Hey you guys

Well, it looks like Aaron McGruder has post-poned the return of the "Boondocks" comic strip indefinitely, though I wouldn't be at all surprised if "Boondocks" never returns to newspapers. It's been pretty damn apparent for a hot minute now that the grind of churning out a daily comic strip was becoming an unbearable burden to McGruder, even with someone else helping out with the artwork (and by "helping out" I of course mean "doing all of").

Moreover it's becoming increasingly apparent that the comic strip is a dying, if not dead medium and that McGruder isn't the sort to shed copious tears at its passing. I was a comic strip junkie growing up. I was in love with the medium. There was an embarrassment of riches to choose from then: the masterful single-panel surrealism of "Far Side", the incisive socio-political commentary and compelling characters of "Doonesbury" and "Bloom County", the elegant existential wisdom of "Peanuts" and its very worthy predecessor "Calvin & Hobbes". "Life In "Hell"

For much of my childhood I wanted to be a cartoonist (an ambition thwarted in no small part by my complete lack of drawing ability). Hell I'm not too proud that I once sent a fan letter to the guy who drew "Luanne" asking for professional advice. That was only about fifteen years ago but it seems like an eternity today. Peanuts is gone. Bloom County is gone. Calvin And Hobbes is gone. Far Side is gone. Doonesbury's still around but I lost track of it ages ago. What does that leave? Well there is Cathy in Spanish (God bless Cathy in Spanish, incidentally) and Boondocks. Boondocks is the first new comic strip in ages that reminded me why I fell in love with comic strips as a kid. It made a dying artform suddenly feel real and relevant all over again. Boondocks was more than just funny. It was dangerous. It was important. It was ferociously alive and incredibly vital.

So if McGruder has written his last "Boondocks" comic strip I'll definitely be sad but I'll also understand. The success of the Boondocks television show (a show I have very mixed feelings about) seems to have sealed its comic-strip sibling's doom. If, in fact, "Boondocks" has breathed its last breath I think it bodes ill for the already bleak future of the comic strip as a medium.

What do you guys think? Am I jumping the gun? Is it possible that McGruder's just retrenching and will return to the graveyard that is the comics page with fire in his belly and vitriol to spare? Is my doomsaying for both "Boondocks" and the comic strip premature? Discuss.

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