Comic strip syndication in newspapers and electronic media

Comic strip syndication is a subject worth writing more about so I am continuing with this article about some of the inner workings that cartoonists can expect. This of course is profiled in the Dave Astor book Comic (and Column) Confessional.

comic strip syndication

If you get a chance, this is an excellent read that I highly recommend. One particular section of the book touches upon how syndicates, which seek out creators in addition to signing creators who seek out syndicates, edit the work of the people they represent.

And in some instances, some of these syndicates have sister units involved in things like book publishing and the aforementioned licensing – both of which bring in revenue that helps make up for the low feature fees discussed in the previous cartoon syndicates article.

Fewer newspapers means lower fees for syndicated material

One reason why fees are not higher for some comic strip and columns: The shrinking number of multi-paper towns leaves fewer dailies to bid against each other for the rights to run certain comics and columns.

One large book publishing operation is Andrews McMeel Publishing which is a sister unit to the James Andres / John McMeel-founded Universal Press Syndicate (renamed Universal Uclick in 2009).

Among the other mmajoor syndicates besides Universal are King Features Syndicate, Tribune Media Services, Creators Syndicate, The New York Times Syndicate and The Washington Post Writers Group (WPWG).

Hometown creators share a national syndication spotlight with their local newspaper

Syndication allows feature-buying clients to publish America’s best columnists and cartoonists for just a few dollars a week.And if a newspaper has a homegrown creator who gets syndicated, that newspaper shares the national spotlight with it’s syndicated columnist or cartoonist!

In 1983,the trend story I remember most was an April piece focusing on the depiction of women in comics. Given the fact that men back then did about 98% of the 200-plus comic strips distributed by major syndicates, the depiction wasn’t always enlightened.

Too many stereotypes of nagging housewives and bad female drivers. But there were signs of progress in ’83, such as former stay-at-home mom Lois of ‘Hi and Lois” working part time in real estate.