Scott Kurtz offers “PVPOnline” to newspapers for free and starts a firestorm in the process.

This is something I’ve been following for awhile now before commenting on and if nothing else it’s been a fascinating lesson in human nature and resistance to change. Scott Kurtz is the creator/owner/publisher of a webcomic called PvPOnline.com that has a huge following, of which I am a member, that he’s managed to turn into a full-time job despite the fact that it appears daily on the web for free. He’s done this mainly through sales of merchandise and then eventually publishing comic books with original stories in them—first through Dorkstorm Press and then later through Image Comics. Scott was at the recent San Diego Comic Con and he participated on a panel discussion about the future of the comic strip where he made his announcement that has riled up a number of traditional syndicated cartoonists:

This last year, I was contacted by Universal Press Syndicates about PvP. They know the strip and were very interested in syndicating it as a feature. I would love to see PvP in newspapers and we started talks. I let them know that there were six years of archives available and that I could edit the strips to conform to family paper editorial standards. The only thing I could not do was give up my ownership and rights to my creation.

Under no circumstances would I relinquish my copyright, book deals, merchandise deals, rights to market my strips, etc. If they wanted PvP, we would agree to a newspaper distribution deal and that was it. After six weeks the syndicates returned with their answer: They wanted PvP…all of it. If they could not have the rights to the feature, they weren’t interested. So we parted ways.

But I’ve already become attached to the idea of seeing PvP in the papers, and that’s why I’ve decided to start a new program. In the coming months, I’ll be putting into effect, a program in which papers can receive PVP for free. That’s right, free. They don’t have to pay me a cent for it. I will provide for the papers, a comic strip with a larger established audience then any new syndicated feature, a years worth of strips in advance, and I won’t charge them a cent for it.

That’s right, he’s offering PVP to any newspaper that wants to carry it for free. To an outsider like myself this is a brilliant move and a win-win situation for Scott and the newspapers. PVP already has a large readership and is popular with a demographic that many television networks, let alone newspapers, would kill to get a piece of and appearing in a daily newspaper would likely only increase its popularity which could lead to more merchandising deals and thus greater profits for Scott even if he doesn’t charge the papers anything for the strip. The papers get a popular strip at no cost with an already plentiful amount of material to make use of. So what was the reaction when word of this got out to the syndicated cartoonists? Well if this thread over at ToonTalk.org is any indication then to say a lot of them were less than enthusiastic would be a major understatement. Several folks said it would be impossible—free or not—for Scott to get into any papers without a syndicate. Wiley Miller who does Non Sequitur accused Scott of not doing his research as well as being ignorant of how newspaper editors work and predicted that Scott’s “in for a rude awakening.” Veteran cartoonist and author of the book The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Cartooning Arnold Wagner opined that he’s seen folks try this sort of thing before and it didn’t work then, probably won’t work now. Illustrator Bob Burnett questioned how one makes money when you’re giving your work away—something Scott is already doing—and suggested it was tantamount to “essentially throwing the profession under the bus.” Newly syndicated “Karen” (no information on who she is or what strip she produces was to be found) complained that Scott’s plan might be good for him, but bad for other cartoonists such as herself as she is not a go-getter and doesn’t have the “time OR the temperment to self-syndicate.” She continued to be baffled on why Scott would give away his comic as opposed to asking at least some money for it even if he self-syndicates concluding with “Where is the logic in this? It’s… why it’s CRAZY talk.” Things got progressively nasty from there. “Dawn156” stopped by PVP and opted to shift tactics from criticizing Scott’s idea to criticizing the strip that day saying, “In just a fast casual reading of today’s gag, I found one misspelling, one “typo,” and one comma error. You couldn’t PAY an editor to run this gag.” What she didn’t realize is that the strip that day was a guest strip by another cartoonist and not Scott’s work (Scott often invites other cartoonists to submit strips while he’s off at a convention). Probably the worst critic though is someone by the name of “Malky” (who also doesn’t provide a real name or what strip he draws, though he claims he’s not syndicated) as he’s dropped all pretense of discussion in favor of dictating to others the nature of reality while demonstrating an amazing ignorance of it.

Which isn’t to say that Scott doesn’t have his supporters, but the vehemence with which some of the opposition has responded in that thread is pretty astounding. Despite what many of them claim it’s pretty clear they’re worried about Scott’s venture undermining the status quo or, at a minimum, damaging the value of their own properties in the process of failing spectacularly. The number of people repeatedly asking Scott to consider charging at least some money for his strip makes this pretty obvious. Malky’s comments would be comical in their short-sightedness if it weren’t for the venom they also tend to contain. Comments like: “Yes, perhaps that’s what cartooning, like America generally, should be looking at. The Brazilian model. Where the nuts come from.” This is particularly amusing considering that not one reply earlier he was complaining about the quality of the debate by saying, “DJ, you sound like a sixth grade tattle taler. Glad you’re having a good time. Nobody’s deliberately twisting words, and your childish glee at what you imagine to be other peoples discomfort cheapens this debate.” I suppose he would know best based on his own comments. As a lesson in hubris, Malky is hard to beat.

Now I don’t claim to know jack shit about syndicated comics, what it takes to become syndicated, or why they’re supposedly the best model anyone can come up with. Nor do I claim to know that Scott’s vision is correct or that he’ll be successful with his undertaking. What I do know is that Scott has managed to be successful enough to make a living doing things his way on the Net despite the great “dotcom crash” and all the people who claimed it wasn’t possible. Part of that was hard work on his part and part of that was probably him not knowing what he was getting into and being too stubborn to pay attention to the naysayers. He had his stumbles along the way, but he’s still there and has managed to branch out into comic books in the process which also seem to be doing well. If anyone has a better chance of doing what he hopes to do I’d be hard pressed to name them. While I have no idea if he’ll succeed, I wouldn’t bet against him.

67 thoughts on “Scott Kurtz offers “PVPOnline” to newspapers for free and starts a firestorm in the process.

  1. Kurtz’s model seems as good as anyone else’s.  While I have my doubts as to whether a lot of papers would be interested in his rather niche (genre) strip, I’m by no means a good arbiter of public taste (proof of which I’d offer in that I’m a big fan of PvP grin ). 

    The point is, though, he’s in a good position to make this plan work, and the “Oh, but you’re hurting the Artistic Community” wailing sounds more like sour grapes and fear than any sort of moral high ground.  As if any of them would give the “Artistic Community” a second thought if they had a good idea to cash in.

    Those on that bulletin board (which I read reading through just a minute or two before I spotted this post of yours) who want to debate the business model are welcome to do so (though most of them seemed to have no idea who Kurtz was, or what he was starting off with as a package to offer), but the vitriol and bitterness of too many of the comments there makes me think a lot less of the “Artistic (Cartooning) Community” as a whole.

