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‘A part of me died inside every time I had to read it’

by  in Comic News Comment
‘A part of me died inside every time I had to read it’

Samantha Swindler may be the bravest person in the newspaper business — today, at any rate.

Swindler, managing editor of The Times-Tribune in Corbin, Ky., has done something many editors only dream of: She axed a syndicated comic strip, not because of shrinking news space or budget cutbacks or reader complaints, but because she thinks it’s bad.

The comic strip? Alley Oop, which just celebrated its 75th anniversary (15 years after the death of creator V.T. Hamlin, who retired in 1971).

“Fans of the strip, you can blame me personally,” Swindler wrote in the newspaper, “but I swear that comic doesn’t make any sense, and a part of me died inside every time I had to read it. Today, please enjoy Dilbert in its place.”

If you don’t see what the big deal is, you’ve probably never worked at a newspaper, where most editors would rather walk through fire than risk incurring the wrath of the last remaining Broom-Hilda fan in their circulation area. And rather than shoulder the blame for replacing a comic well past its prime — and past the lifetime of its creator — they’ll launch elaborate polls in which readers make the decision. (They still get complaints.)

But not Swindler, who presented the time-traveling caveman with an anniversary present: the heave-ho.

Update: A reader already has written to express displeasure with the removal of Alley Oop. Apparently, this is the second time the strip has been axed by The Times-Tribune.

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