The Express-News finally ran a story the other day about the comics survey it conducted several months ago.
The good news is that Zits topped the list and Luann ranked in the top 10 along with Garfield and Baby Blues. Pickles also slipped into the top 10 wich was filled out with a bunch of old standards like Family Circus, Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Hi & Lois, and Hagar the Horrible.
Garfield was the top choice of the 18 and younger crowd while Zits won the votes of folks between 18 and 54. Family Circus won in the 55 and up category.
The losers, those that ranked in the bottom 10, included Bizarro, Cathy, Dilbert, Tumbleweeds, the Amazing Spider Man, Prince Valiant and all of the political comics including Doonesbury, Nacho Guarche, Mallard Fillmore and Prickly City.
This wasn’t entirely fair, however, since many of these comics have the distinct disadvantage of not being in the daily comics section. Dilbert, for example, was banished years ago to the wastelands of the E-N Business pages and most comics readers probably assume that Scott Adams must have retired along with Bill Watterson and Gary Larson. Tumbleweeds and Prince Valiant are both Sunday only comics that don’t appear in the daily section. Neither do Doonesbury, Nacho and Mallard, which are all found on the Op-Ed pages.
So the biggest losers would have to be the daily comic section strips that hit the bottom including Bizarro, Cathy, Amazing Spider Man and Prickly City.
I can’t explain why Bizarro would be ranked so low. I think it is a pretty good strip and probably comes closest to touching that magic spot once occupied by The Far Side (although it is still a good distance away, I will admit). Cathy was once one of my favorite strips back in the 1980s when it first came out. But sometime in the 1990s it started to become tiresome and repetitive and I lost interest. However, being tiresome and repetitive is pretty much status quo on the comics page these days (See Blondie, Beetle Bailey, Hi and Lois, Hagar the Horrible, etc.) so that doesn’t explain why it would end up in the bottom section. The Amazing Spider Man is just awful. It is obviously written by complete morons who come up with stupid plots and stupider dialogue. But it is also the strip that my three-year-old son insists that I read to him everytime he sees me with the paper, so maybe that is the target age range they are shooting for.
Finally, there is Prickly City and I have to say that its bottom ranking is very well deserved. It is horribly drawn and consistently offensive with the sole purpose of spreading rightwing propaganda. It is, however, slightly better than Mallard Fillmore.