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Today’s Prickly city is 40% off – literally

I’m really enjoying getting a glimpse into the syndicate world through Universal Press’ new “From the Editors” blog. Today we learn a bit of background information on today’s Prickly City by Scott Stantis who drew only the first 40% of his cartoon to draw attention to the “impact of cuts being made in American businesses.” At least one editor was not amused and argued that readers might infer that the newspaper goofed up and then the staff-strapped newspaper would have to take time to respond to such citizens.

Universal comic editor John Glynn responds,

Now before you think I’m being supercilious, I understand her point. I sympathize. Newspapers are resource strapped and answering e-mails and phone calls from readers who think the newspapers have made an error is not an exciting prospect. They do not have time to add this to their “to do” list.

The other side and as Scott and I discussed, is that publishing a newspaper and hoping no one notices may not be the best business model. And asking cartoonists to be less clever? Well, I can’t speak for the other syndicates, but UPS just can’t endorse that.

So you have two different perspectives … the newspaper views the comics page as a thing to be begrudgingly dealt with … the cartoonist views it as the place to express his/her ideas. The syndicate walks the line in between them.

Community Comments

#1 carlton mckenney
December/11/2008
@ 11:42 am

I assumed that there was an error in the display of the strip on the Washington Post site and went looking for a full copy. I think that while the point is fair and actually well-made the method needs some work.
Maybe go ahead and draw the rest of the squares but leave the partial and the last one blank or go ahead and draw all 4 squares but cut off the bottom 40% of each one or cut off the bottom of #1, the right side of #2, the top of #3, and the left side of #4.

I’m sure a better method can be found.

BTW it’s still funny.

#2 Ted Dawson
December/11/2008
@ 2:08 pm

I was confused because comics are already 40% smaller than they used to be. So technically this strip was cut 64%.

#3 Rick Stromoski
December/13/2008
@ 7:30 am

From a features editor:

��� You might also share with the artist the notion that now is probably not a good time to be quite so clever. Every editor in America is under incredible pressure to cut the budget, layout workers, drop features, save money, etc. The features and people who give us the most headache will be first to go.

This statement is a perfect example of why most of the comics pages are exercises in banality. It’s mandated by their overseers.

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