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Interviewed: Maria Scrivan on her syndication contract with Tribune Content Agency

When Half Full creator Maria Scrivan told me last week that she had landed a contract with Tribune Content Agency, I was surprised. Mostly that Tribune Content Agency (formally known as Tribune Media Services) was launching a new feature – something they haven’t done in several years. That Maria was going into syndication wasn’t much of a surprise. She’s been creating a solid, funny panel for a couple of years now. I emailed her and asked her a few questions about what going into syndication means to her.

AG: Tell me about Half Full? Where does the title ?Half Full” come from?
MS: Half Full refers to the old adage of seeing a glass as half full. I chose the name because I am an eternal optimist. At the same time, I often highlight life?s ironies and frustrations in the comic so the title ends up being very tongue-in-cheek.

AG: There are a lot of single panel comics out there. How would you differentiate yours from others?
MS: I think all of the single panel comics are very different because of our unique voices, interests and points of view. So many of the Half Full comics come from my personal observations and experiences. I tend to gravitate toward animals, insects, pop culture, social media and technology. I try to avoid mean-spirited humor.

AG: There’s a sentiment that newspaper comics is dying. What was the appeal of trying to get into newspapers?
MS: Dying, maybe, but not dead. The market is certainly shifting and I see opportunities in the changes ahead. I?ve found it important to be part of both traditional and new media. Who knows what will happen next? After all, Barnes and Noble is selling record albums again.

AG: You’re pretty savvy on social media, web presence, self-marketing, etc. How did that help you in getting into syndication?
MS: I think publishers are looking for an already-established audience and social media offers a direct way to connect with fans. I?m fascinated by the fact that the people who follow me on social media come from such a variety of countries.

AG: Tribune Content Agency (or TMS) hasn’t launched a comic in several years, and honestly that’s the most surprising news when I learned you had signed a contract with them – not that you were getting syndicated (no surprise there), but that TCA was launching a feature. Tell us about how you ended up with a syndication contract with Tribune?
MS: TCA has always been in the comics business, and when I submitted my ?Half Full? samples, everyone really responded to them and thought it was the perfect way to refresh their comics lineup.

AG: You?ve been publishing Half Full daily for a number of years now, so I suspect the number of cartoons doesn’t change, but how has a syndication contract changed your life/work or potentially will change your life/work?
MS: The syndication contract offers the opportunity to bring Half Full to an even wider audience. Since I have already been supplying a daily cartoon to GoComics and to newspapers, not much will change in my work flow.

AG: Your work has been published in a variety of markets such as magazines, greeting cards, e-books, online, what other markets would you like to see your work in? Similar question – what other projects are you working on?
MS: I?m really looking forward to seeing book collections of ?Half Full? comics and I am working with two excellent literary agents to help market my children?s books to publishers. I?m also trying to persuade our puppy to get along with our two cats but it looks like that project will be ongoing. If nothing else, the process will definitely result in some good material.

Half Full launches March 15. You can also catch it daily on GoComics.com.

Community Comments

#1 Oslo Nygaard
February/25/2015
@ 1:11 pm

Maria Scrivan’s comic Half Full has been in my daily newspaper for more than a year now, and it never fails to make me smile. I appreciate the lack of off-color jokes and rude sentiments. It’s just a very funny (and adorably drawn) comic that everyone can relate to!

#2 Daniel Boris
February/25/2015
@ 1:32 pm

Congrats, Maria!

#3 Jason Chatfield
February/25/2015
@ 2:05 pm

Good on you, Maria. Fantastic work!

#4 Tom Stemmle
February/25/2015
@ 2:56 pm

Maria is a gifted artist and writer. We’re so glad she is now syndicated! It couldn’t happen to a nicer person!

#5 D.D.Degg
February/25/2015
@ 4:02 pm

Signed up to replace the Loose Parts panel (recently lost to the Washington Post Writers Group)?
Unexpected activity from this slumbering syndicate.
Anyway – congratulations to Scrivan.

#6 Phil Judd
February/25/2015
@ 9:22 pm

Congratulations Maria! Well deserved…

#7 Doug Bratton
February/26/2015
@ 6:56 am

Congratulations, Maria! Great job!

#8 Rich Diesslin
February/26/2015
@ 1:28 pm

Congrats! ;)

#9 Hagen Cartoons
February/26/2015
@ 2:14 pm

Way to go Maria! Congratulations!

#10 t.r. logan
February/27/2015
@ 11:56 am

Maria!! Congrats! Well deserved :)

#11 Alex Hallatt
March/1/2015
@ 6:16 am

Tough times in a tough business. Maria has done well to stand out in a crowd and I am sure her success will continue. Good luck, Maria!

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