Category : Paper Trends

Jeffrey Lindenblatt’s Paper Trends: The 300 for 1987 — Overall Results

 For the year 1987 we lost one paper, the Dayton Journal Herald, that printed its last edition in 1986. 10 other papers have missing information, so for this survey we are covering 274 papers. 

In the Top 30 we have one new strip; Funky Winkerbean knocked out Berry’s World, mainly because the latter lost a whopping eleven papers. The biggest movers in the Top 30 were Far Side which moved up 6 spots from 19 to 13, passing Dennis the Menace to become the 2nd most popular panel feature. Bloom County moved up 5 spots to enter the Top 10 in 8th place. The 100 Paper Club added three new members: Bloom County, Far Side and For Better or For Worse; that makes the total now 15. Also, with Garfield adding 5 more papers this year it has become the 3rd strip to have 200 or more papers. 

Here is the Top 30:
 

Title

Place

Movement in Top 30

Up/Down # Papers

Total Papers

Peanuts

1

Same

-2

212

Blondie

2

Same

4

207

Garfield

3

Same

5

202

Beetle Bailey

4

Same

5

194

Hagar The Horrible

5

Same

4

153

Doonesbury

6

Same

-2

144

Family Circus

7

Same

2

131

Bloom County

8

Up 5

20

118

Wizard of Id

9

Down 1

-1

116

Shoe

10

Down 1

5

113

B.C.

11

Down 2

2

110

Hi and Lois

12

Down 1

2

107

Far Side

13

Up 6

30

106

Frank and Ernest

14

Down 2

-1

103

For Better or For Worse

15

Same

13

101

Andy Capp

16

Down 2

-3

89

Born Loser

17

Down 1

1

88

Dennis the Menace

18

Down 1

0

86

Cathy

19

Down 1

7

84

Mary Worth

20

Same

-2

66

Marmaduke

21

Up 1

6

64

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith

22

Down 1

-5

61

Herman

23

Same

3

57

Ziggy

24

Up 1

4

55

Rex Morgan

25

Down 1

-3

50

Gasoline Alley

26

Up 2

1

47

Marvin

27

Down 1

-4

46

Winthrop

28

Up 1

0

45

Tank McNamara

29

Down 2

-3

44

Funky Winkerbean

30

Entering

1

40

 

The popularity of the universal comic section continues to grow. Here is the breakdown:

Top 2 Strips – 175 (Up 4)
Top 3 Strips – 150 (Up 7)
Top 4 Strips – 124 (Up 3)
Top 5 Strips – 83 (Up 5)
Top 6 Strips – 57 (Up 6)
Top 7 Strips – 37 (Up 6)
Top 8 Strips – 29 (Up 9)
Top 9 Strips – 21 (Up 10)
Top 10 Strips – 14 (Up 5)
Top 11 Strips – 11 (Up 5)
Top 12 Strips – 8 (Up 7)
Top 13 Strips – 5 (Up 4)
Top 14 Strips – 0 (Same)

The five papers that had the Top 13 strips were the Dayton Daily News (OH), Hartford Courant (CT), Press and Sun Bulletin (Binghamton, NY), St. Louis Post Dispatch (MO) and Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN). All these papers did not run the 14th strip, Frank and Ernest. Tie breaker time for determining the closest to a universal comics page:  

* The Hartford Courant did not have the #15 strip, For Better or For Worse, but did have #16
* All remaining papers had strip 16 but none had strip 17 which was another NEA strip The Born Loser
* The Press and Sun Bulletin (Binghamton, NY) did not have strip 18 Dennis the Menace
* The Star Tribune (Minneapolis, MN) did not have strip 20 Mary Worth
* The St. Louis Post Dispatch (MO) did not have strip 22 Barney Google and Snuffy Smith

The winner of the Universal comic section for 1986 is the Dayton Daily News if we add the remaining 7 strips they used from the Top 30. The paper had 26 out of the Top 30 strips out of a total of 40 daily strips that ran on their comics page.

