Media watchdog Jim Romanesko was the first to catch that the New York Post had dropped its comics section. The section was wizened with age and neglect—only seven meagre strips—but evidently the Post dropped the page and hoped no one would notice. One who did was King Feature’s editor Brendan Burford:
“It caught everyone by surprise,” King Features comics editor Brendan Burford tells me. “We got zero notice.”
King, which sold three comics to the Post, was told of the move on Tuesday – the day the strips vanished. (The paper had only seven strips; King sold “Mallard Fillmore,” “Rhymes with Orange,” and “Dennis the Menace” to the Post.)
The Post hasn’t explained why it killed the section, says Burford, and King is trying to get the strips back into the paper.
“Our conversation is ongoing. …I would be shocked if they’re not hearing from readers” about the missing comics. (There’s not much of an outcry on Twitter.)
The move is especially grieving to me as the Post and the Newark Star Ledger are the papers I read as a child and the playgrounds where I learned of such Titans as Cathy and Tumbleweeds. But newspaper strips have been on the sick list for a long time, and thus far public outcry has been restricted to bloggers. Michael Cavna also investigated the case but came up with few clues.
Now, I’m not yet convinced that few people noticed. I’d hazard the scenario that thousands of New York Post readers looked to feed their daily comics demi-fix in recent days and, flustered and flummoxed, just gave up the hunt as their subway stop approached or a neighboring de Blasio headline beckoned.
I mean, it’s not as if — if reports are accurate — the Post clearly alerted its readers of the dramatic change or anything. Not even a ransom note, apparently.
If you want your strips back, complain often and early.
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.