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Open discussion: Gag writers: crutch or resource?

The St. Petersburg Time (FL) recently interviewed Robert Rafferty, a gag writer who sells his gags to freelance cartoonists, syndicated cartoonists and to Playboy magazine. The article never mentions which cartoonists use his work. Gag writers seem to be one of those hush topics in the industry. Everyone knows that they’re there and perhaps which cartoonists use them, but it’s not something one wears on one’s sleeve.

I know gag writers have been around, probably since the beginning of cartooning and that their service is legitimate. So as I ask the following questions, please don’t assume I’m taking a negative tone, but I’m curious what people’s perceptions are about gag writers. Are they simply ghost writers or uncredited writers for a feature or are they resources for a cartoonist who’s temporarily working through a creative block or building up material for a much needed vacation? Or is there a dark side – like steroids? Which cartoonist is “juicing” in order to play past his/her prime or natural ability. Would finding out if a well known cartoonist is “using” a gag writer affect his/her standing in the industry? For example if we learned that a Reuben Award winner (I’m making this up as an example) was heavily reliant on a gag writer, would it affect his/her worthiness to hold such an award?

What’s your take?

Community Comments

#1 TheNewsGuy
June/16/2009
@ 10:28 am

This would depend upon the extent of use, I suppose. The use of paid writers is perfectly legitimate in other media, so if a cartoonist uses a gag writer when they need to fill a gap for whatever reason, I don’t see a problem.

On the other hand, if a cartoonist were to consistently (>50%) use a gag writer and continue to claim all work as their own, I would feel a bit let down when the truth came out.

In the end though, if the gag writer is happy, and the cartoonist is happy, and the readers are happy, what is there to complain about?

#2 guy endore-kaiser
June/16/2009
@ 10:40 am

Stop picking on Tatulli.

#3 Mike Cope
June/16/2009
@ 10:40 am

Speaking as a specter, I think there should be an award for the best ghostwriter :)

But seriously, cartoonists aside, the general newspaper readership population probably doesn’t care how many people are involved in creating a comic strip. They just want these folks, credited or not, to make them laugh.

That said, the one thing that I truly admire about Schulz was the fact that he wrote and drew every single Peanuts strip. I can care less about the skeletons that David Michaelis tried to dig up in his biography, but if the legend of Sparky’s one-man-show was ever proven otherwise, I think I’d be heartbroken.

As cartoonists get older, I can only imagine how difficult it would be for them to put down their pen after dedicating their life and career to the funnies. And so, I can understand why some may seek and accept help from others.

One thing which I think DOES matter is that the writing, whoever is doing it, stays true to the feature.

#4 Steven Smith
June/16/2009
@ 10:41 am

I think it’s a great idea to use gag writers, although I’ve never really done this. Occasionally someone has unknowingly planted the seed of an idea which has gone on to become a cartoon.

Where does a cartoonist find a gag writer?

#5 Steve Skelton
June/16/2009
@ 11:16 am

The question is do gag writers use gag writers?

#6 J Read
June/16/2009
@ 11:25 am

Steven Smith, you should talk to Paul Abitabile or Dan Hagist about gag writers.

#7 Randy Glasbergen
June/16/2009
@ 12:01 pm

Most freelance gag writers write generic gags that can be submitted and sold to a broad spectrum of cartoonists. If Cartoonist A rejects an idea, it goes to Cartoonist B, then Cartoonist C and so on. If you buy generic gags, you create generic cartoons that probably aren’t as original or distinctive as something created by a cartoonist with a unique view of the world. Would Kliban still be Kliban if he bought mother in law gags that had been previously rejected by six other cartoonists?

#8 Bill Holbrook
June/16/2009
@ 12:02 pm

Gag writers…Never used ’em. Never will.
The whole reason I’m in this insane business is for the creative expression it provides for me. Why would I farm out my life’s purpose? :)

#9 Anne Hambrock
June/16/2009
@ 12:10 pm

When I read the bio on Charles Addams, I have to confess I was let down when it revealed that most of his cartoons for the New Yorker were written by their gag writing staff rather than by Addams himself. I had to remind myself that this was true for almost all New Yorker cartoons during a certain era and just a reflection of the business model of that time.

