No longer confined to news print and comic books, nearly all your favorite syndicated comic strips can be read online. Many of these sites also offer e-cards, games, comic strips via email, and bios of the cartoonists.
Featuring dozens of cartoonists from United Media, Creators, and Washington Post Writers Group, Comics.com has fresh content daily along with thirty-day archives, e-cards for all occasions, and comics via e-mail subscription. Snoopy (AKA Peanuts) and Dilbert are two of the most popular, and they each have their own complete site, just click on the buttons near the top of the page. Other family favorites include Luann, Heathcliff and Momma. If you've ever dreamed of being a cartoonist, take a look at "So You Want to Become a Cartoonist" on the Luann page.
Comic strips from Tribune Media Services include classics such as Gasoline Alley, Annie, Dick Tracy, and Brenda Starr. Along with a ninety-day archive, many of the comics include a reader forum, interactive games, and a bit of strip history. From the front page, site navigation is divided into strips (comics with multiple frames, such as Shoe) and panels (single frame cartoons such as 9 to 5.) Bulletin boards for discussion are available from the entry page, as well as from each cartoon's main page.
Arranged alphabetically from The Amazing Spiderman to Zits, King Features Syndicate offers thirty-day archives of dozens of comics. In addition to the dailies and the archive, each comic has a page about the cartoonist, its characters, and the strip's history. Many of today's most popular cartoons have endured more than fifty years, and are no longer being drawn by their creators. For example, Dennis the Menace was introduced by Hank Ketcham in 1950. In 1994, the strip was turned over to longtime assistants Ron Ferdinand and Marcus Hamilton, but Ketcham continued to supervise until his death in June 2001.
Ucomics is a huge collection of over 200 comics from Universal Press Syndicate and Tribune Media Services. To access the free fourteen-day archives, click on the "Comics, Games and more" drop-down menu, and scroll down to select a strip. See one you just have to share? Click on Postcard to send it to a friend. Visitors thirteen and older can sign up to receive one strip via daily email. Paying subscribers get a larger archive, access to online games, and no limit on the number of comics they receive via email.
From the website of the National Cartoonists Society, cartoonist Chris Browne, creator of Hagar the Terrible, explains the ins and outs of becoming syndicated. From sharpening your drawing skills (take classes) to submitting your work to art directors, Browne covers a lot of ground with great insider tips. "Generally it's better to try breaking in at a low stress level like submitting cartoons to a magazine before you try to tackle the constant deadlines and sensory overload of a syndicated strip or comic book."