Old Comics Never Die

Cidu Bill on Oct 22nd 2015

lila-pope.jpg

Anybody remember what the original text was?

This week, Stone Soup joined The Meaning of Tina, Peanuts, FBOFW, Peanuts, Fox Trot, Doonesbury, PreTeena, and Boondocks (which only ran originally for about a week and a half before Aaron McGruder got bored) as daily strips that are no longer being written, but are still running as repeats (or, as they’re euphemistically billed, “classics”).

(quick disclaimers: a couple of these strips still have new Sunday strips, and I’m not sure PreTeena repeats are still running — I deleted it from my bookmarks after the first rerun run completed)

Am I missing any? And are you for or against the practice of repeating old strips instead of replacing them with new strips? Granted, for most of us, who get our comics online, this makes little or no practical difference: but it would be nice, I think, if some new artists rather than Charles Schulz’s estate could make a few bucks.

Filed in Bill Bickel, Boondocks, Doonesbury, For Better and For Worse, Fox Trot, Meaning of Lila, Mutt and Jeff, Peanuts, Pope Francis, Preteena, Stone Soup, comic strips, comics, zombie comics | 37 responses so far

37 Responses to “Old Comics Never Die”

  1. Soup Dragon Oct 22nd 2015 at 05:22 pm 1

    “Meanng of Lila”?

  2. DemetriosX Oct 22nd 2015 at 05:29 pm 2

    As I understand it, Stone Soup is going the Fox Trot/Doonesbury route and will still have new Sundays. It’s too bad, because that was a strip I’ve always enjoyed. Seeing the old ones is interesting and all, but I’d prefer new material. That’s the way Greg Evans has gone. He’s been running Luann reruns in parallel.

    I don’t know what the papers that carried Stone Soup are doing, but Comics.com certainly has enough room to run reruns and new material. They just started carrying both Goats and Scenes From A Multiverse by Jon Rosenberg and give room to quite a few other webcomics as well. In related news, it looks like Apartment 3G is giving up the ghost.

    Personally, I’d rather see more new strips get exposure, but that’s the sort of thing that drives the remaining newspaper subscribers nuts. Changes to the comics page get more reader response than anything else and nobody is ever happy.

  3. Kedamono Oct 22nd 2015 at 05:30 pm 3

    I think it was one of the Dalia Llama visits to the States. It sort of matches his teachings.

  4. guero Oct 22nd 2015 at 06:26 pm 4

    Well, the L.A.Times is is kind of schizoid on the subject. Foxtrot, (and now Stone Soup, presumably), only run on Sunday (i.e. just the new stuff), but Doonesbury is still right at the top of the funnies page, with its daily reminder that Gary Trudeau is on “vacation” and this is a repeat. Peanuts is also there (at the bottom of the page), but apparently the paper has resigned itself to the fact that Schultz is not coming back from vacation, so no notice.

    To answer the question, I am all in favor of reruns ONLINE, where it doesn’t take up real estate. Unfortunately, like DemetriosX said, the funnies page is something newspapers are loathe to mess with. It’s a double edged sword. (warning: gross over generalization!) Only geezers read newspapers, and they want to see their familiar favorite comics, so newspapers are hesitant to bring in new talent that might bring in younger readers.

    There’s a whole ‘nother category to address here, too. What about strips like Beetle Bailey, Blondie, B.C. (omg! do they all begin with “B”?) and Family Circus (whew!) that have been taken over (inherited?) by relatives, some not as successfully as others? Are they hanging around out of sentimentality or name recognition, rather than quality?

  5. Cidu Bill Oct 22nd 2015 at 06:38 pm 5

    Guero, even if the online zombie comics aren’t taking up real estate, they’re still counted toward the newspaper’s comics budget.

    Wasn’t Trudeau putting daily Doonesbury on hold because he was busy with Alpha House? Which has been cancelled?

    I don’t make any distinction between comics produced by the original creator and successors, because after a while it’s common for other people to fill in (Schulz took pride in the fact that he wrote and drew every strip). Other that the fact that B.C. is no longer more right-wing and racist than Ted Cruz, it’s hard to tell the difference when the reins are officially turned over.

  6. Cidu Bill Oct 22nd 2015 at 06:39 pm 6

    Kedamono, that makes perfect sense.

  7. James Pollock Oct 22nd 2015 at 07:22 pm 7

    Give the people what they want. What they want is usually something that is almost, but not quite, the same thing as what they liked before.

