Never Again

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Fun art weekend


Every year on President’s Day Weekend, we have the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and St. Stephen’s Art Show in our town. It’s 3-day weekend of art, music, fun and friends.

One of my favorite things on Sunday was Lime, the group from the 1980s, one of my favorites. I had forgotten about so many of their songs which defined my youth.

A few friends and I were standing near the park and all of a sudden, Lime starts performing, that’s the video above I ran right over. They sang all their hits, “Babe We’re Gonna Love Tonight,” “Guilty,” “Unexpected Lovers” and more. So great.

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One of my favorites – Arnold; AIEEE!

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Every once in awhile, I think of the “Arnold” comic strip that I loved in the 1980s. It ran from 1982 through 1988. Arnold Melville and his friend Tommy Jordan were the stars. The cartoonist was Kevin McCormick. If you click on these strips, they’ll open larger.

I read it daily in The Miami Herald. I really loved it. Arnold was this big nosed kid and lots of the action took place in his school. His long suffering teacher was Mr. Arnold.

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Almost daily, Arnold would screech out AIEEE! at the most inopportune time. Is there every an opportune time? It always made me laugh, it just came out at the right moment.

Most of the other characters spoke from outside the panels, you wouldn’t see them.

I think the strip ended too early, Kevin ended it, the syndicate didn’t drop it. Kevin had a big hawk fly in in the final strip and eat Arnold. Kevin regretted ending the strip and said it was too late, “the big bird swallowed.”

But again, look at Bobby Ewing and the shower bit. Maybe Arnold can reappear one day and the big bird sequence could just be a dream.

The syndicate listed on the strips are News America and Field Enterprises. In 1984 it was renamed News America after Hearts bought Field in 1984 and then in 1986 renamed North America Syndicate. Now it is all part of King Features Syndicate.

You can see some more samples of the Arnold comic here.

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Different comics, different themes

The Gemini in me is always coming out when it comes to comics and comic strips. I am always coming up with different ideas and wavering on what to do. I have different theme ideas and comic ideas from strips to single panel cartoons.

What if they all could be done? Could they each have a short run, sort of like a tv season? Maybe have one strip about something run for three months then maybe have a single panel comic run for three or six months, then change that up to another type strip and so on. Is that a thing? Could it be a thing?

The comics would all be posted under one banner, “Tomversation” for instance and each series would run its course, sort of like these anthology series on tv like the “Killing Fields” or “American Horror Story.”

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A Man Martin comic.

Man Martin sort of does that, but he does it daily. His “Man Overboard,” also called “Man Martin’s Inkwell Forest” has different people and different themes daily, I guess that is like a panel cartoon where each day is different but in this case, it’s a comic strip. But on the subject of different themes, he did something called “Billy and the Giant Frog” one time which I wrote about being one of my favorite comics. Little did I know at the time, that that was just a short theme and story line as part of the main Man Overboard comics. Billy and the frog ended and then something else took its place.

I like that.

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Sketchy vs clean when it comes to cartooning (and painting)

I read a great article by cartoonist John P. Weiss called “This is the Secret to Your Creative Success” where he talks about different cartoon styles – sketchy and clean – Krazy Kat vs Peanuts and Calvin and Hobbes.

He vacillates between the two. I try to do that but sort of fall in between. I want to be sketchy with my cartoons, but I end up being clean, with a bit of sketchyness in them.

The reason it hit home with me is that I’ve been thinking of doing a new style of comic – a single panel but possibly black and white and sort of rough. I still have plans for my comic strip, but this comic panel would be a once-in-a-while thing.

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I sort of did something like that here with Morning Joe. It’s not my usual style. It was almost drawing with my eyes closed. Even the words are sort of sketchy. This HQ Trivia cartoon is rough, too.

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This Cross Fit comic is so much cleaner. And this is my style that I usually go with. I want to go with even a rougher style than the Morning Joe one but I can’t find any samples because I don’t allow myself to do that.

 

Here is the article by John, think it’s a great read. I don’t think anyone has ever talked about this before.

Out with Huff Post in with Medium

I’ve started writing for Medium, moving away from Huffing Post (here is all my work there), where the stories get jumbled too much with politics.

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Not that I’m against politics, but I don’t write about politics, I write about art and culture. So I’ll be writing columns for Medium now. But interestingly enough, politics is the number one subject read about on Medium, but I think with Medium, you can choose the type of stories you would like to read so if you don’t want to see politics, you don’t have to.

I like that Medium is easier to navigate and it has more of the subject matter I like.

I will have two columns on Medium. One will be stories, articles and the other will be single-panel cartoons. I’ll let you know when I start publishing those.

At the end of 2016 Medium’s audience grew 140% to 60 million unique readers a month!

I have carried my 10 With Tom column there, I reposted the Stephan Pastis piece on Medium, which drew more readers than any one of my other columns at the Huff Post, about 100,000 people read that piece – my most popular one. That says a lot about Stephan.

I have been posting my stories under the “Medium Partner Program” where people who subscribe to Medium for $5 per month receive these stores. Not that they cannot be seen by everybody, but with the partner program I get paid each time partners read my stories.

The majority of Medium is free to read. 90% of the stories are free, it’s just the partner program stories that are not, well, they offer three free views per month, sort of like a newspapers’s paywall and I liken the partner program to a Patreon account where you receive some free goodies for subscribing.

But the majority of the same stories are posted here on my Tomversation blog, so you don’t have to go there to read my stories, but I would like you to maybe check them out just for the hell of it.

Here are three that have run in the past, but I have now had published on Medium:

10 things you didn’t know about cartoonist Stephan Pastis

It’s an underground world that’s full of history (lots of pics of the NYC Transit Museum

7 Reasons we’re addicted to HQ Trivia. Do you play this live trivia game?

I’ll start posting new stories at Medium and I have to start interviewing people for 10 With Tom again. You can see my past 10 With Tom’s here on Tomversation.

And when I start publishing my single panel cartoons, I’ll give you the link for that.