comic strips question

As an aspiring comic strip cartoonist I’m usually dismayed by some of the strips that seem to stay way past thier prime. Beetle Bailey, The Born Loser, Garfield…I’m not saying that they suck. But they haven’t been funny for a long time. (Well, Garfield always sucked)

Its a shame because there are realy good strips out there, like Frazz, Pearls before the swine and Jump start and dozens of strips that won’t get space until some of the older ones go out to pasture.

I’ve read that Berk Breathed (Bloom County, Outland, Opus) had commented on Jim Davis’ Garfield factory, but I can’t find anything online. I was wondering if anyone here may know where I can read about it.

It was in an interview with The Comics Journal, circa 1988, and it wasn’t archived online.

He made similar comments here.

Too bad, and I’ll admit its too bad because I can’t stand Garfield. I would have loved to have read it.

I don’t think Garfield is funny, and I think the assembly line way in which it is done is disturbing but I cna’t argue with success. Davis has made a shitload of money with Garfield. But its even more depressing to see some strips that aren’t even being done by the original creators anymore…or some that are completely soulless. The Wizard of Id is so predictable you usually only have to read the first panel to know what the punchline is going to be, *BC * stopped being funny some time ago and is Blondie still so popular? I understand that syndicates are trying to make money and older strips like those command a bigger chunk of change than some new one starting out would, but do readers actually get upset if a newspaper, say, pulled Hi and Lois to try a newer strip?

In a word, yes.

Most younger newspaper readers don’t write letters to the editor, and don’t read the comics. Older readers do. You risk losing a very vocal segment of your readership if you mess with the comics too much. The newer strips talk about themes and situations older readers either don’t get or are uncomfortable with, so they bitch. Also add to the mix the fact that a number of the newer strips are too niche oriented, or are just plain stupid.

I understand that. My grandfather died in 1980, but he used to read the comics with me as a kid. He thought beetle Bailey, and Hagar the Horrible were hilarious but he didn’t get “Funky Winkerbean”. There are a number of strips that are niche oriented as you say…Dilbert is one…but Dilbert is funny to people that understand the corporate drone culture. (I think its funny, myself though I’m probably not in the demographic)

Of course, most younger people don’t read the papers at all.

Newspapers tennd to respond to this by clinging to older readers, older formats, older features.

They are very likely doing themselves out of existence.

Try online-only comics, like Sluggy Freelance, or Kevin & Kell.

What strip(s) do you draw?

What’s worse is strips that are repeats. Snoopy has been 100% repeats since Shultz died. And the San Jose Murky runs a lot of repeats- like Boondocks :mad: . Look, if a cartoonists goes on vacation, give some new dude a shot, eh?

None that you’ve probably seen. :slight_smile:

In high school and college, which are admittedly a very long time ago for me, I had strip that saw print. Bt being a broke college graduate later on I joined the army…as a military graphics artist. (Yep, thats really a job in the military) I’ve seen print in the civilian world from time to time, but now I’m nearing the end of my stint. I’ve been working on another strip for a few years, I know its not that easy to get syndication, but its my dream. I don’t pin my hopes on it, but you gotta dream.

Try publishing your strip online!

Build up a fanbase without a syndicate first!

Bill Holbrook, of Safe Havens did this.
It works.

And you can get help. There are firms that help set up comics websites. And you can sell t-shirts/mugs/mousepads & printed collections through those firms to cover your costs, & perhaps even turn a humble profit.

Dr Deth:

You said it! I’ll be happy to admit that a strip I think stinks could have its fans somewhere else and vice versa. One example is “Mutts.” Maybe I’d find it totally precious if I owned pets, but I don’t and I think it’s dumb and repetetive…which could very well be how childless people feel about “Baby Blues.”

But at least give us original material on our comics pages! Charles Schulz was a genius in many ways, but please, he’s dead, stop giving us re-runs (even if they do feature a character called Rerun)!

What does it take to kill off an unfunny comic strip?

I would also suggest publishing online. You can get support, exposure, enough $$ to pay for materials.

What you cannot get, unfortunately, is honest criticism of your strip - at least, not easily. Everybody’s too nice, and you can believe your strip is the greatest thing ever without ever hearing about glaring problems. offers free hosting tailored to comics. Other collectives and publishers are available after you get established.

The Washington Post has been running a series of strips during the Boondocks sabbatical. They’ve all been bad.

Some years back, the Army Times, which published a weeks worth of Beetle Bailey strips in each issue, announced that it was considering dropping the strip. The response from the readers was quick, definitive, and to-the-fuckin’-point: “Like hell you will.”

Which, in a way, is a GOOD thing. Shows you what’s out there, “waiting in the wings” so to speak. And, maybe somebody might just love one of those new strips, and search the artist down on-line, and so forth.

Kizarvexius- as bad as Beetle Bailey is nowadays, I kinda think it’s a must for the Army Times, eh?