Comics Sherpa: The Insights of Cartoonist Justin Thompson

October 7, 2005

   The Ucomics feature, Comics Sherpa, is a popular site for both hopeful and new cartoonists. For a fee, the cartoonist can have their humourous work published in a prominent position along with the professionals. There are no editors to woo, no art directors to win over, just the viewing public.

Worth taking the time to scroll through, some of the comics are professional, funny and well drawn, ready for a syndicate to pick them up. Some have glimmers of skill and need only time and practice to reach their goal of readership. Others seem not quite ready for publication, but then again, we can’t all be great talented artists or have witty senses of humour.

Justin Thompson, creator of "MythTickle" offers this information about his experience with Comics Sherpa:

"As for Comics Sherpa, it is an online site that is a division of Universal Syndicate. Aspiring cartoonists post their cartoons there to workshop them and figure them out before they try to syndicate them. Most visitors to the site think that we are just bad professionals but that is simply not the case. It's unfortunate that people come there and judge our strips like they're at the same level as the comics in the paper, most are not there yet. It's like in theater, when you are putting together an original play. You rehearse it and workshop it for a while, often before an audience, while refining it and getting it ready. Sometimes, especially with comedies, you try them out for an audience so that you can get a sense of what works and what doesn't.

At Comics Sherpa, since we are not syndicated, we cartoonists are free to try weird and different things. We're not supposed to be perfect yet. How can you learn from trying to be perfect and create along guidelines every day? It's too restricting. There's also a ratings system there that is totally ridiculous, since other people try to sabotage each other with bad votes all the time. I see no value in that, it's not honestly representative but it's part of the site, so what're you gonna do? It's there and we have to deal with it.

But Comics Sherpa is the best way to create a comic that I can imagine. It teaches you discipline and compels you to care for your work on a different level than if you were only producing it for yourself."

Justin Thompson’s MythTickle on Comics Sherpa: 20050912

The Comics Sherpa front page:  

© Susanna McLeod 2005  
(Originally published in The Cartoonists on