City Paper Dumps This Modern World

Venerable alt-weekly cartoon will make way for local artists.

Here’s one way to measure the passing of a journalistic era: City Paper is cutting This Modern World, a longtime mainstay of alt-weekly cartoons, from its pages.

Cartoonist Tom Tomorrow made the announcement Friday on Twitter; City Paper editor Lillian Swanson confirmed it this morning, and said she hoped to use the space — both in the budget and in City Paper‘s pages — to feature local cartoonists.

“I really like him and I really like his cartoon,” Swanson said. “But I want to do something else. I want to start a full page of cartoons in the paper that focus on Philadelphia cartoonists. I want to give them an outlet.”

Indeed, City Paper has often published special issues featuring the work of local cartoonists, putting the move square within the paper’s tradition. But there was a time when rights to the cartoon gave CP some bragging rights in its never-ending rivalry with Philadelphia Weekly, which long countered with exclusive rights to the Savage Love sex-advice column.

“I think he’s fabulous,” Swanson said, but added: “I only have so much money and I only have so much space.”

She said the idea to turn instead to local cartoonists was inspired by a recent City Paper cover story about Philly’s Locust Moon Comics and its recent revival of the classic Little Nemo in Slumberland.

“What struck me is we have a wonderful community in Philadelphia who are wonderful cartoonists, wonderful artists, and they don’t have an outlet,” Swanson said.

The idea is still pending budget approval, but Swanson said the plan is “every week, pick a new cartoonist, and ask them to tell me a story about Philadelphia.”

As for Tomorrow: He can still be read regularly at The Daily Kos blog.