Bad comic strips

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Ever read a comic strip daily, just because it’s bad?

I’m not going to mention any names and for all I know, my own work is in this horrible category, but I’ve noticed that I’ve always been drawn to terrible work. Of course, I love all the classics and read the best of the best, but for some reason, I am drawn to the bad ones. I’m not sure if it’s the content, the writing or the drawing, but I read these bad strips often. Many I see on Facebook, they pop up in my feed. I don’t seek them out.

When I was a kid, we used to get a few newspapers (I miss those old daily newspaper days), and some newspapers ran the lower-end comics, I guess they weren’t as popular and they were cheaper to purchase for the newspapers than say “Doonesbury” or “Peanuts.” So there was room for everyone back then with the multitude of newspapers and features.

We used to get the Miami Herald daily and the South Dade News Leader and I would sometimes buy the Miami News. We also had access to the Hollywood Sun-Tattler (love that name) and the Ft. Lauderdale News and Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. So we had daily access to six daily newspapers and if I would travel through the south end of our state, I would read the Naples Daily News and Key West Citizen. Lots of newspapers.

The South Dade News Leader had the lower end comics, most from the NEA Syndicate and I would read these and enjoyed them. I also remember free weekly newspapers that had the worst comics, but I looked forward to them.

Today online, I see comics that make me shudder. I don’t ever want to put down a fellow cartoonist, so I don’t ever put them down outside my head, but yet I read them, so there is something there. And I guess posting on Facebook works because I always click on them and read them.

Maybe it’s like a bad tv commercial. It may be terrible, but you remember the product.

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Loving Vincent

A new movie just opened called “Loving Vincent,” about my favorite painter, Vincent Van Gogh (I sleep with Starry Night over my bed). I have not seen it yet but it looks amazing. It’s the first fully oil painted feature film; the images are all copies of Vincent’s own hand, using 120 of his paintings and the characters in them, including landscapes that move from the iconic paintings.

Every single frame is hand painted and come to life on screen. Actual actors morf into the paintings. One second of film can take weeks to produce. Each of the film’s 60,000 frames is a painting!

The story looks to be compelling too, as they are trying to figure out the mystery of his death from a gun shot wound.

Charles Schulz’s house burned down

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Charles Schulz, courtesy Charles M. Schulz Museum.

As the fires burn Santa Rose, CA, I couldn’t help but think of Charles Schulz, I think he made Santa Rosa famous for me. Sadly, his house burned down yesterday in those massive wildfires taking over that region of California.

His wife, Jean, got out safely, but the house is gone.

According to Monte Schulz, Charles’s son “All of the memorabilia and everything is gone.”

But the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, which is also located in Santa Rosa, says that the work that is there is safe and not damaged. Most of the original art is there. That’s the good news, if there is any good news out of this.

My nightmare plane trip

NY Comic Con week was great. My favorite week of the year, but coming up was not fun. I got back to Miami on Monday, but the trip was not as easy as it usually is.

For one thing, I got to the airport very early because they have been working on the bridge and tunnel in and out of the city, when I arrived last Saturday, there was a half hour delay at the Midtown tunnel, traffic was at a standstill. And with all the major construction at La Guardia, I didn’t want to miss my flight, so I added extra time, but too much extra time, as I left the hotel at 6 am for a 9:30 flight, which ended up leaving at about 11 am because of planes backed up on the tarmac.

But the worst part was this little kid, maybe 2 years old, who cried and screamed from inside the terminal, through the whole tarmac wait and for the three hour trip to Miami.

He was a spiteful little creep because he knew what he was doing – screeching, at high decibles. He would cry and then SCREECH, where it went right through you. He knew what he was doing. I don’t know what he wanted or why he was crying non-stop, but his parents ignored it.

Everyone on the plane was going nuts and saying things under their breath, but no one said anything to the parents or the airline crew. We were all afraid to say anything for fear of being thrown off the plane. You know how that goes. Say something and they turn the plane around.

So it was basically six hours of non stop, screaming, crying and throwing a tantrum, he stopped for a bit, maybe to eat, but 99% of the trip was him carrying on.

I took a video, but it does not do the six hour tantrum justice so I won’t post it here, as you may think I am exaggerating.

Where did all the classic comic characters go?

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Spider-man at the 2017 New York Comic Con

So this column was supposed to be a sort of feature/photo thing with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Spider-man.

