June 20, 2011 in Features

A new ‘Reality,’ ‘Pickles’ returns


Today we begin our final test comic – and welcome a “new” comic to our daily pages.

“Reality Check,” by Canadian cartoonist Dave Whamond, is the fourth and final single-panel comic we’re trying out in the spot formerly occupied by “6 Chix.”

Says Whamond, “I just frame some of the silliness of everyday life in the comic and invite people to take a double-take – to look at life from another angle.”

Meanwhile, we have a new tenant in the strip space directly above.

“Pickles,” which has appeared in our Sunday comics section since October 2008, joins our daily lineup starting today.

It was by far the most popular of the four strips we tested in place of “Get Fuzzy.” Close to 3,000 readers cast votes on it, with more than 90 percent of them giving it the best possible score.

Many were longtime readers who saw themselves in Earl and Opal Pickles. Others saw their parents, or their grandparents, or themselves in a few years.

For one recent widow, the connection was very personal.

“My husband’s name was Earl,” she said. “It just cheers me up so when I see that in the paper.”

Neither “Dustin” nor “Red and Rover” resonated much with readers, many of whom saw the former as a “Zits” wannabe and the latter as a pale imitation of “Calvin and Hobbes.”

“Sherman’s Lagoon” has fared better, and remains under consideration for a return to the Sunday comics, where it previously appeared.

We realize the selection of “Pickles” will not sit well with fans of “Get Fuzzy,” who tend to be younger and rather passionate, though relatively few in number. Our overall comics survey earlier this year showed it was by far the least-read daily strip.

For now, we will keep “Fuzzy” in the Sunday comics. And we will pay particular attention to younger readers’ opinions as we decide which comic panel will replace “6 Chix.”

We plan to begin the new panel on July 18. To meet that deadline, we will take reader votes on “Reality Check” starting next week; kindly hold your thoughts until then.

In the meantime, if you have not yet voted on our previous test panel, “Bizarro,” please do so now.

Call our comics line at (509) 459-3814 or send an email to comics@spokesman.com and rate it on a scale of 1 to 5, with 1 being the worst and 5 being the best. Also please state your age and gender, to give us a better idea who does or doesn’t like it.

And thanks again for your help.

– Rick Bonino, Features Editor

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