Monday, January 01, 2007

Chicago Cancels Candorville

What a New Year's present. Today the Chicago Tribune cancelled Candorville, as well as Prickly City. This was in my inbox this morning:

Dear Mr. Bell: My New Year's present from the Chicago Tribune was dropping your strip. Every morning it has been my pleasure to read Candorville. I am angry (pissed is better). My next e-mail goes to the Trib editor who made this stupid decision. I'm hoping enough of us make a fuss to get you back.
Skokie, Illinois

Another reader wrote:


I've really liked your strip since it appeared in the Chicago Tribune. Liked pretty much everything about it, even the references to Josh! I can't believe the Trib dropped your strip--is there anything that the readers can actually do to get it back in?

Fred N.

I don't know if there's anything readers can do, but when you approve or disapprove of something in your favorite paper, writing a letter to the editor is a good idea. It's the only way newspapers know what their readers feel about their content. You can try writing to the Tribune and letting them know how you feel. Papers do sometimes listen to their readers.

Happy New Year!


Marcy said...

What are they thinking, dropping Candorville and Prickly City?! My God, every morning the first thing I opened the paper for was to see what you two were talking about. Maybe the Tribune thinks its readers don't need to hear differing points of view on the comics page, but they're dead wrong. It was exciting every morning even when I disagreed with one or both of you.

What a loss. Today's page was dull, dull, dull.

swanksalot said...

Not the most eloquent of letters I've ever written, but FWIW
...I'm annoyed that the Tribune has cancelled one of my favorite cartoons, namely the Candorville strip. I savor reading this comic every morning. Mr. Bell manages to weave politics and current events into his plot line in interesting, sarcastic and amusing ways.

There are a dozen or so other candidates who deserve being dropped, but Candorville is not one of these.

Please consider reinstating it.

Thank you,

Hope it works.

Anonymous said...

I was seriously bummed when I read that the Chicago Tribune had cancelled Candorville. I've found this comic not only humorous, but also very insightful on modern issues. Mr. Bell, all I can say is kudos to you for your excellent work

jonathan hickman said...

I tried to get our paper in Knoxville ( to carry Candorville. I got no response. The editor said when he arrived that he wanted the comics page to be more balanced, so he added a conservative strip to oppose Dunesbury. Then he added another conservative strip. I'm not sure what happened to balance, but he doesn't seem to care anymore.

Darrin Bell said...

Thanks, everyone. Anonymous, I hope you'll echo those thoughts to the Tribune. And Jonathan, that's exactly what your paper's editor wants you to think. Editors play hard to get. You've got to keep up the pressure when you want change. Continued e-mails are like Chinese water torture, and in the end they'll either add Candorville or they'll break down and tell you who we should invade next to prevent another attack by non-existent WMD. Either way, we win.

tiffany said...

Heaven forbid they have comic strips with news and opinion in a newspaper. It's not called a "talking-shark and vikings-paper," it's called a "newspaper." There should be room for funny topical strips like Candorville on the comics page.

Doug said...


I was outraged when they cancelled you and Prickly City.

We get how many more stupid years of Brenda Starr and Cathy, but they dump the smart strips like hot rocks.

Rich said...

Just sent this e-mail to Barbara Schaffner, Comics Coordinator and Spots Editor at the Trib (

Dear Ms. Schaffner,

Who decided to drop "Candorville" and what on earth can they have been thinking?

Replace one of the Tribune's most intelligent, quietly humorous, and well-drawn strips with ... "Raising Hector" and "Ink Pen"? Even "Prickly City" (which in my opinion is neither well-drawn nor funny) is better than either of these. And to think that "Candorville" is gone to make room for them ...

Please, do your readers a favor, reconsider this incomprehensible decision, and restore Candorville.

Zirconia Wolf said...

This totally sucks burnt toast (yes, that's someting I actually do say in real life!) but as I don't live in Chicago (I'm a Washington State dweller), there is saddly nothing I can do.

Well, nothing [I]leagle[I/] anyway...

