Tapas for comics, do you know it?

bidenI was listening to a podcast called, “Tapas Media and Building Your Brand” at Webcomic Alliance.

They have over 35,000 comics at Tapas, and  it seems that if you find your niche audience you have loyal fans. They also have some sort of payment system, which is great. I used to post there but found the whole system confusing but if that is where the audience is, I guess that’s where comics should be posted. That’s my version of Joe Biden.

I like the idea that Tapas seems to be geared toward mobile devices rather than computers and it’s the go-to place for Millennial comic readers. The podcast folks were not fans of social media as a means to share comics, but I find that to be quite the opposite. It might not work for long form comics and serials, but I think for gag-a-day, it’s great, especially since you can divide the panels into single panels and swipe through them on Instagram now.

My one concern is single panel comics. I’m going back and forth between my single panel Tomversation comic panels and a strip I have in mind. I don’t see too many single panels on Tapas but I guess with millions of readers I’m sure to find my audience. I think they have more younger readers than GoComics, which seems to have an older audience, including myself.

I was waiting for Sherpa to come back at GoComics so that I could start publishing there, but to be honest, I’m tired of waiting for them to complete the platform.

My plan is to start publishing at Tapas, Facebook, Instagram and possibly Tumblr (I like the sharing aspect of that) in the fall, probably on Labor Day, September 3.

Stay tooned.

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Thinking of newspapers

Newspapers are not where comics are most popular these days. Millennials, as we know, don’t read the newspaper, at least not the printed version.  It took me a long time to come to terms with that regarding my own work. It’s like making a movie and having it go straight to video. That is how I felt not having my comics in the newspapers. Comics were created for newspapers. But it’s a new era.

I think of the kids born today or in the last few years. Will they ever know the feeling of going outside and picking up the newspaper off the front porch, taking it in, smelling the ink and the paper, getting the feel of it all and reading the news from cover to cover, in black and white? There was a time when the ink came off on your fingers. Now they just flip through it all on their phones.

517AbN9Y1+L._SL250_I think of the days of George Herriman, George McManus, Rudolf Dirks, Bud Fisher and the others, when cartoonists were the celebrities of the day. What was it like in 1905 or 1915? I’m glad I’m here today, but I like to think back sometimes and wonder about those times were like. I think of the excitement of the newspapers, the deadlines, the camaraderie.

If you haven’t read the book on George Herriman and Krazy Kat by Michael Tisserand called, “Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White“, do yourself a favor and read it. It will transport you back to that time, you literally are immersed in that period. You feel as if you are in those old newspaper newsrooms and walking the streets of New York and Los Angeles. I am about to read it again. It’s sort of like “Breaking Bad” to me, I can just envelope myself in the story and get lost at any time of day.

Getting close to the action

miamivice

Miami Vice cast

I was talking about “old” Miami Beach, which to me was the 1980s. This was before all the glitz and glamour and before they called it “South Beach.” It was just Miami Beach.

We used to watch them film Miami Vice often. And we really got up close. Years later I would watch them film Burn Notice around town, but we couldn’t get as close, but I managed at times, I would take pictures and write about them here, and here and here). And this is a funny story called, The Accidental Extras, how we were mistaken for extras while they were filming.

I remember one time in the ’80s we were watching Miami Vice film and there was a car chase on Ocean Drive and we were standing right there on the sidewalk watching. Cars were speeding and spinning mere feet from us and there we were, watching the action.

Once I left the beach, the actual beach with the sand where I was laying out, and I got in my car and as I drove down Collins Avenue, I was stopped and asked if I wanted to be in a movie. I said, ok and was told to drive when they said, “action.” I did, but I never made in the movie. You can see the scene they were filming on the opening credits of “The Making of Mr. Right,” the 1987 film with John Malkovich and Ann Magnuson.  It’s where Ann is driving down Collins as the film titles roll at the beginning. You can see a lot of the Miami Beach I hung around in at that time, raw and not made into the pink and purple and neon place it is now.

Back to Miami Vice. Once my friend Jack and I were watching them film at the Hare Krishna hotel. Were were right up close and personal again. As we watched, my friend said, “Isn’t that Karen Black?” She was a big actress at the time. I asked, “Where?” And he says, “You’re leaning on her chair!” And so I was. She was sitting in a director’s style chair and I was leaning on the back of it, while she was sitting watching the scene. You could literally get up that close in those days.

I always remember in that episode, “Victim’s of Circumstance,” how they screwed the Hare Krishnas out of their moment on film. In the last scene, Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas are walking from the hotel, down a walkway/alley type thing and behind a wall were the Krishnas. As the two men reached that spot, the Krishnas came out from behind the wall and did their thing with drums and tambourines, you know how they do. Well, that was the final scene in the episode and on tv, as the two guys walked, the credits rolled. As they reached the wall, the scene froze, it just froze and the credits rolled over that. So the Krishnas were never seen on the show.

