Ceating Comics: Submitting Strips to Syndication Companies

Crumb by David Fletcher, one of many comics on GoComics

US newspapers run many syndicated three – four frame strips, from Doonesbury and Garfield to Beatle Bailey and The Wizard of Id. Despite the huge amount of material out there, the syndication companies who own these strips are still looking for new blood.

Submission guidelines vary, but check the sites of companies such as King Features for useful guides. There’s a standard size of strip to draw at: 15.5 x 4.75 inches, but the syndication agencies all say artists can work any size they feel comfortable with, so long as it’s in proportion to that size.

They like artists to submit 24 sample strips in the form of photocopies on A4 paper, together with model sheets of the characters, a precis of the strip, all the scripts in written form and the artist’s resume. An SAE is also appreciated, if artists want their stuff back.

One service you might want to check out is GoComics, from Universal Uclick, home to many of the most popular comics and cartoons in the world. GoComics.com is the web’s largest catalogue of syndicated newspaper strips and web comics, offering new, fresh and free content every day.

Classic and iconic cartoons include Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, Garfield, Ziggy and Dilbert. Recent successes include FoxTrot, Get Fuzzy, Pearls Before Swine, The Argyle Sweater, The Boondocks and Cul De Sac.

There are two membership options (Free and Pro) to view comics, both providing e-mail subscription and personalized online access to new and classic comics.

GoComics is also home to Comics Sherpa, the site where aspiring cartoonists can showcase their work and receive feedback from the comic community. Uclick monitor the popularity of strips on this service and, if the numbers are high enough, the strip might make the leap to its syndicated side – just as David Fletcher, an amazingly talented New Zealand cartoonist, did with Crumb (sample above).

John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John describes himself as is a "freelance comics operative", currently working as a freelance editor for TITAN COMICS, as Creative Consultant on the new DAN DARE audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the LAKES INTERNATIONAL COMIC ART FESTIVAL and LANCASTER COMICS DAY. John has worked in British comics publishing for over 30 years, starting out at Marvel UK, where he edited a number of the Genesis 1992 books with Paul Neary. His numerous credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine at Marvel and Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine at Titan Magazines, where he was Managing Editor. He also edited STRIP Magazine and worked as an editor on several audio comics for ROK Comics, including TEAM M.O.B.I.L.E. and THE BEATLES STORY. Most recently he is writing CRUCIBLE as a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and DEATH DUTY and SKOW DOGS with Dave Hailwood for the digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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