I’ve been a fan of Michael Jantze’s “the Norm” for some time now. It’s one of the very few strips out there that impresses me daily with not only its wonderful art, but its sharp writing – a combination that’s getting harder and harder to find these days.
So I was more than a little distressed when I heard that Jantze was ending his contract with King Features. Good strips are hard to find as it is, and to see such beautifully crafted work voluntarily riding off into the sunset just breaks my heart.
But here’s the good news – it doens’t have to be that way! Michael’s intrepid wife, Nicole, has convinced him to try to keep the strip going on a membership/subscription basis from their website! (If there were an emoticon for Snoopy doing his happy dance I’d include it right here.) The thing is they need 4000 subscribers to make it work. That’s where we come in…
Here’s a note from Nicole, who can probably make a more elegant plea than I can:
Dear Norm Readers,
By now you know that Michael, after years of working with syndicates and newspapers, has decided to retire THE NORM. It was not an easy decision, trust me. You have probably also received a message from me asking you to consider becoming a member of TheNorm.com to help convince Michael to continue drawing THE NORM, new strips beginning November 1, 2004.
Many of you are asking why I am doing this. The reason is simple, to see if the idea is viable. My only goal is to find the people who love THE NORM and want to see it continue. I’m not trying to create a new paradigm. I’m just trying to see if all the fan mail I’ve read holds true.
So, if you are a fan who loves this comic strip and wants to see it continue, then ask yourself the following questions:
1. What quality of creator will be drawn to syndication with the decline in newspaper readership, the shrinking of the comics pages, and with the latest move by newspapers to try and lower the price they pay for comics? Where will you find your favorite comics?
2. If you really love THE NORM, what is it worth to you? The price of a book? The price of 3 Starbucks mocha, coca, frosty, yummy coffees? The price of one pizza dinner? The price of 2 movie tickets?
If you feel it is worth something, then join today. We need 4000 subscribers to keep the strip going. Will you be one of them?