Death, taxes and, every few years — for no apparent good reason — the editor of the local newspaper decides to mess with the comics page. Indeed, these are the times that try readers’ souls.

First, and this is important, breathe.

From what I can tell, this is not another sign of a pending apocalypse. While you will — apparently — still have to file your taxes, the sun will rise over the Bridgers tomorrow morning, and the Chronicle will continue to publish a crossword puzzle. All is not lost.

So, you may ask why, dear editor, are you mucking around with my daily routine, the thing I most love about your newspaper? An April Fools’ Day primer? More of that fake news? Have you lost your marbles? No, no, and it depends on who you ask.

Foremost, we’re making these changes because we see them as improvements. Careful readers will remember the last time the Chronicle made wholesale changes to its comics pages — just a few years ago — we added the likes of Pickles, Tundra, Argyle Sweater, Baby Blues and Zits, now viewed as among our most popular offerings. Relax. Those are all staying, and I’m hopeful and confident that you’ll come to appreciate in the same light some of the new strips that make their debut in today’s Chronicle. We think we’ve put together a lineup of the very best comic strips currently available to our nation’s newspapers.

Part of making room for new comics, unfortunately, is culling some of the others. I’ll miss in the daily pages some of the older, legacy strips like Peanuts and Beetle Bailey. But fear not; we’ve saved space for some of those on our revamped Sunday comic pages that will be unveiled this weekend.

Our puzzles and games are staying mostly the same. We are replacing the daily Los Angeles Times crossword with one we think will resonate more with our readers. And because some readers have complained that the crossword was too small and difficult to read, we’re making the new one bigger. We’ve also taken steps that we believe will significantly reduce the production errors that have historically plagued our crossword puzzles. You’re welcome.

We’re also introducing two new puzzles, Seven Little Words and Word Game, in place of Jumble. For this, I wish to publicly apologize to my mother-in-law, who deeply, deeply loves the Jumble. I’ll try to find some way to make things right.

And while we are bringing back Pearls Before Swine at the great urging of many readers, I am compelled to point out that — as much as we wish it so — we can’t revive Calvin and Hobbes, Bloom County or The Far Side. Those artists closed shop long ago. Likewise, Gary Trudeau quit producing a daily strip a few years back. So while I love a good conspiracy theory, the absence of Doonesbury on our daily pages has nothing to do with the current political climate. I think.

Those things being said, I always appreciate your feedback, both the good and the bad. If you are so moved, feel free to email me at or call my direct line at 582-2647. We’ll get through this together. I promise.

Nick Ehli, Chronicle managing editor