The changing, and shrinking, comics

I saw in The Daily Cartoonist today, that cartoonist Jim Keefe, cartoonist for Sally Forth, who previous was the writer and artist of Flash Gordon, wrote in his blog a few years ago, about the size, or rather, lack of size of the printed comic strips today.

A few years back I showed this example here, the comics in the Miami Herald – smaller than postage stamps!

I think this is the time I realized that my dream of being a published newspaper cartoonist was not my dream anymore.

I know people read the newspaper comics, but not many. I haven’t read the actual newspaper comics for years, and by years, I mean a decade or more. I think I gave up with The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County left the comics pages. Today I read them online, where you can pick and choose your favorites and sort of make up your own comics page at GoComics.com and Comics Kingdom and other sites like Webtoons.

I think one of the best places these days to publish and to read comics is Instagram. You can follow the comics you like, flip through them one panel at a time and they easily come up in your daily feed, you don’t have to look for them. I publish there Monday thru Friday.

I’m enjoying reading old “Our Boarding House” comic panels featuring Major Hoople, from the 1920s and ’30s, on Facebook. A couple of groups post one Major Hoople panel a day, it has a lot of devoted fans.

In the past I always felt that I had to be published in the newspapers – it was why comic strips were created – to be in the newspapers. Just like movies – created to be seen on the big silver screen. But today big features show up on streaming services and most comics show up online or on social media.

And with both of these situations, you can control what you see, when you see it and how you see it. You can watch a movie on your 3 inch phone or 65 inch tv – same with the comics and those tiny, postage sized comics can be easily blown on on any screen for easing viewing.

By not being confined to daily newspaper publication, you can vary your schedule, you can change the size of the panels – make them longer, shorter, etc. Not be edited, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it, and probably the best part – publish instantly without a four to eight week lag time. I can’t imagine these days completing a comic strip or panel and then waiting eight weeks to see it in print.

Of course, publishing online rather than with a syndicate in newspapers has one major drawback – no money – you don’t get a salary. But times are changing. NFT’s seem to be something interesting to look at these days along with other money-making ideas for artists and cartoonists.

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‘Petwords’

I had to reset my internet user name and password. For some reason, it just disappeared from the list, I couldn’t sign on or get internet – so a lady on the phone at the ISP reset it all for me.

She asked me for a new user name and password. I gave her a silly word for the password and felt embarrassed, so I told her it was my cat’s name. I don’t have a cat. Or a dog for that matter.

And that made me think of this cartoon. So many people use their pets’ names for their passwords.

A lot of people liked the cartoon and shared it, so I guess it hit a nerve.

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Pillaging through the past

My fascination of ancient Egypt, Rome, Greece and all sorts of archaeology goes way back. I studied it in college as part of Art History. My textbooks, which I still have, are in my living room and I glance at them every once in awhile. Guided tours of ancient Egyptian sites are part of my bucket list.

I do a lot of cartoons based on ancient times, I enjoy doing those.

And now that I think of it, if asked, what I would do if I wasn’t doing what I do now, I might say, “I’d like to be an archaeologist , digging around in Egyptian deserts. But not now, I think.

A MEME THAT POPPED UP THE OTHER DAY.

I was shocked into reality the other day while watching a tv show on Egyptian and Greece archeology. They were digging up ancient Greek tombs and relating them to Egypt at that time and one of the archeologists said something like, “We’re lucky to find this one in tact. The tomb raiders did not find this tomb, but we did through sonar (or radar, he said something like that.” And I was stunned. Why is a modern archeologist, digging up ancient tombs any better than ancient, or even current tomb raiders.

The main difference is that tomb raiders are taking gold and silver and precious items. Archaeologists are taking bodies; actual bodies. Why is this any better?

One lady archeologist, I can’t remember her name, has a life quest to find Cleopatra’s tomb. And do what with it when she finds it? Display her remains to the world? Another has a quest to find Alexander the Great’s and Cleopatra’s ancient Alexandria under present day Alexandria, I guess that’s ok, as they are looking for cities, not entombed bodies.

I can understand digging up and finding ancient cities, but I’m having second thoughts about digging up entombed, embalmed bodies.

So I have to think on it now. Is desecrating an ancient body permissible in the name of science? Is it ok to dig it up, pillage, analyze it and show it off in museums? I’m wondering. I’m sure I will still do ancient Egypt related cartoons, because in my cartoons the people are alive and in their time in their settings.

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The price of gas; and coffee

This cartoon from Friday really hit a nerve with people. It got so many shares, likes and comments, more than any other I think.

A lot of people were saying they didn’t like it because it made no sense – how can you compare one cup of coffee to gallons of gasoline? But the point of the cartoon is that if a guy buys a $5.00 cup of coffee, most likely he is doing it daily and most likely, he is doing it more than once a day, so for him to complain about the price of gas is disingenuous. Plus, anyone who buys $5.00 coffee really has no right to complain about the price of gas. It’s just a big metaphor. That’s all. Sort of like Elon Musk complaining about the price of a space rocket.

And yes, I know gas is more than $3.00. I was surprised to see some of the comments from Norway and other far away places where gas is $7.00 a gallon! But it was cleaner to read making it $3.00 a gallon rather than $3.79 a gallon or $3.99 a gallon or even $4.00 a gallon, since $4.00 was too close to the $5.00 amount of the coffee.

