A comic changeIn late August, I asked subscribers to tell us here at The Jamestown Sun what they wanted from the comics page. I received more than 40 responses over the following month. Most were very friendly and expressed happiness at being able to have a hand in shaping their newspaper.
By: Logan Adams, The Jamestown Sun
In late August, I asked subscribers to tell us here at The Jamestown Sun what they wanted from the comics page.
I received more than 40 responses over the following month. Most were very friendly and expressed happiness at being able to have a hand in shaping their newspaper.
However, a few were not so cordial. My personal favorite was the woman who warned me over the phone — jokingly, I think — “If you even think about getting rid of ‘Garfield,’ they’ll hang you in the streets.”
Once I put the responses together and added up the votes to keep or kill each comic, a few facts stood out.
First, “Born Loser” was the most popular comic, as quite a few people asked for it to stay and it was the only comic that no one asked me to replace. Directly behind it, according to my math, were “Blondie” and “Family Circus.”
On the other end of the spectrum, “Morton Dailies” came in a clear last place with the most requests for its elimination and only one person saying it was enjoyable. And as much as some readers may want to club me for saying it, “Alley Oop” was in second-to-last place.
However, I must say the minority who wrote in to support the caveman were a very vocal group.
These numbers are open to questioning as this was an unscientific survey. I remain comfortable using them for decisions, though, because the people who sent in their lists of comics were the ones who cared most about the comics page.
After the numbers were crunched, I called up a bunch of people who had volunteered to serve on a focus group for The Sun and help me look at the current comics and evaluate potential new ones.
Five people came, included the lady who said I’d be hanged if I ever considered replacing “Garfield.” She was friendlier in person.
We went over the current comics lineup and they voted on every strip. Big surprise: They wanted “Morton Dailies” to disappear.
After that, I took out a stack of proposed comics that was several inches high and they spent the better part of the hour reading every one and critiquing them. We then went through the stack as a group and they shared their opinions with me.
Most of the new comics were a mixed vote, some were outright reviled and a few were somewhat popular.
But there was one comic that stood above the rest, one that everyone could agree was very funny and should be in this newspaper. It was the same comic that I had been showing off to folks around The Sun’s offices and it has brought audible laughter out of them almost every time.
That comic is “Tundra,” which is drawn by a fellow in Wasilla, Alaska, named Chad Carpenter. Frequent scenes involve fishing, hunting, snow, cold weather, nature, animals and general outdoor life. In short, it’s almost like he’s writing about North Dakota.
Carpenter’s comic will start running in Monday’s newspaper. And yes, that’s the same Wasilla that is Gov. Sarah Palin’s hometown.
Normally, I’d want a bigger survey response before making decisions about comics. But because of the strong call from our readers to replace “Morton Dailies” coupled with the also-strong reaction I’ve seen to “Tundra,” we are confident that this is a good choice.
I had hoped to get enough reader responses to be able to do any needed changes to the comics page all at once. Now I realize that it’s not going to be that easy.
Instead, it looks like any further changes will need to be done in careful stages, so I’m asking you to take a look at the comics page on Monday and see if you like the change. Then, look at the rest of the page and decide if it is to your liking.
Whatever you decide, I would appreciate it if you would let me know. You can contact me either by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail at:
Logan Adams — COMICS
The Jamestown Sun
P.O. Box 1760
Jamestown, ND 58402
If you want to drop them off at The Sun by hand, go ahead. We are located at 121 Third St. N.E.
Remember to print legibly or type them; unreadable letters will be fed to my garbage can.
Also, I still want to do more focus groups to review the comics page. If you’re interested in serving on one, let me know.
Whatever the case, be sure to make your opinions known to me in the next two weeks. History is decided by those who show, or speak, up.
(Logan C. Adams is the assistant editor of The Jamestown Sun. He operates the Sun’s news blog at www.areavoices.com/ adams and can be reached at 701-952-8451 or by e-mail at ladams@jamestow nsun.com)