Loving this cartoonist roundtable

roundtable

From left: Tom Heintjes, Brian Walker, Greg Walker, Jeff Keane, Mason Mastroianni. Photo courtesy of Hogan’s Alley.

I read a really great interview in Hogan’s Alley, where editor Tom Heintjes sat down with some famous cartoonists,who took over the family business from their fathers and grandfathers. Jeff Keane of Family Circus, Mason Mastroianni of B.C. and Brian and Greg Walker who are Mort Walker’s sons, who work primarily on Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois sat around a table and talked.

They bring up the dynasty aspect of cartooning, something that has always bothered me. When a cartoonist dies, should the strip continue? Did it run its course?

Greg Walker says, “We’ve got to do quality work, or papers will drop us like crazy. We did come in with a nice list, but there’s the pressure to maintain it.”

I never really thought of that. It has a leg up being a popular strip with lots of newspaper subscribers but as one of them said in the interview, “When you’re at the top, there is only one way to go.” But on the other hand, newspapers are loath to drop a comic because losing just one subscriber over that is not acceptable, so I do think that some of these older strips just stay there year after year because the newspapers don’t want to make waves by dropping them, even if it’s only a handful of people who read a particular strip.

They all agreed that the older strips mixed with the newer strips make up a complete comics page and there is something for everyone that way. I’ve always agreed with that, I just felt that the older strips should be the original older strips, not an extension by the second, third and sometimes fourth generation of artists. And don’t get me started on those who buy gags. To me a cartoonist writes the strips and draws the strips, sometimes along with someone else, but purchasing gags just makes the cartoonist an artist, not a cartoonist.

Brian Walker says of his dad Mort Walker: “My father has been asked millions of times why he doesn’t retire, and he says, ‘Why should I retire? I’ve got millions of readers who enjoy my strip!’ Why should he retire just because he’s getting old? When he started out, in 1950, he was competing against Pogo, Li’l Abner, Dick Tracy, Little Orphan Annie. None of those guys quit to make room for him — he scratched and clawed for every one of those 1,800 papers.”

The roundtable interview is here. It’s really good.

Advertisements

I bought Silly Putty

51ZocRYWLSL._SX425_

I just bought Silly Putty. Remember this? Remember how it used to pick up newspaper comics? I wanted the original one, shown here, below. But I couldn’t find that. So I got this version, which supposedly is the real thing. I’ll let you know when I feel it and smell it, and try it on the comics.

b138bf0fda5d326f1ad973980865f4a0silly-putty-cartoons

Is it live or is it Memorex?

25498421_1600075113416938_5282992848606003044_nThis old Memorex ad reminded me of high school. We had an English class called Rock Poetry and we discussed the lyrics and poetry of current rock music. It was a nice class.

The teacher didn’t know much about current music I think because one day she started pulling out cassette tapes that we had brought in (yes, cassettes) and asked, “What should we listen to next? The Beatles? Carol King? The Bee Gees? Memorex?

And we all laughed, and said, No! Memorex is the name of the cassette tape company!” It was so many years ago, but I remember that as if it was yesterday.

There was also this Maxell ad. Remember? It ran all over the place for years. il_570xN.1327002678_3dve

Blown_Away_Guy_-_Maxell_ad
I did a comic using my character Tombo the Rabbit doing the bit a few years ago.

maxell-color

=======
Check out our line of comics t-shirts and coffee mugs here.
=======

Chock full of memories

24775204_1547139038705689_3611366697547464847_n

I saw this ad on Facebook on some site that shows old ads. It brought back so many memories. My mother used to give us Chocks when we were kids. After all these years, this one ad made the memories come rushing back.

A while back, I saw an ad for a Fred Flintstone and Dino toy, and that brought back a floods of memories from playing with this at my grandmother’s house. I had seen the ad on Ebay and then a year or so later (just last month), I saw it at the Museum of the Moving Image in New York, along with all those long forgotten toys and items. That’s it below, Fred riding Dino. I can see it in my mind’s eye, on the floor, walking along, in front of the refrigerator at my grandmother’s house in Brooklyn.

IMG_7421

Something that I collected a few years ago are those old Flintstone glasses. We used to have those when I was a kid. Welch’s Grape Jelly came in them and then when the jelly was gone, you had the glass.

I saw a bunch on Ebay and bought them from different people over a period of time I must have a couple of dozen now. I didn’t realize they were so small, about 4 inches tall, but my mother tells me that she liked them because they were small. She says they were perfect for small children.

I have one jar that still has the jelly in it! I bought it on Ebay, too. Originally it was 29 cents, the label is still on the jar. What happened was a lady in New England closed her small grocery store in 1965 and just left everything as is. Years later when someone bought the store and went in for the first time, it was a time capsule of 1965. And this jelly jar came from that.

welchs1

An original Welch’s grape jelly jar from the early 1960s.

welchs2

Only 29 cents.

welchs3

Some of my large collection of original 1960s Flintstone glasses.

========
Receive Tomversation via email each time we publish Click here.
=======

Visiting The Muppets

One of my favorite places to visit when I’m in New York is the Museum of the Moving Image which is Astoria, Queens. It’s chock full of memories with items from tv and movies and also video games. Currently, the featured exhibit is The Jim Henson Exhibition which of course features the Muppets. This may now be a permanent part of the museum according to the museum’s website.

Big Bird, Miss Piggy, Kermit the Frog, they are all there.

The Jim Henson exhibit features so much related to the Muppets, including actual Muppets, but also scripts, drawing concepts of how they were created, videos of original programming and so much more.

It was really sweet to see people’s reactions as they related with the characters. Everyone has a special memory regarding the Muppets and periods of their lives.

The museum of course has lots of memories regarding tv and movies, with props, scrips, collectibles, old movie and tv cameras, etc.

Receive Tomversation via email each time we publish Click here.

Breaking Bad, et al

breakingbadI DVR’d all of Breaking Bad when there was a marathon on AMC and for the past month I have been holding off on watching the final five episodes. I don’t want it to end. I know how it ends because it was all over the news the next day after the final episode. But still, those five final episodes are precious to me.

I’m not sure why I never watched it when it was on the air, I never saw Game of Thrones or Ray Donovan either. Not sure why, I used to watch all those Sunday night shows on HBO, True Blood, The Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire. I know Ray is on Showtime.

I guess one of these will be my next DVD- binge watch thing.

I’m always drawn to the desert Southwest – you know, Albuquerque, Phoenix, etc. Maybe I lived there in another life, who knows. I was talking to my cousin the other night and out of the blue she tells me that one of her sons is drawn to the desert, too. Like when he sees a scene in the movies or on tv, like in Breaking Bad for instance, he is drawn to it. Crazy right?

My thing with these tv shows is that I watch mostly reality tv, not sure why, so I don’t see much scripted stuff.

Russia Wants Bulgarians to Stop Painting Soviet Monuments To Look Like American Superheroes


This struck me as so funny.  Russia wants Bulgarians to stop painting the Soviet monuments to look like American super heroes. But it’s been painted over and over again as other things, too. There is one monument that is defaced often. It was painted bright pink to commemorate the anniversary of the Prague Spring and it was painted blue and yellow which are Ukrainian colors. But I think the super heroes are so funny, just the fact that they are American heroes (and Ronald McDonald) makes it hilarious to me.