Wizard — yes, I said WIZARD — has an interview with R. Stevens on his move to United Media, a deal precipitated by Ted Rall who joined United in June to acquire hip, young cartoonists. It seems he is carrying out his mandate.

WIZARD: Tell us how the deal with you and United Media came about.

RICHARD STEVENS: I’ve been dealing mostly with Ted Rall. Apparently he got brought on to use his rolodex and find new people. And the impression I’m getting is that United is trying to create their own Boondocks. They’re kind of picking three or four of the weirder, hipper young people and start selling us as that.

What do you perceive as the reason that your strip is the one to syndicate? Are they just looking for something a little younger?

STEVENS: I think that is the thing. The way Ted said it is that he basically went through all the “Attitude” books he edits with new cartoonists, and he said he picked out the people who produced the most consistent and easy to distribute stuff. And I said, “OK. I guess I’ve got five years of writing the same characters and not running out of jokes, and I don’t miss deadlines.” I think that’s my main qualification. [Laughs] I don’t know. I kind of looked at Peanuts as the model when I got started [with Diesel Sweeties]. The continuity is about as minimal as that.

This is a fairly epochal move for both UMI and webcomickers. Tom ruminates here and Scott Kurtz has some very very pertinent thoughts and observations as well [articularly on the subject copyright and merchandising.

Those are the obstacles I was facing when trying to set up a similar deal with PvP. And after the syndicate turned me down, I had the same roadblocks trying to self-syndicate. Every newspaper editor wanted me to change something different. There was no way to please them all without completely gutting the strip. I’m excited to find out how Rich has managed to jump these hurdles.

This is, without a doubt, incredible news. I am beside myself and incredibly excited for Rich. I still remember the day he sent me and instant message and informed me he was quitting his day job and taking a chance on this cartooning thing. I was terrified for him. Aparantly that fear was misplaced. The guy knew what he was doing.