A wedding, a funeral and Comic Con

NY Comic Con, October 2018

I have some traveling to do in the next week and beyond. But it’s a crazy schedule.

I’m going to NY for a few days for a wedding, coming home to Miami for three days for a funeral, and then going back to NY for 10 days for Comic Con, along with pumpkin and apple picking and the usual fall stuff.

I’ll take you along for Comic Con and Pumpkin and apple picking, the other stuff, probably not.

NY Comic Con, October 2018
Pumpkin Picking, Hudson Valley, NY, October 2021

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Nasty comments

I don’t do political cartoons, mostly because it’s not expected by the readers, so I don’t want to throw them a loop. But some things I post might be a bit political, but they aren’t meant to be.

Other times, a cartoon has nothing political about it, yet there are people who turn it into that and they leave nasty comments.

I posted this cartoon with Joe Biden and Joe Cool (Snoopy), when Biden became president. A friend suggested it and I drew it up and used it. Boy – did the nasty comments come in about Joe Biden, most of them lies and made up stuff.

Yesterday, this Special Master cartoon was published. I just thought it was funny and it was on my mind I guess since it’s in the news daily.

Of course, the nasty comments started coming in – against President Biden – not Trump! Go figure.

What I did was turn off comments on social media sites where the cartoon was published, just to avoid fights, ugliness and me banning readers from the pages permanently.

I met a professional cartoonist at NY Comic Con years ago, he was signing autographs at the GoComics booth. He has comments blocked on his cartoon all the time – every day. It’s not a political cartoon, but I told him I understood why he did that. I guess he has a thin skin like I do.

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It’s all about the color

This is one of those cartoons that kept bothering me. It wasn’t hitting the mark, I kept looking at it and after it was published, I changed one color and that made all the difference.

If you look at both images above (slide from one image to the other), you can see that they are two lifeguards and it makes it funnier, because you can imagine the one guy asking his buddy, “What happened, where have you been?”

The blue bathing suit guy originally was just a nosey guy walking up the beach or pool area – someone for the lifeguard to explain his situation to. But I think it works better with the guy being another lifeguard and friend.

And all it took was changing the swimming trunks to red from blue and adding a whistle!

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Buying time to travel and do other things

Stephan Pastis at NY Comic Con a few years ago.

In my interview with Stephan Pastis the other day, he mentions that  he draws 14 Pearls Before Swine comic strips every week, which buys him 26 free weeks a year to write other books and travel. He needs 7 strips a week, six dailies and one Sunday and in one week he gets double that done – 14 (12 dailies and two Sundays).

I find that fascinating because one big complaint with daily cartoonists have is that they don’t have a life. Most say they work non-stop, full time and never have time to travel or do many family things, but Stephen seems to have it all figured out, which I love. 26 weeks of free time to do other things is fantastic, especially the travel part.

I do five cartoons a week, he does seven, so with me, that would be 10 strips a week, rather than 14. And mine are single panel, rather than actual multi-panel strips. Not that I have a problem getting them done, for some reason five strips a week, rather six or seven, seems to work perfectly for me and it’s worked out for my travel schedule. I also work fast, which to one cartoon editor was a negative, while I see it as a positive.

I have another 10 With Tom interview with another cartoonist this week and he says he spends six hours on dailies and up to 18 hours on a Sunday strip. I have to work fast, I can’t imagine spending all that time on one single strip. It’s just not part of my constitution.

I have thought about working while I traveling, but I’m not in my element, my office, I can’t get comfortable doing that, so it’s easy to see that if doubling up on weeks, it buys all that extra time.

I do get ideas when am traveling, so while that is work, it’s not actual drawing, it’s just thinking and jotting ideas down, which is great, because them I have an arsenal of them when I return home and am ready to work.

Another thing Stephan said, which I found interesting is that he gets more eyes on his comic strip when posts it on social media because of all the shares. “Those reader numbers may exceed newspapers,” he said, which shows that more people read the comics online and through social media than in print these days.

