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Eric A. Burns of Websnark.com on His Quote in "Right War, Wrong Front" Essay
posted December 13, 2004
 

Eric A. Burns
via the Internet


First off, let me say I both liked your article and agree with many or most of your points.

Second off, as the author of the article you reference here...
...or you can see a more oblique version of this rhetoric at work through analyses of "what's wrong with comic strips" from sources like Websnark.com....

... I should point out that's a pretty solid misreading of my basic thesis in that article. First off, I don't really make distinctions between webcomics and newspaper comics. I also don't believe in the myth that somehow the newspaper is devoid of either quality or controversy. And I know of very few popular newspaper comics not currently available in some form on the web, so the distinction between them is an artificial one.

Finally... I don't think the article is in any way about what's "wrong" with comic strips. It went through some of the struggles -- artistically based -- that Bloom County, the Far Side, and Calvin and Hobbes went through, the choices they made -- particularly their choice to end somewhat early -- and the lesson I believe the Syndicates may have learned from those experiences.

I think the syndicates are in the business of making money. I also don't think there's anything wrong with that. And I think they're making their choices these days based on what they think will give them the longest term profits for their investments. I certainly don't think that online success can equate to syndicated success right now (though that may change -- both because of new ways for online cartoonists to be successful and because the old newspaper success is drying up along with the decline in newspaper sales). Really, this particular essay wasn't about webcomics at all, save in the example of Kurtz, and Kurtz is still trying to establish himself in print. It was an attempt to broaden the basic understanding of how we got to the current situation we're in... and how Larson, Watterson and Breathed (and Davis and Guisewite -- and many others, for that matter) contributed to it.

None of which changes anything in your essay's thesis, which I still agree with. But I thought I'd mention what seemed like a misunderstanding about my essay.

Keep up the good work!