With the help of his mom, an 8-year-old boy named Mac got on the phone Sunday and complained in a voicemail to Bloomington (IN) Herald-Times editor Bob Zaltsberg about his favorite comics no longer appearing in the paper.
“OK, I want back these comics now,” the boy demanded. His list- some of his parents’ faves, too? – included “Peanuts,” “Dilbert,” “Doonesbury,” “Nancy,” “Garfield,” “For Better or For Worse,” “Ziggy,” and others.
“I’ll give you all my money” if the comics are returned to the paper, the boy said before ending his call by blasting the “idiots, jerks, [and] shitholes” at the paper.
The editor tells me: “I thought it was a very funny thing, but still an eight-year-old calling me a shithole isn’t that pleasant.”
Zaltsberg says the paper negotiated with three syndicates after the publisher ordered the comics budget cut. The Herald-Times got “pretty good breaks” from Creators Syndicate and King Features, but Universal Uclick wouldn’t negotiate. Its 13 comics were dropped.
“We replaced them with 13 others from Creators and King,” says the editor. “We haven’t had an onslaught on callers [complaining]. I had explained in a column that this was a cost-reduction issue, and I think some readers took pity on us.”