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Denver Post yanks Doonesbury, Peanuts and few readers complain -- so far

mike doonesbury.jpg
Once upon a time, a newspaper cut comic strips knowing it could be unleashing the hounds by way of calls and letters from readers angered by a disruption of cherished routines. But this far, the Post hasn't been deluged after cutting a baker's dozen of strips, including iconic favorites like Doonesbury and Peanuts, while keeping dead wood like Beetle Bailey and Blondie. Is it an indication that most comics fans get their fix online these days?

"Not necessarily," says Jeanette Chavez, the Post's managing editor/administration -- but she does point out that the trimmed strips will continue to be available online. In addition to Peanuts, which will be seen in print on Sundays only, they are Bizarro, Brevity, Doonesbury, Dustin, F-Minus, Frazz, Heart of the City, The Knight Life, Non Sequitur, Overboard, Rhymes with Orange, and Scary Gary.

There's no mystery why the strips are bidding farewell, print-wise. Last week, Post editor Greg Moore confirmed a 4 percent budget cut and shrinkage to the feature section, where the comics appear, as well as the sports section. Via e-mail today, he characterizes the response to him personally thus far as "zip" and notes that overall e-mail traffic doesn't imply that others are getting buried.

Oh, how times have changed. In the 2007 column "The Funnies Aren't Funny Anymore," then-Rocky Mountain News editor John Temple noted that nothing fires up readers like the disappearance of favorite comics -- an observation reinforced the next year after the News eliminated Garfield. Mere weeks later, the Rocky rescinded the decision after thousands of people still amused by lasagna jokes made their unhappiness crystal clear.

However, in March 2010, the Post, which had used its massive comics section as a selling point to Rocky readers in the wake of the tabloid's shutdown, slashed 21 strips without being pilloried.

Granted, few of the strips that vanished last year were among those with the most impassioned fans, with the exception of Zippy the Pinhead. Not so Doonesbury, which continues to be a creatively vital must-read for current-events followers and comics fans alike. And while the Peanuts strips have all been reruns since the death of Charles M. Schulz, the strip was arguably the most popular in the 20th century. In contrast, Post survivors such as Marmaduke, The Family Circus, Dennis the Menace and, yes, Garfield -- plus the aforementioned Beetle Bailey and Blondie -- are about as relevant to today's world as a horse and buggy or an eight-track player.

Will Doonesbury and Peanuts aficionados force the Post to reconsider its death penalty? Chavez, who says she has only heard one complaint about Doonesbury's axing, doesn't reject that possibility.

"We will assess the reaction over the next few days and see what people say," she notes. "We've tried to do this based on information we have about what's most popular, but sometimes you run into one where it reaches a certain level, and you need to figure out how to do something about it."

Should the protests be negligible, the lack of response will speak loudly about the changing ways people access newspapers.

More from our Media archive: "Gil Spencer, R.I.P.: Neil Westergaard remembers legendary Denver Post editor."

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72 comments
Maggie Schafer
Maggie Schafer

Boooo to you Denver Post!  Who is pulling your strings?  You cater to a very progressive public here, and pulling this shows that you are in the somebody's pockets!!!!I I have taken the Post for years and years - perhaps it is time to pull my subscription if you are going to censor what I want to read!  IF PEOPLE OBJECT TO DOONESBURY, THEY HAVE THE CHOICE TO NOT READ IT YOU JACKASSES!

Queenoid
Queenoid

They got a complaint from me, so I was the only one? I complained about the cutting of the interesting strips and keeping dull strips and reruns. Hello, "For Better or For Worse?"I am a daily comic reader, and now my favorites are gone.

Nicolae Carpathia
Nicolae Carpathia

Frazz? They cut Frazz? They cut Frazz and left in The Family Circus?

I don't think it's even worth getting worked up over. Newspapers are dying, and if readers are on board with this kind of choice, then good riddance.

William Sims
William Sims

I cancelled last week.  Good timing.  Fortunately all of these great comics are online and are free (a service I'd gladly pay for).

Peb6785
Peb6785

BRING BACK DOONESBURY, PEANUTS AND NONSEQUITOR !!!!!!!The only good thing about the POST now is that it gives our puppy something to bring in the house from the driveway.

