Missing ‘Breaking Bad’

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Walter White & Jesse from Breaking Bad

I’ve been watching a lot of tv while in self quarantine among other things – cleaning out the closets, working out (love the new bands I got), cartooning of course, and even cooking, which I don’t normally do, but I have been watching more tv than usual.

I love Breaking Bad and never get tired of it, I’ve mentioned that before in another post. I have those DVR’d but oddly enough, I can only make myself watch it on Sundays – night or day, doesn’t matter, but it must be Sunday. I watched a couple of episodes yesterday. But alas, the freaking DVR didn’t tape all the episodes, right in the middle I see that 20 episodes are missing!

baking-bad-comicWhen I first started watching all the episodes for the first time, I did that On Demand. And even on demand some episodes were missing – one important one and one of my favorite episodes, was missing. I didn’t know it was one of my favorites at the time because I had never seen it before, but as I watched the episodes in order, I noticed something was missing, it seemed to jump from one episode to another, skipping a big part of the story line.

So I went online and lo and behold, there was one of the most important and best episodes on the AMC website, so I watched it there. The episode is “Face Off” (spoiler alert if you click that link) and my other favorite episode is “Dead Freight,” the train one. These are my two favorite episodes and I think “Face Off” is a very important episode which moves the story along.

I’m not sure what I love about the show – the acting? the characters? the location? I guess the whole story is amazing and riveting. I love Albuquerque and the locations and scenery and I love the family scenes in and at the houses.

I see Breaking Bad is on Netflix, so I guess I’ll just catch up an continue watching there.

I like what Jason says

“Don’t curate your art to what gets likes. Curate it to what you like.”

jason-chatfieldThat’s a quote from cartoonist Jason Chatfield from a recent interview in Medium. Jason is the Ginger Meggs comic strip cartoonist and also a New Yorker caroonist. Ginger Meggs is a 100 year old comic strip from Australia, that Jason took over in 2007.

I like what he says about the art and cartooning being what the creator likes rather than the audience. I do seem to concern myself with the audience. But I do get a bit giddy when a cartoon is completed, so I guess I do like what is being put out there.

About The New Yorker magazine, he says – “be prepared for rejection,” which is what I am up against whenever I send them submissions. But they get so many submissions and they probably just whiz by them.

Another thing that Jason says is that he ignores social media. While he posts on social media, he ignores the comments. It would be nice to do that too in many cases, but I think the whole point of social media is to be social, so reading the comments and interacting with readers is just part of the process. If I don’t like a comment I just ignore it.

I met a syndicated cartoonist a few years back who has the comments blocked on his GoComics site. So he publishes daily, but gets no feedback, which works for him but again, everything has comments these days – Facebook, blogs, news articles – comments are sort of what’s expected.

So anyway, enough about Jason, Jason, Jason. I just thought some of the things he said were quite interesting.

Benilda is quite popular

benlidaThis particular cartoon which was posted Friday, got the most shares on Facebook of any of my recent work. I did have one of my comics shared on Facebook by George Takei once that got almost 100,000 shares. Can you imagine, 100,000 shares! The power of popularity and numbers.

This Benilda comic got about 2400 shares to date. Amazing. 2400 times an average of 400 friends for each person is 960,000 – almost 1 million potential readers! And that’s just Facebook, there are thousands of other readers on my TomFalco.com website and on Instagram, along with people sharing that I don’t know about.

It’s interesting what is popular and what isn’t. I’m not sure why this one struck popularity nerve with people but maybe it’s about driving or not knowing how to drive a stick shift, that is a popular subject I suppose.

A couple of people liked the name Benilda. So do I. I got it from a real person. A real person who I don’t actually know. It’s a customer. She purchases items from me online and has for years, but we’ve only dealt electronically, I’ve never seen or spoken to her, not even on the phone, but I love the name Benilda. I had another comic strip I was working on where the wife was named Benilda, but I never did publish that strip. While I did about 30 of them, I didn’t enjoy drawing the same characters and situations day after day, I much prefer the single panel where I can have different characters and scenes each day.

I have been posting short videos of me working on Instagram stories, I noticed that many of the popular and well read cartoonists do that, and they do even more – they constantly have videos of anything having to do with their life. One popular guy has videos today of him flying a kite with his son. It used to be “go fly a kite,” was a negative thing, but he made it fun positive thing to watch. I guess there are so many comics that it’s about the personality behind the comics, so I’ll post more of that and me, I suppose mostly on Instagram. I layout out my life here on the blog, too, of course.

Shark Week starts today. I’ll be posting a few shark related comics this week.

He’s deliberate

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Today’s comic is a rerun. I ran it when Joe Biden was deciding whether to run for president or not. He took so long that this worked.

Now all over the news they are saying he is late picking is VP choice. It was supposed to be announced on August 1 and it may take another week. I’m not sure what the rush is, but this cartoon seems to work for this.