Years later, the Krishnas moved from that hotel to a church in my neighborhood and I got to know them on a first name basis.

My brush with the NY Daily News

sunday news

The first thing I would see on Sundays when I was a kid.

I’ve always wanted to have my comic strip printed in the New York Daily News and just a few years go Iwasthisclose. But due to the current climate and the constant staff changes, it didn’t happen.

At one time, for many years, the New York Daily News was the highest circulation newspaper in the country. It had 1 million readers a day, and way back in the day, say in the 1940s, they had 2 million readers daily and 4 million on Sunday! That was the place to be. They used to say that three people would read every one newspaper – so that is a hell of a lot of people reading one issue.

The editors loved my work, they practically had me in the paper, they wanted to know how many comics I had, how long I could sustain the feature, when I could start, etc. etc. I met with them at the building downtown, not the Daily News building on 42nd Street, they are now in an office building next to the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

I remember how excited I was that day, I had swag with me, Tomversation cube pads and pens and stuff and I had a wonderful meeting. But it never was to be, by the time I got home to Miami, the guys I met with were gone. One was fired for sexual harassment!

I started the process all over and again, the new editors were very interested. The problem at the Daily News at the time and probably even more so today is that there is not one specific editor for features or comics or things like that. At one point I dealt with the Sunday editor of the whole newspaper, another time a news editor. And again, it was not to be, mostly because of total confusion at the newspaper.

I have come to terms knowing that my comics will have a home on the internet and that is really a better place for so many reasons. But that was my brush with the New York Daily News.

NY Daily News; sign of the times

 

The New York Daily News has an editorial about itself called, “Local journalism is sick; don’t misdiagnose the disease.” They explain their current situation where they have been gutted by Tronc, their current owner. They say it’s more than Tronc cutting the staff by more than half, it’s the times, it’s the internet, it’s so much more.

To be honest, I didn’t buy one newspaper the whole time I was in New York this summer and that is saying a lot.  I usually buy The Daily News every single day when I’m in the city, I pick it up with my breakfast, and most days I would buy the Daily News, the NY Post, The NY Times and Newsday, all four daily newspapers, but even if I didn’t buy all four, I would always buy the Daily News. I’m not sure why I did not purchase the papers. I think it all started with my Miami Herald fiasco this past winter and I just got out of the habit. Reading the newspapers is a habit, sort of like having breakfast every morning.

The NY Daily News itself is now down in an office building down near the Staten Island Ferry, they aren’t even in the actual Daily News building on 42nd Street, which has been the case for years.

I took a short video of the Daily News building in November, here it is.

The Daily News Building is a beautiful Art Deco building and the Daily News should be in that building. I wrote about the strike in 1945 and showed an incredible video where it shows millions of newspapers being sold per day as people waited in long lines to plop down a nickle for the Daily News and all of the other New York newspapers at the time – the Mirror, the Journal-American, the Sun, etc. Newspapers were the world back then.

Today the sports department has been gutted. That’s the one thing my father would always mention when I would give him copies of the newspapers that I would bring home with me – the New York Daily News and the New York Post – he would admire the size of their sports section, putting down the puny Miami Herald’s sports section, asking, “Why can’t the Herald be like the New York papers?”

new_york_daily_news_logo

The ubiquitous camera in the masthead

And the photography department at the Daily News has been gutted, too. No photographers at New York’s Picture Newspaper!!! No photographers! Should they remove that iconic camera logo that has been part of their masthead since day one in 1919?

Two newsgirls

This is sad. I’m in Hoboken often and now every time I pass these locations I’ll think of these girls. Here are two young girls selling newspapers in Hoboken in 1912; the actual locations were visited a century later and superimposed with public domain and CC-licensed resources.

Library of Congress photography by Lewis Hine from the National Child Labor Committee Collection (loc.gov) is remixed here with Creative Commons-licensed music by Kevin MacLeod.

Video copyright Lyndon F. Lorenz, all rights reserved

 

Small world

It’s funny, I hadn’t thought about it for years, but when we were kids, more like our teens, my friend Ernesto and I used to jump in pools at Miami Beach hotels and swim around until we were asked to leave. We would tell the person telling us to leave, that we we were guests of “Billy,” a person we made up in our heads, in room 502, and we were then informed that they didn’t have a room 502.

This was back before they built the boardwalk and walking paths, and there was no security or anyone really guarding the pools. This was way before South Beach was even a concept, so the pools and hotels were dumps and we didn’t get caught very often because we were the only ones there in many cases.

I thought that we had created this whole pool thing ourselves with the fake friend in the room and all. But recently on a Facebook page that I follow about Old Miami, someone brought up the same thing – he said they would jump in the hotel pools on Miami Beach and leave when they were informed that their “Uncle Joe” was not a guest in room 206.

So funny because now people are coming out of the woodwork and commenting on that post that they all did the same thing. And Ernesto and I thought that was our thing. Ha.