It’s a subdued NY Comic Con

So I made it to NY Comic Con 2021! I hopped on a plane and got myself to NYC.

It was a bit subdued this year, the massive crowds weren’t here. They Comic Con people, Reed Pop, have been very good about covid protocols and I guess regulating the amount of people permitted into the event is one of them.

It’s all the excitement of every year, just with less people.

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NY Comic Con

I was supposed to be in New York today for the start of NY Comic Con, but I’ve been delayed, due to a family issue. Hopefully I can get there this weekend.

I am all set for my visit to the Jacob Javits Center. There is an app called “Clear” where you enter all your covid info – you have to scan a copy of your vaccine card, then scan your driver’s license, then take a current photo of yourself and then scan yourself live, to show that the photo you snapped is you!

They’re being quite careful, but still, thousands of people will be there shoulder to shoulder.

My cousin Michael is there already, he is showing his work at a booth, he’s a cartoon artist. And the photos are making me “homesick” for Comic Con.

A friend asked me yesterday what the big deal was – same thing year after year. I couldn’t explain it. It’s an experience. From the moment you get on the 7 train and see that most of the people on the train are dressed as a character from tv, movies or the comics, to the large crowds exiting the Hudson Yards train station, heading west to the Jacob Javits Center.

It’s electric. The whole four days are electric. Indescribable.

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Coming up with ideas

People always ask how I come up with the cartoon ideas. They just pop into my head. I don’t usually dwell on things, although sometimes I do, I might have a great drawing, but I hate the text, so I’ll let it sit – sometimes for months, and then the gag hits me and I change the text/wording in the cartoon.

Today’s cartoon – the Columbo – “watch one” came to me while watching (watching, see what I did there?) North Woods Law. I wasn’t even watching, I just overheard one of the officers say, “It happened on my watch, I’ll handle it.” And the rest is history. I used Columbo because he’s my favorite detective and he was popular in a past cartoon, where he used Siri for help solving a crime. And I read recently that he’s become even more popular with people during the pandemic.

This one from last year – the “Ice Hole” one, I explained once before, it came to me while watching Life Below Zero. I wasn’t really paying attention either, I think I was dozing off, and I heard Chip Hailstone, one of the people on the show, say to his kids, who were going ice fishing, “Hey, there’s an ice hole!” And it made me look up and laugh and just totally struck me as being hilarious. And voilà – there was a comic idea.

I played around with it a bit. At first there was a bear hibernating behind a bush and he heard the guys say “ice hole,” and he looked up with one eye open. It was titled, “Trouble Brewing,” but I couldn’t get the image setting right, so I made it another ice fisher.

Most times I’ll read something or see something or overhear something and just twist it in my mind for a bit. So many times I hear something and rush to write it down so I don’t forget.

After the cartoon is done, I end up changing it in some way – up until the last minute – sometimes it’s something simple like a color change, other times it’s the wording or maybe the expression on a character’s face. Never a dull moment.

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Simple car and Uber issues

I had to go back and get something done on my car yesterday – flat tire. So I left the car and had to take an Uber back and forth. I made sure I had my phone on me at all times, didn’t want to go tracking it down again.

I didn’t know it was a flat tire, I thought it was a fan belt, because of the flapping noise the car made when I drove. The tire was not fully flat, so it was letting air out slowly and that’s why I didn’t know it was the tire. I had looked up what the sound could be online and it suggested the fan belt. I was telling the mechanic that’s it’s like WebMD, where you look up your symptoms and then you think you’re dying when you have a simple cough or something. Same with the car symptoms.

I brought the car in very early and the tire was fixed by 8:30 am, when he called me to pick it up.

Anyway, the Uber drivers – let’s talk about them. I had two, one to get home from the shop and one to go back and pick up the car. The first one and I talked the whole drive. He was very friendly and we talked about everything – but mostly about how over-developed Miami is these days, we reminisced about the old days.

The second driver didn’t say much. I had to force to say something every once in awhile, just to not appear rude in the back seat. It’s funny how people give off such different vibes.

Another thing I noticed is that each takes a different route to get to and from the same place. Even last week when I took Uber back and forth from getting work on the car, I noticed it. I guess their GPS adjusts to traffic patterns now, like Waze does.

