In late 2006, the satirical newspaper The Onion launched a comics page in its print edition (currently available free on newsstands in 10 metropolitan areas). I was thrilled to feature Wondermark on that page in every market, and for about two and a half years, the comic ran in 700,000 papers every week.
Now, however, the Onion comics page is going away. The issue appearing on newsstands in a few days will be the last to feature a Wondermark strip.*
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed — it was wonderful to attend conventions in cities like New York, San Francisco, Austin, and the D.C. area and have people recognize the strip from the paper, thrilled to discover things like book collections and the email list. It was always a kick to pick a paper off the newsstand and see my work in print, and knowing that bored people on the subway would be reading my comic helped give me perspective — and kept me from making too many internet-nerd in-jokes. The whole time, the editors at the Onion have been uniformly gracious, accommodating and supportive, and I am deeply indebted to Tasha Robinson and Joe Garden particularly.
But the financial realities of the newspaper-publishing business are what they are. (That is to say, miserable.) Moving forward, my goals are twofold — both of which heavily involve you:
> First, I want to make sure that people who enjoyed Wondermark in the Onion know that the strip itself is still very much alive and continuing online. If you have friends who regularly read the comic in the paper, remind them that they can sign up for email delivery of comics and not miss a beat. In fact, they’ll get twice the comics! (Since the Onion only published one comic a week, but I post two a week here on the site.)
>> Second, if you attend or work for a school (high school or college) with a newspaper, let them know that Wondermark is now available for syndication through MCT Campus, the same syndicate that offers comics such as “K Chronicles”, “Brewster Rockit”, and “Bliss” to schools. MCT is offering Wondermark on a trial basis, which means that it lives or dies based on newspapers electing to participate and reader feedback – both things that I can’t provide, but you can.
Yes, you (in the aggregate) have the power to make Wondermark available to millions of students and faculty (in the aggregate) who might enjoy them. With the loss of the Onion audience, this opportunity for additional exposure is very precious, and I’d love to make a good showing. Please contact an editor at your school paper, share a few words about why you enjoy Wondermark and why it could be a good fit for your school, and ask them (very kindly) to contact Tony Regan at MCT Campus about syndicating the strip.
And if the paper picks it up for syndication — tell me about it! I’ll send a personalized thank-you gift to anyone who sends me a scan of Wondermark in their school paper.
Thanks so much, everyone! And to any fugitive Onion fans who’ve found your way here, thanks for making the leap online. Here’s the email subscription list, the RSS feed, the website’s Twitter feed, the LiveJournal feed — pick your flavor. It’s nice to have you around.
*If you live in Madison, San Fran., NYC, LA, Austin, Chicago, Denver/Boulder, the Twin Cities, Milwaukee, or DC, pick up an Onion late this week. You might be glad you did, hint hint