The legacy problem

The death of “B.C.” creator Johnny Hart has inspired a number of commentators to discuss the problem of so-called “legacy strips”, comic strips that are still running after their creators have died, perpetrated by other hands.
I don’t think these people are overstating the problem. In fact, if they pulled back, they would see that the problem is much larger than that. Most of the newspapers carrying these “legacy strips” are legacy newspapers. That’s right, when you’re reading the Philadelphia Inquirer now, you’re reading an issue that founders John R. Walker and John Norvell had nothign to do with. None of the original writers or columnists are still involved. As such, there’s no creative spark. Of course, there’s some comfort in seeing the same sort of stories I saw in there when I was a child – the president makes an announcement, the government does something, people have been procrastinating on doing their taxes, people died in a fire, and the game last night was either won or lost by the local sports team (the legacy Phillies — the team has literally none of its original members!) But the current newspaperfolk are obviously trapped by the patterns set by the founders, and don’t have the freedom to violate them.
Rather than continue the paper when the founders die, they should close it down, and destroy the presses. That way, there will be room at the newsstand for some brand new paper, bringing something different to the rack, and thus encouraging new customers.

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Published in: on April 12, 2007 at 9:29 am  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. This post is dead on. (Please pardon the pun.)

    I’ve never had any problem with the notion of legacy strips. The only issue I might have with any such strips is the same issue I have with all strips and that is simply whether or not they’re actually funny—which is of course very subjective.

    If I read a strip and it makes me laugh or smile, then great. If not, well, it’s not like it took much of my time.


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