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Full page comic causes stir in New Hampshire

Some readers of the Concord Monitor were offended at a full page comic last Friday that narrated a staff member’s recent civil union to his partner of seven years. The editor explained her reasoning for running the cartoon saying,

The subject of their ire was a full-page comic strip in the Sept. 5 paper by Monitor staffer Clay McCuistion about his recent civil union ceremony and celebration. To me, the comic was one of the more interesting things we’ve published in recent months. I liked experimenting with a new format for story-telling. McCuistion is a talented editor who moonlights as a cartoonist (you can also see his work in the weekly Concord Insider), and his artistic ability gives readers a different way to think about issues. His humor is not “in your face,” in the words of one critic, but gentle and sometimes goofy.

You can download the pdf of the cartoon from their web site.

I guess the thing that surprises me out of this story isn’t the subject matter or the reader reaction – it’s that the editor would give a comic a full page!

Community Comments

#1 Ted Rall
September/10/2008
@ 10:06 am

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has given David Horsey many full pages that allowed him to spread out artistically. Hiring a talented cartoonist and letting him or her stretch is not without precedent among newspapers that understand the power of graphic journalism–i.e., those that stand a chance of attracting younger readers, i.e., those that stand a chance of surviving.

#2 Phil Hands
September/10/2008
@ 10:23 am

Wow, what a great cartoon.

I’ve haven’t read anything that thoughtful and humorous for a while. This is the kind of the great feature story that only works in this format, and I credit the folks at the Monitor who chose to run this so prominently in their paper.

#3 Stacy Curtis
September/10/2008
@ 10:55 am

This is great!

At least the editor had the cajones to let this fellow tell his story and then not apologize when the calls came in.

A small glimmer of hope in the dark days of newspapers.

#4 anne hambrock
September/10/2008
@ 11:29 am

One thing I notice about reading about this online is that huge cartoon files really do not play as well in a non-print format.The image is too big to fit on the screen all at once, leading to a lot of veeeery slow scrolling, and completely disrupting the flow and pace of the story. It also made it confusing as to the order of panel sequencing. This may be one reason most web cartoonists still follow a “print cartoon” format rather than breaking new ground size and pacing wise.

#5 Scott Metzger
September/10/2008
@ 12:02 pm

“Yoink! In your face, ladies!”

What a great cartoon. Funny and right on the money.

I don’t understand why people freak out over gay marriage. This cartoon spells it out perfectly — gay marriage is a civil right and it shouldn’t be a big deal.

Bill Maher summed it up very well in his message to those who flip out over same-sex marriage:

“Look, conservatives, I know you’re sincere. I know you think you’re doing God’s work. But in a hundred years, people traveling by jet pack to Mars are not going to be tripping on gay marriage. The whole issue is just going to be a joke. On you.

So my advice to you is simple: They’re here, they’re queer, get bored with it.”

#6 R Pyle
September/10/2008
@ 1:16 pm

If Clay was a composer, he could have strummed a song…a poet, he could have penned a sonnet…handy with tools, maybe he could have changed the oil or made a breadbox. In this case, he got a comic published. It’s fitting and it’s sweet.

#7 Stacy Curtis
September/10/2008
@ 4:18 pm

Ann,

Are you using dial-up?
Is your screen settings set at 800×600?

It did take a few seconds to load, but it fit on my screen horizontally, I just had to scroll down for the rest of the comic.

I’m not sure why web cartoonists tend to do webcomics in the traditional format of newspaper strips. It may have something to do with reprint collections or the hope that if they land a syndicate contract, they won’t have to redraw years of material that have appeared on their website.

#8 anne hambrock
September/10/2008
@ 7:04 pm

Stacy, thanks for the input but I have DSL and a pretty good mac with 1024 x 768. The image fit horizontally but not vertically. Since the image is so much longer than it is wide there is probably not a monitor made that could display the image in its entirety without making the text illegible. So we are left scrolling and that is what bothers me about reading certain things on my computer vs paper.

When I read a long blog article scrolling is not a distraction but when reading something visual like a comic it really messes with the timing. It helps me understand what movie directors are always complaining about when widescreen movies are cut down for TV screens and why they prefer letterboxing.

#9 Beth Cravens
September/11/2008
@ 11:59 am

That’s such an awesome cartoon.

#10 Monty Rohde
September/11/2008
@ 9:21 pm

Harmless “family friendly” cartoon, except for the fact that homosexuality is not broadly considered an acceptable “family friendly” subject yet. Nothing offensive about it.

#11 Clay McCuistion
September/12/2008
@ 2:21 pm

Thanks to all for the nice comments.

I design and help edit the Monitor’s features pages, so I have an “in” when it comes to the content decisions.

I apologize for the PDF — I didn’t give a lot of thought to web presentation (merely figuring out how to construct a full-page print comic — images, color, type — took me a few weeks).

I hope to do more of these in the future (although on a broader range of subjects), and the web is definitely in my thoughts.

#12 sherry hermreck
September/15/2008
@ 10:50 am

Clay – Great cartoon AND content !!!! Your artistic expertise has come a long way – and so have you!!!! Keep up the good work!

#13 Aunt Cindy
September/15/2008
@ 8:33 pm

What, spam bots can’t add? Or is it that they don’t have enough fingers or toes?
Nephews,
I, or rather we since Bob asked to be included, loved the cartoon! And I didn’t have any problem downloading it. It’s always great to hear from both of you. Know you are loved and appreciated wherever life takes you.
Love, Aunt Cindy
PS I love the specter. I think he should make a return appearance!

#14 Clay McCuistion
September/22/2008
@ 11:29 am

The strip is also now available as a JPEG:

http://www.conmon.com/documents/howwegotgaymarried.jpg

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