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PACE TO SLOW FOR 'FOXTROT' COMIC STRIP

FoxTrot, the popular comic strip that runs in more than 1,000 newspapers, including the St. Petersburg Times, will end daily production Dec. 30. Bill Amend, who created FoxTrot in 1988, will continue to write and draw a Sunday strip. "After spending close to half of my life writing and drawing FoxTrot cartoons, I think it's time I got out of the house and tried some new things," he said in a statement reported by the Houston Chronicle. "I love cartooning, and I absolutely want to continue doing the strip, just not at the current all-consuming pace." Mike Wilson, Times assistant managing editor/newsfeatures, said Thursday that the paper wasn't sure whether it would continue to run FoxTrot on Sunday or how the comic would be replaced in the daily paper. "Over the next couple of weeks, we'll look at some of the new comics on the market," Wilson said. "There are some terrific strips out there. We'll show some of the best ones to readers and ask them what they like."

Madonna reunites with clothing chain

So long, conical brassieres and life-sized crucifixes. We hope. Hip, low-price fashion chain H&M has once again sealed a deal to create a line with Madonna, the company said Thursday. The Associated Press says Madonna will team up with H&M's head of design to create the "M by Madonna" women's wear collection, scheduled to be launched in March. This is the second time the singer is collaborating with the clothing chain, which is Europe's largest and has several stores in the United States (stores that bay area fashion fans hit whenever they get near one, because, of course, H&M doesn't have a store around here). H&M supplied Madonna and her entourage with their offstage wardrobe for this year's "Confessions" tour.

The scent of L.A.M.B.

Two things the world doesn't need: another perfume and another celebrity perfume pusher. But that isn't stopping Gwen Stefani from launching a fragrance for her L.A.M.B. fashion and accessories line. "It's very prestigious as a designer to have a fragrance," she told the AP. Coty Inc. is producing the scent, which is supposed to hit stores next fall.

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