Pittsburgh City Paper to Debut New Strange­News Column and Weekly Comic

may 18, 2016  01:26 pm
Pittsburgh City Paper to Debut New Strange­News Column and Weekly Comic
PITTSBURGH, PA — In the past 25 years, City Paper readers have used a lot of different words to describe Pittsburgh’s premier alt­weekly; some complimentary and some, not so much. But one word used a few times throughout the paper’s history is “weird.” Starting May 18, the word will become a part of City Paper’s weekly vocabulary, with the launch of two new features: “Weird Pittsburgh” and the syndicated cartoon, WaynoVision.

Starting Wednesday May 18, local freelance writer and City Paper contributor Nick Keppler will debut a new feature called “Weird Pittsburgh,” focusing on regional news that’s odd, strange, bizarre, unbelievable and, well, weird. City Paper editor Charlie Deitch says the idea for this column has been in the works for some time.

Prior to 2014, the paper ran the nationally syndicated “News of the Weird” column. Then, Roland Sweet’s “News Quirks” column ran weekly until the author died suddenly last August. Since then, readers have been asking for a replacement, but Deitch says if a similar column were to come back, it had to be different. Keppler is no stranger to adapting the format to cover local news. He previously wrote a similar column for the Advocate/Weekly newspapers of Connecticut.

“Everyone enjoys reading these unbelievable and humorous news items. But frankly, the syndicated columns can be found easily anywhere online,” Deitch says. “We like the concept — always have — but we decided if we were going to devote space to a feature, it needed to be original content. Nick brought this idea to us last fall and our new publisher, Vance Smith, loved the idea, so we decided to go for it. There’s certainly no shortage of weird stuff going down around here on a daily basis.”

The new page will also include “WaynoVision,” GoComics’ witty — and wacky — online cartoon panel by Pittsburgh­based cartoonist Wayno. Wayno was a gag writer, colorist and guest cartoonist for Dan Piraro’s “Bizarro” for more than five years, contributing 150 gags to the daily panel, before launching his online comic in 2014. He’s also a frequent writer for Hilary Price’s “Rhymes With Orange” comic strip.

“Wayno’s strips are smart, totally weird and laugh­out­loud funny,” says City Paper’s art director Lisa Cunningham. “We’re incredibly lucky to have him in Pittsburgh, and even luckier to be the only paper in town to carry his strip.”

In addition to WaynoVision, City Paper will also continue to print nationally syndicated political cartoonist Jen Sorensen’s strip in its news section.