A comic on the subway wall

subway-comic

I took this photo on the NY subway on Saturday. Do you see what I see? No. Not the girl, not the filthy walls outside the window, either. I’m talking about the comic strip on the wall. It’s an ad, but still, it’s a comic.

For years I’ve had this idea of a comic panel, or possibly strip, on this square box ad space on the subways. I always imagined my own comic, Tomversation, in that space. It would be changed out a couple of times a week, maybe weekly, I don’t know how convenient or inconvenient it would be to change the image regularly.

I also had an idea about Amazon. What if there was a daily comic strip panel on their homepage? It would give people a reason to visit the site daily.  I love Amazon and I shop there all the time, but I haven’t been on the site in weeks (yes, even with their Amazon Prime Days). I can picture it now, a daily Tomversation comic panel, right at the top of the Amazon home page. I wonder how I could pitch this to Jeff Bezos. Hmmm.

Revisiting the NY Times

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See this Starbucks coffee and NY Times? What’s interesting is that this Starbucks is in the lobby of a building on Park Row, right next to the original NY Times which was in the building starting in 1889.

Park Row, across from City Hall, is where many NY newspapers were in the 1800s – The Times, The Sun, The Tribune, The Herald. Most buildings are gone now.

The newspapers eventually moved uptown. The Times to Times Square, The Herald to Herald Square and The Sun just a block away, into the old A.T. Stewart Dry Goods Store which moved there in 1846. The Sun took the building over in 1917.

The clocks are still on the corners of the building. It’s hard to read it all but they say, “The Sun. It shines for all.”

 

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The Times building is the light color building on the left.

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The entrance to The Sun building, still there at 280 Broadway (the building, not the newspaper).

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The Sun building today.

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Newsboys. 100 years ago.

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“The Sun. It shines for all.” These clocks are still on each corner of the building today.

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Joseph Pulitzer’s World building, The Sun (the small building), The Tribune and the Times.

Enjoyed the play, ‘Ink’

inkWe went to see “Ink” over the weekend at the Samuel J. Friedman theater in NYC.

It was closing, night, but hopefully it will come back. Ink is about The Sun, the British newspaper and the play stars Bertie Carvel and Johnny Lee Miller. Bertie plays Rupert Murdoch, who purchased The Sun in 1969 and changed the whole format of news and newspapers with Johnny playing Larry Lamb, the editor.

I really enjoyed it. There is a bit of musical in it and I enjoyed the part where the whole newspaper-making process is described and shown on stage.

She’s putting down The Flintstones; how do you put down The Flintstones?

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There’s an article in AV Club by Emily Todd VanDerWerff, who rips apart my favorite all-time cartoon.

The article, “In The Flintstones, Hanna-Barbera found a shameless rip-off that worked,” she tells of how it’s a take-off of the Honeymooners.

I guess I always knew that, but I always thought it was an homage to the Honeymooners, I mean there’s a thought in life and art that nothing is original. Everything is “stolen.”

I wrote about a book once called, “Steal Like An Artist,” where the author Austin Kleon says that there are no original ideas.

I guess I’m touchy about The Flintstones because I think that’s my favorite all time cartoon. Fred Flintstone was the first character I would draw as a child. When people are asked who their influences are, I always say Hanna-Barbera first, followed by Charles Schulz.

But my early years, I mean, like being two and three and four, was The Flintstones, Huckleberry Hound, Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw.

My earliest childhood memory is me running around the apartment in Brooklyn naked (I was about two or three years old), my mother was running after me trying to get me into the bathtub and Huckleberry Hound was coming on the tv – the actual theme song for the show was playing! I can see this scene in my head and remember it!

The writer, VanDerWerff is probably a millennial who doesn’t get it, she probably grew up with the Cartoon network and all those other channels like Boomerang and Nickelodeon. They show cartoons all day. But we watched cartoons when they were on, not at any whim of time or day and we didn’t have 20 channels just for cartoons. So we appreciated the cartoons we had. It sounds like I trudged through snow to get to school, but you know what I’m saying.

The only thing I like is her name – VanDerWerff, because it sounds like Vander Pyl, the voice of Wilma Flintstone – Jean Vander Pyl.

By the way, I have a comic that I did which is a spoof of The Flintstones. I took it out of circulation, because I would like to publish it again, but people find it somewhere on the internet and ask to buy it for various things – business cards, invitations, things like that. I’m always surprised that every once in awhile I’ll get a random email from a stranger. It wasn’t for sale anywhere, people just out of the blue contact me and ask to purchase the rights. It started last summer. And I often wonder how many people have just taken it and used it without knowing how to reach me or that they should ask for permission. But it’s interesting that it’s usually the same comic all the time, a Flintstones comic.

The Flintstones is my favorite cartoon and always will be.

Straphangers in the Parks

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This cartoon is 114 years old, and it’s still very striking and funny and informative, as it was on the day it was published on page 23 the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on May 4, 1905.

Apparently life was a bit simpler back then and the main issue was park benches. First world problems.

The cartoon was drawn by Daily Eagle cartoonist Claudius Maybell. I couldn’t find much about him online, but I did find this in an article from a 1902 Strand Magazine article. It’s part of a longer article called, “The American Cartoonist and His Work.” You can scroll to the top of the article at this link and read about the cartoonists of 1902.

Below is another cartoon from Maybell in 1905. The subway doors were like guillotines back then and he came up with a clever invention to prevent accidents by closing doors.

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Italy dreaming

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I have a Sunday routine – I get up early, go to the gym, get breakfast, come home and watch CBS Sunday Morning. It’s always a great way to start a Sunday, the stories are always great.

This past Sunday (today, if you are reading this when I posted it, the whole show took place in Italy. Jane Pauley was based in Florence and there were stories from all over the country. So beautiful. You can watch the whole episode here, free.

I’ve always dreamed of spending long periods of time in Italy, you know, like maybe a whole summer or so. I’m usually in a rut – a travel rut, I go to the same places over and over again – this summer will be New York City again.

Something interesting that was mentioned in Sunday’s show, and something I had heard in the past is that if you are of Italian descent and have ancestors who came to the United States from Italy, like I do, you can become a citizen of Italy – have a dual citizenship between the US and Italy. That’s amazing to me. This also gives you some sort of citizenship as part of Europe according to the program, so that’s even more amazing.

It’s sort of full circle – my grandparents came to the US for a better life and I would consider going back to Italy for a better life.

In 2011, The Jersey Shore group, yes, that group, Snookie, et al, spent time in Florence. I started watching the show back then for the scenery. No seriously.  Here’s a NY Times article on the Jersey Shore people going to Italy.

I like so many areas – Milan, Florence, Naples, it’s hard to decide. I guess I should at least plan my trip before deciding where to live, right?

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