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Gary Brookins laid off from Times-Dispatch

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Decrement the staff count by one this morning. From a couple of sources it looks like Gary Brookins, the award winning editorial cartoonist for the Times-Dispatch in Richmond Virginia has been laid off along with 90 others. Gary has been with the paper since 1979 and is syndicated through King Features. He also produces the comic panel Pluggers and co-produces Jeff MacNelly’s Shoe. He was also a nominee for best editorial cartoonist last year by the National Cartoonist Society.

More information to come.

Community Comments

#1 Steve Greenberg
April/3/2009
@ 8:48 am

With so many layoffs, we’re all becoming somewhat numb to each new one, but this is still very sad, and Gary’s been doing fine work for decades. I’m glad for his sake that he has his comic strip work already in place as his backup.

#2 Mike Lester
April/3/2009
@ 8:59 am

I’m also guilty of a certain “numbness” as well but I don’t want to forget these guys and wish them well. The highest numbers of unemployment in certain areas of the country are close to the 15% range. If Alan’s 90 layoffs are correct and I suspect it’s higher, that would put the editorial cartoon profession closer to a 50% plus unemployment rate. I’d love to be corrected if I’m wrong.

#3 Scott Kurtz
April/3/2009
@ 9:23 am

Don’t worry guys. According to Ted Rall, editorial cartoonists have never been more relevant with a more promising future. Everything is going to be juuuuussst fine.

#4 Mike Lester
April/3/2009
@ 9:56 am

Dear Mr. Kurtz: I think Gary might have a crippled dog too. Let’s hear some jokes about him. If you have a beef w/ Ted, he’s easily reachable but this isn’t the place.

You have no manners, professional courtesy and no business commenting in a thread about a man with bills and a family who lost his job as an editorial cartoonist. Got kids?

In the words of Kathy Griffin, “I don’t go to your job…” you know the rest.

#5 Matt Bors
April/3/2009
@ 10:46 am

Scott,

Your continued gloating at people who lose their jobs should embarrass a grown man such as yourself. I know you enjoy raising the ire of print cartoonists and driving the divisive debate about web, but I’ve never seen you be as childish and petty as you have been lately–and that’s saying something.

All webcartoonists I’ve talked to in private say they resent what you do to the name of webcomics and bemoan the fact that your brash attitude and idiotic comments become associated with their entire genre. That’s by design of course, because you want not to just to be a successful webcartoonist, but THE webcartoonist, the one who literally wrote a book on it and wishes doom upon people that use other models.

That’s how you come off. Not just to Wiley Miller and members of the NCS, but every cartoonist I’ve ever talked to about this whole debate, including your web peers.

I hesitated in posting this because I know it feeds your ego to be an embattled trailblazer of the web that annoys everyone, but I thought you could benefit to know how much how people perceive you. In promoting yourself as a successful webcartoonist you end up doing damage to your name.

Anyway, One thing I’ve figured out is that following these long, petty arguments is one thing that surely doesn’t generate income so I’m spending more time focusing on things that do.

Wish me luck.

Later.

#6 Scott Kurtz
April/3/2009
@ 11:24 am

Wow. I was just offering a word of support. Ted says that things have never been better for you guys and he would know.

Ted just told me that the money I make in my best year is nothing compared to your worst year. And I’m doing pretty well right now so all you fired guys must be raking it in.

Seriously, if you’re feeling a pinch right now you should talk to Ted. Cause he’s got the real lowdown on how great you guys are truly doing.

#7 Paul Fell
April/3/2009
@ 11:36 am

Goodbye, Scott. Take your money and go play with somebody else.

#8 Alan Gardner
April/3/2009
@ 11:48 am

I don’t care if you’re webcartoonist, editorial cartoonist or wash dishes at the local taco joint. A good man just lost his job.

Everyone ignore Scott and his comments and bring this thread back to Gary. Scott has been banned from commenting on this site.

#9 Michael Koes
April/3/2009
@ 12:20 pm

Yes, truly you print gentleman are noble and honorable, and the world will mourn you. You’re like knights from a lost age. Or perhaps more accurately you resemble samurai, whose era is ending under an onslaught of new technology.

As someone who reads cartoons, as someone in their early twenties with a lifetime of readership to offer, as just a general member of your potential audience; I insist that you take my opinion seriously. That cartoon at the top of this page, that one you chose to showcase Gary Brookins’ skill and to punctuate what a terrible loss this is, isn’t very good.

It doesn’t have any guts, or courage. You want a real editorial cartoon about this issue? The kind that might actually be remembered?

Draw a bloody arm sticking out of twisted wreckage. In that arm’s hand is a phone. On the phone’s screen is the message, “txt msg laws r lame”. The lifeless thumb hovers over the ‘Send’ button.

It is sad for this man that he lost his job, and I sincerely hope him and the other 90 the best of luck in landing on their feet.

I don’t believe this is a sad loss for our culture.

#10 Clay Jones
April/3/2009
@ 12:21 pm

Gary is a really nice guy. I once asked for a color copy of a toon he did on a friend, and a color copy was in my office within two days…so he doesn’t put off sticking things in the mail like I do.
I’ve been in Virginia for 10 years, talked to Gary here and there but never met him. I think he will be OK, but it sucks for the entire industry to see this happen.

#11 Clay Jones
April/3/2009
@ 12:21 pm

i didn’t ask for a “color” copy..just a copy..and he delivered a full color.
Re-reading my post I see I repeated myself. I need more caffeine.

#12 Charles Brubaker
April/3/2009
@ 12:26 pm

Hope Gary is doing fine.

#13 TJ
April/3/2009
@ 12:52 pm

Not sure if you’re being sarcastic or not Michael, but I like that example cartoon. :)

You have a point though about our print predecessors being like knights from a lost age…it reminds me of the transition from silent films to “talkies.” New technology ushered in new media, and we all know that a lot of the silent stars weren’t able to make the transition to this new format…maybe they didn’t have the right voice, or they were just a little resistant, or they were overshadowed by all the new vocal talent. But the next generation of actors and actresses owed a real debt of gratitude to those who came before them, and now is no different.

I wish the best of luck to Gary. It’s sad when anyone loses their job due to forces beyond their control, and lost talent is lost talent, no matter where it’s published.

#14 Drew Litton
April/3/2009
@ 12:55 pm

Every week we seem to lose one more. Brookins is a brilliant cartoonist and deserves better. Gary, I’m wishing you the very best. I know you have bigger and brighter things ahead. We’re here for you if you need anything.

As for the state of our industry I’m just constantly baffled as to why most editors and publishers are so willing to toss overboard the very commodities that distinguish them in the marketplace. I know it’s business, but anyone at Harvard Business school would tell you to protect your brand at all costs. The cartoonists and the comics pages and photographers are the single most important part of that brand, because they are visual products in the age of visual media. Yet at every paper in the country they often are the least respected people in the newsroom. Not by their peers, not by their readers, but by the editors and publishers who sign their paychecks and who often are willing to follow what I refer to as “the lemming effect”. One big market paper does it, all the others follow.
Nowadays you can get your news elsewhere. But the visual components that set papers apart, not so much. It’s just one of the many reasons the newspaper industry is on the edge of extinction.

#15 Chris Sharpe
April/3/2009
@ 1:14 pm

As a native Richmonder, Gary will be sorely missed. I’ve enjoyed his cartoons since I was a kid. Best wishes and best of luck to you, Gary. The Times-Dispatch is much less appealing without your work.

As for Kurtz, let him have his tantrum. Anyone who’s met the guy (and I have that dubious “honor”) knows he’s all bluster.

#16 Jan Goh
April/3/2009
@ 1:17 pm

Maybe if you guys hadn’t been such arrogant blowhards before, guys like Kurtz wouldn’t have any reason to gloat now. The paper media in general has been blind to the so-called new media.

People lose their jobs when they cease to be relevant. Decide not to advance with the times, and this’ll happen. It’s the buggywhip and car scenario all over again.

Go read some Gary Trudeau. He knows the score. And have some humility next time. You know. Karma.

Maybe this guy can be a successful web cartoonist. It’s not a zero sum game, and it sounds like he’s got experience.

#17 MasterRanger
April/3/2009
@ 1:18 pm

Wow, what a bunch of hypersensitive people. Scott was trying to offer support and everyone piles on. Way to go. No wonder no body reads newspapers any more. Go wash some dishes

#18 Bill Gould
April/3/2009
@ 1:21 pm

Everyone is being hard hit by the Official Recession (at least they finally tacked on the word “Official”), not just antiquated newsies.

Print is dead.
Newspapers and News Magazines are nothing more than corporations with political ideals swinging around bags of rabid monkeys. They are propaganda machines.

That said, I hope yon unfortunate finds other gainful employment.

#19 Ben Rankel
April/3/2009
@ 1:27 pm

These comments have begun to read like an obituary. The man had a career, he may still. He tasted success, regardless of whether or not his type of success will continue on in the future.

Condolences are not in order, congratulations are, and then an understanding glance toward the future.

#20 Mike Lester
April/3/2009
@ 1:28 pm

Michael Koes #9 since your generation “insists” on everything please be aware that you have no right to “insist that (we) take (your) opinion seriously.” What else do you want? A light sabre?

However, you make a basic and brave observation:

A major reason editorial cartoons are going the way of the Samurai is that too few cartoonists and cartoons “have any guts, or courage.” Well done, Grasshopper.

#21 Christopher Cooke
April/3/2009
@ 1:30 pm

Wow, I’m by no means a fan of Scott Kurtz… But seriously, why all the sudden angst? His original post was quite civil and didn’t come off as malicious at all.

His second post was nearly pointing out what arrogance leads to.

I do find it funny that print cartoonists find web artists to be a joke, yet they rely on the internet for so much of their news, knowledge, and communication still. That’s a different story.

People being laid off is becoming routine now. Not entirely sure where the shock or surprise is supposed to come from or why this is news worthy. If you work for a company, you’re at risk right now. It’s as simple as that.

#22 Gregory Wild-Smith
April/3/2009
@ 1:31 pm

Kurtz may have been using this story as a platform for a jibe at the editorial cartoon business as a whole inappropriately but wow… the response from supposed professionals on here really shows your true colors.

Very poor form guys, very poor.

I happen to agree with Michael Koes – the example cartoon at the top is mediocre at best. Not only is the joke not funny, but the actual art is lazy and the concept is poorly executed.

I’ve seen Gary Brookins do better work, but that’s not really the point – the point is that cartoons like the example one are the norm now in editorial cartooning. That’s not a good thing.

Where is the wit, the satire, the actual editorial content to these? Punch was doing better over 100 years ago!

I’m sorry for Gary, his situation sucks, but his layoff is a symptom of the rot that has set into the genre which leads to poor readership and undervaluing things like editorial cartooning.

I think that while Kurtz is… well, Kurtz, the people that point out problems shouldn’t be dismissed – they should be listened to so that the profession as a whole can find the reason for the complaint within.

