"The Comics Are Feeling the Pain of Print"

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jcaffoe
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"The Comics Are Feeling the Pain of Print"

Post by jcaffoe » Sun Dec 28, 2008 9:24 pm

I thought this was a really great article on the decline of newspapers and how cartoonists are responding.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/12/28/busin ... xprod=digg

It's a pretty interesting read, but also sad to see how comic strip artists are having to bend over backwards to make a living these days. Much of the article focuses on how creators are looking at animation and 'motion-comics' sold through itunes as ways to introduce the medium to a younger generation.

Maybe I'm just old-fashioned, but even with all of this digital distribution talk it will be a sad day when the comics section becomes extinct...

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dark77778
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Post by dark77778 » Mon Dec 29, 2008 6:45 pm

I think if there was a newspaper that was just a large comic section that was published, it'd bring something back. The advent of internet news is what I think is killing a lot of the newspaper comics but there are days when I'm outside and I just want to pick up and read nothing but a comics section of a paper, so why not make a paper that's just comics?
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jdalton
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Post by jdalton » Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:19 pm

dark77778 wrote:I think if there was a newspaper that was just a large comic section that was published, it'd bring something back. The advent of internet news is what I think is killing a lot of the newspaper comics but there are days when I'm outside and I just want to pick up and read nothing but a comics section of a paper, so why not make a paper that's just comics?
This is something I've thought too. It might have to have a bunch of ads in it to pay for itself, but a good model to follow might be those numerous free papers that populate urban centres. Unlike those papers, though, you wouldn't be short-changing readers by giving them a bunch of articles culled from news feeds, but giving them better quality comics than what they can get in a "real" paper. There are plenty of hungry comics artists out there who are for all intents and purposes shut out of the big newspapers.

Oh, if only I were rich and could do stuff like this.
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dark77778
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Post by dark77778 » Mon Jan 12, 2009 3:41 pm

jdalton wrote:Oh, if only I were rich and could do stuff like this.
Rich nothing. If I knew how to go about this, I'd do it myself. It's all just a matter of convincing my friend with the printing equipment and then finding a way to contact a massive number of comic artists. Seriously, there's got to be a way to do this.
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squirpy
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Post by squirpy » Tue Jan 13, 2009 2:05 am

I was really happy to see the state of the comics page when I went back to St Louis a couple weeks ago - they changed it so that there are two full pages of color comics every day.
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Post by Nofret » Thu Feb 12, 2009 11:33 am

Dave Roman, an editor over at Nick Magazine and Flight contributor started this discussion of print and digital comic on his livejournal blog.
Some very interesting points and replies too.
http://yaytime.livejournal.com/140446.html

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Post by nateomedia » Fri Feb 13, 2009 2:44 pm

I don't know why anyone would want to read the comics section from any newspaper. Most of the comics I see in my paper (the LA Times) are terrible, watered down, craftless drivel that has clearly been created to fit some market demographic. The Times has recently been running potential replacements for For Better Or Worse and they are laughably bad. No, I don't need more of that.

I'm not saying that there are not talented folks creating daily newspaper comics, but even creators I respect -- like Dan Pirraro and Patrick McDonnell -- seem to be phoning it in these days. I sometimes get a chuckle out of Pearls Before Swine, but that's about it.

On the other hand, there are some great web comics out there: Questionable Content, We The Robots, Pictures for Sad Children, Penny Arcade. I just add them to my RSS feed and create my own comics page. No paper required.

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Post by Mr. Average » Mon Feb 16, 2009 6:36 pm

I have barely touched comics since the fall of Bloom County and Dick Tracy. I know that both linger on in altered forms, but as shadows of their former selves. And the weak alternatives are hardly a substitute. I mean, Dilbert? No offense to lovers of this strip, but I never saw a more lifeless and un-funny attempt at the bande dessinée in my life.

On the other hand, on the note of a "market demographic," I think this is no less true online, frankly. Truly inspired comics are hard to find even where everyone seems to have a webcomic these days. They too easily fall into categories, stretching to cover others' forms without trying to find their own, or sinking in the solipsistic morass of some niche subculture that cannot see outside its own agenda. I find it enormously discouraging. How many stories about teenage vampires do we really need in this culture? Are people really that afraid of failure that they stick in such tightly-defined boundaries? I mean, come on. We're big kids, now.

