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The return of "Doonesbury," and other comics news

June 13, 2008 |  2:39 pm

Doonesbury Sherry Stern, deputy features editor, wants to respond to the 500+ people who have written to The Times about the comics in the three months that "Doonesbury" has been on vacation (see earlier posting). That strip will return on June 16. In her note below, Stern lists some of the reader comments she's received, which included reaction to "Café Con Leche," "Dog Eat Doug" and "Stone Soup," the three strips that have been rotated in place of "Doonesbury." Stern also encourages readers to send their opinions about the comics to comics@latimes.com

Here's Stern's report on what readers have been saying:

When Garry Trudeau took a three-month sabbatical we decided to run three new comics for a month at a time and invited readers to let us know what they think of our comics. We've received 500 or so e-mails. Here's a tiny sampling:

Reader 1: "Stone Soup" by Jan Eliot is amusing and should replace "Pearls Before Swine," which is absolutely the worst "comic" strip currently being published in your paper.
Reader 2: I just wanted to say that I love the comic strip "Pearls Before Swine." It is a great comic.
Reader 3: I'll be glad when "Doonesbury" is back!
Reader 4: Keep Trudeau on vacation permanently. He is too liberal. Any other comic strip is preferred.
Reader 5: I start off my day with the L.A. Times comics section. It's the first thing I read in the paper, and it gives me the fortification I need to get through the Business section and the front page. And, in all honesty, it's a big reason I keep a home subscription.
Reader 6: Frankly, I think the problem with the comics is whoever is reading this letter, as this section of the paper seems to be getting worse and not better.

Well, that person is I, and I thought the best way to answer our many correspondents was in this forum.

First off, I appreciate all the responses. I truly did read them all. I hope the letters above show what a challenging job this is. Everybody's tastes are different and I can't think of a place that illustrates that more than the comics pages. If you happen to like every comic we run, you are as alone as Charlie Brown.

So where are we? "Doonesbury" returns on June 16, which I know will thrill many of our readers, and upset a few. "Argyle Sweater," which recently replaced "Herman," has proven already to be a reader favorite.

Of our three guest comics, "Café Con Leche" had just a few fans. Many readers loved "Dog Eat Doug." And even more liked "Stone Soup." Will "Doug" or "Soup" become regulars? I'd love that, but if so, something else would have to go, and there's clearly no consensus on what to drop. Please know that we're always looking at the comics pages and maybe these two will find a spot down the road.
Meantime, keep the comments coming to comics(at)latimes.com

Sherry Stern
Deputy Features Editor

*Update Sept. 2008: More reader comments about comics can be found at this post on "For Better or For Worse," as well as an earlier post about "Doonesbury."

Doonesbury © G.B. Trudeau. Used by permission of Universal Press Syndicate. All Rights Reserved.

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