Doonesbury author Garry Trudeau talks with Emily Bazelon about the future of political comics:
Everyone knows where print is headed, and most Web comics are struggling. With adroit merchandising, a couple of them have been profitable, but they don’t connect with readers in the same visceral way that traditional comics once did. Comics used to be central to popular culture, enormously influential. They were a daily habit we all had in common.
Trudeau said comics “fit nicely in a simpler world of commonly shared morning routines. But we’re now living in a Pixar/YouTube world. Children find their amusements elsewhere, and they are unlikely to turn to newspapers in adulthood.”
I think he may be on to something here: Since I set a Google Alert for “Doonesbury” last week, I’ve received nearly 90 emails, almost all of them alerting me to pieces by newspaper editors torturing themselves (or getting tortured by readers) over whether or not they should have run Doonesbury last week. To say the least, they don’t read like a Mathew Ingram piece on SOPA.
Whether by Columbus Dispatch editor Benjamin J. Marrison or Gainesville Sun/Ocala Star-Banner managing editor Tom McNiff, it’s hard not to get a little nostalgic in advance about decisions like whether to run the strips at all, whether their language was too fierce for readers, or whether they belong in the comics or the editorial pages.
I’m sure there will be other comics controversies, but this one seems like a last cry of sorts.
Today’s Doonesbury is about drugs, and you can read something about Americans, or maybe just baby boomers, into this: My Google alerts have gone quiet.