Cut and paste

design

Years ago I worked for a local newspaper, it published three days a week, that is where I got my start in the newspaper business. It was the mid-80s. I remember my boss telling me that one day, there would be a thing called “pagination,” where the whole page would come out as one thing – the headlines, the columns, the photos. We all stood back  in awe at the thought of that.

At the time, everything was done separately, we used exacto knives or razor blades to cut and past, I preferred the blades. We had a waxing machine and waxed the stuff and placed it down on blue-lined boards. I remember years before that I went on a tour of The New York Times, I think it was in junior high school, and they had the hot type method which is really ancient by today’s standards.

One machine was used just to create headlines, another for the columns of text. For the photos, we cut in red material that came out clear when shot in the back camera room and the photos which were shot separately were then stripped in. It was a process.

I remember when I started my own graphics business a few years later and we had Compugraphic machinery that actually allowed us to change the fonts on demand! We didn’t have to stop the whole operation and change fonts.

When computers started being used in the process, I asked one of my brothers who was in the computer business if he knew of a way where we could change fonts on the computer. He said there is possibly a way but it would be hard to program. I just wanted a few fonts to switch back and forth from. Crazy to think of now, huh where we have thousands of fonts at our disposal.

My comics had brought me to the newspapers business. I had submitted a bunch to the newspaper and they called me to come in one time, when I went in I found out that they weren’t interested in my comics, but they wanted me to work at the newspapers in the production department, which ended up being my design future to this day.

I did draw a lot for them though, I did a lot of cartoon work for ads that people placed and also I did political stuff. I’m sure I have those old newspapers somewhere, probably in my parents’ garage or something. I need to go look for them.

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Visiting the New York Herald again

heraldsquare

This image of Herald Square is from 1903.

I’m not sure why I am obsessed these days with the old New York Herald building. This past summer I spent a lot of time in front of the old site looking at it. It’s an ugly mid century (1960s) square block building now with a bank and drugstore in the space.

I was standing to the right of the trolley shown at the right of this photo; standing right in front of the site. Macy’s is the left today.

One day I was on my way to meet a friend to see Hello Dolly, 10 blocks away, and on the way I stopped here and just contemplated the location. So much history is still in New York, but so much is gone. I saw Hello Dolly in the Shubert Theater, which was opened in 1913. The Herald building was standing at the same time a few blocks away.

The Herald building opened in 1894 and they left around 1924 after a 30 year lease. A clothing store took over the location and retrofitted the newspaper offices and press room but around 1940, the building was demolished for the ugly new structure that is there today, which is almost 80 years old. The actual newspapers only lasted in that location for 30 years.

You would think Herald Square would have kept the Herald building. Times Square still has the Times building. It’s behind all those neon signs, you have to look hard to see it.

heraldsquare

The ugly building that replaced the NY Herald at Herald Square.

The Village Voice is dead

voice

The Village Voice is gone. Dead.

They went from printed publication to online publication three years ago, but that was good, as so many publicatons are going online. But now it is totally gone.

I read it in Gothamist, but Gothamist was dead for a bit but they were resurrected so who knows. Maybe the Voice will come back.

The Village Voice was special to me because it was my foray into New York City when I wasn’t in New York City.

voice2

Feiffer cartoon.

For most of my life I spent a lot of time in NYC, even though home is Miami. But ever since I was a boy, I would go to NYC and spend long periods of time there. I would go during high school vacations and sometimes spend months there and even now I will spend long periods of time there. I spent weeks there this summer and I’ll be back for ComicCon next month and then Thanksgiving in November so the Village Voice was how I kept up with New York when I wasn’t there. And you know what? I don’t think I ever actually read it while in New York. I think it was just my taste of NY when I wasn’t in New York.

There was something forbidden about it when I was 16, I don’t know what, maybe the backpage ads? Maybe the articles? Whatever it was, I would read it in the library at high school and college and also at our town library. It was so New York-y that I felt as if I was in New York when immersed in it.

lifeinhell

Life in Hell, by Matt Groening

I loved the early cartoons as well as the articles. Jules Feiffer, R. Crumb, Matt Groening, Ted Rall, Tom Tomorrow, I could go on; such great cartoonists. I read them all.

I remember at one time their address was on University Place in New York and every time I walked by or crossed University Place, even to this day, I think of the Voice. I don’t think I ever sought out the building, but just seeing the street name reminds me of The Village Voice.

Thinking of newspapers

Newspapers are not where comics are most popular these days. Millennials, as we know, don’t read the newspaper, at least not the printed version.  It took me a long time to come to terms with that regarding my own work. It’s like making a movie and having it go straight to video. That is how I felt not having my comics in the newspapers. Comics were created for newspapers. But it’s a new era.

