Superhero face masks

face-masks

I like these superhero face masks, but I don’t know if I would wear them. The logo is too big.

I’ve seen some fun ones with Charlie Brown and Snoopy, I Love Lucy and others.

Right now I wear a solid black one, which I like, it’s a bit heavy though and I’m thinking of changing it. But I’ve ordered so many and unless you buy them and then try them, there is no way of knowing if they fit right or if you can breathe through them and things like that. I must have 12 of them about now, and only like one or two.

I do like this Batman one with the logo small to the side. What do you think? Too geeky?

People are going crazy with the masks now. I notice on tv, the news reporters are matching their ties now. If they have on a red tie, they wear a red mask, and so on.

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Too many logos on this one.

Baking bad

baking-bad-comicToday’s comic really makes me laugh. I don’t know if it’s the drawing or what.

I was watching Breaking Bad as I usually do on Sunday and the thought came to me. So simple, yet so funny.

I know the characters so well that I didn’t need to look at a photo for context, I just know Walter White so well. I guess this is a mixture of two of my favorite things – Breaking Bad and the cooking shows I like to watch on Saturday mornings.

Sundays are for ‘Breaking Bad’

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Ever since we’ve been cooped up in self isolation, I’ve been finding myself watching Breaking Bad on Sundays. Usually in the afternoon I’ll watch two or three episodes. I don’t know why I’m so attracted to the show. I’ve talked about it before.

Sure the stories and acting are superb, but it’s more than that. It’s the location – the desert and Albuquerque and the darkness of their house and the dynamic between the characters – the family, I mean – the Whites and the Schraders. I love the family scenes, especially when they are all together at a backyard bbq or whatever. Of course Jesse and Walt’s relationship is special, too. And then there is all that crime and drugs thrown in.

I’ve never been to ABQ – short for Albuquerque, but it seems almost as if the place stopped in time. Like for instance if you go into a bar it may be a throwback from the 1970s, that’s what I get from watching this and Better Call Saul, also filmed on location in ABQ. I love that. Even the airport looks small and quaint and the gas stations look like 1960-70s throwbacks. The houses look to be from that period, too.

Here in Miami, everything is chrome and glass, there is no reverence for history, if it’s 20 years old, it’s knocked down for something bigger and shinier. It doesn’t look like that in ABQ. I would like to visit there real soon.

George Herriman, of Krazy Kat fame loved that area of the country. While he lived in New York and Los Angeles throughout his life, he spent a lot of time in ABQ – it’s obvious in his drawings and Krazy Kat backgrounds. I don’t know if I lived there in another life or what, but I’m always drawn to the area.

Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Ray Donovan and Shameless. All my favorite shows at the moment. And the weird part of this is that for all except for Saul, I started watching after their run or toward the end – you know, not from the beginning from when they first went on the air.

My earliest memory involved a cartoon

fredflintstoneOver the years when I’ve been interviewed, I have been asked who my cartooning influences are. The first is Hanna-Barbera and next is Charles Schulz. I remember drawing Fred Flintstone as a little kid, maybe I was five years old or younger.

I think, because The Flintstones seems like it was for adults, so I am not sure why I would love it so much.

But I do know that my earliest memory of all time, you know, in my whole life, my earliest memory was me, at two or three years old, running around our Brooklyn apartment – naked – trying to get away from my mother, who was trying to get me in the bathtub and Huckleberry Hound was coming on the tv – the theme song was playing! I can sort of picture that.

huckleberryhoundI don’t think I have an earlier memory, so it’s quite interesting that a Hanna-Barbera cartoon is my earliest memory. Is that crazy? I’m surprised I didn’t draw Huckleberry all the time. But I do know I used to love those Hanna-Barbera cartoons – along with The Flintstones it was Huckleberry and Yogi Bear and Quick Draw McGraw and so on.

I’m trying to not change the subject of what’s happening in our country these days, but need to post here daily and don’t wish to repeat what you see on the news every day. It almost reminds me of Al Roker and the weather – the news people show murder, rape, riots and then, “Here’s Al with the weather!, which I’ve always found stupid.

Do you get the gag?

who

I wrote about the “boomer” comment the other day and that makes me wonder, as I often do, “who is my audience?” I mean when you publish comics you have a demographic, but what is the audience if you publish a general interest cartoon?

I’m a boomer, but I do think younger. So can I combine the two? Will everyone get the gags?

I have often felt that if one or two gags get past a few people, so be it, it then becomes an inside joke, and I like that idea.

There’s a comic site called Comics I Don’t Understand. So I guess not every comic is understood and that’s ok.