#23 John Marstall
April/3/2009
@ 1:32 pm

While everything said here about Kurtz may be true, it doesn’t change the fact that he’s right.

#24 David Spencer
April/3/2009
@ 1:36 pm

Guy lost his job. My heart goes out to him. But my mind goes out to the sarcasm Scott employed to point out that PRINT. IS. DEAD.

Not dying, dead. And it’s been dead for at least the last couple years, if not longer.

Your censorship of him from this ENTIRE SITE for engaging in that discussion (which is ENTIRELY relevant to the site he was discussing it on) is as sure a sign as any that these are the last days, and that the illusion is so much more comfortable that they’d rather not hear the other side.

But again, my heart goes out to him, as clearly he isn’t doing as well as Ted Rall snidely steamrolls out in his statements about the industry. He should go online.

#25 Dave Stephens
April/3/2009
@ 1:39 pm

I take 20 somethings opinions seriously if their character shows that they have EARNED it.

Posting a dismissive comment about a great cartoonist – how does THAT earn my respect?

#26 Wayne G.
April/3/2009
@ 1:40 pm

It is sad that the man lost his job, no doubt. I wish him the best in his future endeavors. However, no matter how you slice it, “some” in the printed comic industry have discounted their webcomic brethren, to the point of making them look like the step-child in the room. What gets me is the comment above,

“A major reason editorial cartoons are going the way of the Samurai is that too few cartoonists and cartoons â??have any guts, or courage.â?

is that the webcomic section of the industry has these very people, who some would probably be more than proud to do a printed media strip, yet they have been alienated to the point that they don’t even appear like artist in some books, and that is not the way to maintain viability in this day and age.

#27 Jeff Ammons
April/3/2009
@ 1:41 pm

A few facts up front:

1) I do a webcomic
2) It doesn’t make money
3) It fits a niche so small that sometimes I don’t even fit in it
4) I do not now, nor will I ever have 10% of the talent of the least talented person on this list…

BUT, it is NOT as someone who does a comic that I’m posting. It is as someone who works for a newspaper (The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and I’m a programmer/DBA, not cartoonist or writer, and no, I don’t know Mike Luckovich).

The newspaper industry is going through challenges greater than any it has ever known. EVERYONE who works for a newspaper is in fear of losing their job. From the publisher to the carrier. It is just plain scary for all involved.

It is NOT certain that newspapers will survive. I hope they do. Democracy depends on a watchful press. Bloggers simply do not have the resources to fight the government or big business. Increasingly neither do newspapers.

I believe newspapers will exist online, but at a much lower profit margin. Print will not go away quickly, but it HAS to go away at some point. Young people do not read printed newspapers, but they read a ton online. Including newspapers. The cost of printing and especially distributing newspapers in a day when the SAME information can be delivered at virtually no cost, dictates that print must go away.

I have read the ongoing debates and flame wars between the web and print cartoonists and sympathize with both sides.

We are at the BEGINNING of a period of figuring out how to make money in the web world. The one thing that appears to be true is that on the web EVERYTHING is a commodity. Whether it is a comic, video, news report, or song the typical web user expects to have access to it for free. If I were to put up the world’s greatest comic and charge a penny to view it, the vast majority of people would choose to go look at a pretty good comic that is free.

Do I like that? No. Do I think I can change it? No.

At the end of the day I feel the deepest sympathy for ANYONE who loses their job with a newspaper (or any other company). I don’t care if they are a writer, cartoonist, programmer, manager, printer, delivery driver or janitor. We all depend on our jobs. I was whacked at the end of the dot com bubble and it sucks. Your whole world collapses for a while.

I have watched over the past couple of years as wave after wave of friends and co-workers moved on whether voluntarily or otherwise. I have great hope that we will make the transition to a digital world successfully, but at the same time I have worked very hard at sharpening my skills as a programmer to prepare for whatever should come. I would like for my comic to generate a modest income eventually to diversify my income, but for now it doesn’t (and likely will never).

Sadly I don’t think everyone making a living currently as a cartoonist will continue to do so. Same goes for writers, photographers, editors, printers, etc. Many of us will be forced into new careers. Some will make the transition to the web. Not all will. I seriously doubt many will avoid a cut in pay whether they go online or stay in print. The downward pressure on commodities is tough to fight.

I wish good luck to us all.

#28 Jesse Cline
April/3/2009
@ 1:41 pm

I agree print will be dead some day, but we are not quite there yet. A popular newspaper comic like Garfield, Dilbert or Pearls Before Swine still has hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of daily readers. The day print comics die will be when a prominent creator like Scott Adams walks away from his contract renewal and goes solely online.

#29 Jeff Darcy
April/3/2009
@ 1:42 pm

Anyone who thinks Gary or any other editorial cartoonist who’s lost a job, lost it because they’re not “relevant” doesn’t know Jack about what’s behind these firings in the print industry. If it was some hip web style cartoonist or Alternative type cartoonist in those spots at those papers- they would have been fired too. It has zero to do with the style or quality of the cartooning.

Hard to believe the newspaper that give birth the cartoonist-Jeff MacNelly, who influenced an entire generation of cartoonists -is now without an Editorial Cartoonist. Good Luck, Gary

#30 Ben Rankel
April/3/2009
@ 1:42 pm

A wonderful thing about the internet is being taken at the value of your work, not your age.

This is not an advantage however, if you wave your age like a flag and then make questionable statements.

#31 Clyde Jones
April/3/2009
@ 1:50 pm

“Donâ??t worry guys. According to Ted Rall, editorial cartoonists have never been more relevant with a more promising future. Everything is going to be juuuuussst fine.”

I didn’t see that comment in the negative light that Mike and Matt did. It reminded me of a typical conversation that my friends might have about the economy. Black humor. Somebody lost their executive job and someone else might say that there are loads of opportunities in the food-service industry (implying a “Would you like fries with that” job). Laughs all around and then get back to commenting on how much that sucks.

Maybe I’m wrong.

I’ve followed Scott for many years now (actually just a few months shy of his beginning PvP) and have noticed that sometimes he has a severe case of foot-in-mouth disease, but on the other hand he can be very witty and insightful in his comments. Like Matt mentioned, there are some web-cartoonists who are irritated with his behavior. There are also some who are very happy with what he does for the genre. It’s about 50/50 in both cases. I’m not a big fan of extremism in general and extremism in labeling or judging people in specific.

In regards to Gary Brookins. I’m actually very sad about the state of affairs as a whole. I wish Gary the best, and am confident that he will move on and adapt and come out on top. In the interim, I hope that the creative community can come together to help support him and get to that next step in his life.

The way I see it, it is not the cartoonists who are the samurai, it is the papers themselves. The papers are being phased out and are dying in the face of this new technology. The cartoonists, reporters, and photojournalists are victims of this change. There are tons of people (much like the silent-actors) that are slowly seeing their jobs dry up. Hopefully many of them can make the transition, there are ways to be cartoonists, reporters, and photojournalists on the web. It is a frightening time, but hopefully we can see it through to a positive end.

Good luck Gary, we are all pulling for you (Scott included! I know he’s a fan, and, having met him a couple times now, know his heart’s in the right place).

Clyde

#32 Scott Bieser
April/3/2009
@ 1:51 pm

I’ve never been a full-time editorial cartoonist, (although I do free-lance one-offs in this field from time to time) and I do sympathize with Gary for his loss. Up until 2000 I had a nice, high-paying job doing animation and art direction for a computer game company, but was laid off and my 3D skills weren’t good enough for me to find another job in the field. I have two dependent children and a mortgage, and savings ran out quickly.

So after floundering around for a while I turned to graphic novels promoted heavily by serializing them on the Web. Now my income is not half of what it was, I’ve had to learn marketing skills, and we’ve had to tighten belts, but things are working out, we’re paying our bills, and we have a hopeful future.

So yes, times are very bad now in the print medium, but for those who can adapt to changing circumstances it’s not the end of the world.

#33 Manny Peters
April/3/2009
@ 1:53 pm

I think there is a fundamental lack of tact on Kurtz’s part. People are free to ignore his advice and he should understand that and move on. Unfortunately Kurtz has also allowed a handful of print artists’ dismissing of him taint his views of the group as a whole. He could easily take the high ground, but he hasn’t. As one of the forerunners of webcomics, he’s ultimately tarnished the reputation of he and his peers.

That said, it’s not up to him to decide how the industry grows and evolves and any amount of chest beating isn’t going to change that. Just because he’s one of the bigger fish in his respective pond, he needs to realize that it’s still considerably smaller than any of the other ponds.

My advice: Call Ted (and whoever else has wronged you) and fight it out, because bringing your baggage on-line does nothing but hurt you.

#34 Michael Koes
April/3/2009
@ 1:53 pm

Mike Lester #20,

No, I have an absolute right to insist. I have no right to expect compliance.

I only mentioned my age to illustrate that my generation is not a part of your audience. My generation, the one that doesn’t feel entitled but merely is dissatisfied. My generation, the one that will replace your own.

People my age have no love or even respect for editorial cartoons or the people that produce them. I believe this is because what is being produced today is very near to worthless. I’m very skeptical of their supposed value. When was the last time an editorial cartoon actually led to some sort of social change? Did it have anything to do with Boss Tweed?

I implore you, (if the subservient connotations of that term are less irritating than “insist”) do your jobs better. I haven’t seen an example yet to convince me this artform is worth saving.

#35 Beth Cravens
April/3/2009
@ 1:55 pm

Sigh, such vitriol. There’s always a lot of huff and puff in these conversations, but that doesn’t help any of us adapt to the future.

#36 Michael Koes
April/3/2009
@ 1:59 pm

Jeff Darcy #28,

Don’t use the sinking ship they’re chained to to block criticism about the mediocrity of the work.

#37 Kyle Marquis
April/3/2009
@ 2:02 pm

Am I reading it wrong, or is there a grammatical error in the example comic? It should be “I’ll call 911 as soon as *I* finish this text message.” I doubt proper grammar would save the comic, of course.

#38 Andy Rusterholz
April/3/2009
@ 2:06 pm

There are two issues here: Gary being fired, and the plight of newspaper cartoonists. Please let’s keep them straight.

As for Gary being fired: I have no doubt that he was, as you claim, a “good man.” But the quality of his character is irrelevant to the quality of his work, or the relevance of his skill set. I’ve read ‘Pluggers’ for years in the St. Paul Pioneer Press; while it is miles funnier than ‘Fred Basset,’ it is still only a medium-quality comic, neither the best nor the worst on the page. I’m sorry that an aging veteran is losing his job, of course, but let’s not pretend that he was Bill Watterson.

Now as for the plight: Scott’s comments may have been incendiary, but they weren’t about Gary. They were a sardonic poke at the troubles facing newspaper cartoonists. Now, you would think that a group of people who make their living taking sardonic pokes at public figures (i.e. editorial cartooning) would understand when someone takes a sardonic poke at them, but apparently not. So let’s spell it out for them: your skill set is quickly becoming irrelevant. Your market is shrinking like a puddle in the sun. Your ability to adapt to this has, so far, been shown to be insufficient. This reality is not the fault of any webcartoonist, even Scott. Perhaps that was unpleasant, but it’s true.