Ad
Ad

the entire comic section is archaic and irrelevant. and it has been for years. only Nazis still read the comics. 

Renee S.
Renee S.

don't drop em! We need em! We want more of em!

Darrylheine
Darrylheine

I hope Doonesbury returns to the Denver Post in a week or two...

NosyCrowApps
NosyCrowApps

Rhymes with Orange is genius! It would be a true shame if it was dropped from the paper.

Sirroco
Sirroco

With doonsbury gone, will not be renewing subscription next month.

Therryns
Therryns

Come on, I know space is tight, but what about the outrage factor?  I know Doonesbury gets my dander up, and as for Rhymes with Orange, how could you axe a strip with such an adorable cartoonist?  Have you ever seen Hilary Price?  Those freckles alone should gain her a reprieve!

Bob Andelman
Bob Andelman

I don't live in Denver, so my thoughts may not count, but who made the decision on what to keep and what to kill? My grandmother? Puh-leese!

WRH
WRH

Most of those comics that disappeared from print did appeal to a "younger" readership, however you might define it. Editors who made the cuts seem to have surrendered to reality -- that with a median age for readers of about 63 it would be risky to cut the incredibly irrelevant comics that remain. 

Guest
Guest

Are they still publishing the Post?

Kam4321
Kam4321

So when are we going to see an article about how thin Westword has become? Not enough escort ads to keep things going any more? Michael Roberts has had a hard-on for the Post for going on two decades. Then John Temple left town. He no longer has a shot at a real newspaper job, so now he's doubly bitter. See how far licking Temple's boots got you, Mikey?Roberts was so blinded by his hatred for the Post that he allowed himself to be taken in by Dave Milstead's wild speculations, rumors and outright lies about the fate of Denver's two newspapers.As for all the hate for the Post and the wishing that it would go under, get back in the kitchen. Customers are waiting for their Happy Meals. Yes, the Post is changing -- getting thinner -- but don't hold your breath waiting for it to go out of business. And besides, what would you complain about then? Westword?

YMMV
YMMV

Maybe the reason only a few readers complain is that there are only a few readers left. 

Bill
Bill

Must be lunch break time for the agate clerks with the latest posts coming in. How was that last furlough? And your 401(k) contribution match?

J Brian Martinez
J Brian Martinez

I see this as no great loss, as I haven't found syndicated comics funny, nor have I subscribed to the Post, for many years.  But it's yet another milestone on the long road to oblivion that traditional print media have paved for themselves.  And I won't be missing 'em.

Ohwilleke
Ohwilleke

And yet, Mallard Fillmore lives.

Terryij
Terryij

The reason there are few complaints is the near impossibility of finding how to complain on their website. I found it & complained. Didn't try phoning since that would entail going through their menu system & hearing enumerable times that 'I am a very important customer, please stay on the line." 

Au Revoir Dingleton
Au Revoir Dingleton

With all the crap out there in the comics, the Post chooses to eliminate Doonesbury????  This was talked about in many, many meetings and it was decided this was going to help save the paper?   Looks like the Post is vying for attention from the case study writers from Harvard Business School.

Newspapers are the buggy whip manufacturers of the 2000's.  The DP reprints lots of AP wire news to fill space.  Guess what, I can get that same story online in multiple places.  FOR FREE.   Craigslist is eating their lunch on classified ads.  There goes the revenue stream.....

Dean Singleton, or Dingleton (as the employees call him), is the captain of the Titanic.  Rearranging the deck chairs will not make one iota of difference. 

Good riddance Denver Post.

LP
LP

Yet another indication of the Denver Post Death Spiral. Who reads Beatle Bailey? The same audience that's looking for cheap dental implants -- the Post's primary advertising source.

Unlike their apparent audience, I do not have one foot in the grave, even though I've been reading the comics for 50 years.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Margie, thanks for this comment, and all the other ones. We're going to make this one a Comment of the Day. Much appreciated.

