Simply the Best

I redid my cartoon from yesterday, it seemed only right. I added Tina Turner up in heaven on a cloud, replacing the random guy from yesterday. What do you think?

I’m in mourning for Tina. Her death hit me hard, I don’t know why. I mean I know why – I loved her. But I don’t know why when some celebs die it hits me very hard. I sometimes believe it’s the state of mind you are in that day or week and that mood translates to the death of someone whether you knew them or not.

I saw Tina in concert many years ago, maybe 2008, around that time, she was of course already an icon. Our seats were great. I was looking for the photos I took, but can’t find them. She came up right over us on a crane. She was right there -feet from us.

I think I know every one of her songs and all of them from the 1980s are stuck in my mind – I can remember that time frame when I hear the songs. “What’s Love Got to Do With It,” reminds me of the summer of 1984 – one of my favorite years. I can remember that summer so clearly whenever I hear that. The video was all over tv, and you could hear the song in stores, on the street, wherever you were. You hear the first few bars and you know the song.

In 1984 or 1985 I stole a big Tina cutout that was outside a record store in the mall. I’m not sure where it is now, probably folded up in my parents’ garage. It was sitting right outside the entrance, I was with my cousin, and I just took it. I was possessed. I kidnapped Tina!

“Simply the Best” of course is iconic and it’s used in so many ways these days – at events, on tv commercials, it reminds me of HBO, which used it for many years as part of their brand.

I love “River Deep, Mountain High,” and “Rolling on the River” reminds me of my mother, she loved that. My mother also loved the Tina and Bryan Adams song, “It’s Only Love,” whenever that video came on we stopped what we were doing and watched.

I remember as a young kid seeing Ike and Tina Turner on tv and thinking, “what a funny name,” it just sounded funny to me. But she’s been part of my life, like so many of us.

We all know her story, how she escaped from Ike with nothing, made it to a motel, where the owner let her stay even though she had no money, and through it all, she reinvented herself and became a superstar.

Seeing the announcement of her death yesterday was a shock.

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Al Jaffee in his own words

I came across this great Al Jaffee video where the Mad Magazine cartoonist talks about his life and Mad Magazine-related things.

Al passed away in April at the age of 102. My father always used to say all of these old comedians lived long lives because they laughed all day and every day – George Burns, Milton Berle, Jack Benny, etc. I guess you could add Al Jaffee to that list.

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The Ed Sheeran quandary

An artist friend posted the article of Ed Sheeran being found innocent of copying Marvin Gaye’s music for one of his songs.

My friend was saying it’s a thing that happens, things sound and look the same.

A few years back I wrote about a little book I have called Steal Like an Artist which says says that there are no original ideas – everyone steals from each other.

Over the years I was positive people were stealing my cartoon ideas. I was so admant about it until it happened to me and I looked as if I was stealing others’ ideas. It just happens, there are just so many ideas. I don’t call it stealing, I just call it life.

Recently a guy suggested I took one of his ideas, but I wrote about how I came up with the cartoon and it has nothing to do with his cartoon.

I saw a cartoon recently that I came up with years ago. Only thing is I never published it and never told anyone about it, but there it was, created and published by someone else, and now I feel that I can’t ever publish my cartoon. I had been putting off redrawing it to fit the format I use now and I wanted to freshen it up a bit, but putting it off just caused me to look as if I am stealing someone’s work, so I guess it will never see the light of day now.

Many years ago I sent cartoons to a syndicate and a month or so later, I saw one of my ideas in a famous comic strip. I was convinced that the cartoonist saw my work at the syndicate some way and used it. Never mind the fact that he published 365 cartoons a year, I was convinced that one was taken from my idea.

My cousin sent me the link to a movie called Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell, he was explaining it to me, he saw it the other night on tv. I told him that was Mama Mia! So it happens, whether the writers agree or not to the fact. In this case, the Mama Mia movie and play people say it isn’t the same thing.

