Association of American Editorial Cartoonists see the light

You had to see something like this coming. It would appear that just maybe print cartoonists are starting to see more of the light that’s so blinding we’re amazed this hasn’t happened before. The AAEC has gone live with its own site. On it you’ll find works from current members along with cartoonists bios, news, prints, books, and of course cartoons. It looks like Cagle may be getting some competition, finally.

As fans of web comics we like to say events such as this are inevitable but the truth is the print industry has been slow to move to an inherently free medium such as the net. What is the answer? How do we legitimize web comics when the judge of a capitalistic society is how much money something makes?

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2 thoughts on “Association of American Editorial Cartoonists see the light

  1. Can I just point out that I don\’t exactly agree with some of this. A cartoonist practices a craft that is worth something and they deserve to be paid for it.

    Print cartoons, political and cartoon strips alike, are running into tough times because people aren\’t buying and reading newspapers as much as they used too. There isn\’t anything inherently wrong with print, in fact this is still the only real way to make money through cartooning. Even the most successful comics on the web offer printed collections of their work. I've bought several of them myself and it makes me feel good knowing that the money is going right into the creator's pocket.

    Using the internet to put your comic out to the public yourself may be a 'blinding light' of opportunity for an artist to grow creatively and to connect with readers without any editorial influence, but it is still no way to gain an income. Trying to convince a professional cartoonist, who makes his/her living off of their work, to transition to a format where they are giving their craft away for free must sound like a joke and it's no wonder web comics aren't taken seriously yet because of that.

    In terms of comic creators, the ongoing decline of the newspaper industry will hit the editorial cartoonist the hardest. It is a form of cartooning held in such high regard that editorial cartoonists are even awarded Pulitzer prizes. In order to move the whole art form forward we should be helping to discover a reliably repeatable business model for web comics, not point a finger at a failing industry and laugh at them for not embracing an as yet unproven market.

  2. It would appear that in my not wanting to write a full essay I didn\’t explain what I was trying to say fully. The print industry has been around for years because it has found a business model that makes money. Despite the freedom of expression web comics allow there\’s still the lack of a business model to allow for the very best of them to shine.

    So over the past decade or more newspapers have been experiencing a decline in circulation which has directly affected cartoonists both in how many cartoons we see and the introduction of new artists because of the fear of losing even more readers. So how do syndicates figure out how to increase circulation and reinvigorate the market? For a long time here at DS we\’ve said the answer is the web because there are endless possibilities.

    So the question I try to raise is why should editorial cartoonists bother with being on the web on the first place? Why has it taken so long for the AAEC to have a website for it\’s members? The answer that emerges is that Editorial Cartoonists have lost so much readership that the have finally been forced to use the unproven business model of the web. My hope is that this new site proves the boon this bastion of intellectual art needs to stay alive and thriving.

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