One of our good foreign customers wrote to me, and to a batch of top international cartoonists asking them what they thought the future of editorial cartooning would be. Here is my response:
I disagree with most of my cartoonist colleagues on this – most cartoonists view the future creatively, arguing that there will be more animation in cartoons and more cartoons created to take advantage of the interactivity of the internet. I disagree, because I also run a syndicate and I see no trend for web customers to be willing to pay for interactive or animated cartoons. This is just cartoonists describing what they hope will happen.
The big change I see happening is the decline of big newspapers, and an increase in small clients, free weekly newspapers and non-traditional clients who would not buy cartoons before, because the process was too difficult or expensive. As the big publishers die off and cut back, we pick up new small web sites, newsletters, weeklies and foreign publications, which wouldn’t have found us before, if not for the internet.
The future is not a change in the nature of cartoons, which remain popular in their current, static form, it is a change in distribution of cartoons to more clients, smaller clients, and more obscure clients in more faraway places, as publications become smaller and more numerous, as more people become easier to reach and as more people around the world have interests in the same issues.