Early update for this week’s comic, which you can read in the usual place. Remember to tip your server!
This week’s strip is a good example of something that’s the exact opposite of the “comics” you’re going to see in newspapers. Let me explain. If you’re going to submit comics to the newspaper syndicates who control which comics are available to the major newspapers in North America, you’re going to have to make them in a certain way. The syndicates will tell you to make comics with simple, “uncluttered” art, with an absolute minumum of dialogue, thus allowing for large empty spaces in the panels because the eye is drawn to areas of blank space. This is what they want–empty spaces. People, they will tell you, don’t have the patience to read a bunch of dialogue, nor the energy to filter a series of detailed images. People want to read the thing in 3 seconds and then move on, so it has to be “snappy” and simple and otherwise “inviting.” Besides, newspaper comics are printed so small that there’s not much room for detailed art or extraneous dialogue. It has to be go, go, go, and on to the next comic, week after week, month after month, until your strip becomes unprofitable. Oh, and let’s not forget about the content restrictions you must obey–restrictions that are based on what you could or could not say on TV in about 1951.
Now then. Personally, I don’t believe a word of what the syndicates say about people’s tastes. People aren’t so lazy as to refuse to read a comic with more than a rudimentary level of dialogue, and they sure as hell prefer good art as opposed to “uncluttered” art (ie: shit. Here’s a good example–a comic “written” and “drawn” by a man who I assume is illiterate and holds the pencil in his off-hand. Simply embarrassing.). I think I have a lot more faith in readers than the half-retarded money apes who run the syndicates and dare to call themselves “comics editors.” What it boils down to is cowardice. The complete absence of initiative or forward-thinkingness or any love at all for the medium that they claim to represent. Any syndicate editor who says he loves comics is like a factory farm owner saying he loves pigs. The pigs that are inhumanly kept in tiny boxes, week in, week out, to maximise the number of pigs that can be crammed into a warehouse. See what I did there?
So are they right? Do people want a minimum of challenge and effort when it comes to comic strips? I sincerely doubt it. I think they want quality, and you’re not gonna find it in newspapers. But you tell me! Am I right?
–Winston Rowntree, comics lover
PS: I could go on all day about this stuff, I really could. Fight the power! Support your local webcartoonist!