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Posted at 9:45 AM ET, 08/26/2010

FAREWELL: His dream shot down, 'MY CAGE' cartoonist has a word for comics fans

By Michael Cavna


mycage1.JPG


Speaking straight from the heart, cartoonist Ed Power has some hard-won words of advice for comics fans:

Support your favorite comic strip very, very vocally.

The reason for Power's impassioned plea now? Because not enough readers were vocal enough in their support of his strip. As a result, "My Cage," the clever King Features comic that he co-creates with Melissa DeJesus, will come to an end Oct. 31.

"If there is anything that should be learned from people by this, it's that if you like a comic strip, support it," Power tells Comic Riffs shortly after notifying us of the news Wednesday. "Write the newspaper or website carrying it -- or ones you would like to have carry it. Even if you think it's doing well, write. You never know what's going on behind the scenes, and the strip you save may be your favorite."

Power and DeJesus launched the manga-inspired strip -- which features the tales of Norman T. Platypus (who endures a "soul-draining job") and his furry, anthropomorphic friends -- in 2007. A little more than three years in, however, the economic reality reared its not-so-warm-and-fuzzy-head: "My Cage" can't sustain syndication.

"This is not a case of the artists deciding to go on to other projects," Power tells Comic Riffs. "Melissa and I would've done the strip forever with King if it had been possible. Sadly, it just wasn't. We weren't in enough papers to make it profitable for King to be able to continue publishing us.

'Despite our online popularity, and the most devoted fan-following I can imagine, newspaper editors just did not bite."

Power doesn't mince words about his reaction to the strip's end, writing: "I feel like my childhood dream was shot point-blank through the eyes."

"On the upside," Power notes, "Melissa and I will be working together again on our original graphic novel, 'Santa vs Dracula,' for SLG Publishing."

So will Power and DeJesus perhaps let their strip's characters live on in another form or format?

"We'll let everyone know if we decide to do anything with the 'My Cage' characters," Power tells 'Riffs. "Right now, the wound is just too fresh to make such decisions."

Meantime, his advice resonates for every comics fan: In these tough times, support your favorite comic strip very, very vocally.

Writes Power: "Thanks for all the support. We couldn't have asked for better readers and fans."


mycage2.jpg

By Michael Cavna  | August 26, 2010; 9:45 AM ET
Categories:  Interviews With Cartoonists, The Comic Strip  | Tags:  Ed Power, King Features, Melissa DeJesus, My Cage  
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Comments

Love the Nick Fury elf in the Santa vs. Dracula video.

Posted by: greggwiggins | August 26, 2010 10:15 AM | Report abuse

Jeez, Mary Worth must have a very noisy fan base. Sorry to see this. Wish I'd known more about this strip sooner. Best of luck.

Posted by: windwing | August 26, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

This was a very well written interesting comic. I read it online since WaPo didn't carry it. I guess that was part of the problem, so Cavna's eulogy is a little late.

Posted by: yellojkt | August 27, 2010 9:00 AM | Report abuse

There's a reason no one uses the term "funny pages" to describe the comics anymore. It's only another blow to the viablity of newspapers when they continually alienate their younger demographics.

Posted by: jdhsjo | August 27, 2010 11:21 AM | Report abuse

There's a reason no one uses the term "funny pages" to describe the comics anymore. It's just another blow to the viablity of newspapers when they continue to alienate their younger demographics.

Posted by: jdhsjo | August 27, 2010 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Newspapers don't have a young demographic. You can't blame them for giving their paying subscribers, most of which are either businesses or people over 50, what they want.

That said, this is still a crying shame. Forget Mary Worth (which can still be entertaining in a trainwrecky way): what about Marmaduke and Fred Basset and FBOFW?

Posted by: Blurgle | August 27, 2010 4:51 PM | Report abuse

MyCage was (and it is quite painful to have to use the past tense in talking about it!) one of those strips that have a truly funny and genuinely insightful daily offering far more often than not, in contrast to the same-old-unfunny-jokes-over-and-over zombie strips that clutter up what's left of the comics pages at the (ever diminishing) daily newspapers. I'm sorry that most WaPo readers never discovered "MyCage", since it appears in neither the print nor online versions of the Post.

Of course, since the Post outsources its selection process for comic strips to a company that conducts a small random survey of people who don't actually read the comics and who therefore inevitably name "Beetle Bailey" as their favorite strip simply because it's about the only strip whose title they actually recall, it's not too surprising that "MyCage" would not find a home herein. It would be nice to be able to communicate with a WaPo editor who is in charge of such decisions, but since that person (unlike almost all other Post editors) never blogs, is interviewed, or submits to online Q&A sessions, we shall never know the reasons for such decisions (or for "Frazz" being exiled to the Kids' Post hinterlands while "Classic Peanuts" hangs on in the "real" comics, nor why WaPo treats its own spin-off strip "Cul de Sac" so shabbily after it was moved out of the Sunday magazine, etc.)

Anyway, I wish all the best to Ed Power and Melissa DeJesus, who are simply too talented to be kept down for long. If there is any justice in the world, perhaps someday they will take over the writing and drawing chores for "Beetle Bailey".

Posted by: seismic-2 | August 27, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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