Time for a coupla recent inquiries from the Riffs Reader e-mailbag...
1. Commenter "Jam893" asks:
QUESTION: "I am hearing of a disturbing trend for cartoonists, their creators and the syndicates. Rate/fee concessions to keep a strip in a paper. Several papers (major papers) who are in financial peril/issue have asked (demanded) reduction in fees for the strips. Some heritage, longtime strips, which may command several hundred dollars a week, are being asked for 30-50% cuts, or the threat of cancellation and replacement with a cheaper option. True/False? Don't lie, because I know of it happening elsewhere."
ALAN SHEARER, general manager of The Washington Post Writers Group syndicate, responds thusly:
ANSWER: "It's only natural that in a time of extreme financial pressure, newspaper editors would look at every cost. If you've run a strip for 50 or 75 years, you may be paying five times the price of a new strip. And remember, lots of rates have been based on print circulation, which has fallen almost everywhere."
2. Commenter "Lauzertine," speaking for a fair number of readers, writes:
COMMENT: "Love Cul de Sac. Hate that it's moved and that I no longer seem to be able to get it online. Forget the animation, but bring the strip back in color, either in the Sunday comics or in the Magazine. The Post continues to self-destruct."
Comic Riffs asked SHIRLEY CARSWELL, the Post executive who oversees comics, whether there are any plans afoot to move "Cul de Sac" to the Sunday comics. ("Cul de Sac" recently moved from the Magazine, where no feature has replaced it.) Her response:
ANSWER: There are "no current plans" to move "Cul de Sac" from Style&Arts.
In addition, to repeat a point from yesterday: Editors who oversee the Style&Arts section tell Comic Riffs that whether "Cul de Sac" runs in color or black-and-white each week depends on color-page availability on any given Sunday.