Friday, September 28, 2012

The Newspaper List

At the end of August, my local paper (Syracuse Post Standard) declared that as of January 1st, they will shift to a 3 day a week publishing cycle, instead of a daily one.  That sucks, as reading the paper is how I wake up in the morning.  Oh, there's another local paper we could get, but, it's not that great.  Either way, I will still miss the funny pages, which is how I ACTUALLY wake up.  No, I don't drink coffee.

This is actually starting to emerge as a growing problem.  Newspapers are losing readers quickly because they're no longer the heart and soul of the American news media.  That goes to the 24 hour cable news networks, and Google News.  This means that the traditional avenue for comic artists to get popular is shrinking at an alarming rate.  Luckily, they know where to go:  The web.

Which is where I'm going for my newspaper comics starting the first of the new year.  It's very likely that we will be canceling our subscription to all but the Sunday edition of the paper (coupons!), so I'll need a source for daily strips.  Or sources as the case may be.  In any case, this article will cover where I've found the comics and be the set up for a new list on the site:  Newspaper Comics, which I'll be using daily to check strips because not all of them are in the same place.

A lot of them, however, ARE in the same place.  For this site, I actually have to thank my newspaper because of their issues with a particular comic, it led me to finding this site.  The comic in question is 9 Chickweed Lane, which I have covered in a newspaper review before.  The issue:  The comic page is in color, but at the time of the issue, the comic had a series of strips in black and white.  It was a story telling point (it took place during World War II, before they discovered color), but the paper was annoyed that their bright colorful funny pages had one lone, black and white strip.  So they shipped it off to the classifieds and replaced it with another strip (Mutts, I believe).  There have been days, however, where finding this strip has been more of a challenge than others, so I went looking for it online.

This led me to GoComics, a site FILLED with comics.  230+ comics, plus editorials, plus classics that aren't in papers any more (Calvin and Hobbes anyone?).  Most of my comic reading will come from this site as it includes comics that aren't my current paper, but ones I loved.  It even offers a FREE account feature to keep track of comics.  As of this moment, my current list has:

Garfield, Peanuts, Foxtrot, Pearls Before Swine, Adam@Home, The Boondocks, Close to Home, Fraz, Get Fuzzy, Grand Avenue, Overboard, Shoe, U.S. Acres, The Duplex, Wizard of Id, Non Sequitur, 9 Chickweed Lane, Ripley's Believe It or Not and, of course, Calvin and Hobbes.

Quite a list isn't it?  And there are far, FAR more comics there, I just haven't gone through them all yet.  At the very least, I'll have new comics to look at all the time.

But, there are quite a few comics missing.  For example, Dilbert.  There's two listings for Dilbert on GoComics.  One says "Dilbert Classics" and links to comics hosted by GoComics itself.  The other, which just says "Dilbert" leads to the official Dilbert webiste.  Odd, but I like Dilbert, so I'll have to link to the website for that.

Still others, though, are COMPLETELY missing.  And many share the same thing in common:  the same syndicate.  Syndicates, for those who don't know, are the comic middle men of the industry.  They buy comics from artists and sell them to newspapers.  Aside from sounding damn sinister, the syndicates are the reason zombie and legacy comics continue to exist in papers, and why new comics don't get into papers much, because those other comics have made the syndicates a lot of money so they pay those same comics to keep producing.  For good or ill, they'll be around as long as newspapers, and those days may be very numbered indeed.

Alright, so most of the comics that aren't on GoComics are from King Features, the syndicate that produces Blondie, Spiderman (not the comic book version) Family Circle and many others.  Why?  Because King has it's own comic site, DailyINK.  Only one small problem with it.  When I mentioned GoComics and it's accounts, I mentioned it was free.  There is a premium version of the account, which gets rid of ads, lets you access more than a week's worth of archives and a couple other features for about 12 bucks a year.  DailyINK?  There is no free account and it's 20 bucks a year.  So I'll have to find another source for these.

Which is what will mostly fill the Newspaper Comics List as most of these comics do have their own websites and I'll link directly to them.  That said, many (like Baby Blues) are two weeks behind the newspapers (which won't matter after a couple weeks of reading them, honestly).  Others are a touch harder to find stand alone (The Amazing Spiderman strip is going to be a pain to find), but I'll do my best.  This is going to be an ongoing process over the next few months as I try to find most of the comics I like reading, not just for me, but for my entire family.

As for the news?  Google News all the way.

Anyway, that's enough of that for now.  The new list will probably start going up in the next couple weeks.  Until next time kiddies.

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