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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I won on HQ Trivia!

I won HQ Trivia last night! It was there 1 year birthday and after one full year, I won my first game.

I won 40 cents. Yup, 40 cents.

I don’t think you can even buy a gumball these days for 40 cents, aren’t they like 50 cents?

No, it wasn’t fun just because I won, sort of like being nominated is good you don’t need to win. I wanted to win money.

They have given away $400,000 in one game, shared by those who won, my game last night was $5000 shared by over 12,000 people, so that’s where the 40 cents comes in.

Don’t know HQ Trivia?  I did a story awhile back on Medium, you can read about HQ Trivia here.

Coffee break

Sorry, I haven’t been around. Been busy.

I’ve been working on new comics but I also have started a new biz called Fair Trade Coffee Roasters. It’s coffee imports and also coffee-related items (and tea). I’ll share the website with you when it’s up and running.

This is the logo. How do you like it?

Coffee Fair Trade

I needed another revenue source, so this is it. Hoping it brings a lot of revenue.

I’ve been trying to get some 10 With Tom interviews, too. But a lot of people don’t respond to their calls and emails. I’ve reached out to a few tv people but also a bunch of cartoonists that I like, who apparently don’t need the publicity, because they haven’t answered my requests.

Tapas for comics, do you know it?

bidenI was listening to a podcast called, “Tapas Media and Building Your Brand” at Webcomic Alliance.

They have over 35,000 comics at Tapas, and  it seems that if you find your niche audience you have loyal fans. They also have some sort of payment system, which is great. I used to post there but found the whole system confusing but if that is where the audience is, I guess that’s where comics should be posted. That’s my version of Joe Biden.

I like the idea that Tapas seems to be geared toward mobile devices rather than computers and it’s the go-to place for Millennial comic readers. The podcast folks were not fans of social media as a means to share comics, but I find that to be quite the opposite. It might not work for long form comics and serials, but I think for gag-a-day, it’s great, especially since you can divide the panels into single panels and swipe through them on Instagram now.

My one concern is single panel comics. I’m going back and forth between my single panel Tomversation comic panels and a strip I have in mind. I don’t see too many single panels on Tapas but I guess with millions of readers I’m sure to find my audience. I think they have more younger readers than GoComics, which seems to have an older audience, including myself.

I was waiting for Sherpa to come back at GoComics so that I could start publishing there, but to be honest, I’m tired of waiting for them to complete the platform.

My plan is to start publishing at Tapas, Facebook, Instagram and possibly Tumblr (I like the sharing aspect of that) in the fall, probably on Labor Day, September 3.

Stay tooned.

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.

Small world

It’s funny, I hadn’t thought about it for years, but when we were kids, more like our teens, my friend Ernesto and I used to jump in pools at Miami Beach hotels and swim around until we were asked to leave. We would tell the person telling us to leave, that we we were guests of “Billy,” a person we made up in our heads, in room 502, and we were then informed that they didn’t have a room 502.

This was back before they built the boardwalk and walking paths, and there was no security or anyone really guarding the pools. This was way before South Beach was even a concept, so the pools and hotels were dumps and we didn’t get caught very often because we were the only ones there in many cases.

I thought that we had created this whole pool thing ourselves with the fake friend in the room and all. But recently on a Facebook page that I follow about Old Miami, someone brought up the same thing – he said they would jump in the hotel pools on Miami Beach and leave when they were informed that their “Uncle Joe” was not a guest in room 206.

So funny because now people are coming out of the woodwork and commenting on that post that they all did the same thing. And Ernesto and I thought that was our thing. Ha.

A blast from the past

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Somebody posted this photo on a page I follow on Facebook. It’s an old shoe store in Coconut Grove, FL. The photo is from 1988.

I love it because I made the logo.

I did the logo a few years before and every time I walked by the store I would point out and say, “I did that!” It’s simple, but they liked it and used it.

It was actually done for their shopping bags. I had a client that made shopping bags for stores and I did the artwork on a freelance basis. They would give me the info and say they want this logo or name on the bag with this info (address, phone, whatever). In this case, they didn’t have a logo so I made one. They liked it so much they put it on the store and everything else.

I enjoyed this blast from the past when it popped up in my Facebook feed. The place is a restaurant now.

I should out, “I did that!” a lot, I think. Once there was a town meeting and someone held up an old newspaper from the 1980s and I yelled out, “I did that!” I had done the typesetting and paste up for that particular newspaper and when I saw that, it was another, “I did that!” blast from the past!