Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Legacy Characters

The death of B.C. cartoonist Johnny Hart has once again raised the issue of whether a comic strip should continue beyond its creator's death. With animated characters being kept alive long after their creators and their originating studios are gone, the same questions could be asked about our medium. Tom Spurgeon at The Comics Reporter considers the question, and this paragraph caught my attention.
"Further, there's no way anyone can really prove that the newspaper page would be better off if strips died with their creators, other than pointing out a few that have and a general, logic-based hunch that, for example, audiences were more entertained by watching Jerry Seinfeld on Seinfeld than they would have been viewing his run playing Dobie Gillis. As ridiculous as that sounds, I think that's a pretty convincing way of looking at the overall issue. There's no way to keep any piece of art running past the death of its creators without a loss of vitality somewhere along the way, and when that decline defines a significant portion of your public face, it's bound to have a significant effect on the art form."