The Post's new Sunday funnies lineup: What hath change wrought?
The official 'Riffs question of the day, my fellow Sunday funnies fans: "Why-oh-why was the beautifully and substantively artistic 'Mutts' comic moved inside today and squeezed within an inch of its life?"
Braving such treacherous elements as slick ice, tall snowbanks and dicey re-pagination, that query comes to Comic Riffs from an impassioned reader. To which my first instinct is to reply: What do you think, folks?
Nothing says "Happy New Year!" in journalism quite like a sudden slicing-and-dicing of your visual reading habit (speaking here, of course, largely to those of you who actually see The Post's print funnies).
With the new year, The Post changed paginators -- a.k.a. those folks from an outside company who handle the layout and production of the physical Sunday funnies -- a move that provided the ready opportunity to shuffle the cartoon deck visually.
Part of the change involved the new Sudoku puzzle, "Sudoku Monster," but for comics readers, some of the most glaring switcheroos were:
(1) "Sherman's Lagoon" moved to the section's front page, assuming the slot of "Mutts" -- which was transplanted to Page-7 and shrunk considerably.
(2) To create a five-strip front page instead of a four-comic page, "Baby Blues" moved to the front; which...
(3) Meant "Doonesbury" was converted to a vertical strip, running down much of the front page's right-hand side.
(4) Also particularly notable: "Pearls Before Swine" now runs at a larger size (still inside).
(5) And "Beetle Bailey" moves several pages farther back in the section.
As I read the shuffled section, some of my initial reactions are:
(1) Call me a creature of habit, but I'm still not a big fan of reading multiple-panel strips vertically (a la the new "Doonesbury" configuration) -- especially strips with a relative degree of wordiness. Not that I'm not willing to work a little bit for a good strip, but simply put: The flow interrupts the funny. (If that makes sense to you: Great. If not, you're not likely bothered by the vertical vicissitude and can just skip to the next reaction, which is...
(2) Huzzahs for Jerry Scott! Having two -- count 'em, two -- strips ( "Zits" and "Baby Blues") on a Sunday section's front page, both "above the fold," is no mean feat. Congrats, Jerry.
(3) As for the Big Question Du Jour, I'll need a coupla more weeks to see whether the "Sherman"-for-"Mutts" swap does anything for me. The explanation for the switch, as provided by Post editors, was: "Mutts," with its Zenlike simplicity, cedes its front-page space to the wordier "Sherman's Lagoon."
But that's of no consolation to the said impassioned reader, who writes of her plight in, well, impassioned fashion: "Mutts," with "its usual mixed message of humor, peace and respect for nature is surely more worthy than its replacement, 'Sherman's Lagoon.' "
IS it? Comic Riffs is curious to hear what you think, Sunday funnies fans...
| January 5, 2010; 9:05 AM ET
Categories: The Comic Strip, The Morning Line | Tags: Baby Blues, Doonesbury, Mutts, Sherman's Lagoon
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