Ollie and Quentin simply isn’t attracting newspaper readers so King Features and I have reluctantly decided to end that part of our relationship at the end of the year. This is painfully sad but not unexpected. Ollie and Quentin is a gem of a comic but that just hasn't translated into newspaper sales which is so vital. I am however, delighted and flattered that Kings have chosen to rerun my comic online. A digital presence with Kings means my comic remains in an area of the business that I consider to have the brightest future. In January we'll be reposting strips from day one, four years ago. This is great because there are some real beauties from those early days that I'm sure few readers got to see. Do read it, the drawings are crap but the jokes are pretty good.
So, what has my experience been like? Well, I have never worked harder or longer, never sacrificed more and have never earned less in my whole cartoon career. That said I wouldn’t have missed the last four years for anything. My ambition in life was to be a newspaper syndicated cartoonist and for four wonderful years I lived that dream. Not many people can say they did exactly what they were meant to do in life. I’m glad I can. (I just wish I'd done this 50 years ago!). I was never happier than when sat in a coffee shop writing my comic as ‘Ollie and Quentin World’ became my favorite place to visit. It has got me through some very difficult times as readers of this blog will know. Writing a comic is great therapy!
I have no doubt I am very good at this. I couldn't be more proud of the work I have produced. I gave it my very best shot and know I did everything I could. It’s a great shame only a small newspaper audience saw what I had to offer. I appreciate that a Seagull and a Worm must have been difficult characters to sell and for that my gratitude to the King Features Sales Team who had to work really hard to get my comic noticed. I believe my drawing style and colouring are more suited to online viewing rather than in black and white newsprint. Ollie and Quentin’s future lies on screens, as do most comics.
I will take some time off to consider the next step for Ollie and Quentin. The response I have from British and European readers tells me that there is a bright future for my comic this side of the Atlantic and I will self syndicate over here. I will also market my gorgeous Book and eBook which I am really looking forward to. (See my commercial at the end of this post).
My editor, Brendan Burford at King Features, has been a delight to work with. Barely out of shorts he is quite the most talented guy I’ve ever met and someone I know I can consider a friend. His "Editor's Despatch" blog post on Daily Ink this week is very humbling. A fantastic cartoonist himself he’s proved himself a worthy successor to Jay Kennedy. I’m only sorry the faith he had, and the gamble he took, in syndicating my comic didn’t bring him the return he so deserved.
The cartoon community is a very special one and, although I'm not vanishing from the scene completely I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the stars of the comic world who have offered their support and encouragement over the years, no matter how large or small. This can be a lonely pursuit and every little vote of confidence made the long days and late nights worthwhile. So thanks to Alex Hallatt, Jonathan Lemon, John and Anne Hambrock, Norm Feuti, Mark Tatulli, Stephan Pastis, Rina Piccolo, Richard Thompson, Mike Lynch, Tom Racine, Sandra Bell Lundy, David Hurley, Dan Piraro, and Kieran Meehan to name drop a few. With encouragement from ‘Comic Royalty’ like this I know I did something right.
I won’t miss the weekly deadlines and, as a Brit, I won’t miss having to think and write ‘American’ (note the correct English spelling in this post). I won’t miss working under the 'Sword of Damocles' as I call it, or the threat of comic cancellation as it's more commonly known. I won’t miss hearing that my comic has been dropped from a newspaper or reading my depressing monthly sales reports. I won’t miss comic polls, I won’t miss despairing at the decisions of newspapers (a fight that can never be won) and I won’t miss staying up too late, never reading books, rarely traveling and being poor. I look forward to rediscovering weekends, long walks, tall beers, watching movies, seeing friends and spending more time with my two wonderful children rather than talking to them over my shoulder from my computer in the corner.
Thanks to the very loyal readers Ollie and Quentin does have. I hope you enjoyed something a little different and will continue to support the strip. Remember you'll still be able to see it online (Daily Ink, Comics Kingdom, Facebook, my Website, blogs etc) and I may even post new ones from time to time just to keep my eye in. I have a gorgeous 125 page, full colour 'Best of Ollie and Quentin' printed book out now. It really is lovely. Click Here to buy one if you're in the US or Click Here if you're in the UK. Oh, and for Mugs, Prints, T-shirts etc Click Here. OK, boring commercial break over.
That’s it. Cheers everyone!