See All Topics

Home / Section: Editorial cartooning

NYT replaces editorial cartoons with comics

The New York Times has sent an email to earlier contributors to their Week in Review section that they will no longer be publishing editorial cartoons and instead run its “own cartoon feature” similar to that of a longer form comic strip or graphic novel.

The revamped Week in Review section is slated to debut on June 26th.

Here is their full email:

Dear cartoonist,

Since the Week in Review section began 76 years ago, it has featured the work of editorial cartoonists from other publications around the nation and the world. The Times has long resisted commissioning its own cartoons for a host of reasons, but that is about to change.

To coincide with the remaking of the Week in Review section, which will debut on June 26, The Times will begin an experiment in directing its own cartoon feature, one modeled more on the comic strip or graphic novel. (This has some precedent at the paper: a few years ago the Sunday Magazine featured several lengthier cartoon serials.)

The new strip will replace the editorial cartoons that currently run on Page 2. Our last selection of outside cartoons will appear on June 19, so after Friday, June 17, you need not send us your work.

We thank all of you for providing us with hundreds of terrific cartoons in recent years, and we hope you enjoy the new Sunday Review section.

Sincerely yours,
The Editors

Community Comments

#1 Jim Lavery
June/20/2011
@ 9:23 am

P.S., We hate you.

#2 Brian Fies
June/20/2011
@ 10:23 am

Interesting line of thinking there. NYT’s perspective seems to be that if you take on one sort of comic you have to get rid of some other sort, as if editorial cartoons and graphic novels (or comic short stories or comic essays or comic strips) are all the same thing that fill a single slot. It would make as much sense to say, “We’re replacing our movie critic with a sports columnist because they both use words.” But then the Times has always had a burr up its butt about comics.

Still, it’ll be interesting to see what these new features look like. I’d place big money on comics about tormented loners who look like losers to the world but have a rich inner intellectual life, involving much moping on park benches.

#3 Anne Hambrock
June/20/2011
@ 10:25 am

Step 1: erect a paywall.

Step 2: invest in exclusive content.

Step 3: protect future unpaid distribution of said exclusive content.

Good luck with that last one.

The NYT seems to be trying to lead the future of print newspapers. It will be very interesting to see how this all plays out for good or ill.

If they are planning to pay properly for this new feature of theirs, it sounds vaguely like a departure from syndicated content and a return to a staff position of sorts.

#4 b.j. Dewey
June/20/2011
@ 11:11 am

I’d be willing to bet that Brian Fies has got this pegged right, or is perilously close to it. I have never understood the NYT’s take on comics, any comics. It doesn’t really seem to “get” them, and I’ve often thought they need to hire somebody who can clue them in. And now, after reading this e-mail from them, I think that even more.

But I too am eager to see the new stuff. And thanks Alan for posting the e-mail.

#5 Jeff Pert
June/20/2011
@ 11:29 am

Did I miss something? Who’s creating this new feature? Are they just going to reprint other work?

#6 Milt Priggee
June/20/2011
@ 12:11 pm

Jan. 5th 1958 was the last NY Times staff editorial cartoon by Edwin Marcus….and so June 19, 2011 was the date of the NY Times last reprinted editorial cartoon.

With no more WIR section the NYT can no longer answer why they have no staff editorial cartoonist by saying. ‘we reprint editorial cartoons in the WIR on Sundays”.

I wonder what their answer will be now….

#7 Mike Lester
June/20/2011
@ 12:19 pm

Fies is right: “tormented loners who look like losers to the world but have a rich inner intellectual life, involving much moping on park benches.”

-or “Ghost World” w/ a side of politics.

I’ll go one further: if they’d sent out a letter saying “Dear Cartoonists, the WIR will now only publish cartoons drawn in cow manure, they’re offices would smell like a Wisconsin dairy farm.

#8 Milt Priggee
June/20/2011
@ 12:28 pm

I believe they have finally gotten the burr out of their butt about comics with this new comic strip feature taking the place of the reprinted editorial cartoons.

#9 Brian Fies
June/20/2011
@ 12:45 pm

I love the idea of printing original long-form comics (despite my sarcasm about their potential topics and tone). I hope it’s a big success for the NYT and a model that others follow. I just don’t understand why it has anything to do with editorial cartoons.

#10 Gerry Mooney
June/20/2011
@ 3:24 pm

If the new cartoon features are anything like the cartoons they experimented with in the magazine a couple of years ago, don’t get your hopes up. They were exactly like what Brian describes, mopey, pointless and no punchlines.

#11 August J. Pollak
June/20/2011
@ 5:11 pm

If they are planning to pay properly for this new feature of theirs, it sounds vaguely like a departure from syndicated content and a return to a staff position of sorts.

It’s not a staff position. They are going to pay a cartoonist to draw exclusive, original cartoons for them. I think the better comparison would be to that of the Times’ opinion columnists.

But yes, it’s absolutely a departure from syndication. Take that as you will.

#12 Rick Schmitz
June/20/2011
@ 10:27 pm

I may be reading too much between the lines here, but I get the impression that they are trying to be a bit more hip here… editorial cartoons aren’t hip and graphic novels are.

#13 Jim Lavery
June/21/2011
@ 5:58 am

Maybe next they should replace Paul Krugman with Sudoku.

#14 Gerry Mooney
June/21/2011
@ 8:49 am

The sad thing is that once something appears in the Times, that means it’s officially jumped the shark.

#15 Bill Thom
June/21/2011
@ 10:52 am

I wasn’t aware that syndicated cartoonists actually submitted their work for republication in the WIR. I was more of the notion the editorial staff cherry-picked them off the wire and then approached the cartoonist’s syndicate. If that is the case, then this letter is written to no one and is instead an announcement that the change is coming. Correct me if I am wrong.

#16 Milt Priggee
June/21/2011
@ 1:08 pm

The editorial whoever picked whatever tickled their funny bone from whatever arrived in their mailboxes. The Email was a mass notice to all the cartoonists who had been submitting…. not to bother sending them any more cartoons because there would be zero chance of them even being considered for reprint.

#17 Matt Bors
June/21/2011
@ 7:24 pm

They are not replacing the feature with a graphic novel or such thing. They are commissioning editorial cartoons from someone good.

#18 Milt Priggee
June/22/2011
@ 4:27 pm

‘…..directing its own cartoon feature, one modeled more on the comic strip or graphic novel. (This has some precedent at the paper: a few years ago the Sunday Magazine featured several lengthier cartoon serials.)

The new strip will replace the editorial cartoons…..’

‘They are not replacing the feature with a graphic novel or such thing. They are commissioning editorial cartoons from someone good.’

Matt, the NYT says it’s a comic strip or graphic novel….you say it’s an editorial cartoon. Not sure who to believe….. I guess we’ll just have to wait for the final product.

#19 Matt Bors
June/22/2011
@ 8:48 pm

I guess there’s a lot of confusion over what to call comics. Maybe they consider it a “comic strip” as opposed to an “editorial cartoon” because their WIR reprints very narrowly defined that term to one panel comics. I don’t know. Most words people never know how to define comics because we’ve invented so many terms for them to use.

I do know that they are going to print a political cartoon on Sunday. Pick up the Times and check it out.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.