Monday, December 06, 2021


Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 for 1987 -- Rookie Features

The rookie winner starting during 1986 is a clear victory for marketing. The hottest strip for the past eight years was Garfield by Jim Davis from United Feature Syndicate. So how do you get another United Feature rookie strip to be number 1? You offer another strip by Jim Davis. That strip was US Acres which debuted in 32 papers. But is that a real victory? Yes and no. Given the number of papers that picked up the strip, then it seems to be a clear victoty, but if you take into account that 26 of the 32 papers were already running Garfield then no. Why is that? The reason is that when the strip is compared side by side every day to the better strip Garfield people lose interest and so will the editors. So, a better success would have been to offer a Jim Davis strip to papers that did not have Garfield available to them. If the strip's introduction had gone this way, it might have lasted longer than three years.

The strip that came in second was a spin-off from a popular Saturday morning cartoon show. That strip was Gummi Bears, which debuted with 21 papers. This was a Disney strip syndicated by King Features. At this time it was the most widely syndicated Disney strip but as with US Acres it died out in its third year.

 The rest of the rookie strips for 1986 are as follows:


Snafu (NEA) – 16

Francie (United Features) – 11

Mr. Boffo (Tribune) – 9

Pop’s Place (King Features)– 9

Out of Bounds (News American) – 8

Sherman on The Mount (Los Angeles Syndicate) – 8

Middletons (News American) – 6

Boomers' Song (Tribune) – 5

Cobwebs (Asterisk) – 3

Sniglets (McNaught) – 3

Goblin (Asterisk) – 2

Lug Nuts (Washington Post Writers Group) – 2

Ellie (self-syndicated) – 1

Kaleb (local) – 1

King Tot (Davy Associates) – 1

Local Item (Universal) – 1

Strahle’s Bailiwick (self-syndicated) – 1


Strips that began between 1977-1986 – Tops in Popularity


Garfield (1978) – 202

Bloom County (1980) – 118

Shoe (1977) – 113

Far Side (1979) – 106

For Better or For Worse (1979) – 101


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