I can’t believe I never noticed this before…


The Seattle PI’s Retail page doesn’t list Norm Feuti’s name anywhere (and this seems to be, um, the norm). How do you not, as a matter of policy, list the writer’s on the page?

Yes, there’s a tiny handwritten “(c) 2019 Norman Feuti” between the panels — but not only doesn’t that really count, but “Norman” isn’t the name he writes under.


  1. The fact that you’re citing the Seattle PI has got my brain trying to tie all this in with IBB. Can’t quite get there, though.

  2. I feel like this ties in with how Retail is no longer on its own site and has been moved to the Comics Kingdom one.

  3. @ Christine – Comics Kingdom is working hard to exert more control over all of their comics; the same change was inflicted upon “Rhymes With Orange”. The worst part is that their website refuses to permit going back more than a week in the calendar unless you pay for a subscription.
    P.S. Even when I was a kid, I never really liked most of the comics from King Features. (I only read them when we were visiting my grandparents in another city.)

  4. @Kilby – Exactly. I feel like it’s not a huge step from exerting more control over the comics to downplaying the individual artists.

  5. With a few exceptions, the syndicate actually owns the strip… the creator of the strip has signed away a good number of the rights a creator would normally have in order to get syndicated (which means much wider distribution and more opportunities to profit, but also sometimes leads to fights over creative control. Watterson got the syndicate to return most of his control, because C&H drawn by somebody other than Watterson is not marketable. Most cartoonists are not Watterson.

    Also, sometimes the creator wants/needs to take a break from the production deadlines, and the syndicate arranges a replacement. Several popular strips aren’t still produced by their original creative forces. “Adam” isn’t produced by Brian Bassett any more, and of course, all the strips that survive their original creators’ demise.

  6. “I would say, ALL cartoonists are not Watterson, except Watterson.”

    There are a handful of other comic creators who could have extracted the same kind of deal, at the height of their popularity/command of the genre. Schulz comes to mind, maybe Larson. Maybe peak Trudeau.

  7. Walt Kelly was another artist who owned the rights to his own strip. After he died, Selby Kelly attempted to keep Pogo going for a couple of years, but it quickly became obvious that it wasn’t the same thing. Just as later with Schulz, Larson, and Watterson, a drawing style could theoretically be copied, but it is impossible to duplicate creative brilliance.
    P.S. I recently discovered an old “Liō” strip comparing originality to zombies:

  8. P.P.S. @ JP – Peanuts remained in syndication all the way to the final strip, but Schulz had an agreement with United Features that they would not turn the strip into a zombie with other writers. This promise did not stop “The Peanuts Movie” from condensing 50 years of strip history into 88 minutes of animated contradictions, nor did it prevent mercenary abominations like the game “Snoopy Pop”, which GoComics is advertising on its website. If he wasn’t before, Schulz is surely spinning in his grave now.

  9. @ Andréa – The subject comes up here every so often. Zombies are features that are owned by the syndicate and get passed to another author whenever the current artist dies or resigns. Legacy strips are basically the same thing, except that they are awarded by the original author to his or her own offspring.

  10. @ Andréa – Liō is paying his respects to the recently deceased, but ignores the undead zombies walking past the graveyard.

  11. Consumers like the familiar, so there’s value (to the syndicate) in trying to sell an old familiar strip with a new creator behind it, rather than having the new creator build from the ground up. The same is true for popular music (cover songs), book publishing (novels set in shared universes), and movies (sequelitis). We can blame the syndicates (et al) for this, but the fault, dear Brutus, lies in ourselves.

    Taken to extreme, you get (sigh) “Darmok”… no originality, just references to things you liked once before, over and over again.

  12. It would be interesting to know whether Tatulli actually inscribed the headstones in the background (GoComics has eliminated the “zoom” feature, so they are illegible online). I think my nominations for those spots would be Pogo, Peanuts, Doonesbury (dailies only, akin to Foxtrot), and perhaps the original (funny) “Funky Winkerbean”, which was killed a long time ago, but has refused to die.

  13. While Frank And Ernest is a zombie strip, I think it’s a bit different. For the last few years that Bob Thaves did the strip he worked with his son. When the son took sole possession, I didn’t even notice a difference.

  14. @ Arthur – Since it’s his son, that would make it a legacy (rather than a zombie), but given the intentionally sloppy artwork and the strip’s focus on groaner puns (not to mention open sourcing of external contributions), the distinction in this case doesn’t seem that significant.

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