As usual when we’re too busy to post, we’ll just try to distract you with pretty pictures. Courtesy of ASIFA-Hollywood Animation Archive — gaze upon the newspaper comic strip sections of yore and weep, weep, weep.


  1. You know, Beatster, I have to disagree with you a little here. Those drawings are better, but I honestly just don’t think that super great art is what is needed in strips. I like where they are at these days. Though it would be nice to have a real contrast of foreground and background on the level that Bill Watterson brought to the table in C & H

  2. It isn’t just the art… it’s the variety of styles, the range of subject matter, the quality of the layouts, the sheer scale of the pages and the sense of fun. It’s easy to single out one or two recent strips and one or two aspects that modern newspaper comics have going for them, but if you look at the overall picture, there’s just no contest. The point is to compare a typical Sunday section from 70 years ago to today’s Sunday section. Do that this weekend and see what kind of differences you find.

  3. I know this has been brought up many times before, but the strips in today’s paper are printed so small!

    What gives with that, is it really such a money saver for a newspaper to cram many tiny comic strips onto a page, but print them so small that it is hard for half the reading audience to see the printing?

    It’s as if the publishers know that readers want the strips, but page space is so darn precious, that the strips are run very small (1.5″ x 5.625″ each in my local paper text size about 6 pt).

    I find this to be one of the major differences in appearance between the past and present of strips in papers.

  4. I imagine that only the number-crunchers can produce allged proofs that the papers are actually saving money by conserving precious ad space, as against whatever money they might lose from readers who stop buying the paper because of the shrunken comics.

    Admittedly, a lot of people probably don’t bother buying the cow (the newspaper) when they can get the milk free (Internet strip reprints).

  5. My theory is that newspaper editors, after years of journalism school, reporting and editorial positions, received invitations to do lectures — and were surprised, threatened and resentful when they were asked questions about comic strips rather than news coverage. Solution? Minimize the threat by making it smaller and smaller each year.

    Btw, King Features’ emailed DailyINK feature is quite a bargain: Your choice of new strips, vintage strips and editorial cartoons for only $15 a year.

  6. Funny, since many readers have claimed that the first thing they turn to is the comic strips. At least, that’s what they claimed in the 1980s … Maybe Bhob’s theory is on target.