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Single and Looking to end this Sunday

Matt Janz’ Single and Looking will be coming to an end this Sunday. On his web site Matt writes that he’s pulling the feature due to lack of client newspapers.

He continues:

The infamous name change from “Out of the Gene Pool” in 2007 was a last effort to reach those close-minded, hairy-noseaphobic newspaper editors who rejected OGP upon the sight of Rufus. Once it became clear that the smaller, more focused cast wasn’t going to provide me with the lavish lifestyle befitting a syndicated cartoonist, I decided it was best to relinquish my newspaper spots to other comic strips with actual growth potential and use all of that free time to concentrate on other interests.

The past 6 1/2 years have been the most frantic, fulfilling and frustrating years I can remember. While I’ll miss my time at the drawing board and the opportunity to have a voice on the comics pages, the desire to focus my energy on just one career eventually prevailed. No eight-year-old kid dreams of becoming a cartoonist with an additional part-time job.

He also notes that the comic will go into re-runs on gocomics.com and that an Out of the Gene Pool book is in the works.

Community Comments

#1 josh shalek
June/18/2008
@ 10:03 am

That’s sad news. Even more gut-wrenching is Matt’s write up. Those words haunt the mind of every cartoonist (syndicated or not).

#2 Lucas Turnbloom
June/18/2008
@ 10:06 am

That really is a shame. It was a good strip.

#3 Anne Hambrock
June/18/2008
@ 10:13 am

This is really sad – I loved this strip.

Not to start the whole newspaper poll thing again but as I surf articles about comic tests in various papers one thing stands out. These editors are only interested in finding new strips that generate the instant success and adoration of Calvin and Hobbes. If a strip generates only “lukewarm” response or a “love – hate’ response they take a pass and try another in hopes of striking gold. Very very few comic strips have universal appeal and it is a sad state of affairs when a comics page cannot be diverse and appeal to a range of tastes.

I hope Matt will still be able to generate income from this terrific strip in one form or another.

#4 Larry Levine
June/18/2008
@ 10:38 am

I followed S&L in my local paper, sorry to see another up & coming strip end.

#5 Malc McGookin
June/18/2008
@ 10:59 am

Matt is to be congratulated for taking a step that only a real professional would, and that is to cut his losses.
He has better things to do with his life, his time and his talent.
How many wannabes out there would take Matt’s deal and keep drawing, just to be able to say they are a syndicated cartoonist?

#6 Geoff
June/18/2008
@ 11:09 am

This is sad news indeed.

Out Of The Gene Pool (the better title, I think) is/was another good comic, that was never given a fair chance because the dinosaurs of long dead creators still roam the pages.

Gotta say, I really love how Matt’s handling the end in the strip (other characters looking to move in).

Best of luck Matt, in wherever life takes you next!

#7 Mike Cope
June/18/2008
@ 11:11 am

Always sad to hear about another comic strip ending. Best of luck to Matt with his future endeavours.

#8 Charles Brubaker
June/18/2008
@ 2:23 pm

As I said on my blog – dammit.

Enjoyed reading the strip on Stars and Stripes when I lived in Japan.

Hopefully, this isn’t the last we see of Janz.

#9 Phil Wohlrab
June/18/2008
@ 3:18 pm

I saw this coming with the superficial name change. I’d say six years is more than enough time to figure out whether or not a strip is going to be a big seller or not. The sad part is that Janz is probably more capable today of designing a much better strip, with broader themes and better characters than he was six years ago. I don’t know if he could pull a Tatulli and come out with a Lio, but it all depends if he wants to stay with the medium or not.
Not to say that Heart of the City isn’t successful, but I think Lio has pulled way pass it.

I’d be curious to hear what career he has decided to focus on.

#10 Rod McKie
June/18/2008
@ 4:04 pm

I’m with Malcolm. It’s a tough move to make, but only the very brave can do it. It doesn’t matter why you choose to walk away from it, what’s important is when you feel the time is right to do something else, you have enough self-belief to do so. I’m sure Matt Janz will dazzle us all with something else.

#11 Chris Fournier
June/19/2008
@ 4:53 am

I also agree with Malcolm. At the end of the day it’s a business and financial decision and you have to know when enough is enough.

