Size matters
February 9, 2013 3:58 PM   Subscribe

The degeneration of the newspaper comic strip in one handy picture.

Comic strip shrinkage is not a new problem. Newspaper comics have been slowly shrinking for decades, no longer being the draw they used to be before WWII while circulation drops led to cost cutting measures. Cartoons are expensive, certainly in comparison with the rest of the newspaper and hence they needed to shrink, with the end result being that 6 modern strips can fit into one pre-WWII one...
posted by MartinWisse (63 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
Sometimes I wonder what Calvin and Hobbs would have been like as a webcomic...
posted by Strass at 4:00 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Hopefully not like so many other webcomics that tend to conform to a 3 or 4 panel, horizontal or vertical newpaper-comic-like format.
posted by Greg_Ace at 4:11 PM on February 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


This post led me to do a Google image search on Sally Forth to see how the style had changed since I'd read it when I was a kid.

I had forgotten that there was another comic called "Sally Forth" that preceded the King Features syndicated strip.
posted by not_on_display at 4:12 PM on February 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I saw Annie a few weeks ago with my 9 year old daughter. We have a trip coming up so I bought the original comics thinking I would give it to her on the plane. The book is as big as a large cookbook and weighs about 5 pounds so that plan is out and we are just reading it at night. This volume is 1924 - 1927 and it is really interesting to read. The first year, at least, intersperses gag strips with a stong story arc. The volume shrinks the strips downto current comic size and ther is so much text in the character based strips they can be uncomfortable to read.

The strips are a good read. There is pungent social commentary, lots of violence and a few decent laughs. Annie is sort of a low grade vigilante righting wrongs with her wits and fists. The 20s slang is great too. I am really curious to see how the depression plays out.
posted by shothotbot at 4:12 PM on February 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


On the other hand, those are some big-ass walls-of-text in the pre-WWII comic there.
posted by Artw at 4:15 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It doesn't help that the modern-era Columbus Dispatch appears to be printed on tabloid-size paper versus the broadsheet-size paper of the old San Francisco Chronicle. The Dispatch shrunk its pages last year.
posted by chrominance at 4:18 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have often thought that Calvin and Hobbes would've been a damn great webcomic if it'd started even ten years later. I also like to think that if it'd started in the late '90s as a webcomic then Bill would still be making it today, rather than having stopped after ten years. There's just so much more freedom in the medium, so much more freedom to experiment and to make art that speaks from a place of truth rather than art which strives to appeal to as broad a swath of the population as possible.

Has anybody ever gotten Watterson's thoughts on the whole webcomic thing? I feel like there are parts of it he would like (the aforementioned freedom) and parts he wouldn't (like the fact that the whole business model is based on merchandising). I wonder if he reads any webcomics, or not. It's a shame the man is so damn reclusive. How dare he want a quiet retirement rather than the ascendancy to his rightful godhood?
posted by Scientist at 4:18 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bloom County did a strip that called out shrinkage about 20+ years ago. Google-fu can't find it online, but the final panel showed what Breathed thought he'd have to do -- draw everything in thick, low-res black lines that could be read at a small size.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:23 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Such a weird trend. A good comic will do a lot to make me prefer one daily-commute paper over another. I put it down to 'cracker theory' -- apparently the reason they put bad jokes in crackers is that everyone can groan at a bad joke, but not everyone will get a good one. And you don't need a lot of space to tell a bad joke.

I hate it, though. This monstrosity greets me every morning in the Metro.
posted by Drexen at 4:23 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was going to link to a series of Bloom County comics about this, but all I could find on the web were tiny, thumbnail-sized versions.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 4:24 PM on February 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


I hate it, though. This monstrosity greets me every morning in the Metro.

