Why did Mallard Fillmore stop running in the newspaper?

So I learn, from reading The Daily Cartoonist, as usual, that the Gannett Group of newspapers has dropped Mallard Fillmore. This hasn’t affected me any, as I dropped Mallard Fillmore decades ago and don’t intend picking it back up. But Bruce Tinsley — who created the strip, and has been sharing it with Loren Fishman lately — reports that the entire chain of newspapers has dropped it.

Tinsley, according to The Washington Times, claims people at King Features Syndicate explained “they weren’t sure exactly why” Gannett dropped the comic, “except that they were sure it was about those two cartoons”. This references two recent strips in which Mallard Fillmore came out against human rights; you can see them at the Daily Cartoonist link above.

This is possible, although such an explanation demands one believe in a corporation that cares for human rights. And supposes that this thirdhand story about someone’s guess is correct. Another possible explanation is that this follows Gannett’s recent merger with GateHouse Media, after which they dropped all staff editorial cartoonists. They may not be very interested in editorial cartoons as a genre. And, too, Mallard Fillmore has long had as a selling point that it provides “balance” to Doonesbury. Doonesbury has not run a new daily strip since Joe Biden was vice-president. It’s not unreasonable that newspapers might figure they don’t need to “balance” that anymore.

Anyway, I’m sure the market will swiftly correct the problem. Otherwise there might be some bad side-effects from having every newspaper published by one of three companies. If Mallard Fillmore is that well-liked, surely another newspaper in each city will scoop it up and reap the rewards of happy subscribers. And it still runs online, through Comics Kingdom or many newspaper web sites.

[ Edited 7 March 2021 to add ] The Daily Cartoonist has a follow-up report about the strip’s removal. Amalie Nash, senior Vice President for the USA Today Network, said the decision was made after a “review of the recent work showed it did not meet our standards” and it did not relate to any specific strip. Tinsley finds this implausible and blames “Cancel Culture” for his woes. It does indicate he lost 55 newspapers in the cancellations.

Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there. He/him.

3 thoughts on “Why did Mallard Fillmore stop running in the newspaper?”

    1. Well, yeah; at its worst, Apartment 3-G still had wonderful reading delights like Margo being upset at things and Tommy not understanding what’s going on.

      This does remind me that Comics Kingdom ran a reader poll about what strip should come back, and I never heard the results or what they’re doing with the information. Most likely nothing, yes, although the year of having artists do Popeye tribute strips, and then this year of Flash Gordon tribute strips, has been fun and maybe will get them doing some smaller projects.

      Liked by 1 person

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