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Old 12-26-2012, 01:47 PM   #1
fjtorres
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The new age of cartoons

From the Economist:
http://www.economist.com/news/christ...-triumph-nerds

Quote:
IN 1989 Bill Watterson, the writer of “Calvin and Hobbes”, a brilliant comic strip about a six-year-old child and his stuffed tiger, denounced his industry. In a searing lecture, he attacked bland, predictable comics, churned out by profit-driven syndicates. Cartooning, said Mr Watterson, “will never be more than a cheap, brainless commodity until it is published differently.”

In 2012 he is finally getting his way. As the newspaper industry continues its decline, the funnies pages have decoupled from print. Instead of working for huge syndicates, or for censored newspapers with touchy editors, cartoonists are now free to create whatever they want. Whether it is cutting satire about Chinese politics, or a simple joke about being a dog, everything can win an audience on the internet.
Lots of examples follow.
The parallels with ebooks are, of course, obvious.
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Old 12-26-2012, 03:57 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by fjtorres View Post
From the Economist:
http://www.economist.com/news/christ...-triumph-nerds



Lots of examples follow.
The parallels with ebooks are, of course, obvious.
It's an interesting article, but there are significant differences between cartoons and e-readers. The largest one is that published cartoons were extremely constrained: a newspaper only had room for, what 30 strips? Given some variation in minor strips, this means that maybe 100 comic strip writers, tops, could be published in the papers. Not only is this a small number, but it also meant that the strips that were published had to appeal to the broadest possible general audience.

(It also means that a reader could read a huge portion of all available comic strips: just taking a morning and evening paper (as my family did 20 years ago) meant that you had access to 50-60% of what was published.

By contrast, 250,000 new titles are published in the US every year. Not that there aren't unserved niches or high quality book overlooked by traditional publishers...but to a much much smaller extent than is the case for comics.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:09 PM   #3
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There are differences in the *old* constrained regime but the new online regime?
That one is a *lot* like indie publishing; no gatekeeper getting between the creator and the reader but also nobody greasing the skids to bring the content before the reader. In both, it is up to the creator to, ahem, be creative and find ways to get noticed.

Before, the problem was gatekeeping--now it is visibility.
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:26 PM   #4
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The online regime has extra benefits to comics because they're vastly more expensive to print than prose, especially colour comics (manga is almost entirely monochrome due to the costs of colour printing). It's interesting to see the effects of technology on new arts, could you imagine printing comics on gutenbergs original press?
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Old 12-26-2012, 06:49 PM   #5
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Go, Mr. Watterson.

Now, if only you'd churn out a few new C&H strip once in a while...
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:22 PM   #6
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Go, Mr. Watterson.

Now, if only you'd churn out a few new C&H strip once in a while...
This.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:29 PM   #7
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Calvin was funny and insightful.
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Old 12-26-2012, 08:59 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Kirtai View Post
The online regime has extra benefits to comics because they're vastly more expensive to print than prose, especially colour comics (manga is almost entirely monochrome due to the costs of colour printing). It's interesting to see the effects of technology on new arts, could you imagine printing comics on gutenbergs original press?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Woodcut
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Old 12-26-2012, 09:59 PM   #9
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That's actually what I was referring to. Consider how much more difficult and expensive it would be to print a graphic novel using woodcuts compared to a prose novel using metal moveable type. Not to mention preparing those woodcuts or the use of colour printing.

It would have been possible, but not practical.
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Old 12-26-2012, 10:18 PM   #10
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Now, if only you'd churn out a few new C&H strip once in a while...
Mr. Watterson better not ... otherwise my copy of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes will end up being The Incomplete Calvin and Hobbes!
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Old 12-27-2012, 01:47 AM   #11
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Damn true

Hey fjtorres
Totally agree with you, cartoonist and others now do not need newspapers to get popularity. If you are good at you work you can get a lot of visitors to your creativity over web and social networks. Additionally you can have your own story books for iOS and Android platforms. People love eBooks these days.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:26 AM   #12
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Mr. Watterson better not ... otherwise my copy of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes will end up being The Incomplete Calvin and Hobbes!
A fair price to pay for new C&H.
As long as mr Watterson has something to say, I'll listen.
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Old 12-27-2012, 06:46 AM   #13
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Mr. Watterson better not ... otherwise my copy of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes will end up being The Incomplete Calvin and Hobbes!
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Old 12-27-2012, 12:17 PM   #14
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Mr. Watterson better not ... otherwise my copy of The Complete Calvin and Hobbes will end up being The Incomplete Calvin and Hobbes!
The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, vol. 1.

The Complete Calvin and Hobbes, 1985-1995.

:-)
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Old 12-27-2012, 02:38 PM   #15
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I was mostly serious, albeit for other reasons. It may have been possible to continue with Calvin and Hobbes for a couple of years, but Mr. Watterson was right: too many strips outlive their insperation, so bow out when you know that you are at a peak rather than when you think you are at a peak.

The other issue is how to market a strip that is produced on an irregular schedule. He didn't have the tools back then. Even the Internet has some deficiencies. (How do you keep people visiting your website when they don't know something new is going to be there?)

Some people have found ways. I like the route Ph.D. Comics took: comics on discussions that the author had while on tour and comics about contemporary science. Yet part of the joy of Calvin and Hobbes is the disconnect with reality, his attachment to the imagination. A lot of comics also grow up with the artist. Ph.D. is a clear example, but even xkcd shows that evolution. Yet part of the pleasure of Calvin and Hobbes, at least to an adult, is that Calvin never grew up. I'm not so certain that I'm prepared for this Calvin: http://gerrycanavan.blogspot.ca/2009/03/grown-up-calvin-and-hobbes.html
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