The Minnesota Independent is following up on a blog post by political cartoonist Tom Tomorrow (creator of This Modern World) that announced Village Voice Media has been forced to suspend all of its syndicated comic strips until further notice. Tomorrow indicated that the suspension would last at least until the end of the first quarter, and possibly beyond if the company continues to suffer financially.
The strips are being seen as slightly more expendable than news content, and so the cuts are intended to do the least damage to the company, ease costs and hopefully be reversed when the economy starts to pick up again. Many of the strips, including This Modern World, are not exclusively distributed by the Village Voice Media, and so will continue to have some presence. Says Tomorrow, “This still leaves me with eighty-odd papers, as well as Salon and Credo, so it’s not a fatal blow. And believe me, I wasn’t so naive as to imagine I was going to get through this economic mess without taking some hits. Nonetheless it’s a serious chunk of major cities to lose in one fell swoop.”
Tomorrow encourages readers to make Village Voice Media aware that they’ll miss the comics, but also emphasizes that “this isn’t a ‘me vs. them’ situation. These are in many cases people who have supported my work and given me an audience for ten or fifteen years; some are personal friends. This is just an unfortunate decision made at the corporate level in response to a very difficult time.”