Thursday, April 27, 2006

LA TIMES: Great comic strips aren't built on the backs of aging readers

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Comic strips' plight isn't funny
Cartoonists fear that newspapers aren't changing with the times to reach a print-averse younger generation.

By Alex Chun, Special to The Times

IN an upcoming "Opus" Sunday comic strip, Berkeley Breathed's affable waterfowl Opus comes across an iPod-toting twentysomething who has no clue what a newspaper is. In the strip's eight little boxes, Breathed succinctly sums up the plight of not only newspapers but also the comic strips contained therein: They "are trying to reach kids who literally have never picked up a newspaper before," says Breathed, who burst on the national comics scene in 1980 with the cult-classic "Bloom County."

"What can we offer them as 25-year-old new workers that might interest them enough to pick up sheets of paper and examine them for several minutes a day?"

That, Breathed says, is the million-dollar — or million-reader — question facing comic strip creators....


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