Lots of super heroes at NY Comic Con

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I went back to NY Comic Con on Sunday, it was a bit gloomy on opening day, Thursday, I guess due to the rainy weather in NY, but on Sunday, it was really fun. There were thousands upon thousands of people there.

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And each year, the costumes and the co-play gets better and better. Spider-man seems to be the most popular and they all seem to congregate. This is only a few who were photographed together, before I took this photo, there were about a dozen or so.

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I try to capture the crowds, I posted videos on social media and it doesn’t do it justice, there are just so many people – all happy, all patient, you have to be in this crowd.

So another year has come to an end. Keep the NY Comic Con website handy and sign up for updates so you can get in on next year’s event: newyorkcomiccon.com. It comes up pretty fast.

Another wild year at New York Comic Con

I attended the first day of New York Comic Con, which opened today, October 3. It was a bit rainy after a day yesterday, of 91 degree temps, so the drizzle felt good in the cooler, 55 degree weather today.

The crowds were there as usual, it was a mess getting in and getting out. And this weekend of course will bring even more people.

I was disappointed to see that GoComics.com did not have their usual booth where you could meet and greet your favorite cartoonists every year, I always look forward to that and I think that is the reason I started going to comic con years ago. Instead it looked as if they had a promo for The Far Side comic, which seems like it’s coming back in January and I guess Andrews McMeel, the owner of Go Comics, wished to promote that, which was a smart idea, but all the same I miss meeting my favorite cartoonists as in previous years.

Gary Larson is forcing my hand

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After posting about how much I love single panel comics, I see that The Far Side is coming back. Everyone is making a big deal about changes on the website here: thefarside.com. It’s been updated after years of being dormant.

Could it be reruns or new stuff? Speculation is that it will start up again on January 1, 2020 because it first appeared on January 1, 1980. So will it start up again fresh, will it be reruns or what on January 1, 2020? Of course I think we all hope for new stuff!

Anyway, to that end, how can I compete, how can anyone compete? After Gary Larson left the scene on January 1, 1997 (Gary likes January 1st), there were lots of new single panel comics appearing to try and fill the space left.

Now the Gemini in me has changed course regarding my comic strip/panel. I’m thinking of now starting up a strip, rather than a panel and have a usual sitcom style thing going.

I like the name I trademarked in the past, “Hal and High Water,” and originally it was about living in a world where the whole planet is submerged due to global warming, but now with the major hurricanes we are seeing these past few years and the real threat of global warming, it doesn’t seem like a funny idea to play around with in a comic strip. So I’ll keep the name “Hal and High Water,” and keep Hal and one or two of the other characters and reformat it.

The premise is explained like this on Twitter: “Comic strip. Hal’s wife threw him out. Now he ends up traveling the world in an old rickety boat with his best friend. Adventures await!”

It’s a bit more exciting than that and I see a lot of interesting and fun things happening. I’d like to incorporate my own travels into the strip and use real scenery that I encounter. I’ve been practicing drawing lots of boats lately, I guess that will be a big feature in the strip.

I’m not sure of a start date, but was thinking of January 1, 2020, too. If it’s good enough for Gary Larson . . .

Anyway, I’ll post on a website, not sure where yet, and also daily on Facebook and Instagram. You may not realize, but Instagram is really a great place to read comics, with the feature where you can swipe through the panels, it’s an excellent place to find new comics.

You can follow along now for updates and things like that along with Twitter.

Here are the social media links:

Hal and High Water Twitter: twitter.com/HalAndHighWater
Hal and High Water Instagram: instagram.com/HalAndHighWater
Hal and High Water Facebook: facebook.com/HalAndHighWater

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.

Some of my favorite comics strips

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Some of my favorite comics these days are Ipso Facto by Mike Wallster. It’s about one of the last remaining video stores in the country called Eddie’s Video Paradise. I love the drawing style and it’s funny.

Mike has started posting again after a long absence and in color now. I hope he keeps up the schedule, I enjoy seeing it.

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I also like War and Peas by Elizabeth Pich and Jonathan Kunz. I also love the drawing style, it draws you in. It seems simple at first, but it’s actually quite intricate.

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Also, a bit new is Macanudo by Liniers. It’s a bit weird and sometimes hard to understand, but that’s what makes it great. Even greater is the drawing. I’ve never seen it printed in newspapers, I’ve just seen it online. I’m not sure seeing it printed in newspapers would do it justice. Is the quality diminished, you know, I mean does the line work show up well? Does the color pop out like it does online?

The one comic shown here is word for word taken from the first Peanuts strip ever. Word for word. And it works!

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The first Peanuts strip, October 2, 1950.

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Daily News Sunday comics; a blast from the past

I started following a page on Facebook that is all about The New York Daily News Sunday papers. Mostly the comics and thrown in are some old images and comic from the New York Mirror.

What I like about it is that as you scroll down, you feel as if you are reading the actual comics pages at the time. Three comics stood out that I had forgotten about but when I saw them here it brought back so many childhood memories for different reasons.

louie-comicThe reason I remember Louie so well is Silly Putty! I distinctly remember picking up this comic by pushing Silly Putty onto it and then taking up the image. Like this image shows below.

I don’t know why Louie stands out, because I’m sure I did this with all the comics, but I distinctly remember picking up Louie with Silly Putty.

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I liked Pottsy because it was funny, but also it was New York. He was a NY cop and the scenes clearly depicted New York. This top comic is obviously Coney Island and the one below clearly shows City Hall in lower Manhattan. I was just there a couple of weeks ago.

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As for Super Duper, I remember drawing it as a kid. When I learned to cartoon by redrawing the Sunday comics and putting my own characters in. I can clearly remember drawing and re-drawing Super Duper.

I want my ‘Big Brother’

So CBS tv is throwing a tantrum and they are upset with ATT Uverse, my cable company. And to that end, CBS took itself off of ATT Uverse, so we can’t get CBS shows now.

This normally wouldn’t be a big deal because I realized I don’t watch much CBS. Currently only two shows – Big Brother and CBS Sunday Morning.  I mostly watch reality tv on cable channels now and a lot of PBS.

tvI watched the Big Brother episodes the next day on the CBS app on my phone but realized that a few years back I bought a little tv that I can watch with the old fashioned antenna, like this one here. I had forgotten about it. What’s funny is that I didn’t have tv for a few weeks after Hurricane Irma two years ago and I never thought of the antenna tv, I just did without tv for a few weeks, at night I watched YouTube videos on my cell phone.

The little tv was in the closet the whole time and it never dawned on me. But when it comes to Big Brother, it was all hands on deck, I needed a solution, and I remembered the little antenna tv. Hurricanes, no. Big Brother, yes!

I hope it works. I haven’t tried it out for years.