Wednesday, January 13, 2010

From Candorville to Squid Row

I'd like to welcome the newest addition to The Herald, the local crew from Squid Row. The Herald is the first newspaper to feature the daily comic and I'm proud to showcase the artist, Bridgett Spicer, on our pages.

The comics pages have long been Spicer's passion, and she has been producing Squid Row for a couple of years, refining characters and story lines. Adding her to the comics lineup was a natural: She produces the strip out of her studio in Salinas, Squid Row's fictional locale is "Cypress City" but it looks very much like Monterey County, and Spicer has studied the craft long enough to know the demands of delivering a daily strip. We are happy to have her and we have already received several favorable responses to the comic.

Monterey County has produced an abundance of legendary cartoonists, including Hank Ketcham, Gus Arriola and Eldon Dedini, and we wish Spicer good luck in her Squid Row endeavor.

With space on our comics page limited, I had to drop a strip to make room for Squid Row. The choice I made was Candorville, by Darrin Bell. Losing a cartoon is not a decision I take lightly — I learned my lesson when I foolishly decided to drop For Better or For Worse a couple of years ago.

I personally prefer Candorville over many of the comics we now run in The Herald, but I also learned from the For Better or For Worse debacle that my personal tastes aren't always consistent with the more rabid comics fans among The Herald's readership.

In the end, I decided to drop Candorville for several reasons. Candorville was the most recent addition to our comics page — and the only responses I ever received were negative. The critics I heard from seemed to feel that Candorville's inner-city perspective was out of character with rural little Monterey County. Also, I often hear complaints from readers when an advertisement appears on the bottom of the comics page; the complainants are outraged when the ad supplants Arctic Circle, but I never heard from anyone who complained when the ad replaced Candorville.

I could be all wrong about this, of course. By now I've received only six calls or emails from folks who are upset about losing Candorville, compared to the hundreds I received when For Better or For Worse disappeared from The Herald.

On his Web site, Darrin Bell has initiated a write-in campaign among his fans to convince me to save his strip.