Our new comics are a laughing matter

The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee will be published Sunday.
The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee will be published Sunday. King Features

A new year often means change.

For our comics fans, we’re sure you’ll enjoy some new choices. We’re updating our comics pages with five new strips in the daily or Sunday editions.

As part of those changes, “Tundra,” “Bound & Gagged” and “Wizard of Id” won’t be part of our comics offerings starting Jan. 8.

We are able to bring back one reader favorite: “Family Circus.” When I started in my new role in August 2016, two longtime comics were running in a tiny spot buried in our classified ad section. I ended that usage because I felt it was not ideal placement to search for comics in such an odd location.

When they stopped publishing, I heard from you:

“They are one area of the paper that I enjoy — please bring them back and quit whittling them down,” one reader emailed me.

“Dennis and Family Circus have been in the paper for years and I would hate to lose them.”

I realize readers have deep connections and personal preferences for comics, and we consider that feedback when change is required. This switch was prompted by national contract updates, which meant we needed to replace the three mentioned above. I’m happy I can bring one back that’s popular with longtime comics fans.

The other two new daily strips are “The Argyle Sweater” and “Herman.”

On Sundays, the new strips will be “Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee,” “Bizarro” and “Sherman’s Lagoon.” You’ll start to see those changes on Sunday, Jan. 14.

Here is a little background on the new comics:

“The Argyle Sweater” is written by Scott Hilburn, a Texas native. Hillburn says of himself: “After years of developing my artistic skill, it is now time for me to use my drawing powers and cartooning abilities to save the world. There is no need to thank me for my work. It is my gift to mankind.”

“Herman” was written and drawn by Jim Unger, who died in 2012. The strip has been continued with the help of co-collaborators.

Written by John Hambrock, “Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee” focuses on a 10-year-old genius and features a talking rat. The strip launched in 2006. Hambrock is an ad and print designer, in addition to being a cartoonist.

Dan Piraro’s “Bizarro” is an eccentric look at life through the cartoonist’s eyes. Piraro has won three consecutive “Best Newspaper Panel” awards from the National Cartoonists Society. Watch for odd, small icons semi-hidden in the background, such as inverted birds, The Crown of Power and The Mighty Oyl.

“Sherman’s Lagoon,” by Jim Toomey, is an imaginary lagoon somewhere in the tropics. Sherman is a white shark who is unaware of how intimidating his species can be. Toomey is active in marine conservation and does TED talks about protecting oceans.

I hope you give these strips a chance. As always, we appreciate your feedback and support for the Statesman — whether you read in print or in one of our digital options.

Thank you for trying something new.

Rhonda Prast is editor of the Idaho Statesman. rprast@idahostatesman.com; 208-377-6403