  2. This is a subject near and dear to my heart.

    I think Scott Kurtz is doing exactly the right thing, and I wish him all the best of luck!  I’ve read a little PvP, and liked it (even though I never got that much into it), and I’m a huge fan of a dozen other online comic strips.

    Maybe Kurtz can take further what Bill Watterson started with Calvin & Hobbes—wresting control (for instance, over merchandising) away from corporations and back to the artist who created the work.

    This reminds me of the RIAA and recording corporations complaining that file sharing is hurting writers and singers of songs, when they really don’t care about that at all—all they really care about is their own monetary income.

    Artists are constantly trampled by corporations, and then when the artists try to gain back a little ground, the corporations say “But you’ll hurt your fellow artists!”—and they even manage to brainwash a lot of the fellow artists into spouting the same party line.  Bleh.

  3. Actually, none of the commenters on the comment board seem to have been from newspapers or syndicators, but from other artists who see Kurtz’s offer to “give away” the work for free to be a threat to their own business model.

  4. I’ve never even heard of PVP before, Les.  I just spent over half an hour going back through part of the archives.  Some great stuff!

  5. PvP Online has been one of my favorite comics for years.  I hope Scott succeeds, and they get their noses rubbed in it smile

    D

  6. Amazing that this blog and the comments that follow it are in the same tired vein that developed over at Toontalk and elsewhere. People who like PVP and see criticism of Scott’s plan to give his strip away for free as an act of fear and an inability to encompass change. What you fail to realise is that the idea is not new, that many of those criticising it have seen similar techniques fail and that the business of newspapers is very different to that of the web. Scott wants in on the papers and infers that he’s been courted by them. Truth is, he was rejected like so many others, for whatever reason, and has found:

    A) A way to thumb his nose at those who dare to snub him
    B) A way to generate a huge online buzz about his plan (which incidently has had a while now to set the world on fire – as far as I can tell, he’s gained ONE paper).
    C) No time for the wisdom of those who have offered their advice and feedback on an industry they know well.
    D) No concern for the very valid possiblity that whilst gaining the occasional paper he is also devaluing cartoons in the eyes of editors by enforcing the notion that cartoonists make piles of dough off of plush toys and books and that print cartoons are just adverts.

    He might seem like a hero to some but that because he’s the kid who makes fun of the teacher all year, to the amusement of the frustrated students up the back who can’t keep up. In the he disrupts the whole process and ultimately, fails.

  7. I don’t think anyone here is claiming the idea is new or untried, just that Scott has managed to succeed where others have failed in the past.

    It’s also somewhat amusing that you try to rebut the argument that the criticism Scott has gotten is born out of fear and inability to encompass change and then turn around and use that very reasoning for your final point: That there’s “the very valid possibility that whilst gaining the occasional paper he is also devaluing cartoons in the eyes of editors by enforcing the notion that cartoonists make piles of dough off of plush toys and books and that print cartoons are just adverts.” To me that sounds like fear of the perceptions of comics changing and an inability of those artists to compensate for those changes.

    You’re right, there is a chance that Scott could devalue comics in the eyes of editors, but perhaps you should explain why Scott should care considering the reaction he’s gotten from so many of his fellow comic artists? Unless some of those other artists are doing something to help him out then why should they expect special concern for their considerations?

    If Scott’s plan is doomed to fail then it will fail and life will go on and everyone who said as much can run around and feel all superior with their I-told-you-so’s, but if it succeeds then it could bring a lot of change to the comic industry—both good and bad—and some folks just don’t seem to be too happy about that possibility.

    Incidentally, it appears that another paper has taken Scott up on his offer. Seems The Evening Bulletin in Philadelphia is now carrying PVP.

  8. Les, I doubt there will ever be a point when those who’ve suggested Scott’s plan is bogus will have the opportunity to run about saying “I told you so”.
    Partly this is because even after gaining one paper, (now a total of two according to you), Scott was back on Toontalk say “I told you so” himself.
    If his measure of personal success is so small then he’s never going to admit that the advice offered to him by cartoonists appearing in thousands of papers is worth considering.
    The point I was making was not an attempt to set myself or others for an I-told-you-so-fest but rather to say that as cartoonists we all share a collective aim, that of the desire to earn a living from our work. We can each work against one another, seeking personal gain at the expense of our peers or we can try to understand the realities of the marketplace and aim towards a better result overall.
    As a non-cartoonist you may not understand what I’m getting at but it has to do with the same principles which apply to plumbing. Plumbing is often used by cartoonists, amongst themselves, as a stark comparison to their own practice. As a cartoonist you are often asked to work for nothing, particularily when starting out. By agreeing to do so you re-enforce the idea that it’s OK to expect a cartoonist to work for free and you pave the way for the next neophyte to also work for nothing.
    Cartoonists, like plumbers have expenses, require training, build up expertise and need to eat. Would you ask a plumber to put in a toilet in exchange for the chance to have everyone in the neighbouthood see it and possibly employ you to put one in their house as a result, maybe even paying you in the bargain?
    Maybe, but probably not. Largely this is due to perception. Plumbers are expensive and they don’t work for free. Consequently they would seldom be asked to do so and are on the whole, well paid.
    By offering his work to editors for nothing, simply because it costs him nothing, Scott is, in the view of many, unlikely to gain much in the way of newspapers (for the reasons stated many times elsewhere) but is quite likely to damage the perception of cartoonists as professionals who deserve to be well paid.

  9. If his measure of personal success is so small then he’s never going to admit that the advice offered to him by cartoonists appearing in thousands of papers is worth considering.

    Considering the manner in which that advice was given out I can’t say I’d blame him for not considering it. The level of personal attacks in that thread was neither warranted nor particularly helpful. Quite a few people acted as though it were an insult to even have Scott voice his goals. There were those who tried to present their advice in a civil manner, but quite often they were drowned out by the wailing and gnashing of teeth by the rest. That’s really what my entry here was about anyway. Not whether or not Scott will succeed, but the nasty reaction his announcement generated.

    The point I was making was not an attempt to set myself or others for an I-told-you-so-fest but rather to say that as cartoonists we all share a collective aim, that of the desire to earn a living from our work. We can each work against one another, seeking personal gain at the expense of our peers or we can try to understand the realities of the marketplace and aim towards a better result overall.

    So show me where any of the folks slapping Scott down have done a thing to help him in this spirit of communal brotherhood you seem to think should exist among cartoonists. I see a lot of people asking Scott to do something for them without offering much of anything in return. In short, what motivation does Scott have to be concerned about the well-being of a collective group he is not a part of or benefiting from in any way?

    As a non-cartoonist you may not understand what I’m getting at but it has to do with the same principles which apply to plumbing.

