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Will Marmaduke dodge another bullet?

In its Sunday print edition,

and on its website

, the

Denver Post

is going through a torturous annual ritual -- polling readers about which comics they like, dislike or ignore. Unfortunately, the results of such surveys frequently fail to predict the ire of those whose faves are low vote-getters. Note that after collecting questionnaires last fall,

the Rocky Mountain News announced that it was giving the heave-ho to "Garfield," a strip that hasn't come within spitting distance of funny since the Reagan administration

. But Denverites still convulsed by tedious lasagna jokes reacted with such anger and passion that

the Rocky backed down within a few weeks, giving "Garfield" a reprieve

.

The Post would probably love to reduce the overall number of comics it runs. After all, eight pages worth of full-color funnies is mighty expensive to publish, especially given the well-known struggles of the print newspaper business these days. But if dozens of strips were slashed, the broadsheet's headquarters would be stormed by livid locals who can't imagine starting their day without perusing the latest shenanigans of that lovable Marmaduke. Hence, the likeliest items to go will be newer comics that haven't yet had the time to build up a significant following, leaving the likes of "Blondie and Dagwood" to molder in public for another year. Hilarious.

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