So anyway, I’m glad Ed Sheeran was not convicted of anything. Things sound the same all the time and things look the same all the time. It’s the zeitgeist of life.

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Rescued cartoon art

Another great story on CBS Sunday Morning this past week.

Bill Blackbeard, over 30 years, has preserved 2.5 million comic strip artifacts – actual ephemeral newspaper comics sections. I love this, but I do wish he would have saved the whole newspaper of the times! Some go back to 1904.

He drove around the country with his wife and friends, collecting old newspaper comic sections, a lot from libraries who would microfilm the newspapers and then have no future use for them after filming them.

The comics are being featured at the Billy Ireland Cartoon Library and Museum at Ohio State University right now.

Included with the newspapers is the whole original set of 1931 comic art pieces of Blondie – actual drawn pieces of art from the time.

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We’re all content creators

I keep seeing the words “content creator” so I looked it up.

According to Adobe’s website, “A content creator is someone who creates entertaining or educational material to be expressed through any medium or channel.” They say it’s mostly through online publication. Which I think is what we all do.

If we blog, if we draw, if we use Instagram or TikToc or Facebook, we are content creators.

I posted my vacation pics, there, I’m a content creator.

I prefer to be called a cartoonist rather than a content creator. Writing this blog is making me a content creator and I think I prefer “content creator” rather than “blogger” in this instance. So sometimes it’s good to be called a content creator, other times I prefer to be called a cartoonist. You may prefer to be called a photographer or chef rather than content creator, too. I guess it goes back and forth depending on whatever it is you are doing.

I guess we’re all content creators whether we want to use that term or not.

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Hyacinth Bucket and Doc Martin; friends in my head

Angela and Dick Srawbridge

I watch a lot of British tv – sitcoms, called Britcoms, and dramas and dramadies.

My favorite three shows right now are Escape to the Chateau, Doc Martin and Midsomer Murders; in that order. I can watch Dick and Angela Strawbridge on Escape to the Chateau forever. I’ve seen each episode so many times, it’s basically background noise at this point. I want to live with them, live in the French countryside and do everything they do, except for all the hard work.

I also want to live in Portwenn, Cornwall, where Doc Martin lives. I love small towns. And as for Somerset county in England, I don’t know if I would want to live in all these charming small villages only because there seems to be non-stop murders on a weekly basis there!

I love so many other shows, the list is countless. But what I’m finding after all these years is that I am starting to use British terms and words. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But I find it interesting.

My mother was always into British tv and movies. She loved to call a Jaguar car a “Jag-U-ar,” in that British way. And so many times when something was on tv like, Hyacinth Bucket (pronounced Bouquet) in Keeping Up Appearances or Are You Being Served, my mother would call me to ask if I was watching. My father and I would love Death in Paradise, which has been on for 12 seasons, with completely different casts, but with the same concept.

Doc Martin, driving on that side of the car, with Louisa, Aunt Ruth and PC Penhale

One thing I never understood was why British tv shows only have six to eight episodes per season. There really aren’t many episodes in a whole series. By the way, we call a tv series a whole body of work, the British call a tv season, a series.

I always use an expression from “Absolutely Fabulous” (Ab Fab) to a snob at a store – “Drop your attitude honey, you’re just a shop girl.” I think I’ve said it in my head more than saying that out loud, though. And don’t get me started on Vera, the female Columbo, or Broadchurch, which I finally got around to watching, and am obsessed with. Unfortunately, Broadchurch’s three seasons (series) are only 24 episodes total. That’s one single season on American tv. In America, that would be 72 episodes total.

I used a British expression last week that horrified me – I said, “He’s called Joe,” rather than “His name is Joe.” Ang I find myself saying Oregano as OR-E-GAA-NO. The British/European way.

And the strangest thing of all? The other day I was getting in my car which was parked at a meter at the curb and I attempted to get into the right side, the passenger side, to drive. For a moment I thought the steering wheel was on the passenger side, as it is in Britain. I draw the line at calling eggplant, “aubergene” though.

