Looking forward to normalcy

I made a bunch of travel plans and reservations for later in the year – from the summer on. Hopefully things will be great then and we can travel without concern.

Things seem to be going back to normal little by little. I can sort of tell by the bay activity. What I mean is, I live on the bay, and I remember seeing so much activity in the water during the early days of the pandemic – people kayaking, paddle boarding and so much more, on a daily basis. Now I don’t see that much anymore. I guess now that people are out and about, they aren’t feeling trapped and bored, although all that fun and healthy activity seemed to do them good when they were feeling trapped and bored.

I did create a lot of cartoons which were covid-based – regarding masks, social distancing, working from home, and so on.

I keep seeing on the news that covid infections are dropping dramatically while vaccines are moving along. Many people I know were vaccinated, almost all getting both shots already, including my parents. I am anxious to get vaccinated. I have friends who are against it. But if the numbers of infections are dropping, something good is happening.

I’ve been asked many times if I got my shots. I am not quite sure how old people think I am. But I am nowhere near the age group that is being vaccinated currently.

I did sign up for a few waiting lists – like at Walgreens and CVS, so that when it opens up for the general public, I can get on the appointment list. My own doctor says he won’t have the vaccine for some reason, even though he always has the yearly flu shot.

Anyway, I am anxious to get on a plane again and get away. While last year seemed to fly by, it still was a long, anxious year. We are coming up on a year from when things started getting bad/serious. I remember watching Gov. Cuomo on tv every day, feeling calmed by his demeanor. I remember being afraid to leave the house for a month or so – getting food deliveries all the time.

I’m glad I blogged and cartooned a lot about it. I have it all recorded here in the archives and hopefully it will only live there and never in real life again.

You can see my comics at TomFalco.com, there are links to social media there, too, if you care to follow on a daily basis.

I’m in the funny papers; literally!

I’ve been written about often but I’ve never been in a comic strip before! The other day I was in “Amanda the Great” by Amanda El-Dweek! So cool!

I interviewed her four years ago for my Huff Post column, but she mentioned it this week!

Here’s the 10 With Tom Column with Amanda.
And here’s Amanda’s daily comic strip.

I’ve been wanting to be part of GoComics, so I guess this week I am! 🙂

I love when people get it

So many times I hold back cartoons because I’m not sure most people will get it. The whole idea is to have people get the gag and laugh. So when that happens, I love that.

Today’s comic really is not going to be funny to people who don’t watch much tv.

Today’s cartoon.

But for tv watchers, it’s obviously a parody of the Domino’s Pizza commercial, which seems to be shown on tv every few minutes. It’s one of those “part of the culture” things, simply by being repeated over and over, sort of like the Bernie Sanders meme, which is still making the rounds. It’s all American pop culture I guess.

I have a friend who doesn’t watch much tv. When he saw my skunk- “We all see it” cartoon, he thought it was a political statement because of the blue streak, but of course thousands of you got it as a parody of the Progressive tv commercial, which is also a “part of the culture” thing.

I saw a talk or read it somewhere that a cartoonist said to just do what you like and the audience will follow. It’s true – it’s being true to myself when I do what I like and not pander to the audience. The audience will get where you are coming from. And they do, it seems.

Here’s the Domino’s commercial for those of you who don’t watch tv. It’s on tv every few minutes. Believe me.

The Brooklyn t-shirt

This Travels With Farley comic strip appeared on January 31, 1978. I follow the old strips on Facebook.

I laughed when I saw it because, well, because I always laugh at Farley, but also, it reminded me of an old t-shirt I had that said in big bold letters, “BROOKLYN.” I bought it at a local Gap store here in Miami and every time I wore it, strangers would come up to me and want to talk about Brooklyn! Sort of like Beethoven here.

Once I wore it to the mall. I was at the food court at International Mall in Miami, with my friend Jorge, and people kept coming up to me separately asking me about Brooklyn – where was I from, where was I born in Brooklyn, how is it today, they hadn’t been back in a long time, etc. Crazy!

I don’t remember what I told them, I think I said, “I’m not from Brooklyn, I got the shirt at The Gap.” Funny thing is I wear a lot of shirts that say, “New York” but no one comments – but this one Brooklyn shirt – fugetaboutit!

Truth is, I WAS born in Brooklyn, but we left when I was three! Yes, I’ve been back 100 times since then, but I didn’t really feel like talking about it with strangers who saw the word on a t-shirt.

The Beethoven reference here always reminds me of comic ideas I have but they have already been used by so many people. Like “Beethoven’s Fifth” and having a bottle of liquor and Beethoven lying drunk over it, or something like that.

A Bernie comic without Bernie

I threw today’s cartoon together last night.

I follow a bunch of art sites on Instagram – classical artists and museums. Yesterday I was looking at a Monet that came up on the screen and the first thing I did was look for Bernie! That’s when I knew I had to do a cartoon regarding the Bernie memes.

The beauty of it is that Bernie isn’t even in it!

I changed the text about 10 times until I was happy with what it said.

A case of not using pencils

The title of this post is a play on the great website called, “A Case for Pencils,” where Jane Mattimoe interviews New Yorker cartoonists.

I’ve tried to be a New Yorker cartoonist, but they don’t even look at the submitted work. I have many things in the queue; many since April, just sitting there, awaiting attention. They get too many submissions, I guess.

I love reading how cartoonists create their work and it seems that most, if not all of the New Yorker cartoonists still use pen and ink, – or pencils, as the title says. Me, I am all digital.


If I was interviewed for this, I would have to say, “I get an idea, jot it down on a pad. Go back to it and try to decipher what I wrote down. Then draw up the comic on my Surface Pro, and ta da – it’s done. The sad part is that there is no original art.