I think of the kids born today or in the last few years. Will they ever know the feeling of going outside and picking up the newspaper off the front porch, taking it in, smelling the ink and the paper, getting the feel of it all and reading the news from cover to cover, in black and white? There was a time when the ink came off on your fingers. Now they just flip through it all on their phones.

517AbN9Y1+L._SL250_I think of the days of George Herriman, George McManus, Rudolf Dirks, Bud Fisher and the others, when cartoonists were the celebrities of the day. What was it like in 1905 or 1915? I’m glad I’m here today, but I like to think back sometimes and wonder about those times were like. I think of the excitement of the newspapers, the deadlines, the camaraderie.

If you haven’t read the book on George Herriman and Krazy Kat by Michael Tisserand called, “Krazy: George Herriman, a Life in Black and White“, do yourself a favor and read it. It will transport you back to that time, you literally are immersed in that period. You feel as if you are in those old newspaper newsrooms and walking the streets of New York and Los Angeles. I am about to read it again. It’s sort of like “Breaking Bad” to me, I can just envelope myself in the story and get lost at any time of day.

My brush with the NY Daily News

sunday news

The first thing I would see on Sundays when I was a kid.

I’ve always wanted to have my comic strip printed in the New York Daily News and just a few years go Iwasthisclose. But due to the current climate and the constant staff changes, it didn’t happen.

At one time, for many years, the New York Daily News was the highest circulation newspaper in the country. It had 1 million readers a day, and way back in the day, say in the 1940s, they had 2 million readers daily and 4 million on Sunday! That was the place to be. They used to say that three people would read every one newspaper – so that is a hell of a lot of people reading one issue.

The editors loved my work, they practically had me in the paper, they wanted to know how many comics I had, how long I could sustain the feature, when I could start, etc. etc. I met with them at the building downtown, not the Daily News building on 42nd Street, they are now in an office building next to the Staten Island Ferry terminal.

I remember how excited I was that day, I had swag with me, Tomversation cube pads and pens and stuff and I had a wonderful meeting. But it never was to be, by the time I got home to Miami, the guys I met with were gone. One was fired for sexual harassment!

I started the process all over and again, the new editors were very interested. The problem at the Daily News at the time and probably even more so today is that there is not one specific editor for features or comics or things like that. At one point I dealt with the Sunday editor of the whole newspaper, another time a news editor. And again, it was not to be, mostly because of total confusion at the newspaper.

I have come to terms knowing that my comics will have a home on the internet and that is really a better place for so many reasons. But that was my brush with the New York Daily News.

NY Daily News; sign of the times

 

The New York Daily News has an editorial about itself called, “Local journalism is sick; don’t misdiagnose the disease.” They explain their current situation where they have been gutted by Tronc, their current owner. They say it’s more than Tronc cutting the staff by more than half, it’s the times, it’s the internet, it’s so much more.

To be honest, I didn’t buy one newspaper the whole time I was in New York this summer and that is saying a lot.  I usually buy The Daily News every single day when I’m in the city, I pick it up with my breakfast, and most days I would buy the Daily News, the NY Post, The NY Times and Newsday, all four daily newspapers, but even if I didn’t buy all four, I would always buy the Daily News. I’m not sure why I did not purchase the papers. I think it all started with my Miami Herald fiasco this past winter and I just got out of the habit. Reading the newspapers is a habit, sort of like having breakfast every morning.

The NY Daily News itself is now down in an office building down near the Staten Island Ferry, they aren’t even in the actual Daily News building on 42nd Street, which has been the case for years.

I took a short video of the Daily News building in November, here it is.

The Daily News Building is a beautiful Art Deco building and the Daily News should be in that building. I wrote about the strike in 1945 and showed an incredible video where it shows millions of newspapers being sold per day as people waited in long lines to plop down a nickle for the Daily News and all of the other New York newspapers at the time – the Mirror, the Journal-American, the Sun, etc. Newspapers were the world back then.

Today the sports department has been gutted. That’s the one thing my father would always mention when I would give him copies of the newspapers that I would bring home with me – the New York Daily News and the New York Post – he would admire the size of their sports section, putting down the puny Miami Herald’s sports section, asking, “Why can’t the Herald be like the New York papers?”

new_york_daily_news_logo

The ubiquitous camera in the masthead

And the photography department at the Daily News has been gutted, too. No photographers at New York’s Picture Newspaper!!! No photographers! Should they remove that iconic camera logo that has been part of their masthead since day one in 1919?

Two newsgirls

This is sad. I’m in Hoboken often and now every time I pass these locations I’ll think of these girls. Here are two young girls selling newspapers in Hoboken in 1912; the actual locations were visited a century later and superimposed with public domain and CC-licensed resources.

Library of Congress photography by Lewis Hine from the National Child Labor Committee Collection (loc.gov) is remixed here with Creative Commons-licensed music by Kevin MacLeod.

Video copyright Lyndon F. Lorenz, all rights reserved