Once upon a time the singer/songwriter was unusual – songwriters wrote all the songs and bands and solo singers sang them. Singer/songwriters have become so common that we have come to expect them. I think cartoonists like Schulz, who were a one man show have led us to expect that model in current cartooning as well.

#10 Milt Priggee
June/16/2009
@ 12:28 pm

As an editorial cartoonist…

In the past when I would receive an idea from an solicited source I’d inform the writer that I am available for freelance illustration and I include my prices for BW and full color.

Now days I just direct them to…

http://www.miltpriggee.com/index.php?pid=2&sid=26

#11 Milt Priggee
June/16/2009
@ 12:29 pm

sheeesh….that was UNsolicited source…

#12 Dave Blazek
June/16/2009
@ 12:42 pm

A couple of times a year I hear from gag writers wanting to “contribute” jokes. I tell them no because as I see it, that’s the line you cross from your comic being your comic, your little bit of self-expression, to it being a more mercenary kind of thing.

As for it affecting a Reuben award, I’m under the impression that the Reubens are judged on drawing merit and the writing doesn’t come into play. I’d love it if someone could confirm or deny this.

#13 Jamie Smith
June/16/2009
@ 12:44 pm

Thereâ??s been many a time Iâ??ve wished that I could blame someone else for my awful gags.
I might be a purist for originality but can easily see how the pressure to deliver a daily would eventually open the door to using whatever means are available to a gag cartoonist. Iâ??ve long been curious as to the ratio of professional cartoonists in the industry that utilize writers (as already mentioned by previous posters, some of the prominent magazines that buy gag panels have staff writers for just such a purpose), and donâ??t think it should be necessarily viewed as a liability or limitation on the part of the artist: thereâ??s a skill that goes into drawing a gag regardless of its source, and there are some great symbiotic and creative partnerships that have come about as a result.
Iâ??ve also noticed the relative lack of techniques in writing gags in most cartooning â??how toâ? books that have been published; they tend to focus mostly on the craft of drawing. Certainly that seems to be the hardest and most crucial aspect of gag cartooning, if a good joke will sell a bad drawing, and I donâ??t think itâ??s one of those â??youâ??re either born with it or notâ? situations, even if studying it winds up dissecting the balloon â?? just like drawing thereâ??s experience that builds over time with discipline and it is a skill that can be learned. I think my favorites have always had both a unique, personal style in both drawing and sense of humor.
One of better resources Iâ??ve seen has been for comedy writing; studying stand-up routines for pacing, timing and delivery ideas along with methods to generate material. At least that way I can pass off my periodic binges of listening to and watching comedians as legitimate research (â??Not now, Iâ??m workingâ?¦â?).
If it is a widespread pattern, then as far as awards go, the comic book genre routinely have specific categories for writers. But I suspect there will always be unsung heroes working behind the scenes ensuring consistent laughs.
Do politicians count as gag writers? Giving credit where itâ??s due, they definitely create the best material.

#14 Wiley Miller
June/16/2009
@ 12:47 pm

I think it really depends on the type of feature the cartoonist is doing. Some strips are more personal than others and just don’t lend themselves to outside, generic gag writing. Mine is such a strip, as it is mostly social/political satire. As such, it has to come from that one source.

Ever since Non Sequitur began, back in 1992, I periodically received unsolicited material on index cards in the mail from gag writers, with a SESE, along with a letter telling me how much they “love my work” and include a list of cartoonists they’ve sold material to. I always wondered, if they loved my material so much, why are they sending me generic gags that would be fit for any number of other strips? So without ever looking at the index cards (as I didn’t want to be unduly influenced by their material), I’d stick them right into the return envelope.

Today, I get those request in e-mail, which is a lot easier for me, as they don’t include samples, just ask if I’m interested.

So, personally, I won’t ever use them, but I don’t hold it against other cartoonists who do. It was actually more of the standard in the old days, but times and the business have changed.

