Studying cartoonists – in person

I was talking about the humbleness of cartoonists I’ve interviewed or met. I find it quite interesting. Other than interviewing them, I’ve seen many at Comic Cons. I like to watch them, study them. I usually don’t go up to them, but I stand back and just watch. I don’t know if I’m absorbing the scene or what. I mostly see them at the GoComics booth.

I’ve watched Stephan Pastis of Pearls Before Swine. Not stalking, by the way, just happened to be there a couple of times, a year or so after our 10 With Tom interview. I didn’t approach him, I just happened to be at the GoComics booth when he arrived a couple of times.

One time he was a few minutes late, the line of people waiting to meet him and get his autograph was long. I wanted to see how he would be when he got there. He is one of the top cartoonists today, would he act it? Would he arrive and be big, you know, like be a presence. So he arrived, had on his usual baseball cap, jeans and a t-shirt and a backpack. I wondered what he possibly could be carrying around New York City in a large backpack. Anyway, he arrived at the booth, smiled, threw the backpack down and sat down and started his thing – meeting and greeting his fans, one by one, making small chit chat with each of them, signing their books and just being humble. What I love about cartoonists. The humbleness.

I don’t know what I expected. Maybe I thought he would come in big and say, “Here I am, the great Stephan Pastis!” And act like he was all that. Which he is. But it was the total opposite. I loved that.

I know he likes beer. I would love to go with him for a beer some time. But I’m to shy to ask or to even approach him, even though I feel like I know him because of the 10 With Tom interview a couple of years ago. He’s a friend in my head.

The company I keep; or hope to keep

interviewI’ve  been interviewing a lot of cartoonists lately for my 10 With Tom series. I’ve interviewed many people over the years from “real housewives” to authors, news reporters, fashionistas and actors.  But I think I enjoy the cartoonists the most since that’s what I do and I learn from the interviews. I ask questions that I’m curious about, mostly their influences and their techniques.

An interesting thing about most people and especially the cartoonists is how humble they are. They are all very appreciative of me asking for the interview and they seem to enjoy doing it. I like that about them, they are a great group, I like associating myself with them. I’ve interviewed “the greats” and those starting out, and they all are the same – nice, appreciative and kind.

There are some interviews I’ve tried to get but I either get the runaround or no answer at all. I like to think the email went to the spam folder on those, rather than the fact that they just plain ignored me.

But my point is that I am always amazed at the humbleness and gratefulness of these people I admire, who I am interviewing because I admire. Some become friends or friendly and we run into each other at places like Comic Cons and such and I like that. I like being part of that company.

I do all of the interviews for the Huffington Post but I’ve posted many of them after they run in the HuffPost, right here in my blog. You can see them here.

I had to laugh at one major cartoonist who said he didn’t like the HuffPost and didn’t want to have his interview there. When I asked if I could post it in my Tomversation blog, right here, he agreed. So I got that interview with him. That was gracious of him to to ahead with the interview anyway for the few thousand that read Tomversation rather than the millions who read the HuffPost. Just another example of why I like cartoonists.

The Sun – it shines for all


I saw this photo on Very Old Images of NY page on Facebook. It’s a great page with so many great historical photos.

It is 1896 on Park Row.  This milk wagon arrived to offer “Pure Ice Cold Orange County Milk, Fresh churned buttermilk” and malted milk offered for a nickel.

I love the photo because you can see the New York Sun and the New York Journal in the background. Not the newspapers – the actual buildings.

I’m always passing the Sun building in NYC, which is behind City Hall, away from newspapers row on Park Row and I had always thought it was the original Sun building, but I looked it up and the Sun moved to the 280 Broadway building behind City Hall in 1917. It was fist built for the A. T. Stewart Department store in 1846.


The “new” building on Broadway is large and just went through an extensive renovation. In each corner, there is a big clock sticking out that says, “The Sun. It Shines For All.” Still there – 100 years later.


Here are the two buildings in 1914. In the old days, they used to post the news and sports scores right outside the buildings. No digital banners. It was chalk and or ink on paper posted to boards out front. Here the crowd is looking at baseball scores.

Drawing All in the Family

all-in-the-familyI was talking about drawing Fred Flintstone and wondering if my mother ever saved any of my old drawings. I have to ask her.

Well, one of the things I always regret was giving away a full color comic strip of All in the Family that I created. It must have been an art class project, because I remember doing it in class. It was a Sunday strip, you know, full size. It was All in the Family, which was the number one show on tv at the time and I drew some sort of story line – three or four rows of comics, full color. Colored in with watercolor I remember. It was all the characters -Archie Bunker, Edith, Gloria, Mike; and the house as the background scenery in each panel – really a nice piece of art.

And I gave it away!

A classmate liked it and I gave it to him. Just like that!

I wonder if there is a way to put a call out for it now. You know – “Wanted, the old 1970s All in the Family comic strip I drew in art class.” Maybe I can do a lost and found thing on Craigslist or something.

I had this original TV Guide, too. I collected them all when I was a kid, I would just throw them in a box after we used them for the week. I had hundreds from the early 1970s until the 1990s. But they were all destroyed in 1992 in Hurricane Andrew. 😦

Fred Flintstone

I think the first character I ever drew was Fred Flintstone. Why? Who knows? You would think as a child I would be more into Bugs Bunny or Tom and Jerry, but I was always a Hanna-Barbera fan and for some reason, I would draw Fred all the time. I wish I had some of those original drawings, maybe my mother has them stashed away somewhere, you know how mothers save all that stuff.

I loved the tv show The Flintstones and also so many of the Hanna-Barbera cartoons – Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear, Magilla Gorilla, Peter Potomus, Touche Turtle and so on. I vaguely remember them being on tv early evenings, something like 7:30 pm and each night was another show – Mondays was Huckleberry, Tuesday was Quickdraw McGraw and so on.

One of my earliest memories was maybe when I was two or three years old, I remember my mother chasing me around our Brooklyn apartment, trying to get me into the bathtub and I remember Huckleberry Hound coming on tv. The theme song was playing as I was running around, trying to get away from taking a bath!

But even with that early memory, it was all about Fred Flintstone. And did I become a Hanna-Barbera fan because of my mother? I mean, I’m assuming she put those shows on tv for me, so she chose them rather than other things like Bugs Bunny. I remember our house was full of Hanna-Barbera toys – I remember life sized cut outs (at least for a three or four year old they were life sized), I remember a Dino mechanical toy. I remember that at my grandmothers’s house. I can literally see that in my mind, walking on her kitchen floor. I looked it up on Ebay and found this. This is it. It’s going for over $800! I saw one cheaper, about $44, but it isn’t in mint condition like this one.