Bearman Cartoon: Print Cartoonists vs Web Cartoonists

I am a fan of cartoons. Given my chosen decision to do editorial and pop culture cartoons as my muse makes me love learning and knowing what is going on in the industry.Β  Webcomic Planet and are great sources for those starting out or trying to move forward with their webcartoons.

But to get overall industry information, one of the best sources that I visit often is the Daily Cartoonist.

But it seems there is plenty of animosity between traditional print and editorial cartoonists and webcartoonists.Β  About every six months a pissing match between the two entails.Β  And recently this post which now boasts almost 300 comments, shows the feud is alive and well.

Here is the cliff notes version. Print cartoonists lambast webcartoonists for “giving away product for free” thus cheapening it for all or not being able to make a living under a web based model. Webcartoonists in turn think print cartoonists are old and set in their ways and are only lashing out because newspapers are dying and they want someone to blame but themselves.

No matter what the medium I am both envious of and inspired by anyone who has the opportunity and skill to do what they love on a full time basis. Me on the other hand, have to go back to work tomorrow.

1 3 10 Bearman Cartoon Print Cartoonist vs Webcomics

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  1. MidwestMom says:

    To me it does not matter How I get my daily dose of funniness. I have no preference. However I do like the interaction between the webcartoonist and the readers. I can’t make a comment or tell the “printed” comic how much I like or how funny their cartoon is. Like I do here

    • Yet I see tons of struggling webcartoonists who never respond to their reader comments and wonder why aloud why they don’t have more followers. I understand the big boys not having the time to respond to everything but for those starting out I think it is essential.

  2. Sanjay says:

    That pissing match wasn’t as much about a conflict between print and web cartoonists as it was about someone on the internet looking for a fight.




  4. frigginloon says:

    Blahahahahaha tell me Bearman, you got a panic room ? πŸ™‚ .

    Whack yourself on, sell your services privately for a fee (using your website as a reference) it is all win-win.

  5. Nef says:

    I don’t know about others, but one of the reasons I do webcomics is that the traditional (print) media is practically closed to newcomers. When was the last time you saw a new comic in the newspapers? Wasn’t it like 10 years ago?

    Case in point: PEANUTS. No matter how many people may like that strip, the reality is that the author is dead and the space should have been made available for new talent, but no.

    We try to build out skills and our following online, and giving our work away for free is the price we pay for entry into the industry. Perhaps one day, the revenues will be substancial enough for cartooning to become our full time endeavor, but for most, it will probably remain a “labor of love”.

  6. gatorhead says:

    I noticed that since I put my stuff on the internet that I ain’t had one rejection slip, and it is okay with me if my 5 readers want to buy a newspaper and read the funnies.

  7. jammer5 says:

    I read both on-line and print cartoons. Yours is the only one I comment on. Hey, maybe that’s why my original artwork is being ignored.

  8. David says:

    I see the whole print vs. web thing this way: there’s a lot of not-so-great stuff in print and on the web but the editors (I’m guessing here) have the say over what’s seen in the papers. It’s the readers who choose what they want to see on the web. Hey, if your stuff is up there and no one reads it… is it really there?

    One of my faves Mr. B! πŸ™‚

    • Nice point David, well put!

      • I am living proof of that Dave. When I started doing my little cartoons several years ago I did it for a local cincinnati news blog ( There were many times (even today) that I post something there and not a one comment. If I make it controversial enough, I tend to get people telling me I am an ass but that is beside the point. The guy that ran the site said don’t take no comments as an indication of whether or not people visit.

        Then I thought, what happens if this guy just stops producing his site. My stuff will be gone. So last year I decided to use this as a safety deposit box.

        And then someone commented. Wow what a rush when someone who doesn’t know you likes (or even dislikes) your stuff enough to comment on it.

        From there it went on.

  9. George says:

    I was on Twitter last night and I mentioned that I consider webcomic sites to be like radio stations. If someone likes the song, they’ll more than likely purchase the album. That’s how a majority of records are sold: with free access to certain songs in whatever medium.

    The same goes for us webcartoonists. We give our comic strips away for free. Our sites are the original source that shows our entertainment reliability. If readers like what we do, they may venture out to buy related products from us. That’s how webcomickers make money. I have no problem with “working for free”. If there was no free access to SpongeBob or Peanuts, how much of that lucrative merchandise would be sold? You’ve gotta make the people want it first.

