Because daily newspapers favor safe comic strips that appeal to the widest possible audience, most of today's strips are bland and unchallenging. Adventurous cartoonists who try to stretch the boundaries of the medium often find their work toned down or "killed" by newspaper editors. The following are some little-known examples of censored and cancelled strips.
1. "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"
In the mid-1990s, a long-running comic strip that had courted controversy for its allegedly sexist portrayals of women tried to lampoon the U.S. military's policy toward homosexuality. The result was this suppressed Sunday edition.
2. "Non-Sequitur Alley"
A surrealist comic strip called "Life with Dada" appeared in a handful of metropolitan newspapers in the 1960s. It was never widely syndicated, and it was discontinued after only a few months. Editors feared that middle America would be confused or disturbed by the strip's subversion of the traditional comics narrative.
3. "The Fat Cat Easter Special"
Comics creators who have tried to bring religious themes to the funny pages have often found their strips pre-emptively cancelled by editors to avoid controversy.
A popular character reenacted the death and resurrection of Christ in a never-published 1980s series of daily strips. The panel at left was the only evidence to surface for many years. A recently unearthed second panel (right) offers another glimpse at what might have been.
Check back at this page, as more of these lost treasures are sure to surface!