I don’t do many political cartoons, but this seemed like a fun one.

Paul McCartney on the tube

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I like today’s cartoon because on Instagram you scroll through it. I like the scroll ones.

I did this a few years back. I’m thinking if Paul was in London, he would probably say he was on the “telly” rather than the tube, when on tv, but for the sake of this gag, he says “tube.”

I looked up Paul McCartney on the subway and came up with many images of him on the tube/subway, so the cartoon is not too far off!

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It brings back weird memories

aspI have a friend who can’t read or write. He doesn’t know that I know, but I found out one day after showing him this, today’s comic. Lots of my comics are old comics that were never published before. This asp/snake one is one of those.

About 10 years ago or so I showed him this comic and he didn’t laugh. I said, “Don’t you get it?” And he said, “No,” with a straight face. I asked, “How can you not get it?” I was a bit upset, feeling that my comic was worthless. And we had a minor argument. It didn’t last but when I found out he couldn’t read months later, I felt awful.

Every time I see this comic I think of that. I haven’t seen him for awhile, but other than the literacy or lack of it, he is one of the most intelligent people I know. He can fix almost anything, he knows something about everything, but he has that one flaw which is a shame.

He owned a small business in town. For so long I tried to get him to take credit cards so he would get more sales. He lost so many when he told people he didn’t take credit cards. I told him about Square and how easy it is to use for vendors. But now I know it is because his lack of reading was probably a hindrance in him understanding how to operate the credit card processing system once it was set up. I guess there is some reading involved when people hand your their card. I’m assuming his wife handled the other business things – like the books and paying bills. She didn’t work with him, but I guess whenever she could she handled that stuff.

Anyway, I love this cartoon, but it always has that weird memory for me when I see it, even though it’s been redrawn and redone, it still has that affect on me.

When did culture start?

Culture sign isolated on whiteEvery day it seems that another event is canceled – art shows, parades, Broadway and recently I read that Art Basel may be canceled. I’m still waiting to find out the fate of New York Comic Con, which is in early October.

The good news great news is that NYC has no new covid cases since March. None. I’m so proud of New York. Here in Florida, we are the opposite. If there is a Comic Con, how will they let people in? New York is safe now, do they want us grubby infected jerks in their state or city now?

But right now, things are boring. There is nothing to go to, nothing to attend anymore. It got me thinking, when did things start? When did culture start? I mean I’m sure the world was boring many years ago. There is the Coliseum in Rome, so we know that in 80 AD there were events going on. And I guess in ancient times before that there were things happening like chariot races, but when did opera start or plays on stage? When did someone say, “Let’s put up a stage here and perform?” When did someone say, “Let’s put up some clothes lines and hang art?”

When did art move from cave walls to something more portable? When did someone set up the first museum or have the first concert?

It’s something to think about. Before then there were dark ages, and I don’t mean the time before the Renaissance, I mean like caveman times.

Road trip?

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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.

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

How did we arrange to meet before cell phones?

bethesda-fountain

Bethesda Fountain, Central Park, NYC (photo by me)

I’m gonna miss New York this summer. But I think I needed a kick in the pants to get out of my rut, or maybe not a rut, let’s call it a habit. I do things twice and that’s it – it’s my habit. I go to the same restaurants all the time. I watch the same tv shows. I told you about my cousin who does a concert on Facebook every few Saturday nights, now that’s a thing for me and I have to text him and ask him if this is the week for the show. The world isn’t right (in my head) until the show goes on.

My habit was going to NYC for a large part of the summer for most of my adult life, or maybe even starting in high school. I would go most summers, but many years I didn’t, but it was a habit. I put off doing other things and going other places for this. But now I am open to do anything. I feel very free this summer by “being released” of my NY summer obligation, which is an obligation only in my own head.

I was thinking of all the times I would arrange to meet Miami friends who were visiting the city at the same time.

What I was finding interesting that years ago, before cell phones and email and all the communication we have now, I would meet friends and I am wondering how we did it and how they even knew I was going to be there. I mean, we didn’t announce things on Facebook back then, so I must have told people separately – “I’m going to NY next week or next month or whatever.” And the amazing thing is that we met up if they were going to be there at the same time.

I remember meeting my friend Albert a few times in the summer when he was up there visiting and my friend Vincent during Thanksgiving week and so on. But how did we know to meet? Did I tell them on November 1st “Let’s meet in front of the Empire State Building on November 23 at noon,” or “Let’s meet at the Bethesda Foundation at 1 pm on July 5,” and that’s how it happened?

They were always there at the place and time. But how did we communicate? We were all out of town, did we call each other at our cousin’s houses or hotels we were at?

I would always show up at such and such time on such and such date and there was the person I was supposed to meet. Talk about reliability. Now with all the communication abilities we have it is worse. “Text me when you are near,” “text me when you are there,” “text me tomorrow.” And still they don’t show up.