/ December 29, 2008

Cartoons Catapult into the 21st Century

Less waste, fewer ink prints and easier access could be the result of the disappearance of print newspapers as the morning’s most important stories become increasingly available on our laptops, cell phones, PDAs and more. Although these developments benefit the planet and those who prefer a handheld device to a thick stack of papers hardly suited for a briefcase, there remains the question of what will happen to the charm of reading that Sunday morning paper over a cup of coffee. Unfortunately it’s not just the charm that could be lost but also the livelihood of some of prints most infamous contributors; cartoonists.

A poor economy and increasing environmental awareness threatens the existence of a newspaper in print and a cartoonist’s opportunity to circulate their work. It would not be impossible to put cartoons online and it certainly has been done but the artists believe something is lost when the cartoon comes off the page and appears solely on screen. On the contrary, some believe a cartoonist will thrive on this change giving them the opportunity to capitalize on their trade by creating short animated segments, giving their characters life and a voice of their own, not to mention commercial opportunities as well. From the more well-known cartoons we are aware that it is possible for a cartoon to become quite a phenomenon (ie. Charlie Brown, Garfield) and sell more than just strips.

But many cartoonists contend that money and fame is not what they’re searching for. It’s the mere joy of reading a cartoon strip and appreciating the artistry and sense of humor that went into its creation. For a cartoonist, reading one of their strips online is like viewing a photo of the Mona Lisa; still beautiful, just not exactly what you were looking for. The battle to stay in print is long from over but the preparation for online and iPhone accessible cartoons is already in motion. Whether or not newspapers stay in print for decades to come, it looks like cartoons will be available at your fingertips from now on.

Source: New York Times

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