Aren't we?

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Post by Blom » Tue Feb 17, 2009 1:40 am

I guess that after The Far Side and Calvin and Hobbes the American news paper comics has had a step back and a lot of other types of comics has replaced the big space they had. In Norway something different did happen after the two big comics from back then. Two Norwegian comics did take it`s place in the newspaper. First out was Pondus ( http://www.pondus.no/ ) and the artist behind it Frode Øverli has created a variation of great/ outstanding comics beside this one. Some years later did the goth-girl Nemi enter the stage. I think both of the two comics did find readers because they told something about the time and place we live in. This opened for a wide range of newspaper comics made by Norwegians. The two first has earned over the million upon there comics, and I guess there is a handful of other who also now live good on making comics for the newspaper.

I think that the newspaper comics has to find a form and style that tell something about the man/woman in the street. So that when it come with the newspaper into the homes people read it and laugh because they see them selfs in the comic, or they know the situation. Both Calving and Hobbes and The Far Side (in a strange way) did that. They told something universal about you, or your neighbor.

I guess that one day a new comic will enter the American newspaper with storm again. Good luck with folks! ;)
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Dresden Codak
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Post by Dresden Codak » Tue Feb 17, 2009 2:45 am

I don't really feel any empathy (or even much kinship) toward the newspaper cartoons, much less the papers at large. It's exclusive web people like me who are putting them out of business in the first place. The medium's been dead for a while anyway; I say let it go quickly so we can move on.
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Wait, what?

Post by Kid Galactus » Sun Mar 01, 2009 9:30 pm

It's exclusive web people like me who are putting them out of business in the first place. The medium's been dead for a while anyway; I say let it go quickly so we can move on.

That's kind of presumptuous and arrogant, don't you think?


Honestly, the problem isn't the medium of newspaper strips but the quality of the strips therein. And even disregarding that, the larger problem is that the livelihood of these strips is intrinsically tied to a dying medium, which is a largely separate entity anyhow.

You can't blame the death of newspapers and print media on the comics they syndicate being lame. Web strips and newspaper strips, in general address starkly different audiences. You can hardly declare some hand in their demise, as the people who'd read them in the first place have likely never heard of you, and frankly probably wouldn't care if they had.
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dave roman
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Post by dave roman » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:40 pm

I grew up on Newspaper comic strips and owe a lot of my life to them. So I will be sad to see them die completely.

for those of you who think print comic strips are dead you should read Cul de Sac (online):

http://www.gocomics.com/culdesac/

Richard Thompson is keeping the dream alive.

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Dresden Codak
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Re: Wait, what?

Post by Dresden Codak » Mon Mar 09, 2009 9:32 pm

Kid Galactus wrote:That's kind of presumptuous and arrogant, don't you think?
Presumptuous if I couldn't back my claims, but arrogant? I think you're reaching. It is absolutely no mystery that the web (newswise and comicwise) is what's dismantling paper's old monopoly on periodical content. And I don't think it has a lot to do with the quality of the strips either way. Most webcomics are amateur-hour awful, but they're not relying on the success of one another to make the medium successful; the cost of distribution is of no consequence. And it's true I can count on one hand the number of newspaper strips that I'd call decent, but that's how it's always been. All the worst strips of today are the same ones that have been around forever: Blondie, Beetle Baily, Garfield, Hagar the Horrible. Garbage is the norm both ways; the biggest creative difference is that the internet is more of a meritocracy.

I've worked in papers. It's a horribly structured system that's run mostly by large corporations who at this point are crumbling under their own weight for a variety of reasons. Comic books are really no better; a lot of the infrastructure is antiquated, optimized for the universe of the 1970s. It's a question of whether the distribution system makes any sense anymore, and the market is saying it isn't. On the plus side trade paperbacks are up.

The only reason comic strips were ever bundled with newspapers to begin with was because of the historical limitations of the medium. There were costs to consider and that sort of thing, but with the web as a medium the cost of distribution is virtually zero, so we don't need this antiquated top-down approach to deliver something as simple as a comic strip. Why hold onto it? What are you holding on to?
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