Two comic strips that deal with the ups and downs of life -- For Better or Worse and The Born Loser -- were the big winners in the balloting to expand the Union-Bulletin's comics page.
There were approximately 2,400 valid ballots cast in which readers were able to vote for two comic strips from six that had recently been dropped from the newspaper because of their rising costs. The winners of the Top Two voting were For Better of Worse with 1,353 votes and The Born Loser with 1,082 votes.
Totals for the remaining strips were: Garfield, 731; Hagar the Horrible, 557; Wizard of Id, 550; and Frank & Ernest, 512.
It was interesting to watch the race develop. Elections officials have often talked about how once the bulk of the ballots are counted the trend seems to stay the same. That's why even when there are substantial votes still in the mail and yet to be counted the final results are rarely changed. We could see the same thing develop in this balloting. For Better or Worse and The Born Loser jumped to an early lead after the first two days. Each day the lead became more and more impressive. By Thursday the lead had become insurmountable. The final tally done before the sun rose this morning saw a gap of 351 votes separating the second- and third-place finishers.
The winning strips return to the comics page today. By moving Dear Abby, which some readers had complained was not appropriate for younger readers who enjoy the comics page, there was room to expand the number of comics on the page. Fans of Dear Abby will be able to find the column on the last inside page of the first section on a daily basis.
The comics page has been redesigned to put the strips into alphabetical order (with the exception of two comics that are designed as panels). This should make it easier for readers to find their favorites.
Thank you to all those who took the time to submit ballots. Some voters were so passionate about their favorites that they submitted multiple ballots every day. It made for an exciting contest and has drawn more attention to the comics pages than it has seen in a long time.
Rick Doyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 526-8306.