Time travel is not an unknown component in Wiley Miller’s insightful and comic Non Sequitur, so his response when asked if he could be anyone other than himself came as no surprise.
“I wouldn’t be another contemporary cartoonist, but one in a bygone era,” he said. He fondly speaks of the 30’s and 40’s, “when newspapers were the King of media and cartoonists were their stars.”
He also recalls that “for as long as I can remember this is what I wanted to do. Anything in cartooning.” His mother encouraged him, “while from others there was a lot of opposition, even into my adult years.” Perseverance in spite of that, he tells young artists, “is what separates becoming a professional from a wannabe.”
Miller always loved comics, Li’l Abner (Al Capp) and Pogo (Walt Kelly) mostly, because of the art. The material, he admits,“was over my head. But Mad Magazine (which clearly he DID understand) was also a big influence on me.”
Today, however, his favorites include the highly original and critically acclaimed strips of Mark Tatulli (Lio), Stephen Pastis (Pearls before Swine) and Richard Thompson (Cul de Sac).
Wiley faces the diminishing newspaper market along with shrinking space available by “designing my feature to deal with the small space we have. But there’s nothing, he concedes, that “we can do about the bad newspaper market. It’s nearly impossible for a new feature to make it today.”
Regarding online sites and their use by cartoonists, Miller boldly states, “There’s no vetting system to weed out the professional work from the amateur. In short, there’s no market yet on the internet to replace print.”
His advice to would-be cartoonists? “If I were starting out now, I’d go for animation. That seems to be the only viable market you can break into and develop a career.”
Wise words indeed from a wily artist who has seen it all, Non Sequitur’s Wiley Miller.