Newspaper comic strips “are having a cultural moment” even as newspapers fade, reports George Gene Gustines in The New York Times (11/9/15). Brendan Burford of King Features is doing his best to make the most of the moment. To celebrate King’s 100th Anniversary, it will run “a colorful 16-page insert of classic newspaper strips” this Sunday in “hundreds of newspapers across the country.” Brendan is also “one of the chief architects” of a “hefty hardcover” called King of the Comics: 100 Years of King Features.
Brendan is “catering to a mix of old and new media relationships. He administers to the needs of the cartoonists of 65 syndicated strips that are published in more than 2,800 newspapers in 72 countries.” As he explains, he is responsible for “expansion into the entertainment space — seeing how we can make these comic properties into more than just comic strips.” He sees ample opportunity: “The thing about comic strips is that they are all the same enough and different enough.” Some, like Peanuts, work best as animation, while Flash Gordon is live-action.
A new Peanuts animated movie has just been released and a live-action Flash Gordon movie is, in fact, in the works. A Popeye animated film is also under development. “I don’t think Popeye’s success is hinging on Peanuts’s success,” says Brendan. “But if Peanuts is successful, you might find some producers and studios saying we should be mining that comics page to see what other Peanuts might be hiding there.” Meanwhile, a next generation of comic strip artists are carrying on the tradition by “creating their own strips on their own sites,” says comics blogger Josh Fruhlinger, aka The Comics Curmudgeon.