His Comic Creations Feature Innovations

By Lamb, Chris | Editor & Publisher, July 20, 1996 | Go to article overview

His Comic Creations Feature Innovations


Lamb, Chris, Editor & Publisher


Wiley Miller doesn't let things be. He has criticized editors for devaluing political cartoonists. He thinks there should be a separate Pulitzer Prize category for comics. He improved the Sunday color process for "Non Sequitur." He made the daily, version of that Washington Post Writers Group comic available in both a strip and panel format.

His other comic - "Us & Them," which he does with Canadian cartoonist Susan Dewar - offers two distinct sets of characters occupying the same space on alternating days. And its fictional stars, Buffalo radio talk-show host Joe Pyle and Toronto advice columnist Janet George, communicate with real-life readers via e-mail.

"I'm not one to sit back and say, `Somebody should do something about this.' I like to put my money where my mouth is," said Miller, who signs his comics, "Wiley".

Dewar, an editorial cartoonist for the Ottawa Sun, agreed. "Wiley is always pushing the envelope," she said. "He's always coming up with new ways to do things."

Wiley, of course, understands that it's usually easier selling a familiar concept to an editor. But, to him, familiarity breeds contempt.

"Us & them," which was introduced a year ago by Universal Press Syndicate, appears in about 130 papers. Nevertheless, the concept has been a difficult one to sell to some editors.

"Because we have our characters appearing on alternate days, some editors jump to the conclusion that it's a he said, she said, strip, which is the kind, of strip an editor would do," remarked Wiley. "That would get old real quick."

Originally, Wiley wasn't interested in doing another comic besides, non Sequitur," which was launched in 1992 and now appears in about 450 papers in 20-plus countries.

But the idea of two cartoonists working on the same feature nagged at Wiley. until he finally relented to the voice of inspiration.

"I felt like it wasn't my idea. I felt like somebody was handing me an idea and saving, `Here, stupid, do it.'" he recalled with a laugh.

The concept may have sounded good, but the Edsel and leisure suits also seemed like good ideas in their time. But who would he do the comic with? How would they do it? What would it be about?

Wiley, 45, didn't want one person writing and another drawing. That had already been done, and he felt this kind of collaboration results in a comic that doesn't really belong to anyone.

Also, Wiley wanted each artist to work independently of the other, and have separate points of view. He decided that the most universal dichotomy is male and female. But who would represent the women's perspective?

"For Better or For Worse" creator Lynn Johnston of Universal suggested Dewar, whom Wiley had known for more than 10 years. Wiley agreed. "She had the right edge," he said.

Then the new collaborators developed their characters.

Joe Pyle's cast includes a hippie late-night talkshow host, a radio doctor, an uptight news director, and a political psycho-analyst "who put the id in idiocy."

Janet George's cast includes a newspaper editor who "boldly goes where everyone has gone before," an ex-husband, and a 7-year-old son. Any resemblance between Janet's life and that of Dewar, a divorced mother of a 7-year-old, is not exactly coincidental.

"You can draw from real fife, which I think makes a better strip," Dewar said.

There is some intermingling of the strips. For instance, Janet's sister, Jennifer, is dating Joe's brother, Bob. But Joe and Janet haven't met yet, though they once appeared at the same party.

"Eventually, we'd like to have them meet. But they're not there yet," Dewar said. Wiley is less committal. "At this point, who knows?" he said.

But they still know each other through their work. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

His Comic Creations Feature Innovations
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.