Print Cartoon is Dead Long Live the Online Cartoon

The death of print editorial cartoons is a worldwide phenomena. 

Online platforms are full of editorial cartoons… the era of newspaper cartooning is over. Indian editorial cartooning has entered the world of online platforms.

© Sorit Gupto

Sorit Gupto‘s essay on the state on the editorial cartoon in India.

[Sometime] in the early 90s. There was a panel discussion held in the Boimela or the Kolkata book fair where a number of famous Bangla cartoonists were invited for discussion. The topic of the discussion was ‘Relevance of cartoons in the newspaper’…

At that time the newspapers, both Bangla and English, stopped appointing cartoonists except one. In other words, most of the speakers of the panel discussion – the cartoonists – were essentially jobless. The only cartoonist associated with a newspaper was absent because of some health issues. These details are necessary because what was supposed to be a panel discussion on ‘Relevance of cartoons in the newspaper’, rapidly transformed into a grievance redressal event of the (jobless) cartoonists.

Sorit sees the new technology as a savior:

Soon cartoonists were transformed into ‘endangered’ species if not ‘extinct species’ like their pester, type-setter and proofreader colleagues.

However, this tide was changed with the advent of online platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and last but the most important gadget the smartphone. There was a time when a set of technology devastated the art form of editorial cartooning, but it is another set of technology that has given a new life to editorial cartoonists. Now, they don’t have to get approval from an editor to publish their cartoons. With just a click of the mouse, s/he can share the cartoons with the whole world.

Now the compensation has to catch up.


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