Trim Strips

These days it’s easy to change the height-to-width ratio of a comic strip to fit whatever space is available in a newspaper, which personally I find extremely annoying.  In an earlier post about widescreen movies I said some comic strips were once cropped to fit.

Above is an example: Dick Tracy, from 1943.  Click the picture to see the full strip.  I’ve added a line to highlight how the bottom quarter of the panels is filler. Photostats were sent to newspapers in two versions — one full-height, and one trimmed.

When Peanuts was introduced in 1950, Charles Schulz was told to keep his panels square, so the strip could be sold as a flexible “space-saver.”  Instead of trimming the panels, they could be arranged in several different ways; straight across, vertically, or two on two, as seen in the reprint books.

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Blog of Douglas E. Pratt