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October 03, 2007



Tony, interesting comment about the male cartoonists.

Here's a little blurb from a Salon.com article (from 1999) re. Gary Larson and the Chronicle...

"In 1979 Larson got the idea of doubling his cartooning income (he was back up to $15 each) by getting a second newspaper to publish his panels. He fixed his sights on the San Francisco Chronicle and drove down to San Francisco. After a week of waiting to be seen, of turning over his portfolio, calling in twice a day to ask if anyone had looked at it and being openly pitied by receptionists, Larson was told, to his astonishment, that the Chronicle wanted to syndicate his cartoon, retitled "The Far Side," and offer it to about 30 newspapers across the country. And forget this weekly business -- they wanted one a day."

Tony Murphy

I would never minimize the importance of having a professional presentation -- mostly because it helps the person you're approaching fit you into their systematized approach, which they probably have if they're good at what they do. HOWEVER... I agree with Mike's assessment that this editor needed to feel important. I actually consider it highly UNprofessional to tell someone whose work you've never seen that they are aiming too high. I can't help but wonder if he would he have said the same thing to a male cartoonist.

And I don't know if it's online, but if anyone wants an account of how not to become published/syndicated, read Gary Larson's account of how he drove down to San Francisco from Washington, with no appointment, to leave cartoons with the Chronicle editors and then hang out near payphones to find out if they liked them. It's how you should never do it.

Except it worked.


The warm cocoon of camaraderie amongst cartoonists and cartoon-lovers...it's a very nice thing!...but I gotta say I'm on the side of the Toronto Star editor in this little story. Quite frankly, I'm boggled by my own ignorance in the way I handled that whole experience. In the silence of those pauses on the phone, I could practically hear the editor's thoughts..."who is this?...did we talk?...have I forgotten something?..."


I thought you were going to say he invited you in, looked at your stuff and then told you who to contact at a syndicate. Your version is much funnier and sadly true to life. Thank god he didn't feel like giving you advice, because it wouldn't have been worth anything and then where would you be today? (Over the years, I have known some much more important people who had time for me. Evidently being important didn't matter to them as much as it mattered to him!)


I dunno...I like your bravado! I remember many years ago, when I first moved to Toronto I made an appointment with the art director at the Toronto Star (and I remember his name!). I was terrified, even though I had some pretty nice samples of illustrated work which had been published in the Hamilton Spectator. Honestly, he made me feel like a schmo (ok, I LET him make me feel like a schmo). He was quite condescending of my work, because it was 'too cartoony', not serious enough for the Toronto Star. Feh.


Heh, heh...Thank you for telling me that, Jonathan. It's so nice to know I'm not the only one. Whoever said "ignorance is bliss"?...

Jonathan Mahood

Ha! This totally reminds me of some of my full throttle/ ill advised attempts at getting a foot in the door.
Beside comics I also carve stone and wood. Back when I was starting out, I decided to bypass sending letters and slides of my work and just go to the galleries. So I wrapped 4 smallish sculptures in towels and stuffed them in a backpack and headed for the streets of Toronto. I can still remember the look on their faces as I started unpacking my work..."You've got to be kidding.." Ha! Not the way to impress a gallery owner! It wasn't a total disaster, they did like my work and I did make some contacts...although my back was killing me for days after.

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