Cartoons go online


slashgirl writes "'If you want to take the pulse of newspaper comic strips, look no further than Jim Davis’s Garfield, a strip that nicely sums up both what’s right and wrong with the medium. Despite being about 20 years past its prime, the lasagna-obsessed, Monday-phobic feline remains immensely popular, boasting a readership of about 275 million worldwide. In 2004, it was picked up by an additional 50 newspapers, bumping its total syndication to some 2,620 newspapers and placing it in a tie with Charles Schulz’s masterful Peanuts for the most syndicated strip of all time. '

The rest of the story is here."


If you're looking to see what wrong with syndicated comics, you should also have a gander at Non Sequitur. Wiley Miller has pretty much declared war on webcomics, blogs, and anything he deems technologically inappropriate. This is because, like some people we know, he feels that anything published online hasn't gone through the lens of editors, syndicates, and other highly paid people who somehow, just buy dealing with the work, give it legitimacy.

The response was hardcore and overwhealming from the web comic artist's community, with my favourite coming from Checkerboard Nightmare.

The hurdle facing many "traditional" comic strip artists is that they must draw their comics weeks in advance. While the internet, much to Wiley's chagrin, has aided in a speedier delivery of comics to syndicates, there's still a lag time between the occurance of an event and the commenting on that event by a comic strip. Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide 2/20/2005. Only now is Gary Trudeau talking about it in Doonesbury.

Meanwhile, for the web comic artist, an event can happen, they can stop a storyline they're working on. They can draw a comic and finish it right now, and then they can publish it imediately. No syndicated comic artist, to my knowledge, has that ability. The bottom line? Web comics usually have more relevance than anything in print.


A good post by GWD , a lot of which I can agree with, but I was suddenly struck by the comment in the final sentence. It may be that I am being pedantic but I think there is perhaps a tendency to confuse the concept of "relevant" with "timeliness". The ability to produce and then publish a response to an event in literally minutes is a powerful one , but "relevance" to me has a different meaning, that is not simply dismissed by the passgage of time.
The more I think about it, the more I find this kind of debate interesting in terms of the way the Web has altered perceptions,and I was certainly not trying to sound critical nor like a word-nazi.

I was certainly not trying to sound critical nor like a word-nazi.

Sieg heil! :)

You're right, but so am I. (See? We both win.) By relevance I mean the same thing as timeliness in this instance. However I chose my example poorly. So let me see if I can make a quick clarification...

It's often the case that something happens that somewhat newsworthy and draws the attention of a comic strip artist. It may not be 5:00 headline news, but people take notice. At best it's going to be two weeks before a comic strip reflects on that event. By that time, it may not only be gone from the public memory, but things may have changed so that the joke is either inappropriate, makes no sense, or is also somehow overshadowed by other events. Therefore, the item in the comic is no longer relevant to the situation it parodies.

Say, for instance, that Gary Trudeau gets a giggle out of Dan Rather's exit last night. (COURAGE!) By the time the strip comes out, people will probably forget what was so funny in the first place.

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