Sunday, August 2, 2009

Another strip tease

Here's an anniversary of sorts: On this day in 1984 Charles Schulz became the first artist to have his comic strip appear in 2,000 newspapers.

My question: What took the Daily Times of Portsmouth, Ohio, so long to climb on board with "Peanuts'', the most popular strip in history? Were those readers forced to go elsewhere for their daily fix of Charlie Brown, Lucy, Linus, Snoopy and the gang for the first 33 years of its syndication?

In its heyday "Peanuts'' appeared in more than 2,600 newspapers worldwide. So beloved is the strip that many newspapers continue to run reprints -- nine years after Schulz's death.

But the world is changing, no doubt about it. One day soon there may not be 2,000 newspapers left. This sobering thought does not deter Sarasota artist Rick Hotton, who would like his "Holy Mole'' strip to be appear in every newspaper from Anniston to Abu Dhabi. "Holy Mole'' currently appears in exactly two daily publications, the Bradenton Herald and St. Petersburg Times.

Of course, there are other venues for comic strips, like magazines, books and online. Some people who still enjoy "reading the comics'' but won't pick up a newspaper are now downloading favorites on their cellphones.

It's a tough hill to climb. Hotton must feel at times like Custer, which he drew for a strip next week. (Click on the image to see better detail). But Hotton, a karate instructor, is a warrior with great spirit. Next week you'll be able to visit his revamped website and see some dynamic changes. Check it out and leave feedback. Maybe it's time to drink the lemon ... er, Kool Aid.

1 comment:

  1. Haha, Custer's First Stand. Now that's my kind of humor.