Karl Stevens’ comic page Failure has been canceled by the Boston Phoenix, where it had run since 2005. The reason, reportedly, is because the above strip insulted an advertiser, Bud Light.
It’s hard to run alternative newspapers any more, what with craigslist, and alt.comix strips have mostly moved to the web too. To see one ended because of stating something that’s been said in every bar across the world at one time or another is…sad.
Several publications have contacted the Boston Phoenix over their side of this, and they deny it was an advertiser issue; editor-in-chief Carly Carioli told the Comics Reporter:
“The Phoenix recently (in September) relaunched as a weekly magazine, after 46 years as a weekly newspaper. During the transition, I had frank and forthright conversations with Karl in which both of us questioned whether Failure was a fit for the new publication. I’ve continued to make numerous changes in the magazine as we go forward, and the end of Failure is one of several changes we’re making in the new year.”
“However, it is inaccurate that Karl has been ‘let go.’ While he is not now nor has he ever been on staff, at the time that we discontinued Failure we offered him a continuing role as an illustrator — he has been illustrating features in the magazine outside of Failure, and in fact he illustrates a major feature appearing in tomorrow’s issue.”
The Phoenix recently changed formats from a newspaper to a magazine—a last ditch effort to keep the free newsweekly tradition alive. Stevens seemed non-fussed about the cancellation, whatever the reason, in emails. “I’ll live,” he told The Beat.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.