I was driving around my county the last few weeks and saw that gas in less populated areas is much less than popular and more upscale neighborhoods. Some differences as much as 50 cents a gallon and these places are harder to get to than popular neighborhoods and areas. So none of it makes sense other than supply and demand I guess.

And might I add that Shell gas stations are always more than any other station on any give day at any time of the year. I gave up buying Shell gas years ago. For spite I think they are higher in price. If one station is $1.99 a gallon, Shell, across the street is $2.29 a gallon. If gas is $3.79 at one station, at Shell across the street, it is $4.15 a gallon. I think they do it to see how many people are too lazy to drive across the street for the cheaper gas – and it’s not cheaper brands, it’s name brand gas that is cheaper than Shell. Always.

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They like me, they really like me

I never pay attention to Google Alerts about myself. In fact, I took myself off of Google Alerts years ago because most things written about me where not nice.

When I was doing the daily news, I would get written about and mocked for things I wrote on almost a daily basis, so I just removed myself from the alerts – ignorance is bliss.

But I put myself on the alerts again once I started my Tomversation cartoon but I never look at them when they arrive in email (the alerts, not my cartoons), this morning I looked because there is a guy with a blog called Tomversations – with an “s” and I thought to myself, “Let me see what he’s up to.” But it was me that was in the alert – and it was all featured items of my cartoons.

There are a lot of sites that seem to be copying each other, I think the Bored Panda thing that was done a few months back and then other sites all seemed to have gone through my comics and picked out their favorites and featured them.

I don’t mind because I’m given the credit and it’s free publicity.

Here is a google list of recent ones – you can see I’ve been featured on places from Bored Panda to Newsbreak to Savage Humans and even YouTube!

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Crabgrass

Courtesy GoComics.com

I did my first interview for the new 10 With Tom site. I had the chance to interview Tauhid Bondia who is the cartoonist of one of my favorite comic strips called Crabgrass. I had written about them in 2020 here.

The comic is about two young friends in the 1980s. I felt it relevant now because Crabgrass is starting newspaper syndication on March 28. It will continue to be online as well.

If you would like to read the 10 With Tom interview, it’s here.



Lines, lines, everywhere there’s lines

I’ve been all over the county this past month and every once in awhile as I’m traveling around by car, I come upon lines. They are out in the traffic lanes, usually spilling out into the right lane and they are endless. That’s where I got the idea for today’s cartoon.

I am assuming they are covid testing lines, or possibly they are vaccine lines or are they food giveaway lines? If we lived in a snowy area, I might assume they are snow delay lines, like what happened last week on I-95 in Virginia.

After Hurricane Andrew in 1992, our county – Miami-Dade, was devastated. There was nothing. No place to eat, no place to shop, no place to do anything. Devastation.

Every once in awhile as you drove around, you would see a line. And we would just get in the line. We didn’t know what the line was for, but we knew it was something we needed, because we had nothing left! So we would park the car and stand at the end of the line. Waiting, to see what was up front.

One time I was driving by Eckard Drugs with a friend, and we stopped. We got in line and when we reached the front, it was for batteries they were giving out. Another day, it was at another location and it was food, another time it was ice.

When I drive by these long car lines these days, it reminds me of that time so many years ago.

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Getting rid of the tree

Today’s cartoon is based on reality.

These last few years I’ve had an artificial tree. It’s easier to deal with. But in the past, I would throw the real Christmas tree off the balcony at the end of the season.

I started doing it to avoid all those needles getting all over the elevator.

I would have someone stand below and throw it over, minus the ornaments. Then I would go down and drag the tree to the street. It worked out well. I’m on the 5th floor – so it didn’t have long to go and of course as I said, I had someone below to be sure no one was under it when it fell.

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Travel plans for the new year

Will Comic Con be affected by my travel plans in 2022?

Got most of my Christmas shopping done. Did it online. Now I just sit back and wait for the deliveries. I also made some donations to various causes, including Wikipedia! I had never donated to them before; an ad popped up on Facebook for them so I donated. I use them almost daily, so why not? I kept ignoring that thing at the top of their page this time of year, but some reason, the Facebook ad worked on me.

I know I should shop local, and I do. But I gave up mall shopping years ago, although the last time I was in a mall wasn’t that long ago. For my mother’s funeral in October, I needed a new pair of pants to go with my black suit. I put on a few pounds during the pandemic and the pants didn’t fit. So I want to the mall with a friend, got a new pair of black pants and we had lunch. So we shopped local.

Glad to say since I have been back to working out, I don’t need those over-sized pants. But I’ll save them just the same.

Speaking of suits, I was making airline plans for a wedding I have to got to in September. The reason suits reminded me of that is because I seem to only wear suits at weddings and funerals. The issue with the wedding date that it is going to screw up my NY Comic Con for 2022. The wedding is about three weeks before Comic Con, so I can either stay in NY for those three weeks or come home after the wedding and then go back again a few weeks later, which I don’t think I’ll do.

I was talking with a friend the other day and was telling her that after my long trips, I come home and totally forget them. Not on purpose, but I tend to forget the fact that I left town and I’m just right back into my routine here at home. I was just in New York and Boston and basically have no memory of Boston. Well, I do, but I have to actually sit down and think about it, it’s not like it just comes to mind as a recent memory.

My friend said the trick is to travel for short periods – like maybe three days – and go to many different places. I may just try that. I’ve been doing the opposite – going for long periods of times, but what is the point if I return home and feel as if I never left the house?

First world problems.

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