At the beginning of August, the corporate parent of Laurinburg Exchange made a change to the comics page. Retail and the Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee were gone, replaced with Sally Forth and Daddy Daze. A call to the Exchange’s editor revealed he wasn’t aware any change had been made. Soon after, the crossword and Sudoku puzzles grew and the comics shrunk.
The Aug. 15 edition of the Exchange repeated the comics page from the previous day.
Daily comic strips play an important role in our lives, from childhood to retirement. Comics give children a reason to read the paper. Before I could understand the words, I would look at the pictures and ask my mom to read the words to me. When I went to school, I’d read the comics before doing (or not doing) my homework. My siblings and I would talk about the adventures of Calvin and Hobbes, or the offbeat Far Side comic we had stuck on the fridge.
Because of the daily comics pages in my local newspapers, I was encouraged to read. I discovered the books and films that inspired the cartoonists. I found a passion for art. I was encouraged to read the rest of the newspaper by the editorial cartoons because I wanted to understand the jokes. Now, the few minutes spent reading the comics page provide a welcome break from the events of the day. I’m sure I’m not the only one with an appreciation for the daily comics strips.
I hope the publishers of the Laurinburg Exchange will consider the positive impact that comics have on their readers. I’ll conclude with how I use comics, comic books, and graphic novels to encourage literacy, art, and education. I host Comic Culture, a television program that’s like Inside the Actor’s Studio, but with the men and women who make comics. The program is a production of the Department of Mass Communication at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke, and airs on the NC Channel, part of UNC-TV’s public media channels.
My students gain valuable hands-on experience in television production working on a series that is broadcast throughout North Carolina and parts of three neighboring states. Viewers learn how writers and artists create comics, hit their deadlines, and tell stories. It is my hope that my students and the audience will be inspired by comics and will always have a place to read them in their local paper.