pickles makes me smile everyday.

Most of the "comics" are not worth even looking at.


Posted by: marjdonna | June 16, 2009 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Agree with the above. Move FC to Kids Post and Frazz back to the main pages.

Lio is a very tired strip. It's the same thing in a different manifestation every single day. Nothing new. Same with Beetle Bailey and Blondie.

Red and Rover is cute, but nostalgic for a time that today's kids wouldn't get.

Posted by: scottiedog | June 16, 2009 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Keep it. And bring back Cathy too.

Posted by: lgp2 | June 16, 2009 3:07 PM | Report abuse

Keep FC. Like Mutts, it's a nice antidote to self-important cynicism and pseudo-sophistication.

Posted by: cee-dub | June 16, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

Family Circus is one of the first comics I look for along with Frazz,Dennes,Penuts,Judge Parker, Spider Man and Rex Morgan. Ops, Rex is gone. I truly enjoy all of the "Legacy"strips. Then again I'm over 15 and a conservative professional. I have a suggestion. Why not put all of these "Legacy" comics on the Kids Page where the young at heart could enjoy them. Maybe then you could bring back Boondocks.

Posted by: FredMacIntyre | June 16, 2009 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I like FC. I also like Terry & the Pirates, Dick Tracy, Buck Rogers and the cartoons on the opinion pages.

I started learning how to read by reading the opinion page of a newspaper. Some folks at that age are stuck on Dick and Jane, while I was wondering how President Kennedy was dealing with foreign policy issues. Needless to say, debating one of my primary / elementary school teachers did have it's moments.

I believe that what you see and read are very important in the early years, because it is appreciated in the later years.

I say, keep running those comics, including FC. To those who are having problems with re-runs, if major network TV was so hot, why are their cable channels such as Retro, that are very popular?

Posted by: Computer_Forensics_Expert_Computer_Expert_Witness | June 16, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I enjoy Family Circus. Please keep it.

Posted by: AFriendofNY | June 16, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

Kill it, along with Peanuts, and make room for new cartoonists. I liked FC once...when I was 7. If you have to keep it, put it with the KP section.

Frazz is brilliant. Move that one back into the limelight!

Posted by: drixl | June 16, 2009 3:12 PM | Report abuse

Put Family Circus and Dennis the Menace on KidsPost and move Frazz back where it belongs.

It's ridiculous that Frazz is not published at all in Friday and Saturday papers.

Posted by: eandab2003 | June 16, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

It shouldn't be pushed into Kids' Post because it might come back, like a zombie.

Instead, it should be pushed into the Potomac river with its feet in a block of cement.

--unless the EPA decides that increasing the sugar level of the water THAT much would harm the fish.

On the other hand, if someone wants to draw "zombie circus" where the formerly-cute little kids shuffle off to school saying "braaaains!", then that would be okay.

--faye kane, homeless brain.
Read more of my smartmouth opinions at

Posted by: Knee_Cheese_Zarathustra | June 16, 2009 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Keep Frazz and Lio and bring back Boondocks. I like the idea of reducing FC to the size of a period to make room. If not, I agree with moving the strips that younger readers appreciate to KP. Although my 2 kids like Baby Blues, and I'd like to keep that in the main comics.

Posted by: mksfromvienna | June 16, 2009 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Family Circus is so stupid. In fact, it's so stupid that I had no idea the creator was dead.

Posted by: MisterJ8 | June 16, 2009 3:36 PM | Report abuse

Move it to the Kids Page. It has worn out its welcome. If you want to bring back any back, then bring back Calvin. Now that was a funny comic strip.

Posted by: sue1047 | June 16, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

I'm with the others. Put Frazz back on the main comics page and move FC to the Kid's page. Really, who thinks that Frazz is a kid's comic? Also bring back Liberty Meadows to the print edition, that's a great comic.

Posted by: mdtedeschi | June 16, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Boondocks hasn't been done for years - if you see it appearing anywhere, it's a legacy strip too, just like papers that still run Calvin and Hobbes. Or say, Peanuts, for example.

Posted by: Mrhode | June 16, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

hating Family Circus is the only thing that all four generations of my family can agree on.

Posted by: olsonchr | June 16, 2009 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Family Circus needs to go to the kids page. No doubt about it.

Posted by: dawndeprey_garcia | June 16, 2009 4:22 PM | Report abuse

- Move Frazz back to the comics page. It's not written for young kids.
- Move Peanuts to the Kids Page.
- Save some money and dump Family Circus.

Posted by: NLabbe | June 16, 2009 4:30 PM | Report abuse

Today's FC wasn't even the least bit funny. It's just a kid being traumatized by watching his parents fight over money. More Horror Show than Circus.

Posted by: yellojkt | June 16, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

What's with all the hatin' on Lio? Reuben winner!
Family Circus to the Kid's Page, where it belongs.

Posted by: jimbo1949 | June 16, 2009 5:09 PM | Report abuse

I don't often bother to read Family Circus anymore, and when I do, it's not funny.

But for God's sake, KEEP IT!

When I was a kid, I used to read the comics because they had strips like FC, Peanuts, Beetle Bailey, Dennis, etc., that I could understand and enjoy. However, while looking for these strips, I would always stop and read (and try and understand) the others all around them, even though some of these (like Doonesbury) were above my head at that time. As I got older, I came to appreciate these strips as well and gravitated more and more towards them, gradually leaving FC, et al., behind. So I like to think of FC as a necessary stepping stone for bringing new generations into the comics page.

