Mike Peters Moves To King

By: Dave Astor

Editor’s notes: E&P this week named the “Features of the Year.” For a look at the four winners, click here.

This week’s “Syndicate World” is being published a day early, due to the Nov. 28 Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S.


Mike Peters is bringing his “Mother Goose & Grimm” comic and Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoons to King Features Syndicate as of New Year’s Day.

“I have been very happy with Tribune Media Services, but King made me a fabulous offer,” said Peters, when contacted by E&P Online. “It was probably one of the two or three hardest decisions I’ve made in my life.”

Walter Mahoney, TMS vice president of domestic syndication, said, “Unfortunately, we were not able to extend our agreement with Mike under terms that we felt were financially prudent for TMS.”

Peters, 59, said another reason he’s switching syndicates is that change can help him stay excited about his work.

King President T.R. Shepard III said “we are absolutely delighted” that Peters brought his “superior talent” to the syndicate. Shepard added that he sees “ample opportunity” for King’s sales force to increase the cartoonist’s client list.

“Mother Goose & Grimm,” with TMS since the comic started in 1984, runs in about 500 papers. Peters’ Dayton (Ohio) Daily News editorial cartoons go to about 300 papers, many getting them as part of a “Pulitzer Package” of TMS editorial cartoonists. Peters brought this segment of his work to TMS in 1993 after 20 years with United Media.

Peters, who joined the Daily News in 1969, won his Pulitzer in 1981. He also received the National Cartoonists Society’s Reuben Award as top cartoonist of the year in 1992.

As a “Mother Goose” replacement, TMS will offer Steve Watkins’ “Housebroken” — a new strip about a middle-class African-American family that “takes in a down-on-his-luck ex-rap-star dog.”

***

Latino Life Is Reflected …


… In ‘La Cucaracha’ Comic Strip

Universal Press Syndicate on Nov. 25 launched “La Cucaracha,” a Latino-themed daily comic by Lalo Alcaraz.

Initial clients for the humorous and satirical strip include the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and more than 35 other newspapers.

“I hope to explore the bicultural lives Latinos and other people have in our society, and also to spoof pop culture, politics, and Latinos,” Alcaraz told E&P Online, adding: “There aren’t enough realistic portrayals of Latinos in the media right now. Of what little there is, you mainly see bland, overidealized, or bigoted portrayals.”

The award-winning Alcaraz (http://www.lacucaracha.com) already does a strip called “L.A. Cucaracha” for LA Weekly. And his editorial cartoons have been syndicated by Universal since last year.

Universal also syndicates the Latino-themed “Baldo” comic, as well strips — such as “The Boondocks” and “Doonesbury” — that contain plenty of political and social commentary.

Alcaraz, 38, jokingly described his comic as “Doonesbarrio.”

***

Universal Deal Means …


… More Readers For ‘Digest’

Universal Press Syndicate reached an agreement with Reader’s Digest to distribute articles, columns, and celebrity interviews from the high-circulation magazine.

“We think the combination of the brand and the appeal of the material will work in today’s newspaper environment,” said Universal Executive Vice President/Editor Lee Salem, who hopes distribution will start next month.




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