Comic Strips are a tough business. The newspaper market keeps shrinking and its harder and harder to get in enough papers to make a living doing a daily strip. I know a lot of cartoonists who do syndicated newspaper strips and that all say the same thing… what would have been a hit strip back in the 80’s struggles to get off the ground today. Many complain that part of the problem are “legacy” strips that stay in the comics pages long after they are either stale and no longer relevant or after their creators have passed the strip on to their kids or other artists and writers. Comics are like comfort food… newspaper readers like seeing the strips they saw as kids still in the comics. That and the shrinking market make breaking in with a new strip very difficult.
One of the few recent success stories with daily strips is Mark Tatulli‘s “Lio”, a daring pantomime strip with a unique art style and edgy humor. Lio is Mark’s latest strip… he also has a daily called “Heart of the City” that has been around for 10 years. The two strips could not be more different.
I’ve met Mark several times at the National Cartoonists Society Rueben weekends. He’s a great guy and very derserving of his success. The Cartoon Art Museum’s Andrew Farago recently did an interview with Mark for The Comics Journal, and excpert of which you can read here. The article is very insightful into the world of daily strips syndication and the challenges cartoonists face today. I will be hunting down the latest issue of TCJ to read the full article. In the meantime check out the excerpt.
For more reading about working int he comic strip business, Alan Gardner‘s fantastic blog The Daily Cartoonist has a post today with links to articles by several strip cartoonists about how they became syndicated.
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