Today’s LifeStyles section in The Modesto Bee brings a new look and some new content to our comics and games. This summer, we turned a critical eye toward our comics, with the goal of adding some fresh material. In July, we gave a four-week trial run to six strips and asked readers to share their thoughts on those and the ones we already were running.
The result is that we’ve substituted four strips that were not among the higher rated. Out are “Non Sequitur,” “Rose is Rose,” “Beetle Bailey,” “Dennis the Menace” and “Family Circus.” From among the six trial comics, we’ve added “Bizarro,” “Dustin,” “Fort Knox” and “Oh, Brother.”
We’ve also repackaged the comics and games, combining them over two pages, which has allowed us to accommodate The Bee’s new, narrower page width without having to shrink content. On Fridays, the comics/games pages now will appear behind the Sports section instead of the Scene entertainment tabloid.
In our comics survey, almost all of our existing strips got higher ratings than nearly all of the new ones. We expected that, because unfamiliar strips were going up against ones we’ve carried for years. But we have confidence in the new comics and faith that before too long, they’ll become favorites.
We also were mindful of content and audience. While “Dennis” is gone, “Oh, Brother,” which focuses on the innocent yet mischievous little boy Bud, is much in the same spirit. And though we’ve closed the doors on Camp Swampy, we believe that you’ll find the Knoxes, an Army family, reliable recruits to fill the boots of Beetle Bailey and company.
In the meanwhile, we anticipate that some readers will want to share their thoughts about our changes. We’ve set up a phone line — 578-2024 — to take your calls. You will be asked to leave a message, but we will check it frequently. You also may e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.