Well, the comic strip F Minus has lived up to its name.
That’s the overall grade our readers gave the strip during last month’s Dispatch comic survey. The strip received 67 “dislike” votes in the survey, second only to Wumo, which garnered 81 “dislikes.”
So both daily strips are getting the hook.
Wumo will be replaced by Wallace the Brave, which I profiled earlier, and F Minus will be replaced by Non Sequitur, which was the top strip mentioned by readers in the survey as one they would like to see added.
Non Sequitur was created by Wiley Miller in 1992 and runs in more than 700 newspapers.
Translated from Latin as “it does not follow,” Non Sequitur is sometimes political and satirical, similar to an editorial cartoon. Like Doonesbury, some newspapers choose to run it on their editorial pages.
But it is hard to put a conservative or liberal label on the strip. It was banned in some newspapers in predominantly Muslim nations when it did a segment lampooning the controversy over cartoons depicting Muhammad.
Like Wallace the Brave, the strip takes place in a fictional New England town. In this case it is Whatchacallit, Maine.
Our New England transplant readers have got to be overjoyed.
The main character, or should I say, Maine character, in the strip is Danae Pyle, a pre-adolescent girl with a pessimistic view of the world who was forced to move to the backward town with her father and sister after her parents divorced.
The mother does not appear in the strip. According to Wikipedia, she ran off with a biker while the family was on vacation in New Hampshire.
No wonder Danae is a cynic.
While there are other human characters in the comic, the most memorable characters are the animals who interact with Danae and the other kids.
There is Lucy, a talking pygmy Clydesdale. (Yes, you read that right. That would be a non sequitur.); Petey, a talking dog of humble origins; and Rölf, another dog whose muzzle far exceeds his brains.
Non Sequitur has been honored with a number of National Cartoonists Society Awards, including the Newspaper Panel Cartoon Award for 1995, 1996 and 1998 and the Newspaper Panels Award for 2002.
Our comic survey results were typical. Classic Peanuts was the most “liked” strip, followed by Pickles, The Family Circus and For Better or For Worse. The signature comic strips of the last 25 years.
However, there was one surprise.
Dilbert, which only runs in our Sunday comics, received 67 “dislikes.” In other comic surveys I’ve been involved in, Dilbert is one that regularly receives a number of positive votes.
But not here.
So we will be pulling Dilbert from the Sunday comics and replacing it with the Sunday version of Wallace the Brave.
Our survey did show that some of our readers may be trapped in a time warp. Some suggested we run Lil Abner, which ended distribution in 1977, as well as Bringing Up Father and Little Orphan Annie, which have been defunct for years.
Oh well, Charles Schulz died in 2000 and his strip and characters are still going strong.
The Funny Papers, as they used to be called, still serve a purpose in our society. They help you get away from the stresses and problems of the real world. Even if we each have a different idea of what that means, and therefore have different comics we “like” and “dislike.”
Schulz may have said it best:
“Don’t worry about the world coming to an end today. It is already tomorrow in Australia.”
Andy Howell can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.