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Some of the biggest names in indie cartooning are sounding alarms over various alt-weeklies shedding their comics (I recently wrote about how we were, sadly, ahead of the curve on that one). Max Cannon of “Red Meat” calls it a “comics apocalypse” and says that if the “humble $10 to $20 that I generally get paid for a…strip is going to bring the whole operation tumbling down, then the alt-weekly industry is already dead on its feet.”
Lloyd Dangle, who draws “Troubletown,” says he was “shit-canned” from the Seattle Stranger and Metro Silicon Valley. The papers, he says, “said that they might bring Troubletown back when things get better, but for newspapers, I don’t know anybody who thinks it’s going to get better.“
Derf, author of “The City,” who we dropped last year, is very kind to the “desperate” editors he’s worked with over the years. Still, he doesn’t buy the wisdom of such cuts: “I believe Weeklies should be ADDING features and content, especially cartoons, which are both popular and inexpensive. Instead the strategy seems to be “let’s give our readers LESS to read!” Yeah. Wonder how that will work out?”
He also has some choice words about our situation:
Creative Loafing, parent of four papers across the South, IS in bankruptcy, thanks to its disastrous acquisition of the Chicago Reader and DC City Paper. Those two papers were the finest in the business… and two of the most cartoon-friendly altweeklies… until the Loaf bought them in what was apparently a ego driven move by the Loaf owner to become a big player in the weekly world. Then the economy crashed, the Loaf was unable to meet its debt and all its papers have been gutted like fish in a desperate attempt to stave off extinction. How desperate? The DC City Paper announced last year that it would no longer pay for comix. The only ones they would continue to run would be ones they got for free, presumably drawn by local high school art students looking for extra credit. I had appeared in the paper since 1991.
Each of these artists makes good points. Indeed, running “Red Meat” wouldn’t bankrupt us—we’re already bankrupt! It really hurts to see good contributors getting gut-punched like this, and I can’t believe there’s not more pain to go around.