    Plumbing is often used by cartoonists, amongst themselves, as a stark comparison to their own practice. As a cartoonist you are often asked to work for nothing, particularily when starting out. By agreeing to do so you re-enforce the idea that it’s OK to expect a cartoonist to work for free and you pave the way for the next neophyte to also work for nothing.

    It’s not that hard to grasp. You’re basically describing an unofficial form of a Union. In order to benefit from a Union you have to be a member of it and not all members of Unions are guaranteed to benefit simply for being a member (something I actually have first-hand experience with). Of course, having to join a Union also means having to abide by whatever the Union has negotiated regardless of what your personal merits may have netted you one way or the other. Living in Detroit tends to teach you a thing or two about Unions.

    Cartoonists, like plumbers have expenses, require training, build up expertise and need to eat. Would you ask a plumber to put in a toilet in exchange for the chance to have everyone in the neighbouthood see it and possibly employ you to put one in their house as a result, maybe even paying you in the bargain?

    Maybe, but probably not. Largely this is due to perception. Plumbers are expensive and they don’t work for free. Consequently they would seldom be asked to do so and are on the whole, well paid.

    So let me get this straight: You’re saying that Plumbers are expensive and don’t work for free so that’s why they aren’t asked to work for free and are generally well paid? That’s some mighty impressive circular logic.

    The comparison to plumbers is shaky at best. I can easily think of occasions where I absolutely had to have a plumber, but not a single situation where I absolutely had to have a cartoonist. Which isn’t to say that the service plumbers provide is inherently more valuable than the service provided by cartoonists, but when something is a necessity people are often willing to pay more for it. Cartoonists aren’t generally employed directly by the public either whereas many plumbers are, but for those plumbers who subcontract with a construction firm for a project (which would be a closer analogy to cartoonists) they have to convince their employers that they are worth whatever price they’re asking for. Plumbers have an actual Union as well, perhaps cartoonists should consider organizing their own Union if they really want their fellows to act like one.

    By offering his work to editors for nothing, simply because it costs him nothing, Scott is, in the view of many, unlikely to gain much in the way of newspapers (for the reasons stated many times elsewhere) but is quite likely to damage the perception of cartoonists as professionals who deserve to be well paid.

    I understand what the repercussions of Scott’s actions could possibly be and, again, I ask why you think Scott should care? I brought this same question up on the TT Forum thread that Bob Burnette started about this entry here at SEB, though I haven’t had a chance to check back yet to see what replies, if any, have come from it.

    In my view, cartoonists are more like actors than plumbers. Very few of them will ever be superstars like Bill Watterson, Charles Schultz or Gary Larson and many won’t have the talent or skill needed to make a full-time job out of it. Still, there will be many who will make a decent, if not fantastic, living at it and there will be some, like Scott Kurtz, who will work for free in hopes of taking a different route to the top. If you have the talent and the skills to create a product that people want then you will make money no matter how many Scott Kurtz’s are working for free.

    Gary Larson retired in 1994, arguably at the height of his popularity, and yet some 10 years later he still has tons of product out there raking in the money. Bill Watterson retired in 1995 and his strip still runs in all manner of daily papers. They produced a product a lot of people wanted and they were rewarded for it regardless of what the perceptions of the editors happened to be.

    I’m sure Scott isn’t out to ruin the industry for anyone and I seriously doubt he could even if he wanted to, but I fail to see anyone giving him any reason to give a shit one way or the other. Rather than worry about Scott giving his work away for free, perhaps other cartoonists would be better served by attempting to figure out how to improve their work so that it pulls in the kind of money they feel it’s worth.

  10. Les, I’ve posted a comment to something you’ve said on Toontalk (http://www.toontalk.org/) which you’ve so far ingnored. You’ve suggested I’ve attacked and insulted you in lieu of using a reasoned arguement. It’s my view that this has never occured. However, if you can provide example(s) of this I’d be able to understand what it is you think you are talking about.

    It’s of importance because like any good forum for discussion, Toontalk has rules. I try to follow these rules. One of the rules forbids personal attacks, which you’ve (erroneuosly in my opinion) accused me of. Another is trolling. If you don’t back up your accusations then I’m afraid the second rule has been broken by you.

  11. I didn’t ignore your comment, I haven’t seen it. I said in my last reply that it wasn’t worth pursuing any further and that I wouldn’t be back and I meant it. I haven’t been back since. I did write an entry here about the experience where I mention your comment if you want a little more info about it, but I won’t be back to the ToonTalk forums anytime soon because it’s clear the last thing anyone there really wants is an honest discussion.

    I find it somewhat amusing that you accuse me of trolling when I went to great length to explain my views in as honest and sincere a fashion as I could only to have most of my points ignored or derided by those present. If I end up being banned as a troll then so be it. It’s unlikely that I’ll bother going back anyway as it’s been made pretty clear that unless I’m a cartoonist there’s not much point in stating my opinion on anything remotely connected to the profession because I can’t possibly have a clue what I’m talking about.

    Seriously, do you think I have any concern about being perceived as having violated a ToonTalk forum rule at this point?

  12. Les, I followed your link.

    It’s now clear that when you referred to personal attacks and insults you meant this paragraph from me:

    “By the way if you’d like my detailed views on the IT industry I have many learned opinions from my position as a professional cartoonist.

    For a start I think you guys should stop wearing such thick glasses and drinking so much Coke. Also, consider cutting back on the plaid shirts and pants that are too short.

    Oh yeah, no more pen protectors in you front breast pocket.”

    If your skin is really so thin as to find personal insult in a comment by me which makes a deliberate and obvious attempt to refer to ‘nerd IT’ stereo-types then I’m not surprised you’ve run off to continue the ‘discussion’ amongst people who are unlikely to disagree with whatever you say on the subject.

    I see that the general aim of this site is to jab at the christian clegy. Trotting back to you own cloister to grumble amongst converted brothers to your own cause is kind of an ironic turn of events.

    The point of the comment took offense to, and you know this, was that as a non-cartoonist, your lengthy (and dull) commentary was missing a certain element of learned relevancy. Just as my own on the IT industry would be populated by uninformed assumtions, ie: thick glasses et al (which I know to be untrue, of course), your own verbose responses were so burdened.

    However, I did not use this as a ruse to avoid reasoned arguement as you have now twice claimed. If you were insulted when I suggested people who work in IT drink too much coke then I guess I’m sorry for you.

  13. Now this actually made me laugh. It wasn’t a matter of having a thin skin, I think anyone who’s a regular here can tell you my skin’s pretty think, it was a matter of talking to a bunch of brick walls. Rodmck was just being an asshole and you were clearly ignoring what I was trying to say in favor of arguing against what you thought I was saying.

