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Return of 'Boondocks' comic strip delayed

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KANSAS CITY, Missouri (AP) -- "The Boondocks," the comic strip about a black family living in the suburbs, will take a longer hiatus from the nation's newspapers than originally planned.

Aaron McGruder, who in February put his strip on what was supposed to be a six-month hiatus, has not decided when, or if, he will return to newspapers, Universal Press Syndicate announced Monday. The syndicate stressed that McGruder has made no statement about retiring.

The comic was to return in October and new strips would have had to be in by mid-September to meet newspapers' deadlines for printing them, said Lee Salem, president of Kansas City-based Universal Press.

McGruder, 31, is busy with a Cartoon Network animated TV show of his comic and other ventures and didn't believe it was the right time to decide whether to return to newspapers, Salem said in a telephone interview from Washington D.C.

"It's my understanding, in the communications with Aaron and his agent, that the biggest problem is finding the right time to make a decision," Salem said. "He's not ready to do that at this point. I don't know the answer to (the comic's future)."

"The Boondocks" touched on several controversial issues, including race and politics, through the characters of Huey Freeman, his little brother, Riley, and their grandfather, who moved the black family from Chicago to the suburbs.

Universal said it was not able to make McGruder available for interviews Monday. McGruder's editor, Greg Melvin, was out of the office Monday and also unavailable for interviews.

Salem said Universal hoped to have a decision from McGruder in the next month or two and wanted to continue its relationship with him in the future, in one form or another.

Copyright 2006 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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