Road trip?

asheville

Looking Glass Rock, NC

So I never made it to New York this year which is a regular summer thing for me this time of year. This sort of had me down for a minute until my friend Harry said to me, “Thousands of people are sick and dying and you had to postpone a trip. Thank God you are safe and healthy. Besides, there are thousands of other places you can go other than New York.”

And I thanked him and told him I needed to hear that. It’s true, we are all blessed to be healthy and safe, while many are sick and dying. I pray that this caronavirus ends already, I pray that no one else gets sick. Or dies.

I didn’t go to New York for different reasons – the city is still closed regarding restaurants, theaters, museums, they really are not set up for visitors, some of my cousins are still sheltering in place, so I wouldn’t really see them and mainly because of the quarantine – now there is a 14 day quarantine for people coming in from Florida for the tri-state area – NY, NJ and CT, three states I enjoy spending time in. But I sort of see it as a good thing. I have this problem where something happens twice and it becomes the norm – a habit for me. While there are all sorts of places to go all over the world, I keep returning to New York, out of habit, an obligation in my head, I suppose. Now that habit is broken.

I have always wanted to spend the summer in Italy, maybe on the Amalfi Coast, but again, most of Europe has a quarantine on American travelers, and I fully understand that.

One thing I always wanted to do is to rent a lake house in North Carolina for the summer and have an open door policy – you know, anyone can come and spend time there, in and out all summer. But for now I am thinking of flying up to Charlotte, spending time there, and checking out Lake Norman where I want that Lake House and then spending time in Asheville. I have friends who live there now and also friends who are visiting now. I’ve been checking in on them about the situation up there. Seems like places are open, not fully, but they aren’t shut down like so many other places. They are being cautious and social distancing, but it isn’t a ghost town, which is good.

I would then drive home to Miami, stopping along  the way to my favorite old cities – Charleston, SC; Savannah, GA and St. Augustine, FL. Then end up back in Miami.

I would take my time. Spend whatever time I like in places, three days here, four days here, a week here, and so on. I’m thinking of maybe doing this at the end of the summer, more when things open up and are safer hopefully, maybe August into September, spending Labor Day on the road. I’m still figuring that out in my head.

It’s the end of the world as we know it

mayan-calendar-print

I tried something different  with today’s comic – with the size of the comic. It’s a long, comic strip length panel, rather than the usual 5″ x 5″ square.

A while back I started drawing the comics in this format and liked the look and it gave me more room to work with, but in the end, I do like the even 5″ x 5″ square size.

Today’s comic, about the Mayan calendar came up because there is a lot of talk lately about the 2012 date when the world was supposed to end as being wrong. You may remember that the big round Mayan calendar ended on Dec. 22, 2012 and that was doomsday, when the world would end. Of course it didn’t. But there has been talk about this or next week being the end of the world, apparently the calendar was read wrong.

I did this comic back then. It was simply the one scientist saying to the other, “Hold up, there’s a second side!” But I embellished it for 2020 since it almost seems as if this is the end of the world with everything that is going on these days – there is something else crazy and newsworthy every other day it seems. So I just changed the text and there we go.

I remember drawing this at the time. The center artwork in the round calendar was very time consuming. I was running late for lunch, I was meeting two friends I remember, and I was trying to get it done before I left. I never like to leave an unfinished piece of work. So I am assuming I got it done before rushing off. I can almost see myself adding all the little tedious details at the time, sitting right here where I am writing this now – at the same desk.

What I also did today that is interesting, is that if you see the comic on Instagram – I tried something new. The comic scrolls. It is the one long panel, but it is not broken up, you literally scroll through the full panel. It was fun learning that and I’ll use it on future long length panels.

It’s all about the animals

the-zoo

There’s another tv show I’m addicted to now that I have found now that I’m home a lot – on Saturday night’s I watch The Zoo on Animal Planet. I also watch Saved By the Barn after that. The Zoo is rerun at all times during the week, too.

The Zoo is about backstage at zoos – mostly the Bronx Zoo but also there are zoos in Australia and the UK and other areas of the US including San Diego and Columbus, but the Bronx Zoo is featured mostly. It’s so sweet to watch how much the zookeepers love and respect the animals and how they dedicate their lives to them. It’s quite interesting, too; you learn a lot and you get attached to the people, almost as friends in my head now.