My goal is to have readers of all generations. Why not? Today entertainment is segmented from movies to music to tv. There are so many different genres and they all cater to different elements of society. It’s micro-segmented. There was a time when there were a few tv channels and we sort of all watched the same thing, then cable came into being and there were hundreds of channels. I saw an ad recently for some sort of tv service that offered 2000 tv channels, is that possible?

Years ago I used to read the tv ratings in the newspapers. Once a week they listed the top 10 or 20 shows for the week – they had two lists – one for white America and one for people of color. And it always amazed me that they were nowhere similar. Seinfeld was number 1 on the white America list but at the bottom of the list or nowhere on the list for people of color! And vice versa, the shows that they watched, white America didn’t seem to watch.

Of course it’s the same with music, movies and so on.

share

I have more followers on Facebook than Instagram. I know that Facebook is not a favorite with the younger generation and Instagram is, so if I want that younger audience, I need to step up my Instagram game. But also, Facebook has a “share” feature which is used often on my work, Instagram needs a “share” feature. That will help tremendously. Look at this comic above, only posted 10 minutes on Facebook and already 13 shares! By the end of the day I expect over 100 shares. This is the beauty of Facebook.

You can see the Facebook site at facebook.com/Tomversation.toons and Instagram at instagram.com/tomversation.toons. By own cartoon website is at TomFalco.com.

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Hey boomer!

So I had to grow a thick skin when I published the daily news for all those years. It really got rough at times and I don’t think I ever really got a thick skin. My solution was to take my name and anything to do with me off Google Alerts. Seriously. Hide my head in the sand, that’s me.

spicy-dan-printBut now that I am publishing comics daily, I see it has come back – people leaving comments I’m not crazy about. One guy thinks I stole a comic from elsewhere, another doesn’t understand one comic and another called my one comic, the one about Dan and the angry spicy food which ran a week or so ago, “Boomer humor!”

Rather than get offended, which I did at first, I told him, wait for the next comic, you’ll really see boomer humor. And that was the Columbo comic. Speaking of this Columbo comic, a guy, a boomer in fact, commented that he hates Columbo and turns it off every time it comes on. I got offended at that. I really do need get thicker skin. I’m not even Columbo and I get offended!

colombo-printI’m guessing people know Columbo, even if they are 16-years-old, I mean everything is in reruns or available for instant streaming these days and if you don’t know Columbo you don’t know what you’re missing.

I am glad to get comments, it shows me that people are paying attention, you know, say what you will about me, just spell my name right – that sort of thing.

There is one cartoonist who on GoComics, has all comments turned off. I get it. I ran into him one time at a ComicCon and I didn’t really know what to say when we met, because I’m not really a reader of his comic so there was nothing to talk about, so I mentioned the “no comments” thing and we chatted about that for a bit. I guess it’s about putting your heart and soul into something and then having someone tear it apart, which I guess we are all guilty of on social media. It’s so easy to hide anonymously behind a keyboard.

The anatomy of a cartoon

So I published two weeks of Tomversation comics. Love the feeling, it brings back memories of years ago when I published daily. I am good with deadlines, I published the daily news in our neighborhood for 15 years, published daily comics and also printed and published things for so many years, including school newspapers that I guess every day is a deadline for me.

Anyway, the first comic, the “May the 5th be with you,” started out differently and I changed and redrew it many times. The day before it was to be published I started playing with it. You can see some of the incarnations here. There were more with changes related to these.

These are the finished ones, after I thought I was done and ready for publication, then I went back and moved things around and in some cases just redrew from scratch. You know, when I had Obi-Wan Kenobi handing Luke the bottle in the one drawing, I was wondering why is he just handing him a bottle in the middle of nowhere. Then I thought of the bar and added a couple of musicians, but still it wasn’t right.

I didn’t want to end up drawing that chaotic scene in the small panel I had to work with, so I ended up with the two of them at the table with Chewbacca and I did leave out Han Solo, who I believe is at the table, too. It was just too busy for everyone and everything.

This is what I love about single panel cartoons, too. You have that space and you have to make best use of it. Some guy mentioned on a social media site that the cartoon is a copy of some meme. I don’t remember seeing the meme, but that is the one thing I don’t like about single panel cartoons, it seems that everything has been done before. I’m guessing the “5th be with you” part is what he is referring to in the meme, not the whole bar set up, etc. But this is my concept, from my brain and that’s how it came to be.

Anyway, as you can see, first it was just a bartender and a guy in the bar, then the bartender ended up with a Darth Vader mask on then it ended up being the wookie bar or whatever that is on Star Wars and on and on and it finally because what it is.

I usually take 45 minutes to an hour to complete one panel cartoon, this one took six to seven hours with all the re-draws and changes!