  8. Sherrie Oct 22nd 2015 at 07:28 pm 8

    Stone soup finally got cancelled? Good riddance!

    I used to love it but then they did the crap of the couple next door and the main woman’s 2 kids basically forcing some guy into proposing her and egging the woman into saying yes when he did. The day that she said yes to him was the last comic strip I viewed of that series.

    Well, second to last if you count the one I saw on here not that long ago as viewing the series. However, by all fairness, I don’t know when that strip was made so I don’t know if it counts as a recent strip or not.

  9. chuckers Oct 22nd 2015 at 08:22 pm 9

    Userfriendly is in repeats. Like Foxtrot, it started its repeats so that the calendars matched up with what the were many years ago so that the Sunday strips ended up on Sundays and February 29th matched up as well. It was really sort of retro to have to “relive” 9/11 again in the storylines.

    I think that Userfriendly is coming close to where Illiad hung up his pen so I am not sure what they are going to do after that.

    I kind of wish Aaron MacGruder would have come back off his hiatus but I think he ended up making more money from his animated series which I had to give up on after the first season.

  10. Brent Oct 22nd 2015 at 09:34 pm 10

    I see Fat Cats and Barkeater Lake are still running strips at gocomics… unless they’ve restarted while I wasn’t looking they’re reruns.

  11. Kilby Oct 22nd 2015 at 11:34 pm 11

    A few months ago, I collected a list of all the features that GoComics carries (close to 400 items), and separated the wheat from the chaff. There were at least 33 reruns in the list (not counting the two that Brent named @9):

    The Academia Waltz, Back to B.C., Basic Instructions, Big Nate: First Class, Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes, Cathy, Cow and Boy Classics, Cul de Sac, Dilbert Classics, Doonesbury (* dailies), For Better or For Worse (* mixed), FoxTrot Classics, Kliban, Kliban’s Cats, Li’l Abner, Little Nemo, Luann Againn, Meg Classics, Motley Classics, My Cage Classics, Nancy Classics, The Norm Classics, Out of the Gene Pool Re-Runs, Peanuts, Peanuts Begins, Perry Bible Fellowship, PreTeena, Richard’s Poor Almanac, Shirley and Son Classics, Tarzan, Wizard of Id Classics

    …and 12 zombies:
    Alley Oop, Andy Capp, Annie, B.C., Dick Tracy, Gasoline Alley, Gil Thorp, Heathcliff, Mutt & Jeff, Nancy, Shoe

  12. Kamino Neko Oct 22nd 2015 at 11:52 pm 12

    My Cage is on its second run of repeats - this one getting Classics subtitle and replacing the Sunday comics with new ones, like so many other Classics.

  13. DemetriosX Oct 23rd 2015 at 06:17 am 13

    Yeah, my understanding was that Trudeau put daily Doonesbury on hold until he was done with Alpha House. Given the state of US politics right now, you’d think he’d be itching to get back in the game. Heck, it brought Berke Breathed out of retirement.

    Kilby’s list is missing Spot the Frog and Citizen Dog. Those are the ones I’m aware of, there may be more.

    @11 Kamino Neko, man I didn’t know My Cage Sundays were new. I stopped reading when they reached the end of the first rerun.

  14. Blinky the Wonder Wombat Oct 23rd 2015 at 08:03 am 14

    Ink Pen and Big Top are also on repeat cycle online, but I don’t know if any newspapers carry them.

  15. Kilby Oct 23rd 2015 at 08:15 am 15

    @ DemetriosX (12) - “… list is missing …

    … not any more. I’ve been updating my (complete) list to correctly sort any GoComics features mentioned here. They probably won’t listen, but I really wish GoComics would move all the “classic” garbage (and all the zombies, too) to a separate page. They have a page for editorials, why not a separate page for re-runs and/or other “non-comic” features? 400 items all on one page is simply too unwieldy, especially the way they break it into monster columns.

    It really gets silly when they have a rerun (like Peanuts) AND a rerun of a rerun (Peanuts Begins). The worst offender in the list is Nancy (one zombie and two separate reruns).

  16. Kilby Oct 23rd 2015 at 08:39 am 16

    P.S. The list is almost certainly missing other examples, I only pulled the items that I knew were reruns, or those that were obvious from the title. I didn’t look at ANY of the comics that I did not know (and that is most of them).