  10. George says:

    I prefer webcomics over print due to the accessibility of reader interaction. When I drew ADDANAC CITY for the newspaper, I had no idea who (if anyone) liked the comic strip unless they personally told me. If the newspaper decided they wanted to pay me less per strip, I had no facts to back up that I had a faithful audience. Papers are gonna get sold regardless of whether there’s a comic page or not.

    With my website, I get to correspond with my readers. I get documentation that SOMEBODY is reading it and has a certain opinion about the content. Sometimes my readers dictate the direction that a story is heading in. Plus, I can listen to the news today and create a strip that could be seen that night. In print, I had to deliver three months worth of comics at a time. There’s no way for me to be topical and timely in that format.

    Whew! That’s a lotta rambling on my part. Maybe I need to blog about this. πŸ˜€

    • But you are one of the ones who get it when it comes to engaging your readers. Sadly I see many who think all they need to do is put up a cartoon and maybe buy a Project Wonderful link.

      • George says:

        You know what irks me sorta? The webcomics I see using ComicPress that opt not to enable comments. I know it’s a personal creator choice to have comments, but it makes me feel that you don’t care about what I think. It appears snotty to seem like you’re too afraid of hearing what people think about your comic, good or bad. I’m not saying a reader has to comment on every strip they view, but they should be granted the option.

    • Beth Cravens says:

      I draw for a small bi-weekly paper in a small town. Trust me, the locals are vocal. Can’t even have a beer in peace.

  11. Lynn says:

    good one bearman and it highlights the ongoing feud within your industry perfectly. it’s not just cartoonists that are having this feud, it’s also musicians.

    recently i saw an interview with indie singer joss stone. when she was asked about people downloading torrents of her music she said: “i think it’s great!”, “I think music should be free.” you gotta respect an artist who has his/her thumb on the pulse of a society that is ever-changing. on the other hand, folks got to make a living too. no doubt, this conflict will create new avenues for artists on the bumpy roads of their trade.

    • I think for many artists they sign away their music rights just to get recorded that they don’t care how it gets out there b/c they will make their money on merchandise and concert tours.

  12. spilledinkguy says:

    Hahaha – why hate!?
    I believe that I can fail in ANY medium! Perhaps it’ll make me a more well-rounded individual! πŸ™‚

    • That ties into my most recent comment on the subject.

      “First I am told if I don’t make money I am unworthy of considering myself a cartoonist.

      Next if I don’t make a social statement to impact the world I am unworthy of considering myself a cartoonist.

      NOW if my drawing sucks I am unworthy of considering myself a cartoonist???

      Boy I am royally screwed.”

  13. Byron says:

    I would never submit a comic of mine to a Syndicate. Isn’t the Mob called a “syndicate”? For good reason. They own your soul and product. In my opinion NO good print comics have come out in easily ten years. Yes, “Peanuts” needs to be put to rest, but it MAKES the Syndicate money, so screw you new comic creators.

    Print people can’t get the business model of “give the comic away for free and charge for print volumes, etc.” so they stick with a Syndicate who sends them checks every month.

    I do a webcomic because my subject matter of Sex, Drugs & Rock and Roll would NEVER be printed in the Sunday funnies. Also, no one but my readers sway me in the content of my comic. I create what they want, not what some editor in Boise wants me to do.

    I’m not making as much money as I could with a Syndicate, but then I’m still new. Any business venture does not make money for at least two years. That’s Business 101. It takes time to develop your brand and your audience. People who bail out after a few months are the real losers, as they never gave it the time and effort needed to establish their business.

    Print is dead. They need to realize it too. But, we as webcomic creators also need to be aware that they Syndicates are sleeping giants. Once they wake up to our business model, we’ll be stomped on like grapes. All the more reason to stake our positions now and hold on tight.

    Rock on webcomics! πŸ™‚

    • I think it is a misnomer that if you sell to a syndicate, they own your soul. I think most cartoonists sell NON Exclusive rights to their work. The syndicate has a specified period of time to sell the work to a specific audience.

      And while newspapers are definitely on the decline, there are plenty of print markets that still look for cartoon work.

      Pearls before Swine and Zits both come to mind.

      I enjoy drawing and I enjoy interacting with commenters. If someone wants to pay me for that and it means I have more time to do what I love versus trying to monetize it myself, I am happy to give up some of the earnings.