    Your comment didn’t offend me at all. It just showed me that I was wasting my time. What I find truly ironic is the fact that you felt my verbose comments were clueless and dull and yet here you are complaining that I didn’t stick around to fan the flame war that was obviously brewing. What’s really funny is that your whole argument here is that I’m making bad assumptions about how the cartoon industry worked and yet you make a bad assumption about what the “general aim” of this site happens to be. Hypocrisy will get you nowhere.

    But thanks for the laugh just the same.

  14. My point was that we all make assumption based on lack of knowledge. This was why I used the nerd stereo-types thing.

    I re-read your Toontalk posts. Almost exclusively they were a point by point response to Rod’s posts. Your reference to me was limted to my cartoonists/plumbers thing.

    This I responed to quite clearly in my post and yet in your frustration with Rod you inlcuded me in your ‘insults and personal attacks’ comment before leaving to find a more receptive audience to preach to.

    I’ve asked you to back this up and you’ve directed me to another section of this site where you’ve quoted the paragraph in question. If you don’t have a thin skin where then is the evidence of personal attack and insult?

    You say I ignored your point in favour what I imagined it to be.

    I gave my own point by point break-down of plumbers vs actors vs cartoonists. What salient point of yours did I fail to address?

    You yourself have referred to the clergy in numberous instances on this site and when I looked on the front page of the site there were articles in a similar vein posted by you.

    Unless you spell it out for the uninitiated I have nothing but assumptions to go on.

    So far you’ve said I’m overpaid, unfunny and a hypocrite. I just want you to show me where I’ve ever personally attacked you or insulted you.

  15. MJ – Since you’re here maybe you can briefly explain to me why Cartoonists are paid more than a stipend?  I’ve always considered cartoonists on par with a McDonald’s fry cook.  No one really needs them but they’re a nice to get a treat from on occasion.  In both cases, if either one decided not to provide said treat, there would be thousands to step in and take over the role for minimun wage.

  16. I will if you’ll retract your assertion that I’ve personally attacked you or direct me to an example of my doing so.

    Happy to.

  17. Ah, whoops, I see the question was from deadscoot, not Lesb.

    Ok then, well, Scot, puting aside for the moment the hamfisted attempt to rile me up into some state of defensiveness I’ll take your question at face value.

    I may not be the best person to answer the question as I am myself a cartoonist. A better defender of the fry cook might be the happy customer rather than the cook himself.

    Cartoons have a value if people believe they do. Just like Armani suits or Nike shoes. Why spend more to have Nike shoes when a cheaper pair will cover you feet just as well?

    Cartoons are not only comic strips you might find in the paper. There are gag cartoons (Gary Larson for eg) and editorial cartoons (Pat Oliphant) and strip cartoons (Bill Watterson – Calvin & Hobbes, Garfield) and there are comics.

    Each has a slightly difference demographic and appeal.

    If we accept for the sake of arguement that some people do in fact place a significant value on them then we can move on to the next aspect.

    Good cartooning is hard to do. It requires time, training and materials. In order to keep cartooning people need to be monetarily compensated.

    Being a fry cook is so simple, a teenager of average IQ can do it with half a days training. That’s why so many are available to do it. That’s why it’s lowly paid.

    A good cartoonist is actually quite hard to find. That’s why he/she is paid well and/or deserves to be paid well.

  18. MJ – Thanks for accepting the comment in the spirit intended.  It’s just that I’ve known several very talented cartoonists that have had minimal training if any and make a few bucks here and there while working in a more contributory position.

    I just find it hard to believe that good cartoonist would be hard to find.  My thought is that they’re just working in other fields.

    I can also understand that people need to be paid for their work, but as far as art is concerned there is no inherit value until it is purchased.  It seems that professional cartoonists are a vainglorious lot seeking to artificially inflate the price of their services versus producing a better product that demands a larger market interest.

  19. I’m not sure exactly what you are getting at Ds.

    Are you suggesting that there are no full-time, well paid cartoonists around? I can assure you there are, and I’m certainly full-time. I’m an editorial cartoonist so even argueing online isn’t a waste of my time. It helps me stay sharp.

    If you’ve got a few friends who you deem to be very talented and minimally trained who earn a ‘few bucks’ and you can’t see how that might not be a complete vision of the potential career trajectory of a cartoonist then I’m afraid you’re not thinking hard enough.

  20. Are you suggesting that there are no full-time, well paid cartoonists around? I can assure you there are, and I’m certainly full-time. I’m an editorial cartoonist so even argueing online isn’t a waste of my time. It helps me stay sharp.

    Not at all.  I’m expressing my perception that many other people could be great cartoonists should there ever be a demand.  Right now my perception is that there are several good cartoonists out there that are getting paid a just amount for their talent.  I also perceive a large group of professional that exaggerate their talents and feel some sort of superiority over the hacks that I know.  The only difference that I see is that some ‘hacks’ caught a break and are able to do it for a living while others didn’t.

  21. In person, any cartoonist you can name will list the hacks who they feel caught one of the few undeserved breaks going. In public a professional cartoonist is much more likely to present a strong face towards attacks on cartooning in general. It’s often said in cartooning discussion, and it’s actaully true that cartoonists will often help others rise even if it means more competition.

    Looking for a collective benefit is largely the reason so many have taken exception to Kurtz’s plan to offer his work to papers for free. There are few enough opportunities going without the actions of Kurtz to devalue the work of cartoonists by suggesting his work be regarded as an advert for his ancilliary products. So far it hasn’t really worked (as many predicted he has had hardly any takers) but it remains a erroding factor in the fight to increase value of cartoons.

    If there are professionals (as you describe them) talking up their talents it’s hard to see what purpose it serves.
    A cartoonist’s work, unlike that of an actor, is solely assesed on it’s own merits. You can be a bad actor but a good looking one and still get work. Doesn’t matter how good looking I am (and believe you me, I’m stunning), it’s my work which people buy. Not what I say about on the internet.

    Into this situation needs to be factored the aspect of familiarity. Strips (Beetle Bailey is sometimes referred to in this regard) which are no longer fresh or funny can still occupy space in newspapers because of the readership’s familiarity with the characters.

    It’s important to consider several factors when looking at why cartoons don’t feature as prominently in papers as they used to.
    The cost of paper has steadily risen. The amount of advertising received by newspapers has declined. Newspapers and cartoons themselves compete with a wider range of news/entertainment options than ever before.

    It’s not simply that cartoons are somehow tired or irrelevent. Certainly not when compared to the vast majority of unpublished or web-based cartoons you are likely to encounter, which are pre-eminently crap.

    One problem with cartooning is that anyone with a pen and a Porky Pig doodle can call themselves a cartoonist. Same with being an artist. The difference is that cartooning has almost always been a part of the serious business of newspaper production. As an artist people as you, “Do you make a living from it?”. As a cartoonist, it’s “Do you appear in the newspaper?”

