Helped by friends, cartoonist battles Parkinson's

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7 Responses to “Helped by friends, cartoonist battles Parkinson's”

  1. efergus3 says:

    Fun strip – I read it all the time.

  2. Stefan Jones says:

    I was hooked when Alice and her cohort were first menaced by the Uh-Oh Baby of Doom.

    The strip nicely captures the entertaining illogic of kids’ worldviews.

  3. SomeGuyNamedMark says:

    One of the most original and fun strips to come out in ages.  It strongly reminds me of Lynda Barry’s work.

  4. RJ says:

    My paper doesn’t carry Cul de Sac, but I found it on Go Comics. It’s definitely one of the good ones.

  5. oldtaku says:

    I love Cul de Sac. It’s got that unhinged insanity that threatens to take the whole thing off the tracks at any time – but doesn’t, which is what it makes it better than some of the old underground comics favorites. Straddling the line is much harder than completely safe or  insane.

    The art is fun but I don’t think it’s really that critical that it has a ‘look’ as long as the design and writing are there. Just generally disheveled is fine.

    And best of luck to Richard – I’m reading it daily on Go Comics, but buying the collections!

  6. John Glynn says:

    Great article, Glenn. We’re honored to represent Cul De Sac, and I’m honored to call Richard a friend.

    I did want to elaborate on a few points.

    1) I reread the article and saw that you said the average rate a newspaper pays per week is “tens of dollars.” I had first read it as “ten dollars.” And I was going to say that the average rate that a newspaper pays for a comic is not $10 a week. That’s closer to the minimum we’d accept from a small newspaper. But now I realize that’s not necessary to point out. Chalk one up for rereading!

    2) The 1,000 client club in syndication is rarefied air.  There might be 10-15 comics (of 200 or so)  still in production that can currently claim this. The last one I recall that did it was King Features “Zits” and that’s a 15-year-old comic. We’re really proud of the 247 clients we’ve sold Cul De Sac to (in less than five years), especially as we’ve been able to put more than 100 of those clients on in the last year.

    3) From an industry standpoint, 2008 and 2009 were brutal (they were for most American industries IIRC) and there were a lot of cancellations across the board on all our features (not just comics). But in 2010, our print revenue from newspapers for comics (and across the board on features) was up a bit and in 2011 it was up even more. We’re not naive enough to think that print newspapers will last in their current form forever, but 2012 looks like it will be our strongest year since the mid-1990s (RIP, Calvin and Hobbes and The Far Side).

    4) From a digital standpoint, we’re putting comics on every viable device and creating our own Web comics experience in our flagship site that is GoComics. If you type in “comics” in Google, we’ll be the listing on top (and our content is probably 4 of the Top 7). We also have one of the most downloaded iGoogle apps and an incredibly strong presence on Yahoo News — all areas of revenue for our cartoonists. Our digital revenue has more than doubled every year for the last four years.

    I hope I don’t sound too defensive. It’s just we do tend to hear a lot of rumors of our impending death. When I started here in 2000, people were saying newspapers would be dead by 2005, then 2010, then 2013. I understand completely why they said it and I hope they’re not too disappointed. But, we are big believers in comics and we know that newspapers are just one way to read them. And as tablets proliferate and attention spans for entertainment get smaller, I’d argue that comics are the perfect medium for both.

    BTW, my favorite ancillary character, is “Annoyed Guy Who Sits in Front of Otterloops in Theatre.”

    Best

    John Glynn
    Universal Uclick

    •  Thanks, John! Yes, I know that syndicates and cartoonists are reticent to talk about specifics. The last specific numbers I have are from…1999! When one of your predecessors spilled that a weekly syndicate take might be $5 to $500 depending on circulation and the strip. I’m sure the numbers have shaved up and down since then.

      I’m glad for all the upticks. Part of my interest in writing about cartooning and comics is to make sure that people don’t forget that there are thousands upon thousands of talented people producing great work, even though it may seem that cartooning is a “dying” field if you only look at newspapers. Bookstores are a better place to look, with piles of graphic novels, books told with strong illustrative elements (Hugo!), and comics collections.

      Thanks for the comments!

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