In the past, I would tell them how to go, you know, how to take shortcuts; even going to the airport I would do that. But more than once we got stuck in traffic or hit a detour, so I keep my mouth shut now.

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The Addams Family, in color

Today’s cartoon over at TomFalco.com is of the Addams Family. I drew this a few years ago, but I keep seeing them in the new Progressive Insurance commercials, so I thought I would dust it off and bring it out. There’s a new Addams Family movie coming out October 1. The cartoon originally had Lurch saying, “You Tweeted?” but I thought texted sounded more personal for the Addams household.

Anyway, notice the walls in the living room? Pink. Why? Because that’s what color they were!

I’ve been seeing this photo below, around the internet for years – it’s by Richard Fish, a well-known photographer at the time. It’s not colorized, this is the original color photo.

I never did find out why the walls were pink and green, but maybe that showed up better on black and white tv at the time and perhaps they thought the tv show would eventually be done in color.

Swipe back and forth and see the difference between color and black and white.

COMPARE – COLOR TO BLACK AND WHITE

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Avoiding phone calls

There’s a new thing where people are keeping their phone ring tones off permanently. They would rather get texts than talk to people on the phone.

I have a weird thing where I don’t answer my business phone line, I do answer my private line. My business line has a message that says text or email me and it seems to work. Although I remember years ago my accountant was doing my taxes and he said that my business was down a lot in the last quarter. He asked me why. I told him it could be because I removed the phone number from my website. And his response was, “Well, you better put it back on there.”

I don’t like speaking to strangers. I cringe at the thought. I have lost many large orders due to that, but that’s they way it is. I’ll go broke before I speak to a stranger, I guess.

I like texts. But there are a couple of texts I have the ringer off for. There is my building text – my condo – where we’re all one long string. That can be very annoying when everyone has to chime in on a text. Like someone will ask, “Did someone see my Amazon delivery?” and rather than just ignore it if you know nothing about it, everyone has to respond, “Not me,” Not me,” Not me,” Not me.” And it goes on. So I leave the ringer off for that. But it is odd when you look down at your phone and see “45 text messages” came in. Then you look and see it’s that nonsense.

Not long ago someone asked via text, “Who called the cops on the car that had the alarm going off?” I didn’t answer, so they assumed it was me. But for the record, I have never in my life called the cops on a neighbor, or on anyone for that matter.

With my family, the texts aren’t that bad, But one friend who we have all known since we are kids is on one of our family texts and when it is someone’s birthday (including Paul McCartney or any of the Beatles), he will send about 20 texts in a row, so fast, I don’t know how he does it. All saying “Happy Birthday” or “Happy Anniversary” or something, with pictures and texts and so many things. For about 10 seconds, the beeping goes on and on with texts coming in from him – so those texts are silenced, too.

But anyway, I remember when we all thought cell phones were so cool, and now we find them annoying. There’s an interesting article from a couple of years ago called, “The hidden stress of cell phones,” and it explains a lot.

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What do Batman and Starry Night have in common?

I’m getting excited about New York ComicCon in October. As far as I know, it’s still on. I saw an ad on Instagram yesterday for ticket sales, so I assume since they are selling tickets, it is still on.

I lost my Batman/Van Gogh shirt. I like to wear it at ComicCon one of the days. I also have a Spider-man shirt and a Captain America shield shirt that I wear. That’s as far as I go with costumes.

Anyway, I ordered a new Batman/Van Gogh shirt and it arrived yesterday. I think I probably left the old one in New York a couple of Octobers ago, because I think that is the last time I wore it. It must have fallen off a chair or something and I didn’t pack it when I was heading home.

Anyway, you may remember, in April 2018, there was a story on the news about a guy in Mount Dora, Florida, who painted the exterior of a house with Van Gogh images. He had on this shirt and it was two of my favorite things combined, so I did a search online and found it. You can see the picture and video of the house and the guy wearing the shirt on the news here.

It’s just September 1 today, so I’m not trying to rush the month away. But I am getting excited for October.

Speaking of September 1, for some reason, as I get older, things move in slow motion, rather than fast motion, which you would think. For instance in the past, on September 1, I used to tell friends, remember this date, because before you know it, it will be January 1! And that was always the case.

