“But then he proceeds to list all the reasons why gay characters wouldn’t fit into most strips. Doonesbury and For Better or For Worse, for example, are ‘set in a time that’s now. In other strips, it’s vaguer, less characters that live in the real world.’
“Why couldn’t gay characters exist in a world with more fantasy elements? When pressed, Salem admits they could. But then he’s quick to point to the reluctant newspaper editors he has to consider — the folks who buy the strip from the syndicates on a daily or weekly basis, and who can drop it at any time.
“‘It’s a conservative business,’ Salem says. ‘At this time, we may not be able to sell [a ‘gay’ strip]. I can’t say you can read on the comics page what you see on television. It’s a different art form, a more conservative medium.’
“Salem says that gay characters and storylines have Universal Press Syndicate’s full support — but the reality seems to be that only applies when they’re coming from established, lucrative cartoonists like Gary Trudeau and Lynn Johnston, who they’d be absolutely crazy to alienate.”
The Cartoon Closet, AfterElton, May 18, 2008
Yeah, newspaper comics must be a conservative medium since the default setting, with a few exceptions, is still white and male, gay or not. But I guess it’s progress to have four visible out white gay guys in the funny pages (Mark, Lawrence, Seth and Mark), progress for whom, other than white gay guys, is kind of up in the air. But I guess it has to start somewhere. Nothing against white men, but “progress” never seems to get much farther than that. Oh well, I guess that’s why newspaper comics are a conservative medium. Gutless, too, but maybe newspapers really are dead, which is sad, in a way, but I read all those strips, and the newspapers they’re in, online because I hate reading actual newspapers. The newsprint gets all over my hands, ew. So go right ahead and be a conservative medium; it’s not like you’re losing any money on me.