He came in like a wrecking ball

Today is “No Pants Day.” This is my contribution.

You’ll probably see a bunch of comic strips today where the characters are pantsless.

No Pants Day is held the first Friday in May. May 5 was Cartoonists Day and May 4, was of course Starwars Day – May the Fourth Be With You.

May is a busy month for the comics world – heck, my own birthday is this month and so many friends have birthdays this month.

Years ago, we used to have a “Gemini Party” where so many of us would get together and celebrate. One time we lined up for a photo – about 12 of us or so – in the order our birthdays fell on the calendar.

Anyway, “No Pants Day” was started by some college students in Texas in 2000. You might have seen the no pants subway rides – that is connected this some way.

May the 4th be with you!

We’re one today! Well, this incarnation of Tomversation is one.

On May 4th, 2020, I started publishing this incarnation of Tomversation, right at the beginning of the pandemic. This is the first cartoon. I started on May 4th, so that I would remember “May the 4th Be With You!” Although I don’t think I would have forgotten an important anniversary date.

A lot of the beginning cartoons were pandemic related, I guess it was easy to come up with those idea since that was an all consuming topic at the time. And it’s great to know we’re almost out of it!

Thanks for sticking around.

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What’s in a word?

Today’s Tomversation cartoon was influenced by the word, “orbisculate.” I got the idea from CBS Sunday Morning.

Growing up, Jonathan and Hilary Krieger’s vocabulary was enriched with a word their dad, Neil, used whenever a citrus fruit squirted you in the eye – a word they couldn’t find in a dictionary. Turns out he’d made it up! But with his passing last year from COVID, the Kriegers have set out to honor Neil by getting his word officially recognized by the publishers of dictionaries.

Their idea is to get the word used enough so as to make it become part of the English language. There is a list of uses they hope for and one was a comic strip. So I decided to accommodate them.

Here is the short story about it on CBS Sunday Morning.

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Naked and Afraid

I based the title of today’s cartoon on one of my favorite shows, “Naked and Afraid.” I actually like “Naked and Afraid XL,” better, but didn’t at first.

“Naked and Afraid” is about a man and a woman who are stranded in some god forsaken place with nothing and they have to survive for 21 days. There have been variations where there are three people, or shorter periods where fans take part, etc. Each week, it’s a different couple or set of people.

Then came “Naked and Afraid XL,” which I didn’t like at first, but then grew to love. XL is a continuation- it’s the same people in each episode for the season. It’s usually 12 people in groups of three and they eventually find each other and craziness ensues. Usually it’s people who are fan favorites or those who have been on the show before. Some times as many as five other times. They are sort of regulars.

I guess this all started with “Survivor,” which I still love, but “Naked and Afraid” is more raw, although I still can’t not picture the guy behind the camera eating a burger while the naked folks suffer from not having food or a drop of water for a week. Survivor has been on hiatus due to the pandemic, but Naked and Afraid seems to have found many strange and dangerous places in the United States, where this year’s episodes have been taking place. They are usually out somewhere strange in the world, but it’s been domestic this year and the regions have been just as dangerous.

I interviewed Ryan Holt one time – one of the regulars, because I thought he was the super hero of one XL season and then the day the interview ran he disappeared on the show, supposedly eaten by a lion in Africa. At least that’s how the cliffhanger was left. But of course he ended up being ok, since he’s been on future episodes.

But you always learn something different – like that Ryan didn’t get eaten, and you learn how to skin a snake and eat it and how to avoid wild animals, but it’s all about the interaction between people. One favorite Jeff, turned out to be a schmuck in one episode – he turned out to be a selfish jerk who would catch food and eat it in front of starving people without sharing – “Let them get their own.” I never liked him since then.

I recently learned that the canvas bags they carry around are not to hide their named bits, it turns out the microphones are in there! Besides, they are naked but you really don’t see anything, it’s mostly blurred out.

It really is about human interaction and survival.

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Am I trending? They seem to think so

So I’m getting some European love! Nora Gouma, a fashion/people magazine did a little feature on me.

They had seen my Ten With Tom feature in the Huffington Post and turned that back on me and did 10 questions with me.

