Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sayonara, Auf Wiedersehen, Au revoir

Triple Take is ending Sunday August 26. The decision isn’t mine; King Features pulled the plug. Few will miss the strip, I’m afraid, but I will. I really enjoyed working on a daily syndicated comic.

The strip was probably doomed from the start. It was too gimmicky and I’m sure the multiple punch lines from a single character sometimes confused readers. It often looked like a sort of cartoon Tourette’s Syndrome, where the guy just couldn't shut up. I think the strips that featured lists or multiple characters delivering separate punch lines worked best.

Triple Take was Jay Kennedy’s idea (based on one of my submissions that included the “Things John Wayne Would Never Say” gag) and the strip outlived him by only a few months. I actually got the call that TT was being axed just 10 weeks after Jay’s untimely demise.

We were still in 29 papers, including the Chicago Sun-Times and the Seattle P-I. We'd lost a few big papers, however, and the sales trend definitely wasn’t on the upswing. Oh, well. That’s the way this business works. Most new strips don’t make it, running only a few years and then quietly vanishing.

Before we fade into the comics ether, here’s one final look at the strip, by the numbers:

875 strips
750 dailies
125 Sundays
28 Doctor strips
20 Dog strips
11 Baseball strips
8 Cat strips
6 Psychiatrist strips
3 Godzilla strips
3 McCoy brothers strips (mentioning one or both of them)
3 Ned the Optimist strips
1 Earl the Optimist strip
1 Rejected by the syndicate strip

My three favorite Triple Takes:

7 comments:

Norm Feuti said...

Sorry to hear that Scott. Good luck with "His & Hers" and all your future endevors.

markheath said...

My regrets, Scott. How long was TT in syndication? Was it your first syndicated feature?

Scott Nickel said...

Thanks, Norm!

Mark, Triple Take lasted almost two-and-a-half years.

It was my first syndicated strip, and probably should be my last, but I'm too crazy to stop.

Scott

markheath said...

You know, if I'd had the wit to look on the left of your page, I would have seen the launch date of TT.

I know what you mean about the craziness that inspires comic strips and syndication. The feeling of drawing a strip is like going home again and seeing your old bedroom, with the bookcase filled with Peanuts books. That's where the craziness starts. Let's hope it never ends.

Best of luck with H&H.

Scott Nickel said...

Mark,

Very well put. There's something about cartooning that evokes those childhood -- and child-like -- feelings.

Fine art is for grown-ups; leave the cartooning to us kids.

p.s. I remember first seeing your cartoons back in the late 1980s in Artist's magazine. I could tell you were a cartoonist to watch.

Chris said...

Scott,
I'm very sorry to hear that because it was a pretty good comic, althought the fact is that it was a very gimmicky premise.
No offense to Todd, but I think another problem is that a lot of times it was easy to pick out which one would be the gag used if it was your typical panel, and all too easy to pick out which one was there just to fill the three-punchline quota.

Which isn't to say that there weren't many exceptions. A lot of times all three punchlines were great. The three that you posted as your favorites on this blog are not the only ones where all punchlines were good -- not by any means.

The art was also very good, so I am pleased that you are now doing "His and Hers" for uClick, which I think is a very promising comic strip. Congratulations on your newfound online syndication, and I am sorry that your print syndication didn't work out for "Triple Take."

I would also like to point out that I considered it to be a higher-quality strip than many others that are in syndication now, and alas, many times it is the higher-quality comics that fail to pick up many papers and then get the axe. Recently, "Big Top" and "Bo Nanas" are the other ones which I thought deserved a better fate.

Is there anything special about your last "Triple Take" strip on August 26?

Scott Nickel said...

Chris,

Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

I agree that some TT strips were more successful than others, but I think we (especially Todd) had a pretty good batting average.

Nothing special in the last strip. Todd and I discussed going out with a "farewell" strip, but we were far enough ahead when we got word of the cancellation that we just decided to use one of Sundays that had already been written. In fact, I have two leftover Sunday roughs that didn’t get used.

I gotta tell you, there's nothing harder than working on a strip once you know it's cancelled. Drawing and coloring those last 7 weeks (that's right: SEVEN) was pretty painful.

I also agree with you about "Bo Nanas" and Big Top." Good strips that I was sorry to see go.

I've saved gifs of all the Triple Takes, so if anyone wants a particular strip, feel free to email me.