‘FoxTrot’ to Become a Sunday-Only Comic This Month

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By: Dave Astor

Bill Amend will turn “FoxTrot” into a Sunday-only comic starting Dec. 31 in order to devote more time to other creative pursuits, Universal Press Syndicate announced today.

Universal introduced Amend’s daily/Sunday strip in 1988, and it passed the 1,000-newspaper mark in 1999. (Fewer than 20 comics have a four-figure client list.) “FoxTrot” stars the Fox family, including brainy 10-year-old Jason.

“After spending close to half of my life writing and drawing ‘FoxTrot’ cartoons, I think it’s time I got out of the house and tried some new things,” Amend said in a statement. “I love cartooning and I absolutely want to continue doing the strip, just not at the current all-consuming pace.

“I?ve been blessed over the years with a terrific syndicate, patient newspaper clients, and more support from readers than I probably deserve, and I want to assure them all that while I’ll be now a less-frequent participant on the comics pages, I’ll continue to treat my visits as the special privilege they are.?

Amend, who is in his 40s, could not be immediately reached for further comment.

“In addition to Sunday newspapers, we may see ‘FoxTrot’ entertaining us in other kinds of media platforms,” said Lee Salem, president and editor of Universal.

Amend, a 2006 finalist for the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award as cartoonist of the year, has had more than 30 “FoxTrot” collections published.

Reruns of “FoxTrot” dailies will be available for Web usage.

What might replace the daily “FoxTrot”? E&P today received a copy of an e-mail that made it seem like Universal was offering Jan Eliot’s “Stone Soup” comic to automatically succeed “FoxTrot” unless a newspaper editor requested otherwise.

The e-mail, from a Universal sales executive to a newspaper editor, was forwarded to E&P by a third party requesting anonymity. In the message, the Universal sales executive told the editor: “Unless we hear otherwise, ‘Stone Soup’ will begin to delight your readers January 1, 2007.”

The third party forwarding the e-mail to E&P took issue with the sales approach — calling it a “dubious” effort to “slip in” a comic. The third party said a newspaper editor, because of the busy holiday season and/or using a comics pagination service, might not get around to deciding whether or not to use “Stone Soup.”

Universal, when asked for comment, said there’s no syndicate-wide effort to have “Stone Soup” automatically replace the daily “FoxTrot.” The syndicate added that its salespeople have flexibility in the way they sell features, and that this was “an isolated incident” that might have been influenced by previous e-mails or conversations between the sales executive and newspaper editor. Universal said several of its comics are being offered as possible replacements for the daily “FoxTrot.”

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