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Trouble for Newspapers Spells Trouble for Cartoonists

With newspaper subscriptions continuing to decline, cartoonists are beginning to worry, according to a report in the New York Times. Speaking on the troubles besetting newspapers' print editions, 'Pearls Before Swine' creator Stephan Pastis told the Times, "For a syndicated cartoonist, that's like finally making it to the major leagues and being told the stadiums are all closing, so there's no place to play."

In response, some have decided to built their own stadiums; many cartoonists, and the syndicates that represent them, have taken bit in teeth and turned their attention to the Internet.

The United Feature Syndicate, which represents such comic strips as 'Peanuts' and 'Dilbert,' has begun offering its full archives for free via its Web site at Once the site's administrators did away with a previous paid subscription policy this past November, traffic to the site jumped by nearly half.

Other cartoonists and distributors are following suit: offers e-cards and games, hosts animated strips, and 'Pearls Before Swine' now has a Facebook page. Nearly all parties are closely watching iPods, iPhones and the like as alternative media for the strips.

The most apparent drawback to an electronic solution? The Sunday morning paper can withstand spilled coffee far better than can a smart phone. [From: New York Times]

Tags: comics, newspapers, web