Here are the rankings of remaining strips that appeared in the Top 300 papers, in order by number of papers in which they appeared:

39 – Alley Oop (-1), Eek and Meek (-1)

38 – Mother Goose and Grimm (+1)

37 – Heathcliff (-4)

34 – Berry’s World (-11), Bugs Bunny (0), Calvin and Hobbes (+20)

33 – Lockhorns (+1)

32 – Amazing Spider-Man (0), U.S. Acres (R)

31 – Judge Parker (+1), Nancy (-3)

30 – Arlo and Janis (+2), Dick Tracy (-2)

28 – Tiger (0)

25 – Phantom (+1)

24 – Geech (+1), Tumbleweeds (-3)

22 – Apartment 3-G (0), Kit N Carlyle (+1)

21 – Gummi Bears (R)

20 – Archie (-2), Steve Canyon (-1)

19 – Broom Hilda (-1)

18 – Mark Trail (-2)

17 – Captain Easy (-1), Luann (+2), Snake Tales (-7),

16 – Buz Sawyer (-6), Crock (-1), Snafu (R)

14 – On The Fastrack (-6), Redeye (-2), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (0)

13 – Fred Basset (0), Hazel (-1), That’s Jake (-1)

12 – Gil Thorp (0), Kuduz (+1), Neighborhood (+5), They’ll Do It Every Time (-5)

11 – Francie (R), Momma (0)

10 – Adam (0), Donald Duck (-2), Drabble (0), Little Orphan Annie (+1), Mr. Tweedy (+1), Rose is Rose (+3)

9 – Brenda Starr (-1), Motley’s Crew (-2), Mr. Boffo (R), Pop’s Place (R), Small Society (-3), Willy N Ethel (+2)

8 – Animal Crackers (0), Grin and Bear It (-1), Hartland (-3), Heart of Juliet Jones (+2), Love Is (-1), Mr. Men and Little Miss (-1), Out of Bounds (R), Ryatts (-1), Sherman on the Mount (R)

7 – Graffiti (+4), In The Bleachers (+6), Robotman (-4)

6 – Better Half (-1), Elwood (0), John Darling (-2), Middletons (R), Pavlov (+1), Perky & Beanz (0), Zippy (+4)

5 – Agatha Crumm (-2), Bizarro (+1), Boomers Song (R), Catfish (-1), Flintstones (0), Henry (-1), Hocus-Focus (0), Laff-A-Day (+1), Moose Miller (+1), Rip Kirby (-4)

4 – Arnold, Boner’s Ark, Charlie, Duffy, Flash Gordon, Girls, Miss Peach, Outcasts, Ripley’s Believe It or Not, Smith Family, Trudy, Winnie Winkle

3 – A Little Leary, Amy, Belvedere, Ben Wicks, Caldwell, Cobwebs, Inside Out, Our Fascinating Earth, Ponytail, Quigmans, Scamp, Sniglets, Sylvia

2 – Bringing Up Father, Captain Vincible, Dollars and Nonsense, Eb & Flo, Ferd’nand, Goblin, Lug Nuts, Mickey Mouse, Moon Mullins, Off the Leash, Orbit, Popeye, Sam & Silo, Winnie the Pooh

1 – Betty Boop and Felix, Brick Bradford, Brother Juniper, Cheeverwood, Ching Chow, Clout Street, Ellie, Eyebeam, Furtree High, Good News Bad News, Gumdrop, Guindon, Health Capsules, Kaleb, King Tot, Laffbreak, Local Item, Mark Trail’s Outdoor Tips, Modesty Blaise, Mr. Abernathy, Nubbin, Playing Better Golf with Jack Nicklaus, Pot-Shots, Rivets, Salt Chuck, Sidelines, Stan Smith’s Tennis Class, Strahle’s Bailiwick, Vidiots, Word-A-Day

Jeffrey Lindenblatt’s Paper Trends: The 300 for 1987 – Biggest Gainers and Losers

The biggest gainer for 1986-87 was the also the biggest gainer in 1985-86 and that was The Far Side by Gary Larson, which gained 30 papers this year, and with last year’s gain of 35 that makes an impressive total of 65 papers in the past two years. Coming in second is a strip that gained 20 papers, Bloom County, which continues its fast growth in popularity. Tied for second and in its second year, Calvin and Hobbes, which is showing how popular this strip was from its inception in 1985. For Better and For Worse and Cathy continue their healthy annual growth with 13 and 7 more papers this year.

