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R-J survey: ‘Blondie,’ ‘Garfield,’ ‘Family Circus’ most popular comics

What do a blonde with a sandwich-loving husband, an overweight cat with an attitude and a suburban family of six have in common?

They just happen to be the most popular comics in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, according to a survey emailed to members of the newspaper’s readers panel.

“Blondie,” at No. 1, first ran in 1930 and was created by Dean Young and John Marshall. “Garfield,” No. 2, created in 1978 by Jim Davis, is the most syndicated comic in the world. No. 3 is “Family Circus,” created in 1962 by Bill Keane and Jeff Keane.

The survey also showed that comics focusing on political and social issues are not what readers gravitate toward. “Doonesbury,” “Wumo” and “Over the Hedge” are the least popular comics in the newspaper.

The plot lines of these comics focus on a liberal-leaning group of characters, wild animals coming to terms with their natural habitat being taken over by suburbia and satires of daily life, respectively.

Most of those who responded to the comics survey read the newspaper regularly. About 300 of the 501 readers group members participated.

“We send out approximately one e-blast per week with two or three surveys attached to it. Panelists are not required to take any of the surveys, but usually more than half will respond,” said Denise Kitchen, market research analyst for the Review-Journal.

Both groups of comics appear in the newspaper’s Sunday edition, too.

“We will look at changing up some of the comics since there are obviously some that are not well received by readers,” Review-Journal Editor Michael Hengel said.

While 47 percent of those surveyed said they read comics at least once a week, entertainment features such as Astrograph and Bridge have less of a loyal audience.

Only 29 percent of those surveyed read them with the same frequency as comics. The most popular entertainment feature is Astrograph.

And while most readers surveyed find comics and puzzles an integral part of their newspaper reading experience, others feel that the space could be used for alternative content, such as book reviews and travel guides.

“Quit worrying about which comics are being read, give us something substantial to read and look forward to,” one anonymous respondent said.

Although many readers are eager to see a change, others are content with things just as they are.

“I am satisfied with the comic strips,” another respondent said.

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