I visited The NY Herald last week

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The New York Herald in 1895, when it was a new building at Herald Square.

I had to go to Macy’s on Herald Square last week so as I usually do when I’m on Herald Square, I pay homage to the New York Herald. The Herald itself is not there today, it left the location in the early 1920s and a clothing store took over the location until around 1940 when one of the ugliest buildings you’ve ever seen – a square ugly box replaced it.

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Luckily there are some remnants of The Herald at the location. The large statue of Minerva & the Bell Ringers stands as a memorial to James Gordon Bennett, founder of the newspaper.  The statue originally stood right at the top of the building, front and center, you can see it in the top photo. The owls that graced the roof are there today and so is the clock. All at a small park across the triangle.

The Herald stood on the triangle at Broadway and 6th Avenue between 35th and 36th Streets. It originally was downtown on Park Row where most of the newspapers in the 19th century were, but in 1895 it moved uptown to the Herald Square location, named of course, for the newspaper.

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This disgusting building stands in The Herald location today.

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Do these people realize the hollowed ground they stand on?

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One of the clocks stands in the park today across the street from the location. Another clock is on the other side of this column.

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Owls from the original building grace different areas of the small park that holds the historic mementos.

Related photos and stories:
The New York Herald
Visiting the NY Herald again
Revisiting The New York Times
Pulitzer and The World
The Sun; it shines for all

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My brush with cartooning greatness

Lee Salem passed away earlier this week. I had conversations with Lee about cartooning and also Jay Kennedy, both heads of the big cartoon syndicates – Lee ran Universal Press Syndicate (now known as Andrew McMeel and GoComics.com) and Jay ran King Features.

In the mid 1990s I had sent them my work and they both liked it and both engaged with me. In other words, I didn’t receive form letters of rejection, which is usually the case, they were both nice enough to reject me personally.

In Lee’s case, he felt that my work was too much like The Far Side, which I believe had just ceased publication around that time. Today there seems to be many panel cartoons in that vein, but I guess right after Gary Larson left the scene, they didn’t want copies cropping up. I didn’t realize I was doing the same thing, but I must have been influenced enough by Gary that I was drawing weird single panel comics.

far-sideBut look at this famous Far Side comic panel; still hysterical today, just as it was the day it was published. I felt it was a compliment to be compared to him.

I’ve always loved single panel comics. I’m not sure why, but I was always drawn to them more than comic strips. Maybe it’s the concise nature, where you only have the one space to tell your story in the most economic way. I’m really not sure. I still love Hazel and Charles Addams, Out Our Way, They’ll Do It Every Time, Flubs & Fluffs, Dennis the Menace and so many more. But that’s not to say I don’t enjoy comic strips, but I do find myself drawn the less wordy ones, so maybe that’s why I like panels; they’re less wordy.

In Jay’s case, I remember receiving a personally written note from him, I have it somewhere and I’ll share it some time when I find it, but he encouraged me to continue my work and he asked to buy some of the current submissions and for the next few years I was part of “The New Breed,” which featured single panel cartoons by various cartoonists each day.

I would send the syndicate a bunch, maybe 20 or 25 at a time and they would purchase maybe five of them. They would send back the ones they wanted edited (change this word, move that shading, things like that) and I would make the changes and send the comic back and it was published in about 300 daily newspapers a few weeks later. Many who are published today started cartooning for The New Breed feature. It was a way for them to groom cartoonists before the internet.

I regret not continuing with them after a couple of years. I had started a business and that took off and I guess I became too busy to continue with the comics on a regular basis. A less than smart decision on my part at the time, although I’ve lived a very good life thanks to my business.

I’m ready to start publishing again. I’m preparing comics for daily publication, I keep going back and forth between a strip and my single panel Tomversation comic, which I tend to love more.

Revisiting the NY Times

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See this Starbucks coffee and NY Times? What’s interesting is that this Starbucks is in the lobby of a building on Park Row, right next to the original NY Times which was in the building starting in 1889.

Park Row, across from City Hall, is where many NY newspapers were in the 1800s – The Times, The Sun, The Tribune, The Herald. Most buildings are gone now.

The newspapers eventually moved uptown. The Times to Times Square, The Herald to Herald Square and The Sun just a block away, into the old A.T. Stewart Dry Goods Store which moved there in 1846. The Sun took the building over in 1917.

The clocks are still on the corners of the building. It’s hard to read it all but they say, “The Sun. It shines for all.”

 

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The Times building is the light color building on the left.

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The entrance to The Sun building, still there at 280 Broadway (the building, not the newspaper).

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The Sun building today.

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Newsboys. 100 years ago.

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“The Sun. It shines for all.” These clocks are still on each corner of the building today.

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Joseph Pulitzer’s World building, The Sun (the small building), The Tribune and the Times.

‘Ink,’ the play

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We’re going to see “Ink” on Broadway in a couple of weeks. It’s a play about Rupert Murdock and the Sun newspaper. I’m not a fan of Rupert, but am a huge fan of newspapers, so looking forward to it.

I also am a Fan of Johnny Lee Miller who stars with Bertie Carvel, who plays Murdock, Johnny Lee plays Larry Lamb, the editor of the Sun. Johnny of course plays Sherlock Holmes in the excellent tv show Elementary.

From Ink’s website: “It’s 1969 London. The brash young Rupert Murdoch purchases a struggling paper, The Sun, and sets out to make it a must-read smash which will destroy—and ultimately horrify—the competition. He brings on rogue editor Larry Lamb who in turn recruits an unlikely team of underdog reporters. Together, they will go to any lengths for success and the race for the most ink is on!”

