Reading Daily Comic Strips Online

By Daniel Dern. Back in the pre-Internet (or even CompuServe, Well or BBS) days when I was growing up, I would get my daily fix of comic strips and single-panel cartoons (Peanuts, Andy Capp, B.C., Blondie, Gasoline Alley, Steve Canyon, etc.) from our local daily paper (The Bergan Record) — several pages’ worth. (I don’t recall whether they were carrying Pogo.)

These days, the Boston Globe has barely a full page of strips — and they’ve been smallified to near-unreadability.

Fortunately, comic-carrying newspapers are, of course, all (also or only) online these days, but even then, some require subscriptions (fair enough), and to get all the ones you want. For example, online, the Washington Post, has about 90, while the Boston Globe is just shy of a paltry one-score-and-ten. And (at least in Firefox), they don’t seem to be visible in all-on-one-page mode, much less customize-a-page-of.

So, for several years now, I’ve been going to the source — two  “syndicates” that sell/redistribute many popular strips to newspapers:  ComicsKingdom.com ($19.99/year) and GoComics.com.  (Free, or $1.99/$19.99/year).

(Note, GoComics pricing not visible anywhere obvious — the only places on the site I see any info are https://www.gocomics.com/profiles/sign-up/plan, which approximates the monthly price, and https://www.gocomics.com/help#freetrial1, which gives the annual price, but succinct info doesn’t reveal itself until you’ve started the signup process. I confirmed my pricing by looking at my account settings. Sheesh.)

Comics Kingdom carries comics syndicated by King Features, and includes current and Vintage comics from Amazing Spider-Man to Zits, including plus about a dozen political cartoons. They also have a translated-into-Spanish grouping. You can access the current and previous week’s strips with a free account; you’ll need a Premium account to access Vintage strips and the 60,000 strip library beyond the past week.

GoComics is from Andrews McMeel Universal , “the largest independent syndicate,” and says it is “the web’s largest catalog of syndicated newspaper strips, political cartoons and webcomics” offerings go from Aaggghhh to Ziggy, including translated-to-Spanish (including Calvin & Hobbes), in addition to comic strips, offers offers web comics.. (FYI, GoComics includes Winsor McKay’s Little Nemo, BTW.) GoComics also offers (sells) strip-related merchandise — books, calendars, prints, pins, and one or two each DVDs and plushies.

Currently, I’m following about a a dozen of so strips on each. (We still get the Boston Globe in two-dimensional cellulose, or I’d be digitally getting another dozen or so.)

For less than a buck a week ($19.99×2/52, so a smidge over six bits), it lets me get most of my morning fix in a simple batches.

But not all. I’m still getting XKCD and QuestionableContent direct from their own sites, in particular.

It’s a predictable good way to start my at-desk morning.

But I still miss having four pages of daily strips (sized big enough for even aging eyeballs) and more-than-six pages of Sunday strips.

7 thoughts on “Reading Daily Comic Strips Online

  1. If you’re willing to put up with the ads, you can read the strips on Comics Kingdom for free. (I only read four strips a day there, so it’s not worth purchasing the subscription to avoid the ads.)

    I do have an annual subscription for GoComics, and I receive about 20 strips in an email each day. It’s well worth the cost.

  2. @John (and @OGH) re ComicsKingdom free access:
    Right you are! And my apologies for failing to include that in the text. It looks like you can’t create a free account, only a (paid) Premium one, so I’m guessing that (I’m a paid subscriber, and a quick browse doesn’t turn up an answer) you access each strip there individually, rather than in one click or email. (Mike, feel free — sorry, encouraged — to amend my text proper up above.)

  3. For non- syndicated strips with discrete websites, you can also use an RSS reader like The Old Reader. Someone created an app for iOS (Feedler Pro) that uses that website as a basis for updating the RSS feeds. It works for some syndicated strips that have unique websites like Dilbert.

    Ah for the halcyon days when the Houston Chronicle or the Seattle PI would let anyone create custom daily comics lists for free.

  4. I am reminded of the MENOMONEE FALLS GAZETTE published during the 1970s, which was an all-comic-strips magazine, with a week’s worth of a strip per page, put out by several guys upset at the dwindling number of strips in regular newspapers. (I had mostly moved my interests from comics to SF stories & books by then, but I saw one or two of the more than 200 they published before ceasing publication.) The GAZETTE was for mostly action strips; a shorter-lived sister pub, the MENOMONEE FALLS GUARDIAN, published humor strips. There’s a Wikipedia entry.

  5. @Bruce: I, too, subscribed to either this or something like it for a few years. (I believe I’ve got at least a few issues downstairs amidst my ~5,000 sorted and listed mostly DC/Marvel comics-that-I-don’t-need-to-keep (i do have a few “Keep Us!” boxes, of course.) Nothing super-valuable (my local comic store guy has looked my list over, probably a few in the $25-75 range, with luck. All good for great reading, although, between collected-into-books available at comic shops, bookstores, and libraries, and the (legit) free (Hoopla mostly) and monthly-sub services (DC, Marvel, ComiXology/Amazon/Kindle[1], not as essential or valuable as they were.
    [1] Yes, I’m aware of the recent and not-happily-received Cx/Amz UI/UX/etc changes. I don’t much $ investment there, tho did snarf up 100s of (legit) freebies some years back, but haven’t yet taken a look to see whether they’ve disappeared.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.