Yes, We’re Serious

Reports surfaced this morning that the gentlemen over at The Cartoonist Studio ( have launched their 2nd annual cartooning contest. The Daily Cartoonist reports that the contest will kick off February 6th. The Grand Prize? Your comic will run on and you will be paid “any advertising money generated on [the comic’s] page.” And… AND… an electronic-book publishing contract. There will also be prizes for two runners up.

I’m wondering why the grand prize isn’t a time machine, because the winner will need one for any of this to be relevant.

Dear Cartoonists Studio: This is not a prize. Anyone can put their comic on a webpage and populate it with ads from Google Adsense. isn’t promising (nor can it deliver) traffic. That has to be generated by the artist anyway, so why add a middleman? Also there is no such thing as an electronic-book publishing contract. That’s like selling freshman elevator passes on the first day of the spring semester.

Dear Syndicates: You are making yourselves look more and more out of touch with every passing day.  The USC Anneberg School for Commincation and Journalism just released a study that predicts newspapers are gone in five years. If you want to survive beyond that cataclysmic event, you gotta figure out this online stuff soon.

So here’s what we’re going to do. I talked in length this morning with Brad Guigar, and we are both clearing time in our 2012 schedule to act as paid consultants to the highest bidder. We have over 30 years of combined experience in monetizing comic strips online. But most importantly, we have built a well-deserved trust with not only the audience but also the talent pool you’re targeting.

We have what you want.

Wait, I’m sorry, let me rephrase that.

We have what you NEED. And we are willing to sell it to you, for the right price.

Now, look, we already lost one syndicate this year. Who will we lose next year? Creators… I’m looking in your direction. King Features… I’m not sure we can help, to be honest. Your properties skew pretty old, and although I’m sure Brad and I do have ideas on how to market Popeye to college kids who like Wimpy ironically, that’s about it. But there are a lot of people out there who are facing oblivion and we’re here to help.

I know you don’t think you need this, but you do. Have you ever heard of the Dunning-Kruger effect? Wikipedia it. That’s what you have. A couple of our colleagues, Meredith Gran and Aaron Diaz, once called themselves “Dunning-Kruger Solutions.” We might pay them a licensing fee so Brad and I can use that name. Cause that’s what we’re offering. You don’t even know that you don’t know this stuff. Electronic-book publishing contract? You guys have Dunning-Kruger. Bad.

Okay, I hear you. You pay a whole Online Department a lot of money to pretend that they know the score. And if you were to hire us, it might be a sign of weakness. I got you covered. Here’s what you do. Have the NCS hire us to be consultants for them (you). You’re already funding it, and you attend all their functions. Just tell them to hire us as consultants and then—since them is you anyway—you get all this stored knowledge and you don’t lose any face.

Before you decide, consider this: What if a cartoonist hires us first? Or a group of cartoonists? Or another syndicate? We’ll consult for the highest bidder. Maybe that’s Jim Davis or Lynn Johnston. They both have pretty nice houses and could afford us. Then they get to keep all our knowledge for themselves and don’t have to share it with the syndicate. Maybe Mort Walker hires us and just shelves us so that nobody else can have us and he can die with the most money. What if a bunch of middle-tier cartoonists chip-in and hire us to help them set up a life AFTER you guys? You need them more than they need you. They make the comics and you make a distribution model that’s dying.

All I’m saying is that Brad Guigar and Scott Kurtz are available. We know how to generate income with daily comic strips online and we’re willing to work directly with someone to set up new revenue streams before this whole thing goes tits up.

What do you have to lose? You’re all out of work in five years anyway. Pull the pin and count to three. We can’t put you in a position that’s worse than you’re in now. And if you don’t hire us, what if Creators does? Creators… can you afford to give Universal that advantage?

You think I’m joking and you might feel insulted right now. But in about ten minutes you’re going to be reviewing a memo about layoffs or some newspaper circulation chart that’s pointing down (still) and it’s going to sink in. You got nothing to lose and everything to gain. And we are deadly serious about this offer.

“Electronic-book publishing contract”. Creators executives, that’s what your competition thinks the future is. We can do WAY better than that. Hire us and we’ll have you guys so ready for the future you’ll sound like a Philip K. Dick novella. Everyone else… same offer.

Let the bidding begin.