#15 Alan Gardner
June/16/2009
@ 1:15 pm

It was actually more of the standard in the old days, but times and the business have changed.

I wondered if it wasn’t more prevalent in times past. Most of the younger cartoonists I talk to don’t use ’em.

What changed in the industry?

#16 Patric Lewandowski
June/16/2009
@ 1:18 pm

i think it depends. is the gag writer just throwing gags against the wall and see what sticks? or is there an actual partnership happening?

in many comic books, there’s a writing and art team.
i think that’s what the key is here – is it true collaboration or is it someone just throwing stuff and seeing who catches it?

and if the goal is to make people laugh… well, i think i only laughed aloud at maybe 2 comics on on a newspaper page back when i read newspapers (a couple of years ago). let’s face it, a lot of comics aren’t funny, so there’s a failure somewhere. is it the gag idea?

#17 ken krimstein
June/16/2009
@ 1:26 pm

a really good topic. i’ve often thought it was a historical thing. like when there used to be songwriters and singers. and then came dylan. in the early days of the new yorker, most all the captions, and i’m sure most of the gags were given to the artists. thurber, well, i don’t know where he came up with his stuff. but addams, he used writers — or e. b. white or whoever wrote. i can’t imagine otto soglow using gag writers. i agree with what someone said above, the writers may give you an already rejected idea. but maybe they can spur an original thought of your own. btw — letterman, leno, conan, you name it — they use a well-paid army of gag writers. bob hope — he did not write his stuff. but i think writing and drawing is the way to go. the line leads the words, the words lead the line.

#18 Wiley Miller
June/16/2009
@ 4:06 pm

“I wondered if it wasnâ??t more prevalent in times past. Most of the younger cartoonists I talk to donâ??t use â??em.”

Mort Walker has talked about many times over the years, that he got his start as a young man working in the “Bull Pen” at King Features. At that time, they hired several artists and gag writers to fill in when the cartoonists couldn’t get their work in on time. It was a great training ground for young cartoonists to learn the ropes, as Mort obviously did.

“What changed in the industry?”

It all really changed with the popularity of Peanuts, I think. Comics started steering toward humor strips, as opposed to story strips, and the humor was more edgy. This sort of satire, as I mentioned earlier, doesn’t lend itself to generic gag writing as it comes from a more personal perspective. Comics got smaller and smaller (as we all know) and the basic rates haven’t changed since 1972. So syndicates cut their bull pens and selected new features that were even more of a personal perspective, such as Doonesbury and Cathy. And I think the young cartoonists, like me, came from that Charles Schulz school where a cartoonist does everything. It became less of a business mentality, I think, and more of an artistic mentality.

#19 Stacy Curtis
June/16/2009
@ 4:08 pm

It’s all special effects, behind the scenes.

Who cares how they made the explosions in the latest blockbuster movie, as long as the end product was great?

#20 Shane Davis
June/16/2009
@ 4:47 pm

I have to say I fall in the camp that want to believe a cartoonist does all his own work. I remember hearing (not sure if it true) that Jim Davis doesn’t even draw or ink Garfiled anymore, he is just given a choice of gags and the ones he picks are the ones his staff draws up and he signs it.
Now, I find that very hard to believe, but assuming a cartoonist does that, well I don’t want to particularly read that strip anymore.

Unlike Letterman or Bob Hope, the comic strip is a medium that always provoked a “Wow! Look at what this guy did!” in terms of writing and drawing. The best example of that is anyone of a hundred Sunday strips by Bill Watterson.

Who wouldn’t be crushed it we found out he had a whole staff writing and drawing those? They were so magical because they are personal and intimate – one man did all that!

That’s what was so beautifully sincere about Peanuts, too. It may have not always been hilarious, but it was always Charles Shulz.

I think the best strips are one-man workshops because you are getting, every day, a clearer view of the mind behind it all. To me, a one person or even just a two person strip is how is is supposed to be – the reader and the artist having an personal conversation, every day.

Having gag writers do it for you is like, well…hiring a hooker. You may get the same result in the end, but the essence of what it the personal exchange is has changed considerably.