Stephan Pastis – 10 With Tom

10 With Tom
10 questions in 10 minutes

I did this interview with Stephan Pastis a few years ago. For a long time I did a bunch of 10 With Tom interviews for the Huffington Post. I’m thinking of getting back into doing that. Anyway, here is Stephan.

I got the chance to ask Stephan Pastis, creator of the comic strip, Pearls Before Swine, my Ten With Tom questions. Stephan has one of the most popular comic strips around, his tipping point was when Scott Adams, creator of the Dilbert comic strip, noticed his work and mentioned it in a blog post. The rest is history. His online readership went through the roof overnight.

He won the 2015 Reuben Award for best newspaper comic strip. I’m trying to follow in his footsteps with my comics, so it truly was an honor doing Ten With Tom with Stephan.

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Do people mistake you for Seth Macfarlane?

I’ve heard that before, but the one I hear more is Robert Downey, Jr.  I even had a restaurant owner in Dublin, Ireland tell me what an honor it was to have Robert Downey, Jr. in her restaurant. I told her that I appreciated it, but that I didn’t like to be disturbed while dining.

Why do you create your comics 7 months in advance, why so far ahead?
I’m anal retentive.  I need to relax.

Are you recognized on the street?
Almost never. Except as Robert Downey Jr. in Dublin.

What are a few of your favorite classic newspaper comics from your childhood?

Far Side
Calvin and Hobbes
Peanuts
Bloom County

Flintstones or Scooby Do?
Scooby. There’s always someone trying to scare away prospective house buyers by filling it with fake ghosts and/or monsters. Knowing that the ghost thing is a sham, I could probably get a great deal on real estate.

Which comic strip would you like to crawl into and spend the day?
Krazy Kat. Lots of peyote and throwing bricks at others.

Dick Tracy or Little Orphan Annie?
It wouldn’t be Annie. Her lack of pupils would be disturbing, particularly if you fell in love. You could never look into her eyes.

What section of the printed daily newspaper today should be eliminated to add more comics?
Many of the comics.

Without looking, what color is Olive Oyl’s dress?
Top half of her is red. Bottom half of her is black.  Both halves are probably stained by spinach.

Do you think you’ll ever go digital in creating Pearls Before Swine? Why?
No. Too lazy to learn. Plus, it doesn’t seem like something Robert Downey Jr. would do.

Thank you Stephan!

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Lady Gaga announced ‘One World’ concert

gaga1

I was watching Morning Joe yesterday and there was Lady Gaga talking about a concert that will be on MSNBC Saturday, April 18, the “One World: Together at Home” concert, a sort of Live Aid, but it’s not a fundraiser, it’s just a night of entertainment to get everyone’s mind off our current situation.

What made me laugh was her background. I had written about how everyone has such interesting homes, many with bookshelves, and one of the richest, most famous women in the world has this plain white background, with a desk lamp. While she is all that when on the stage, she is just one of us in “real life.” I had seen others on tv with their awards in the background, you know,  an actual shelf or grammys or emmys or whatever, but not Gaga. Love that about her.

Here she is on YouTube, announcing the concert – same background.

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Comic awareness

alfred-pete

Alfred E. Neuman and Pete Buttigieg

The Daily Cartoonist recently had an article about the younger generation not being aware of past comic references, like when Pete Buttigieg was compared to Alfred E. Neuman, many younger people had no clue what that meant, or Andy Capp was referenced on a late night show and it went flat, younger people didn’t know Andy Capp.

I find this interesting because when I’m cartooning, I try to think in my head about the audience. Who is my audience? I go back and forth. I make references to things in the past but more often than not I refer to current things that the older audience doesn’t understand. That was common when I published daily a few years back.

I would use a current term associated with today’s youth and the readers didn’t have a clue. But then I realized that perhaps it is because of where I was posting. It was basically a site read by older folks, people who actually hold the newspaper in their hands and read comics and news!

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Andy Capp and his wife Flo.

When I start publishing Tomversation on May 4th, I will publish on my own website, but also I will publish on Facebook here and Instagram here and I assume that most of the readers on those platforms will be younger more than older, although Facebook seems to be out of favor with the younger crowd, but they still like Instagram.

So it will be interesting to see which group accepts my work more, or which group understands and gets my work more – not that it’s anything too complicated, but I do make references that will be from the past or more current, the spectrum that covers my knowledge and age I guess. But I’ve always liked the fact that not everyone gets a comic. I feel when that happens it’s an inside joke.

I didn’t understand this Tiger King thing that was going around – the memes and stories and things people were saying and posting online, so I looked it up and I’m all caught up now; not with the show, but knowing what Tiger King is about and how he fits into current pop culture.