But the past few years, maybe five, six or seven years, life has moved in slow motion and of course I love that. So September 1 to October 1 will hopefully take awhile to happen. I know Ferris Bueller says life moves too fast and you have to slow down and take a look around, but in many cases, it moves slow, and I like it that way.

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Just what the doctor ordered

I was holding off on posting this Doctor Who cartoon until there was a male Doctor Who again because I didn’t want to redraw it with the female Doctor Who. I felt it suited a male Doctor Who better for the gag. This is a cartoon I created in 2014.

When I first published it, it was shared a lot online. George Takei shared it on his Facebook page and at the time it got thousands of likes and shares; that was April 1, 2014. He called it “Just what the doctor ordered.” Here is the post and the comments from that day.

Anyway, I am publishing it today because I notice the other day that another cartoonist posted something similar and I didn’t want to publish it in the future and make it seem as if I took his idea. And therein lies the rub of cartooning. There are so many similarities and so many minds think alike that there always looks as if someone is copying someone else.

In the past could swear that people were stealing my work. How could they not I thought. But in reality, I guess there are only so many ideas. Many people feel, “It’s all been done” regarding so many things in life. I see it happen so often with cartoons and comics. I’ll create something and then see it has been done or someone does something and I think they took it from me.

For years, one of my cartoons, “When the milk goes bad,” has been compared to a Far Side cartoon. I think there may be two of them. One is “The chicken went bad” and he’s holding a gun from inside the fridge, you don’t see him, but his hand/wing is sticking out holding a gun.

I had never seen the cartoon when I created this one. Mine was created in the mid 1990s and I had not seen the Far Side chicken one until a year or two ago! But it always gets compared. It bothered me for a long time because I like mine and I use it on my business card, I feel it sets the tone for my humor and people can “get me” by just looking at this one cartoon.

But after years of hearing “it’s been done” or seeing “my work” in others’ work, I’m over it all and I grew a thicker skin.

I don’t know if it’s true or not, but in 1899, Charles H. Deull, the commissioner of the U.S. Patent Office said, “Everything that can be invented has been invented.” In other words, we don’t need to patent anything else. It’s all been invented. In 1899. Can you imagine if all inventions had stopped then?

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The Big Naked Fiancé

I came up with yesterday’s cartoon simply because I watch all three shows. And all three shows are on opposite each other on Sunday nights, so I was thinking, they need to be combined.

I know, trash tv, you say. But not really.

I’ve been watching Big Brother since the first episode 20 something years ago. I think in all these years, I’ve only missed two episodes. When I’m traveling, I watch it on the CBS app the next morning if I miss it at night. It’s on every summer – throughout the whole summer – it’s my summer comfort food.

Naked and Afraid is an amazing study in human nature. There is also Naked and Afraid XL, which I like even more. No, you really don’t see the people naked, just some bits. I like it so much that I did a 10 With Tom interview with one of the naked guys, Ryan Holt. Naked and Afraid is about a man and woman, sometimes three people, who spend 21 days in some godforsaken place with nothing – they need to build shelter, find water, food, etc. It’s a different couple or triple every week.

Naked and Afraid XL is 12 past players, usually all well-known to viewers who have to survive for 40 days – the last one was 60 days – and people drop along the way. It’s interesting to see the interactions and how they survive with each other. They start off in four groups of three and eventually find each other in the jungles somewhere. Personalities clash and it is interesting to follow the dynamic each week. No one is voted off like Survivor (another favorite show of mine), but people drop out due to injury, fatigue, etc. There is not just one person standing at the end, there is usually a small group left who make it to the end.

Now 90 Day Fiancé, which is it’s own juggernaut with 90 Day Fiancé, 90 Fay Fiancé Before the 90 Days, 90 Days Happily Ever After, 90 Day Fiancé, The Other Way and so on. It’s crazy. It’s about people who give up their whole lives to move to a foreign country. It almost seems as if it is scripted because you can’t believe this is real – people will leave their rich, cushy lives to move to a third world country and live in a shack.

My friend who worked on reality tv has worked on 90 Day Fiancé and his brother still does. He tells me it is all real, not scripted and that’s what got me so into it. I stared watching during long dark days of covid lockdown and just got addicted from there.

And now I see there is a real show called Naked and Afraid of Love on Discover + !!

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