Universal Press to launch Argyle Sweater to newspapers (UPDATE)

Scott Hilburn’s Argyle Sweater has been picked up by Universal Press Syndicate. Argyle Sweater started out on uclick’s Comics Sherpa and then moved over to Gocomics in December of 2006.

Scott’s feature has an April launch date (I’ll get a specific date soon). Universal Press has posted samples, and of course there are a lot more on gocomics.com

UPDATED: Universal Press has posted a press release regarding Argyle Sweater’s release. The official date is April 7 and early sales include “The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Calgary Herald, Seattle Times, the Portland Oregonian, as well as a host of online sites operated by Media News Group.”

Another note of interest is that the feature will be delivered in both panel or strip format.

89 thoughts on “Universal Press to launch Argyle Sweater to newspapers (UPDATE)

  1. It’s great that Sherpa is acting as a launchpad for new talent. Every industry needs a training ground like that where beginning talent can hone their craft.

  2. Good for him! It’s also great to see an example of Comics Sherpa paying off for someone.

    I found the samples really funny. Best of luck, Scott.

  3. Argyle was the first of a great batch of Sherpa strips to be “graduated” from Sherpa to GoComics. Here’s hoping that some of the other strips that followed behind it (like “Bleeker” and “Pinkerton”) soon follow suit!

    Congratulations, Scott! Nice to see a fellow Sherpan make it to the big league.

  4. Been reading “Sweater” since it joined GoComics. Great cartoon that is always funny.

    Glad to see it expand.

  5. Congrats, Scott! I’ve enjoyed your toon ever since I included your comic about the single hump camel couple on the beach, and the husband says to the wife as a double humped camel babe walks by, “Don’t be silly sweetheart…of course I don’t want you to look like that. Those are way too big.”

    That was the first of several of your toons to appear in my Sunday Funnies Review®. That comic still hangs above my drawing table…

  6. Sherpa does have a lot of talent, and while some of it has “graduated” (Bleeker, 44UA, Mythtickle, Bird Brains) there is still a lot there that deserves to move up. One of the strips I would include in that territory is “Green Planet” by Ryan Pagelow. It is well-drawn and hilarious; also, the frequency is already 6x a week so it is pretty close to being ready for syndication. And even though story strips aren’t very popular these days, there is a weekly strip on Sherpa called “The Cardinal” (by K.J. Kolka) which is beautifully drawn. Both deserve to move up; there are others too, I’m sure.

    Anyway, congratulations to Scott Hillburn for his achievement. “The Argyle Sweater” has been on the radar for a long time and has proven itself to be very funny almost every day. Just this week, there were about three panels which could be grouped among the best you’ve done. But then again, that group is getting so large that maybe it’s time to stop keeping count. Still, the one with the goose playing duck-duck goose comes to mind as particularly brilliant. Good luck in newspapers.

  7. Wow â?? thanks everyone. Wish me luck. Iâ??ll need it.
    Thanks to all the Sherpa gang and everyone else that e-mailed from the beginning to offer advice and support. There really are a lot of talented people that have at one time or another used or still use that site.

    Also, Iâ??d like to give props to my editor(s) John, Clint and Lucas â?? all great guys. They will, hopefully, keep me out of trouble and in the papers. In fact, everyone Iâ??ve met at AMU has been incredibly friendly, helpful and has made me feel like part of the family.

    And let me just say that the sales guys at Universal are fâ??n incredible. They deserve a TON of credit.

  8. Scott: don’t give them all the credit. Your stuff practically sells itself!

    But WOW, they did a great job lining up launch papers for you. Launching a new strip in the L.A. Times? That doesn’t happen every day!

  9. Thanks so much Pab.

    And Larry, we’re offering it in both strip and panel formats. However, as I understand it, the panel version has primarily been the preferred format with most papers so far.

  10. Best of luck, Scott–and if gocomics is looking for someone to fill your vacating slot, tell ’em to give me a shout, Sherpa is no fun since all you & Pat left!

  11. Congratulations Scott, from another sherpa poster. The Argyle Sweater is a great strip and I’m looking forward to your first compilation book. Larry,

  12. Pab,
    This new feature of yours is “Omar, the Unborn Confederate Muslim,” I hope.

  13. Ugh… I guess I’m the only one here, or at least commenting, about their displeasure. There are so many more comics out there more deserving. Argyle Sweater is, 9 times out of 10, a total ripoff of Far Side (ex – today’s comic about tinkerbell killed by a bug zapper was already done by Larson. The art is very similar too.
    Then again, I guess its like movie remakes – give the audience what they already have.

