Cartooning Syndication News

cartooning syndication newsCartooning syndication news always piqued my curiosity in Editor & Publisher magazine’s ‘Syndicate / News Services’ section and I stumbled upon this old article from their October 6, 1990 issue. Of particular interest was this story I thought I’d share where a syndicate was actually charging $1,500 to submit their stories.

Syndicates charging for reviews?

I guess I saved it because of the audacious nature of the syndicate to begin with. As most cartooning aficionados know, there are no syndicates who actually charge, for reviewing work. In fact, it’s the other way around…syndicates pay the author or cartoonist for their submission if they believe it has potential with subscribing newspapers.

Syndication tactics that don’t work

The American News Network syndicate was literally charging this absurd amount, even before they represented potential authors! Mind you, this was almost thirty years ago and $1,500 went a lot further than it does now I think. ANN considered this a “performance bond” in it’s contract.  As you’ll read the article further, you’ll realize it as a scam, since they never returned all of the phone calls made by Editor & Publisher who wanted to interview them. In fact, they never even answered phone calls after a while.

Back in the 1980’s and into the 90’s, there were many active syndicates large and small and in between. Many were even self-syndicating their own features and I realized early on that I could also self syndicate cartoons I had on file also.

Cartooning syndication news about syndicates and features

Cartooning syndication news was very abundant in those days (thanks in part to Dave Astor and his fine work at E&P) since the internet was almost non existent or at the very least unpopular unlike it is now.peanuts promotion One extremely interesting snippet from this same page that cartooning fans may like, is the promotional information United Features syndicate used in order to introduce Sparky’s Peanuts comic strip. A very unique cartoonist press release from back in time! The greatest comic strip of all time was officially launched on October 2nd 1950 as is evidenced in this larger scan I am providing here. And see that other display ad for a cartoon by Olin Miller called ‘Hi Nabor’ that was distributed by Chicago Sun Times Syndicate.
In this new era of syndication, there are not as many competing syndicates, although the level of talent has not decreased, it means the existing syndicates now get large volumes of comic strips and columns submitted each year. This doesn’t include cartoonists who are also offering their cartoons online or who offer cartoons for newspapers through their web sites.