Also I now have a "Comic Crisis" of my own to deal with : The paper my family currently subscripes to was just recently purchased by a Canadian company, & has been cancelled!

None of the other local papers are worth bird-cage bedding, (although 1 does run Candorville, but nothing else worth a crap) so I am frantically bookmarking all my favorite Comics online, so I won't go through serious Comic Withdrawl!

Which brings me to a question I have been wanting to ask you, Darrin:

Is there a way to support (money-wise) the commis- like Candorville- that I view online? I buy all the books I can, but just don't want to skunk you guys out of what you're due!

Again, this totally SUCKS. (Yes, burnt toast.)


P.S. Just wanted to say to Tiffany that I [I]like[I/] Sherman's Lagoon! Talking-Shark or not, there's a place for ALL kinds of Comics! But I gotta agree that old Haggar most definately IS Horrible!

Phil Dunlap said...

To Darrin and all of your fans,

As the creator of "Ink Pen," one of the strips that got one of those coveted slots, I agree wholeheartedly with what you all are saying (well, almost all - I'm talkin' to YOU "Rich"!). When I heard I'd got in the Trib I was psyched, thinking I'd merely picked up the vacancy left by Fox Trot. But when I heard they cancelled you as well, I was astonished.

I've always found your strip smart, funny and modern, and illustrative of what the comics page can be. It feels terrible that my gain would be your loss, even though that's a reality of the syndication biz (and even though I prefer to think I got Prickly City's slot - less guilt).

So good luck to you on your campaign for reinstatement. Hopefully if you do get back in, it won't mean my cancellation as well. I’d love to see a comics page with more and more newer strips drawn by newer talent. Here’s hoping there’s a place for both of us.

Phil Dunlap

Oscar said...

Better yet, Phil, why don't they just ADD MORE COMICS? Comics get the most feedback in newspapers, I hear. Why don't papers think about that and add more of them, instead of stangling new talent in the crib or committing euthenasia on the older ones that still have fans?

And Tiff, I like Sherman too, it's got a lot of bite (sorry). They need to bring back Candorville and in fact add another page of comics. That's what I'd like to see.

Eric Margolies said...

Chill, Phil -- one blog post doth not a "campaign" make. I don't see petitions or skywriting or posts in discussion forums or anything. Relax. I don't think anyone has anything against you or Ink Pen, people just like Candorville and want it back.

I live in Seattle, and we lost Candorville for a month or two to another new comic strip. Readers told the Times what we thought, they realized we wanted to see more of it, so they brought it back. When they brought it back, they didn't get rid of that new strip, they got rid of something old.

If Chicago brings back Candorville, odds are they'd dump an old strip, or one they were thinking of getting rid of anyway, not a new strip they just decided to give a chance to.

Phil Dunlap said...

Thanks, Eric, but I don't think I was using "campaign" pejoratively. Whether it's technically a campaign or not is beside the point - I'd like to see Candorville reinstated as much as you guys.

And the purpose of my post wasn't a plea to save my own strip, which is out of Darrin's hands as much as his cancellation was out of mine. I just wanted to weigh in on something I felt needed saying. As a struggling cartoonist trying to do something different, it's disheartening to see a truly groundbreaking strip like Candorville denied an audience.

Oscar's idea is cartainly the best - add more pages. But seeing as how the newspaper industry is shrinking and the comics pages always take the first hit, that's not likely to happen anytime soon, unfortunately.

Darrin Bell said...

Thanks, Phil.

Dr. Post said...

I was not happy to find that Candorville had been dropped from the Tribune when I came home from my vacation. On the positive side, it did force me to look up your website and I have enjoyed this as well. I sent my e-mail to the Tribune (with a copy to you) urging the return of the strip. I hope it helps; I've grown to like Lamont and Susan and C-Dog.

Mark Russell

Rich said...

Phil, from this later vantage point I'd edit out my slighting mention of Ink Pen if I could; hope you'll accept my belated apology instead. It's grown on me and I enjoy it a lot now.

I could mention one or two *other* strips that still boggle my tiny mind when I consider they are there and Candorville is not ... but I won't.