  14. “No one needs a weak Far Side.” — Lee Salem (from an interview in Hogan’s Alley).

  15. I don’t see it as a “weak Far Side” (the artwork is better) or that Scott is intentionally ripping off Larson. All new panel cartoons are going to be compared to Far Side to some degree. Some of Arlgle may unintetionally have a similar or even same gag. But If you look at most strips out there you’d see over time gags resurface. In the past few years I’ve seen Non Sequiture, Brevity and another strip use the same gag (a Great wall of China gag).
    Every cartoonist strives for originality but sometimes your original idea ends up already done by someone else.

  16. Comparisons to The Far Side are understandable, but I’ve read The Argyle Sweater almost from when it first started and it’s always been funny and original. The comic has its own voice and if you follow it for a while you will realize that. Or you just won’t dig it. Not everyone has to.

    I have to say, the number of positive remarks here is indicative of how good this panel is. And as a few people have already pointed out, Scott deserves this move into print.

  17. Far Side comparisons come from surface scans of Argyle. Argyle Sweater is definitely influenced by Far Side…no doubt about that. But there are other flavors floating around the strip. All it takes is one or two reads to realize Scott isn’t ripping anyone off.

  18. >>>I have to say, the number of positive remarks here is indicative of how good this panel is.

    Um …34 comments validates a strip? You’re not serious…

  19. I’ve never heard anyone refer to “The Far Side” as a Kliban ripoff.
    Kliban may have introduced the form, but Larson made it his own.

    “The Argyle Sweater” is a fairly okay cartoon, but it’s still a weak Far Side.

  20. Gotta love those Kliban cats! I never saw a Kliban cat in a Far Side cartoon, and I’ve never seen a Far Side cow in an Argyle Sweater cartoon. Argyle is it’s own entity. If we were going to point fingers at cartoonists for building upon the style or format of another cartoon, then everyone here would be guilty.

  21. I was poking fun at the silly “weak Far Side” comment/quote.

    The Far Side certainly wasn’t ripping off Kliban anymore than Argyle is ripping off The Far Side. Inspired by? Sure. But ripping off?

    Maybe Gary Larson could hold a press conference and announce that it’s ok if cartoonists inspired by The Far Side, Close To Home or the under appreciated Bizarro try and create their own wacky, zany, single panel feature without fear of being labeled a Farside-clone?

    Maybe then peeps will cut some slack to single panel cartoonists?

  22. “Um â?¦34 comments validates a strip? Youâ??re not seriousâ?¦”

    Actually, Rick, 17 positive comments on a public message board validates a strip. That’s the magic number to beat. Scott got twice that, so his comic is really good.

  23. I don’t know Scott…using your logic, one could go to a number of neocon websites and get the impression that George Bush is a really good president. Doesn’t make it true.

  24. Glad to see I’m not a lone voice on this.
    For the record, I’ve been following Argyle Sweater since it was on Comics Sherpa, so I have as much experience in reading it as everyone else. Its not god awful, its just un0original (for god-awful, see Strange Brew).
    That said, the single panel Sherpa alum I’d like to see get published off-line is Half Baked, as created by Rick Ellis (see his comments above).
    Half Baked is almost completely consistantly amusing, the art is simple, yet better, and the jokes are pretty original (tho I agree when you said, Rick, that same jokes happen all the time… its happened to me I don’t know how many times).

  25. Some of the jokes are very funny, such a shame that the artist couldnt find his own way of expression. The comic seems just like a slight variation of Larson’s comic, like he didnt even try to cover the rip off. The style of the humor and minimalistic expression in the drawings is undeniably similar. (it might be an matter of opinion, but I find that the panels where he drift’s the furthest away from the larson style are also the least funny..)

  26. I’m the first to say that there are only so many ideas, and that a number of cartoonists will think of a similar gag, but I’m afraid there is no excuse for the example linked by Lyle above, it’s a definite steal.

    The Argyle Sweater artist doesn’t even “get” the gag he is portraying!! Larson had an orchestral conductor being shown into a room full of inbred banjo players, a very funny and original idea.