They stopped doing Nemi?
posted by Artw at 4:27 PM on February 9, 2013


Considering how private Watterson is and how the ecosystem of webcomics places certain demands on the writers/authors to establish, participate in and maintain communities for their individual comic, he probably would've fared a lot worse than having to fight over Sunday pagespace with the occasional syndication boss.
posted by griphus at 4:35 PM on February 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Whats a newspaper?
posted by The Whelk at 4:45 PM on February 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


The thing your fish comes in.
posted by griphus at 4:46 PM on February 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


Oh, we're talking about fish wrapper cartoons. I like those. Sometimes I buy an extra fish just to read that one about the depressed bald kid with the pet dog.
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 4:49 PM on February 9, 2013 [25 favorites]


maybe they should print comic strips on pants
posted by pyramid termite at 4:51 PM on February 9, 2013


I also like to think that if it'd started in the late '90s as a webcomic then Bill would still be making it today, rather than having stopped after ten years.

AHAHAHAHAHA

No.

You see having a webcomic that like, makes enough money so you can not starve is a really hard job, like really hard, like all day everyday I hope you fucking know the ins and outs of your tax code hauling ass to cons comparing cheapo printing rates JOB. Watterson has given every indication that he did not want to do *any* of this with C&H and finds the whole IDEA of it totally opposite what he wanted to do with his art.

if it wasn't for the "no no, let us take care of all of that, you just submit things" nature of the national syndicates and the market newspaper comics represented, there would not BE a Calvin And Hobbes and Watterson would be doing what he does today, painting the woods at home.

He would just have less money and fame and no comics for us to enjoy.
posted by The Whelk at 4:52 PM on February 9, 2013 [43 favorites]


Oh, good I was just coming back here to elaborate but I see Whelk has done it for me.
posted by griphus at 4:58 PM on February 9, 2013


I recall an interview Watterson gave a few years ago, it might have been when The Complete Calvin and Hobbes was released. He was asked about webcomics and his response was basically, "I don't know how you would find the quality work from the garbage out there or how someone would make a living on the internet." That's my memory at least, I'm not having any luck finding the actual quote.

Watterson wrote about merchandising in the Tenth Anniversary Book. He admitted that he was in the unique position with Calvin & Hobbes where the strip could have been the next Garfield in terms of merchandising wealth, but he could turn that down and still be rich off the syndication and book sales. He further lamented that given the way the economics of newspaper strips were going, an cartoonist coming up today (and this was 1995) probably wouldn't be able to turn down merchandising and still make a living as a cartoonist.
posted by riruro at 5:00 PM on February 9, 2013


I also like to think that if it'd started in the late '90s as a webcomic then Bill would still be making it today, rather than having stopped after ten years.

Bill stopped because things had run its course, and he didn't want C&H to linger-on past its welcome (like a former employer of mine...) Being a webcomic would not have altered anything about that.

If anything, being a webcomic very well might have meant C&H languished in near-obscurity and was folded before it ever hit its stride.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:00 PM on February 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


The thing your fish comes in.

That is called "a spawning ground."
posted by GenjiandProust at 5:07 PM on February 9, 2013 [30 favorites]


Last week, Doonesbury ran a comic claiming that the end of newspapers would be the end of comic strips. A couple of webcomic artists turned it into a meme.

Newspapers haven't given artists a lot of space for a while now, physically or with subject matter. It'd be interesting to see exactly how and when that changed. I wouldn't have thought that there'd be much of a difference between 1985 and 1995, but apparently there was? I remember the comics page shrinking, but it was all post-internet.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:08 PM on February 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


"That loophole is reserved...FOR PEOPLE IN THE LOOP." Hahaahhahahahahahahooooheee

You know, newspaper comics suck. Is that why they're so small? Or is it vice versa?
posted by fungible at 5:09 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Breathed was bitching about it in the early 80s but if you look at the layouts, by like '79 it was already a lost cause.
posted by The Whelk at 5:10 PM on February 9, 2013


And you know, how the average cartoonist has to be *significantly better than average* at all things, from art to characters to plotting to advertising to merchandising to taxes to hosting to promotion to fan interaction to contracts to printing to publishing to housing *just to make ends meet*.

That's BEFORE any of the life skills that make all those other things possible are met.

If I had Watterson's temperament I'd never fucking turn on the fucking internet let alone make a fucking comic for it.
posted by The Whelk at 5:14 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


They also have to be really, really lucky. Making a living from comics isn't easy, no matter what.