(And it may or may not be why Gary lost his job, but the unpleasant facts of reality are not a commentary on Gary’s character, so drop it.)

Furthermore, Scott is a demonstrable expert on how cartoonists CAN adapt to the current reality. He may be a jackass, but he does know how to profit from the current state of the industry. So do Tycho and Gabe and Piro and Hawk and Ananth and Randall Munroe and Tatsuya Ishida and Jeph Jacques and others (four of whom I’ve met in person and can vouch for their non-jackassedness).

Whether you adapt or not is up to each of you, individually.

Now, I’ll probably get banned because I said an unpleasant truth on here, and that seems to be unpopular with the management, but so be it. Banning the cynical folks won’t stop the apocalypse.

#39 Manny Peters
April/3/2009
@ 2:07 pm

Can we stop with the criticizing of editorial cartoons as mediocre (en masse), folks? You’ve already admitted you don’t read them anyway. I mean, seriously. Is it that editorial cartoons don’t have enough Star Wars references, or what? ;)

Scott’s latest strip is nothing more than a long and drawn out editorial about how much he hates iJustine.

#40 Robert LeBlanc
April/3/2009
@ 2:08 pm

Print is dead. Guess who killed it? Baby boomer businessmen. YOUR generation, not mine. It started with the professionals on the go needing more access to emails and files from their company. Thus the smart phone. Blackberry’s were almost exclusively used by 40ish professionals. Now everyone has a smart phone. The only thing that truly kept print alive in the past decade? Portability. Now you can access all the same material on their websites from your Blackberry. Last bastion of print’s defense crumbled. Scott Kurtz is someone who is more than pulling their weight in keeping the cartoon genre alive. While the comment may have been I’ll timed, the respect given to webcomic artists and authors by you printsters is almost nonexistant. Considering he us the future of your media for better or for worse you should probably have a different outlook. This close mindedness is the same attitude that has had his comments banned.

#41 Ben Rankel
April/3/2009
@ 2:10 pm

Mike Koes : #33 “People my age have no love or even respect for editorial cartoons or the people that produce them.”

I’m in my mid twenties I believe editorial cartoons can be entertaining.I may not read therm any more but I respect any one who is able to find any variety of success with the work they do. Regardless of whether or not I feel there way of production is viable.

In regards to viability of editorial cartoon and print in general; what does it matter to me? I have no vested interest in seeing other fail. I can see how some might feel differently based on past experiences, but that isn’t me.

If you’re making webcomics, do so, and love it, and try to be successful. Whether or not print comics end should really not matter to you at all.

#42 Michael Koes
April/3/2009
@ 2:13 pm

Manny #38,

Link me to an editorial cartoon you think is awesome. If you’re going to use the “He doesn’t read ’em, so he doesn’t know what he’s missing” argument, provide an example.

Show us the light. What do you consider to be good?

#43 William Corey
April/3/2009
@ 2:17 pm

Full disclaimer: I am not a cartoonist. However, I read many webcomics, and I USED to read many print comics. I was a diehard fan of many of the classics, and now I’ve found something that scratches that particular itch in a different method: online. Quite frankly, I can sit at my desk at work and take two minutes out of my day to click over to any of a number of fine webcomics without having to page through a bulky newspaper and sift through the twenty-odd “junk” comics I don’t care about to see the one or two I might care about. Cost really isn’t a consideration for me; it’s convenience.

Let’s face it: no one likes to see someone lose their livelihood. I completely sympathize with Gary’s plight, and I wish him all the best. I genuinely hope he’s able to take his talents and find a place where they’re needed.

The reason I’m bothering to write this post, however, is not to spew idle platitudes to Gary or any other print comic who loses his or her job. It’s the rest of you, the ones who call yourselves cartoonists (or fans) and yet strangely can’t see black humor (the same type that oftentimes is used in the editorial cartoons we’re mourning the loss of in this forum) when it hits you in the face. You should ALL be ashamed of yourselves for your childish attitudes toward Mr. Kurtz’s comments. Not only did you bash the guy for what I’m sure he meant as nothing more than ironic humor (and, since you all seem to know him so well, I’m sure you can’t help but agree, right?), but then you BAN him? Unthinkable! Professionals whose work revolves around an industry based on the principle of freedom of speech, resorting to what amounts to censorship when confronted with an opinion that doesn’t toe the line of “good taste.” First Amendment, anyone?

If you want to know why print media is losing its relevance in today’s market, go home tonight and look in your respective mirrors. You may be talented artists, shrewd businessmen and dedicated fans, but you’re lousy Americans.

#44 Manny Peters
April/3/2009
@ 2:17 pm

Look for yourself. Taste is subjective. Trying to convince somebody, such as yourself, who has obviously made up their own mind, is a useless exercise at best.

#45 Manny Peters
April/3/2009
@ 2:18 pm

^ For Michael Koes #40

#46 Don
April/3/2009
@ 2:22 pm

I’m a fan of Scott’s work, but anyone defending his behavior here and claiming it was appropriate/not meant to be rude is off their nut. He’s soliciting pre-sales for a t-shirt that says “I’m killing newspapers by reading webcomics” for crying out loud.

Putting aside the fact that the shirt is just plain stupid and wrong – advertising sales are the biggest issue, not alternate sources of comics – it’s low class to laugh at other people’s misfortune.

Scott and people like Jan Goh may think it’s okay to behave poorly if you were ever mistreated in the past, but to me they look like the nerd who had a growth spurt over the summer and came back to be an even bigger bully than anyone who ever bothered them. I guess that’s a life choice, but don’t pretend it makes you anything other than a crappy person.

#47 Michael Koes
April/3/2009
@ 2:23 pm

Manny #42,

Yep, there’s that courage I was talking about. I asked for something you thought was good, not for something you thought might impress me.

So what if it doesn’t change anyone’s mind? You’d still be standing behind a piece of work you admire and declaring, “I think this is good!”

#48 Ben Rankel
April/3/2009
@ 2:24 pm

Free speech doesn’t exist on a privately owned site. No opinion on that being good or bad, just a fact.

#49 Tom Clarke
April/3/2009
@ 2:24 pm

“Anyone who thinks Gary or any other editorial cartoonist whoâ??s lost a job, lost it because theyâ??re not â??relevantâ? doesnâ??t know Jack about whatâ??s behind these firings in the print industry.”
Nobody’s saying that “Print cartoonists were fired because they’re irrelevant”. They’re saying “Print cartoonists can’t sell their work anywhere else, because they weren’t prepared for this incredibly likely event.”

Of course it’s sad when someone loses their job without the guarantee of a new one. Balanced against that, lots of people have lost their jobs recently. Huge numbers of people in all walks of life are now struggling, many in a far worse position than those who were fired from newspapers.

The advantage for cartoonists, as Scott Kurtz, and hundreds of other cartoonists before and after him have *proved*, is that there are alternative lines of opportunity for people who can draw and write jokes.
Even if Scott Adams lost his print contracts, people would still be buying The Dilbert Future. People would still be buying the Dogbert plushies. People would still be downloading and printing off Dilbert strips for their cubicles, providing ad revenue. Hopefully the same is true for all currently laid off cartoonists. But it will take work. Complain about Kurtz’s jibes all you want, but he’s running an entire business, doing everything that papers and syndicates do for print cartoonists; marketing, publishing, negotiating, the whole works.
When Scott says that he’s financially stable, the undertone is “AND YOU CAN BE TOO”.

Webcartoonists have taken a hell of a lot of abuse over the years for “devaluing their own work” or “not getting paid for their art” or being “T-Shirt salesmen”. And then the thing that they all saw coming arrived. Some are the kind who won’t hit back, because they are incredible people. Some are saps, who are just grateful to be talking to a “real cartoonist”. And some are going to kick you when you’re down, because they remember being kicked when they were struggling to rise.

#50 Gerald Dudley
April/3/2009
@ 2:24 pm

As a longtime reader of cartoons and comics, I wonder, is there anyone who ever has really enjoyed an editorial cartoon? Or really changed the way they look at things because of one?

I admire the work of cartoonists like Bill Watterson, Gary Larson, and yes, Scott Kurtz, among the many other cartoonists publishing vital, interesting work online.

The truth is that newspapers are on the way out. If cartoonists are going to look to be paid for their work directly, then they’re going to be stuck doing quite a few commissions, or caricature work by the hour.

Those cartoonists who are still employed by the newspapers should have the good sense to realize they have to change their methods of doing business, or they’re not going to be able to continue to work in their chosen field.

Editorial cartoons always remind me of older relatives trying to pitch conservative dogma in my face: only funny in an ironic and somewhat pitiable sense, and in that same moment, kinda sad, because I know that they are not capable of changing or evolving the way they think.

There are my two cents.

#51 Ben Rankel
April/3/2009
@ 2:26 pm

@Don “Heâ??s soliciting pre-sales for a t-shirt that says â??Iâ??m killing newspapers by reading webcomicsâ? for crying out loud.”

I like that shirt.

#52 Derf
April/3/2009
@ 2:26 pm

It’s not right to ban Kurtz from this site, no matter how much he gloats and vents. First of all, it’s very entertaining reading his posts. More importantly, Doesn’t anyone else have a problem with someone being banned from an editorial cartoon thread for expressing a strong, or even offensive, opinion? Hello????

I don’t think anyone here is that big of a wuss, Alan. Let him back on.

#53 Clyde Jones
April/3/2009
@ 2:30 pm

Manny, he did ask for one that YOU thought was good. Not one that you think HE would like.

What do you have? Personally I’ve found the editorials to be pretty hit and miss, not in humor only, but in quality and composition. Sometimes they just suck. And it has seemed as though sometimes is trending towards oftentimes.

#54 Kurt Murray
April/3/2009
@ 2:31 pm

The fact that you banned Scott Kurtz shows that you seriously misunderstand the world as it now is. If nothing else, he was increasing the page views and ad revenue of your site by his mere presence. Not only was he using his wit to highlight the root issue, but he was helping you support this site. Un-banning him would be smart for your bottom line, but it would also be painful to your pride. Which matters more?

#55 Clyde Jones
April/3/2009
@ 2:31 pm

Michael

Damn. Too slow on the submit, you said what I was going to reply. Got distracted.

#56 Jeff Ammons
April/3/2009
@ 2:31 pm

@Michael Koes
“Show us the light. What do you consider to be good?”

OK, gotta plug Mike Luckovich here.

Yes he works for my paper, but I do think he is very good and had produced good work.

Just a few I think are good or funny:

http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/opinion/luckovichmar09/

http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/opinion/luckovichmar09/

http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/opinion/luckovichfeb09/

http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/opinion/luckovichfeb09/

http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/opinion/luckovich2008/

http://projects.ajc.com/gallery/view/opinion/luckovich2008/

There are good comics on the web and there are good comics in print. The medium does not make the quality.

Is every editorial comic a gem, of course not. But I do think there are good ones.

