The Age has reinstated its popular back page cartoon section after readers inundated the newspaper with complaints on social media.

On Friday, Crikey revealed that Oslo Davis and Andrew Weldon — who share the illustration space with Judy Horacek — had been told their services were no longer required because of a page redesign. Davis was informed by an editorial staffer but Horacek wasn’t called at all.

The decision prompted torrents of online outrage, as Horacek reported the news that “apparently due to cuts etc they’ve sacked all 3, and only had resources to tell 2 of them”.

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But now, Fairfax wants the trio of doodlers back. A Fairfax spokesperson, Miranda Schuppan, told Crikey this afternoon that “the back page was in the process of being redesigned to accommodate our Focus feature and elements of Melbourne Life, but it still includes the cartoon component”.

But she didn’t explain why Davis and Weldon had originally been offloaded, or the reasons behind the embarrassing backflip.

On Friday, Davis explained he had been moved on because of “page redesign and editor cuts. Us cartoonist[s] were at the end of the food chain”, and linked to his last illustration. Australian cartoonist Jon Kudelka relayed the news that Weldon had also been sacrificed.

The blowback was savage. Regular Fairfax contributor Benjamin Law reacted by saying “Age news sucks various balls”, while noted crime novelist Shane Maloney said “a stiff letter is on its way to the editor”.

Horacek’s cartoon appeared on the back page today, as per usual. She said this afternoon the company “are calling it ‘a bit of confusion’. Obviously there are widely varying definitions of ‘bit'”.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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