It was a phone call I neither expected nor appreciated.
My Universal Press Syndicate sales representative called to say that Bill Amend, creator of the popular "Fox Trot" comic, has notified Universal that he is cutting back the comic to one day per week -- Sundays.
Amend, apparently, wants to devote time to screenplays.
Worse, the change is effective Saturday, Dec. 30. After that date, Peter (left) and Jason Fox, will not appear in the TH Mondays through Saturdays.
That doesn't give me much time to identify a replacement strip.
Further, I will need to decide whether to keep "Fox Trot" on Sundays only (I'm inclined to say yes).
Didn't Amend have a contract? Yes. However, Universal, which prides itself on being creator-friendly -- it leads the industry in giving its clients repeat strips to give cartoonists vacations -- also gave Amend an "out" clause in his contract requiring little or no notice.
Why is it that the creators of the most popular strips are the ones who bail? Bill Watterson ("Calvin and Hobbes") and Gary Larson ("The Far Side") were two who "retired" prematurely.
The comics page is not my No. 1 concern. However, it is a high-interest feature for many readers, and we want to have a fun variety of features for them.