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Comics criticism

Interesting article about the interplay between comic strip writers and the online community that blogs about/obsesses over/critiques them. One interesting bit:

“People tend to react more to complain than to compliment,” agreed Francesco Marciuliano, the writer for Sally Forth.

Marciuliano took over the reins of Sally Forth in 1999 when creator Greg Howard retired. At first, he concentrated on keeping true to the original tone of Howard’s strip, but soon found that readers were posting unhappy comments on Internet comics forums. Listening to online critics made Marciuliano realize that many of the elements that set the strip apart when it debuted in 1982 no longer spoke to a modern audience. Sally Forth had been created to show that a happy household could function with two working parents, but this once novel concept no longer impressed younger readers.

“I started contacting people on forums and I found a lot of people who were saying about Sally Forth, ‘This strip is a dinosaur,’ ” he said.

Marciuliano embarked on a campaign to reach out to the comic’s critics in online forums. Most were surprised to hear from the cartoonist himself — and even more surprised to find that many of their ideas about the strip’s writer were off-base. Most assumed that Marciuliano was a humorless retiree more concerned with playing golf than writing gags.

That’s probably because so many strips in the newspapers are written by golf-crazed retirees. What I remember about Marciuliano’s debut with the strip was that his rendition of the characters was quite a bit off from Greg Howard’s; true to form, outraged fans wrote letters to the editor to complain. He’s since adapted, and the masses were placated. Anyway, it’s a good read, so check it out. Link via The Comics Curmudgeon.

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2 Comments

  1. Linkmeister says:

    Huh. Good for him. Now if I could persuade our local morning paper to bring Sylvia back, and our formerly-evening paper to go back to broadsheet from its new tabloid format. . .

    Among other objections, the new tabloid means comics are strewn throughout its pages rather than all on one. Grrr.

  2. Ginger Stampley says:

    He also writes a hilarious web comic called Medium Large, which I commend to your attention.