    If you don’t then people’s eyes tend to glaze over.

    As to people exhibiting a sense of self-importance or superiority over others, this has never been the behavior of any of the truly admirable cartoonists I’ve met but certainly has been evident in a few who are not.

  22. Thanks MJ for some enlightening commentary.  I hope your persona rubs of on some of your peers.

  23. Nice one DS. Thanks.

    Now if only Les would get off his high horse and admit he was wrong.

  24. I always find it interesting to get a glimpse into another occupational world as I knew little about how cartooning works as a busines.  Following this thread and its links shined a little light in that corner for me.  But…

    It’s hard to imagine anything is as harmful to cartooning as Garfield and Beetle Bailey, etc.  It makes it so plain to everyone that it isn’t exactly a meritocracy.  And Charles Schultz is freakin’ DEAD and he’s still taking up space on the comics page!  What does a person have to do to get fired in this industry?

    Sorry, I’m just being grouchy…  feel free to ignore me.  I’m one of those people who reads the comics first but the ratio of ones I read to ones I skip keeps getting lower and lower.  Newspapers should dump all the fossil comics and start rotating new guys through.

  25. Sorry MJ, but I felt spending a few hours engaging in escapism in World of Warcraft was infinitely more entertaining than trying to placate your ego so I didn’t get to your replies until this morning. If you’re looking for me to admit I was wrong then you’re going to be waiting for quite awhile. Nothing you’ve said so far convinces me my statements were incorrect so I guess you’re just going to have to live with them.

    But I must say it does appear I don’t have a lock on being long-winded and dull. I thought it was interesting you dragged Kurtz back into the discussion when DeadScot’s question had little to do with it. But let’s get to the reply that directly addresses me:

    My point was that we all make assumption based on lack of knowledge. This was why I used the nerd stereo-types thing.

    It’s a poor assumption on your part to presume that some of us out here don’t try to learn a little about something before we comment on it. There are those of us who do try to do some research so our opinions can be at least a little informed before we start offering our views. When I don’t have a lot of background in something yet still feel compelled to comment I also make a point of admitting so and, I will point out yet again, I did just that in both of my entries on this topic. A fact you have repeatedly ignored.

    Whether I have a full understanding of how the comics industry works has little bearing on what I actually said anyway as it wasn’t about how the industry works, but the reaction Kurtz received and the expectations some folks in the industry seem to have of their fellow cartoonists.

    I re-read your Toontalk posts. Almost exclusively they were a point by point response to Rod’s posts. Your reference to me was limted to my cartoonists/plumbers thing.

    This I responed to quite clearly in my post and yet in your frustration with Rod you inlcuded me in your ‘insults and personal attacks’ comment before leaving to find a more receptive audience to preach to.

    I addressed those folks who made points I wanted to cover in individual replies and I listed each person I was responding to at the time and the biggest of the replies was to Rodmck because he seemed to be having the most difficulty understanding what I was trying to say. At the time I was under the mistaken impression that he was doing more than just flame baiting, but his follow up corrected that misperception on my part.

    Yes, I included you in my insults and personal attacks comment because it seemed clear to me that you were being condescending and, whether or not I was actually insulted by your stereotype reference, it still appeared to me to be an attempt at an insult on your part. It was also clear that you skimmed my earlier replies because you even asked me:

    “Putting aside charitable notions, would you accept unpaid work as an IT consultant in exchange for ‘exposure’?”

    Which was a question I had already previously answered in my earlier replies. The answer, by the way, is yes. It’s something I’ve done before many, many times. This again shows me you’re not actually paying attention to what I’ve said.

    Not that you care, but I don’t have a college degree in computer science so I have to prove to folks that I actually know what I’m talking about when it comes to my IT skills. One way to do that is to demonstrate them free of charge on occasion.

    I could go on to list numerous examples of this including the fact that I am an unpaid volunteer member of the pMachine Support Team that provides help to users of the ExpressionEngine blogging package that drives this very site. I answer questions, provide technical support, and have even helped folks directly with setting up and configuring the ExpressionEngine software yet I am not on the company’s payroll. Much like Kurtz I am compensated by other means for helping out, but I am essentially putting my IT skills and knowledge of this software to work for free and without any guarantee that I’ll be compensated for it.

    As for finding a more receptive audience to preach to, again this strikes me as an attempt on your part to be insulting. Perhaps that’s your sincere view, but it’s a poor assumption and for someone who seems to have such a problem with others offering their views based on assumptions you sure do seem to do it a lot.

    I’ve asked you to back this up and you’ve directed me to another section of this site where you’ve quoted the paragraph in question. If you don’t have a thin skin where then is the evidence of personal attack and insult?

    I’ve spelled it out several times to you. If you can’t see it then there’s not much I can do about that.

    You say I ignored your point in favour what I imagined it to be.

    I gave my own point by point break-down of plumbers vs actors vs cartoonists. What salient point of yours did I fail to address?

    Just about everything else I said. Honestly, I still find your comparison to plumbers a poor one. Plumbers are at least smart enough to unionize when they want to act like a union. Cartoonists have yet to figure that one out.

    You yourself have referred to the clergy in numberous instances on this site and when I looked on the front page of the site there were articles in a similar vein posted by you.

    Unless you spell it out for the uninitiated I have nothing but assumptions to go on.

    Even when I spell it out you appear to prefer to work off of assumptions. Try looking further than the front page. It’s spelled out in over 2,000 entries here. It shouldn’t take perusing that many of them to see that the aim of this site is more than just bashing the clergy. Just looking at the category list in the left hand navigation bar should give you some clue that we talk about a great many things here, but again this is evidence that you’re only seeing what you want to see rather than what’s actually there.

    This seems to be a major difference between us. I did spend some time reading the various threads on ToonTalk to get a little background before I commented on the whole Kurtz flamefest that was taking place. Yet I didn’t presume that this research would come close to making me an authority on the industry itself and I made a point of saying so in my commentary. One of your overriding points has been that I don’t have the knowledge to make valid comments about the issue and yet you sit here and repeatedly do the same thing with regards to me, my site, and my intentions. Try being a little less hypocritical, eh?

    So far you’ve said I’m overpaid, unfunny and a hypocrite. I just want you to show me where I’ve ever personally attacked you or insulted you.

    If your comments so far are anything to go by then you are a hypocrite. I also said that I was willing to bet you’re overpaid. Yes, I used a qualifier because I fully admit that I haven’t seen your work as far as I’m aware and I have no idea how much you earn so all I can base my guess on is your comments. I also saw your point about stereotypes as an unfunny attempt at humor employed to imply I’m an idiot.

