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Opportunities available in all walks of life in Australia (except comics)

As we approach the week of the Lee newspaper cuts in their comic book pages, we also come to the week
that News Corp Australia newspapers cut not most but all of the comics they carried.

Gary Clark is the creative genius behind the comic, Swamp. First published in 1981 by the Sunshine Coast everydaythe strip is seen in newspapers across Australia and Europe, including Scandinavia.

© Gary Clark

If you’re a tragic comic book fan, you might be disappointed flipping through the newspaper.

The final fun section has been printed, with News Corp Australia removing its comic strip from all its mastheads.

Gary Clark is the creator of the iconic Swamp Cartoon Strip and has been featured in Queensland newspapers for decades.

He says that while this may be the end of an era for newspaper cartoons, the future of comics is far from dead.

Swamp Creator Gary Clark talks to Australia Broadcasting Corporation (radio) about the loss of so many newspaper clients, his creative process and how he sees the future of his profession.

Did News Corp Kill Newspaper Comics?

It’s a habit that continues today.

Every morning as I sit having my breakfast, I turn on my Herald-Sun App, go to the BD page then to the “Today’s Papersection and read the comics as they would appear in today’s physical copy. Then, if I have time, I’ll read a bit of sports and maybe a general article.

In the past the Herald-Sun published comics such as blonde, Human-robot, Hagar the Horrible, Andy Cap, snake tales and Garfield. These last years Ginger Meggs got a Guernsey and in 2013 The Phantom returned to the comics page. This was a cause for much celebration in the Victorian Phan community!

However, even though comics have long been synonymous with newspapers, press company (who owns the Herald-Sun among others) cancels its comic book page!

© King Features Syndicate

While De Paul and Manley were burying The ghost, News Corp Australia was burying the comics. It wouldn’t be surprising to find The Phantom is was printed in more newspapers there than in America.

Stephen East for the Chronicle Chamber (“By Phans, For Phans”) contacted the current phantom force of Tony DePaul, Mike Manley and Jeff Weigel about the Down Under newspaper situation.

Tony DePaul: I guess News Corp has judged that the readers most likely to cancel comics are being canceled over time anyway, and at an increasingly rapid rate. This probably explains why the company is removing the comics altogether and not just moving them to its websites. If the readers who get their comics from the newspapers bow out on the obituary page, the money once spent to attract them may as well go to shareholders.

Jeff Weigel: I’m not sure anything can do that today for an industry as antiquated as print media. Comics will survive and thrive in the future, but I doubt newspapers and their comic book sections will. I expect that in ten years you’ll be getting your Phantom fix somewhere other than a daily sheet of inky newsprint. The world keeps turning. The Phantom will have to find a way to keep up (but it’s always been good enough to keep up with the times).

Mike Manley: Comics are more popular than ever around the world and while comics like Spidey are selling less and less, Kid Lit has exploded! Schoolastic has a better-selling Spidey book than Marvels. So I consider comics to be healthy and these old models like newspaper comics and even direct comic book sales as days numbered.

These comic creators, and the Australian publisher of The Phantom comics in Australia, had a lot more to say. Read the full article and comments here.

But newspaper comics aren’t dead yet. The hope is that the outcry from readers will change News Corp’s errant ways. And there are more than Murdoch newspapers in and around the island-nation-continent.

From Michael O’Brien:

Tasmanian Newspapers: While the Mercury drops its comics, the Examiner and Advocate retain theirs.