But is it Art?

Calvin and Hobbes

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Remember that wonderful comic strip Calvin and Hobbes? The younger among us may not, but it was a unique and powerful strip in the late 80s and early 90s. The strip’s creator, Bill Watterson, had what I would call a non-conformist approach to comic strip production, and ended up frustrating the syndicate  and himself; he retired from the strip long before his time. Have you ever wondered why a strip so popular never generated mugs, animated cartoons, stuffed animals, pencils, phones, and all that merchandise we love to collect? This was the main source of Watterson’s angst: commercialism. He felt that it would compromise the strip’s integrity and “cheapen” it if its characters were degenerated into merchandise. He apparently saw the lust for stuff going on in the world and just didn’t want to participate. He considered his strip “art,” and therefore wanted to protect its integrity.

So why am I invoking this elusive master of his craft? Watterson comes to mind when I think of someone who produced quality work for the sake of the work; the integrity of the product was one of his primary motivations. I admire that, and I also recognize that such an approach can be terribly difficult in a day and age that heaps financial rewards on “quick and noticeable.”

I don’t know that writing web content is “art.” But I will contend that there is an art to it, as there is to any good writing, and it is the watermark of the individual style that sets good content – content with substance – apart in a saturated market.


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