Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Honey, They Shrunk the Doonesbury!

While everyone else goes on and on about the L.A. Times' "wikitorial" experiment, here's the paper's real shocker of the week: They've reduced the size of "Doonesbury"!

In order to make room for a strange, new puzzle called "Sudoku," the paper rearranged the structure of its first "Comics Plus" page.

The same strips are all there (including the notoriously unfunny "Mallard Fillmore," which has a super-fresh Clinton sex joke in today's edition) -- except the traditionally large-sized "Doonesbury" has been shrunk to match the size of the other strips. As a result, the wordy comic is rather tough to read.

What makes this noteworthy is I believe at one point "Doonesbury" creator Garry Trudeau had made it a contractural obligation that papers not shrink his strip below a certain point -- 44 picas, according to some published reports. Did Trudeau drop that requirement? Did the L.A. Times make a special deal with Trudeau to shrink it down?

Meanwhile, on page two of the comics section, apparently "Momma" is annoyed with her adult children.

UPDATE: Got the answer, straight from deputy editor Sherry Stern: We recently learned it was a request, not a requirement. And we were one of few papers left still running it that larger size.

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