Posted by: NotDoc | June 16, 2009 6:20 PM | Report abuse

Following up on my comment about Family Circus as a stepping stone, I have to admit that what probably hooked me in the comics for good was the fact that my adolescence and teen years coincided with the first few years of Garfield (when it was funny and original) and the appearances of Bloom County, the Far Side, and Calvin & Hobbes. Those last three alone made everything else worth it.

Posted by: NotDoc | June 16, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

I never saw Frazz before. I just read 16 (all of this month's) strips.
I don't think it is as funny as Family Circus. My vote is for the Times-Picayune, my local newspaper, to keep Family Circus and forget about Frazz.

Posted by: janye1 | June 16, 2009 6:32 PM | Report abuse

Todd Gaines:There you are, enjoying your comics, when all of a sudden there's the Family Circus just waiting to suck, and ruin your whole experience.

Claire:Then why don't you just not read it?

Todd Gaines:I hate it, but I'm compelled to read it.
— Dialogue from the movie Go

Surprised nobody has mentioned this classic description of "Family Circus" and one that exactly sums up my feelings about the strip.

I say keep it. At the risk of missing out on it myself, however, it seems to be the perfect strip for KidsPost.

Posted by: kmg27 | June 16, 2009 7:02 PM | Report abuse

The ever-shrinking comics pages deserve to showcase talent that's at least alive. Put FC on the kids page, bring Frazz back to its rightful spot, and please, puh-LEEZE remove Peanuts and Dennis the Menace and at least give us Zippy again!

Posted by: gchester | June 16, 2009 8:44 PM | Report abuse

I vote for FC to go play outside (not stay on the main comics pages). yes to a kids / intergenerational block in the kids post - peanuts / FC / Dennis. Bring Frazz back where it belongs.

Posted by: alicezzon | June 16, 2009 11:24 PM | Report abuse

First, restore Frazz to where it belongs.

Second, put the Piranha Club on the Kiddies page. Have some respect for Jersey.

Third, put a bleeping torch to the following strips:

* The 5th Wave
* Adam
* Agnes
* Andy Capp
* Apartment 3-G
* B.C.
* Baby Blues
* Baldo
* Barney Google
* Beetle Bailey
* Bizarro
* Bo Nanas
* Brewster Rockit
* Brevity
* Broom Hilda
* Cathy
* Cornered
* Cul de Sac
* Dennis the Menace
* Doonesbury
* F Minus
* The Flying McCoys
* For Better or For Worse
* Foxtrot
* Frank & Ernest
* The Fusco Brothers
* Garfield
* Get Fuzzy
* Hagar the Horrible
* Hi and Lois
* In the Bleachers
* The Lockhorns
* Marvin
* Mary Worth
* Momma
* Non Sequitur
* On the Fastrack
* One Big Happy
* Opus (It's the same strip every day---literally)
* The Other Coast
* Overboard
* Pearls Before Swine
* The Phantom
* Pickles
* Real Life Adventures
* Red and Rover
* Rex Morgan, M.D.
* Richard's Poor Almanack
* Sherman's Lagoon
* Single and Looking
* Six Chix
* Slylock Fox
* Speed Bump
* Stone Soup
* The Wizard of Id

That'll give you a bit of breathing space to restore the rest of them to their right size.

Fourth, bring back Dreams of the Rarebit Fiend, a strip that makes "Get Fuzzy" seem like The Family Circus by comparison. And since it's a Sunday strip, run it in place of all the op-ed drivel in the A section.

BTW here's a sample for you unenlightened zombies:

Posted by: andym108 | June 17, 2009 7:09 AM | Report abuse

The Family Circus is no longer particularly funny, at least for adults. Move it to KidsPost or eliminate it. Peanuts, however, has always been targeted at an adult audience and should stay exactly where it is.

Posted by: ALoyolaCC | June 17, 2009 7:14 AM | Report abuse

Keep Family Circus. The humor is gentle and insightful. There is a need for balance on the comics page, just as in the rest of the paper.

Posted by: PAreader | June 17, 2009 7:48 AM | Report abuse

Keep FC. I grew up with that strip and love it. Lose Lio, Prickly City, Zippy and other stupid strips like those. The comics page has removed some good comic strips. Keep Garfied and Pearls.

Posted by: Garrin555 | June 17, 2009 8:30 AM | Report abuse

Honestly, who likes being preached to about how bad and stupid anyone who isn't a bicyclist is? Frazz has never been funny, only preachy. That being said, Family Circus and Peanuts could certainly go on the kids page, and I am a huge Peanuts fan. But don't bring Frazz back, just let it and Prickly City die a well deserved death.

Posted by: keepwastingmoney | June 17, 2009 8:59 AM | Report abuse

Please keep it. I love it. I love it when "the kids" draw the strip. Everybody is going so fast with life and are so jaded, we tend to forget about the sweetness. I know I will be blasted for this but I am tired of the weird comics and the jaded cartoonists!

Posted by: cains | June 17, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Please either move it or kill it. Bring Frazz back to the real comics page and start looking for good, local strips to take the place of the legacy strips. Spider Man should have be dropped when they reset the strip.

Posted by: buckeye96 | June 17, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Why comment? It's depressingly clear the Post's comics editor neither "gets it" nor gives a damn.

Posted by: drewdane | June 17, 2009 1:02 PM | Report abuse

andym108 namesd 36 of my favorittes. Glad of differing outlooks...but Lio and Pearls just have to go.

Posted by: ZeldaJane | June 17, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

Keep Family Circus, and also rerun old William F. Buckley, and Mother Teresa columns.

Newspapers are for 20th Century nostalgia, not for new ideas.

Posted by: greasypores | June 17, 2009 9:00 PM | Report abuse

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