September 15th, 2008

I am an evil, subpar excuse for a human being replacing FBOFW…

by Terri Libenson

As you probably know, the much-beloved comic strip, “For Better or For Worse” has gone into a modified rerun format. I have always been an admirer of FBOFW, but as an up-and-coming comic strip artist hoping to get into papers and make a living from something I love, the cartoonist part of me is gratified that some papers decided to publish/test Pajama Diaries in its place.

There has been, of course, controversy surrounding any strip that has taken this golden spot in the funny pages. Some readers welcome the change, some think it’s a travesty.  For the cartoonist, it’s a catch-22. We don’t want the backlash, but would be crazy not to jump at the opportunity. So we patiently wait out any controversy and hope the readers give it some time to (at first begrudgingly) embrace the new feature.

Let’s put things into perspective. Comic syndication is a dog-eat-dog business. Usually the only way a comic can get into the papers is if something else is booted out. This makes it tough for new talent, especially when dealing with tight real estate. I really hate this part of the business because I love so many other comic strips myself and know how much work goes into them. But I also knew the rules going in, so I deal.

Which leads me to…

I recently came across this archived article by Dave Kellett (“Sheldon”). It really explains the business side of cartooning in a humorous, inclusive way, so I thought I’d share (side note: I definitely identify with the “bag of tricks” reference when it comes to writer’s block).

Cartooning is tough: writer’s block, competition, relentless deadlines. But knowing my cartoon is following in the footsteps of a beloved classic or even running side by side…well, that’s what makes it so rewarding.

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