A couple of the big syndicates are releasing a new crop of comic strips. United is offering Secret Asian Man, and Universal is launching Cul de Sac .
Secret Asian Man is obviously trying to fill an ethic niche, while Cul de Sac looks like a well-drawn and well-written strip about kids. I like Richard Thompson's work and the sample strips I've seen.
Here's the question: How many cartoonists have been told by the syndicates that a new strip about kids, however well done, is impossible to sell in today's market because of existing kid/family strips? (Tiger, Baby Blues, PreTeena, Agnes, Hi & Lois, Big Nate, FoxTrot, Curtis, Marvin, Heart of the City, On the Fast Track, to name a few.)
Interestingly enough, Universal just launched Lio last year -- a kids' strip with a twist, but still a kids' strip. King greenlighted The Pajama Diaries, a family strip, a year or so ago as well. Dog Eat Doug combines babies and animals, and Cow and Boy offers kids and bovines. So, apparently, you CAN sell a strip about kids and families. This makes perfect sense, as everyone was a kid or has kids or knows kids. It's the same with family strips: everyone has a family, so it's easy to identify with the subject matter.
The moral of the story is this: Don't listen to the syndicates. Do what inspires YOU. If it's kids, or pets, or families or aliens, do it. There's always room for good comics, regardless of the subject matter.