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Rina Piccolo: News papers are not dying

Tina’s Groove creator Rina Piccolo was a recent panelist at Mocca on the topic of “The Future Of The Traditional Comic Strip In An Era Of Dying Newspapers.” She’s posted seven reasons she believes comics are not dead yet. Her first two reasons:

1. Print syndication of comic strips to newspapers is still a business. For some cartoonists it?s a very big business. For a few others, like myself, it?s a living.

2. Although print syndication is still a business, it?s important to note that it isn?t a growing business.

Community Comments

#1 Howard Tayler
August/18/2010
@ 10:39 am

“Comics are not dead yet” is not the same statement as “newsprint distribution of comics via syndication is not dead yet.”

Both are true statements, currently, but there are numerous indications that newsprint distribution of comics is on the bubble and poised for a death-spiral. Nothing Ms. Piccolo posted refutes that, though she did make a good (and hopeful) case for the syndicates’ ability to reposition themselves and their clients for profitability in the next 15 years.

But comics? The art form itself? I think we’re seeing more innovation, variety, and excellence now than at any other time in the history of sequential art.

#2 Steve Skelton
August/18/2010
@ 10:48 am

The main reason comics are not dead is because there are lots of people who still (and will continue to) read them. That doesn’t always equate into a paycheck, however. That part is up to us.

#3 James Marks
August/18/2010
@ 10:52 am

“we cartoonists should diversify and embrace new technologies, and evolving ways of doing things. I don?t mean in terms of craft here ? I mean marketing, selling, and promoting.”
? Rina Piccolo

Is that the reason her site ‘http://www.tinasgroove.com/’ has 1,678 SPAM links for products like ‘Acomplia’, ‘Viagra’ and ‘Tramadol’ hidden in the body of her home page? (Take a look at the source code.)

Please let’s, as cartoonists, never try to succeed using such techniques.

James

#4 Jason Nocera
August/18/2010
@ 1:31 pm

@James – wow, that’s pretty weird. How did you even discover that?

#5 James Marks
August/18/2010
@ 1:42 pm

@jason – I have the NoScript plug-in installed in my Firefox browser and the site is using Javascript to hide the links. When I visited the site, the Javascript wasn’t allowed to run and the links were in plain view at the top of the page.

#6 Dave Kellett
August/18/2010
@ 1:56 pm

James, in a situation like that, you can 99.999% take it as a given that a site’s been hacked and the owner doesn’t know it. Happens to WordPress/Comicpress all the time if you don’t constantly update it.

No one in their right mind puts code like that on their site.

#7 James Marks
August/18/2010
@ 1:58 pm

@jason – You can see the links on the page if you disable Javascript in your browser preferences and reload the page.

#8 James Marks
August/18/2010
@ 2:02 pm

@dave – I’d certainly hope that’s the case. Not having much experience with WordPress/Comicpress, I was pretty put off by the spam links and I’m guessing any other similar visitor to the site would be as well.

I’ll send her an email to let her know about it.

#9 rina piccolo
August/18/2010
@ 2:50 pm

Guys, thank you for bringing these links to my attention. It looks like my site was hacked in an attempt to Googlebomb it so that a search for ?Tina?s Groove? comes up with Cialis ads! Since the site didn?t look any different to me, I didn?t realize there was anything wrong with it. I have someone looking at it right now to remove the malicious code. My apologies to anyone who was bombarded with these ads!
Dumb hackers!!

#10 James Marks
August/18/2010
@ 2:59 pm

@Rina – I apologize for the suggestion that it might have been deliberate on your part.

#11 Rene Bakewell
August/18/2010
@ 4:48 pm

Rina- It was a pleasure meeting you at MoCCA last Thursday, and once again, thank you for your inspiring insight on the subject.

#12 Jim Lavery
August/18/2010
@ 10:54 pm

Rina, i for one APPRECIATE the Viagra ads.

#13 Rick Schmitz
August/18/2010
@ 11:17 pm

I’m with Howard… the 7 reasons support the idea that comic strips will survive, but doesn’t make a very convincing case that NEWSPAPER comics will survive.

I don’t think newspapers are poised for a death spiral as much as they are already in that spiral and that the comics page is very likely going to be gone before the newspapers are.

I suppose that there might be a few papers that live past the next 5-7 years, but I think those will be the humongous ones like the NYT (no syndicated comics within) and little dinky local ones that might only have a few strips, if any.

There is still an appetite for comics out there, it’s just the delivery system that is going to change.

#14 Rodd Perry
August/19/2010
@ 12:29 pm

Most cartoonists would rather stop talking about spam links and go back to drawing comics. How do we do that?

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