Speaking straight from the heart, cartoonist Ed Power has some hard-won words of advice for comics fans:
Support your favorite comic strip very, very vocally.
The reason for Power's impassioned plea now? Because not enough readers were vocal enough in their support of his strip. As a result, "My Cage," the clever King Features comic that he co-creates with Melissa DeJesus, will come to an end Oct. 31.
"If there is anything that should be learned from people by this, it's that if you like a comic strip, support it," Power tells Comic Riffs shortly after notifying us of the news Wednesday. "Write the newspaper or website carrying it -- or ones you would like to have carry it. Even if you think it's doing well, write. You never know what's going on behind the scenes, and the strip you save may be your favorite."
Power and DeJesus launched the manga-inspired strip -- which features the tales of Norman T. Platypus (who endures a "soul-draining job") and his furry, anthropomorphic friends -- in 2007. A little more than three years in, however, the economic reality reared its not-so-warm-and-fuzzy-head: "My Cage" can't sustain syndication.
"This is not a case of the artists deciding to go on to other projects," Power tells Comic Riffs. "Melissa and I would've done the strip forever with King if it had been possible. Sadly, it just wasn't. We weren't in enough papers to make it profitable for King to be able to continue publishing us.
'Despite our online popularity, and the most devoted fan-following I can imagine, newspaper editors just did not bite."
Power doesn't mince words about his reaction to the strip's end, writing: "I feel like my childhood dream was shot point-blank through the eyes."
"On the upside," Power notes, "Melissa and I will be working together again on our original graphic novel, 'Santa vs Dracula,' for SLG Publishing."
So will Power and DeJesus perhaps let their strip's characters live on in another form or format?
"We'll let everyone know if we decide to do anything with the 'My Cage' characters," Power tells 'Riffs. "Right now, the wound is just too fresh to make such decisions."
Meantime, his advice resonates for every comics fan: In these tough times, support your favorite comic strip very, very vocally.
Writes Power: "Thanks for all the support. We couldn't have asked for better readers and fans."