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In response to a recent letter critical of The News' comics section, allow me to make a few points. During my travels, I have read newspapers from all over the United States. In my opinion, none surpasses the variety of comic strips offered by The News.

The News' comics appeal to people of all ages, and range from sometimes harsh realism ("Funky Winkerbean") to whimsical ("Mutts") to political satire ("Doonesbury"). Don't like comics? Read The Wall Street Journal or New York Times.

Not all comics are meant to be "ha ha, funny." As a youngster, I enjoyed "Flash Gordon," "Dick Tracy" and "Little Orphan Annie," none of which provoked giggles of merriment very often. Yet all of them were provocative and absorbing.

"Doonesbury" follows in the honored tradition of Walt Kelly's "Pogo" strip. It is satire of the highest order, and must-reading for the politically astute. I could not imagine sitting down to enjoy the comics without first turning to "Doonesbury." For many black readers, I'm sure "Boondocks" fills the same reading purpose.

You want funny? My wife and I chortle every day over "Betty," which is both topical and highly amusing.

Other quality strips include the extraordinary "Funky Winkerbean," the late Jeff MacNelly's "Shoe" and "For Better Or Worse." The best new strip is easily "Zits," which conveys the teenage psyche amusingly, but sympathetically.

Not all strips are to my taste, but I'm sure some readers must enjoy "Hi and Lois" and "Marvin" or else The News would not continue to carry them.

The News tells of deadly earthquakes and another Sabres loss. But I can always count on the comics to lift my spirits each day.



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