    The Argyle Sweater version simply shows a conductor being ushered (in exactly the same manner as Larson’s) into a room of musicians.
    I guess the phrase “warming up for you” is the gag?

    Very VERY disappointing.

    Oh, I do believe in the Tinkerbell cartoon alluded to previously, Larson did have her caught up in fly paper – not far enough removed from a bug zapper for Argyle Sweater to be original, I’m afraid.

  27. I miss Gary’s work and humour since he hung it up and am glad someone is carrying on the tradition. Larson, Kilban, Gahan Wilson and so forth. They can all be proud of what they did and of Scott’s turn at the bugs and animals odd look at our world. Kudos! And let me know when the books start coming out! tommybiker@yahoo.com

  28. Sorry Scott waaaay too many similarities to Far Side to be coincidence. I just browsed your website showing the most recent panels and since I am a huge Larson fan found the following: Game show panel – Steven Hawkings replaced God in same gag from Far Side, Smurfs being toasted by boy with magnifying glass replaced ants in Far Side, Colonel Sanders with secret recipe vs. Colonel Sanders at pearly gates, snakes discovering they have no arms to some gag, animals being put into human situations. It’s clear you page through classic Far Side panels for ideas and many times simply changed some aspect of the ppanel to twist it into your own. Inspiration is one thing but same format, characters, subject matter….exactly what is yours?

  29. The comparisons to Larson are depressing. It’s like eating week old reheated caserole. As a Sherpa contributor myself, I wonder if people are actually interested in new comics, or just redigested ones. My comic is “Robots With Brains!” if you need to put my work under a similar microscope. While I’m sure there is something to compare it to, I doubt it can be called a rip-off of my influences. For that, you’ll have to wait for my new comic “Balvin and Fobbes.”

  30. As a Sherpa contributor myself, I wonder if people are actually interested in new comics, or just redigested ones.

    Sounds a bit like sour grapes. Yes, Argyle Sweater is very (very, very) Far Side-esque, but apparently there is a market for that type of humor that was waiting to be filled. If Gary won’t come out of retirement to fill it, someone should.

  31. The difference between “Argyle Sweater” and “The Far Side” and Hap Kliban is the difference between Beyonce’ and Ce’line Dion and Etta James.

    In that order.

  32. I stand corrected. Thanks, Jason. I forgot about clicking on the name. Regardless, it’s not too much to ask to write one’s entire name when posting.

  33. Sour grapes? Perhaps. Disillusionment? More likely. Why does a void for a certain type of humor have to be filled with a carbon copy of the very thing that created the void in the first place? Lacks creativity and borders on plagerism.

    Don’t blame Gary Larson for Scott’s lack of originality. That’s like blaming Hitchcock for the terrible remake of Psycho.

  34. Why does a void for a certain type of humor have to be filled with a carbon copy of the very thing that created the void in the first place? Lacks creativity and borders on plagerism.

    I don’t know that it necessarily HAS to be filled, but it’s realistic to think that someone is going to come through and try to fill any market that has profit potential. And I wouldn’t say that Argyle Sweater lacks creativity – he’s cranking out 365 cartoons a year, and other than the similarity in humor (which isn’t plagiarism) I’ve not heard any direct accusations of gags specifically taken from Larsen.

    I will concede that Argyle Sweater has a very STRONG resemblance to Far Side, and yes it probably has helped a lot in the marketing and success of the feature. Maybe there is a lesson in that. Maybe you ought to create a strip around a bachelor living with a dim witted dog and a smart-aleck cat like “Garfield” …. and “Get Fuzzy.”

  35. “Iâ??ve not heard any direct accusations of gags specifically taken from Larsen.”

    Here’s one example:

    A pretty damning one, wouldn’t you say?

    My argument is not for the void, it’s that when Larson created Far Side he created the market for his specific brand of humor, subject matter and drawing style, and although his influence can be felt in generations of cartoonists after him, being influenced and carrying the torch are two different things.

    It’s as if Larson has died and his son has taken over the strip.

    I’ve always thought of “Get Fuzzy” as “Garfield” with the addition of a funny bone.

  36. “And I wouldnâ??t say that Argyle Sweater lacks creativity – heâ??s cranking out 365 cartoons a year”

    365 cartoons a year isn’t proof of creativity. It makes him prolific, not creative. “He who bears many cartoons” could be his Indian name. It says nothing of quality.

