The comics-loving New York Times ran a couple of comic-themed pieces over the holiday. Leslie Berlin sums up the changes brewing in the comic strip world as Internet syndication takes over from newspaper syndication, in a judiciously wide-ranging piece, which unlike some NYT pieces on webcomics, has much accurate information.
In many ways, Stephan Pastis is living his dream. In 2002, after years of frustration, he quit his job as a lawyer to pursue cartooning. Today his daily strip, “Pearls Before Swine,” appears in more than 500 newspapers. He says he answers his fan mail “in groups of 100.”
Nevertheless, he can’t help worrying.
“Newspapers are declining,” he says. “For a syndicated cartoonist, that’s like finally making it to the major leagues and being told the stadiums are all closing, so there’s no place to play.”
The comic, which is being serialized in weekly installments at www.comicmix.com, is written and illustrated by Trevor Von Eeden, and is unflinching in its depiction of racism in America, the brutality of the boxing ring and the tragedies and triumphs of Johnson’s life, including his sexual conquests. New chapters are scheduled to be posted every Wednesday.
While it’s nice to see such a flattering look at a comic by a true original, like von Eeden, the piece glosses over the fact that the artist and the publisher would seem to have had some difficulties, which seems like a bit of an omission.