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I'm Cathy Leamy, a Boston cartoonist and medical writer. Check out my comics! They're mainly about health care and autobio stories.

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Sunday, October 14, 2007

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Diary comic typos

This morning's thought topic: Typos in diary comics.

On the one hand, they're an honest reflection of the creator, and they can give the work a touch of down-to-earthiness. You could even go as far as arguing on the side of wabi-sabi and the beauty of small imperfectations making the work more real and less plastic or artificial.

On the other hand, they still come off to me as less "intentional imperfectation" and more "I couldn't be bothered to copyedit my stuff." Damn, people - if you're going to the trouble of printing your work in a perfectbound book and distributing it to a wide audience, you obviously care enough about the contents to treat the artwork with love and make it shine. Why not take a few minutes and tend to the text as well?

I'm torn. I can't stand typos in professionally printed work. They jar my reading experience and speak to a lack of attention to detail. But the book I'm reading really is a diary comic - it's a reproduction of a sketchbook journal. So the typos are not just easily-tweaked type boxes; they are part of the original art. Then why not fix the typos in Photoshop when the art is being scanned and manipulated for the reprinted version? But then the work would not be entirely authentic. Argh! I'm turning in circles here. Maybe I'd have more tolerance if this comic weren't completely peppered through with misspellings. Man, this cartoonist can't spell for beans.

3 comments!     click to join in

1 Isaac   (7:24pm - Oct 14, 2007)

I gotta say, I've been distracted by a lot of misspellings myself. I understand that not every cartoonist can spell, but they all must know someone who can, and who'd be willing to do them the favor of proofreading.

And publishers seriously ought to have someone on staff to catch misspellings, punctuation problems, and so forth. It's really sort of sad when you see something in a deluxe edition from Top Shelf or whatever that misspells Tourette's Syndrome or what have you.

But, then, I am a picky English professor by trade. Maybe not everyone is equally put off.

2 Patrik   (8:57pm - Oct 14, 2007)

Agreed, typos are rough speed bumps. I could see how some might want to keep a work "authentic" but I have a feeling these misspellings are just unimaginative ways to seem unpretentious.

I just finished a book that had "could of" and "would of" instead of "could have" and "would have" throughout. Talk about aggravating.

3 Ken   (10:38am - Dec 18, 2007)

I dunno; the "authenticity" argument just seems to be a cover-up for laziness. If you're going to sit at the grown-up table as a comic artist, you should be willing to pay your dues... part of those dues is acting professionally. There's nothing "raw" or "authentic" about misspelling a word. It's just sloppy.

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