I hope that wasn’t over the top but I offer apologies to any gag writers reading this, just in case!

#21 Shane Davis
June/16/2009
@ 4:54 pm

I should just hire a writer writer. I never see those typos BEFORE hitting that darn “submit” button.

#22 Jesse Cline
June/16/2009
@ 5:01 pm

Shane, in Cartoonist Profiles, Jim Davis said he writes Garfield, but he has an assistant that he has worked with for years who does all the art. I think its been like that since the early 80s.

#23 Shane Davis
June/16/2009
@ 5:08 pm

I am glad to know he still writes it, but maybe I’d have liked it better if he still was a one horse shop (like Jim Davis or his private jet his could give a rat’s @$$ what I think).

But maybe, as someone said, having assistants help out with either writing or drawing is a bit old school anyway. I remember reading the Mr. Davis was an assistant of T.K. Ryan’s, who did Tumbleweeds (one of my favorite all time strips).

I guess I’m a naive purist…

#24 John Read
June/16/2009
@ 6:45 pm

If you laugh at a cartoon, but find out later the gag wasn’t written by the cartoonist who drew it, do you take your laugh back?

I can’t imagine why a comic created by two guys (for instance: “Over the Hedge” is one of the best drawn, consistantly funny strips in syndication) that entertains you is any less entertaining than a comic done by one guy. Does that mean people who disdain comics written by someone other than the person who draws it only laugh at the comic if they know beforehand it’s a one-man show?

#25 John Read
June/16/2009
@ 6:47 pm

My query applies to gag cartoons and single panel syndicated comics, too.

#26 John Read
June/16/2009
@ 6:58 pm

A gag writer is still a writer, correct? If a guy (or girl) who’s funny but can’t drawn a lick partners with a guy (or girl) cartoonist who can really draw well but isn’t naturally funny or clever, and they produce an entertaining comic strip or single panel, does it change the average reader’s perception of what the strip/panel is trying to accomplish?

#27 Randy Glasbergen
June/16/2009
@ 7:32 pm

During my time on staff at Hallmark Cards in KC, I wrote hundreds of greeting card gags for Garfield and Peanuts cards. (After that, I wrote a series of Tumbleweeds cards for Tom Ryan and American Greetings.) It was fun to write for someone else’s characters now and again. Instead of trying to write like another cartoonist, we wrote for the characters. A Snoopy card, for example, sounded different than a Sally or Lucy card. We also wrote for many non-comic characters like Gone With The Wind, Wizard of Oz, Star Trek, others.

#28 Carl Moore
June/16/2009
@ 7:35 pm

Before I became a cartoonist I knew I could draw well enough, but I didn’t know if I could come up with saleable gags. So before trying to draw up cartoons I decided to see if I could sell gags to established professionals. I sold my first gag to Bob Thaves who did FRANK AND ERNEST. When I received that check for a big $12.50 (this was back in the ’80s, I knew I could make money doing cartoons. It’s not a bad way to test your gag-writing skills before jumping all the way in.

#29 Shane Davis
June/16/2009
@ 8:02 pm

“If you laugh at a cartoon, but find out later the gag wasnâ??t written by the cartoonist who drew it, do you take your laugh back?”

Nah, I do see what you mean, though. I guess when I look at strip, I apply the ‘Truth In Packaging Act’ mentality to it. If it is authored by one guy, two guys, whatever, I tend to believe it was THAT guy or THOSE guys that did it.

To see it authored by one person then find out it was a staff that did it, meh. I lose some respect for it in a way.

It’s like books ‘written’ by celebs or politico – do you really have that much respect for the work when you KNOW it was ghost written?

Multiple authors are fine, if I know that is the way it is going in. The gag may be funny, but when you know it is one person and the writing, artwork, charazterization, when it all comes together and makes a great strip I just can’t help but be impressed.

Nothing wrong with a work by committed, it just doesn’t ‘pop’ like a solo work does, IMHO.

#30 Shane Davis
June/16/2009
@ 8:04 pm

‘Committee’ not ‘committed.’
Dang you Freud!

