Death of Newspapers #9: Grafix fades out
Leading cartoonists once had their own Sunday pages to fill, and many people bought newspapers for the comic strips. So the newspapers made the strips small and then even smaller. Why? Instead of improving, color printing became inferior. New strips by people who could not draw were introduced. The logic is elusive, leading to this question: Why didn't the National Cartoonists Society do something about the impending doom?
When Roy Crane launched Buz Sawyer
in November 1943, no one thought newspapers would fade away. Here are the first five Buz Sawyer
Sunday pages (running from November 28 to December 26, 1943). In the dailies, Buz went on adventures with his sidekick Roscoe Sweeney. (Why is Roscoe spelled two different ways?) In the Sunday strips, Sweeney was the star. Instead of a single Sunday situation, Crane kept the story continuity going, and despite the passage of seven days, readers were so involved that they had no problem remembering previous weeks.
End of an era footnote: While newspapers die, it was announced last month
that Grafix Duoshade and Unishade papers are being discontinued due to a decline in demand, says Grafix prez Hayley Prendergast. These papers were long used by editorial cartoonists for shading, and Roy Crane used this product effectively back in the days when it was known as Craftint. Cleveland's Craftint Manufacturing Company sold the process to the Ohio Graphic Arts Systems, also in Cleveland. Then in 1990, Ohio Graphic Arts changed their name to Grafix.
Crane's artful application of Craftint gave his Wash Tubbs
and Buz Sawyer
strips a unique three-dimensional look. The process involved brushing a chemical solution over an inked drawing to develop shading lines embedded in the paper. A separate solution brought out cross-hatching. Crane used this for watery wave effects, smoke clouds, atmospheric perspective and leafy jungles. He effortlessly turned panels into miniature b/w paintings, and no one else doing comic strips ever equaled his Craftint creations.
Labels: buz sawyer, death of newspapers, grafix, roy crane