Monday, January 19, 2009

The L.A. Times' Comics Tryout Goes Into Overtime

The L.A. Times today will introduce another contender to fill its comic strip void, as it struggles to figure out whether to replace "For Better or For Worse." "For Better or For Worse" -- better known to its detractors as "FOOB" -- has been reconfigured into an odd hybrid of old strips from the early 1980s and new strips drawn to fit into that style and era, leading some papers to drop it.

Most recently, the Times tried out the new strip "Home and Away."

Created by Steve Sicula, the recently launched strip revolves around Sam, a stay-at-home dad who attempts to juggle his home office with his family duties. "Home and Away" is one of several strips the Times is giving a tryout to, which has also included Luann and Between Friends.

"Home and Away" is harmless enough, but it doesn't exactly break any new ground or offer up much in the way of laughs. It would be the ultimate safe choice for the paper.

Perhaps the paper hasn't been too impressed with its candidates so far: According to the Times' readers' representative, the paper originally planned to test three new strips there. But with "Home and Away" finishing up, the paper has decided to test a fourth -- which will begin on Monday.

Apparently L.A. Times readers agree: The choices have been terrible so far. A few comments from the paper's readers' representative site:

I agree with others that all of the strips presented so far are inferior to "For Better or For Worse." If this is the best that's out there, either keep "For Better or For Worse," or donate the money for this space to the California section so they can keep Al Martinez. (Posted by: Anabel Adams | January 16, 2009 at 01:33 PM)

None of the comics that have been sampled are any good. Keep For Better or For Worse. So many comics keep replaying the same year of it's characters lives, over and over and over again. At least For Better or For Worse is original and the characters grow, are interesting and are funny and sometimes inspirational! (Posted by: Karen Rapelje | January 15, 2009 at 11:11 PM)

Why are you putting us through this? Between Friends and Home and Away are (were) torture! Not funny and stupid. I used to read LuAnn in other papers and thought it was dumb but occasionally OK. It's easily the best so far, which isn't saying much. How long can this take? Back in the day, people like you got paid to make decisions. So make a decision! Hagar the Horrible, Beetle Bailey, anything. (Posted by: Jim Ruggirello | January 15, 2009 at 02:55 PM)

Oh, dear God, not "Beetle Bailey" or "Hagar." There are plenty of newish, great strips out there. Get to it, Times!

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