A Cartooning Menagerie

Small Newspapers and Freelance Cartoonists

Small Market Sports © Bill Charbonneau

Darren Johnson on getting cartoons for small newspapers:

Still, when I started publishing newspapers 11 years ago – after working at other publications – I imagined that a cartoonist would be important to this hoped-for media empire.

I did an Internet search and found a young fellow, Bill Charbonneau, in Canada, doing sports-related strips titled “Small Market Sports.” They looked professional – better than I could do myself – so I ran them at the bottom of the ad pages to fill space.

A couple of years later, after I had been running his strip regularly, Bill wrote me. He said he couldn’t do it anymore. See, he’d met a woman. They were going to get married – on the condition that he quit his dream. So he did.

It’s tough out there for cartoonists.

Off My Meds © Leslie Taha

I then found Les Taha who had a really good cartoon called “Off My Meds,” and he was trying to break into newspapers, sending his work to several dozen of them. His toons are every bit as good as “The Far Side,” and in the same style, but he could never get the business model to work.

A couple of years ago, he wrote us newspapers and said “no more.” He was going to put his cartoon book on Amazon and try to make a living doing that. That didn’t work out, apparently, and last year he started sending out his toons again to newspapers. But then this summer he sent another email announcing his retirement along with five toons about Satan and hell.

Read Johnson’s full column here.


To the Big Time

Keith Knight‘s “Woke” is signed for another season. Variety notes:

Woke” has been renewed for Season 2 at HuluVariety has learned.

The news comes about two months after the release of Season 1, which dropped in its entirety on the streamer on Sept. 9. Season 2 of the comedy series will consist of eight episodes.

Inspired by the life of artist Keith Knight, “Woke” stars Lamorne Morris as Keef, a Black cartoonist on the verge of mainstream success when an unexpected incident changes everything.


Restoring Preserving the Past

The Sunday Post icon and Scotland’s favourite son first appeared – along with the country’s most famous family, The Broons – 84 years ago and was created by writer RD Low and artist Dudley D Watkins. They debuted in an eight-page Fun Section on March 8, 1936 and have never left, entertaining generations of Scots.

An original copy of the hallowed pages lay deep in the vaults of DC Thomson archives as the years took its toll on the fading newsprint. Now, thanks to the painstaking work of book conservator Emma Fraser the pages have been returned to their former glory.

Laura Smith, for The Sunday Post, reports of giving the past to the future.

Emma says her job is not to restore books, manuscripts and newsprint which would otherwise lose its character and history. Instead, her aim is to preserve the pages for decades to come.


Cartoonist (and NCS Prez) Jason Chatfield Will Judge Your Christmas

Jason, looking to fit to be a Foodie, will appear on The Food Network:

Buddy Valastro and his team build a life-size gingerbread house to compete against a life-size snow globe designed by Tony and Emmy Award-winning scenic designer David Gallo, his partner, Viveca Gardiner, and their team. This interactive Christmas challenge will be judged by comedian Jason Chatfield and lifestyle blogger Courtney Quinn.


Steve Breen’s Career as NOT a Gagman

“You take the Charger losses differently since they moved to Los Angeles!”

Steve Breen has taken to emulating the DC Comics of the 1960s, where a cover was made and then a story created to match the illustration. In Steve’s case he draws a cartoon and lets others write the caption. This began years ago, and continues, at the San Diego Union-Tribune.

About a third of our entries this week were election-related and we included two as finalists (equal time, you’ll notice!). Jim Dela Rosa bolted to the top of the heap with his wry swipe at a certain NFL team. Congrats, Jim. He will receive Steve Breen’s signed original in the mail. Thanks to all those who participated.

He also does a weekly for Creators Syndicate.


A Short Interview with a Wild Mind

Q: If you could spend time with any of these creators, who would you want to meet? Who would you avoid?

A: I tend to try to separate the art from the artist, but Pat Sullivan [whose studio made Felix the Cat] was a nasty guy and not that great of an artist— he was just taking the credit from someone who was. Who would I want to hang out with? I’d want to hang out at Termite Terrace with [Looney Tunes directors and writers] Michael Maltese, Ted Pierce, Chuck Jones. Bob Clampett? He seems like someone to hang out with.

Publishers Weekly talks to author/historian Reid Mitenbuler.


Animated Revivals

© Warner Bros. Animation Amblin Entertainment

Animaniacs Returns.

In case you are not a 31-year-old who built his childhood personality around cartoons (bonjour), a primer: “Animaniacs” was the linchpin of a 1990s wave of new Warner Bros. cartoons, directly preceded by Spielberg’s “Tiny Toon Adventures.” That cartoon was a literal continuation of the old “Looney Tunes” that began in the 1930s, featuring younger, successor versions of characters like Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.

Yakko, Wakko and Dot sometimes cavorted around a Burbank backlot, and sometimes they popped up in the Renaissance or biblical times. Wherever they went, they wrought slapstick mayhem, bedeviling authority figures, pulling giant props out of thin air and dishing out pop culture references without a worry about how they might age.

Now it’s back, courtesy of Hulu, with the first new season of 13 episodes premiering Nov. 20.


And another revival coming next year:


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