  17. Kilby Oct 23rd 2015 at 08:58 am 17

    P.S. @ Doonesbury (2,5,12) - Wikipedia says that Trudeau’s current sabbatical is “for the foreseeable future”, but “Classic Doonesbury” has an implicit “end of life” deadline. GoComics has been zipping through the material in “dog years” (a seven to one ratio). They’re already past Trudeau’s first vacation (1985). If this continues, at some point the strips will no longer be “classic”.

    P.P.P.S. Yes, I do know that (2015-1985)/7 is a little bit more than 4.

  18. Judge Mental Oct 23rd 2015 at 10:25 am 18

    Ooh, I keep saying to myself that I need to give the new version “Bloom County” a try, but never think about it when I am at my computer. Thanks for reminding me. Adding it now.

    As an odd bit of synchronicity, both Kilby and today’s Bloom County used the expression “separate the wheat from the chaff” (which I do hear, but not very often)

  19. Powers Oct 23rd 2015 at 10:35 am 19

    My local paper carries reruns in the form of Doonesbury, Classic Peanuts, and FBOFW.

    To be honest, I don’t have a problem with Classic Peanuts. Sparky’s output was so voluminous and consistently high-quality that rerunning 47-year-old strips is a net positive for society (versus giving the space up to living artists). I’m more torn on FBOFW, especially now that the reruns are getting closer to when I started reading it originally (though I wonder if Johnston is still inserting occasional new strips within the old run).

    Some of the zombie strips have actually been rejuvenated by a change in authors. And then there’s “Wizard of Id”, which (despite no change in author since 1997) has refocused its lens on the titular character after decades of focusing on the King and Sir Rodney.

  20. Blinky the Wonder Wombat Oct 23rd 2015 at 04:43 pm 20

    BTW, The Meaning of Lila is not really in reruns- the art work is reused but John Forgetta is writing new dialog. (He said that he could not afford to continue to pay the artists based on the low circulation of the comic.) It kind of had a soft reset when Forgetta began repurposing the art work- for instance Lila has just recently met Annie.

  21. Chakolate Oct 23rd 2015 at 11:50 pm 21

    I’m really glad Stone Soup is running .. er, classics, because I completely missed the comic the first time around, only got in on the last month or so. Now I get to see what I missed.

  22. Joshua K. Oct 24th 2015 at 12:08 am 22

    @10 Kilby: “Annie” and “Mutt and Jeff” are plain reprints, not zombie strips. “Annie” went out of publication in 2010, and there hasn’t been a new “Mutt and Jeff” since 1983.

  23. Kilby Oct 24th 2015 at 05:58 am 23

    @ Judge Mental (17) - “As an odd bit of synchronicity…”
    Nuts, I was hoping nobody else would notice. It really was just a coincidence, I saw that BC2015 strip after I posted @10. I did consider whether I should post a P.S. here - my “chaff” was a replacement for a rude and screedy phrase reflecting my general opinion of rerun strips.

    P.S. When I sorted the list, I also decanted a bunch of “non-comic” features that don’t really belong there. Here’s the current scorecard, including recent updates:

    30 non-comics and assorted derivatives (some good, some worthless)
    40 re-runs (including “classics” that run in parallel to a comic or zombie entry)
    16 zombies (still running despite the retirement or death of the original artist)
    308 remaining “comics” (including some that may belong to the above categories)

    As I see it, at least 21% of the GoComics list (more than 1 in 5) could be moved elsewhere and/or deleted.

  24. James Pollock Oct 24th 2015 at 09:05 am 24

    “I’m really glad Stone Soup is running .. er, classics, because I completely missed the comic the first time around, only got in on the last month or so. Now I get to see what I missed.”

    There are millions of people who didn’t start seeing (insert name of strip) and might like to see the earlier ones they missed. I started reading Calvin & Hobbes on day 3 of the strip, by lucky happenstance (and I remember being VERY confused, until I figured out that the big tiger and the little stuffed tiger were the same character). In the old days, you just did without, or, if you were lucky, there was a book that had the earlier strips collected (although they always leave some out.)

  25. mitch4 Oct 24th 2015 at 09:56 am 25

    In today’s email, there was a rather long newsletter from Doonesbury. Mostly about what’s new and what’s reruns, as discussed here. I’ll refrain from copy-paste, but so far don’t see a “to read this on the web, click here” link.

  26. Boise Ed Oct 24th 2015 at 02:37 pm 26

    Judge [17]: FWIW, Bloom County is “fresh” on Facebook, and appears a week late in GoComics. Every now and then, it takes a day off.