#31 Margaret Shulock
June/17/2009
@ 12:06 pm

Several years ago I did some gag writing for a brilliant and creative cartoonist who had fallen behind schedule due to a family emergency. Often when I received the proof sheet of my gags I barely recognized them as mine. The artist had taken the germ of the idea and expanded on it. That’s probably more the norm, one would hope.

#32 Cedric Atizado
June/17/2009
@ 4:21 pm

I dunno. I think something like this only really matters to other cartoonist.

#33 P.S. Mueller
June/18/2009
@ 11:13 am

Gag people have dwindled away along with the markets that once supported them. I haven’t received a pack of photocopied index cards for several years. A few of my cartoonist friends got into the business selling gags to Charles Addams, who, I gather, was not particularly good at keep track of things.

Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with collaboration. My radio gig with the Onion requires lots of it, and overall, the experience has been good, though occasionally maddening. As a cartoonist, however, I remain far too egotistical and crazy to employ outside help.

#34 Dan Reynolds
June/18/2009
@ 12:50 pm

Bill Holbrook stated EVERYTHING that needs to be said about this topic. It’s as simple and short as he said.

I don’t believe Bonds, Sosa, Clemens or anyone else who used steroids for years does NOT belong in the Hall of Fame. Cartoonists who make a living using gag writer material are cartoonists on steroids.

For many years I’ve done my work from my own hand and mind. This is why I love cartooning. The victories are only TRULY sweet when your using your own testosterone (or estrogen, whatever the case may be).

Bill said, Gag writersâ?¦”Never used â??em. Never will.
The whole reason Iâ??m in this insane business is for the creative expression it provides for me. Why would I farm out my lifeâ??s purpose? :)”

On the other hand, remarks like Stacy Curtis, blow my mind.
#1 We’re not talking about MOVIES here. #2 We’re talking about CARTOONS, and #3 If I was betting, I’d bet Stacy doesn’t write his own material.

As re: to John Reads comment…In Over the Hedge, they’re out in front about it. When I read this cartoon, I can appreciate bother their separate efforts. There’s honesty there. They’re not implying talents they don’t have as do people who make a living using ghost writers.

Cedric.. You could not be more wrong. After I had been in the biz for a few years and got wind of the inner workings (how so many cartoonists don’t write their own material), I shared this knowledge with comic reading pedestrians and everyone of them was in disbelief. This is ALWAYS the reaction I’ve gotten. There is DEFINITELY an assumption (and rightfully so) by the common person on the street that the cartoonist is drawing their own ideas.

If they’re not doing so, they’re called illustrators, not cartoonists.

#35 Dan Reynolds
June/18/2009
@ 12:51 pm

that should read

I DO believe Bonds, Sosa, Clemens or anyone else who used steroids for years does NOT belong in the Hall of Fame.

#36 Stacy Curtis
June/19/2009
@ 1:59 am

@ Dan Reynolds (#34), what do you mean I don’t write my own material?
Did your gag writer write that? Cuz that’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen, or the most ignorant.

I have never used a gag writer, because if you knew my work, I have never drawn gag cartoons or a comic strip.

I just don’t think you can use a blanket statement like everyone should create their work the same way I do, or it’s inferior.

You’re not against using a gag writer, you’re just against not crediting them with that day’s gag?

Again, I just don’t care as long as the end product is good and the writer got paid.

Hell, I can’t be the only one thinking there’s some comic strips out there that could benefit from a gag writer or two.

#37 Dan Reynolds
June/20/2009
@ 12:44 pm

Stacy,
Come on.

You wrote above #19, using movies as an analogy to cartooning as regards to gag wirters:

“Itâ??s all special effects, behind the scenes.

Who cares how they made the explosions in the latest blockbuster movie, as long as the end product was great?”

So, in essence, using your analogy, you are stating who cares about anything but the end product or who cares if there are cartoonists using gag writers as long as the cartoon is good.

So, since YOU said that, I said, “If I was betting, Iâ??d bet Stacy doesnâ??t write his own material.”