I had planned to take three or four photos of people that were dressed up as these characters at New York Comic Con and show them side by side, just to see the different variations of the same characters. I thought these four main characters would be well represented as in previous years, but that wasn’t the case this year. I was sure there would be many tributes to Adam West’s Batman, but nope. There weren’t many this year, they were few and far between, I did get this Batman and Superman the first day, but didn’t see many of them the next few days.

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Superman and Batman at the 2017 NY Comic Con.

Comic Con was very well attended this year, the visitors are expected to surpass 200,000, they are right on the heals of San Diego Comic Con which draws a larger crowd at this point.

New York Comic Con started in 2006 with 33,000 visitors, last year, 21016 it was over 180,000.

The enjoyable fall, October weather in New York City was not to be this year. It’s been in the low 80s and humid; more like July than October. And the crisp October air is a big part of New York Comic Con for me, it’s like one big experience; the begging of the fall season. Maybe next year.

NY Comic Con is back!

New York Comic Con is back for the weekend – it started Thursday and runs through Sunday. As usual, it takes up a weekend in October at the Jacob Javits Center. It is sold out, there are people scalping tickets near the convention center.

Guests this year include Alfonso Herrera from The Exorcist, Amber Nash from Archer; Alex Roe from Siren; Andrew Lincoln from The Walking Dead; John Krasinski from The Office; and Doctor Who himself, Peter Capaldi.

That is just a tiny fraction of the guests this year who will be signing autographs and taking part in meet and greets and panel discussions.

Comic Guests which number in the dozens, include Alex Maleev of Daredevil; Chad Hardin of Harley Quinn; Chris Claremont from X-Men and David Finch from Batman. Many can be found in Artist Alley.

For the whole list of guests and times and everything NY Comic Con, go to: https://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/

From skyline to brick wall

My first couple of days in New York sort of suck. But things are better now. I got to see the 30th season premiere episode of The Amazing Race today, and that was a lot of fun. I took a little film of that, you can see that below.

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This is the usual view from my favorite hotel in NYC, the Affinia Dumont, which is now closed and turning into condos. I pay for this view, but it’s worth it.

But to start out, I have this favorite hotel in New York, the Affinia Dumont, where the views are spectacular, you think you are living in a postcard. It’s amazing.

Well, after all these years, they were sold and  becoming condos, the Murry Hill Marquis, so the hotel company put me at another one of their Affinias up the street, the Shelburne. I stayed there once, and didn’t like it, but figured what the hell, it can’t be that bad.

It is.

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This was my view when they changed me from the Affinia Dumont to the Affinia Shelburne.

They gave me a room facing a brick wall. You can see it here! Then they charged me $25 a day for “incidentals,” like wine at the wine bar, $10 worth of things at the gift shop, internet, etc. I’m here 10 days, do the math. I would only use the internet, and possibly the gift shop for a bottle of water and maybe the newspapers. I don’t drink wine, and I don’t mix with total strangers and free wine socials at hotels.

I asked for them not to charge me the $25 and they said that’s the way it is. I could do nothing about it. This was one of the managers who said this to me. Basically, that’s tough, you’re stuck with the bill. Then I asked to change my room from the dungeon that it is and I was told there were no other rooms! The two little bitches at the front desk were quite rude. The manager literally told me that they stuck me in the dungeon room because they wanted to give me an inside room which is more quiet and preferred. I guess she thought I was a mental patient, who need to calm my nerves.

The coup de gras was the next morning when I got stuck in the elevator! A couple from England and I got stuck. This changed everything. I’m not sure why, because it wasn’t long and I didn’t complain, that sort of thing doesn’t phase me, but they were now falling all over themselves at the front desk, the manager called me, he removed some of my $25 “incidental” charges and they moved me to a room with a view. There is sunlight coming in the window as we speak!

The hotel is surley and not friendly, I asked one of the ladies from housekeeping if I could have a bar of soap, Her response – “Call 64 and they’ll bring you the soap.” In quality hotels, she would have brought me the soap herself when she had a chance.

Anyway, I went to Washington Square Park at about noon for the filming of season 30 of The Amazing Race. There were quite a few reality starts there like Cody and Jessica from the recent Big Brother season which only ended a few weeks ago, that was quite fast signing them up. It was fun to watch, Phil Keoghan is a really nice guy, you’ll see in the film below that he approached a little boy, about four years old, who has a sign that says he wants to be on The Amazing Race. Phil is cracking up. He asked the little boy how he know about the show at such a young age.

I think this will show this winter, probably February. They had the little boy’s mother sign a release, so I guess that interaction will be on tv.