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The Cartoonist’s Attorney, Stu Rees profiled

E&P has written an excellent article on this year’s National Cartoonist Society Silver T-Square recipient, Stu Rees. Stu is an entertainment lawyer who “represent three-quarters of new comic launches” as he is one of the few attorneys that specializes in syndication contracts. He is also a cartoonist himself, and offers an unique perspective of the cartooning market.

When Rees started his legal career in the latter 1990s, feature sales to newspapers “were rising — though at a slowish rate,” he recalled. “There was still the semblance of how the business used to be — and optimism that the business would remain steady. The first contracts I negotiated with syndicates were pretty good.”

But it has become “a different world” since 9/11, continued Rees. Newspapers — and the U.S. economy in general — have been going through hard times, and “the syndicates are now tougher in their contract negotiations,” the attorney noted.

Also, Rees said syndicates in 2008 are more interested in signing people (such as editorial cartoonists starting a comic) who already have a track record in newspaper cartooning or another artistic field. “The days are virtually over for when a syndicate would sign a cartoonist who had been working in a coffee shop,” commented the attorney. “Of course, there are exceptions.”

Rees estimated that at least 80% of new launches are now by creators with some professional art experience, up from perhaps 50% a decade or two ago.

“Syndicates are looking for some sort of guarantee,” he explained. “They don’t feel they have the leeway to take some of the risks they used to.”

Community Comments

#1 scott hilburn
April/1/2008
@ 10:50 am

Congratulations Stu!

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