Happy Birthday Wonder Woman

Wonder Woman is 75 this year! Lynda Carter will always be Wonder Woman to me, but she was created in 1941 by Dr. William Moulton Marston.

H. G. Peter’s original illustration of Wonder Woman wrote a note to Marston, which said, “I slapped these two out in a hurry. The eagle is tough to handle – when in perspective or in profile, he doesn’t show up clearly – the shoes look like a stenographer’s. I think the idea might be incorporated as a sort of Roman contraption.”

Marston responded: “I think the gal with hand up is very cute. I like her skirt, legs, hair. Bracelets okay + boots. …” and the rest is history.

Amanda the Great

10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes

I’m a big fan of Amanda El-Dweek’s daily comic strip, “Amanda the Great.” It started appearing on the GoComics website in November, that’s when I first noticed it.

Amanda

Amanda El-Dweek

TOM: I noticed all the strips are in black and white, in this age of full color webcomics, why black and white? (which I like, just asking).

AMANDA: Two reasons: I like the look of the black and white contrast (I also use an ink wash for gray tones). The other thing is, coloring is kind of piddly work, and I’m unsure I’d ever get done with the strips if I had to color them!

The comics I read growing up were black and white (newspaper comics), and I always thought they were so singularly beautiful that way.

TOM: Are all the stories/adventures true to life? Did they all happen to you or are some fiction and just there for the enjoyment of readers?

AMANDA: The story is my real life, and the timeline starts about a year before my husband and I were married. (I drew the comics this past year, but they are set in late 2012/early 2013 so far.)

Most of the things I draw did actually happen – sometimes I have to paraphrase things, and sometimes I have to kind of re-format how things happened in order for it to make sense in a three-or-four-panel comic strip format. Some of it is verbatim because if it was something funny, I wrote it down in a notebook, which is fortunate because sometimes I am a poor historian.

But – all of the events are real, and the characters are real. (Except the alter-egos, natch.)

TOM: Is “Amanda the Great” created digitally? Or do you draw with pen and ink?

AMANDA: I create Amanda the Great using smooth Bristol paper, a pencil, ink, brushes, and a Kuretake brush pen for the letters. I use an ink wash for the gray scale. Then I dust off the cat hair and scan them in.

TOM: Who were/are your comic/cartoon influences?

AMANDA: My first comic book was a Garfield book, and I also read a lot of Archie comics – I really tried to emulate these two when I first started drawing (I was pretty young). When I was old enough to pay attention to the newspaper, my favorites were Cathy, Calvin & Hobbes, The Far Side, and Foxtrot. My grandma always had those Peanuts, B.C., and Wizard of Id paperbacks around, which I enjoyed. I think Luann was in a girls’ teen magazine when I was young, which is the first place I had seen it.

All of these different comics kind of shaped how I wanted to do things, and how I wrote comics when I was younger. They still do, to some degree.

I enjoy character development – I always liked how the characters aged in For Better or For Worse.  They experienced things as we do – the circle of life, death of charcters (Farley!), et cetera.

I have read here and there that some cartoonists won’t read other comics because maybe they don’t want the impact on their own stuff, but I don’t know – I think we were all inspired early on by someone’s work.

TOM: Which comic strip, other than your own would you like to crawl into and visit for the day?

AMANDA: I’d love to be in a Cul de Sac or Wallace the Brave comic strip – they have such beautiful backgrounds! My comics lack this feature, usually – haha!  They are so beautifully drawn and colored. I want big curly hair like Viola’s (Cul de Sac) – mine isn’t big enough.

TOM: How far ahead do you work?

AMANDA: I should be further along, but right now I have strips drawn through March, and possibly into April? I need to hustle more!

TOM: Who is the most famous person you have ever met?

AMANDA: If you mean in real life, I met Ron Campbell at an art gallery in Bismarck, North Dakota – he was an animator for the Yellow Submarine movie. I don’t have much opportunity to see famous folks where I live, so that was cool!

TOM: What song would be the theme of your life?

AMANDA: Oh boy, Tom. I’ve thought a lot about it, and I don’t know that I can come up with one. I think my themes sometimes change.

