It started as a blog entry itself: a few items about cartoonists who wrote blogs on their Web sites, in their own voices. It grew into a story idea that I pitched to the New York Times, which was interested. It took many interviews and weeks of writing to get the fix on this topic, because individuals are, well, individuals. The result is here with a typically great NYT headline.
Cartoonists have a mass audience, even if that audience is thousands, but the ones I spoke to have a desire to talk more personally, and less through a distanced filter provided by their syndicate or by a no-nonsense Web site. Cartoonists are, in my experience, serious, thoughtful people. The four-panel punchline is an expressive tool that would take pages of intense prose in the best case.