Dan Perkins, best known as Tom Tomorrow, has announced that his strip is leaving Salon.com as of today where it has run since the mid-90s to run his work on the Daily Kos and also serve as that site’s Comic Editor. He notes that as the newspaper industry contracts, there hasn’t been an inverse expansion of political cartooning online – a trend he hopes to reverse – starting with the progressive Daily Kos.
I’ve been quietly agitating for something like this for quite a while. These are difficult times for cartoonists, particularly those of us working in the subgenre of altweekly cartooning. The papers are still vital to my survival, and I’m grateful beyond measure to the many editors who continue to run my work in print each week – but the larger trend over the past few years has not exactly been encouraging. Too many papers have decided that they no longer have any use for this art form which grew in their stead, adapting itself entirely to their rhythms, and as that market contracts, there’s been no simultaneous expansion online. The niche that editorial cartoons filled in newspapers is almost entirely occupied by Daily Show clips online. Why do so few political sites feature political cartoons? Why did the Huffington Post, with verticals devoted to almost any topic you can imagine, never launch a comics section?
I’ve got a chance to help counter that trend, in some small way, at a site I’ve been reading since 2002. (I believe I actually sent Markos some of his earliest traffic, back-as absurd as it sounds now-when my little vanity site had the higher readership.) It’s an experiment for both of us, I think, but an exciting one. My cartoon will start running there next Monday. Over the next few months we’ll be adding others, and, I hope, building up a go-to destination for progressive cartoon commentary.