Gary Brookins is also very good. Picking on the example comic up above is pointless. And mean. We don’t have to be mean. Remember, no matter where you go, there you are.

#57 Megan Werle
April/3/2009
@ 2:33 pm

Print media is dying out. I saw my mother’s Sunday morning newspaper last weekend. 4/5 of the paper was advertisements and coupons. The remaining 1/5 was for articles and the Sunday comics. My parents are contemplating getting high speed internet at home so they can read better papers online rather than continue to produce a bunch of paper advertisements they don’t read.

#58 Charles Brubaker
April/3/2009
@ 2:35 pm

“More importantly, Doesnâ??t anyone else have a problem with someone being banned from an editorial cartoon thread for expressing a strong, or even offensive, opinion?”

There’s a difference between expressing strong opinions and just being an a-hole. BIG difference.

#59 Daryl Cagle
April/3/2009
@ 2:36 pm

Gary is a great cartoonist and his job loss is one more increment of tragedy in the grand tragedy of the decline of editorial cartoons in print.

That said, I agree with Ted Rall that editorial cartoons as an art form are better now than ever. And even with the decline in print, we have a bigger audience now than ever with the web. I have well over 150,000 subscribers to our daily e-mail newsletter and millions for our cagle.com site – I see that there is an active, involved and interested fan base for editorial cartoons every day.

The problem is the business model, not the art. We make our living from print. Our fans don’t buy t-shirts. Ads on the internet are almost worthless. We’re like newspapers, touting that our audience is bigger than ever before as we go broke.

I don’t have an answer for this, but I know the problem isn’t a lack of fans or lousy cartoons.

#60 Louisa Smith
April/3/2009
@ 2:37 pm

I am very sorry for Mr. Brookins and anyone else losing their jobs in this rough economy, particularly rough for newspapers. However, I wanted to address Dave Stephen’s comment:

“I take 20 somethings opinions seriously if their character shows that they have EARNED it.”

For one thing, Mr. Kurtz is not a 20-something; he’s a 30-something. Probably the same age as many professional print cartoonists, not some kid fresh out of college.

For another thing, Mr. Kurtz has a highly successful comic strip read by thousands and thousands of people every day. He’s not a nobody; he’s making a living off of a new model of cartooning, and he’s one of the first to do so and one of the most successful. With the market for comics and newspapers failing, you’d do well to pay attention to Mr. Kurtz’s opinions, and those of his peers, as they’re the ones succeeding and even flourishing. Webcomics just had their first very successful convention- the market is there.

But lastly, I’m extremely irritated by the implication of the comment that the opinion of 20-somethings isn’t worth anything. Know why newspapers are failing? It’s because they can’t capture a young market. Us worthless 20-somethings whose opinion isn’t worth a damn are the ones driving the market, and right now it’s steering directly Internet-ward.

Alienate the young people of America with this dismissive attitude, and you won’t have an audience at all- as it is, right now what you have are a lot of senior citizens threatening revolt every time the newspapers publish a comic even mildly offensive or edgy, and editors caving like sinkholes. If you want a younger audience that’s more accepting of risk-taking, and even rewards it, and you’ll need to head for the internet.

#61 Manny Peters
April/3/2009
@ 2:37 pm

Michael Koes #42

It has nothing to do with courage, but kudos to you for trying to use that particular form of yellow logic, you rascal, you. LOL.

But if you really give two pence, here’s a handful that captured my interest:

http://www.politicalcartoons.com/cartoon/f2ae0981-8009-40e0-8891-97f4ea870b71.html

http://www.unionleader.com/uploads/media-items/2006/may/529cartoon.jpg

http://www.cagle.com/news/OJArrested/images/stantis.jpg

http://www.postroad.com/9-11/luckovich.gates.gif

Enjoy. ;)

#62 Kerry Benton
April/3/2009
@ 2:42 pm

Reading this thread I realized it’s been a while since I spent time clicking through editorial cartoons on cagle.com so I popped over there during my lunch break to see if my opinion of them is the same as it was 6 months or so ago…

Informal result : no change. I smiled or chuckled at about 10% and only two (out of maybe 150-200) really stuck with me enough that I thought to send them to friends (one was yours, Matt Bors). Ok, so maybe it’s a small sample set and this week has been particularly devoid of material (though I wouldn’t think so from the headlines).

Still, the simple conclusion is that editorial cartoons don’t really speak to me. Not that they couldn’t… I’m interested in politics and current affairs and appreciate wit, but in actual practice, the chances that I’ll find an editorial cartoon interesting appears to remain low.

It’s not entirely appropriate to extrapolate from “me” to “my generation”, but I’m audacious enough to state that I don’t think I’m alone among my peers.

I think it’s sad, because I think the medium is a fascinating one, and one with potential, but either through lack of vision or the constraints imposed by the market or some other reason they lack the kind of punch I think they ought to deliver. In the end, the proof is in the pudding.

C’est la vie, the world turns and other overused statements… in 30 years my generation will bemoan the good old days when the Internet was young and whine about whatever new technology is displacing or changing it.

All that being said, I do hope Mr. Brookins lands on his feet and finds a way to thrive, and best wishes to the rest of the employees of the various print media… it’s a hard time to be part of that industry.

#63 William Corey
April/3/2009
@ 2:44 pm

“Thereâ??s a difference between expressing strong opinions and just being an a-hole. BIG difference.”

Not in the eyes of the U.S. Constitution there isn’t. If there was, there are a LOT of people who wouldn’t be allowed to speak at all regardless of viewpoint.

#64 Clyde Jones
April/3/2009
@ 2:44 pm

@Louisa

The 20-something comment was about another poster, not Scott.

Other than that, good post :)

@Daryl

Sounds great. I think you hit the nail on the head. I checked Ted’s site and yours. Actually good stuff. I will now revise my previous comment to *paraphrasing* the editorials in PRINT are hit and miss. I can’t say I’ve seen all the web editorials, but so far so good. Still not my cuppa, but it’s quality work.

Also, I agree with others saying that the cartoon above isn’t the best example of Gary’s work. He was definitely one of the good ones.

*shaking my head* I really just wish I had an answer to the print problem. I don’t really think that mass printing will ever fully die in my lifetime, but I expect to see it die as far as news media goes. That puts a LOT of people either out of a job or in a serious position of job-redefining.

#65 Jeff Ammons
April/3/2009
@ 2:51 pm

I’d say it remains to be seen whether or not editorial cartoons can transition to the web. I certainly don’t think they should all give up and quit because a few people say it can’t work.

The new reality of America is that we must all work really hard and figure out how to achieve what we want. Wait, isn’t that they was it has always been? Isn’t the point of the American Dream that you can try anything and you don’t go to jail for failing?

The hostility between “web” and “print” guys is obnoxious.

I see no reason why everyone feels they must choose up sides in this discussion. Some folks are making it on the web right now. Many are not. Newspapers are in big trouble, but they aren’t all dead yet. No one delivers LOCAL advertising better than newspapers. They will continue for some time. Most are doing now what they should have done in 1998 with regards to finding ways to make the transition to a digital world.

Both sides of this debate need to take a deep breath and realize that we are ALL going to be scrambling from here on out and some will make it some won’t. Not making it on the web does NOT mean that the work had no value. Not being in print now does NOT mean the work has no value.

#66 Matthew Caponi
April/3/2009
@ 2:59 pm

Scott was not in any way attempting to make light of Gary being laid off, nor was he being insensitive. At worst, he is guilty of being off-topic; at best, he was employing some gallows humor at the expense of Ted Rall. Whether or not it was successful is up to you to judge, although you seem to have decided it wasn’t. Which is fine. That’s no reason to ban him and mass vilify him as the worst in webcomics.

It may be difficult to see but I do not believe that Scott was attempting to gloat at the fact that he both currently has a successful comic and job and will continue to have one with the changing business model. Rather, he was mocking someone who said something no one agrees with.

I also think there’s something to be learned from Scott. If you doubt his writing and drawing abilities, then take heart from the fact that he has been successful online with little talent. What’s to stop someone like yourself who knows what he’s doing? If you’re good at what you do and you give yourself the chance to be successful, i.e. by putting it in a format that is not slowly dying, then you should do very well for yourself.

#67 Drew Litton
April/3/2009
@ 3:02 pm

I do want to say, that I may not agree with the posts that Scott Kurtz wrote here (if it really was Scott Kurtz) but I strongly believe in his right to say it. I think we can only grow from healthy debate found on the Daily Cartoonist. As we move forward as cartoonists in our desire to keep the art form we all love alive we must find ways to build a new business model. Debate is one way to light the path ahead.

That said, we’re professionals and we have a certain obligation to conduct ourselves on these forums as such. Childish posts only demean our profession, not elevate it.

#68 Guy McLimore
April/3/2009
@ 3:08 pm

I am no cartoonist — I am just a lifelong fan of the art form. But I am a classically-trained ex-journalist who was employed for years in the early interface period of web publishing. I desperately tried to get employers to listen, because I was one of the few who had both classic newspaper background and early electronic publishing experience. Instead, I watched as the decisions about how newspapers would enter the electronic publishing arena were made solely by ink-stained hardliners hostile to the whole idea, while those who had some clue of what could be happening were dismissed as dreamers. The newspaper industry is now the victim of its own arrogance. I mourn for what could have been, but I also understand what Scott Kurtz is feeling now. I share some of that rage. In this case, Scott’s anger was aimed, not at the man who has lost his job, but at the still-arrogant fools who are even now incapable of recognizing their own hubris. For that, he is vilified and dismissed? Good men are losing their livelihood because so many people insisted on blindfolding themselves and procaiming that they couldn’t see any danger. Vilify them, instead.

#69 Trevor Kent
April/3/2009
@ 3:13 pm

I have to stand by Scott’s comments, because what he was doing was throwing some words back at Ted Rall and a handful of other cartoonists that dismiss webcomics without a thought. He wasn’t making light of Gary’s situation. It’s upsetting to see someone lose their job, but a person still has their skills even after they lose their job. It’s not like in a video game where you have to start from the beginning of the level again. Everything you’ve learned and practiced is still there, even when things get tough.

Which is worse? Scott’s sarcastic (albeit harsh at times) comments to raise a point about webcomics being a valid income, or Ted saying that everything is fine for print cartoonists even when things are crashing down? Scott and other successful webcartoonists have every right to be upset and angry with the way they’ve been treated by the people they used to look up to.

#70 Drew Litton
April/3/2009
@ 3:20 pm

Personally I think we should put Ted Rall and Scott Kurtz in a boxing ring and, you know, see what happens.

#71 Ryan
April/3/2009
@ 3:23 pm

I’m sorry that somebody lost their job. It’s a tough time, and it’s terrible when that happens. I hope he lands on his feet.

That said; the disappearance of editorial cartoons is truly no loss for society. They are almost never amusing, rarely have anything subtle or interesting to say. Occasionally they may be provocative.

#72 Spencer Goldade
April/3/2009
@ 3:27 pm

I’m in agreeance with Mathew, #60.