I hadn’t done the 10 With Tom feature for awhile, but the feature is still popular. I guess when people Google certain celebs, my column comes up, so it’s always got some traction. I may bring it back, I’m in talks with the Huff Post. I have a bunch of the 10 With Tom columns here in tact in this blog.

Anyway, I see from a few of my recent press articles, that I need some new pics. Because of the pandemic, they aren’t sending people out to take pictures and I have to send the pictures in myself. I guess this European publication would not have sent anyone, but the Miami Herald and others would have when they did stories.

Drawing Batman

Somebody posted an old 1966 review from Cleveland Amory in the TV Guide on Facebook, which reviews the new upcoming tv show “Batman.”

He talks about it being on two nights in a row and that if watch part 1 and miss part 2, oh well.

No VCR’s or DVR’s back in then.

I remember when I was a kid some time in the 1970s, there was a show I was watching, I can’t remember what it was, but when it was over, I said to my mother, “I wish I could just snap my fingers and be in California so I could see the show again when it comes on there during their time zone.”

I remember in 1979 or thereabouts one of my uncles got a VCR, that was the first one I saw I think, although I do remember in school they used to wheel in something similar on movie or documentary days, so maybe his was the first one I saw in a house.

One quote from the Cleveland Amory review says, “The whole show, on first impression, may not be as great.”

This of course, is my favorite Batman, and while I have drawn other versions, I stick with Adam West’s 1960s version when I draw him. I ran a Batman comic this week and have another one coming up next week. Too much?

Sometimes I wonder if I am stepping on their trademark.

There was this guy who used to do Charlie Brown-type comics daily. That was his comic – a retread of Charlie Brown. I don’t think he got away with it because I have not seen his work in a couple of years.

Selling crypto art

I was talking about online comics and wondering how to make money at it and I think the future is NFTs – which are non-fungible tokens. This is a method to pay for original digital art sold through crypto currencty.

You may have read recently that Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, sold his first tweet for $2.9 million (in NFTs). The actual first tweet ever was sold. I don’t know how you sell a tweet, but it was done.

It seems that things can be sold now where in the past that was inconceivable.

The downside of digital art, as opposed to pen and ink or canvas and paint has always been that there was no original art. It’s all on the computer, there is nothing tangible. But now that non-tangible art can be sold through the NFT exchange.

Digital artist, Mike Winkelmann, recently sold a piece of digital art for $69 million.

CNBC sort of explains the whole concept of NFT’s here.

There is one concern about this selling of digital art – the rights. Who owns what? For instance if a syndicate owns or controls your cartoons, do they own the rights, or do you? A good reason for self-publishing and not being controlled by another entity.

I’m sure as time goes by, things will be more understood and perhaps I and other cartoonists can start selling the original digital pieces of our comics this way, and finally make a living at what we do! You know, maybe someone will like a specific cartoon and want to own the original digital piece. Hope so.

Online comics – it’s where it’s at

I’ve been touting the advantage of online comics vs printed newspaper strips and it looks like the owners of the Tarzan franchise, Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., feel the same.

In a statement by President Jim Sullos, he says that after a 92-year-run as a printed strip in newspapers, the strip will now move to online only strips. His whole statement is here, in The Daily Cartoonist.

Their site edgarriceburroughs.com/comics has four free sample strips and in the future, you’ll have to subscribe for the new material. It’s only $21.99 per year for full access to all the strips.

I love this idea, it’s sort of like having a Patreon site but not.

I had written in the past of how I feel that comics are an online thing these days. At once I would have killed to be published daily in newspapers, but I can’t see myself doing that now. That’s so last century.

The trick now is learning how to make a living at it.

Frank

I tend to use certain characters over and over again. One of them is Frankenstein, or should I say Frankenstein’s monster. I used him and his wife the other day in this health care cartoon.

Whenever I use him in a gag, I call him “Frank,” and there is always someone who has to correct me and tell me he is Frankenstein’s monster – Frankenstein is the doctor. I know that.

But what would I call him? If he is Frankenstein’s monster, do I call him “Monster?” I think it’s nicer to call him “Frank,” which is short for Frankenstein’s monster.

But I have to always crack up that people always seem to have the need to correct the name. But of course, having people engage with the comic and discuss it is always a good thing.

One lady called him “Lurch,” getting her “monsters” mixed up.