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Signe Wilkinson ends Family Tree

Philadelphia Daily News’ Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Signe Wikinson has announced that she’s ending her comic strip Family Tree after a three and half year run. The strip was signed by United Media and recently moved to Universal Uclick when United Media outsourced all their syndication to Universal. The final strip ends this Saturday, but the feature will start over from the beginning on GoComics.com if you missed the early strips.

I asked her about her experience doing the strip. Here’s our exchange:

AG: Why are you ending the strip?

SW: I couldn’t give the strip the attention I’d like in addition to doing my regular job that still, after all, pays my health care.

AG: Do you have any post-Family Tree plans? Will we see your strip/character elsewhere?

SW: Universal will rerun the strip on its website but otherwise, I won’t be using the characters for the time being. They would, of course, make a brilliant sitcom or movie (even without superheroes) and I will entertain all the multi-million dollar offers I assume will flood in. In the meantime, I plan to re-introduce myself to my family and re-learn their names.

AG: Has your work in cartooning (editorial cartooning or comic strips) ever take on any more special meaning because of the scarcity of female cartoonists or was it just simply your life pursuit irrespective of other women in the field?

SW: The lack of women creators and decent female characters in strips is a whole other sinkhole I could wallow in. I wish the best for talents like Hilary Price who remain in the trenches. Fortunately, I’m getting supportive emails from readers who are SHOCKED their favorite strip is ending. A little late but I’ll print them out and put them them under my pillow

AG: Any regrets regarding the strip, unfinished goals?

SW: I loved doing the strip and regret I didn’t have the time to both draw it and help promote it in the way it needed to be successful. Twig was was a real girl. I’ll especially miss her and her grandmother. They allowed me to write and draw outside the left/right, headline-driven box of daily editorial cartooning. Really fun. And, much as I admire my talented male colleagues, I took pleasure in drawing female characters for comics pages that don’t have many good ones. I still think about my little family members as real people and miss being able to chronicle how they navigate the hideous pressures of having the right online personality, eco-sensitive footwear and impressive SAT scores.

I will forever thank/curse Ted Rall for getting me into this racket in the first place.

Community Comments

#1 b.j. Dewey
August/25/2011
@ 7:02 pm

I’m sorry to see the strip go, but will still enjoy her great editorial cartoons.

#2 Jeff Parker
August/26/2011
@ 11:51 am

Sorry to see Family Tree end as well. Enjoy your evenings and weekends, Signe!

#3 Tom Stemmle
August/26/2011
@ 12:18 pm

I loved the strip from the outset. The story line was both important and amusing, plus the art work was a joy to look at! The enormity of work involved can only be appreciated and understood by those who have done a strip. Thanks, Signe for a lot of great entertainment! We will miss the Tree Family!

#4 Daniel Boris
August/26/2011
@ 1:00 pm

These announcements are increasing in frequency. Seems only retired, or independently wealth folk can afford to have syndicated comic strips!

I wish you well, Signe.

#5 Darryl Heine
August/26/2011
@ 1:10 pm

Sorry to see this strip end, no Chicago newspaper picked up Family Tree.

#6 Jan Eliot
August/26/2011
@ 1:26 pm

Signe, there are indeed few of us women in the trenches, hence it’s expecially sad to lose one. I’d like to mention that besides Hillary Price, women in the ranks still include Sandra Bell Lundy and her wonderful cast of female characters in “Between Friends”, ditto Rina Piccolo with “Tina’s Groove”, all the women of my strip “Stone Soup”, and a few others. I wish you all the best! I’ll keep enjoying your editorial stuff, it’s wonderful.

#7 signe wilkinson
August/27/2011
@ 7:38 am

Thanks to all. Glad that there are other terrific women toonists like you, Jan, and the others you mentioned. Draw on! My newspaper, which halved its comics last month, is starting a weekend sports section for which I’ll be drawing a cartoon in collaboration with some of my friends on the sports desk. Not my natural element but it’s pleasure to draw guys in uniform.

#8 Tom Bower
August/28/2011
@ 7:05 pm

Vaya con Dios, Signe. My wife (a current daily newspaper editorial employee) and I (a former reporter) both enjoyed your strip every Sunday in our San Antonio newspaper. Your sense of humor is balanced, biting and just twisted enough to draw us Baby Boomers into your fold of fans. Because of you, your newspaper has drawn another pair of readers, albeit in Texas. Hang on to your day job! There are few enough editorial cartoonists already! Go the way of Berke Breathed…. We await a book, someday, of cartoons about Twig and her family.

#9 Alex Hallatt
August/28/2011
@ 11:13 pm

Sorry to see the loss of a comic strip with an environmental undercurrent and to see another female comic strip artist leave our ranks.

#10 Cathy Requarth
August/29/2011
@ 11:01 am

Just for the record, not only did I enjoy Family Tree, but so did both of my boys (10 and 12). I liked that it reflected a real, funcitoning family and brought up issues and situations we see in our family. The evironmental bend fit in with conservation efforts through their school, the sports themes, always relevant.

Signe Wilkinon, we’ll miss you and wish you the best!

#11 Bill McCormick
August/29/2011
@ 5:10 pm

Ironically, Hillary Price’s comic strip “Rhymes with Orange” replaced “Family Tree” in the Seattle times. Best of luck Signe. I’ll admit, I didn’t like Family Tree at first, probably because it replaced another strip that I liked, but your strip grew on me, and became a “must read”. Thank you for all your hard work Signe, I will genuinly miss reading your strip. Best of luck in your future endevours.

#12 h. saffell
August/30/2011
@ 12:26 pm

Will truly misss Family Tree = been reading it for quite some time. Alsos have printed out several tht were just perfet.

Thnks for rerunning from the beginning…will rered again, just like I am re-reading Calvin and Hobbs.

Great Luck on your new adventures.

#13 Connie Perez Moreno
September/1/2011
@ 12:30 pm

What a shock not to find Family Tree in my Monday paper. No announcement was made by my newspaper. Loved the strip and Twig was so cute. Good luck to you.
Thanks again for the strip will sorely miss it.

#14 Letty Ames
September/6/2011
@ 12:30 am

I’m so sorry to see this. I have been reading Family Tree on Yahoo Comics because papers around here don’t carry it. i just that Yahoo was stuck again so went looking around the internet trying to find the new ones.

I’ll really miss this strip.

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