Chicago Reader to P.S. Mueller: We’ll only be running your cartoons now and then

P.S. Mueller‘s cartoons have run weekly (or almost weekly) in the Chicago Reader and many other alternative papers for decades. This morning he was told by Reader editor Mara Shaloup that his work would job now be published only occasionally, “most likely to prevent me from saying I’ve been sacked.”

“It’s been a great 35-year run,” Mueller tells Romenesko readers, “and I believe, as far as cartoonists go, there is no one left there to turn the lights out.” He notes that “I owe my career to what the Reader was [in its heyday].”

For the past year or so they have been running me weekly after getting rid of all the other cartoonists. [Reader co-founder and former editor] Bob Roth started me out in ’79 at a generous $35.00 per, then later jumped it to $80.00. I’ve gone from [being published in] over 60 alt weeklies to less than a dozen these days, though I never know for sure if that has changed from week to week.

Mueller, who once had a side job as the voice of Onion Radio News anchor Doyle Redland, adds: “I suspect the prospect of some kind of continuation would prevent a lot of folks from making public mention of the whole thing, but really, for me the Reader hasn’t been the Reader for a good while. (The alt-weekly was sold to the Sun-Times’ parent in 2012 for $3 million.)

I’ve asked editor Shaloup about cutting Mueller’s publication schedule.

* Mueller in 2011: “I figure I can probably continue doing [my cartoons] until 80” (