Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Weingarten's comic strip picked up, opinions on other comics cease

From the April 7th chat, Gene Weingarten says,

I have a wonderful announcement about how Chatological Humor is going to get even better! This is exactly like announcements you've been seeing in other newspapers practically every day now about how they are cutting costs, paper quality, paper size, staff and features in order to bring to you, the reader, an EVEN BETTER, MORE STREAMLINED PRODUCT!

Well, this is the last week Chatological Humor will offer its picks for the best comics of the previous week. Yes, the CPOW [Comic Pick of the Week] is dead. All for your benefit!

Okay, as it happens, there is nothing dastardly or craven behind this decision and no one I can yell at self-righteously. Last week, the Washington Post Writers Group syndicate picked up its option on "Barney and Clyde," the comic strip being developed by me, my son, Dan, and cartoonist David Clark. Editors at The Writers Group feel that I can no longer offer my half-assed, semi-knowledgeable opinions about other comic strips that might, in the future, compete for space with mine. I hate to admit it, but they have a point.


Alexandria: So, when does Barney and Clyde's run begin? And what will it replace? (this is news, not commentary, I'm asking for)

Gene Weingarten: No clear answer to either question; no way of knowing even if The Washington Post will run it. There are no obligations in any direction.


Comics abomination: Gene, I noticed on Sunday that while some of the regular strips seem to have shrunk or the panels squeezed together oddly (Pearls especially got the short end of the stick), the Slylock Fox panel has grown significantly.

I'm all for encouraging youngsters' abilities to solve petty crimes through observation, but does it really need to be larger than most of the other strips?

Gene Weingarten: This may be deliberate, and smart. Pearls Before Swine (Pastis will hate me for this) seems to be drawn shrewdly, to deter shrinkage. Its characters are simple, dialogue simple, spaces big. It can shrink without injury more than most can.


Re: Pearls Before Swine: I disagree with Pastis' strategy - I think he is inadvertently enabling shrinkage instead of deterring it. A comic editor might see his strip and assume that shrinking all comics won't hurt the content. What if the comics fought shrinkage by adding more art and content, so that readers would complain to the comics editors?

Gene Weingarten: Uh, that would be a lot of nose-cutting for face-spiting.


Pearls shrinkage: I think you might be missing the point. Whether or not Pastis is deliberately drawing his strip to survive the Great Comic Shrink of 2009 or not, SLYLOCK FOX IS GETTING BIGGER!

Surely another comic deserves enlargement before Slylock.

Gene Weingarten: If you are going to run Slylock, you need to give it space! A lot of stuff is going on in there.

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