Dan Piraro/Bizarro; Tom Tomorrow/This Modern World
IN JANUARY, 2024, CHANGES ARE COMING TO RANCHO BIZARRO that we hope you’ll enjoy, or at least won’t make you puke!
Have you ever spent the majority of your life weaving a beautiful rug only to have it pulled out from under you by a world that would rather see what kinds of rugs a robot could make?
Of course not, and neither have I. Probably no one has.
But there’s no denying the world is changing…
Creative types, like writers and cartoonists, can no longer depend on large corporations like the publishers of newspapers and books to support them, so we’re having to get creative and learn to market ourselves directly to readers in new ways.
The good news is that being creative is what we creative types do, so this is an excellent opportunity for growth. The bad news is that growth and change are hard and I don’t like hard things.
During the past year or two major newspaper publishers have taken to unifying their comics pages across every paper in their group, which has become an albatross around the neck of cartoonists whose strips have been excluded. So they must reinvent ways to continue entertaining their fans.
So here we are. It is said that mental health can be measured by a person’s ability to accept reality, and though I’ve rarely been accused of being mentally healthy, I’m taking a crash course in reality and meeting this challenge head-on.
Plans for the new year here at Rancho Bizarro will include my writing a little less here in my Sunday blog posts and posting my longer think pieces (like last week’s popular essay on the dangers of fame) in a weekly subscription newsletter.
Read Dan’s blog entry about the coming changes here; and maybe do a little Christmas shopping at The Bizarro Shop.
It is not just major syndicated comics that need new ways of funding to continue their craft.
Alternative cartoonists like Tom Tomorrow is worthy of many more outlets than he has.
—SUPPORT THIS CARTOON: subcribe to Sparky’s List as if Sparky’s life depends on it! Because it kind of does! You’ll get to read the cartoon a day before it goes live anywhere, and you’ll get exclusive access to my weekly newsletter, featuring behind-the-scenes notes about each cartoon and various supplementary ramblings. And you’ll be helping to keep this cartoon sustainable in a media environment that grows more challenging by the day.
There are various ways to help your favorite cartoonist, as Tom explains:
— Mailchimp. This is the old school newsletter I started up before there were any other options, sent directly to your inbox. It’s the lowest-priced version, but you won’t have access to archives.
— Patreon. Same as the Mailchimp version, but on the Patreon site, with a growing archive.
— Substack. This is new, and I’m still working out the details. Come be a charter subscriber and watch me work out the bugs in real time!
If you have a favorite cartoonist and few extra bucks find them and thank him or her for their efforts.