We asked for your opinions on colour comics, and we got them, and much more.
More than 250 people emailed me on Thursday to vote for or against having daily comics in colour, a feature made possible by our shifting production to a different press.
I said in this space that I had been surprised by the negative reactions I received after we made the switch. I believed that everyone would be thrilled to see their favourite comics in colour, but I was wrong.
The final tally? It’s basically two to one in favour of colour. But I am not sure that the issue has been resolved.
The most common reason for wanting comics in black and white was readability, especially for seniors.
Some people said we should be looking at other issues, not just the comics. Rest assured, delivering your paper on time matters to us, as does content, and we will keep working to improve things.
Those issues will take longer to resolve; changing comics back to black and white would take seconds.
I had hoped to respond to every reader who took the time to write about comics, but in the end there were just too many. Thanks to everyone who wrote in; your comments really do matter.
Some of the comments in favour of colour:
“Colour is vivid. Colour is real life. Colour is better than shades of grey. Please don’t give in to sentimentalists.”
“I feel it is one way to encourage and engage more youth. With the glitz of online bright colour and imagery today’s newspapers have heavy competition.”
“I love the coloured comics. Good refreshing change.”
“Let’s face it — some people are terribly unhappy unless they are complaining about something.”
“These black and whiters probably delayed their purchase of a colour television back in the ’60s, too.”
As I mentioned, most of the readers who prefer black and white said they were having trouble reading the colour versions. The phrases “hard to read,” “difficult to read,” and “almost impossible to read” appeared in about half of their emails.
Some of the comments:
“Go back to black and white. Just because it’s in colour doesn’t make it better.”
“This is not due to a resistance to change but a response to real difficulty in enjoying my paper.”
“We prefer the black-and-white for clarity in reading and for ease in photocopying to send to family and friends.”
“I vote for black and white comics as colour takes away the use of our imagination.”
“It surprises me how much I dislike seeing the comics in colour!”
“I went and spent $100 getting my eyes rechecked as the print appeared faint and unclear … Right now I find the colour comics difficult to read.”
One reader came up with a solution that might please everyone, or maybe not: “Print one half page in colour and other side black and white. Next day reverse.”
Another reader, who identified herself as a “grouchy old biddy,” said she was “not at all happy” with the changes being made at the Times Colonist, then added “Keep up your good work in trying to assuage the pitchfork and club gang.”
And here are two comments that are quite similar: “If some people can complain about colour comics then life must be pretty good in general for them,” said one, while the other said “how charmed a life do we lead when this is even a concern!” One writer was for colour, the other was against colour, but they found common ground. That’s good!
Personally, I like to see the comics in colour. But I sympathize with the readers who say they are having trouble reading words because of colour backgrounds. The most readable colour combination is black on white, something we need to remember. It makes no sense to knowingly print a page that is hard to read.
We will monitor the comics pages for a few days to see if readability problems persist, and with which strips. Your further comments on comics — or anything else, for that matter — would be appreciated.
And yes, we will continue our efforts to get your Times Colonist to you on time, every day.
Thanks again for your patience, and your continued support.