Straphangers in the Parks

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This cartoon is 114 years old, and it’s still very striking and funny and informative, as it was on the day it was published on page 23 the Brooklyn Daily Eagle on May 4, 1905.

Apparently life was a bit simpler back then and the main issue was park benches. First world problems.

The cartoon was drawn by Daily Eagle cartoonist Claudius Maybell. I couldn’t find much about him online, but I did find this in an article from a 1902 Strand Magazine article. It’s part of a longer article called, “The American Cartoonist and His Work.” You can scroll to the top of the article at this link and read about the cartoonists of 1902.

Below is another cartoon from Maybell in 1905. The subway doors were like guillotines back then and he came up with a clever invention to prevent accidents by closing doors.

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Sticking up for printed newspapers

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A guy posted this old photo of people reading the newspapers on a subway in NYC on a Facebook page I follow. He commented on how people used to read the papers daily and mentions that he hasn’t read a paper in years. I mean years, like since the 1990s, he says.

If he felt some sort of way to post the photo, why not support the newspapers once in awhile and buy  printed copy? He makes it seem like something from the past that can’t be attained anymore, when all he has to do is go out and buy one – a fresh one, printed today with today’s news and features!

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Other people were mentioning that they hadn’t read a printed paper in years. And I don’t know why, but it really got me pissed. I’ve learned to keep my mouth shut these days so I didn’t comment or reply to any of them but I felt like telling them all off. They all sound like people of  certain age, one guy was mentioning reading the New York Journal-American for God’s sake, I think that went out in 1966, so doesn’t he feel sort of an obligation or curiosity to at least pick up a paper now and then?

I had posted this great video about the NYC newspaper strike of 1945 here in the blog awhile back; I watched it again the other day on my tv- it was so enjoyable on the big screen.

I’ve spoken before about dumping the daily newspaper, but I can’t do it. I tried going just digital, but for some reason, I need to hold it in my hands and read it that way every day, even though I’ve gotten 99% of the news and features on the internet the day or night before.

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Darrin Bell, pumping out comics and winning the Pulitzer in the process

10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes

I recently wrote a story on Joseph Pulitzer, and then my next story, interestingly enough, is on a brand new Pulitzer Prize winner.

darrin-bellEarlier this week, cartoonist Darrin Bell (left) won the Pulitzer Prize for his political cartoons, he also does a daily comics strip called Candorville, which incorporates another comics strip which he produced for many years, called Rudy Park.

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TOM: Congrats on winning the Pulitzer prize! How did you find out?

DARRIN: Thank you. My editor at the Washington Post Writers Group called me at my home in California and told me. They flew me out to DC a couple days later so I could be in the Post newsroom during the announcement.

TOM: You do (or did) three comics – two comic strips and an editorial cartoon. I see you combined the two comic strips – Candorville and Rudy Park. How did that come about?

DARRIN: My syndicate realized Candorville and Rudy Park didn’t share any clients, and since I’d already done several crossovers between the two series, they suggested I combine them.

TOM: I also heard you draw story boards for films and tv?

DARRIN: I got a call out of the blue back in 2012 asking me if I knew how to draw storyboards. Coincidentally I’d taken a class in storyboarding just for fun a few months earlier, so I said sure, and ended up storyboarding a sci-fi pilot for Anthony Zuiker (CSI). I added my name and portfolio to a bunch of job sites, and then answered inquiries. I only accept jobs when I’m far enough ahead on my work, or if they’re flexible with their deadlines.

TOM: What is your schedule like when you were doing two strips along with the political cartoons and story boards? Did you work on Rudy Park one day and then the next Candorville, etc?

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A recent Darrin Bell political cartoon. Image courtesy King Features Syndicate

DARRIN: Rudy Monday’s, Candorville Tuesdays and Wednesday mornings, editorial cartoons Wednesday afternoon and the rest of the week, New Yorker submissions whenever I was awake enough after putting the kids to bed.

TOM: Do you work digitally or old school pen and ink?

DARRIN: Digitally. It’s the only possible way to get that much work done. When I worked with paper and ink, I would spend an entire weekday just cleaning cartoons up, scanning them in and getting them ready to color. An entire day.

TOM: What is your studio or work place like?

DARRIN: Quiet office space with red brick walls and ornate windows, one block from a river.

TOM: Favorite scifi tv show or movie?

DARRIN: Babylon 5, a show that chronicles the struggle against new authoritarian governments on earth and throughout the galaxy. The show’s far more relevant now than it was in the Nineties, when it first aired.

TOM: As for comics, which ones influenced you growing up?

DARRIN: X-Men and Spider-Man, mostly.

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Candorville by Darrin Bell, courtesy GoComics.com

TOM: Other than those, which comic strip would you like to crawl into, current or past, and spend the day?

DARRIN: Buck Rogers. Or the Star Trek comic strip from the 80s.

TOM: If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

DARRIN: I’d stop whatever cataclysm destroyed ancient civilizations all around the world 13,000 years ago (probably causing all the great flood myths and destroying Atlantis). That worldwide destruction forced the survivors to start all over, almost as if an advanced civilization was returned to the Stone Age. We’d be 13,000 years more advanced than we are now. There’s a good chance we’d also be 13,000 years wiser.

TOM: Thanks, Darrin, and congratulations again on the Pulitzer!

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