  27. Kamino Neko Oct 24th 2015 at 05:22 pm 27

    Demetrios - I actually have to correct myself…the new My Cage strips aren’t Sunday replacements - they seem to consistently drop on Mondays, but not every Monday. (There’s actually more new strips than those, but only available through their Patreon.)

  28. Mark in Boston Oct 24th 2015 at 08:16 pm 28

    The problem with the For Better or For Worse recapitulation is that you KNOW she’s going to kill Farley again, and I don’t think I can deal with it.

  29. James Pollock Oct 24th 2015 at 09:41 pm 29

    A) he’s just a dog, and
    B) not even a real one.

    That’s not even getting to C) dogs have short lifespans in the first place.

  30. Arthur Oct 25th 2015 at 12:04 am 30

    JP, re your reply to MiB:
    The same could be said about Old Yeller, and Charlotte
    was a spider. People get emotional about fictional
    characters (even animals) if the writer is good
    enough.

    Even if the emotion is artificially triggered, it
    is still a real emotion and can be hard to handle.

  31. James Pollock Oct 25th 2015 at 12:47 am 31

    You left out Bambi’s mother, and all the dinosaurs from “The World Before Time”.

  32. Mark in Boston Oct 25th 2015 at 09:28 pm 32

    JP, if reading doesn’t affect you emotionally in any way, there’s no point in doing it at all.

  33. James Pollock Oct 25th 2015 at 09:42 pm 33

    “JP, if reading doesn’t affect you emotionally in any way, there’s no point in doing it at all.”

    You’re the one who says you can’t deal with it.

  34. Kilby Oct 27th 2015 at 12:37 am 34

    @ Doonesbury (25) - GoComics finally posted that e-mail newsletter from Trudeau under a quotable URL: http://blogs.gocomics.com/2015/10/45-years-of-doonesbury-a-letter-from-garry-trudeau.html

  35. Meryl A Oct 27th 2015 at 01:20 am 35

    I was reading the Doonesbury online and it seems to be put out in sections as within a month it went from the mid 1970’s to the 1980’s. Ms Caucus was hired one day and a month later went to law school.

    I had a feeling that that Stone Soup was coming to some sort of an end as she had a lot of flashbacks and (spoiler alert for those who have not read the strip) all 3 - mother and daughters were remarried. I looked at her blog to see what was happening and she also had an interesting post on the policeman who just married the main character. At some point I noticed that the seemed to be black and was surprised I had not noticed before. Apparently when she made him a bit darker (apparently he is mixed) and and made his aunt even darker, the colorer (colorist?) would come up with odd colors that she did not like. When she started doing the strip on the computer she could control the color and changed it to what she had wanted.

    What is nice when the strips go into reruns online with Sunday strips, is that one has a chance to say goodbye slowly. (Took me a few years to give up Cathy.) There is a strip I used to read online - Shirley and son - which I liked, but the cartoonist died. The strip went into reruns online and I was able to reread it for some time as (yes, I am sorry he died in general) it was a bit of a sudden end when he died.

    I don’t know about others, but some cartoons become like friends that one visits with and sometimes one is not ready to say goodbye when the strip ends.

    Now, my local paper has replaced the daily Stone Soups with something called Phoebe and her Unicorn which is soooo juvenile and annoying. Jump Start they have daily, but not on Sunday and until recently when they dropped Wumo, they did not have Pearls before Swine during the week, but now it has replaced Wumo in the daily strips.

  36. Kilby Oct 27th 2015 at 07:11 am 36

    @ Meryl A (35) - I’ve never read Stone Soup, but just yesterday I was annoyed to see GoComics trumpeting a “new” comic: “Stone Soup Classics”. Chalk up another one for the “rerun” list (41).

    I followed “Phoebe” for a while, back when it used to be called “Heavenly Nostrils” (only online, I doubt it could have appeared in print under that name). It wasn’t that bad, but it started going downhill at about the same time the author (or his syndicate) decided to “mainstream” the title to something a little more understandable, and I dropped it from my list.

    Part of that Doonesbury time warp (see @17) is the extended sabbattical that Trudeau took in the early 80’s.

  37. Meryl A Nov 4th 2015 at 03:32 am 37

    Kilby (36) - very possibly the sabbatical, but I remember Joanie Caucus being there for some time before she went to law school and her being there some time. It seemed to jump years constantly with only a few comics from any year.

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