I know plenty of people getting laid off in every kind of career, not just the arts. I’m very sorry to hear that yet another person who was working hard has lost their job.

Still, not a time to forget to pull up your big boy pants and listen to both sides of a discussion, even if they offend you. If Scott’s comment offended you then I can tell right now none of you will ever make it on the internet. A single flame will send you packing, from the sounds of it. Not to mention, the guys already said he wasn’t trying to be offensive, but you just jump on him. Sad, real sad. And, best way to win and not let a person defend themself? Ban. Again, you’re all starting out at this scary internet thing on the wrong foot.

Best wishes to Gary, whether he gets back in the game or has to find something else. I truly hope he is able to continue to find a living doing what he loves.

For the record, a professional editorial illustrator named Dave Whamond gave my illustration group a pep talk yesterday and said the same thing- his profession has never been more relevant in a time like this, and he’s just had to find the right company and outlet to express himself with. He was pretty careful not to jab at the people who are losing their jobs though, which you think Scott has done, but reminded everyone the best thing you can do is stay optimistic and keep looking for work.

Sorry for jumping on you for banning Scott, guys. In my experience on the internet and real life though, censorship is never a good road to travel down, and hardly seemed appropriate in this case.

#73 Alan Slone
April/3/2009
@ 3:27 pm

“The problem is the business model, not the art. We make our living from print. Our fans donâ??t buy t-shirts. Ads on the internet are almost worthless. Weâ??re like newspapers, touting that our audience is bigger than ever before as we go broke.”

Perhaps the fact that your fans don’t buy t-shirts is that you don’t advertise to people who buy t-shirts. I have put more into Internet webcomics merchandise this year than last year, and last year it was more than the year before that. I’m in my early 30’s, too, so I’m not just some whipper-snapper who’s broke and not in college. I don’t read regular newspapers, and haven’t for about 10 years. Perhaps you should be trying to get in front of my eyeballs, instead of, as one poster elegantly put it, a bunch of senior citizens who threaten to cancel the paper whenever you do something slightly edgy.

I say that to say this: Adapt, and you won’t go broke. I promise – we’re out here, and we have money, and we still spend it. You probably make a really good living, and have developed serious overhead costs in your life because you make a good living, and I appreciate that. That money is probably going to stop coming in, though, for the most part. You will have to do what you do now because you love it, and not because you both love it and get paid as well as you do now to do it. Its a sad fact, but its still a fact.

#74 Alan Gardner
April/3/2009
@ 3:35 pm

Derf, Don – please use your first and last name when commenting. It’s a rule. I’ll delete ’em if you don’t use ’em.

“Nowhere Man” – your comment was deleted because you’re obviously not using your real name.

To all the new visitors who are here for the first time. We try to have a civil debate on everything. We use our full names. We expect people not to hide behind cowardly anonymous identities. See here for the rules of posting comments. I try to be fair and let people say their piece. The Web v. Print thread that was shutdown this morning is an obvious case where I gave everyone wide latitude to have a soapbox – that was everybody print or web people. I had hoped that the discussion could be beneficial.

The problem is when the tone of these discussions become uncomfortably negative. Scott being banned today wasn’t specific to today’s comments. They were classless and childish, but by themselves weren’t worthy of banishment. When you look at this the totality of his words (or how they were said) on this and the other thread (and previous web v print discussions), today was the straw that broke the camels back.

#75 Ben Rankel
April/3/2009
@ 3:53 pm

Opinion seems a harmless thing. If words are problematic, they reflect poorly on the speaker alone, do they not? A banishment simply makes a martyr of sorts.

A website is a place were you have to agree or you disappear. If you think of it like that, it’s seems unsettling and oddly familiar, doesn’t it?

This is said as a thought regarding the usefulness of banning an individual and not meant as commentary regarding recent disputes.

#76 David Spencer
April/3/2009
@ 3:54 pm

Funny, Alan, how you change your story from your tweet to him to here to include this new “totality” concept.

And #68, this is what it’s all about, to me.

#77 Jonathan Caustrita
April/3/2009
@ 4:02 pm

You know…I absolutely LOVE print cartoons and have tons of respect for those artists. In reality, the fact that they are in print is a great accomplishment. So “Props” to you all! And wishing the best to the ones who have lost their jobs. Things will turn around….and btw, I believe to all the ones creating Print and Web toons – we are all on the same team in the end.

#78 Alan Gardner
April/3/2009
@ 4:03 pm

For those who don’t follow me on twitter – this is what I “tweeted” to Scott: “It’s all in the delivery. Your classless comments you made in the Brookings thread is what got u banned. Not your webcomic views”

It isn’t his views on webcomics that got him banned. Historically, I’ve agreed with much of what he’s said about the viability of webcomics. It was HOW he was making them that was creating an adversarial environment that made meaningful dialog difficult. The comment today on this thread was the one that broke the camels back and got him banned. Totality, singularity. He’s a martyr, I’m the prick. I think we’re all on the same page now.

#79 Rick Stromoski
April/3/2009
@ 4:09 pm

>>>A website is a place were you have to agree or you disappear. If you think of it like that, itâ??s seems unsettling and oddly familiar, doesnâ??t it?

I don’t think that’s an accurate assessment as to why Alan chose to ban Kurtz.

It’s akin to a guest in someone’s home who continually insists on upsetting the buffet table and crapping on the carpet then complaining censorship when you ask him to leave.

#80 Ben Rankel
April/3/2009
@ 4:14 pm

“I donâ??t think thatâ??s an accurate assessment as to why Alan chose to ban Kurtz. ”

My statement wasn’t in regards to the Kurtz issue, just a general observation regarding how websites work in general.

Removing people from an “open” conversation reminds me more of gestapo tactics than of a buffet. That’s just a personal insight regarding the internet though.

#81 Alan Gardner
April/3/2009
@ 4:19 pm

Ben – this isn’t an open discussion. There are rules (see link above the comment fields) that clearly state what is expected in how one behaves. The analogy of being in one’s home that Rick used is more accurate for The Daily Cartoonist than say an unmoderated bulletin board.

#82 Ben Rankel
April/3/2009
@ 4:23 pm

Alan, a fair point. Again though, I was simply making an observation about how websites work in general, and not this specific website.

We work to get people in to our sites and then silence them when he see the conversation going a direction we don’t like.

The fact that this is not an open discussion basically provides an illustration for my point, which is ‘free speech doesn’t really exist on the internet’. Whether that is right or wrong is not a statement I’m making.

#83 Aaron Taylor
April/3/2009
@ 4:28 pm

I’m sure Alan loves dealing with this circus. Thanks for the work you do on the website, Alan, even when you have to deal with this crap. Act like a civilized adult and Alan’s pretty easy going.

I’ll be honest — I thought someone had hijacked Scott’s name because I thought no one would act so immature, especially on a thread about a guy WHO JUST LOST HIS JOB! I guess that’s my short-term memory loss acting up.

It’s sad to see — for whatever reason — editorial cartooning suffering and lives being effected because of job losses. Let’s hope these talented artists/journalists are able to bounce back.

#84 guy endore-kaiser
April/3/2009
@ 4:41 pm

I think bananas are my favorite fruit, but I also like apples.

#85 guy endore-kaiser
April/3/2009
@ 4:42 pm

Sandwiches are good.

#86 Jeff Darcy
April/3/2009
@ 4:49 pm

Alan
Derf- is really Derf’s name. First and last, as the creator of great comic strip The City which runs in my towns alternative paper and others around the country
Michael Koes: Someone on this thread actually did say Gary and other cartoonist have lost there jobs because they’re not relevant.
and plenty of others have implied that. Again it’s had zero to do with the firings. If Scott had been the cartoonist at those papers he’d would have been fired just as quick.

To those of you who contend Editorial Cartoons no longer have any impact. I would say the callers I get at my job as a cartoonist on Major daily and the politicians I hear from would disagree with that. Like I’m sure all my fellow Editorial cartoonist I regularly hear from readers who tell me a certain cartoon brought tears to there eyes or that they were having a lousy day or were depressed and a cartoon made them laugh. Often you get voice mail and the people can’t stop laughing long enough to get the message out.
Nothing gets a local politican’s attention more than getting put in a cartoon-as the politicians themselves have told us and our editors. During the Clinton administration. His communication office sent a letter to me and every other working editorial cartoonist requesting we send our weekly cartoons to there office so they could track them. I know from people who worked on the Obama campaign that my cartoons and all the editorial cartoons running in print were tracked by that campaign. Jay Leno’s writers are on record of saying they read newspaper for ideas. Not surprising then that have heard a slew of Leno jokes that were a Lukovich cartoon days or a week before.
One last little fact: a national study was recently completed showing two-thirds of adults still read the daily paper. The highest concentrations were in Rochester N.Y., Buffalo and Cleveland. The numbers were 84 to 86% of adults. Guess they didn’t get the memo print is dead or they’re to busy laughing at an editorial cartoon to check out this thread of blather on the Daily Cartoonist.

#87 Gregory Wild-Smith
April/3/2009
@ 5:07 pm

I guess if you feel like you’d ban someone from coming into your home for disagreeing with you…. then I’d never want to come to your home in the first place.

But… up to you.

#88 wade
April/3/2009
@ 5:12 pm

I will miss seeing your toons in THE TIMES DISPATCH, MR BROOKINS, it’s a loss to all of us here in Virginia. I am sorry for the hurt you probably feel now, if your like me, even if you thought it might be coming, it is still a blow when it does.

I envy you for your time with my hero, Mr McNelly, and am sure glad you are working with the McNelly family on Shoe.

I pray for your continued happiness, and know that you will have success in which ever direction you take.

GOD BLESS.

#89 Charles Brubaker
April/3/2009
@ 5:13 pm

“I guess if you feel like youâ??d ban someone from coming into your home for disagreeing with you… then Iâ??d never want to come to your home in the first place.”

Okay, repeat after me:

Scott wasn’t banned because people disagreed with him. He was banned because of his attitude.

#90 Aaron Taylor
April/3/2009
@ 5:14 pm

Alan let’s everyone into his “home,” Gregory. It’s when he keeps asking a guest to take off his manure-laden boots before he enters but he tramps through the front door anyway and kicks his feet up on the coffee table for everyone to see.

#91 August J. Pollak
April/3/2009
@ 5:21 pm

Jeez, if we don’t even recognize who Derf is than the print industry really is screwed.

#92 Michael Koes
April/3/2009
@ 5:29 pm

Jeff,

I’m not trying to say it had anything to do with the firings. I don’t care what economic puppetry is causing papers to implode their staff. I still don’t think the cartoons are relevant.

Manny #61,

It really, really seemed like you were trying to dodge my request with your first response.

Your examples just aren’t really doing anything for me, but I’m not immediately sure what more there is to say about that.

Firefighters and cops that died on 9/11 went to heaven. Was that really an idea that was begging to be shared? To many that is going to read like a petty comment, but really nothing I’ve seen has been anything I’ll ever think about ever again. To me these cartoons are the opposite of engaging, and although my opinion is not something that can be productively argued about, I do feel that lack of engagement is a failure of these cartoons.