  37. “Iâ??ve always thought of â??Get Fuzzyâ? as â??Garfieldâ? with the addition of a funny bone”

    Ha ha ha ha! Too true, what is sad is it took the deletion of the cat to make that strip truly funny…

  38. “it took the deletion of the cat to make that strip truly funnyâ?¦”

    That’s why I’m continuing the trend with
    “Peanuts Without Peanuts” which can be seen here:

  39. Hereâ??s one example … A pretty damning one, wouldnâ??t you say?

    Yes, it is very damning. Before I become a shill for Argyle Sweater, I’m just trying to give the guy the benefit of the doubt. He’s had some success so its natural for those below to try to take shots at him, but one documented incident doesn’t make a pattern or plagiarism. Because Argyle Sweater is sooo close to Far Side, Scott’s got to be so much more careful. I hope for his sake, if he owns any of the F.S. collections, he locks them in a box and puts them in the basement/attic and never looks at them.

  40. “I hope for his sake, if he owns any of the F.S. collections, he locks them in a box and puts them in the basement/attic and never looks at them.”

    Well put. I agree. But I think the problem is that they (the collection) is so much a part of who he is, he can’t avoid but to copy Larson. They are locked up and stored in the attic of his subconscious. I think, maybe, he might need to get out and expose himself to some new influences. Mix it up a bit, so that we can’t tell that he’s stealing, like a true artist. 🙂

    I don’t want it to sound as if we’re taking pot shots at Scott from way down below. I get frustrated with the comics that make it to print, in general. Nothing very challenging, dull comics from the golden age that have stayed way past their due, and now carbon copies of the great comics. It’s a sad state of affairs. And Scott’s work jumped out and hit me like a ton of bricks. Left me scratching my head.

    Now that print papers are getting rid of most their comics, doing major house cleaning, and rethinking the way they do business, perhaps a new Renaissance of comics is on it’s way. Or at least, I hope so.

  41. Now that print papers are getting rid of most their comics, doing major house cleaning, and rethinking the way they do business, perhaps a new Renaissance of comics is on itâ??s way. Or at least, I hope so.

    Don’t hold your breath or at least believe that it will come from anyone in the newspaper/syndicate world.

  42. “While the new Cartoon Renaissance works its way to the surface, it might be a good idea to avoid the finger-pointing and sniping at each other. We can use that wasted time figuring out ways to somehow increase the size of the pie, by bringing what we do to more people in ways that sufficiently reward our effort. The traditional markets and cartoon dollars are indeed shrinking, but that doesn’t mean that we have to get so nasty in the fight over the remaining scraps. Does it? Can’t we all just get along? Do we have to throw bricks all the time?” – Ignatz Mouse, in recovery at the Betty Ford Center

  43. Everyone assumes that I’ve got sour grapes or that I’m sniping at Scott’s work because I’m jealous of his success. This isn’t the case (as defensive as this may sound). He got promoted from Comics Sherpa long before I even thought of involving my work. I’m totally aware of the market and the market demands, and I know my work, for the most part, doesn’t fit in, and I’m not interested in changing my round peg to fit some kind of square hole. I put my work on Comics Sherpa to workshop it, and hopefully improve it with some constructive critical feedback.

    My problem is with the masses. I feel that they need to be made aware when someone’s work is derivative, and perhaps not as worthy to get all the kudos and pats on the back that Scott’s work is getting. If everyone was well aware of the degree of which he was ripping off Larson, and were totally okay with that, then I apologize. I have the same passionate response when I see vinyl car decals of Calvin pissing on a 49ers helmet.

    I finger point when the finger pointing is called for. If you look at the evidence and don’t see the blatant rip-off and style and subject matter, than, I don’t know, perhaps you need to be a little more critical, and a little less Rodney King. For me, sometimes I get “mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

    Really, I just want to read some decent comics. And the more will fill up the Sunday funnies with derivative work the less room there is for something new and interesting.

  44. When we first started our comic strip, we made the conscious decision to copy The Far Side.

    We would whip up a batch of panels, and if any of them didn’t feel completely derivative, we would throw them out and start all over… maybe add a cow.

    We worked at this for months, years even, until we had truly mastered the art of plagiarism.