There's a lot of newspaper comics writers that wouldn't have thrived in webcomics, but I think there are a lot more webcomics artists that are making a living that wouldn't have gotten close to a syndication deal. Even those that aren't using infinite space are often covering subject matters that wouldn't be good for syndication.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:19 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I really wish more webcomickers released financial info - I only have so many $$ each year to spend on merch, and how do I know whether kate beaton or the oglaf lady needs it more?
posted by rebent at 5:28 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


So that large size explains why Little Nemo in Slumberland is so absurdly detailed compared to its reproductions today? They always look as if there's a whole layer of fine detail just blurred out. Is it that the extant scans today were digitised from a smaller, later reproduction?
posted by meehawl at 5:29 PM on February 9, 2013


Calvin & Hobbes was cut off before it could decline. It is concentrated and perfect. The feeling of wanting more is part of what makes it good, like "Little Wing".
posted by scose at 5:29 PM on February 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


I think the webcomic financial model is very similar to what my generation expects music to follow. Get the product for free, and if you like them enough, send them a couple bucks a year. At least bands can play live shows - I wonder what the webcomic version of a live show would be?
posted by rebent at 5:30 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


If more webcomickers realeased financial info, I'd probably feel sad and give them all my money.

Which might be good for them, I guess. Not so good for me.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:30 PM on February 9, 2013


I wonder what the webcomic version of a live show would be?

Conventions, I guess.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:30 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's a 'fish'?
posted by mazola at 5:31 PM on February 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I guess...

I mean, I see the argument I think they are making, but honestly, I read the comics in the morning over breakfast.
Half the time, there's a cereal bowl resting on the page.

I'm not looking for fine art, I'm looking for a chuckle to start my day off properly.
posted by madajb at 5:32 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wonder if there's a market out there for a webcomics manager: Do all the stuff that a syndication used to do for some sort of fee?

Wait, was that keenspot?
posted by dinty_moore at 5:32 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


How much do you make: Cat And Girl
posted by The Whelk at 5:47 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


with this interesting response

"Fun Club is time consuming, but only in the best way – it allows a guaranteed (if small) audience for a range of projects that I love making, while the time pressure makes sure STUFF gets DONE. Fun Club IS depressing other sales throughout the year. This could be because Fun Club people are people who Support Comics and they have Supported this Comic for the year – in which case, thank you! Hope to see you in 2013! – or just because Fun Club is taking so much of my energy that there is less stuff going out there into the ether and inspiring tee shirt sales. We’ll see in November."
posted by The Whelk at 5:48 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


For decades, editors have had this weird contempt for the comics, presumably because it's something that they can't edit. Back in my weekly freelancer days, I watched with horror as the budgets were slashed and the editors quickly dropped all the comics without a second thought. That was so, so stupid. I'd bet a significant number of people picked up the paper every week mostly to read Lynda Barry, Feiffer, Tony Millionaire, Kaz, Ruben Bolling, et al, and then stuck around to read the articles and look at the ads for escorts and whatnot. The comics page should've been one of the last things to get the ax, but it was one of the first. And the daily papers, Jesus Christ. At some point they decided that comics must be as small and inoffensive as possible, and you ended up with a page full of little gray lumps.

Madajb, you have no idea what you're missing. Go Google up Little Nemo sometime, just as a for-instance. This was a pretty amazing art form, before it devolved into Garfield and Crankshaft.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:55 PM on February 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


So that large size explains why Little Nemo in Slumberland is so absurdly detailed compared to its reproductions today? They always look as if there's a whole layer of fine detail just blurred out. Is it that the extant scans today were digitised from a smaller, later reproduction?

You just have to read it in the right edition.
posted by chortly at 5:55 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


rijuro: I recall an interview Watterson gave a few years ago, it might have been when The Complete Calvin and Hobbes was released.

Here's the interview, where he answered questions from fans. The webcomic question:

Q: Many young cartoonists are using the Internet to display their work instead of, or in concert with, print media because there are few barriers to entry and the medium provides the freedom to experiment with form, content, and color. Given your concerns over the state of newspaper comics, what do you think of this development?

