Happy New Year!

As we wrap up 2020 — good riddance, right? — I wanted to share some news about a change coming to our Sunday comics pages.

We’re adding a new comic, called “Phoebe and her Unicorn,” beginning Sunday, Jan. 3. It will replace the long-running strip, “Andy Capp.”

I must admit there’s been some excitement around my house when I announced this decision to my 9-year-old daughter. She’s been reading the Phoebe graphic novels for nearly a year now and can’t seem to get enough.

We discovered the Sunday strip during a summer road trip when we picked up a copy of the Dubuque, Iowa, paper. From that late July Sunday until now, I’ve been asked repeatedly if “my newspaper” couldn’t add the Phoebe strip.

After some hesitation, I decided to see what the options were for making a change. We’ve all had a rough year, to say the least, and looking forward to a bright, imaginative character such as Phoebe seemed like a good idea for the start of 2021.

My daughter’s near-obsession with the “Phoebe” books reminded me of the “Calvin and Hobbes” book collection from my own childhood that I have stashed in a closet. I remember racing my brother to the kitchen table as young teens to see who would be the first to grab the paper so we could read the “Calvin and Hobbes” strip aloud. Part of me still thinks the comics haven’t been nearly as funny as they were in the days of Bill Watterson.

At the Missourian, we’re adding a Sunday-only strip of “Phoebe and her Unicorn” with the hope that we can introduce you to this delightfully funny character. She’s mildly sarcastic, devoted to her unicorn and shares silly tales about friendship, adolescence and what goes on in the mind of a 9-year-old.

Of course, I want to encourage young readers, like my daughter, who get hooked on daily comics and then progress to the news and sports stories elsewhere in the paper. But I also think the adults will enjoy the playfulness of this strip. And what better way to start a new year than with hope and laughter.

You’re welcome to disagree with our decision and may not adore Phoebe as I have come to these past months. All I ask is that you give it a few weeks and then let me know what you think.

About opinions in the Missourian: The Missourian’s Opinion section is a public forum for the discussion of ideas. The views presented in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Missourian or the University of Missouri. If you would like to contribute to the Opinion page with a response or an original topic of your own, visit our submission form.

Laura Johnston is Opinion editor at the Missourian and an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism.

  • News editor at the interactive copy desk and an associate professor at the Missouri School of Journalism.

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