Artist and journalist Michael Cavna entered daily syndication in late 1996 with his topical comic strip “Warped.” For seven years, he sat at the drawing board every day producing the strip.
At the time, the American comic strip was still considered something of a going concern, but things were in the process of changing.
“In 1995, you still had ‘Bloom County,'” Cavna said. “You still had ‘Calvin and Hobbes.’ You still had ‘The Far Side.’ Within roughly a 12 month period, all would disappear from the landscape. … Once those quickly in the mid-’90s all disappeared, it was a radical shift.”
Although other strips, such as “Doonesbury, “Dilbert” and “Zits” continued to thrive, the departure of those three influential strips left a huge gap in the comics sections of the nation’s newspapers.
Cavna folded “Warped” in 2003, partially because he’d said all that he wanted to say artistically, but also because it was becoming more difficult for artists to expand their audiences through newspaper syndication.
“I talked to Garry Trudeau about it,” Cavna said. “Even when ‘Doonesbury’ was syndicated in 1970, he felt like the ebb had begun. But the radical shift has been the decline of print readership. So, we’ve really seen in the past couple of decades that drop off as you’ve seen circulation drop off, as you’ve seen two newspaper towns become one newspaper towns. That’s all endemic.”
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