It occurs to me that maybe everyone losing their jobs isn’t necessarily a bad thing. If there wasn’t a need to churn out something everyday, just because the opinion page needed a cartoon, it would probably cut down on the dreck significantly. I guess I just can’t believe that someone’s heart was actually behind drawing a single panel of a child holding an American flag and standing over a grave, with the caption “Thank you.”

I want to read the cartoons made by angry people. I just don’t detect any passion.

#93 Derfy Derf
April/3/2009
@ 6:30 pm

#91 Jeez, if we donâ??t even recognize who Derf is then the print industry really is screwed.

Sniff. Dissed by the mainstream cartoonist crowd AGAIN. I’m gonna tweet Kurtz and tell him about this!

Look, the weekly rags are dumping comix too. I’ve given up on newspapers in general. The game is over. I’ve been online since 1995 or so. It’s always been a big part of the weekly cartoon biz. Now I’m doing graphic novels. So I guess I don’t get this crazy compartmentalization you guys all seem so concerned with: Webcartoonist, editorial cartoonist, syndicated daily cartoonist, blah blah blah.

Here’s how I divide it up. Good cartoonist, mediocre cartoonist, bad cartoonist. Who cares where they publish their work? What counts IS the work.

#94 Jeff Ammons
April/3/2009
@ 6:33 pm

@Michael
“I want to read the cartoons made by angry people. I just donâ??t detect any passion.”

Your tastes and mine are different. I am annoyed by angry people (most of the time). The fact that we have different tastes is FINE. Human beings are supposed to have different tastes.

One of the real keys here is the difference between MASS media and TIGHTLY FOCUSED media.

If we have a few outlets that can only produce a small number of comics each day, then those comics have to appeal to as many people as possible.

If we have a huge number of outlets that can produce a staggering array of comics each day, then those comics can appeal to a small, but loyal, niche audience.

You and I probably agree about 75-80% on this subject. It just seems to me that you are saying that ONLY the comics that appeal to you have any chance of success. I am NOT trying to put words in your mouth, just explain how your comments have sounded to me.

The way I see the media in general from here onwards is lots of hyper focused niches that make a fraction of the money the old mass media made. I *think* we agree on that. Where I see our thoughts diverging is that I think the existing editorial cartoons will be another niche and not non-existent.

I do think Scott was out of line with his comments in THIS particular discussion. Kind of kicking someone on one of the worst days of their lives just not cool.

Having said that, I love Scott’s work. His Watchmen parody was absolutely brilliant. I listen to Webcomics Weekly every time it comes out.

I can like Scott and his work and still think he did the wrong thing. A few of the webcomics supporters who have posted here don’t seem to be able to make that distinction. They seem to be taking the attitude that print cartoonists are the establishment and therefore their work is no good. They also seem to be saying that anyone who says Scott was rude is somehow attacking the concept of webcomics.

I understand that Scott feels he has been mistreated by the print folks. I don’t know any of the players in this drama personally, and I am not privy to their private interactions, so I do not know who is right or wrong. I do know his comments IN THIS thread seemed very harsh and misdirected.

#95 Tom Clarke
April/3/2009
@ 6:41 pm

“Thereâ??s a difference between expressing strong opinions and just being an a-hole. BIG difference.”
Dude, the picture up there is of a horrific car crash, which would have, in real life, involved major injuries. It would have reminded anyone who’s ever been involved in a car crash of their deeply traumatic experience, and belittled that experience at the same time. But hey, text speech? Funny, right?

That “BIG Difference” boils down to “But what he said offended ME.”

#96 Tom Clarke
April/3/2009
@ 6:55 pm

“One last little fact: a national study was recently completed showing two-thirds of adults still read the daily paper. The highest concentrations were in Rochester N.Y., Buffalo and Cleveland. The numbers were 84 to 86% of adults. Guess they didnâ??t get the memo print is dead or theyâ??re to busy laughing at an editorial cartoon to check out this thread of blather on the Daily Cartoonist.”

Right, well if that’s true, then where in the name of Charlie Brown has all the money gone?

#97 Abell Smith
April/3/2009
@ 7:01 pm

I’m more convinced than ever that this supposed “Webcomics” business persona is the comics-equivalent of Rush Limbaugh’s. Kurtz gets banned, and a bunch of hateful dittoheads have apparently been swarming here to claim “but, but… Scott was just trying to [whatever]” to portray him as the victim… spewing all over a thread that was supposed to be about Gary Brookins losing his job…

Let’s be clear — there IS no Web vs. Print feud causing this, nor any “generational conflict.” As is often said, we’re ALL webcartoonists now. I don’t think anyone is ruling anything out… we’re all just trying to figure out how to piece together a living drawing silly cartoons.

To echo Matt from #5, “Scott Kurtz” does not equal “WEBCOMICS.” This particular conflict is all about one guy’s abrasive personality…

#98 Jack Cayless
April/3/2009
@ 7:18 pm

Since I work in a store that sells newspapers by the forest-full I can say pretty confidently that newspaper sales aren’t dropping, at least in the UK. And since I read the newspaper while at work, customers usually make a comment on the headline of whatever page I happen to be on, be it about taxes, war or whatever. What they have never talked to me about is what Hagar is up to or what clever wordplay George and Lynne had today. Maybe 80% of adults are purchasing a newspaper, it definately feels like that at my job. But I can say – from a first person perspective – that a tiny fraction of a percent of those people even pretend to enjoy the so-called “Funnies.”

#99 Doug McCloud
April/3/2009
@ 7:21 pm

It’s never a good thing for ANYONE to lose their jobs, but this news is evidence of the realities facing print media today.

You have newspapers shutting down and moving to a web-only format on a weekly, if not daily basis. And we’re not talking about smaller papers. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Christian Science Monitor have already gone web-only, and the SF Chronicle is on the verge as well. Yet you go and ban Scott Kurtz for pointing out what everyone EXCEPT people like Alan Gardner have already realized: the days of a printed newspaper in every town is drawing to a rapid close.

Banning Kurtz from these forums is indicative of the problem surrounding many in the printed media. You view those who use the web as their primary form of distribution as “inconsequential” or untalented”. Yet we are seeing these web-based outlets gaining more and more traction on a daily basis. And the reason is actually quite simple: people can get news online within minutes of it occurring. A newspaper cannot duplicate that type of immediacy in its printed form because of the time it takes to submit articles, layout the pages and print the papers in time to distribute them to subscribers, newsstands, etc.

I don’t think that Kurtz’s comments were out of line at all. In fact, I do not see the alleged “insults” that Alan Gardner and others have claimed came from him. Unfortunately, people like Gardner are only accelerating the rate at which print media is becoming irrelevant by immediately dismissing and debasing the remarks of someone such as Scott Kurtz.

BTW, I found out about this situation because it was posted to Twitter by Kurtz. You may have banned him from this site, but you ultimately have failed to block the sentiments he expressed because it is now drawing attention to this site and the kneejerk reaction of Gardner and his cronies. It’s time to swallow your pride and start looking at ways to increase YOUR visibility and worth before your jobs go away just like Gary Brookins.

#100 Milt Priggee
April/3/2009
@ 7:53 pm

An idea that isn’t dangerous isn’t worthy of being called an idea.
Oscar Wilde

#101 Robert Grant
April/3/2009
@ 8:21 pm

I don’t read much of anything in print. I have never subscribed to a newspaper and chances are I never will.

I believe the time for paper news or print media is over. I am sincerely sorry if that means some of you will have to find work elsewhere or move your lives in a different direction.

This is my one and only visit to this site. You are not the most tolerant of people and I sympathize more with Kurtz than I do with most of you. Wouldn’t it be nice if we lived in world where everyone’s attitudes were more like own own?

No, it wouldn’t.

#102 Josh McDonald
April/3/2009
@ 8:25 pm

” You are not the most tolerant of people and I sympathize more with Kurtz than I do with most of you. Wouldnâ??t it be nice if we lived in world where everyoneâ??s attitudes were more like own own?

No, it wouldnâ??t. ”

Ironic, coming from someone who would make me install a whole new browser just to view his website…

#103 Tom Z
April/3/2009
@ 8:55 pm

@Alan Gardner

I bet Nero was a heck of a fiddle player. Way to hijack the issue, you joyless douche.

#104 RS Davis
April/3/2009
@ 9:28 pm

What is heartbreaking to me is that if I, or the other thousands of folks who’d LOVE to someday be professionally employed as ‘toonist, poured out our hearts and souls 18 hours a day working on our craft, getting better every day, we frankly still have almost no chance of getting in print, whether in daily strips or editorial work. Iâ??m sure the talent is there; it just has less and less of a place to go, print wise. Could Berke Breathed or Michael Ramirez even get a sniff at it if they were new and making submissions today?

I mean, how many ‘new’ artists are really getting hired now? 2 or 3 a year? The print environment is evaporating before our very eyes. I’m not worried about what its all going to look like 5 years from now – I’m worried about only several months from now.

And what a wonderfully inescapably complex, multi-pronged problem it is:
First, new readers just ainâ??t appearing. Frankly, how do you get 15 to 30 year olds to read a tiny 3 or 4 panel comic strip or a single panel editorial? They have freaking cell phones that do more than your stereo, TV, video game system and Windows 95 equipped computer did COMBINED only 10 years ago and they expect more from their entertainment every day. How do you get them hooked into to the comic while young so they’ll read them for years? Seriously, what was the last really ‘hip’ strip that took high schools and universities by storm? Bloom County!? In 1987!?!?

Second, politics and journalism are so damned PC you can’t POSSIBLY risk offending anyone! I’m sure editors in general would rather be forced to drink stale Zima with cigarettes floating in it as opposed to getting ONE more letter about how some piece like the chimp shooting cartoon or the recent Israeli perfect solider cartoon was ‘offending!’ ‘racist!’ ‘insensitive!’ ‘intolerant!’ blah blah blah…
You know, at one time both editors and readers seemed to intuitively know that an editorial cartoon was AN OPINION! NOT A PERSONAL ATTACK! OR that a comic strip that said â??boogerâ?? was not going to cause their 12 year old to set the cat on fire.
But now it seems editors only want work that futilely tries to walk a tightrope of â??Acceptable but not risky, mildly amusing but not funny at anybodyâ??s expense and political but only to the point that it agrees with mainstream journalismâ??s point of view.â? What a convoluted recipe for certain failure.

And lastly, although I rooted zealously for Mr. Watterson during his waging of the Great Battle of Comic Strip size, I realized even then his was a limited engagement. He won his battle, but the war was lost. He’s gone, and despite Doonesbury holding his own, the near illegibility of the continually shrinking newspaper comic strips has made them almost pointless. How can a stripper get a reader’s attention when his canvas is the size of a Triscuit? And I’m not sure I buy the whole ‘itâ??s too expensive to print big comics, we have to maximize our profits’ argument. My local Sunday paper weighs about the same as a mature tree sloth – and 90% of it is throwaway ads. And thatâ??s not expensive?