    I took a moment just now to revisit the thread and look over your comment once more. In hindsight I can see where I may have allowed my view of your remarks to be tainted by Rodmck’s blowtorch session. It’s possible that you may not have been intentionally trying to insult or attack, but I can also see why I felt that you were.

    My frustration was more to do with the fact that you didn’t even address the point I was trying to make in favor of arguing whether or not cartoonists are at all similar to plumbers rather than actors as though this had some bearing on what I was trying to say. In other words, it was clear I was arguing with a couple of brick walls and there really are better and more enjoyable ways to waste my time.

  26. I took a moment just now to revisit the thread and look over your comment once more. In hindsight I can see where I may have allowed my view of your remarks to be tainted by Rodmck’s blowtorch session. It’s possible that you may not have been intentionally trying to insult or attack, but I can also see why I felt that you were.

    Thank you.

  27. Yeah, I’m my own favourite topic. I enjoy beanbags, cheese dip and moonlit walks beside the Lämmerbuckel Autobahn.

    Keep talking elwedriddsche.

  28. Interesting blog entry.  Thanks Patricia.

    In reading all the egocentric commentary from cartoonists in regard to this thread, I have gained a deeper understanding of why newspaper comics are tired, stale and basically wasted space.

    IMO – Cartoonists are too busy pontificating about their masterpieces that they’ve forgotten how to be entertaining.  In their zealous attempt to turn cartooning into high-art they’ve sacrificed their readership.

    Thankfully, we’re progressing away from printed media and we’ll be exposed to more, fresh cartoonists and those clinging to their fragile egos will either develop a quality product or fall by the wayside.

  29. No doubt Patricia feels the article she links to is “very thoughtful, intelligent and balanced” primarily because it agrees with her own viewpoint on the issue.

    THIS is the kind of blog entry I appreciate.

    In other words, she only appreciates blog entries that confirm her own biases and opinions from people she feels are qualified to speak on the topic. I wonder how gushing she’d be if the author of the article had disagreed with her. Bet we’d never have been graced with a link to it.

  30. Sigh…. Note that I said BALANCED. The author discusses both points of view, and gives credit and kudos to both the web and print.

    I brought it to your attention mainly because the writer is a highly repsected person in the field of comics, web and print. I thought you might appreciate hearing from someone who writes on this topic on a regular basis. You know, open your mind a bit.

    Kindly do not speak for me and my motives.

    Your response, however, only reveals your own biases, sir.

  31. Sigh…. Note that I said BALANCED. The author discusses both points of view, and gives credit and kudos to both the web and print.

    Honestly, I’m not sure I see where that has been missing in other lesser-regarded commentaries.

    I brought it to your attention mainly because the writer is a highly repsected person in the field of comics, web and print. I thought you might appreciate hearing from someone who writes on this topic on a regular basis. You know, open your mind a bit.

    If you say so, I’ve never heard of him before. He holds as much authority in my mind as the folks at Websnark that he criticizes. Less so, perhaps, because I haven’t been reading him for as long to have an idea of how worthwhile his opinions are. Not sure why you think I’ve not heard from someone who writes on this topic on a regular basis. I’ve heard from quite a few and they vary in their opinions on the issue.

    As for trying to open my mind a little bit, that implies you feel it was closed in the first place. Considering that most of the “professional” cartoonists I’ve heard from have clearly demonstrated that they are unwilling to consider the points I raised in preference to what they want to argue about I’d say my mind isn’t the one that needs to be opened a bit.

    Kindly do not speak for me and my motives.

    Your motives were obvious. Being that this is the first comment you’ve made on this site and it was to promote someone who basically agrees with your viewpoint it’s clear you’re not here to have a discussion on the issue, but simply point to someone else and say, “See! I was RIGHT!” I’m just calling it like I see it.

    Your response, however, only reveals your own biases, sir.

    Of course it does. What an idiotic statement to make.

  32. What I’ve learnt is how easily a poor argument will find solace in attacking the opposing side directly. Calling commentary from cartoonists ‘egocentric’ does nothing to further a clearer understanding of your views on the subject at hand, that of Scott Kurtz et al’s freebie-schemes. All it does is say, “Nyah Nyah! You stink and I don’t”.
    It’s childish, and aside from making you feel as though you’ve made a point of some kind, pointless.
    If cartoonists are egocentric or not (and generalizations are almost always a mistake) is beside the point.
    I could make the point that Les’ outrage at Patricia’s claim to have posted a ‘balanced’ summation of the debate is more to do with his pique at her reference to a blog she thinks is better than SEB (“THIS is the kind of blog entry I appreciate”) than his actual concern over the debate itself.

    However, doing so does little to further the debate.

    Here’s something which the Free-Believers seem to keep ignoring. Scott started this furore by saying, amongst other thing, that…

    “This last year, I was contacted by Universal Press Syndicates about PvP. They know the strip and were very interested in syndicating it as a feature. I would love to see PvP in newspapers and we started talks.”

    Now, that’s curious, because here’s a letter which he’s never denied that authenticity of..(in fact he may have released it back up his spurious claim that Universal wanted the rights to everything)

    ………..

    Scott:

    Thanks for your patience. We’ve decided to pass on a PVP distribution
    deal.

     

    Overall, the editorial staff liked your work � but there were concerns
    over some content issues (sex, language, etc.) that they couldn’t get
    past.

     

    Secondly, and I can’t find our correspondence to confirm whether or
    not you specifically mentioned “distribution only”—but I have it
    in my head for some reason so bear with me if you didn’t intend that �
    we don’t “just distribute” comics. UPS devotes massive amounts of time
    and money in selling/marketing/promoting our strips, so a property w/o
    ancillary rights makes no business sense to UPS. We view our
    relationships with creators as partnerships, not as service providers.

     

    Scott, you have a ton of talent and PVP is a great property. I am
    sorry that this took so long and that I don’t have better news for
    you. I hope this won’t prevent you from sharing any ideas that you
    may have beyond the PVP universe.

     

    Sincerely;

    Universal Press Syndicate

    ………….

  33. “When you have no basis for an argument, abuse the plaintiff.”

     Marcus Tullius Cicero

  34. Here’s something which the Free-Believers seem to keep ignoring. Scott started this furore by saying, amongst other thing, that…

    “This last year, I was contacted by Universal Press Syndicates about PvP. They know the strip and were very interested in syndicating it as a feature. I would love to see PvP in newspapers and we started talks.

  35. From what I can gather, Mysterious, Scott proposed a business model that you don’t like, and now you’re in an argument (about how to argue) that is tangential to your original complaint.  Which is fine, if you have a LOT of spare time. 

