New Syndication Site Offers Animated Toons

By: Tim Rosini

In the third quarter of 2010, newspapers surpassed broadcasters in Web video streaming for the first time ever. With this increased dedication to video content, it seems only natural that political cartoons weren’t far behind.

Nationally syndicated cartoonists Mike Shelton and Jocelyn Leger launched (also should your boss happen to monitor your Internet activity) as a platform for animated political cartoons. For two years, the site has been a dedicated gallery for Shelton’s and Leger’s work, but the duo recently launched an online syndication store as well.

“Animation is a difficult, time-consuming art with a two- to three- year learning curve,” Shelton said. “That is why animated editorial cartoons are so rare – yet, with the technology, it is the future for editorial cartoons. There are very few cartoonists at this time animating their work for this reason.”

The site offers publishers the opportunity to add a fresh element to their websites at low syndication prices and with no contracts required. And while the idea may sound brand-new, Shelton and Leger have actually been animating their cartoons for 15 years.

“When we worked together for The Orange County Register, our animated political satire was often featured on their website,” Leger said. “The enthusiastic feedback and high interest from readers, colleagues, advertisers, and other media outlets signaled to us the potential popularity for the animated editorial cartoon.”

There’s even an app for that: PoliticalBstrds is available in the iTunes store for 99 cents. Currently, the syndication store offers animated editorial cartoons, political illustrations, blog toons, and caricatures by Leger and Shelton, as well as doodle illustrations by artist Pam Jones. Shelton said they are in talks with other talented cartoonists and writers to add to the team.

“We just realize the need and desire that readers have for political cartoons; time has proven their popularity,” Shelton said. “Jocelyn and I have the passion and are lucky enough to have been involved with developing this for a while now. With the technology catching up we feel this can be a great and cheap idea for newspapers to use, while news continues to gravitate toward being digital.”

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