Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Ginger Smegged

Pinched from Comic Lifestyle

A conversation about comic strips in newspapers.

Sparked by Ginger Meggs being discontinued in one of the East Coast papers (though i think its been reinstated).

Off the bat, from the aussie strips i've seen in the local paper (the Advertiser) they leave a lot to be desired, however it must be said that the imported strips are pretty crap too. So part of me thinks well if newspapers are offering crappy strips they may as well replace them with crosswords and advertising.

On the other hand, comics have too much potential to be dustbined so newspapers can sell me insurance and hyponotise me with number games.

The state of comic strips in the Advertiser/Sunday Mail feels like they're trying to please everyone. For example you have the kiddie merchandising stuff like Scooby Doo and Lilo and Stitch, more 'adulty' fare like the Sev Trek, Sherman's Lagoon, The Politician and then old 'favourites' like Ginger Meggs, Peanuts and the Phantom. Its all so wishywashy i don't think anyone is happy with the page as a whole.
And whilst i enjoy peanuts and calvin and hobbes like everyone else, similarly I enjoy the simpsons and seinfeld, but i don't like the idea of Simpsons and Seinfeld being played every night.

I'd like to see something new.

Quality aside, the important part of the transcript is the point about Australian comics being a cultural artifact and the need for setting minimums. Like films, television and radio, the Australian government sets mimumums (tv and radio) or invests money/offers subsidies (film) to stop imported entertainment smothering the local culture. I'm a firm believer that their should be tax incentives for investing in comic production (like in film) and newspapers should have a minimum number of locally produced strips. Local comic strips would allow local voices to have a large audience and just like how funding improved our film making capabilities, it would serve as a great training ground for aspiring artists.

France has minimum requirements in its radio, films and television and they have a vibrant culture. I'd be interested if the government supports comics as well.

It would be great if the Australian Black and White Cartoonist Association actually pursued this but as a lobby group i think they wouldn't have the weight to carry it off.


Anonymous said...

oop, i just noticed this here. i found it today and opened it up for conversation on the PF boards.


Mark Selan said...

Yeah i saw that after i posted. I'll cross post.

Anonymous said...

It's not enough to have Australian comics in Australian papers just because they're Australian.

Aussie stuff has to be as good as anything available abroad, it has to stand out as quality and we should be proud of it being an Australian product.

Aussie strips aren't any good, That's why Aussie editors are dropping them.

Just because an Aussie cartoonist finagles his way back into a paper by conning an editor there's a readership for his strip (by contacting local bloggers and asking them to write in to complain) doesn't mean it is worthy.