    But since we have a real cartoonist on the line, I’d still like to know why you guys aren’t raising hell about fossil comics crowding out deserving new talents like you.  Our local paper has, by my count:

    • Ten fossil comics; Beetle Bailey, Wizard of Id, Peanuts, Hi & Lois, Blondie, Mary Worth, Steve Roper, Family Circus, Marmaduke, B.C., and The Lockhorns
    • Two aging, hyper-lame comics;  Garfield & Cathy, and…
    • Five occasionally interesting, comics by artists who appear to come out of a coma at least once a week or so; Foxtrot, Better or Worse, Zits, Piranha Club, and Baby Blues.  And a couple of those have been stuck in a rut for a long time.

    You might be thinking; “Gee, that guy’s local paper really sucks” and you’d be right.  But if anything is a threat to your business model, it’s entrenched mediocrity (or in the case of Garfield, entrenched overhyped crappiness.)

    That’s guaranteed to eventually cause low interest in comics and a situation where one paper after another decides the comics don’t boost their circulation and can be eliminated.

    I know there’s a lot of great new artists out there – you could be one of them – but the public needs to see your stuff somehow.  Until then apparently people will keep dully staring at Peanuts and smiling a little as they slide toward senility.  What’s your proposal?

  36. nowiser:

    Yes, essentially I believe Scott to have abused the truth in relation to the reasons behind his decsion to embark on his venture.
    His basis of action was two-fold, firstly he put forward a similar estimation of the state of newspaper comic strips as has decrepitoldfool. Secondly he made it clear that it was Universal that had approached him. Eager to cash in on his vast success they were “very interested in syndicating it as a feature”. However, their terms were unexceptable to him. They wanted a piece of his book deals, merchandise deals.

    This is key to his diatribe because he informs us that syndication is they way of the dinosaur and he is the dominant paradigm, you just don’t know it yet. That the syndicate(s) is/are desperate to sign him up is part of the picture he paints.

    However the letter makes it clear the syndicate rejected his likely approach like so many others, stating “Overall, the editorial staff liked your work � but there were concerns over some content issues (sex, language, etc.) that they couldn’t get past.”

    His actions to undermine the entire basis for newspaper syndication in one-fell-swoop are in reality the protestations of a bitter man. He’s just got a bigger audience to hear it than most.

    deadscot:

    “My perception in this debate is that those cartoonists that are opposed to Scott’s venture have come across as egotistical asses that somehow perceive their trade to be better than that of Kurtz.”

    I could tell you that my perception of those cartoonists who applaud Scott’s action is that of a bunch of frustrated, immature fools putting forward a school-yard level argument for the puissance of their plans for world domination.

    How would that make my point of view more valid?

    decrepitoldfool:

    I’m not offering a proposal. I can put forward an argument but I’m not obliged to enable you to understand it.

    Scott thinks the way to gain entry to newspapers is to offer his work for free, allowing them to serve as a print ad for his website and thereby selling more hats and books.

    Editors are not in the business of printing free advertising. They pay syndicates to vet material they have no interest in reading before printing each day. So far, to my knowledge, Scott has picked up two papers. DJ Coffman is enamoured of telling anyone who’ll listen that he gained 50 papers by use of a telephone alone. Papers he was paid for. Scott’s plan is it’s own proof.

    ‘Aging super-lame fossil’ comics appear largely by virtue of the familiarity they have developed with readers. If they’re removed then people complain. Editors hate that.

    The only way to dislodge them is to consistantly produce something better and work on the decision makers to see it your way. Offering something for free which they won’t take while paying for it is just not going to work.

    What it does do however is re-enforce two notions:

    1) That cartoonists make lots of money from merchandising and cartoons are just ads for stuffed toys, like the cartoons on TV in the morning for kids.  Although this is true in some cases it’s not true for many. Also merchandising tends to ruin good comic strips over-time. It’s not for nothing that you will never be able to buy a Calvin & Hobbes Happy Meal.

    2)That what we do is just ‘fun’ and therefore not ‘real work’ and not worth real money.

  37. I’m not offering a proposal. I can put forward an argument but I’m not obliged to enable you to understand it.

    MJ, I do understand the basis of your complaint about Scott’s business model.  You could be right – I have no opinion about it and really don’t care.

    I’m just saying that the entrenched status of artists who stopped trying years or decades ago is a bigger threat to your business model than anything Scott cooks up (especially if his stuff is as unsalable as you say.)

    I have a couple of Johnny Hart’s books from the late ‘50s, and they’re great.  But he’s doing the same stuff now.  Recycling old Henny Youngman routines a half-century after the fact does not qualify as live entertainment.

    Do you recognize that as a threat to your industry?  As a consumer I’m offering you an insight into what I would be happy to pay for.  I’d love to see comics pages that cycle through new artists’ stuff – that could even be a syndication model you could propose. 

    But you’d better do something pretty soon or you’re going to see more of the kind of “desperation” you deplore among young artists, combined with a steady decline in the space available to your art.  That means coming up with an alternate proposal.

  38. What I’ve learnt is how easily a poor argument will find solace in attacking the opposing side directly. Calling commentary from cartoonists ‘egocentric’ does nothing to further a clearer understanding of your views on the subject at hand, that of Scott Kurtz et al’s freebie-schemes. All it does is say, “Nyah Nyah! You stink and I don’t

  39. You just can’t go fifteen paragraphs without doing some name calling can you? It’s ironic then, that you accusing me of personally insulting you by ignoring your arguments is largely the reason we’ve continued this conversation.

    Anyhow, I’m pleased that you’ve asked a question. I’ll get to that in a second.

    First, I’d like to take issue with your use of the subterfuge of nonchalance in regards to the success or failure of Scott’s proposal. You say I’ve “ignored me every time I’ve repeated that I never said it would or that it wasn’t my point in the first place.”

    Clearly you believe his plan is workable. Your position is obvious. Pretending that you are somehow above it all is a bit silly.

    “Why the hell should Scott care if he devalues your work in the eyes of editors? What have you done to give him any reason to care other than whine a lot?”

    I’m arguing the principle, just like you really. I am a cartoonist but I’m an editorial cartoonist. I’m not in competition with PVP or Beetle Bailey and have no desire to be. If you’d read my posts as assiduously as you insist everyone does yours, then you’d know this. He’s not going to devalue my work in the eyes of anyone any more than you are.

    The principle however applies to all cartooning and all cartoonists. Scott is clearly not going to give a shit what effect his actions have on anyone as long as it ensures his own success, I’m in no disagreement with you there. However, there are many more than Scott paying attention to the debate than him. Some of these are young cartoonists (whom I’ve never called desperate or that I deplore – decrepitoldfool – where did you cook that up?). The principle working for ‘exposure’ is almost always a mistake is usually learnt the hard-way. It doesn’t stop those who’ve learnt it trying to pass that knowledge down the line.

    The same applies offering work for nothing. It’s a faulty principle and it deserves to be contradicted publicly because of the consequences which have already been spelt out clearly.

