By: Dave Astor
The 10-plus cartoonists of color taking part in yesterday’s comics-page action mentioned Dagwood, Beetle Bailey, and other characters as they satirically commented on how some newspapers seem to have a quasi-quota system for so-called minority strips.
A “Watch Your Head” comic by Feb. 10-action co-organizer Cory Thomas of the Washington Post Writers Group (WPWG) was the template for the various cartoons.
In his Sunday strip , Thomas shows a white man reading a comic with African-American characters. He says: “Bah! I hate this comic strip! It looks like another ‘Boondocks’ rip-off! The newspaper got rid of the old goodies to bring in this tripe! It must be tokenism! This PC nonsense is out of control! They need to get back to the kind of strips that EVERYBODY can relate to!”
The guy sitting next to him asks: “‘Everybody’ meaning you?”
After which the comics-reading complainer says: “Ha ha. Oh, that Dennis” — referring to the “Dennis the Menace” comic which has continued with other cartoonists after its creator died.
Yesterday’s action was co-organized by “Candorville” cartoonist Darrin Bell of WPWG. His Sunday comic can be seen here.
Another participant was “Herb and Jamaal” cartoonist Stephen Bentley of Creators Syndicate. See here.
Still another participant was “Cafe Con Leche” cartoonist Charlos Gary of Creators. His comic is here.
Also, “Housebroken” cartoonist Steve Watkins of Tribune Media Services.
There was also “Mama’s Boyz” cartoonist Jerry Craft of the King Features Weekly Service. His Feb. 10 comic, and the strips of several other participants, can be seen here.
“La Cucaracha” cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz did his version of Thomas’ comic today rather than yesterday.
A 2007 WPWG study of 1,413 daily newspapers found that only 330 (24%) papers publish at least one strip with minority characters/by a cartoonist of color, only 90 (6%) papers run two or more of these strips, only two papers (the Chicago Sun-Times and The Washington Post) publish four comics by cartoonists of color, and no comics by cartoonists of color run in newspapers surveyed in seven states.
In a related matter, cartoonist Donna Barstow — whose work appears in Parade magazine and elsewhere — did a blog post about the Feb. 10 action that discussed the small number of syndicated comic creators who are women.
The overwhelmingly male nature of newspaper comics has been mentioned in many previous E&P stories, including this one.