TOM: Biggest fear?

AMANDA: I think it’s a tie between spiders, and everything else.

TOM: Superpower if you had one?

AMANDA: It’s hard to pick just one, isn’t it? I’d like something akin to the Force, but I’d just be tempted to use it Dark Side-style once in a while, so I probably shouldn’t have it.

Thank you Amanda!

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Images courtesy GoComics

Hanging Momma

I finally got some of the comics up on the wall. I had purchased a bunch of original comic art awhile ago and it’s just been sitting on my dining room table. Since these Momma by Mel comics were already framed. I hung them.

I had to touch up the frames a bit though. I tried shoe polish and that didn’t work, so I ended up using a Faber-Castell PITT artist pen. Fitting, in that it’s similar to what Mel Lazarus used to create Momma.

I have a Blondie, Winnie Winkles, Mutt & Jeff and some others. I need to get them framed.

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What’s Comic Con without the cosplay?

Elite Con, a comic convention in Tampa Florida has announced that cosplay is not permitted at their event this weekend. It doesn’t seem to be anything new with them, they said that their market is premium collectors and it’s not a Comic Con like you would see in San Diego or New York. I get it.

But years ago, I left a Comic Con in New Orleans because there wasn’t much cosplay. It wasn’t that cosplay wasn’t permitted, it’s just that people just didn’t dress up, which I found odd for a city like New Orleans.

I enjoy New York Comic Con each year, I’ve never been to the San Diego Comic Con. I love the New York Comic Con because of the cosplay and can’t imagine it without cosplay. I don’t dress up myself, but I love what I see there. It’s all part of the fun. What I love about the New York event too is that it’s October and it’s New York. October in New York and Comic Con, all rolled into one. Perfect.

I look forward to attending again this year. It’s one of my favorite parts of the year. I took these photos a few years ago at New York Comic Con.

Supporting Eaten Fish

In 2013 a 21 year old Iranian cartoonist named Ali arrived in Australia The Australian government put him in a detention camp. He’s been in a detention camp ever since.

Ali cartoons under the name Eaten Fish. Cartoonists, starting in Australia, and now all over the world have been drawing fish cartoons and posting them on social media in the hopes of drawing attention to the detention.

Australia detains people who seek asylum if they arrive by boat. Talk about wet foot, dry foot. Ali is detained on Manus Island. Ali’s health is failing and people all over the world are asking for his freedom.

I have collected some of the EatenFish comics that have been making the rounds.

Cartoonists Rights Network International (CRNI) writes: “It is with profound alarm and sadness that [we] learn that our friend and colleague, cartoonist Mr. Eaten Fish, currently held in an Australian refugee rendition camp in Papua New Guinea has decided to undertake a hunger strike. He is a man who has given up hope, cannot struggle any longer, cannot face the future that is being forced on him, and he would rather die than submit to the indignities of further inhuman treatment.”

The Australian government has been petitioned many times both from within Australia and internationally asking that Eaten Fish be brought to Australia for medical treatment.

Cartoonists feel that they can bring awareness to the issue with a media campaign by posting images of fish with the hashtags “AddAFish #EatenFish

More in this issue here.

On the whole, I’d like to be cartooning in Hoboken!

hoboken

Lower Manhattan seen from the Hoboken, NJ waterfront.

I completed a bunch of 10 With Tom interviews with new cartoonists who I admire. They were all gracious and humble. Very nice people. The interviews will be published in the Huffington Post soon and then I’ll link to them here in the Tomversation blog.

I also am ready to start publishing my comic panel, Tomversation, daily. I’m just waiting for the platform to be completed where I’ll publish on that platform along with Facebook.

I’m excited to start doing this daily – drawing comics and writing about them and other art-related things. It’s a nice way to spend the day.

I want to travel more in 2017, I renewed my passport last week. I’m home in Miami now, I do miss New York but not in this snow and cold, I prefer Spring, Summer and Fall up north. I think a lot about Hoboken. I’m imagining being high in a condo, overlooking the Hudson River and New York City, venturing out to a small coffee shop or cafe for lunch, cartooning in between. There is something that draws me to Hoboken. I don’t know what it is.