Yet another popular comic strip artist is planning an early retirement.
FoxTrot, the popular comic strip that runs in more than 1,000 newspapers - including the Chronicle - will end daily production Dec. 30, as its creator joins the growing list of cartoonists to grow weary of the daily grind.
Bill Amend, who created FoxTrot in 1998, will continue to write and draw the Sunday strip.
"After spending close to half of my life writing and drawing FoxTrot cartoons, I think it's time I got out of the house and tried some new things," he said in a statement. "I love cartooning, and I absolutely want to continue doing the strip, just not at the current all-consuming pace."
In earlier generations, the lives of comic strips seemed endless. After the original artists died or retired, successors continued the strips. That was because the characters and titles were owned by syndicates, the companies that distribute comic strips and other features to newspapers. The syndicates had the right to fire creators and replace them at will.
That began to change - at least for the most popular and powerful cartoonists - in the late 1980s.
Now, I understand that artists like Berke Breathed and Gary Larson could afford to retire because they owned the full rights to their strips, meaning they got the boodle from book sales and whatnot once the weekly paychecks stopped coming. But look, there's gotta be a half dozen or more strips on the Chron's pages that are "drawn" by people who've been deceased for years. Dik Browne and Hank Ketchum and Jeff MacNelly and the like don't need the money any more. Let's give someone else a chance to be the next Watterson or MacGruder. It's only fair, and we the reading public will be better off for it.Posted by Charles Kuffner on December 07, 2006 to Society and cultcha | TrackBack