  40. You just can’t go fifteen paragraphs without doing some name calling can you?

    Actually, I didn’t call you any names in my last reply here. I did call you a name in my reply to the other thread you replied to. Pointing out your hypocrisy and ego isn’t name calling even if it does still hurt your feelings. Man, I can’t wait till you discover the entry where I compared you to having the same preening self-absorption as a house cat.

    It’s ironic then, that you accusing me of personally insulting you by ignoring your arguments is largely the reason we’ve continued this conversation.

    I didn’t accuse you of insulting me by ignoring my arguments. I said you used personal insults. And the reason we’ve continued this conversation is your obsession with trying to prove you’re right by misstating everyone else’s stance on the issue.

    First, I’d like to take issue with your use of the subterfuge of nonchalance in regards to the success or failure of Scott’s proposal. You say I’ve “ignored me every time I’ve repeated that I never said it would or that it wasn’t my point in the first place.

  41. Oh, MJ, you’re an editorial cartoonist who’s not in competition with Beetle Bailey.  Yes, I missed where you made a big deal of that upthread and Les responded.  Since it makes such a big difference.

    I shouldn’t have used quotes around the word, “desperation” since it was a summary analysis of your putative point, not a quote.  You seem very worried that Scott’s business model will spread, while arguing that it won’t work, which would mean it won’t spread.

    “Young artists” refers to cartoonists trying to get their new strips into papers whose comics sections are dominated by the geritol set. 

    You’re excused from commenting on entrenched mediocrity in the humor comics since that isn’t a problem in the editorial section.  Everything there is just brilliant.  I bet Gary Trudeau can’t sleep at night for worrying about the glut of genius competing against Doonesbury.

    To sum up:
    1) Your focus on name-calling and such is boring.
    2) You seem to feel that the main threat to your industry is editors’ cowardace (“people complain and they hate that”) and cheap foreign steel.  Uh, I mean “undervalued” comics.

    I am suggesting you figure out – and quickly – some way to connect with consumers so you’ll have the means to influence editors.  Your focus on traditional syndication seems to blind you to the obstacles it places in the way of getting new material in front of consumers.

    And if that isn’t enough to keep you busy; the music industry will soon face a “post music-store” market, and OPEC will have to deal with a “post-oil” economy someday.  Are cartoonists discussing the “post-paper” information economy?

    (Don’t even bother trying to tell me that won’t happen – the Internet hit the public imagination only 9 years ago and my wife, the techno-Luddite, now reads all her news and comics online.)

  42. I’ve been reading my news online for the last 7 years or so.  The newspaper is already old news when it gets out.  Been doing the Zinio magazine thing too, although I am WAY behind on my mags, but I’m also behind on my print mags, too.  Newspaper is too damn messy, bulky, and fills up my recycle bin too fast.

    As far as free comics and such, Neurotically Yours(animation,not a comic, but the point is the same) is free, spread by word of mouth, and I’m ready to drop AT LEAST $60 on merchandise (once I figure out how to buy his DVDs).  If your comic is good enough, you can make money off merchandising.  I understand selling the rights to someone else, and letting them cram it down the public’s throat, while you sit back and collect a royalty.  Which is fine if that’s your goal, but don’t expect to have the same respect as someone like Watterson(who, ironically, I think should have done SOME merchandising).  Anyone remember in the 90’s when Gadzooks was selling the pirated Calvin and Hobbes t-shirts?

  43. Actually, I didn’t call you any names in my last reply here. I did call you a name in my reply to the other thread you replied to. Pointing out your hypocrisy and ego isn’t name calling even if it does still hurt your feelings. Man, I can’t wait till you discover the entry where I compared you to having the same preening self-absorption as a house cat.

    I think you are splitting hairs. But it doesn’t bother me really. Someone said cartoonists appear to be egocentric and I took issue with it, to a degree. Ever since this point you’ve not missed an opportunity to use it as your closing riposte. You can call me egocentric, and egotist, a hypocrite, a bavarian walnut roaster, I don’t give a turkey’s nugget if you do. I just think it’s a poor substitute for actually saying something about the subject of this thread. If you think it adds weight to your arguments then you keep on doing it.

    I didn’t accuse you of insulting me by ignoring my arguments. I said you used personal insults. And the reason we’ve continued this conversation is your obsession with trying to prove you’re right by misstating everyone else’s stance on the issue.

    The truth is you got so pissed off with Rodmck calling you names that you grabbed your Tonka truck and told the assembled play-group that they were all stupid anyway and if they weren’t going to play right then you were going home to mummy. Which is why we’re here. I never once personally insulted you. The best you could come up with was to accuse me of ignoring what you insisted the discussion was all about and making snide remarks about people wearing pen protectors.

    What I did say was that I wouldn’t bet against him. I wouldn’t have thought the model he’s using now could be successful, yet it is.

    The point is, you are talking about a web based model. Not newspapers. Different things.

    I have never said that Scott’s plan is workable and have, repeatedly, stated that I have no idea one way or the other.

    You say, “to an outsider like me, this is a brilliant move.”
    Qualifying this by adding that you don’t know if it will work is of little consequence. It just means you don’t have the nuts to stick by what you’ve said. You want to express an opinion but you don’t want anyone to take you to task over it because, “hey, what do you care anyway and you don’t know if it will work”. It doesn’t stop you from taking sides, you’re just doing it from behind mommies apron again.

    Actually, this is the first you’ve mentioned your work as an editorial cartoonist here on this site so, no, I wouldn’t have had any previous reason to have known that.

    You are wrong.  It’s just below the “Buy Stupid Evil Stuff” t-shirt on my screen.

    If Scott isn’t going to devalue your work then you don’t have much of a leg to stand on seeing as that’s been your central argument to date.

    If that’s your view then why the hell are you even expressing a view either way? You aren’t even a cartoonist. I’ve never once said he was going to devalue ‘my’ work. If you are so sure I’m misrepresenting your brilliant arguments then surely it’s moronic to keep doing it yourself.

    …how working for exposure devalues comics in the eyes of editors.

    Again, I never said this.
    Working for exposure is a phenomenon encountered by beginner cartoonists. People offer you work with little or no pay saying, “It’ll appear in BeardSporters Monthly! Think of all the great exposure you’ll get!”. What you get is a warm feeling inside but that doesn’t pay the rent.

    In your opinion it’s faulty. Yet I’ve documented how I’ve done just that to my benefit several times with my own professional skills.

    Again, we are talking about cartoons in newspapers. Not your job doing what you do. The two things a quite different.

  44. Finally it looks like we’re getting an actual attempt at discussion from MJ here. I’m quite pleased with his latest response. Alas, I don’t have time to go into it at the moment, but I will a bit later on today.

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