Martin Landau, cartoonist?

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Martin Landau at the NY Daily News. Courtesy of Daily News

As you may have heard, actor Martin Landau passed away this past weekend, he was 89. I always remember Martin from the Mission Impossible tv series. I remember watching it Sunday nights. I never really understood it, but I watched it, I guess to prolong the weekend.

I was surprised to learn that Martin was a cartoonist for the New York Daily News in the 1940s, before he became an actor. Mike Lynch has a lot about this in his blog today.

Martin: “I did that [cartooning] professionally, actually. I mean, I started on The New York Daily News as a kid when I was 17 years old, as a cartoonist and illustrator, and I was being groomed to be the theatrical caricaturist. And I know if I got that job, I’d never quit. So I quit.

Is this the first animated cartoon?

This is the first animated cartoon, released in July 1913, heck, it’s one of the first movies period. No, it’s not “Steamboat Willy.” That was 1928. And Gertie the Dinosaur was done in 1914.

It’s called ” The Artist’s Dream; The Dachshund and the Sausage.” It shows a live cartoonist, J.R. Bray, drawing the cartoon and then shows the animation.

Fantastic original Spider-man art

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Original Spider-man art by John Romita

I went to the Spider-man exhibit at the Society of Illustrators with my cousin Michael. It consisted of the first ever exhibit of original art by John Romita and some pieces by Steve Ditko, co-creator of Spider-man with Stan Lee. Two floors are dedicated to the collection of art collector Mike Burkey.

Other aritsts presented include Gil Kane, Todd McFarlane, Ross Andru, Ron Frenz, Keith Pollard, John Buscema, Keith Pollard and John Romita Jr.

There are also rare comic strip pages along with the comic book art. Some fun work was where Spider-man mashed with Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts” crew. Two comic icons meeting, done by Romita.

The exhibit is at the Upper East Side gallery until August 26, 2017. The Society is in an unassuming townhouse.

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I was excited to see this. I had no idea the exhibit was just a few blocks from my hotel but a friend happened to post this on Facebook saying he wished he was in New York. I was! What a lucky break.

These original comic book pages are true works of art; pop art at it’s best. And valuable. Ditko’s Page 4 from the Amazing Spider-man #33 which is on display has an appraised value of $500,000.00!

The best part was having Michael with me, who is an expert in comic art. He does his own and he knows so much about the subject. As we walked from comic page to comic page, he had a story on each image – the technique, the differences in the pencilers working with different inkers and the stories themselves. It was a treat.

The Society of Illustrators is at 128 E. 63rd Street in Manhattan.

Two funny ladies

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Hilary Price, left, and Rina Piccolo

I did a 10 With Tom recently with cartoonist Rina Piccolo who does/did the Tina’s Groove comic strip. Well, recently it was announced that Rina has ended Tina’s Groove and has teamed up with Hilary Price to do the Rhymes With Orange comic strip together.

Rina emailed me to apologize for not being able to spill the beans when I interviewed her but it was not time to reveal the news. I understand completely and to be honest, I always got Rina and Hilary mixed up. Not sure why, I don’t want to say because they are both female cartoonists, but perhaps because Rina did fill in at times for Rhymes with Orange and helped start the Six Chix comic strip which I always associate with Hilary. Also, Rina and Hilary seem to have the same sense of humor, which of course makes total sense for their team up with Rhymes With Orange.

You can read a lot about it in the Comic Riffs column here.

Rina says she enjoys doing single panel cartoons rather than daily comic strips with the same characters each day and I guess that is how I feel and why I keep going back and forth between my Tomversation panel and my Paws comic strip. The single panel gag cartoon always draws me back. No pun intended.

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Rhymes With Orange. courtesy King Features Syndicate

I’m missing my daily comics news

I miss The Daily Cartoonist blog. It’s been over a year, I wonder if it’s ever coming back. I liked getting all the comics news in one place. I learned a lot from Alan Gardner, who blogged each day, and I enjoyed the comments that people would engage in on each posting. On May 2, I thought it would come back, you know, exactly on the day Alan took a break.

I thought of almost doing it myself, you know, posting comics news daily, but I don’t have it in me. It’s hard enough keeping up with local news at the Coconut Grove Grapevine, where I think I finally want to lighten  my load.

My perfect life would be to wake up and cartoon every day. And travel. I am working toward that.

Tomversation or Paws?

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A bunch of my Tomversation panels. Different people. Different situations.

So the Gemini in me is rearing it’s ugly head. I am now off the “Paws” kick and now on the Tomversation kick. I have been working on my Tomversation comic panel.

So now it’s this way – On Labor Day, September 4. Either Tomversation or Paws will start daily publication. Maybe both!

I love them both. Paws is great because of the characters and I love Tomversation because it’s all over the place. Each day is a different cast and different subject matter and I enjoy coloring them, where Paws is basically black and white. Paws consists of the same characters, too, day after day, so the reader has a chance to get to know them and identify with them.

So as I work on both this summer, I guess the big reveal will be in September. I hope you’re following along!