Darker Tones For Newspaper Cartoons During Pandemic

I have been watching the cartoons in my local paper, the Wisconsin State Journal, regarding how they catch up to the current pandemic headlines.  The creators of cartoons have many strips ‘in the can’ weeks in advance.  So it takes time, for example, to have Blondie get current on the funnies page to match what readers are learning from the news sections of the paper.

Blondie, on Tuesday April 13th, had a strip about tax day, even though filing this year has been delayed until July while Beetle Bailey still plays off the same template of humor that has been its mainstay for years.

But some cartoons are poking fun at absurd aspects to the crisis, such as ThatABaby.  Or with Heart Of The City.  And Pearls Before Swine.




But we are also seeing cartoons take a hard turn to the darker tones regarding what we are facing in our daily lives.  I understand the need to incorporate contemporary angst into the strips. Seventy-five years from now these cartoons will also be a way to gauge the depth and enormity of the crisis we are living through.


But as a news consumer–perhaps too much of one most days—the funny page of the newspaper is a place to step away from the edge of the cliff and get a fast laugh.  With so few places (it seems) left at this time to feel a reprieve from the constant onslaught of awful heart-wrenching news about COVID-19, I would hope to see the cartoon pages be there for us as we need to find uplifting carefree moments.

We need that respite more than ever.