    Then all of the sudden, along comes this clown Hilburn, and HE starts copying The Far Side.

    Dude, that’s OUR deal.

    WE copy The Far Side.

    He’s plagiarizing our form of plagiarization.

    Not cool Hilburn. Not cool at all.

  45. Actually, I agree that AS is very derivative of the Far Side. Very. But as far as copies go (and there have been many), it’s probably the best. That’s why it has succeeded. And remember in this fast paced world we live in, FS has been gone 14 years. Even the desk calendars are a memory. Who really cares? Just envious cartoonists. Maybe we should just get used to the new no-holds-barred, no copyrights, open source, anything goes digital delivery future. It’s coming.

  46. The “anything goes digital delivery future,” should not be an excuse for intellectual thievery. I’m not one for frivolous lawsuits, but if I’ve ever seen a good case for copyright infringement, it’s this one. Larson is a better man than I am, for not having slammed Scott with a lawsuit.

    If you want to make the case that the author of Argyle Sweater is the best thief of Larson’s style, yet. I have to agree with you, there. No doubt. If that’s the reason for it’s success, then a pox on all who help it succeed. A POX, I SAY!

    Guy, you’re comic doesn’t remotely resemble The Far Side, it’s just got the same size panel box. When we’re done with Scott, we’re coming for you, you panel size thief!

  47. “Guy, youâ??re comic doesnâ??t remotely resemble The Far Side, itâ??s just got the same size panel box. When weâ??re done with Scott, weâ??re coming for you, you panel size thief!”

    I wish it had the same size panel box. Have you looked in a newspaper lately?

  48. Yeah, I don’t think BEREFTY does resemble THE FAR SIDE, but it does resemble a slew of other poorly drawn and written comic panels.

  49. Mark,

    Seeing as we’ve never met, I have no idea what I could have done to piss you off so much.

    But for some reason you take every opportunity to slam my work, even though I am a big fan of yours.

    In a year where you have been nominated again and I haven’t, I wonder why you can’t just show a little class.


  50. Dear Gay,

    While it it true that I have never met you, due to my intimate relations with your mother, I feel as though I know you.

    All my best,

    Mark T

  51. Isn’t this topic over a year old? Did I slip through a hole in time and space? I thought we had hashed all this out already. I still standby the statement I wrote over a year ago. You know, before I fell into this galactic worm hole.

  52. Mark,

    I am truly appalled by your behavior.

    It’s easy to be a tough guy when you’re hiding behind a computer screen.

    I am going to be at the Reuben Awards in LA.

    I hope to see you there.


  53. While you’re holding his purse, Rick, maybe you could record it on your cell phone camera and upload it on YouTube so the world can witness the dignity and sophistication that spontaneously occurs when cartoonists gather.

  54. Dear Goy…

    Challenge duly noted. I’ll look for you in Hollywood. But I googled you to see what you look like and I get “Guy and Rodd” pictures…so which are you, the talk dork or the short, bald, walking phallus?

  55. OK, in the clear day of reason, perhaps my comments were a bit “ungallant”. Shall we let the bugles ring truce? I offer the olive branch, Guy, and might I add that your panel Brevity is one of the best going. Truly.

  56. Your bugles have rung too late, and now I swear the only ringing will come from the clashing of our swords in the Renaissance ballroom.

    En Garde Tatulli. En Garde!

    p.s. Maybe if you let Lio open his mouth every once in a while, you wouldn’t need to do it so much yourself.

    p.p.s. Lio is a great strip.

    p.p.p.s. You’re dead.

  57. I offer an olive branch and he parries with a sword! I WILL meet you in said ballroom, sir! But I’m not coming to talk! Be prepared to taste my steel, young wastrel!

  58. This is NOT a homage or inspired by Gary Larson, it’s a COMPLETE RIPOFF of THE FAR SIDE. The characters look EXACTLY the same as Larson’s. I mean really, come on, you people defending Scott Hillburn have to know the difference between an influence and an out-and-out thief. Hillburn is making a living working with tracing paper. He should be sued, and I have several times contacted Larson’s people about filing a lawsuit, and will continue doing so. Then again, in this day and age where mediocrity reigns, it’s no surprise I am out-numbered on this board. Most people don’t even remember THE FAR SIDE, nor have any clue as to what’s original and what isn’t. Sad.

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