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Posted at 6:45 AM ET, 01/27/2010

Seven top artists reveal their hopes for Apple's new tablet

By Michael Cavna

As the digital prophet Steve descends at 1 p.m. Wednesday (ET), by most accounts to announce a tablet he is bestowing upon us -- the book of Jobs -- Apple's visionary and iconic big-cheese will step into a frothy sea of hype.

In recent days, the headlines have trumpeted the tablet's coming yet louder.
"The Tablet Could Spur A Media Revolution, But It Will Be Out Of Apple's Hands," blares TechCrunch. And "Apple's Tablet Promises to Rewrite Rules of Book Publishing," peals the Wall Street Journal online.

With coverage like that, the hyperventilating anticipation for Steve Jobs's 1 p.m. sermon continues to mount.

Amid this quickened cultural breath, Comic Riffs seeks to find out what commercial artists -- cartoonists, illustrators -- hope that the tablet will bring. Will it change media consumption? Will it alter publishing business models? And will it make a mochacchino while you draw into dawn?

Here is what seven noted artists had to say:

(NOTE -- Later this morning: These artists and several others share what they would name Apple's new tablet.)

"Dilbert" creator Scott Adams (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)Enlarge Image

SCOTT ADAMS (Reuben Award-winning creator of "Dilbert"):

"I have high hopes and low expectations. I think it will be a big iTouch with cool videoconferencing features, maybe a pico projector -- and not designed for artists."

SIMON OXLEY (illustrator and creator of the iconic Twitter bird image):

"I guess designers are always seeking tools which make the production of imagery efficient. Tools often give the final design its personality -- i.e., a wood-cut line offers its unique quality, as does a computer based vector shape. Often my image style is partly determined by the tools I employ to create it. So, I hope the tablet serves to further reduce the distance between man and machine."

BERKELEY BREATHED (Pulitzer-winning creator of "Bloom County," "Outland," "Opus" and best-selling children's author):

"[I hope for] an app that, when clicked, will snap off every television in every restaurant, lobby or waiting area within a mile. I will trade my children for this. Is that what you meant? Or did you mean PhotoShop compatibility?"

SCOTT KURTZ (creator of "PvP" ):

"I'm not sure what Apple will announce on Wednesday, but I'm less excited about the device and more excited about the content partnerships Apple will have attached to it. That's what I'm excited about: an iTunes for books and comics. I want to be a part of that. I want a presence there."

JEN SORENSEN (courtesy of the artist)

JEN SORENSEN (creator of "Slowpoke Comics" ):
"Seeing as my cellphone only makes calls and texts, and I just upgraded to Windows 95, I look forward to trying out the tablet in 15 years when it's selling for pennies on eBay. Okay, just kidding about Windows 95. Actually -- don't tell anyone -- I've been secretly lusting after a Wacom Cintiq. But right now, I have to settle for an Etch-a-Sketch."

TED RALL (syndicated alt-political cartoonist , columnist and graphic novelist):

"As a consumer, absolutely, I can't wait. I didn't buy an iPhone but I want the tablet. ... It's the Holy Grail of tech. ... I do wonder, however, how many people will be willing to carry the thing around in a bag.

"As a cartoonist, I can't be as wildly enthusiastic for the tablet as an potential revenue stream as many of my colleagues. So far the Internet revolution has left creators behind. This could be yet another example of a device which aggregators can monetize while the artists who make their business possible get robbed. On the other hand, Steve Jobs seems to want to cut deals that do right by print media. Also, a device that replicates print's serendipitous ability to turn you on to stuff that you don't necessarily seek out could be a Godsend for cartoons and all kinds of media. On a scale from 1 to 10, I'm a 6 --more optimistic than not, but not giddy."

DAVE COVERLY (Reuben Award-winning creator of "Speed Bump"):

"I have high hopes that this new tablet-thingy will come with a beer tap and a Cartoon Idea app."

By Michael Cavna  | January 27, 2010; 6:45 AM ET
Categories:  Geek Buzz, Interviews With Cartoonists  | Tags:  Apple tablet, Berkeley Breathed, Dave Coverly, Jen Sorensen, Scott Adams, Scott Kurtz, Simon Oxley, Steve Jobs, Ted Rall  
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Next: Top 10 Names for the new Apple tablet (*as chosen by top artists)


Mr. Breathed should be aware of TV-B-Gone ( ). Less than a mile radius, but no child bartering required!

Posted by: matt-boston | January 27, 2010 11:48 AM | Report abuse

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