We're in “Another Golden Age of Comics”

Question: What changes has the cartooning business undergone during your career?

Jules Feiffer: Well for one thing, commercially, it’s undergone vast change and not all of it to the good.  I mean, when I was a kid, the newspaper comic strip was dominant and sexy and glamorous, and cartoonists made a lot of money, and they were famous.  Milton Caniff who did Terry and the Pirates, Al Capp, who did “Li’l Abner,”  I mean, there were – Chester Gould who did Dick Tracy, these then had household names.  And the newspaper strips got smaller and smaller and smaller for newspapers to misguidedly save space, and the quality went out of the work, the quality went out of the art, and certainly out of the writing.  And whatever quality there was disappeared for a long period of time until underground comics, Crumb and company, and Spiegelman and company, gave birth to something new which was alternative comics, and suddenly we have Chris Ware, and Dan Klaus, and Craig Thompson, and a whole new variety of artists, many of them every bit as good as the best during the golden age of the newspaper comic strip.  But here doing work wildly original, very different from one another and impossible to conceive of in mainstream public press. 

So, this is very exciting now.  It ain’t a living.  I mean, these guys work very, very hard and put in the sort of work and hours that I would never try to do.  And I don’t know how they feed their families, if they do.  But it’s a fascinating form and so I think that after a long period of nothing happening and work, nothing very impressive, we are into another golden age of comics.  Unfortunately, it’s not a golden age for the artists themselves economically.  I don’t know how they get along.

Recorded on February 22, 2010
Interviewed by Austin \r\nAllen

\r\n

Comics now are every bit as vibrant as they were in their Depression heyday. And yet for the artists, cartooning still "ain’t a living."

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

Radical theory says our universe sits on an inflating bubble in an extra dimension

Cosmologists propose a groundbreaking model of the universe using string theory.

Getty Images/Suvendu Giri
Surprising Science
  • A new paper uses string theory to propose a new model of the universe.
  • The researchers think our universe may be riding a bubble expanded by dark energy.
  • All matter in the universe may exist in strings that reach into another dimension.
Keep reading Show less

Your body’s full of stuff you no longer need. Here's a list.

Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.

Image source: Ernst Haeckel
Surprising Science
  • An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
  • Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
  • Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
Keep reading Show less

Think you’re bad at math? You may suffer from ‘math trauma’

Even some teachers suffer from anxiety about math.

Image credit: Getty Images
Mind & Brain

I teach people how to teach math, and I've been working in this field for 30 years. Across those decades, I've met many people who suffer from varying degrees of math trauma – a form of debilitating mental shutdown when it comes to doing mathematics.

Keep reading Show less