‘Plain Dealer’ Overhauls Comics Section

By: Dave Astor

The Plain Dealer of Cleveland overhauled a whopping 25% of its comics lineup, adding nine features and dropping 10 — including perennials such as “Cathy,” “Shoe,” and “Dennis the Menace.”

“Some of the comics have been around for a long time and were getting tired, and there’s so much new material,” said Plain Dealer Editor Doug Clifton, who noted that this was the paper’s first major funnies restructuring since 1989.

Most changes were based on the results of a recent Plain Dealer survey that drew more than 10,000 responses. But some comics that did poorly in the reader poll were kept because the paper wants a mix of comics that appeal to various demographics and interests, according to Assistant Managing Editor/Features Elizabeth McIntyre.

Top finishers in the survey included “Crankshaft” and “For Better or For Worse.”

The nine comics added were “Get Fuzzy,” “Agnes,” “Rhymes With Orange,” “Cornered,” “Cleats,” “Frazz,” “Rudy Park,” “PreTeena,” and “Flo & Friends.”
Those canceled — in addition to “Cathy,” “Dennis,” and “Shoe” — included “Sylvia,” “Close to Home,” “Ask Shagg,” “Magic Eye,” “Slylock Fox,” “Judge Parker,” and “The Amazing Spider-Man.”

The pulling of the last two drew the most reader protests, but the response wasn’t large enough for The Plain Dealer to reinstate them. But the paper did bring back the kid-oriented “Mini Page” after discontinuing it in December.

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