Monday, November 06, 2023


Jeffrey Lindenblatt's Paper Trends: The 300 of 1997 -- '96 Rookies

1995-6 was a very tumultuous time for the comics/feature editors, losing two of the top 10 strips to retirement. The new entries for 1996 did not make much of an impact – evidently the general consensus was to replace these spots with proven strips.

The top rookie of 1996, Tommy by Jay Martin, debuted in just 13 papers. Although the strip was quite original it was obviously intended to be a replacement for Calvin & Hobbes in spirit. Tommy would last only 21 months.

The next most successful rookie was Buckles by David Gilbert which debuted in 10 papers. This dog strip had a more successful run lasting until 2021.

Here are the rankings for all the rookies of 1996:

Tommy – 13
Buckles – 10
I Need Help – 8  (debuted in the first week of 1996, now an official rookie)
Against The Grain – 6 – (debuted in the first week of 1996, now an official  rookie)
The Norm – 6
Cornered, Frumpy The Clown, Second Chances, Swan Factory – 2
Ben, Bliss, J.D. Comics (local strip), Lumpy Gravy, PC and Pixel – 1

Over the past few years the rookie strips have made medium to low starts. Next year we will see something that has not happened in over 15 years.


I loved "Frumpy the Clown"! That's an obscure strip that needs more love.
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