Sure, I’m certain being a syndicated cartoonist has its rewards but if you’re busting your tail for six years with that constant threat of deadlines and you’re not seeing any financial rewards to justify your effort after awhile it’s just not worth it.

All the best with Matt. I was really impressed with his strip and I’m sure he’ll find another endeavour that is more lucrative and rewarding.

#12 Jim Wittenberg
June/19/2008
@ 4:58 am

Oh, fudge. Best of luck to Matt Janz. Out of the Gene Pool was funny. I always thought that’s what the “funny pages” were supposed to be.

#13 Mark Centz
June/20/2008
@ 2:35 am

Drat, I just recently discovered this fine strip after looking around for more variety when LUCKY COW did the same thing. These things come in threes, I hope Stephan Pastis doesn’t decide to throw in the towel.

#14 Sad Canuk
June/20/2008
@ 1:01 pm

I too will really miss OOTJP/SAL. Janz definitely has talent, so I wish him the very best in his next endeavour.

Speaking of talent, what on earth is Get Fuzzy’s Conley thinking these days? The strips are not funny, interesting or even worth 10 seconds to read. Yuck.

#15 R Pyle
June/21/2008
@ 6:29 am

As one of the ten-second daily donors, I’ll miss this strip. It was funny…something you can’t say for every strip today.

And I agree with Geoff: There are too many ancient, slower-than-snail’s-pace strips taking up space (hear that, Gasoline Alley?).

#16 Joanna Michaels
June/21/2008
@ 8:36 am

This news is terribly disappointing. S&L is one of my favorite comics–I love the characters and will miss them. Best Wishes to the very talented Matt Janz!

#17 Charles Brubaker
June/21/2008
@ 11:02 am

Just so you’d know, the “best of” book collection of OGP/SAL is now available from lulu

http://www.lulu.com/content/2723579

I just purchased it this morning.

#18 John Bystroff
June/21/2008
@ 11:42 am

When I first saw OGP, I too was turned off by Rufus’ grotesqueness. At first I only begrudgingly read the script because it was between two other strips I read. But Matt Janz’ brilliance for irony and the great cast of characters won me over. I was hooked. And when I moved across country, where the local paper didn’t carry the script, OOTGP and SAL was part of my short list of strips I followed on the web.

I’m saddened to hear about the discontinuation. All the more frustrating in leaving behind a landscape of stale franchise comics that have long outlasted their creators.

Matt, I hope you bring your voice back to some accessiable public comedic forum. Your wit brings lots of genuine laughter.

#19 Chris Hardiman
June/22/2008
@ 10:09 am

It seems as if many of the truly excellent strips that started earlier in the 2000s are being crammed out of newspapers. “Big Top,” “Bo Nanas,” “Lucky Cow,” and now “Out of the Gene Pool”/”Single and Looking”. It seems that editors aren’t giving them a fair shot.

The writing in all of these strips, including Matt Janz’s, has been top-notch. I loved this strip, before and after the name change, although it did not run in my newspaper; the truth is that after the change in focus and the corresponding name change, I started to stray from reading it on a regular basis. The characters were still good, the writing was still awesome, and the art was still fun to look at, but…for me a lot was lost in the way that Janz sort of dispensed with his web of characters that were interrelated in various ways.
I, for one, liked Rufus; I liked Miller almost as much as Travis; I thought that Andy and Jackie made for a more sensible and interesting pairing than Sam and Jackie; and, heck, I thought the strip could’ve used a bit more Madame Red than the bits that have been doled out since the shift in focus. And maybe there was a little bit too much Zoogie.
I’m not trying to be critical; as I said before the writing was fantastic throughout. But I personally think that the shift in balance, while it sought to make the strip more marketable, threw off the balance of the characters. Just my opinion. I will still miss the strip, and I hope to see more from Matt Janz in the future.

#20 Chris Hardiman
June/22/2008
@ 10:12 am

By the way, everyone should check out today’s self-referential last strip. Hilarious, in a bittersweet way; a good ending for this strip too. And it revives Rufus!

http://www.comics.com/wash/singlelooking/index.html

#21 Charles Brubaker
June/22/2008
@ 10:54 am

And note that Madame Red is carrying a fax machine, something she called dibs on in the previous Sunday strip.

