The Two-Strip Rule



Minority cartoonists say they are tired of being lumped together on America’s comic strip pages and this Sunday plan to “mock the idea that their work is interchangeable” by using an identical strip.

In each strip, the artists will portray a white reader grousing about a minority-drawn strip, complaining that it’s a “Boondocks” rip-off and blaming it on “tokenism.” [WP]


Most newspapers don’t have room for more than two comic strips by writers of color, according to the writers. But industry folks cite a number reasons for the difference, such as pleasing a particular demographic, a resistance to change among editors, and an aging audience.


Aaron McGruder told the Washington Post that he doesn’t think it’s a “purely racial or racist issue.”

“I’m sure it’s a factor. But I’m not convinced. Despite the hurdles and the issues of race, I was given more than a fair shot. Nobody ever mistook my strip for ‘Curtis.’

“The industry itself is struggling. It’s like they’re the black passengers on the Titanic protesting to get to the top deck, and overlooking the fact that the whole ship is sinking.”

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  • Shawn L.

    McGruder’s Titanic analogy could apply to a number of scenarios — black mayors becoming commonplace only when the cities themselves are falling apart, blacks being appointed CEOs at corporations that are struggling, etc. That rickety door with the paint chipping off is often the only one open to career-minded blacks.

    As far as old, primarily white fogeys complaining that (insert black strip) is a rip-off of the Boondocks, that’s hilarious. Blondie, Andy Capp and Hagar the Horrible share a lot more in common than other black strips do with Boondocks. Ditto with the unholy trio of Hi and Lois, Marmaduke and Family Circus.

  • slb

    I hadn’t been giving much thought to minority-centric comic strips (or comic strip in general) for a while now. The last time I actively looked for one was in the early days of The Boondocks. Before that, I only checked for Peanuts, pre-Schulz’s death.

    McGruder’s probably right; the print comic strip is a fizzling format. Creators would probably do well to jump ship and swim their way to the graphic novel market.