  14. Brogan says:

    This debate will end once the newspaper’s audience isn’t there anymore…in 5-10 years. Really, who reads Snuffy Smith that is under 70?? I think the ONLY real reason that there is a debate (except for the papers dying industry which it IS btw) is the tired old trips they keep putting out there. The only strips that I still read that are in the paper, I actually read online. ‘Pearls Before Swine’ and ‘Dog Eat Doug’ which Brian said started out as a webcomic anyway. I know me personally, I only read the newspaper when I’m away when the hotels give them out free and everytime I think to myself I read this YESTERDAY online! Now, would I like to be in the papers? Sure! But under my own terms. Just read Byron’s comments above. It says it all!!

    • I LOVE Snuffy. I read the paper when I travel all the time. The internet at times has too much info for me to cull to figure out what I want to do an editorial cartoon about..

      • Brogan says:

        Do you really love Snuffy? Haha, I never liked that one when I was a kid as well as now. My favorites growing up were the classics, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Far Side. I like B.C back then as well. Pearls is definitely my favorite right now. I just bought one of the books of them as well. πŸ™‚

        • Honestly…I was never a big fan of Peanuts the strip. Peanuts specials on TV I loved.

          Wizard of Id, BC, Shoe, Herman, Far Side were some of my favs.

          Snuffy was in the evening paper and we only got that occasionally.

  15. George says:

    Plus, I feel that that the newspaper audience vastly differs from the internet-friendly audience. To me, newspaper readers are more rigid and seek a certain comfort that comes with the material provided in the papers. They don’t particularly want their status quo changed, hence the constant regurgitation of antiquated material.

    Internet readers, however, prefer the fast-pace. They lean towards the risque and thumb their noses at “the establishment”. They rebel at the commonplace and they’re consistently hungry for “now”. Newspapers only carry yesterday’s news.

    When I began ADDANAC CITY, the strip was basically safe and friendly. It was only when I started spicing it up and actually doing the comedy that makes ME laugh, did it begin to slowly build up a faithful audience. I’ve found that the “goody two-shoes” who read Family Circus and Hi and Lois don’t venture to the exciting playground of the internet. The net encompasses a diversity in topics and subject matter that won’t be found in newsprint.

    • I disagree completely. You are able to be more risque the same way premium cable companies can. The strips in the paper are hindered by that.

      I read Hi and Lois and I read Addanac City. Both make me chuckle.

      • George says:

        Thank goodness. πŸ˜€

        • George says:

          And don’t get me wrong. I love the newspaper comics. I own the old Fawcett paperback collections of Hi and Lois, Beetle Bailey, Peanuts, Family Circus, and Hagar the Horrible. It’s just that there’s no room for me at the party, so I gotta publish mine over the internet. And with me running the ship, at least I never make myself re-do a strip due to sensitive subject matter. I just roll with it. πŸ˜€

  16. George says:

    I dunno. I’d love to put out a collection, but I don’t want the headache of publishing. When I did the comic books, I did all of the printing, folding, stapling, and advertisement generating. That was wearisome. It took longer to get the comic published than it did to actually create it.

    If there’s a publishing house who’s interested in compiling “The Best of Addanac City”, I’m all for it. πŸ™‚

  17. Sheila Deeth says:

    Lovely old vs new cartoons. Made me laugh. Maybe I’ll show them to my Mum.

  18. MidwestMom says:

    BTW Love the New Header πŸ™‚

  19. I love ur take on the issue. I think both will always have a problem-free it up. Both has their space.


  21. bschooled says:

    I would pay big money for your cartoons, Bearman. (If I had it, that is.)

    And I agree…the new header is kickass.

  22. Dan Long says:

    Awesome! I was out of commission for the past few days so I’m just seeing this one. I can’t believe print cartoonists’ anger that we’re cheapening the art by giving it away for free. Same with musicians with all the piracy BS. Face it, we live in a world where the internet exists. Anything you put on film or paper can be easily duplicated and sent to others online. All this anti-piracy stuff is futile. Oh well, nobody says you have to become rich from making one hit song or drawing one great cartoon. You build fans who will buy personal things from you (like original art, collections, or concert tickets), based on the free content you’ve given them (comics, music, art). That’s my view, anyway.

  23. Bo Lumpkin says:

    I working toward buying my own printing press and then selling my comics door to door. Who knows, it might work.

  24. G says:

    Sad part is that I don’t think that too many people got the Alley Oop reference….

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