Monday, September 24, 2007

Penguins are always stealing jobs from Latinos

If you live in Houston, you may have noticed that the Chronicle, in an effort to provide entertainment geared toward Houston's large penguin population, has replaced the comic strip La Cucaracha with a strip about a group of penguins living in the Arctic Circle -- a subject that's obviously far more relevant to Houston readers than a strip about Latinos and immigration. The Chronicle has one of the largest comics sections in the nation. Surely they could've found something else to cut (maybe something whose creator died during the Black Plague).

If you're a Houstonite (or if you're not but you still read the paper) and a La Cucaracha fan, let the Chronicle know what you think about that by emailing comics@chron.com or calling 713-362-3222.


11 comments:

Ken said...

If you read the online comments from readers you realize that the Chronicle's readership is not the most enlightened bunch. The racism is often not the least bit subtle. Lots of whining about the plight of Whites. Every Spanish-speaker is assumed to be an illegal alien. These may be a small portion of the Chronicle’s readership, but they make a lot of noise. La Cucaracha is a reminder to their noisy few that their state is transitioning from white to brown.
Also, the criticism of President Bush really irritates many Republicans who have probably come to resent having to defend Bush since he’s failed them on some issue and abandoned them on others.
Also, I still read La Cucaracha and suspect it’s much funnier than the penguins (I don’t read the print edition of the Chronicle anymore so I have seen the immigrant penguins) I don’t think La Cucaracha is as funny as the best strip (Candorville) and Lalo Alcaraz has angrier than funny lately.

K.T. said...

I don't think it's the funniest strip around, but I read La Cucaracha and it makes me smile more often than not. It's loads funnier than what I've seen of the penguin strip, but that doesn't mean much. It takes me a while to warm up to any strip. I didn't think Pearls Before Swine was funny at all for a while.

Still, they really should have kept La Cucaracha. It's far more relevant. I agree they should've gotten rid of something old. Do they still run Peanuts? That could definitely go since it's been in repeats for like ten years.

Frank said...

Or For Better or For Worse, which is mostly old stuff these days. They could get rid of that, if they run it (I don't live in Houston though, so I can't tell them that).

hungrydog said...

I am sorry that my strip replaced that of a solo, living cartoonist - I've enjoyed the La Cucaracha strips I have read online.

True: there aren't many penguins in Houston and those that live there don't read the comics.

Should ALL comics represent the demographic of the people who read the paper?

Isn't there room for a bit of escapist FUN?

I do hope people stick with Arctic Circle and enjoy it for the humor, storylines and characters. If you give my strip a chance, you will see that it relates to issues like consumer culture, climate change and the pursuit of happiness: things that affect us all, not a select demographic.

Alex Hallatt
Cartoonist for Arctic Circle, a strip about immigrant penguins...

Ken said...

Let me fix any damage inflicted by one typo I made. I had NOT read the penguin strip yet so I didn't mean to pass judgment on the immigrant penguins. Looking at just the sample Darin linked to I'd say that these penguins rate in the top 10% of comic humor today. Like the post from the creator of Arctic Circle said, it's a shame to see any cartoonist removed. Even on his worst days Lalo's La Cucaracha is funnier and more creative than most of what you'll see in the papers.
Again, if I've offended any penguins and/or their creator, I apologize. To paraphrase the favorite rant another cartoonist (Keith Knight at the K-Chronicles) I don't care if some is purple or green or black or white (or in the case of our immigrant penguins both black and white). I would welcome any immigrant from any continent who can make me laugh (or think, or laugh and think) in the morning.

Darrin Bell said...

"Should ALL comics represent the demographic of the people who read the paper?"

Lalo's strip wasn't exactly "all" the comics in the paper, was it?

"Isn't there room for a bit of escapist FUN?"

Of course there's room for escapist fun, and the Chronicle runs dozens of strips that provide exactly that. But seeing as how minorities will become the majority fairly soon, newspapers that care about their future might also want to make room for social & political satire from a minority perspective. There's plenty of the former in the Chronicle, and now none of the latter.

No offense, that's just the reality of the situation. Congratulations on landing the paper. And try not to worry. When papers reconsider their decision to drop a strip after introducing a new one, they rarely drop the new one. They chose you for a reason, and they'll want to give you time to catch on. If they bring back La Cucaracha at this point, I wouldn't be surprised if they dropped something whose creator died during the Hoover administration.

"If you give my strip a chance, you will see that it relates to issues like consumer culture, climate change and the pursuit of happiness: things that affect us all, not a select demographic."

I'm not sure what you mean by the last part, but if it's what I think you mean, then I want to assure you I wasn't seriously saying that Arctic Circle would appeal only to penguins. In fact, I feel safe in saying its biggest fans are likely to be humans.

Ken said...

Most comic strips seem to be designed for people who don't read the rest of the newspaper. The idea that the complexities of the life found in the other sections of the paper should never intrude into the comics seems odd.
I don't know why there isn't enough room in Houston for a strip that features has a different style and takes a different tone. It's fine if the comics section is primarily family friendly. I have a daughter who is just starting to move beyond Peanuts and Mutts. However, I also want her to be see some artistic risks taken and some issues raised. I also want her to see that side of her culture (my wife is Hispanic) reflected in those little things in life.
I think there is a balance to be struck here. Article Circle is funny and well drawn. I hope its place in the Chronicle is permanent. However, there should be a place for at least some artistic, political, and racial diversity. Comedy has often been a kind of back door for artistic expression and education. Comics have played a role in getting people to think since their creation. The Chronicle is playing it too safe and needs to accept that anything new and different will face some resistance.

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