I like that fact because after all these years, I prefer online publication, rather than print for so many reasons – there is the sharing aspect of course and the main reason is that the deadlines are short, if there even are deadlines. With newspaper comics, the deadlines are sometimes four to six weeks. Online it can be minutes, literally minutes. The cartoon can be drawn and be posted right then and there.

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How do you feel about self-check out?

This recent cartoon, really hit a nerve. I didn’t think it would affect people so much. It got thousands of shares an untold number of comments on social media.

Mostly people who work at Walmart were upset, thinking I was picking on them, but I just chose Walmart because I usually hear people complain about the check-outs at Walmart. Truth be told, I don’t remember the last time I was in a Walmart, I think it could be 10 years or more and it’s only because there are no near where I live, I think the closest is 10 to 12 miles away, which isn’t much, but why not go to closer stores, rather than drive 10 miles to get something?

If you didn’t realize, the lady in the cartoon has a Walmart logo on her vest.

And people seem to hate the self-check out, but is it mandatory in Walmart? Every place I have been that has them has them as a choice; they have the usual cashiers, as well.

I prefer the self-check out, I seek it out. I use it at Publix, Whole Foods, CVS, Home Depot and I’m sure whatever place I see it. I find it convenient, fast and I don’t have to speak to anyone.

I’m glad the cartoon made the rounds, it must have been seen by over a million people so far.

One site where it was shared, got so hot and heavy in the comments section, it almost came to blows, that they removed the cartoon! And it had hundreds of shares and almost as many comments!

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On (and off) stage

Today’s cartoon reminds of a scene I used to see almost daily, some years ago.

I used to run on the boardwalk on Miami Beach, almost daily. And there was a hotel pool area that sort of looked like a cruise deck. I don’t know if it was deliberate, but the pool was set up where there were cabanas behind it, built into the wall. When I looked at it, it almost looked like a stage. Like a fake cruise ship set up on a stage.

I used to run by, sometimes walk, and stop there, and look at the layout and picture the Carol Burnett Show for some reason. I would imagine it was a set on the stage, set up as a cruise deck.

And for some reason, I guess when I drew this, it reminded me of that in a way, where you don’t see the whole ship, just this small section.

Back then, too, I used to stop back behind the Roney Hotel as I was on the boardwalk, and the way it was shaped, reminded me of a stadium. It is a sort of horseshoe shape face out to the ocean, so if you stood below, on the boardwalk, it was like looking up at stadium seating, and I was on first base or on stage or whatever. You can see it here, the boardwalk which can’t be seen would be at the bottom of the picture and looking up from below at the “U” shape, looked like stadium seating.

Vivid imagination I have. But almost daily I would look at these two scenes and imagine the one where I was looking u at the audience and the other, where I was the audience, looking at the Carol Burnett Show. Weird.

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Frank and his wife

This cartoon which was published a couple of days ago ended up being quite popular. When I thought of it and drew it, I wasn’t sure. But that quote from Jason Chatfield, “Don’t curate your art to what gets likes. Curate it to what you like,” and that always seems to pan out. If I like it, the readers like it, most of the time, anyway.

The Frankenstein Monster, who I call Frank, and his wife and recurring characters in Tomversation cartoons, I don’t know why, but ideas for them seem to pop up in my mind often. Yesterday’s cartoon about taking things home from the office was going to feature them in some way. I pictured body parts hanging on hooks in the kitchen or something like that, but I thought I’ve been using them too often, so I thought of another idea, which surprisingly went quite well, too.

I use Batman and Superman often, Batman more so, in fact, I have three or four new Batman related cartoons drawn and in the hopper for publication, one is published today.


I like using snakes, witches, cavemen and ancient Egypt and a few other concepts on a regular basis. Again, I don’t know why they are in my mind, but ideas pop up often.

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