A: To be honest, I don't keep up with this. The Internet may well provide a new outlet for cartoonists, but I imagine it's very hard to stand out from the sea of garbage, attract a large audience, or make money. Newspapers are still the major leagues for comic strips . . . but I wouldn't care to bet how long they'll stay that way.

posted by zsazsa at 6:13 PM on February 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Last week, Doonesbury ran a comic claiming that the end of newspapers would be the end of comic strips.

It’s weird to me that people read web comics, but I’m old. I’ve always loved the comics but I’m not going to go searching for them on the web. I read them in the paper because they’re part of the paper, the thing I’m already reading. I guess maybe if they showed up in my inbox I’d read them, but I’m not going to go search out ones I like and set that up.

The thing about old media, music, books, etc. that is most important to me and missing from the new media is the curating and editing. I don’t want to wade through the sea of garbage. It’s the old complaint, but valid. I will look for things that are really important to me, like music, and that’s great, but there are many things that I would normally enjoy that I’m just not going to work that hard for.

Once, years ago, I saw this guys work that I thought was really funny and made a point to try and check in on it. But he updated irregularly and infrequently and I forgot about it. In short, he made me work too much. I’m lazy.
posted by bongo_x at 6:48 PM on February 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


bongo_x: reading webcomics without RSS (using Google Reader, etc) is maddening. I read a lot of webcomics, but probably wouldn't if new ones didn't show up in my feeds. Google Reader is my morning newspaper.
posted by zsazsa at 6:55 PM on February 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


chortly: "You just have to read it in the right edition."

Wow, thanks. I had no idea someone had made this: 41x53 cm (16x21 inches)! But where did the source pages come from for the digital restore? The originals are are ridiculously expensive.
posted by meehawl at 6:56 PM on February 9, 2013


The Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal Kickstarter is over $200,000 with 12 days left to go.

Have you ever seen one of those wacky old montages of pre-Wright Brothers planes collapsing and falling off cliffs? We're still in that age of the internet. The idea that cartoonists should look back at newspapers as some kind of a golden age is going to seem ludicrous in a decade.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:01 PM on February 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


I live in a small apartment. I can't afford the clutter a newspaper would bring. Fortunately if I really wanted to be bored by newspaper comics, they're available online. Just like the news.
posted by happyroach at 7:12 PM on February 9, 2013


bongo_x, you end up following a web comic the same way you end up checking any daily site on the web - someone sends you a link to a particularly good comic, you stay up until 3 AM reading the whole archive, you want to know what happens next so you check the next day. (And yes, if someone updates irregularly or makes it hard, you stop reading it. The internet makes us all lazy.) I don't think of webcomics as something I've ever really "gone looking" for. But then, I only vaguely remember how I wound up here in the first place.

Which reminds me, what are you all doing in my living room? I should go put pants on.
posted by maryr at 7:16 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


mazola: What's a 'fish'?

Scaled creatures with gills and fins, usually containing high amounts of A) mercury, B) Corexit, and/or C) radioactive cesium or strontium.

Some people actually eat them!
posted by Malor at 8:27 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will continue to be the old guy in the bathrobe who goes down his driveway early in the morning to pick up his paper, but the newspaper is not what it used to be - as discussed forever here and everywhere. BUT: the comics. That's what really gets my knickers in a knot.

I can get the "news" elsewhere (yeah, the WWW), but the Op-Ed page, with its letters and local color, and the comics: too much work to get on the Web. I used to love reading four pages of comics in the morning. They took all the good ones out, and left Marmaduke, Garfield, Fred Basset, Dennis the Menace and the Family Circle in. And classics like Blondie and Beetle Bailey: fine, I read them. And, sure, I understand why they took Zippy out. But Monty, Doonesbury, Bizzaro, F Minus: they (at least my paper) took out all the strips that were edgy in any kind of way, although these were the ones which attract the readers with a higher income. I'm being frank about class issues here. I don't get it.

Newspaper Guys (sorry, it's just not an area women don't get to manage; the USA has not been kind to ambitious women): before you die, try making your paper funnier. It wouldn't hurt, I promise you.