Here are the biggest gainers:

Far Side – 30
Bloom County – 20
Calvin and Hobbes – 20
For Better or For Worse – 13
Cathy – 7
Marmaduke – 6
In The Bleachers – 6
Garfield – 5
Beetle Bailey – 5
Shoe – 5
Sally Forth – 5
Neighborhood – 5

The strip that lost the most papers was Berry’s World with 11, most likely losing most of those spots to The Far Side. Here are the biggest losers from 1986 to 1987:

Berry’s World – 11
Orbit – 8
Snake Tales – 7
Buz Sawyer – 6
On The Fastrack – 6
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith – 5
They’ll Do It Every Time – 5
Duffy – 5

As expected the adventure strips continue their slow demise. Three rare plus signs on display this time though:

Alley Oop – 39 (-1)
Amazing Spider-Man – 32 (0)
Dick Tracy – 30 (-2)
Phantom – 25 (+1)
Steve Canyon – 20 (-1)
Mark Trail – 18 (-2)
Captain Easy – 17 (-1)
Buz Sawyer – 16 (-6)
Steve Roper and Mike Nomad – 14 (0)
Little Orphan Annie – 10 (+1)
Brenda Starr – 9 (-1)
Rip Kirby – 5 (-4)
Flash Gordon – 4 (+1)
Popeye – 2 (0)
Brick Bradford – 1 (0)
Modesty Blaise – 1 (0)
Secret Agent Corrigan – 0 (-1)
Mandrake the Magician – 0
Tim Tyler’s Luck – 0

The total slots for adventures strips is down 16 from last year; that is a 6.1% drop.

Soaps did not have much of a drop this year:

Mary Worth – 66 (-2)
Rex Morgan – 50 (-3)
Judge Parker – 31 (+1)
Apartment 3-G – 22 (0)
Gil Thorp – 12 (0)
Heart of Juliet Jones – 8 (+2)
Winnie Winkle – 4 (0)
Dondi – (-5)  — strip ended

The Soaps dropped 7 from last year which is a 3.5% dip but most of that was because the end of the strip Dondi.

Jeffrey Lindenblatt’s Paper Trends: The 300 for 1987 — Rookie Features

The rookie winner starting during 1986 is a clear victory for marketing. The hottest strip for the past eight years was Garfield by Jim Davis from United Feature Syndicate. So how do you get another United Feature rookie strip to be number 1? You offer another strip by Jim Davis. That strip was US Acres which debuted in 32 papers. But is that a real victory? Yes and no. Given the number of papers that picked up the strip, then it seems to be a clear victoty, but if you take into account that 26 of the 32 papers were already running Garfield then no. Why is that? The reason is that when the strip is compared side by side every day to the better strip Garfield people lose interest and so will the editors. So, a better success would have been to offer a Jim Davis strip to papers that did not have Garfield available to them. If the strip’s introduction had gone this way, it might have lasted longer than three years.

The strip that came in second was a spin-off from a popular Saturday morning cartoon show. That strip was Gummi Bears, which debuted with 21 papers. This was a Disney strip syndicated by King Features. At this time it was the most widely syndicated Disney strip but as with US Acres it died out in its third year.

 The rest of the rookie strips for 1986 are as follows:

 

Snafu (NEA) – 16

Francie(United Features) – 11

Mr. Boffo (Tribune) – 9

Pop’s Place(King Features)– 9

Out of Bounds (News American) – 8

Sherman on The Mount (Los Angeles Syndicate) – 8

Middletons (News American) – 6

Boomers’ Song (Tribune) – 5

Cobwebs(Asterisk) – 3

Sniglets (McNaught) – 3

Goblin (Asterisk) – 2

Lug Nuts (Washington Post Writers Group) – 2

Ellie (self-syndicated) – 1

Kaleb (local) – 1

King Tot (Davy Associates) – 1

Local Item (Universal) – 1

Strahle’s Bailiwick (self-syndicated) – 1

 

Strips that began between 1977-1986 – Tops in Popularity

 

Garfield (1978) – 202

Bloom County (1980) – 118

Shoe (1977) – 113

Far Side (1979) – 106

For Better or For Worse (1979) – 101

Jeffrey Lindenblatt’s Paper Trends: The 300 for 1986 — Overall Results

One of our papers, the Pensacola News, published its last edition in May of 1985, and we did not have information on 7 of our papers in the first month of 1986. So this survey has only 278 papers surveyed.

We have two strips entering the Top 30. The Far Side with its gain of 35 papers enters at position 19 and Berry’s World, which gained 5 papers, enters at 29. The two strips they knocked out of the Top 30 are Eek and Meek and Heathcliff.

The biggest movers in the Top 30 are Bloom County, moving up 4 spots to #13 and Shoe, which moves up 3 spots to crack the top ten at #9. Shoe also gained 10 papers to join the 100-paper strip club; that exclusive club now has 12 features. Bloom County just missed joining by 2 papers, but the way the strip is gaining popularity it will surely join the 100-club next year. Garfield with its 10-paper gain is about to crack the 200 strip-club which currently has only has 2 members, Peanuts and Blondie.