So, they’re telling me that of all the fuel and space that crap is taking up they can’t afford a fantastic, well drawn 8-10 pages of thin newsprint for a comics section that would pop your eyes out with large, exquisitely drawn and colored strips? Why not try it, everything else theyâ??ve done has accomplished squat. I mean what have they got to lose? Readers? They’re doing that anyway clinging to this stupid â??Hobson’s Choiceâ?? of theirs that is ultimately suicide by inaction.

Sorry about my rant…I could take it if everything I tried to do kept getting rejected with letters like “Dude, nice try, but there are about 1000 ahead of you that are just so freaking good we GOTTA put them in, and we are! There’s just too much great talent! Sorry, try again next year!”

At least with that kind of letter you’d know the general state of the craft in the papers was fiercely competitive and strappingly healthy. Instead, itâ??s more like “Dude…why do you keep trying this? Even if you got in, the medium youâ??re trying to break into is going to melt next yearâ?¦you’re fighting to get box seat tickets into the Orange Bowl.” Thatâ??s where it looks like the whole art it at to meâ?¦the comics are the Orange Bowl.*

Every time I think about the future of comic strips, I keep hearing a Rolling Stones song go through my head…â??Sad, Sad, Sad.â??

*You rememberâ?¦that once great and impressive place where wonderful, entertaining and exciting events occurred, but eventually it became obsolete and ragged due to ignorant, short-sided, mismanaging fools that refused to update or expand it and eventually it got torn down to make way for something completely different? Yeah, that Orange Bowlâ?¦.

#105 Jonathan Caustrita
April/3/2009
@ 9:31 pm

@Josh McDonald

Checked out your cartoons, nice work!

#106 Manny Peters
April/3/2009
@ 11:35 pm

One piece of advice that I’d like to offer illustrators is to consider picking up complementary skills. Myself, I chose a career that I would allow me to draw as well as give me a steady paycheque: graphic design & multimedia.

Sure, I don’t spend days writing and drawing comics (I’m working up to it), but my work is seen across the country and in the hands of millions of people.

Newspapers may be dying out, but print and/or design is thriving–and in demand! My friend–a really talented artist (please check out his site if you have a moment: http://www.zombenstrikes.com )–could do fairly well in the design industry, if he had supplemented his education with the visual arts. There is a fair demand for custom illustration out there, but most employers want people who are versatile.

This gives you an advantage in the odd instance you find yourself looking for work (among other things).

This might seem a bit elementary, and it goes without saying for most of you, but judging the people I encounter looking for work over the last 12 years, there are a lot of people out there who really could use some guidance.

#107 Kurt Sasso
April/3/2009
@ 11:36 pm

Truly what it comes down to is a gentleman cartoonist has lost his job. Now that’s a tough thing to have done to one especially the way the economy is going.

This is a combination of the way things are going. Everything is improved upon whether you like it or not and if you can’t adapt to any given situation then you will be left behind.

8-Tracks were replaced with Tapes and then CD’s and then MP3’s. Newspapers are being replaced with a medium that is not only cheaper to produce but also more readily available and for the most part free at that.

Although I have never seen this particular cartoonist’s work, I do wish him the best in his search for a new job and may it be quickly.

#108 Dave A
April/4/2009
@ 12:06 am

Re: comments from Scott Kurtz.

First off, I would just like to say that I’m sorry that Mr. Brookins lost his job, but if he’s as talented as everyone says he is I’m sure he’ll find work (though based on the above comic, I’m not entirely sure how much talent he has).
Secondly, I am a huge fan of Scott’s webcomic PvP (pvponline.com), the writing is brilliantly funny, and on occasion, incredibly touching. His artistic style is beautiful and I especially love what he’s been doing with shading recently. The characters are endearing and their stories suck you in.
The fact is, print is dead, webcomics are the future. Frankly, I think Scott deserves to get a dig or two in, considering how much crap he and his peers have to put up with from print cartoonists telling them that their medium is worthless and so forth.
Thirdly, from what I have seen and read, Scott Kurtz is highly respected amongst his peers, so whoever said otherwise might want to get their facts straight on that one.

#109 Tom Wood
April/4/2009
@ 2:55 am

Alan, I think you just have to accept the rough and tumble nature of online forums. Since it’s your website, you are probably the only person who sees the ‘totality’ of Scott’s posting. Everybody else only sees bits and pieces, so we’re really not all that concerned. We read the latest updates in a few of the topics, and move on. You really -want- someone who posts to your site and creates a draw that brings people back to read the latest drama. Participants like Scott are forum gold.

#110 Dave Stephens
April/4/2009
@ 3:14 am

Really? I just stepped in some “forum gold”. Didn’t smell like gold at all…

I really don’t care how badly Scott was treated in the past, he has no excuse. It’s his choice to act badly and speak worse.
We have plenty of real gold here in the forum.

Rough and tumble? That’s life. Mean spirited and abusive? That’s Scott.

#111 Mike Peterson
April/4/2009
@ 3:39 am

“Alan, I think you just have to accept the rough and tumble nature of online forums.”

That’s like saying anyone with a liquor license has to accept people getting drunk, insulting other patrons and vomiting on the floor.

There are bars and there are bars. There are forums and there are forums. It’s perfectly reasonable for the person responsible to set the tone for his own place, particularly if he knows that the clientele he wants will refuse to come to a place unless he maintains a little control and sense of decorum.

#112 Rick Stromoski
April/4/2009
@ 5:27 am

This myth that Scott was “treated badly” by print cartoonists is just that, a myth….unless you define calling someone on their rude behavior “bad treatment”…

#113 Bill Totman
April/4/2009
@ 6:54 am

Stop stroking yourselves cartoonists.

You’ve ‘arrived’ once it’s time to step up, change, and aim to arrive again.

Is doing editorial cartoons the ONLY thing Gary can do? Are his skills dead because his long span at one job is over? It’s time for Gary to reinvent himself; applying his knowledge and talent to a parallel field.

Michael Koes hit the nail on the head concerning the content of the cartoon. That actually sends the real message: ‘Txting while driving can maim or kill you and/or others’.

So, dispense with the lamenting and offer up some solutions. If print is dead it’s time to bury it in the past and move on. Whether Gary decides to stay or move on it’s up to him. The man will bare his own responsibilities. If he’s talented and diligent he’s got nothing to fear concerning his livelihood.

Chin up, Gary. Don’t let these guys feel sorry for you, hold you back, nor stop you from moving on.

#114 Tom Wood
April/4/2009
@ 7:56 am

But we are still talking about ‘Great Scott’. And scrolling past all those ads on the site, adding to the sitemeter and the CPM counters…

“Really? I just stepped in some â??forum goldâ?. Didnâ??t smell like gold at allâ?¦”

Heh. See? Rough and tumble. A very eloquent way of saying ‘BS!’ instead of just saying ‘I disagree’. I like it!

Anyway, this is getting too meta, so I’ll stop now.

Or not.

#115 Corey Pandolph
April/4/2009
@ 8:23 am

Allow me to hijack this nonsense, by taking things in an entirely different, healthy direction:

The 2009 World Series Champs will be the New York Yankees.

Enjoy.

#116 Jeff Vella
April/4/2009
@ 8:32 am

Jeff Darcy #86 – You said, “Derf – is really Derfâ??s name. First and last” NOT true… His FULL name is, John Backderf . If Alan requests that everyone use his/her full name when posting on this site, then John should show his host some respect.

#117 Jeff Vella
April/4/2009
@ 8:48 am

Getting back to the subject of Gary Brookins…
I’ve been a long time reader of the comic strip “Shoe”, and I have no doubt that (when all is said and done) a talented artist like Gary, will land on his feet.

Good luck Gary.

#118 Ben
April/4/2009
@ 2:00 pm

“Hereâ??s how I divide it up. Good cartoonist, mediocre cartoonist, bad cartoonist. Who cares where they publish their work? What counts IS the work.”

I like this break down. We could simply divide it into two classes though, successful cartoonist, non-successful cartoonists.

Of course I don’t like to call myself a cartoonist, I prefer the term ‘webcomicer’ as it will usually illicit a blank and glazed over stare from whomever has asked me that tripe-like question, “what do you do?”

#119 Darrin Bell
April/4/2009
@ 2:01 pm

“Frankly, I think Scott deserves to get a dig or two in, considering how much crap he and his peers have to put up with from print cartoonists telling them that their medium is worthless and so forth.”

Most “print cartoonists” I know are also online and already trying to monetize their sites, so I think this whole “print cartoonists” vs. “web cartoonists” thing is a false dichotomy.

Moreover, just once I wish someone would illustrate their “he and his peers have to put up with crap from print cartoonists” complaint with **actual examples**. I’d really like to know what’s caused all this drama.

#120 Lucas Turnbloom
April/4/2009
@ 2:44 pm

@Corey Pandolph — Oh no, you DIDN’T!!

#121 Garey Mckee
April/4/2009
@ 3:19 pm

Meanwhile, back at the GARY BROOKINS thread:

I’ve always been a fan of Gary’s work. It’s very distressing to see a cartoon staffer that has been with a paper for 30 years get the axe. I know he has other coals in the fire, but I wish him all the very best in filling the gap left by the Times-Dispatch. Even if he does spell his name oddly.

#122 Milt Priggee
April/4/2009
@ 4:37 pm

Yes, it’s unfortunate that Gary lost his position but
Gary is a very skilled professional, he will adapt.

The bigger question is who now will produce local commentary for the readers of the Times-Dispatch…?

When a newspaper dumps their one and only local graphic commentator, this is not downsizing. We are talking about the complete and total elimination of the local readers to have their local issues addressed graphically.

This newspaper has taken the bait, hook and the line off of their pole….and newspapers blame the Internet for stealing all the fish.

#123 Chris Williams
April/4/2009
@ 4:56 pm

RE: #119 This one takes me back.
http://www.websnark.com/archives/2004/12/wiley_blinks.html

#124 Ben Gordon
April/4/2009
@ 6:07 pm

Some people may be good for ratings, but not sober discussion. As it happens. Mr. Kurtz is the only person banned from my sites, for the same sort of conduct plus language and insults that would make a sailor blush.

I would say I won’t miss him, but I do have feelings about the well being of others, and I have rarely seen a man so bent on his own self destruction. Perhaps the growing chorus saying that 1. Scott Kurtz is not a good representative of webcomics, and 2. He can’t treat colleagues poorly without expecting to repudiate himself, will wake him up. Reality is not his to define, and some of us would be very pleased to trade ideas and insights with other professionals without the schoolyard stuff.

As for business models — well, cartoonist/business people are pretty rare. I know, because I’ve been one all my life. On the trip from no business model to full potential business model, I would say webcomics are at about “3” with a few people a bit higher. I look forward to continued development of my own comics as much as I enjoy working on business models to benefit the trade. The amount of opportunity is enormous, and it’s been drowned out by noisy rear-guard defenses of the Tinker Toy model that dominates now.

