Several of you have observed that many conventional newspapers today, on their auxiliary Web site, carry links to online versions of comic strips that appear in the printed edition. That’s good, but I don’t think it follows that newspapers would continue to subscribe to comic strips in the traditional manner should the majority of newspapers eventually make the jump to Web-only.
The strips currently associated with newspaper Web sites are purchased initially for the print edition. Web usage is a freebie, or a near freebie, an added enticement to a conventional syndication contract. In a world where newspapers are published online, I don’t think newspapers would pay for the privilege of posting a link to a comic-strip site that is universally available, not only to other online newspapers (“newsportals?”) but to the world at large. Comic strips might not go away altogether, but they would cease to be “newspaper comic strips.” Maybe that’s stating the obvious, but it still boggles my mind.