Years ago, I would eat all that stuff up. I would get the pen nibs suggested by cartoonists I liked and I would buy the proper weight bristol board they suggested. I spent so much time at the art supply stores. I even had a discount card that gave me discounts for shopping there often. Now I can’t remember the last time I stopped into one of these stores.

I remember when I was in college, since I majored in art, I was constantly buying new and exciting things I never heard of – tools that were new to me. My store of choice was Rex Art Supply in Coral Gables, which is no longer there. They have been gone long before the digital age.

I remember before fonts and computers and stuff I would get fonts on sheets that I would rub off on paper. It was for a word or two or three, not for paragraphs or anything like that. I mostly used it make or clean up logos and things like that. There was a time I could look at any font and tell you the name, now I barely notice if I’m using Times Roman or Arial.

I have a box somewhere at my parents house, I think in my old closet, where I have so much of this stuff left over – font sheets, rulers, erasers, pencils, etc. I need to find that box. Open it. And take in the smell – the smell of yesteryear.

It’s all about the cavemen (and women)

It’s interesting that two of the most popular cartoons this year are caveman-related.

These two cartoons got more likes, shares and comments than most of the others.

I try to be more cerebral when I do cartoons and I prefer those, but apparently the readers like these goofy caveman ones.

What’s interesting is that as a child, I was very influenced by The Flintstones. I think the first character I ever drew was Fred Flintstone and I drew Fred over and over again as a child. So I guess there is something there.

This Flintstones comic below is liked by realtors. They have purchased the rights many times to use the image on their flyers and business cards and such.

Spicy (and mean) food

Today’s comic, above, reminds me of this comic which was published earlier this year, with Dan Souza from America’s Test Kitchen.

I noticed this weekend that American’s Test Kitchen started the new season and it’s from everyone’s own kitchen. In other words, they are working from home. It works, but I miss the interaction between the people.

Violence and mayhem

I’m sickened by what happened in our country yesterday. I didn’t post a cartoon today because I think it’s disrespectful to post something funny which has nothing to do with the sorrow we are all feeling.

But here are some political cartoons today, which reflect the treason from yesterday.

The transformation of comic strips

There’s an interesting article in the Washington Post about comics and comic strips. Comic artists reflect on the year 1995, when there was a major shift in comics. That year, quite a few popular comics left the comics pages and people believe things were never the same after that, including the size reduction in the printed newspapers.

Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side and Outland, the Bloom County spin-off ended.

I remember at that time, I submitted my comic panel to syndicates and quite a few rejected me saying I was too much like The Far Side, which I took as a compliment! I guess I, like many others at the time, were trying to fill that gap. Now the comics are over-loaded with Far Side clones. I almost didn’t publish Tomversation when I heard that Gary Larson was bringing back The Far Side, I didn’t see the point. But in the end it all worked out, as The Far Side is not what it was in the 1990s and there is room for everyone.

Back then, it sort of was the end of an era. Now the comics are more intimate. Back then and before then, cartoonists were treated like movie stars, especially at the beginning of the 20th century. Their daily comics were seen by millions of people, literally millions – many strips were read daily by 50 to 80 million people daily. Imagine that.

A high-end talk show on tv these days is happy to have 4 million viewers a day! Now comics are on that level and more intimate. Because they are mostly digital now, each comic strip has its own intimate audience and the cartoonists have an open dialogue with the readers. I like that.

I mean, it would be amazing to have 50 million readers a day, but the intimacy makes up for that.

Hilary Price, who does the “Rhymes With Orange” comic strip says journalism’s digital transition has affected comics’ visibility “for the worse.”

She says, “For readers who get their news on a screen, online newspapers bury their comics deep in their websites, if they carry them at all,” Price says. “Sunday funnies don’t ‘wrap’ the Sunday e-editions. So as more people migrate to the screen, the comics are further divorced from the news-reading experience.”

This is where I disagree with Hilary on quite a few things. I believe that the printed comics are lost on most people because they are buried in the newspaper and are so small, you can barely read them. Also, online, I find it quite easy to find the comics on newspaper websites, it’s usually a link right at the top, many times under “entertainment,” where you find the comics, tv listings and things of that nature. One unfortunate thing about that is the link goes to one specific site or group of comics – like ComicKingdom.com or GoComics.com, so you don’t get a choice of all the syndicated stuff, but again, you only get a few printed in the newspapers anyway.

Also, most news readers these days get their news on social media, and the digital comics appear in people’s daily social media feeds along with the news. I don’t think many people go to the local newspaper sites to look for the comics page. I may be wrong, but I don’t see that as being the case. I read the Miami Herald, the New York Daily News, the Arizona Republic, the LA Times, the Chicago Tribune and so many other newspapers through social media, like many people. And I read the comics on social media, too, as they come up when posted on my feed.

And try reading the comics in the newspapers and you need a magnifying glass – they are stamp size! So for those who still read the comics, or try to, in the printed daily newspapers – that is where the issue is. They are treated like second class citizens by the way they are printed and handled.

I showed this image in the past. These postage stamps are larger than some of the comics in the Miami Herald!


Berkeley Breathed, gets it. He has adjusted to the technological evolution, according to the Washington Post article. He revived “Bloom County” in 2015 and posts it digitally.

Today, he enjoys the “immediate relationship” with his online readers, which he feels are more intimate than in the past. “I knew nothing of, or from, my readers for decades. Now, we’re family,” Breathed says. “Not a family of 70 million anymore, but closer. We hug digitally — far more rewarding.”

I like both – the old way of getting 50 million readers a day, and today, being more intimate with the readers.