Cost cutting

This came up in the course of a conversation on Twitter, and I think it bears repeating in the slightly more lasting context of the blog: when altweeklies cut cartoons as a “cost-cutting measure”, it is not actually a cost-cutting measure at all — it is Accounting Theatre, something editors are forced to do to appease the corporate bean-counters. The actual savings are probably about what you’d get from eliminating breakroom coffee, though arguably more self-defeating — breakroom coffee is unlikely to be popular enough with readers to have 27,000 followers on Twitter.

Unfortunately appeasing the bean counters is destroying an art form. There’s a reason there are so few people under 35 producing this kind of work today — given the market, why would any sane person bother? If current trends continue, the altweekly cartoon will ultimately be a (fondly-remembered) blip in the history of cartooning, not unlike the underground comix of the 1960s and 70s.

(…adding: please forgive the constant flogging, but I suppose this is an obvious place to encourage you to join Sparky’s List.)