Philadelphia Daily News’ Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Signe Wikinson has announced that she’s ending her comic strip Family Tree after a three and half year run. The strip was signed by United Media and recently moved to Universal Uclick when United Media outsourced all their syndication to Universal. The final strip ends this Saturday, but the feature will start over from the beginning on GoComics.com if you missed the early strips.
I asked her about her experience doing the strip. Here’s our exchange:
AG: Why are you ending the strip?
SW: I couldn’t give the strip the attention I’d like in addition to doing my regular job that still, after all, pays my health care.
AG: Do you have any post-Family Tree plans? Will we see your strip/character elsewhere?
SW: Universal will rerun the strip on its website but otherwise, I won’t be using the characters for the time being. They would, of course, make a brilliant sitcom or movie (even without superheroes) and I will entertain all the multi-million dollar offers I assume will flood in. In the meantime, I plan to re-introduce myself to my family and re-learn their names.
AG: Has your work in cartooning (editorial cartooning or comic strips) ever take on any more special meaning because of the scarcity of female cartoonists or was it just simply your life pursuit irrespective of other women in the field?
SW: The lack of women creators and decent female characters in strips is a whole other sinkhole I could wallow in. I wish the best for talents like Hilary Price who remain in the trenches. Fortunately, I’m getting supportive emails from readers who are SHOCKED their favorite strip is ending. A little late but I’ll print them out and put them them under my pillow
AG: Any regrets regarding the strip, unfinished goals?
SW: I loved doing the strip and regret I didn’t have the time to both draw it and help promote it in the way it needed to be successful. Twig was was a real girl. I’ll especially miss her and her grandmother. They allowed me to write and draw outside the left/right, headline-driven box of daily editorial cartooning. Really fun. And, much as I admire my talented male colleagues, I took pleasure in drawing female characters for comics pages that don’t have many good ones. I still think about my little family members as real people and miss being able to chronicle how they navigate the hideous pressures of having the right online personality, eco-sensitive footwear and impressive SAT scores.
I will forever thank/curse Ted Rall for getting me into this racket in the first place.