Another Tragedy

23 Jan

I haven’t said much yet about the Charlie Hebdo situation that occurred in Paris recently. The main reason I haven’t spoke up much is because just about every other cartoonist out there has. I think all has been said.

Obviously, it was a tragedy and no one should be killed for creating a cartoon – no matter how insulting it is. But, I won’t get into that.

A talking point that this whole situation has also brought up is the publishing of cartoons.

Ted Rall has a great blog post recently basically about how here in America, there are practically ZERO staffed cartoonist on the payroll in our publications.

It amazes me how effective and important cartoons are and the impact they can have on society – yet – in almost all publications, the cartoonist are usually the first to go when lay-offs or downsizing occurs.

I’m not a political cartoonist, but this applies to the effectiveness of ALL cartoons. Think about the last time you saw a cartoon on a website, magazine, news feed, etc. and DIDN’T read it. Yes, they (cartoons) stick out. It’s one of the main reasons I’ve wanted to be a cartoonist ever since my first box of crayons around age two or so.

Also, cartoons are shared. Articles with just print typically aren’t. So, it’s a great marketing tool for publications to use cartoons. But…..again, they’re not taken seriously as a medium. It makes no sense. Cartoons are basically advertising for publications along with being also insightful (and usually funny).

And when it comes to PAYING cartoonist, well, that’s another area where many publications just steal work or feel they owe a cartoonist nothing. I’ve been approached numerous times to do work for “exposure” but no pay. Yeah, that makes it easy to pay bills as a professional. If ANYTHING, publications should pay their cartoonist more or equal to the writers, editors, etc. And hire more cartoonist.

At any rate, I wish this whole tragedy never happened, however, I hope it opens up the eyes of publications, people and the world about the importance of cartoons. Though sometimes (like in the case of Charlie Hebdo) they have a negative impact on some people, they also can have a positive impact as well. It doesn’t really matter. They’re great talking points.

But….there might be hope.  Things have a way of coming back full-circle, so let’s see if comics become the relevant media it once was.

Now THAT wouldn’t be tragic.

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