That Old Nosy Biddy Mary Worth

Another casualty of the newspaper industry is the chunky comics section. Here at home, it has become . . . how should I put this . . . dinky. Entire strips have been removed, the physical page is smaller, and our Sunday mornings just aren’t the same as they used to be.

My kids have noticed it. They have fewer pages to fight over.

This excerpt from a letter to the editor in this Sunday’s Viewpoints section in our newspaper:

. . . As for the comics, there are several more I would get rid of. That old nosy biddy “Mary Worth” should have been retired years ago… “Non Sequitur” and “Dilbert” could go as far as I’m concerned.

Being a senior citizen, I was upset when the cost of my paper went up. But I still get it every day, right at my front door, thanks to my carrier, who must get up when a lot of people are just going to bed.

Thanks again for my paper.

So the writer may have wandered away from her intended message and over into left field, but she has a point. If you’re going to get rid of a few comic strips, this one might come up in discussion.

Mary Worth has neither a sense of humor nor good listening skills.

So after reading aloud this letter to the editor, followed by this Mary Worth comic strip on Sunday morning, we turned our attention toward The Phantom and how he is stuck somewhere between reality and some sort of crazy place.

The Phantom isn't your average suave superhero. I'm not really sure what he is.

The Phantom is a crimefighter based in Bengalla, a made-up country in Africa. So you can imagine how funny he is. On this particular Sunday, he is in his home base of Skull Cave, preparing to help Lily recover some of her missing IRA, while his scrappy son Kit mocks him and his computer illiteracy.

Come to think of it, The Phantom seems like sort of a nosy biddy himself.

So what determines whether a strip makes it to the chopping block? By definition, comic strips should be moderately comical. But Snuffy Smith is still around (and above the fold in our comics, no less). We are also clinging tightly to Marmaduke, which I venture to guess has never made anyone wet their pants from laughing.

Maybe it’s the Nosy Biddy Factor that measures a comic strip’s viability. With a few exceptions. Like Family Circus and Sally Forth who apparently have comic strip tenure and are therefore untouchable.

Meanwhile, back on the ranch, Marmaduke prepares to hit his owners in the head with a dog bowl, but not before sliding across the floor.