Here is the Top 30:

Title

Place

Top 30 Movement

Plus/Minus Papers

Total Papers

Peanuts

1

Same

1

214

Blondie

2

Same

-2

203

Garfield

3

Same

10

197

Beetle Bailey

4

Same

3

189

Hagar the Horrible

5

Same

7

149

Doonesbury

6

Same

6

146

Family Circus

7

Same

5

129

Wizard of Id

8

Same

4

117

B.C.

9

Up 1

5

108

Shoe

9

Up 3

10

108

Hi and Lois

11

Same

4

105

Frank and Ernest

12

Down 2

0

104

Bloom County

13

Up 4

21

98

Andy Capp

14

Down 1

-5

92

For Better or For Worse

15

Up 1

9

88

Born Loser

16

Down 2

0

87

Dennis the Menace

17

Down 2

0

86

Cathy

18

Up 2

11

77

Far Side

19

Entering

35

76

Mary Worth

20

Down 1

-4

68

Barney Google and Snuffy Smith

21

Down 2

-3

66

Marmaduke

22

Down 1

-3

58

Herman

23

Down 1

-4

54

Rex Morgan

24

Down 1

-2

53

Ziggy

25

Down 1

-3

51

Marvin

26

Down 1

-3

50

Tank McNamara

27

Down 1

-4

47

Gasoline Alley

28

Down 1

1

46

Berry’s World

29

Entering

5

45

Winthrop

29

Down 1

0

45

 

Let’s look at the growing popularity of the universal comic section this year. More papers this year are become more like other papers with the Top 2 to 11 strips appearing in more papers then last year.

Top 2 strips – 171 (Up 1)

Top 3 strips – 143 (Up 5)

Top 4 strips – 121 (Up 5)

Top 5 strips – 78 (Up 6)

Top 6 strips – 51 (Up 4)

Top 7 strips – 31 (Up 5)

Top 8 strips – 20 (Up 5)

Top 9 strips – 11 (Up 5)

Top 10 strips – 9 (Up 7)

Top 11 strips – 6 (Up 4)

Top 12 strips – 1 (Down 1)

Top 13 strips – 1 (Same)

Top 14 strips – 0 (Down 1)

The Tampa Tribune now has the Top 13 strips in its section, making it the most universal comic section for 1986. The paper also has 9 other strips that are in the Top 30 – For Better or For Worse (15), Cathy (18), Mary Worth (20), Barney Google and Snuffy Smith (21), Herman (23), Ziggy (25), Marvin (26), Tank McNamara (27), Gasoline Alley (28). That makes 22 out of the top 30 strips appearing in The Tampa Tribune at the beginning of 1986. What else did they run? Duffy, Arlo and Janis, Amazing Spider-Man, Rose is Rose, Nancy, John Darling, Crock, Funky Winkerbean. Those are also all popular strips, so they essentially run nothing unusual at all.

 Here are the remaining strips in the 300:

# of Papers

Features (increase of decrease of papers since last year)

41

 Heathcliff (-2)

40

 Alley Oop (-1), Eek and Meek (-2)

39

 Funky Winkerbean (-1)

37

 Mother Goose and Grimm (+8)

34

 Bugs Bunny (-3), Nancy (-7)

32

 Amazing Spider-Man (-3), Dick Tracy (-4), Lockhorns (0)

30

 Judge Parker (-2)

28

 Arlo and Janis (R), Sally Forth (+1), Tiger (-6)

27

 Tumbleweeds (-2)

24

 Phantom (+1), Snake Tales (-2)

23

 Geech (+2)

22

 Apartment 3-G (-1), Archie (-6), Buz Sawyer (-4)

21

 Kit N Carlyle (-4), Steve Canyon (-1)

20

 Broom Hilda (-2), Mark Trail (0), On The Fastrack (+2)

18

 Captain Easy (-1), Great John L/Babyman (0)

17

 Crock (0), They’ll Do It Every Time (-1)

16

 Redeye (-2)

15

 Luann (R)

14

 Calvin & Hobbes (R), Hazel (-2), Steve Roper and Mike Nomad (-1), That’s Jake (+13)

13

 Dunagin’s People (-5), Fred Basset (-2)

12

 Donald Duck (0), Gil Thorp (+1), Small Society (-1)

11

 Hartland (R), Kuduz (0), Momma (-2), Motley’s Crew (-1), Robotman (R)

