Posts Tagged ‘Doonesbury’

Doonesbury revisited and revisited and revisited and revisited

Monday, February 17, 2014

We took a bit of criticism (and also got some praise) for dropping ‘Doonesbury’ from our comics lineup last fall.

doonesburyThere were a couple of reasons: Doonesbury was among our most expensive comics, and it had been on a lengthy hiatus as Garry Trudeau focused on a new comedy for Amazon’s digital offerings. The cost-benefit just wasn’t adding up any more.

Now comes word that ‘Doonesbury’ is going on long-term hiatus.

It seems the strip will still be available — but as reruns. Here’s the notification that editors like me got from the syndicate that distributes the strip:

As the anticipation builds leading up to Garry Trudeau’s return to the origins of “Doonesbury,” we’ve had many requests for a statement from Trudeau to help editors introduce the “Classic Doonesbury” comics to their readers, who will begin seeing these strips on March 3. Here’s what he had to say:

“Welcome to ‘Classic Doonesbury.’ In selecting the strips for this retrospective journey, we’re going deep, literally back to Day One. Revisiting four weeks of strips from every year of syndication, I hope to hit many ‘Doonesbury’ high points, focusing on how the characters (over 75 of them) got involved with one another. Since their lives have always been bound up in the events of the day, it should be a kind of déjà vu for my peers, and maybe a ‘What were you people thinking?’ for newer readers. I hope all of them will enjoy the trip.”

I know all of us here at Universal Uclick are looking forward to winding back the clock and returning to the big house by Walden Puddle where we first met Mike, Mark, B.D., Zonker, Joanie and the whole gang.



Reader reaction to dropping Doonesbury

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

We announced over the weekend that we’ll be discontinuing Doonesbury in the Charleston Daily Mail starting Nov. 4.

dbTo recap the main points: We try to keep costs low for readers, Doonesbury is one of our more expensive comics, and creator Gary Trudeau has been on hiatus since early summer, trying to wrap up a live action comedy project for Amazon. The product just didn’t seem worth the price any more.

On my end: Deliver message and brace for reaction.

To my relief, there were some questions and a little criticism but mostly acceptance of the decision.

There were a couple of congratulatory emails:

  1. Thank you if Doonesbury is truly leaving the Dailymail. For years this strip has been dedicated to serve a political agenda.  The humor left years ago.
  2. Count me among those calling (emailing) to congratulate you for dropping Doonesbury.  That strip never belonged on the comic page in the first place.

There was a reflective email, mourning the loss of the long-loved comic:

I expect dear sir that you will hear from others of those who have enjoyed Doonesbury over the years.

Trudeau may have slackened off in recent years, and I do not blame him. Just keeping up with the lives of his many characters in the strip might be exhausting. In fact I, who read the strip as one of the reasons I take the Mail can be confused as to what time period he is writing of. And to keep up with the characters is tough.

The current strip with reference to the terror of war  has real relevance.  Leo, with the traumatic head injury and his life with his PhD wife touches me.  Ray’s injury and his desire to return to battle after 17 esplosions now and then opens the gates of rage.  People gain jobs, age, and are demoted to blog for no money.  Everything about the strip moves me in some way.  Just one strip on one day can affect my thinking for hours.

I am so sorry that the expense of running the strip is too high.  I have seen fond memories of long ago strips that have been forgotten. My dad would read me Joe Palooka  (Wham, bang!!) and Dick Tracy.  L’il Abner always charmed.  Early on I knew that “Annie” was part of the editorial output of the Tribune in Chi town.  Oh, the glory.  I never miss a day reading the funnies, and I am 78 years old.  In fact, once or twice I used strips to illustrate lectures I gave to graduate students.  Remember when Rex Morgan had a woman Doc working in the ER who had AIDS?

You are so young.  You have no memory of Casper Milquetoast by Clair Briggs.  Maggie and Jiggs.  The Katzenjammer Kids and many more.

Now it is Doonesbury and companions.  Biting the dust.  Smothered by today’s harsh economy.  I should declare DOONESBURY WEEK sometime in the future.

Think!  Zonker will never gain the fruits of his royalty wig.

And an email upset with me:

Please cancel my 30+ year subscription to the Charleston Daily Mail effective after Nov. 1.  Any unused prepayment should be applied to my continuing subscription to The Charleston Gazette. The reason for the cancellation is your politically-motivated decision to cancel Doonesbury.  Hopefully, the Gazette will see fit to fill the void created by your decision.


And a bunch of tweets of reaction:








More thoughts? Share below!

Delays and Doonesbury

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Noticed any “Doonesbury” strips that seem familiar lately?

doonesburyIf so, that’s probably because creator Garry Trudeau hasn’t been cranking out new ones lately. Trudeau put his most famous creation on hiatus over the summer while he worked on a new creation — “Alpha House,” a live action comedy that has been picked up by Amazon Studios.

The pause in Doonesbury panels was originally going to be from June 10 to Labor Day.

Yesterday, newspaper editors like me got an update. Trudeau still isn’t coming back to daily comic strip pages like ours at the Charleston Daily Mail.

Here’s the email I got from Universal  Press:

Garry Trudeau has informed us that following “Doonesbury’s” return to Sunday comic pages, and as he continues to write and produce “Alpha House” for Amazon Prime, he has been forced to acknowledge a cruel reality: He’s human.

Garry writes: “I have hit the wall. This is a painful decision, but as the deadline loomed, I had to finally concede that the demands of completing the show have made it impossible for me to return to the strip on schedule. I deeply regret the inconvenience this will undoubtedly cause you, who have already shown much forbearance and patience through ‘Doonesbury’s’ absence. I greatly value your past loyalty, and look forward to returning to your pages in November.”

The bottom line is that the return of “Doonesbury” daily comics will be delayed for 10 more weeks, to the week of Nov. 18; Sundays will continue to be new and fresh. “Doonesbury Flashbacks” will give readers their daily dose of adventure from the Walden gang as we look forward to the next chapter in “Doonesbury’s” story.

So that’s the latest, comics page readers. What do you think? Are you happy to wait a few more weeks for fresh Doonesbury? Or is it time for comics pages like ours to move on? Some newspapers are using the time to sub in new comic strips to let readers sample alternatives.

I’m not a huge fan of Doonesbury. I think it’s a generational thing. I’m more of a “Bloom County,” “Calvin & Hobbes” or “Far Side” kind of guy, but alas those options are no longer available.

Anyway, I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts.