Bad comic strips

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Ever read a comic strip daily, just because it’s bad?

I’m not going to mention any names and for all I know, my own work is in this horrible category, but I’ve noticed that I’ve always been drawn to terrible work. Of course, I love all the classics and read the best of the best, but for some reason, I am drawn to the bad ones. I’m not sure if it’s the content, the writing or the drawing, but I read these bad strips often. Many I see on Facebook, they pop up in my feed. I don’t seek them out.

When I was a kid, we used to get a few newspapers (I miss those old daily newspaper days), and some newspapers ran the lower-end comics, I guess they weren’t as popular and they were cheaper to purchase for the newspapers than say “Doonesbury” or “Peanuts.” So there was room for everyone back then with the multitude of newspapers and features.

We used to get the Miami Herald daily and the South Dade News Leader and I would sometimes buy the Miami News. We also had access to the Hollywood Sun-Tattler (love that name) and the Ft. Lauderdale News and Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. So we had daily access to six daily newspapers and if I would travel through the south end of our state, I would read the Naples Daily News and Key West Citizen. Lots of newspapers.

The South Dade News Leader had the lower end comics, most from the NEA Syndicate and I would read these and enjoyed them. I also remember free weekly newspapers that had the worst comics, but I looked forward to them.

Today online, I see comics that make me shudder. I don’t ever want to put down a fellow cartoonist, so I don’t ever put them down outside my head, but yet I read them, so there is something there. And I guess posting on Facebook works because I always click on them and read them.

Maybe it’s like a bad tv commercial. It may be terrible, but you remember the product.

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Charles Schulz’s house burned down

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Charles Schulz, courtesy Charles M. Schulz Museum.

As the fires burn Santa Rose, CA, I couldn’t help but think of Charles Schulz, I think he made Santa Rosa famous for me. Sadly, his house burned down yesterday in those massive wildfires taking over that region of California.

His wife, Jean, got out safely, but the house is gone.

According to Monte Schulz, Charles’s son “All of the memorabilia and everything is gone.”

But the Charles M. Schulz Museum and Research Center, which is also located in Santa Rosa, says that the work that is there is safe and not damaged. Most of the original art is there. That’s the good news, if there is any good news out of this.

Where did all the classic comic characters go?

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Spider-man at the 2017 New York Comic Con

So this column was supposed to be a sort of feature/photo thing with Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Spider-man.

I had planned to take three or four photos of people that were dressed up as these characters at New York Comic Con and show them side by side, just to see the different variations of the same characters. I thought these four main characters would be well represented as in previous years, but that wasn’t the case this year. I was sure there would be many tributes to Adam West’s Batman, but nope. There weren’t many this year, they were few and far between, I did get this Batman and Superman the first day, but didn’t see many of them the next few days.

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Superman and Batman at the 2017 NY Comic Con.

Comic Con was very well attended this year, the visitors are expected to surpass 200,000, they are right on the heals of San Diego Comic Con which draws a larger crowd at this point.

New York Comic Con started in 2006 with 33,000 visitors, last year, 21016 it was over 180,000.

The enjoyable fall, October weather in New York City was not to be this year. It’s been in the low 80s and humid; more like July than October. And the crisp October air is a big part of New York Comic Con for me, it’s like one big experience; the begging of the fall season. Maybe next year.

NY Comic Con is back!

New York Comic Con is back for the weekend – it started Thursday and runs through Sunday. As usual, it takes up a weekend in October at the Jacob Javits Center. It is sold out, there are people scalping tickets near the convention center.

Guests this year include Alfonso Herrera from The Exorcist, Amber Nash from Archer; Alex Roe from Siren; Andrew Lincoln from The Walking Dead; John Krasinski from The Office; and Doctor Who himself, Peter Capaldi.

That is just a tiny fraction of the guests this year who will be signing autographs and taking part in meet and greets and panel discussions.

Comic Guests which number in the dozens, include Alex Maleev of Daredevil; Chad Hardin of Harley Quinn; Chris Claremont from X-Men and David Finch from Batman. Many can be found in Artist Alley.

For the whole list of guests and times and everything NY Comic Con, go to: https://www.newyorkcomiccon.com/

The day I confronted the syndicate

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Batman at last year’s NY Comic Con.

One year I had a plan. I was attending New York Comic Con and I knew that one of the large syndicates would have a presence there. I had it figured that I would go and meet the people and ask why they keep turning my work down. I guess the answer would be, “You are not good enough!” or ” Your work is not funny!” But I had to find out.

I had it all planned to go to the Jacob Javits Center and I got up the courage to approach their booth. It was quite busy and I didn’t want to make a scene so I decided to walk around the convention for a bit and then go back when it was quieter. There were a couple of famous cartoonists singing autographs and meeting fans, so the booth was quite busy.

I walked around for maybe an hour and when I got back to the booth, there was only one girl there. I thought she was a hired model to hand out brochures, but she ended up being a higher-up at the syndicate and she was the actual person that kept declining my work! So we ended up chatting and never did come to a conclusion as to what I was doing wrong. During that time I think the New Yorker in me came out to her midwestern sensibilities, and the clash may have affected her, where it did not affect me. To be honest, I don’t know how the thing ended up, but that was about four or five years ago and to this day, she still rejects my work. And the clash, wasn’t really a clash, it was just my rough around the edges, New York-style, against her quiet midwest ways.

That day, after speaking with her, I headed back to my hotel on the other side of town. As I reached the hotel, my phone rang. It was a call from the town where the syndicate is located. I got nervous. Was she calling me to tell me something good? I answered with bated breath. It was a customer calling about an order, regarding my business.

To that day, I have avoided their booth. All these years later, I don’t want to be seen as stalking them. Is that crazy? First off, they probably don’t recognize me or even know I’m alive, secondly, is visiting their booth, which is set up for visitors, stalking?

But I may stop by this year. I have, what I think, is a clever new comic strip and I would like to mention it to her/them before I send it in for consideration.  My problem is that I’m not a good schmoozer. I should be making friends and keeping in contact with them all these years and then pushing my work, but I don’t do that. I don’t know why; just a characters trait in me, I guess.

I almost had my foot in the door, but screwed that up, too. I’ll tell you about that some time.

NY Comic Con is coming up

cc12I’m headed to New York this weekend in anticipation of New York Comic Con which starts Thursday, October 5. I think it’s the best time of year – October in New York and Comic Con combined. It’s perfect.

Being in Union Square in October is special, too. It’s usually the first thing I do when I arrive in New York. In October, the pumpkins are out and the Union Square green market has all sorts of fall things, completely different than the summer’s Union Square green market.

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Union Square Green Market, NYC. Last October.

With Comic Con, I have different memories from different years that blur into each other, but I cover the event for the Huffington Post and I post things on my blog, so that is a diary for me, which differentiates each year.

One year I saw a guy on The View tv show, he was promoting his graphic novel, for some reason, that spoke to me, I contacted the guy through Twitter and we agreed to meet at Comic Con, I don’t know what I would gain out of it, but I’m not one to really reach out to people, so this was a big step. We did meet, ate at his hotel’s bar and chatted, but nothing much came out of it. I sent him my 10 With Tom questions later and he took six months to respond, which I found sort of rude and I just dumped the questions and I don’t think I ever contacted him again.

Another time I had it all planned to meet people from one of the big newspaper syndicates. That did not go well. I’ll talk about that in my next blog post.