When it comes to the newspaper, I'm not a particularly difficult person to please. I love crossword puzzles, editorials, columns and comics. But since the start of the new semester, I have noticed a large decline in the number of comics.
I'm slightly disappointed. Why do we only get to read three comics per day? Surely, with all of the raw artistic talent that a prestigious institution like Brown University attracts each year, there must be some aspiring comedians and artists willing to fill a page with humorous sketches.
Part of my message is to draw the attention of the lovers of comics among us. There once was a time when half of Page Two could be devoted to comics - comics that brought us joy, laughter and a fresh viewpoint from someone with real talent. I was disheartened when I discovered that "Fizzle Pop," a personal favorite, was on hiatus for the semester. I have also noticed the absence of "Brown meets RISD" and "Vagina Dentata." I am genuinely glad to still be reading "Alien Weather Forecast" and solving the puzzles in "Enigma Twist." But with these comics already firmly rooted in our hearts, what will fill the vacancies left by those that have not returned this semester?
The other part of my message is intended for those comic artists in the Brown community, both seasoned cartoonists and aspiring doodlers. Veteran Herald comic writers, I'm not demanding to be entertained. I simply want you to know that whatever time and effort you put into your art was well spent, and it was certainly appreciated. To better understand your positions, I attempted to draw my first four-panel comic strip. After laboring for an hour or two and fiddling with photo editing software for another half hour, I was able to piece together something resembling a comic strip. I was utterly fatigued, and I didn't even bother printing it out. You people do this on a regular basis? It's a real challenge, and I have nothing but respect for you.
Aspiring doodlers, I challenge you to put your skills to the test. I've noticed lately that some of you already have. The rest of you - and I know that you're out there - should see if The Herald would be willing to feature your work. I'm told that e-mailing The Herald and submitting sample strips will get their attention. You have nothing to lose, and a lot to gain.
The Herald needs comics. They give its readers laughter (the best medicine, some might say). They speak for the masses. They make us think about the world around us, bringing our attention to different ways of viewing it. Comics embody the very essence of the qualities we love in Brown: the happiness of our students, the diversity of our thoughts, the openness of mind we all share.
Give me comics, or give me death. On second thought, just give me comics.
Michael Fitzpatrick '12 is a psychology concentrator from San Antonio, Texas. He can be reached at Michael_Fitzpatrick [at] brown.edu.