I think this is the first time I’m actually sad that a strip I liked is ending. I’ve practically read this since the beginning, so reading it daily was pretty much part of my life for the past 6 years. I agree that the last strip was bittersweet, especially seeing Rufus and his family again after over a year.

As I said before, I hope that this isn’t the last we see of Janz.

#22 Jude Mermelstein
June/22/2008
@ 8:37 pm

Sad to say goodbye to Jackie & Madame Red; never found Rufus to be gross, he’s a cartoon, duh! Knew the writing (or drawing) was on the wall with the name change, but don’t understand the lack of syndication when NOT funny strips like Marmaduke and Heathcliff…and the obnoxious Girls and Sports…seem to be killing trees for no reason. Phooey! Hope Mr. Janz sells another idea & we can enjoy his talent again!

#23 Jim Ryan
June/22/2008
@ 8:41 pm

Maybe Mr. Janz could consider a direct-response model, setting up his strip online and building readership directly, bypassing the syndicates. He might even convince the papers to take this hot Internet phenom and publish it based on the online response, the way NEW ADVENTURES OF QUEEN VICTORIA launched.

OK, it may be a dream, but let’s face it: When the way product is disseminated is such that a small collective of gatekeepers effectively kills good material for petty reasons, it becomes time to reassess the whole model. If good creators can’t get an audience for the reasons stated above, it’s time to throw out that model and go directly to the fans without them.

#24 J.G. Moore
June/22/2008
@ 10:17 pm

His last week of comics were excellent.

#25 allison Barrows
June/23/2008
@ 2:59 pm

I can relate, Matt. Gone are the glory days when cartoonists could buy a summer house, a boat, send their kids to $$
schools – all on their comics output.

I enjoyed the strip and will miss seeing it my local paper. Best of luck. May you find new life for your characters in the new media. With any luck, I’ll see you there!

#26 Phil Wohlrab
June/23/2008
@ 6:21 pm

I actually always read Outta the gene pool/ S&L
whenever I got ahold of the comics section at the 10 Min oil change place. I thought the art made it stand out among other strips. I liked the way the voice bubble tails ended with a black dot. It’s interesting to note that both Bonannas and Out of the Gene Pool were Washington Post Writers Group winners of the Fine Toon Fellowship program years back. That was a really great contest, and a legitmate path for newcomers to get a syndication deal. It’s ashame they don’t do it anymore.

#27 Bonnie Adler
June/24/2008
@ 12:50 pm

Needless to say I am quite bummed about the loss of your talent in the paper. In fact The W.Post didn’t even run your final Sunday strip but I saw it online. My single friends loved the new Single and Looking jokes. I’m so mad that someone made a decision that affects me and my enjoyment of the comics. [talking cats are way overrated] I wonder if there will be some uproar and you can come back. Til then, please continue your talent and perhaps make more books. :-) Loyal to the end – Bonnie

#28 Declan Byrne
June/25/2008
@ 2:30 am

Rufus was actually what first drew me to “Out of the Gene Pool”.

It’s sad to see this strip go. There are strips nowhere near as good as “Single & Looking” making it big in newspapers. The comic industry can be so cruel.

http://www.duxtercomic.com

#29 Bruce P. Sprague
June/25/2008
@ 2:37 pm

Well, I certainly don’t know why no one ever read it. I LOVED the strip. I first started reading it when it was run in a local paper as a test strip as Out of the Gene Pool.

For reasons I never understood, the strip was not picked up, so began a desperate Internet search for it, and finally found it. I enjoyed the strip thruout its evolution in “Single and Looking”, and still enjoyed its loopy sensibility and unexpected wit.

I will miss it, but I certainly hope Matt comes back with something just as off-the-wall and even more successful.

#30 B Holt
June/25/2008
@ 11:47 pm

Bummer. This was my favorite on ucomics.com. I liked Rufus, Andy, and Miller a lot better than Zoogie, and preferred “Out of the Gene Pool” as the title, so there was some fear this might happen. Miller and Travis made a great team, and I felt the Jackie-Andy interactions more natural.

Best Wishes to Matt Janz.

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