First off, I am excited to share with you this fabulous piece from my friends Ed Power and Melissa DeJesus:
If you have not heard of “My Cage”, you need to go check this strip out. Syndicated by King Features, My Cage is your younger hipper (and funnier) Dilbert.. centering around office folks who would really.. rather… not be there. That’s right, for all you people who despise your jobs, main character Norman T. Playpus is here to sympathize.
That’s the twist –the characters just happen to be animals. It’s a cute, cynical, sarcastic furry comic in an americanized anime-style! Enough, already, go GO READ IT. sheez.
You can also check out their My Cage blog HERE.
I was SO flattered to see that Zorphbert was apart of this awesome cameo-palooza, especially since it’s the first time I had a charcater of mine end up in the “funnies!” Plus, look at all the terrific company ol’ Zorphie has- Dr. McNinja, Woo, Steve from Pinkerton, Space Pig, Agatha.. and more! All the cameos are listed and linked over on the the My Cage blog. Thanks so much, Ed & Melissa, this makes me grin ear to ear, seeing all these awesome webcomics characters appear in newspapers all over!
Which leads me to wonder…
Is this a sign of the big bad “Print vs. Web” debate in comics dying out? Will we eventually be one big happy family? It’s nice to dream, ain’t it? But honestly, when you step back and look at the current situation in our ever-changing world… would it not benefit both sides to work together and find a way to better the medium of comics as a whole? I mean, we’re all cartoonists, doing what we love, getting our work out to the masses the best way we know how. I know the field is competitive even without the print vs. web debate ringing in our ears, but seriously… is it really worth the time and energy to split into teams, take sides, and then constantly try to tear down the other side?
Lemme break this down. Webcomics are new, on their way into the scene, a good chunk of people still don’t have a clue we exist. I know, I get weird looks when I try to explain what a webcomic is, followed by “well, are you gonna try to get into newspapers?” Newspaper comics are dying out.. with the newspapers themselves. We’re at the last-gasp stage folks, and yes there are some gems out there still if you look (My Cage being one of them). The people who typically read newspapers comics are … unfortunately…. not even reading these new gems, but the old played-out over-done classics that never die. Or, syndicates won’t let die. You know how many times I have heard “oh I just hate that Boondocks come, such angry children, it just ruins my entire day!” (I know Boondocks is done, Aaron moved on with his cartoon series, but my point stands) Point being, we have 2 generations.. one is dying out, one is just being born. While this happens, there will be (and should be) a blend of the two. And hopefully, a way for both sides to prosper in the end.
Here’s how I see it:
Pros: steady work and paycheck, the syndicate acts like your agent so you can focus on your art/writing, helps you get your books in bookstores (this is harder than it seems, trust me), and yes… people still do read newspapers.
Cons: newspapers are a dying medium, strict-as-hell deadlines, it usually takes 2 full strips to “make a living”, itty-biddy working space keeps getting smaller, censorship and strict P.C. guidelines to follow, have to split the earnings with the syndicate.
Pros: make your own schedule, no strict P.C. guidelines assigned (unless you prefer it), showcase your work as big as you like online, you get all the profits
Cons: you need to be business-minded and outgoing as well (for conventions), lost time devoted to promotion/cons/being your own accountant, those who “make a living” from a webcomic are extremely rare, you also need to be pretty tech/web savvy
I do not have any answers, of course. I am just venting, explaining how I see things. I do not have “a side”. As usual, I tend to see both sides of the argument. And I make my usual list of pros and cons (*ahem* above), and do what is best for me and my comic. Zorphbert and Fred was sent out to syndicates twice, both times rejected with no explanations other than ” we could not do your comic justice” (which I still find strange) Z&F is a family-friendly comic, that is just odd enough to not be major-media-friendly. The masses, those who read newspaper comics, won’t “get it”. Therefore, my best option is stick to the web, promote like mad, go to conventions, lose some sleep, yet reap all the rewards and profits. And that’s what I’m doing. As for you and your comic, that’s your prerogative.