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NAMING NAMES

From E&P, a concern was voiced by a reader of the Times Union in Albany, NY, that comic strips were mentioning brand name products for remuneration. Product placement is a fact in some media, but not, apparently, in the comics. Amy Lago, comics editor at the Washington Post Writers Group, said she knows of no cartoonists with contracts for touting products. The brand/company mentions, she says, are due to simple consumerism: we live in a consumer society, and “cartoonists are consumers, too.” At United Media syndicate, Mary Anne Grimes said much the same, adding that brand names are frequently mentioned in ordinary conversation. “A [comic strip character] would say, ‘I need a Band-Aid’ as opposed to ‘I need an adhesive bandage’ because that is the way a regular person would speak.” ... But Wiley Miller in his Non Sequitur for March 12 pursued the matter to another logical conclusion. Young Danae raises the issue with her father, who says he doubts that any cartoonists have any deals, but he wouldn’t be surprised if some cartoonists mention products, hoping to get free samples. “Even if they are getting payola,” he continues, “those lovable lunks deserve it, so don’t worry about it, Porsche.” His daughter responds: “Uh, Daddy? My name is Danae.” “Not anymore,” her father says, “ -- now where’s your sister, Courvoisier, and her dog, Rolex?”

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