Boteros everywhere

lincoln-road1

I spent last Sunday on Lincoln Road on South Beach where they have a great Fernando Botero exhibit up an down the road. It was interspersed among the monthly antique market.

lincoln-road2

There are a lot of Boteros where I live, a couple of restaurants in my neighborhood have big Botero works outside and there is a big park called Fairchild Tropical Gardens where there are Boteros as time all throughout the acreage there. I’ve also seen Chihuly’s there, as well, spread around the park.

lincoln-road3

lincoln-road4lincoln-road5lincoln-road6lincoln-road7lincoln-road8

Kobe

kobe

Getty images

When famous people pass, you get a feeling. A different feeling with each one. Most remind you of your own past, maybe of your own youth and you mourn them like the rest of the world. But there are others that you feel are family members and they hit you hard and I don’t know why. It’s so random.

I remember in the past when Elizabeth Montgomery passed, it hit me hard, and also Audrey Meadows. I didn’t feel the same as when Jackie Gleason passed, not that I didn’t mourn him, but Audrey Meadows felt like a family member and I don’t know why.

Lucille Ball felt like family and so did Anthony Bourdain. His death hit me like a brother. Weird. Tom Petty hit me pretty hard, too, and Prince. And so many random people.

I wasn’t a basketball fan, but for some reason Kobe Bryant’s death hit me very hard, too, like a family member.

My own bother passed away almost a year to the day six years ago (January 29). And I’ve had strange feelings about so many friends who have passed recently. I was driving home late on Friday night and for some reason, all my friends who are on the other side popped into my head. I started thinking about my best days in the 1980s – my favorite decade. And then the music started to play on the radio from that time, music that reminded me of my friends who were gone. Strange, but comforting.

Living in the Roaring ’20s

newsies

Let’s bring back the newsies caps, but not the smoking.

Some of us were talking and we have a feeling that a lot of the 1920s will come back in the 2020s. I’m talking about maybe fashions and sayings and things like that. Maybe even  reprisal of silent films as a goof. It may all start as a goof.

I have so many of those newsboy/newsies caps, but I never wear them. Possibly some guys may start wearing them as a goof and they’ll catch on and become the fashion. Maybe sayings will come back like, “horse feathers,” and “Don’t take any wooden nickels,” and “four-flusher.” You can see a full list here.

Other fashion statements of the 1920s were beaded dresses, argyle socks, Cloche hats, art deco and flapper styles. Maybe guys will slick back their hair and wear straw hats.

Podcasts are sort of like old time radio, aren’t they? And maybe sepia toned photos could be a common thing on Instagram. And what about cars, people might drive more restored cars around as a common thing – Model T’s, Model A’s, The Hobnocker, Bugatti, etc.

Pez was invented in the 1920s and so was Pineapple upside down cake and Kool-Aid and sliced bread! Water skiing was invented and the dial telephone,  and the jukebox and sunglasses! And of course newspapers were at an all time high in circulation, every city had their fair share. And it was the Gatsby and the Charleston dance era. Who knows, even if just one or two things came back for a bit, it would be interesting.

I never liked when the years changed or the decades passed. I don’t know why, I guess I didn’t like the passage of time. But for some reason, I’m all into the 2020s. I’m looking forward to them.

Lots of super heroes at NY Comic Con

comiccon1

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.

comiccon2

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.

comiccon3

comiccon4

comiccon5

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

hal-and-high-water

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.