During the time that tigers tested positive for covid19 at the Bronx Zoo, they addressed it on the show. The tigers are all well now.

saved-by-the-barn

Dan McKernan and one of his buddies

As for Saved By the Barn, that’s a show where a guy named Dan McKernan who goes back to his family’s large farm and he turns it into an animal rescue for farm animals where they can safely live out their lives. They rescue animals from various places and almost treat the farm as a zoo, but only for farm animals, so you wont see giraffes or elephants, it’s mostly pigs, cows, goats and that sort.

I know the next time I’m at the Bronx Zoo, I am going to be looking for the zookeepers rather than the animals, now! They are sort of minor celebs in their own right.

An unassuming influence

dunagin1

Cartoonist Ralph Dunagin passed away last week. I always loved his work on the Dunagin’s People comic growing up and I see he worked on so many other things I liked like Grin and Bear It and The Middletons.

As I look at his work these days, I see so much of him rubbed off on me and I didn’t realize it. Apparently he was a big influence on my drawing style. I always tell people that Hanna-Barbera and Charles Schulz were my influences, but as I look at Dunagin’s work, I see my own drawing style – I got so much from him.

My faces look similar as well as the broken lines, which I like and also even simple things like shirt sleeves. I see it all in my work now. It seems as if he was my biggest influence without me even knowing it! Very unassuming!

dunagin3

dunagin2

Superhero face masks

face-masks

I like these superhero face masks, but I don’t know if I would wear them. The logo is too big.

I’ve seen some fun ones with Charlie Brown and Snoopy, I Love Lucy and others.

Right now I wear a solid black one, which I like, it’s a bit heavy though and I’m thinking of changing it. But I’ve ordered so many and unless you buy them and then try them, there is no way of knowing if they fit right or if you can breathe through them and things like that. I must have 12 of them about now, and only like one or two.

I do like this Batman one with the logo small to the side. What do you think? Too geeky?

People are going crazy with the masks now. I notice on tv, the news reporters are matching their ties now. If they have on a red tie, they wear a red mask, and so on.

facemask2

batman-mask

Too many logos on this one.

The demise of editorial cartoons?

farley

You can’t please anyone. Travels With Farley from June 23, 1977.

The Washington Post has an article about the slow demise of editorial cartoons and cartoonists, because they are offending some readers and I guess in this day and age, newspapers need to hold on to all the subscribers they can.

join-or-dieIronically, the first cartoons in newspapers were editorial cartoons from way back – in fact the first one ran in, 1754! Yup, in Benjamin Franklin’s Pennsylvania Gazette. You may have seen it over the years, it’s right here, the “join or die” image, regarding the colonies.

I’m often concerned about losing followers or readers, not by what I post, but sometimes what they say – in the comments sections, mostly on Facebook and Instagram. I keep my mouth shut, but at times I want to argue. I have been known to delete some comments that are racist or stupid.

But it is interesting that a couple of complaints over a cartoon and newspapers would rather dump the whole editorial cartoon department rather than a subscriber or two. Which often makes me wonder since there isn’t the competition there was years ago. Most cities only have one newspaper, so there is nowhere else for a reader to go if they are in the daily newspaper reading habit.

I feel they are spiting themselves by unsubscribing to a daily habit that they have probably had most of their lives. It’s just so easy to just turn the page – sort of like turning the tv channel if you don’t like something, rather than complaining to the network.

Baking bad

baking-bad-comicToday’s comic really makes me laugh. I don’t know if it’s the drawing or what.

I was watching Breaking Bad as I usually do on Sunday and the thought came to me. So simple, yet so funny.

I know the characters so well that I didn’t need to look at a photo for context, I just know Walter White so well. I guess this is a mixture of two of my favorite things – Breaking Bad and the cooking shows I like to watch on Saturday mornings.

The World, The Sun, The Herald . . .

the-herald

I recently came upon this old photo of the New York Herald, which looks to be in the 1920s because the park is there in front of it and originally the park wasn’t there and the dress of the man in the photo looks to be that era. It’s one of the best photos I’ve seen of the old Herald, it’s the closest image I’ve surely seen, most are from a block away, which show all of Herald Square, but this – this is a nice, up close photo of the New York Herald.

It reminded me of this story I did last spring on the old newspapers of New York.

newspaperow

Images via Library of Congress

pulitzerI saw a great documentary on Joseph Pulitzer (left) the other night which of course was a lot about the New York World, which he published from 1860 until his death in 1911, after that his sons ran the paper (into the ground) and then in 1931, it merged with the New York Telegram to become the World-Telegram and then years later, in 1950, became the World-Telegram and Sun. You can see the Pulitzer documentary in full at PBS’s American Masters here. The story is great along with the images of the old newspapers and offices and of course, old black and white movies of street scenes and society at the time.

