Friday, May 27, 2005

It's May, and happy new year

Many of the international comic strips that appear daily in newspapers have this annoying habit of turning maudlin on “special” occasions, notably Christmas and New Year (sometimes July 4 too, or Thanksgiving or Halloween). At such times you’ll have special one-panel strips featuring the entire cast of characters beaming out at the reader, saying “Have a great 2005!” or “Trick or Treat!” or “Let’s all conserve fuel together!” or some such. The concept is annoying at the best of times - who wants to see Tom and Jerry, or Garfield and Odie, or Dennis the Menace and Mr Wilson, put aside their differences for a day and pose arm in arm? (And don’t get me started on Dennis dressed up as a firefighter, asking for a minute’s silence for the victims of 9/11.) But you know when it’s worse? When you turn to the comics section of a leading Indian daily on May 25 and find Archie and the gang (Hot Dog, Mr Lodge, the works) yelling “Happy New Year!”

Now we understand that the syndication agreements that allow comic strips to be featured in foreign newspapers are complicated, inflexible things - there isn’t much (if any) scope for the order of the strips to be tampered with, or for a newspaper to leave out a comic one day at its discretion. And naturally the dates of original publication will differ from the dates of use in the foreign newspaper. But can we pleez to be having 250 gram of common sense at least? (I know, I know, that’s a rich expectation given the editorial standards of the “leading dailies”.)

Exactly what kind of cerebral activity is at work when the sub-editor/page-in-charge picks up the comic strip for the day and fits it in the blank space on the Quark file? Or is everyone in the newspaper office so careworn that they don’t bother to actually look at the strips any more? The comic strips for heaven’s sake, the first things most of us learnt to look at in newspapers, and often still the most ennobling things in them.

It’s probably just that there’s too much else to do that’s more important - like getting all the names right in the captions on the P3 party photos.


  1. Strips may be run as independent entities--so maybe even if the printig press is hit by an earthquake....

    Very annoying--I agree

    There is a distinct lack of ownership towards these strips too--almost as if we paid for 'em, you asked for 'em, so here they are..

    No, they don't even get Page 3 right:) there was an apology today for a dated photo/article which stated that a model was Czech ( she was Slovak !)

  2. I have devised a plan to solve the comic problem. I would link it here, but being a bit tech-challenged, yet to find the knowhow.

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. Found yer spot by chance...very impressed to say the least...keep up the good work dude!!

    L Hyena
    On vacation

    PS: I guess the comic book problem is caused primarily due the lack for a feedback channel. THAT would hit the management where it matters and cause em to wisen up to the possibility of reduced circulation. Although it COULD be the case that they thought that is WAS actually intended/funny to wish the public a happy new year in MAY!!!

  5. hmmm, getting the names of P3 folks isn't much of a priority too it seems, the other day, couple of friends posed for page 3 and the caption read " where will these bar girls go, if dance bars are banned", LOL. i live for these moments.

  6. Jai...In some cases, the comics section is the only readible thing printed. I find the one panel strips disappointing even when they get the date right. There's nothing amusing or thought provoking about them.

    L. Hyena...I s'pose when we say leading dailies, we're referring to the . In that case, I don't think that they give too hoots about the feedback they get. I'm, of course, referring to the numerous single (middle) finger salutes that they get.

  7. What a coincidence? I was thinking about the same stuff too