Egon Spengler proclaimed print dead in the 1980s, but for the longest time the newspaper has barely hung on by a thread. Alas, my beloved Rocky Mountain News in Denver went the way of the do-do bird several years ago, unable to keep up with the instant demand for news through other outlets and the dwindling attention spans of its readership who would much rather consume news online or through 140 characters on Twitter.
It's been sad to see newspapers slowly entering retirement and watching them struggle to adapt to an online format in some shape or form to survive. Which is why it's also especially sad to hear news that the NY Post has dropped its funny pages from the publication. While there hasn't been an official confirmation, and many of the cartoonists that provide strips to the newspaper have received cryptic replies and answers according to the linked blog, it seems like the comics page was kicked to the curb rather unceremoniously.
While I'm sure that it's a dated nostalgia that kids don't really relate to much anymore, getting the newspaper out of mom and dad's hands meant being able to go straight to the funny pages for a laugh or two (many of them over our young six-year old heads but at least they looked funny). The funny pages introduced us to the Peanuts characters and Garfield in our youth, were most likely to blame for the massive amount of paperback Garfield collections that we forced our parents to purchase at every book fair, and when our tastes got a little more sophisticated took us to the Far Side.
What will the future hold for newspaper strip comics (and the creative teams behind them)? Will the format strictly become the webcomic strip? Or will the format be able to adapt and evolve to be consumed in a way that modern audiences will be able to access them? I sure hope so. The four panel strip is highly underrated and incredibly influencing to developing the humor and artistic tastes of all ages. No matter how cynical of a world we currently inhabit.