10

 Adam (-3), Brenda Starr (0), Drabble (0), Orbit (R)

9

 Benchley (-1), Duffy (-2), Grin and Bear It (0), Little Orphan Annie (-2), Love Is (+3), Mr. Men and Little Miss (-3), Mr. Tweedy (-3), Rip Kirby (-2), Ryatts (-1)

8

 Animal Crackers (-1), John Darling (-2)

7

 Agatha Crumm (-1), Better Half (0), Girls (-1), Neighborhood (-1), Rose is Rose (+1), Willy N’ Ethel (-1)

6

 Catfish (-1), Cooper (R), Elwood (-1), Heart of Juliet Jones (-2), Henry (0), Perky & Beanz (R), Sydney (R)

5

 Dondi (-3), Flintstones (-1), Hocus Focus (0), Miss Peach (-3), Muppets (-2), Pavlov (0), Ripley’s Believe It or Not (-1), Wright Angels (+1)

4

 Arnold, Belvedere, Bizarro, Boner’s Ark, Caldwell, Captain Vincible, Conrad, Ferd’nand, Laff-A-Day, Moose Miller, Off the Leash, Our Fascinating Earth, Ponytail, Quigmans, Scamp, Smith Family, Winnie Winkle

3

 Amy, Betty Boop & Felix, Charlie, Downstown, Flash Gordon, Graffiti, Inside Out, A Little Leary, Outcasts, Trudy, Winnie the Pooh

2

 Ben Wicks, Bringing Up Father, Cheeverwood, Eb & Flo, Good News Bad News, McGonigle of the Chronicle, Mickey Mouse, Middle Ages, Moon Mullins, Nubbin, Peter Principle, Popeye, Rivets, Sam and Silo, Tyler Two

1

 According To Guinness, Brick Bradford, Brother Juniper, Ching Chow, Clout Street, Executive Suite, Eyebeam, Furtree High, Gumdrop, In The Bleachers, Laffbreak, Laugh Time. Luther, Modesty Blaise, Mr, Abernathy, Play Better Golf With Jack Nicklaus, Pot-Shots, Quincy, Salt Chuck, Secret Agent Corrigan, Sidelines, Stan Smith Tennis Class, Sylvia, Trim’s Arena, Tundra, Vidlots, Winston, Word A Day

 

Jeffrey Lindenblatt’s Paper Trends: The 300 for 1986 — Rookie Features

Since we started this survey one thing has remained constant: when an NEA strip is cancelled and the syndicate replaces it with a new strip, that new strip will have fewer papers than the cancelled strip. This is a normal process during this time because some papers either choose another strip from the NEA package (one they weren’t previously running) or jump ship and choose a strip from another syndicate. 

In 1985 we have the opposite; Levy’s Law was cancelled and replaced by Arlo and Janis; the new strip got into 28 papers, compared to 22 for the cancelled strip.  That good start, helped by being an NEA replacement, takes our honors as the top rookie of the year. 

Coming in second this year we have Luann (News America) with 15 papers; this strip of course will eventually earn a place as a perennial top strip. In third place we have a strip that will become a modern classic, Calvin and Hobbes (Universal Press) with 14 papers. 

Other decent debuts were Hartland (King) with 11 papers, Robotman (NEA) and Orbit (Asterisk) both with 10. Asterisk was a new start-up syndicate, and Orbit was their first offering. Here is the complete list of rookies:

Arlo and Janis – 28 (NEA)
Luann  – 15(News America)
Calvin and Hobbes – 14 (Universal Press)
Hartland – 11 (King)
Robotman – 10 (NEA)
Orbit – 10 (Asterisk) 
Cooper – 6 (Universal Press Syndicate)

Perky and Beanz – 6 (Tribune)
Sydney – 6 (United)
Bizarro – 4 (Chronicle)
Caldwell – 4 (King)
Off the Leash – 4 (United)
Inside Out – 3 (Tribune)
Cheeverwood – 2 (Washington Post)
Tyler Two – 2 (Tribune)
Zippy the Pinhead – 2 (San Francisco Examiner)
Executive Suite – 1 (United)
Eyebeam – 1 (Self-syndicated)
Furtree High – 1 (local feature of Ottawa Citizen)
Winston – 1 (News American)
 
Top 5 Strips that began between 1977-1985

Garfield (1978) – 197
Shoe (1977) – 108
Bloom County (1980) – 98
For Better or For Worse (1979) – 88
The Far Side (1979) – 76    

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