(By the way, I am a Suffering Man. This is the first week I have not been able to drop by the liquor store at the end of the week and pick up the Onion, along with a local six-pack, and relax in my sunny bay window with crackers and cheese before my wife got home in moments of gustatory and humorous pleasure. The Denver Post used to print the Onion; now it's online only.)
posted by kozad at 8:34 PM on February 9, 2013


This makes me want to pull out my Sunday Press compilations of "Little Nemo" and weep for what once was. For the lost days when the cartoonist wast he star that brought the readers in instead of a tiny little afterthought.

I have a friend whose dream was always to be A Syndicated Newspaper Cartoonist. She honed her craft, and ended up being a pioneer of the web comics scene. She did a kid-safe daily gag strip, she did a political strip for a while. She became wikinotable for these works.

Then Universal had a contest. The winner would become syndicated by them. She entered it, and won. Then vanished into development hell for about a year and a half.

The resulting strip is on Universal's site. It is in, so far, zero papers that I know of. It's hard to follow because the only thing remotely resembling a feed on their site is if you make an account there and mark it as a favorite, then check there every day. They pay her money. I'm not sure how she's doing compared to when she was doing it all herself; I haven't asked and she hasn't volunteered.

She'll be showing up at this year's Emerald City Comic-Con. Not because Universal has a big pile of booths with their artists. No, she'll be there because I was running too late to get an Artist's Alley table and asked if she wanted to split the multi-hundred cost of a booth on the main show floor. The big time just isn't what it used to be.
posted by egypturnash at 8:48 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


egypturnash :

If you click on the more option under the comic it gives an RSS link. The design of gocomics.com is certainly worse than most webcomics.

Heavenly Nostrils Feed
posted by Harpocrates at 9:00 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing your fish comes in.

That is called "a spawning ground."


I never touch the stuff...
posted by Greg_Ace at 10:28 PM on February 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Just about every comic I've ever followed has had at least one strip lament the shrinking of their page real estate. To my eyes strip area hasn't changed since 1988, but artists have continued to complain about it nonetheless. Smaller area means more diversity, which is good because Sturgeon's Law. You need a big sample.

This makes me want to pull out my Sunday Press compilations of "Little Nemo"

I think editors are just terrified of anything that imaginative or surreal now. That's the real problem with comics. It's not like artists aren't still making that stuff. There's just no place for really creative visions in print media.

Of course newspapers will continue to blame their decline on the internet. They could never be at fault for their own timidity, bowdlerization and irrelevance.
posted by clarknova at 11:52 PM on February 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


> Sometimes I wonder what Calvin and Hobbs would have been like as a webcomic...

> Hopefully not like so many other webcomics that tend to conform to a 3 or 4 panel, horizontal or vertical newpaper-comic-like format.

It's quite interesting when you look at the C&H Sunday strips, and see how they change over time. In the beginning they're all in this fixed format with a "starter panel" which is three panels wide, and then a series of nine panels. For example, look at this strip.

I don't know if that's the case, but I've always had in my mind that this is so it could be printed as three rows of four panels, or four rows of three panels. Perhaps even with an option of three rows of three panels, completely dropping the first wide panel. Basically giving the newspapers a number of options for squeezing the strip on a page.

Then, as time goes on Watterson starts to play around with the format, and then you get things like this which really require them to be printed just like that.

I guess I'm saying that if Watterson had started out making C&H as a webcomic, he'd probably get creative with the format.
posted by bjrn at 2:44 AM on February 10, 2013


Some current newspaper comics that I think are good:

Lio - surreal, often genuinely funny. A bit gothic, which pleases me.

Get Fuzzy - a nerd, his dumb dog and his evil cat. Character-driven humour.

Brewster Rockit, Space Guy - Sci-fi jokes; how could I not love this?

None of these are on Bloom County's or Calvin & Hobbes's level, but they're nicely done and at least they ensure that the next generation will grow up with some good strips. Mutts bears mention-- it's probably the Peanuts of our time, but I personally find the writing style a little annoying.

Anyway, comics are not dead. And I'm happy about that.
posted by Pallas Athena at 3:26 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Finding a manager is a bit tricky. The primary example I am aware of is Penny Arcade. And Robert Khoo found them.
posted by ericales at 3:36 AM on February 10, 2013


It'd be interesting to see exactly how and when that changed. I wouldn't have thought that there'd be much of a difference between 1985 and 1995, but apparently there was?

