Tuesday, May 20, 2014

5.20.14 Bee-otch of the Day: New York Post

Bee-otch of the Day honors are awarded Monday through Thursday, Bee-otch of the Week is awarded Friday on Chuck69.com.



Name: The New York Post
Age: 213
Occupation: purveyors of paper for your bird to poop on
Last Seen: New York, NY
Bee-otched For: losing the only thing it had that was worth reading
---For years, the New York Post has been nothing more than a paper that was only good for wrapping fish or birdcage liner. But now, there's seven less reasons to read the Post:

They've dumped their daily comics.

Now, what's a newspaper without a comics section? OK, there's their leftie rival the New York Times which avoids comics like the plague, but they're special. The Post carried some comics page standards such as GarfieldDennis the Menice and The Wizard of Id, plus Rhymes With OrangeNon SequiturHeart of the City and Mallard Fillmore. Now, granted, Fillmore is a right-leaning strip like the Post itself, but in all, it's still a part of comic strip Americana.

In all, the Post carried only seven comics. Yep, seven. That's the equivalent of, say, a small-town paper that only prints six days per week and its front page headline is something to the tune of "Sally picked a flower by the side of a tree". But there's probably a good reason why the Post dropped their seven sole strips: $$$$.

Sadly, it ain't cheap to carry the funnies, especially strips that are older than most of us. Take Beetle Bailey, for example. It's been around since 1951 and still drawn by his 91-year-old creator, Mort Walker. Some papers have dropped the strip over the years because its distributor, King Features Syndicate - and others - charge a "legacy rate" for papers that are long-time carriers of that strip. Sometimes, when a paper drops an older strip and adds a new one, readers end up fuming at the paper, begging them to bring the comic back. Same thing happened many years ago to my old hometown paper, the Traverse City Record-Eagle: they dropped the daily edition of Beetle but brought him back after readers complained.

The Record-Eagle - like many other papers - have dropped and added strips over the years. Recently, they dropped For Better or For Worse mainly because that strip has been in repeats since its author, Lynn Johnston retired several years ago. Its replacement is Zits, a strip about a teenage boy. A few years ago when Cathy ceased because of the retirement of creator Cathy Guisewite, the R-E asked readers to vote for its replacement. Five strips were tested, including Get Fuzzy and Thatababy about a devilish baby. The winner was Pickles, which is about senior citizens and is written by Brian Crane, a senior citizen himself.

When the R-E interviewed readers about Pickles winning, it appeared that most of those readers were... (drum roll please) OVER THE AGE OF 70! Then again, when the Sunday comics section of the R-E contains mostly comics that have been around for over 50 years like BlondieBeetle BaileyAndy Capp and The Family Circus, it's a given that not a lot of youngsters read the Sunday funnies anymore, and heaven forbid if something edgy like Pearls Before Swine - which the R-E carries daily but not Sunday - ends up on that section.

But if the R-E still wants to carry old strips and has the money to carry them, God bless 'em. At least the people who draw those strips try their hardest to keep it modern. Heck, I'll even admit that Johnny Hart's grandsons have done a marvelous job with B.C. after his passing. It's not as littered with alienating religious crap as it once was.

But the sad thing remains: the New York Post is still without the funnies.

The average age of the comics carried in the Post's comics section was 32; Dennis the Menace was the oldest (63) with Heart of the City being the youngest (17). But since the Postis in the biggest newspaper market in America, the syndicates probably wanted too much and the Post didn't want to pay up. But since the Post's owner, Rupert Murdoch is stinkin' rich, it proves that he'd rather spend his money trashing Obama over allowing readers to know if Garfield knocked Odie off the table again or if Dennis pissed off Mr. Wilson. Thankfully, most comics are online as-is (i.e. GoComics.com) and since I haven't read a paper in ages (especially since The Grand Rapids Press brown noses the Republicans), people in New York should cry not.

But the question is, will the comic strip survive the next 50 years? Sadly, young 20- and 30-somethings like me don't spend much time reading the paper, if at all. Many of the great strips of the 1980's and 90's - The Far SideCalvin and Hobbes and Bloom County - are long gone. Personally, my favorite "new" comic is Lio - drawn by Mark Tatulli who also draws Heart of the City - but it doesn't have the same following Calvin had back in the day.

Unless papers and syndicates do something, resistance is futile.


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