What was interesting about The World was that it seemed to have everything, especially on Sundays. It would print dress patterns, color comics, cut outs that kids could play with and had stories that were not breaking news, but features. Pulitzer and his staff would seek out human interest stories, which was a first for its time. He also designed interesting layouts and pages which were completely different than what was standard at the time – rows and rows of columns.

The World was one of the first newspapers to run comic strips and it started with the Yellow Kid which was stolen by Hearst his New York Journal (later the Journal-American).

One interesting item the documentary talks about was timing. When Pulitzer began publishing The World, New Yorkers started taking public transportation more often and the newspapers at the time were a perfect diversion on city transit.

I always loved old photos of the World building down on Park Row, across from city Hall. It’s gone as of 1955, and I found out from the Pulitzer documentary that it was due to Robert Moses, who seemed to destroy a lot of NYC in the name of progress, including the demise of the Brooklyn Dodgers, to which my father has not forgiven him to this day. Moses demolished the World and Times to build another ramp for the Brooklyn Bridge.

nysun

These clocks can still be seen on the Sun Building today at 280 Broadway.

The Sun building was next door, but eventually moved to 280 Broadway, on the other side of City Hall,  where the is still today. Clocks on each corner show the name – “The Sun – It shines for all.” The Sun came back in the early 2000s but is only online now.

newspaperros

Beautiful newspaper row.

The New York Tribune building was demolished in 1966 and is now Pace University.

The New York Times building at 41 Park Row is still there today. People mistakenly have claimed over the years that it was demolished for the Brooklyn Bridge entrance, too, but that is not the case. It is also part of Pace University today.

Of course, one of my favorites was the Herald, up on Herald Square, which is now an ugly box building housing Santander Bank and CVS, catty corner to Macy’s.

heraldsquare

The New York Herald.

tribune

Outside the Tribune Building.

The World Newspaper

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Newspapers – a cultural reckoning

spideyThe Daily Cartoonist talks about the demise of local newspapers and asks Who’s Killing Your Local Newspaper? They say, “In the face of layoffs, the coronavirus, and private equity firms like Alden Capital trying to strip it for parts, the news industry is on the verge of collapse.”

Oddly enough, today’s comic is newspaper related as you can see.

Recently I signed a petition to save the Miami Herald from equity firms taking over the newspaper. That is who is owning the newspapers these days – they are also buying up my little village – everything that was once mom and pop, including the newspapers are now owned by corporations or retirement funds.

For the past few years I wondered why newspapers don’t turn themselves into a commodity, something people want – and what I mean is when a newspaper has a story or feature, say destined for Sunday’s paper – a big feature – they post it online on Tuesday. Why? What would be the point of me buying the Sunday paper then? I will read a story online Tuesday that later appears in the Thursday or Friday print edition. It’s old news by then. The stories are written and posted at that moment rather than wait for it to be printed. That’s great if the newspapers weren’t trying to save their print editions.

I can’t tell you how many times my father says to me, “Did you see such and such in the paper today?” And I’ll say, “Yes, but I read it three days ago online.”  If the newspapers published the stories and features in the printed paper first, and then after that, posted them online, it might work out better than the way they do it now. I’m not talking about news, I know they want to publish news as soon as possible, but features and stories – print them first, then place them online.

To be honest, I only get daily delivery of our local paper so I can support them. Most days I don’t even open it. I’ve read it all before it even arrives on my doorstep.

There was a time when I read so many newspapers in a day and now I read even more because I read papers from out of state and there lies the rub (I love saying that) – circulation is up due to online publication, but newspapers need to find a way to make money online – and not through a pay wall. There has to be a way for them to make money through ads. People can read newspapers from all over the world, so the audience is there.

When I published the daily news online here in town, I sold ads – I made money – it was not my main goal and I saw it more as a community service so I didn’t push for ads – but if I wanted to, I probably could have supported myself. Why can’t the daily newspapers do that? I see ads every five seconds on social media – why not the online newspapers?

Sharing is caring

throwback-thursday

Not bad – check this out. Today’s comic is doing well after only one hour on Facebook – there are 106 shares already – going viral fast.

I love when people share the posts/comics – it’s really helped with circulation on Facebook, there are about 13,000 fans/followers in just a few weeks!

On Instagram there are about 2500, but it’s going slow because they don’t have a share button. I think there are two things Instagram needs – a share button and a way to add a link in the write up area. I’m wondering why they don’t have that since they are a part of Facebook and it would really help out with more engagement.

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