I was driving home from work Monday night and caught an interview on NPR with Bloom County creator Berkeley Breathed. After 25 years, he's started up the strip again, but is publishing on Facebook. I was a fan of the comics growing up* and Bloom County was a strip that I didn't fully appreciate until much later. The interview was fascinating, shedding light on what it was like to be a newspaper cartoonist in the 80's and 90s. No wonder my so many cartoonists burned out. I only caught part of the interview and looked it up when I got home so I could hear the rest. There are so many wonderful moments in the interview, but one in particular stuck out to me:
In the past couple of months, it's been stunning. The digital world has allowed me a connection with my reader that I'd never had before. I wrote every single cartoon strip in isolation in a dining room in an Iowa City farmhouse... So the cartooning was just an abstraction. It was an income. It was making me famous. It was allowing me to go and do other things that I'd wanted to do. But I didn't have a relationship with my audience. And every artist should have it.
Check out the entire interview at NPR. They've even got a transcript if you'd rather read than listen.
* My favorites were, of course, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes and Far Side. But the real love comes from the memory of reading the Sunday comics with my dad after church every week.