Competition For Cartoon Sites

By: Dave Astor

Cartoons are creative things, but sometimes numbers tell the story: 6,500, 325, 400.

The Cartoon Resource (CR) service recently launched a Web site that already features 6,500 cartoons divided into more than 325 categories. And CR has had 400 clients — about 5% of them newspapers — since starting offline two years ago.

There are other online cartoon services, too. For instance, the 1999-founded Artizans has nearly 350 customers — with 58% of them newspapers. And the 1996-founded ArtistMarket.com, which offers more than 2,000 images, has a clientele that’s about 50% newspapers.

CR clients can look for cartoons on such topics as American life, animals, and business — on through the alphabet to seasonal, sports, and teen life. These subject areas are subdivided into the 325-plus categories. For instance, a client searching under “American life” — a topic especially popular since Sept. 11 — can find cartoons about everything from amusement parks to spirituality.

“Our cartoons have been created and organized to be very topic-specific, [which allows] editors and art directors to find what they want immediately,” said CR Creative Director Andrew Grossman, a cartoonist (pen name “Toos”) who founded the company with CR Director of Marketing Nancy Terrell.

The cartoons — created by 24 artists who each receive 50% of the proceeds from sales of their work — can be translated into 12 languages. They also can be customized, an option requested by 60% of CR clients, Grossman said.

Besides newspapers, clients for CR (http://www.cartoonresource.com) and other online services include Web sites, magazines, and other buyers.

Artizans (http://www.artizans.com) has about 40 contributors, including more than a dozen U.S. and Canadian political cartoonists, 11 gag cartoonists, eight caricaturists, and eight illustrators. The creators receive up to 65% of payments for syndicated material and up to 75% for commissioned work.

Much of what’s offered by Artizans (E&P magazine, Dec. 11, 1999) is “timely and topical,” said founder Malcolm Mayes, an editorial cartoonist for The Edmonton (Alberta) Journal. He added that all content is screened, but “we don’t censor our creators. Editors are able to find much more adventurous material on our site than they could from a typical syndicate.”

Another large entity is ArtistMarket.com (http://www.artistmarket.com). David Kahn’s service (E&P magazine, June 21, 1997) has nearly 150 creators on its site, which gets about 40,000 hits a week.

ArtistMarket began offering columns last year to go along with gag cartoons, comics, political cartoons, caricatures, puzzles, and games. Creators, who get 50% of payments, also do custom work.

Kahn said ArtistMarket is planning a large promotional mailing to newspaper and magazine editors next month.

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Et cetera …

Tony Auth of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Universal Press Syndicate won the Thomas Nast Prize, awarded periodically to American and German editorial cartoonists since 1978. …

Religion News Service added Holly Lebowitz Rossi as a correspondent covering Judaism and Islam. …

The New York Times Syndicate is distributing weekly commentary columnist Beth Drennan. …

United Media is offering “NextSteps,” Jan Warner and Jan Collins’ weekly Q-and-A column that discusses financial, health, and legal planning for baby boomers and seniors.




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