If you read what I said, I NEVER said you DID use a gagwriter which is what you are accusing me of saying. I said (based on your analogous statement that you are okay with cartoon gag writers as long as the cartoon end product is good), that your attitude would lead someone, if they were betting, which way you worked – that you used a gagwrtier. I wasn’t saying you do use a gagwriter because I don’t know. But you so okay with gagwriting (why wouldn’t I assume you use them). Is that really much of a leap on my part. It’s not like you said you DIDN’T in your post.
Now, that you said you don’t, fine. I believe you. You have to admit for someone who says they’re fine with using gagwriters, you certainly got up in arms when someone (me) said (based on your affinity towards them), that if I was betting, I’d bet you use them. Why get so bent out of shape?
Maybe you really DON’T think using gag or ghost writers is okay. From your reaction to what you THOUGHT I was saying (which now I hope you can go back and see I WASN’T saying), you seemed to get overly upset about it. Only you know why that is.

#38 Dan Reynolds
June/20/2009
@ 12:49 pm

PS
Stacy, I checked out your web site. I really like your characters’ expressions Good work.
Dan

#39 Dan Reynolds
June/20/2009
@ 1:18 pm

Stacy,
I need to respond, after reading your response to my post (which I understand was based on your mistaken assumption of what I was saying):
You wrote the following (in small print) and my reply will be in CAPS:

Did your gag writer write that? I DON”T USE GAG WRITERS. Cuz thatâ??s the funniest thing Iâ??ve ever seen, or the most ignorant. AGAIN, I UNDERSTAND YOU WROTE THIS BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT I WAS SAYING SOMETHING I WASN”T

I have never used a gag writer, because if you knew my work, I have never drawn gag cartoons or a comic strip. YOU’RE RIGHT. I DON’T KNOW YOUR WORK. I WAS REPLYING TO WHAT YOU WROTE. GOOD POINT, THOUGH. PERHAPS SINCE YOU DON’T DO WORK THAT WOULD USE SUCH WRITERS, MAYBE YOU DON’T REALLY UNDERSTAND, FULLY, WHY OTHERS WOULD BE AGAINST SUCH USE.

I just donâ??t think you can use a blanket statement like everyone should create their work the same way I do, or itâ??s inferior. AGAIN, I NEVER SAID THAT. BUT I DON’T MIND ADMITTING, YES, IT IS INFERIOR TO OTHERS’ WORK (I’M NOT SAYING WHO) WHO DO BOTH THE WRITING AND THE DRAWING. THIS REMARK IS SPECIFICALLY DIRECTED TOWARDS ARTISTS WHO HAVE THEIR NAME ON THE CARTOON WITHOUT GIVING CREDIT OR EVEN ADMITTING THERE IS ANOTHER PERSON INVOLVED. WHEN A COMIC HAS TWO NAMES ON THE STRIP AND ARE OUT THERE ABOUT IT I FULLY RESPECT THEM AS A TEAM IN THE SAME WAY I WOULD RESPECT ONE ARTIST WHO DOES IT ALL. THOUGH, I STILL GIVE THE EDGE TO ONE PERSON WHO DOES IT ALL.

Youâ??re not against using a gag writer, youâ??re just against not crediting them with that dayâ??s gag? NOT SURE WHAT YOU’RE SAYING. BASICALLY, I’M AGAINST A CARTOONIST USING A GHOST GAG WRITER AND TRYING TO COME OFF LIKE HE/SHE IS A ONE MAN/WOMAN SHOW. THIS IS AN ILLUSTRATOR TRYING TO COME OFF LIKE A CARTOONIST AND IS AN ILLUSTRATOR ON STEROIDS, TO USE MY BASEBALL ANALOGY.

Again, I just donâ??t care as long as the end product is good and the writer got paid. YOU DON’T CARE, BUT THEN AGAIN, YOU’RE AN ILLUSTRATOR OR CARTOONY TYPE ILLUSTRATOR AS OPPOSED TO THE TRADITIONAL CARTOONIST.

