When Cathy Guisewite packed up her pencils and put the long-running strip Cathy out to pasture, something had to replace it. But what? Love it or hate it, Cathy was unique, so there was no obvious successor. At The Daily Cartoonist, Alan Gardner crunches the numbers and checks the press releases, and he figures the three strips that got the biggest boost from the empty slot were Dustin, by Steve Kelly and Jeff Parker; Stone Soup, by Jan Eliot; and Pickles, by Brian Crane
Gardner points out the obvious, that editors did not feel constrained to replace Cathy with a strip with a strong female lead (although Stone Soup more than fills the bill here, with not one but five smart, funny female characters). Dustin is about a twentysomething guy who live at home with mom and dad, while Pickles mines its humor from the daily doings of a couple who have been married for 50 years.
Here’s something that’s a little more consistent, though: The new strips that were launched this year seem to be doing very well, with five of the seven in the best-seller list. Gardner’s conclusion: Launch your strip the same year a well known creator is retiring.
Publishing | Following Friday’s news that as many as 80 employees will be relocated or fired in DC Entertainment’s restructuring, Rich Johnston claims that most of the staff reduction will come from the end of temporary contracts. “DC has made it a policy to replace outgoing support staff with temporary staff for just this eventuality,” he writes. “New positions will open in Burbank to cover what is now needed over there, but there will be no cross-country moving arrangements for temps to fill them.”
Sean Kleefeld, meanwhile, provides commentary on the cuts: “Those layoffs? Those are for actual employees. Those are going to be admins and accountants and file clerks and licensing specialists and whatnot. Probably an editor or three. People who come in to DC’s offices in New York City to do their job. But what about the comic creators who also suddenly have the rug pulled out from under them? With Wildstorm and Zuda going away, won’t that mean all those creators who were working on books under those imprints no longer have an outlet for their work?” [Bleeding Cool, Kleefeld on Comics]
Conventions | Wizard World Chicago Comic Con drew a lot of attention from mainstream media for the appearance on Saturday of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich, who charged $80 for photos and $50 for autographs (more than Star Trek: Deep Space Nine star Avery Brooks, the Chicago Sun-Times points out, but less than William Shatner). Blagojevich, who was convicted last week of lying to the FBI, told Fox News he didn’t receive an appearance fee, and that the event wasn’t all that lucrative for him: “I didn’t really get any money from any of the photos I took, because I took probably hundreds of them and couldn’t bother to ask anybody for any money for that. Those were free. I did sign some signatures. I was there because I was invited at the last minute by the promoters, and it was an opportunity to get out there among the people.”
For non-Blagojevich convention news, turn to Maggie Thompson, who posted daily coverage (noting the event was well-attended, with a lot of first-time attendees), and Rich Johnston, who rolled out video after video. Time Out Chicago has a report from the floor, as well as photo galleries from Friday and Saturday. [Wizard World Chicago Comic Con]