Maggie Schafer
Maggie Schafer

I had a avery old cat who had littlerbox issues and the Denver Post was the perfect "kitty pad" - never even unfolded it!  Kitty was euthanised on News Years Day, her 21st Birthday, so, don't really need the paper much anymore.  FYI - the paper is very  absorbant and cheaper than puppy pads!

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Time will tell, Darryl. Maybe Duke can change some minds. Thanks for the post.

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

A lot of people lost some in-print favorites. Thanks for the post.

MR
MR

Strong take, mak. Thanks for sharing it.

Bill
Bill

It might not go out of business within the next year or so because the resources that are left with MediaNews are being pumped into it while mass layoffs and the slash and burn tactics of Lean Dean continue unabated in Southern California and elsewhere.

mak
mak

I suspect that YMMV got banned from the Post's comment boards and is angry. Back to mom's basement.

Kam4321
Kam4321

What's your problem, Bill? Lost your job at the Rocky and Temple didn't invite you to Hawaii? I know Michael Roberts is still waiting for his

Kam4321
Kam4321

What's your problem, Bill? Lost your job at the Rocky and Temple didn't invite you to Hawaii? I know Michael Roberts is still waiting for his

Prick
Prick

Keep shouting your bitter screed into the void, loser

Maggie Schafer
Maggie Schafer

Have you noticed that this is often the case with issues like this in a lot of papers?  I think it is by design - then they can say that no one made comments!  Good luck Denver Post and others - we always find the way to the comments if it is important and this is!

guest
guest

There's a phone number and e-mail address for complaints right there in Monday's paper.

Joe
Joe

Denver Post is making money and website revenues pay for newsroom now. So much for your death spiral theory assholes

Maggie Schafer
Maggie Schafer

Hey - you can get Doonesbury online by Googline Boulder Daily Camers Doonesbury!  It will pop up front and center!  SO, guess that tells us all we sure don't need the stupid Denver Post!  I only get it 4 days a weeks and most goes into recycling.  Not realy worth it!  This type of censure makes you re-evlauate what you are spending money on.  Just use the internet.  This paper is not worth it!

Ad
Ad

rejoice for you are going to have a comment of the day !!! wow!!! lol

Rich
Rich

The strip is called "Beetle" Bailey, dumbshit

Michael Roberts
Michael Roberts

Hilarious post, LP -- one we're going to make an upcoming Comment of the Day. Congrats.

Kam4321
Kam4321

And this is unique to Media News? To American business in general?

Bill
Bill

Never worked at the Rocky or worked in media. Learn how to post comments.Never worked at the Rocky or worked in media. Learn how to post comments.

J Brian Martinez
J Brian Martinez

LOL.  Wonder how many of these comments trace back to IP addresses at the Post.

Maggie Schafer
Maggie Schafer

But we would rather post here so that they can be shared by others.  The phone is to only one person and who knows if it is pass on.  Here, we can see it!

YMMV
YMMV

Might want to alert the newsroom about this new fangled thing called the internet.  Might be useful to them.  Also, be kind and give them a heads up on this thing called craigslist.  Cause free is hard to beat. 

Have fun storming the castle!!!!

Maggie Schafer
Maggie Schafer

Given this paper's readership, you are probably the ONLY comment of the day!!!!!!

Maggie Schafer
Maggie Schafer

Hope you do - maybe you will grow a brain and bring back Doonesbury!

Joe
Joe

Yeah real hilarious Michael, some loser talking about death. I remember when you had a promising future.

Bill
Bill

Most certainly more than you.

Kam4321
Kam4321

So, obviously, you're an expert on the media.

Maggie Schafer
Maggie Schafer

"Centurty" is a diversion to get everyone off the real issue of Doonesbury!  Guess its working!

Slappy Fonguwitz
Slappy Fonguwitz

Well, what is a centurty?  STOP DUCKING THE QUESTION!!!!!!

mak
mak

What is a "centurty"? And Michael, yeah, real funny post. Let's talk about Westword's primary source of revenue.

mak
mak

What is a "centurty"? And Michael, yeah, real funny post. Let's talk about Westword's primary source of revenue.

YMMV
YMMV

Joe - just because you are one of the last remaining employees doesn't solve the fact that newspapers are the buggywhip manufacturers of this centurty.

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