Hell, I canâ??t be the only one thinking thereâ??s some comic strips out there that could benefit from a gag writer or two.
I AGREE. BUT INSTEAD OF HAVING SOSO STRIPS THAT NEED A GAG WRITER TO BE GOOD…HOW ABOUT GETTING STRIPS THAT ARE ALREADY GOOD BECAUSE THE ILLUSTRATOR IS ALSO THE SAME PERSON DOING THE WRITING???? CAN ANYONE SAY BILL WATTERSON? GARY LARSON?

#40 Wiley Miller
June/20/2009
@ 5:40 pm

Syndicated comic strips is first and foremost, commercial art. Make no mistake about that. As such, there are several ways to go about producing a feature. Simply because it’s not the way you produce it does not make it better or worse. They are all done in the best manner that suits the feature and creator of the feature. That doesn’t mean you have to like it, of course, which is why there’s a wide variety of comics on the market for you to pick and choose. But to declare all work done using gag writers as inferior to those of us who produce all our own material is an oversimplification. Many of us prefer to approach the work purely as an artist, but it is still a business, and the work is meaningless if you’re out of business.

#41 Dan Reynolds
June/20/2009
@ 9:38 pm

Wiley is correct. This is a commercial business. There are several ways to go to make money. Some of us 1) do our own work, some of us 2) put on the marque that one person is the writer and the other is the illustrator, and some of us 3)advertise ONE name, but use someone behind the scenes to provide the writing while illustrating the work themselves.
In MY opinion, number one is the best way. People will do what they will do irregardless of what I think. I’m not and haven’t told anyone not to do anything. I can’t do that and if I did, no one would listen, and why should they? Who the heck am I to tell anyone what they can and can’t do? But what I can do is say my opinion – which is all I have done – and that is doing all your own work is the best way. I personally respect those cartoonists who are the whole package.
One thing to remember when reading my posts are that I’m only giving my opinion.
If you disagree with me, that’s certainly your right. We all have our own opinion.

#42 guy endore-kaiser
June/21/2009
@ 2:38 am

“If you read what I said, I NEVER said you DID use a gagwriter which is what you are accusing me of saying. I said (based on your analogous statement that you are okay with cartoon gag writers as long as the cartoon end product is good), that your attitude would lead someone, if they were betting, which way you worked – that you used a gagwrtier. I wasnâ??t saying you do use a gagwriter because I donâ??t know. But you so okay with gagwriting (why wouldnâ??t I assume you use them). Is that really much of a leap on my part. Itâ??s not like you said you DIDNâ??T in your post.
Now, that you said you donâ??t, fine. I believe you. You have to admit for someone who says theyâ??re fine with using gagwriters, you certainly got up in arms when someone (me) said (based on your affinity towards them), that if I was betting, Iâ??d bet you use them. Why get so bent out of shape?
Maybe you really DONâ??T think using gag or ghost writers is okay. From your reaction to what you THOUGHT I was saying (which now I hope you can go back and see I WASNâ??T saying), you seemed to get overly upset about it. Only you know why that is.”

Dear god, man, get a gag writer for these posts.

#43 Dan Reynolds
June/21/2009
@ 9:30 am

I wouldn’t have to if people didn’t read things I wasn’t saying.

#44 Stacy Curtis
June/23/2009
@ 12:29 am

@ Dan — Sorry if I misunderstood your statement: “If I was betting, Iâ??d bet Stacy doesnâ??t write his own material” as you saying you don’t think I write my own material.

I’m glad you took the time to check out my work.
BTW — I have drawn comics. I grew up wanting to be Charles Schulz and draw comic strips for a living. And no, I haven’t used gagwriters, I just don’t care if other cartoonists do. Whatever floats your boat.

#45 Dan Reynolds
June/26/2009
@ 8:53 pm

I appreciate and respect your opinion on this matter. Some of us will fall on one side of the fence and some on the other.

#46 peter davis
November/13/2009
@ 10:40 pm

I am a poor illustrator but once in a while can come up with some good gag concepts. I would like to work with an artist as a partner. This means that I would genuinely appreciate the artist’s thoughts on the wording I have chosen for the gag. In turn, I would expect the artist to be open to my comments on the illustration.