I do wish people would take care not to denigrate the kids, beginners and dabblers for not being of professional caliber. Their participation brings many things of benefit to all of us.

Pug and I continue to enjoy your publication.

Sincerely,
Bengo

#125 Wiley MIller
April/4/2009
@ 6:14 pm

Wow. Delusional meets egocentricity. I used the innocuous name of “Scotty” for a dweeby character, and it’s assumed it has something to do with Scott Kurtz?

Sorry to burst your little bubble, but, no, it was just just a cartoon that had absolutely nothing to do with Mr. Kurtz. But I know you’d prefer that it somehow does. How that conclusion was ever made is a stretch of Biblical proportions.

#126 Ted Rall
April/4/2009
@ 6:16 pm

Scott Kurtz willfully misconstrues what I’ve said, which is that the artform of editorial cartooning has never been more vibrant and that they have never been as popular. I have repeatedly said what is obvious, that the economics are worse than anyone can remember. I have also repeatedly criticized lame editorial cartooning, often taking heat for it, and on that pointâ??that bad cartoons make the profession less relevantâ??I agree with Scott.

That said, Scott is claiming to know what no one knows: that print is dead and webcomics are The Future for all comics from now on. If he’s so sure, great. I’m not. More weirdly, he’s psyched about it. I think it’s always bad when people lose their jobs (unless they’re torturers).

However, I think Alan overreacted by banning Scott. He stimulates discussion and expresses thoughts that, while I and many others may disagree with them, are shared by enough people to be worth addressing. We editorial cartoonists never shy away from a good argument, especially with someone as woefully underinformed and overopinionated.

#127 Darrin Bell
April/4/2009
@ 6:41 pm

re: #123

Is that the most damning evidence there is? Is that what divided everyone into Hatfields and McCoys? Because it’s not very damning. “Le Club de Foofoo” is also mockery. If Wiley was ridiculing webcomics, he was also ridiculing “the establishment” by depicting them as snobby, ponytailed elites and bouncers.

If it was inspired by Scott Kurtz, and even if it were meant as a dig at Scott Kurtz, then this cartoon would be a commentary on one man’s ego, not the worth of an entire profession. People who complain that the print world is devoid of passion and anger and whatever should have a thicker skin and be able to laugh at themselves. If a well-known cartoonist drew what I was sure was a parody of me (positive or negative), I’d laugh at it, maybe cringe a little if I thought it were true, and then I’d see if I could get the original artwork.

I don’t get cartoonists who can’t laugh at themselves. We’re not that serious, and nothing we do is all that serious. We’re just over-groomed primates making pictures with sticks.

#128 Matthew Caponi
April/4/2009
@ 9:07 pm

Were Scott’s comments really that classless, Alan? Going back and reading them, all I see is someone making several tongue-in-cheek jabs at Ted. He clearly wasn’t mocking Brookins, he wasn’t gloating about how his medium is on the way in as opposed to the way out (for gloating, see Ted’s comments about his salary as compared to Scott’s).

I think you were upset about Brookins, overreacted because you’re already in a sort of constant state of ‘really pissed off’ at Scott and now are backtracking and refining your words and actions. But that’s just me. Personally, I think it’s more interesting with people like Scott around. I’ll admit, though, I can’t speak for his previous actions and I will also concede that it is your website and if you want your forums to be free of any kind of personal insults, whether intended to be comical or not, that is your call to make. I disagree, however.

#129 Summer Noneyab
April/4/2009
@ 9:49 pm

Wow, this thread is so EXCITING when people aren’t talking about Brookins. But then I see a lot of “stop being relevant! A man lost his job!!!” Is this site a cuddle party for print cartoonists or what? ;)

#130 Mark Tatulli
April/4/2009
@ 10:50 pm

Alan did the right thing. Scott constantly plays the same game. I’ve seen it for over five years now. He comes onto these boards, makes outlandish claims, pounds his chest, says a few “ungallant” things, then slinks off and plays the victim; how everyone is piling on him, how we all want to see him fail. It’s the same thing everytime.

I’ve spoken to Scott over the phone (albeit about 2004) and he is really nothing like the online persona he presents. He’s actually sort of sweet and, in my estimation, rather vulnerable and weak-spritited (my opinion) and like most good cartoonists, full of self-doubt. I remember when he was giving his strip away to newspapers for free back then, in an effort to promote his website. He was picked up by the Kansas City Star and the Bulletin in Philadelphia. I don’t know how many other papers took his offer, but those are the ones I remember. At the time, I told him what he was doing was a mistake, that is devalued PRINT comics to offer them to NEWSPAPERS for free and ultimately, in my opinion, it would fail. I think that was what most of us “print guys” were saying at the time, but he ignored us and moved forward and that is totally his own decision and I support that. He was trying something new and far be it from me to stand in the way, no matter how much I disagreed. In fact, I did pick up a few copies of the Philadelphia Bulletin and snail-mailed them to him so he could see what his strip looked like in print (and it looked GREAT; took reduction very well). Unfortunately, the Bulletin printed his strip without the website info at the bottom, the whole point of his experiment…they just chose to chop it off. Newspapers tend to do what they want and they are especially wary of cartoonist’s advertising themselves, which probably accounts for the omission. They probably thought Scott would never know. I brought this to Scott’s attention and he was very appreciative. Hardly what I would call a “print cartoonist” looking for a “webbie” to fail. I did what I could and he continued on his course.

Ultimately Scott’s venture failed and went quietly into the night, but you didn’t hear us print guys screaming, “see, we told you so!” We just let it go, so I’m sort of surprised to see Scott’s current comments, picking up right where he left off, spouting and sputtering about,”you will rue the day you dissed us” and “you are dead and I am alive and vital!” It’s all BS. And I’ve come to the conclusion, given our personal history, that he is without merit. He may do a decent comic strip that reaches a sizable crew that supports his efforts, but he has to hold onto them in the same way print guys do. He has to keep his audience engaged and someday what he does will grow old and his audience will grow thin and tired. It happens to all of us. It is inevitable. And he must adapt, as will all must, to whatever changes occur in technology or social commentary.
Again, Alan was correct, I am convinced that Scott brings nothing to the table but vitriol and anger. And that is not helpful.

Well played, Alan. Well played. Stick to your guns and take the heat. Scott will send his minions to disavow you and make him out to be the victim in a print-guy conspiracy, but you are right to ban him.

#131 Matthew Caponi
April/4/2009
@ 11:35 pm

What’s the point of mentioning that one day he’ll run out of strips? Does it invalidate anything he’s said? Who’s to say he won’t be retired by then, or working in a different profession?

I disagree with your assessment of Scott’s contributions to the discussions. He is certainly more abrasive than necessary. I think the conversations he starts are very interesting, however. Still, it is Alan’s site and his rules for comments are very clear. Within the guidelines he has set, he was correct to ban Scott.

“Alan, I think you just have to accept the rough and tumble nature of online forums.”

No he doesn’t. He doesn’t have to accept anything. It’s his website. He doesn’t have to allow comments on his posts if he doesn’t want to. I wish he would loosen his hold a little but it is certainly his call and no one else’s if he wants to clean things up.

#132 Abell Smith
April/5/2009
@ 12:13 am

“The 2009 World Series Champs will be the New York Yankees.”

oh, no…. no no no no no no no… now I’m really mad…

#133 Mike Peterson
April/5/2009
@ 3:55 am

The only reason I’m still reading this thread is to see what Lamb Chop and Charley Horse have to say.

But maybe there’s no need: The rest of the sock puppets seem to be unanimous …

#134 Wiley Miller
April/5/2009
@ 2:35 pm

Ted said:
“However, I think Alan overreacted by banning Scott. He stimulates discussion and expresses thoughts that, while I and many others may disagree with them, are shared by enough people to be worth addressing. ”

Actually, you made a concise argument to support Alan’s decision when you led off your post with this, Ted:

“Scott Kurtz willfully misconstrues what Iâ??ve said…”

The point is, this is what he does with everyone regarding this one myopic issue. No matter what you say, he (and his devotees) always twist it, turn it upside down, and outright fabricate statements in order to make themselves out to be the victim and engage in endless flame wars. It’s juvenile, tedious and serves absolute no purpose in nice discussion provided here. It’s not a matter of simply disagreeing. Intelligent adults can engage in discussions and disagree without being disagreeable. Polite discourse is clearly of no interest to Mr. Kurtz, which is why he was rightfully banned.

#135 Mike Beckom
April/5/2009
@ 5:38 pm

my comment is to neither side but to the folks who said that the original cartoon liked enough ‘bite’. How many of YOU have ever tried to push an editorial cartoon past an editor? I have 30+ here in SC and each and every one is unique in what they will or will not ‘tolerate’ and/or publish in their papers. Some like and encourage me to push the envelope. Others are total opposites in that they neither want nor will accept my alienating subscribers by means of an inflammatory toon. It’s a fine line we all walk in the name of doing business.

#136 Jim Bradford
April/5/2009
@ 7:18 pm

Dear Mister Kurtz,
Your sniping at my profession on the previous AAEC convention thread brought you onto my radar for the first time. The only Kurtz Iâ??ve ever been acquainted with was the obese fictional Colonel portrayed by Marlon Brando in Appocalypse Now. ( I love the helicopter attack sequence) I clicked your url and soon realized that you would have no web presence at all were it not for the crutches of photoshop, clip art, and a bloated ego. I dismissed your anti-editorial rants as the wails of a no talent wannabeâ?? print cartoonist with self esteem issues. In any case, Alan Gardner closed comments before I could join the fray. The matter would have remained closed had you not once again exploded like a poisonous toad on the thread dealing with Gary Brookins lay off from the Times-Dispatch. Brookins is a talented class act in a league that you are unlikely to ever achieve access. This so called war between web and print cartoonists is a phony one contrived by you, Scotty. I do not begrudge your success, ( if indeed that is the case) but your vitriol is tiresome, annoying and counterproductive. I wish the best for all cartoonists regardless of medium, and it would be best that you did the same.

#137 guy endore-kaiser
April/5/2009
@ 8:43 pm

Yes, but how do you feel about the helicopter attack sequence?

#138 Jerry Gillespie
April/6/2009
@ 9:39 am

Kurtz is cartooning’s chihuahua who wants to run with the big dogs but can’t, so he bites at their heals and yaps. To his credit, he’s been able to become the leader of his own pack, which is a great accomplishment. Too bad it’s not enough for him. It’s really sort of sad when you think about it. But I don’t fault Alan for booting him outside. There’s only so much you can take.

#139 Alan Gardner
April/6/2009
@ 10:02 am

We all have opinions on whether it was right or wrong to “ban” Scott, but I don’t want this to become a dumping ground of hostility for the guy. As I’ve said to a couple of readers via email, I have no hard feelings over the matter and agree with Scott on most issues regarding the viability of webcomics, just not how he was going about evangelizing it here on the blog.

If you disagree with my actions, please feel free to email me (editor@dailycartoonist.com).

Otherwise, let’s move on to other topics.

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