Yes, the 80's and 90's were the main period of shrinkage in the comic strip world. You could hardly throw a rock without hitting a cartoonist complaining about the size reductions (provided you hung-out in places where cartoonists congregated.) It had nothing to do with the internet. It was more to do with profits (on the part of the increasingly consolidated newspaper owners) and the fact that comics pages were nearly all expense and little income.
posted by Thorzdad at 4:38 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh hey! I didn't know that was what Dana Simpson was doing nowadays. I used to read Ozy and Millie and I drew this back in the day. I think I still have my Ozy and Millie 'will provide psuedo-insightful commentary for food' mug somewhere.

IIRC, the reason why Calvin and Hobbes started with a rigid panel structure and slowly became more experimental was because the syndication bosses required the structure at first, but let it become more lax as time went on. Not sure if this was true of strips in general or just C&H.

Smaller area means more diversity, which is good because Sturgeon's Law. You need a big sample.

This is only true if the number of pages devoted to comics is the same. I don't think that's the case.

As for how you find new webcomics: how do you find anything? Sometimes a friend will recommend something to me, sometimes I'll read a review somewhere. Sometimes I'll like a guest strip someone does on a webcomic I currently read and I'll check out their other work. Occasionally I'll check out something from one of the cards I pick up at a con. RSS feeds help, or you just bookmark it.

It's a lot like how I pick up new music or new books. I have no idea how much of this is a generational thing and how much is just that I always liked things that were somewhat out of commercial radio's/the NYT bestseller list/the newspaper page's purview and had to go searching for them.
posted by dinty_moore at 5:02 AM on February 10, 2013


the reason why Calvin and Hobbes started with a rigid panel structure and slowly became more experimental was because the syndication bosses required the structure at first, but let it become more lax as time went on. Not sure if this was true of strips in general or just C&H.

I remember reading that this was not just a gradual loosey-goosening of panel structure which took place with time -- Watterson specifically negotiated terms of page layout into his syndication contracts. The guy fought tirelessly, at great emotional expense, to make his gig what he wanted it to be and still get paid. He had that bargaining power because his strip made money for the syndicate.
posted by overeducated_alligator at 6:22 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Cartoons are expensive, certainly in comparison with the rest of the newspaper and hence they needed to shrink, with the end result being that 6 modern strips can fit into one pre-WWII one...

I don't understand - there's loads of cartoons in the new one. Surely that's more expensive?
Or would there be a double spread of them in the pre WWII one?

I could probably do with a couple more pictures.
posted by pmcp at 6:39 AM on February 10, 2013


Yeah, more pages, more strips, bigger strips, fewer three panel gag strips, more adventure strips, the best and most popular of which would have full page full colour Sunday pages to themselves, often with a topper strip running above the main strip.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:08 AM on February 10, 2013


Yeah, the Gumps strip that was used to illustrate the change in size maybe wasn't the best example (the sample from the Wikipedia article is a better indication of what newspaper comics can do with a little space to stretch out, although, of course, racism). But, has anyone else noticed that newspapers themselves have shrunk? Not just in page count, but horizontally. I'm thinking that most of the papers that will still be published in print format in 10 years or so will go to a tabloid format.

Also, WRT the Doonesbury strip and the webcomics responses linked above: well, yes, Dresden Kodak is very pretty (although I have never found the writing nearly as engaging as the art), but most webcomics aren't Dresden Kodak; PVP sure as shit isn't, and Scott Kurtz probably should have left it alone, given his very public bitterness about not being picked up by the newspaper syndicates a while back.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:03 AM on February 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Madajb, you have no idea what you're missing. Go Google up Little Nemo sometime, just as a for-instance. This was a pretty amazing art form, before it devolved into Garfield and Crankshaft.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate Nemo and others as an art form, but they're just not what I'm looking for at 7 in the morning.

I will admit, though, to being completely jealous of those major market papers that have comics in color on weekdays!
posted by madajb at 5:23 PM on February 10, 2013


Here's the conclusion of the Bloom County readability story.
posted by Chrysostom at 10:31 AM on February 11, 2013


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