Gilbert and Sullivan were brilliant together. Illustrators and artists should never be afraid to acknowledge working with a gag writer. The end result is what counts.

#47 Dan Reynolds
January/5/2010
@ 8:16 pm

Peter is right – an illustrators should not be afraid to acknowledge they work with a gag writer.

I would ask people to consider WHY it is many illustrators DON’T acknowledge they are using a gag writer.

That’s the point I was continually pointing at above. Is it not clear WHY some don’t acknowledge???? Why do they want to keep it a secret?

#48 Dave Stephens
January/5/2010
@ 8:56 pm

“Be vewy vewy qwiet… We’re hunting wabbits!”

#49 Halle Waltz
December/26/2010
@ 12:12 pm

Theres a fine line between artistic licence and plagiarism. The way I see it Dracula has been done so many times, and Bram Stoker or his woman have not been credited for most works on vampyres, and Mary Shelley has not been credited in every work about Frankenstein or walking patchwork people.
That said, nothing much is original anymore, so it is difficult to come up with something unique. Its also difficult when the river runs dry, and nothin comes out.
In times like these, you have to decide between becoming a factory product or a Daniel Day Lewis.

The credibility of the poet or comedian is at stake, and is not something anyone can comment on without being judgementally unsound. With so many hungry mouths out there it is more than a moral issue. Granted, if you are not talking on a moral plane, or an ethical one, then you do not give the question the emotional quality that an audience demands.
What is the point of asking this question? Where are you taking people, and what do you want out of this?
Bottom line is that this is a society that uses money for practices of self-worth, and no one wants to prostitute themselves for nothing.
Teamwork isn’t a bad thing although the label may take all the credibility.

#50 SkagmaFomma
July/26/2011
@ 12:13 am

Ciao,

i am called Erika from Kentucky and I at first found this website and I have to say that it is a lot well done for people like me with a interest for buy marijuana seeds. This interest for pot seeds I want to divide with a lot of people so email me.

bye,

Ana

#51 Mike Peterson
July/26/2011
@ 3:18 am

I’m assuming comments will be back at some point, but, meanwhile, this utterly deranged spam is the funniest thing I’ve read in a long time. I suggest you leave it up at least until everything else is in place.

Or until she comes back to explain why, if she’s called “Erika from Kentucky,” she signs her post “Ana.” Been dipping into the inventory?

#52 David Cohen
July/26/2011
@ 6:21 am

Mike, maybe Erika from Kentucky is a gag writer.

#53 Jerry Fisher
September/20/2011
@ 10:24 am

I just discovered this discussion two years after it began. I’m a gag writer who works with a couple of syndicated cartoonists. I’m beginning to understand that unless you are co-creating a panel (like Zits or Jeremy, etc), a cartoonist’s use of someone like me can be open (w/ an acknowledgement line) or private, at their discretion. If the tables were turned and I was a long-time cartoonist with a brand to maintain and simply wanted to get outside help maintaining that brand by privately collaborating with a gag writer, it seems perfectly acceptable.
Companies hire outside consultants all the time for such purposes w/o putting the consultant’s name in the letterhead.

#54 Derek Morgan
October/19/2012
@ 9:22 am

A good gag requires a good writer. And sorry to break it to you artists, but 90% of the cartoons out there are not funny.

If you want quality gags consistently, email me. derek.mrgn@gmail.com

Here’s a freebie…

IMAGE: A group of congressmen are sitting at a table having lunch in the Capital cafeteria. One congressman has his tray of food and he wants to join the others at the table, but they?re shunning him. Some at the table are folding their arms, pouting and looking the other way. One man is pointing out an empty table and shaking his head at the man who wants to sit. This guy is clearly not welcome. He says to those shunning him, “Seriously? I was just stretching my arms out!”

CAPTION: A Tea Party member is ousted for reaching across the aisle.

#55 Steve Skelton
October/19/2012
@ 9:41 am

hmmmm….Sorry to break it to this writer, but not only do I find this not funny, I think it would be next to impossible to illustrate effectively for a variety of reasons.

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