I have a friend who is the spitting image of Hyacinth Bucket, she walks and talks like her and has her build and high voice, minus the British accent. When she goes on and on about something I’ll say, “Ok Hyacinth,” and she gets it and laughs.

I do love All Creatures Great and Small and Miss Scarlet and the Duke, and Downton Abbey and so many of the newer shows on PBS.

And I know it seems that all I do is watch tv, but I do have a life – I travel a lot, draw all these cartoons you guys read daily, I own a business and run it daily, am on the condo board and for 15 years I was editor and publisher of our local news and was at every meeting and event in town for all those years. So I do manage to get things done between watching the lives of Dick and Angela and Doc Martin.

I’m thinking I’ve got to get more of these people or more British stuff in my comics. It’s there for the taking.

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Mariah is exhausted

This cartoon ran on Christmas Day. It’s been going around social media and people are asking what does it mean.


I admit that I don’t usually get Six Chix cartoons. But this one is very clever and funny.

Mariah Carey is the “Queen of Christmas” due to her ubiquitous “All I Want for Christmas is You,” which plays non-stop during the season.

Mariah broke another record by having this be the number one Christmas song for another year! It plays on the radio, on tv, in stores, in elevators, in doctor’s offices, in dentist’s offices, in auto repair shops, blaring out of cars next to you at stop lights, in Grand Central. I’m not sure how some people have never heard the song. It’s almost impossible not to hear it.

So she is exhausted from working non-stop all month, actually all season (through the song playing non-stop) and she’s passing the baton to the ground hog and Easter Bunny, the next two holidays or days of note.

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It’s an original Hazel!

I bought an original “Hazel” cartoon by Ted Key, done for the Saturday Evening Post.

It’s hand drawn and colored.

Hazel has always been one of my favorite single panel cartoons, along with Our Boarding House, Out Our Way, of course The Far Side and a bunch of others.

I watch Hazel on tv too, one of the nostalgia channels shows two episodes every morning and sometimes I watch, and listen, as I’m drawing.

I may or may not sell this and the same with the recent Peanuts cartoon cel I purchased.

My goal has always been to sell ephemeral items. I’ve done that in the past with Flintstone cartoon cels and old magazines and magazine advertisements, too.

This Hazel cartoon is from an estate collection of original art.

This early Ted Key ink and watercolor cartoon is done on paper that has been mounted to a board. This would have been done to give to an executive for their wall or even a retirement or going away gift. The cartoon has a hand written caption that reads “You’ll Have To Speak Up” with OK RUN written in blue pencil.

Overall paper that art is on measures 11″ x 8 1/2 inches. It’s not easy to find any hand colored Ted Key originals, so this is extra special.

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I bid and won this Linus cartoon cell

I bid on and won this Linus original cartoon cell created by the Bill Melendez Studio for A Boy Named Charlie Brown in 1969. I was the first Peanuts movie.

I bid on another one featuring Charlie Brown and another character, but didn’t get it.

My cousin works for the auction house that sells orignial cartoon art. They are based in Hoboken, so every time I come up from the PATH train (subway), one of the first things I see is the buidling he works in. I’ve only been inside once.

He told me a month or so ago about some of the Peanuts art they had getting ready for auction. He wasn’t allowed to show it to me, but he informed me about it.

A few weeks ago he texted me about two hours before the auction ended and I bid. I now have this great thing to add to my original cartoon art collection.

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Honoring Charles Schulz

I usually don’t publish a cartoon on Saturday, but today I did because it’s a special day. Today would have been Charles Schulz’s 100th birthday. And to celebrate, cartoonists are adding something Peanuts-related to their strips and panels to honor Mr. Schulz, Charlie Brown and Snoopy and the gang.

Mine are published at the usual places:

But you don’t have to go to these places because here it is.

To find all the others, check your daily newspapers or look online for the comics using the hashtag #Schulz100

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