So remember that thing from last week where it looked like The Better Half might be ending? It’s not just a rumor planted by a newspaper looking to replace it with The Lockhorns without getting a lot of whiny complaints from its readers: according to cartoonist Randy Glasbergen himself, he’s decided not to renew his contract to produce the comic strip, mostly because his freelance business demands too much of his time. And allegedly King Features Syndicate is getting enough controversy about “legacy strips”, which is the industry jargon for “comic strips where the person who made them great died as recently as Franklin Roosevelt’s second term but the comic strip is still running somehow”, so they’re letting the strip end rather than replace him as cartoonist.
And I’ve got mixed feelings about this. On the one hand I feel instinctively bad about any comic strip ending. On the other I do feel like it’s important new comics get to appear in newspapers, and newspaper editors have made it pretty clear that in practice they will not drop a comic strip if they are not forced into it, and that’ll be either by the strip ending or the newspaper not being able to afford comics anymore (looking at you, New York Post, before you go out of business in maybe March). But I also know deep down that the space won’t go into new comics; it’s hard to figure any editor not deciding to replace it with The Lockhorns or maybe nothing.
And, honestly, who goes to the newspapers for their comics anymore? It’s so vastly easier to read them online, where you get more comics, and a better variety of them, and you don’t have the daily reminder of the flimsy, poorly-edited, vaguely sad thing that’s become your local newspaper surrounding them. From that view there’s really no reason to end a comic apart from the one Glasbergen himself said, that he’s got more useful things to do with his time, which in his case turn out to also be drawing comic strips.
And as that warmup probably made you expect, my mathematics blog got another bunch of comic strips to write about. That was a couple days ago, actually, but I had the big Friday post and then the video and Statistics Saturday rituals to get through first. They’ll keep.