Is it real or is it Maxell?

Yesterday’s cartoon is an homage to an old Maxell ad. I came up with the idea of the guy sitting in his chair at home being bored due to economic issues of the day and the ad came to mind as I started drawing the cartoon.

One thing though – to get a photo as a reference, I googled “Memorex” and the photo came up – but the crazy part is that it’s an ad for Maxell! And I noticed people who commented on the cartoon mentioned Memorex, which is interesting because this iconic “Blown Away” ad is not serving its purpose – directing people to the correct product, it’s literally sending people to its competitor. But of course it’s one of the best photographs ever. It’s by photographer Steve Steigman.

Even the google search sends the Memorex reference to the Maxell ad. It’s sort of like those ads that we love but we don’t remember what the product is for.

This is the original advertisement, photo by Steve Steigman

Speaking of Memorex, I remember something from high school. We had a class called Rock Poetry and it was all based on current rock music. We studied the lyrics as poetry, which is what they were. We all had to bring in a record or cassette tape (yes, it was back then) and the teacher would pull out a random record or cassette and we would listen to a song and discuss it.

One time she reached into the box and pulled out a cassette and said, “Ok, the next one is Memorex.” And of course we all cracked up. We had to explain to her that Memorex was the cassette tape company, not the name of the recording or band.

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Bringing Up Father

I’ve been reading a lot of old Bringing Up Father comic strips on Facebook, they pop up daily. If you click on these, they will open larger.

What gets me is the detail. I can’t understand how George McManus, the cartoonist, drew the same characters day after day, multiple times in each strip with such precise detail. His linework is amazing.

Brining Up Father featured Maggie and Jiggs, the two main characters. It ran in newspapers for 87 yeras, from 1913 to 2000.

Jiggs is an immigrant from Ireland who comes to the U.S. and wins $1 million in a sweepstakes. So now he is up in the world but prefers his working class life. His favorite food is Corned Beef and Cabbage, which he gets often at his friend Dinty Moore’s restaurant.

The art has an Art Nouveau/Art Deco design, which makes it stand out. When McManus passed away in 1954, other artists took over the strip until its ending in 2000.

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Snoopy, Charlie Brown and the gang on sneakers

Peanuts characters are featured on a new line of sneakers from Converse.

The collection will include the Chuck 70 ($100), One Star ($90), and Chuck Taylor All Star ($70) styles.

There are also matching t-shirts, shorts and other items.

I’m tempted to buy this read pair, but I don’t wear high-tops and I’m not sure I would actually wear them. Although I might.

The collection is available Tuesday, May 24. You can see them here.

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New Peanuts stamps coming soon

The U.S. Postal Service has announced some new 2022 stamps and you can see here that these new Peanuts stamps will be added to celebrate Charles Schulz’s 100th birthday.

There are 10 designs surrounding Charles Schulz’s image.

Art director Greg Breeding designed the stamps from original Peanuts artwork.

I’m going to buy them, and of course never use them. The release date has not been announced, but I’ll be checking the stamps on my snail mail to see who uses them first, it would be interesting to see who does! Schulz was born Nov. 26, 1922, so possibly November would be the date they are released.

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Returning to the 1980s

I’m always wanting to return to the 1980s – my favorite decade.

I always imagine that when we die, we can return to any time period we like – mine would be to relive Jan 1, 1980 to Dec. 31, 1989 and then do it over and over again – sort of like a 10 year version of Ground Hog Day.

I saw this picture recently, the Kevin Bacon poster. it’s from 1986 and it’s still hanging in the subway – at one particular station in NYC. Still there, 36 years later!

I’d like to visit it and sort of be in a picture in front of it, transporting myself to 1986. It’s at the 71st and Continental subway station in Forest Hills Queens. I am always at that station, too. I get off at that stop (and get on) when I’m coming and going from the city when I meet my cousins in Queens. I will visit this when I get to NY in a couple of months. Look for it here!

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The changing, and shrinking, comics

I saw in The Daily Cartoonist today, that cartoonist Jim Keefe, cartoonist for Sally Forth, who previous was the writer and artist of Flash Gordon, wrote in his blog a few years ago, about the size, or rather, lack of size of the printed comic strips today.

A few years back I showed this example here, the comics in the Miami Herald – smaller than postage stamps!

I think this is the time I realized that my dream of being a published newspaper cartoonist was not my dream anymore.

I know people read the newspaper comics, but not many. I haven’t read the actual newspaper comics for years, and by years, I mean a decade or more. I think I gave up with The Far Side, Calvin and Hobbes and Bloom County left the comics pages. Today I read them online, where you can pick and choose your favorites and sort of make up your own comics page at GoComics.com and Comics Kingdom and other sites like Webtoons.

I think one of the best places these days to publish and to read comics is Instagram. You can follow the comics you like, flip through them one panel at a time and they easily come up in your daily feed, you don’t have to look for them. I publish there Monday thru Friday.

I’m enjoying reading old “Our Boarding House” comic panels featuring Major Hoople, from the 1920s and ’30s, on Facebook. A couple of groups post one Major Hoople panel a day, it has a lot of devoted fans.

In the past I always felt that I had to be published in the newspapers – it was why comic strips were created – to be in the newspapers. Just like movies – created to be seen on the big silver screen. But today big features show up on streaming services and most comics show up online or on social media.

And with both of these situations, you can control what you see, when you see it and how you see it. You can watch a movie on your 3 inch phone or 65 inch tv – same with the comics and those tiny, postage sized comics can be easily blown on on any screen for easing viewing.

By not being confined to daily newspaper publication, you can vary your schedule, you can change the size of the panels – make them longer, shorter, etc. Not be edited, which can be a good or bad thing depending on how you look at it, and probably the best part – publish instantly without a four to eight week lag time. I can’t imagine these days completing a comic strip or panel and then waiting eight weeks to see it in print.

Of course, publishing online rather than with a syndicate in newspapers has one major drawback – no money – you don’t get a salary. But times are changing. NFT’s seem to be something interesting to look at these days along with other money-making ideas for artists and cartoonists.

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With one foot in the past, just how long will it last?

The last few months I’ve been driving a different direction than usual and I pass a school that I dealt with for many years. I used to print school newspapers (well, I was a print broker, and handled printing the newspapers) and I drive by one of the schools I had as a client for 20 years. They were the longest running school client I had.

Now each day as I drive by, the 1980s and 1990s flood into my mind, mostly the 1980s – and I go back in time. I can picture myself in the office, speaking to the ladies there, picking up the job, delivering the completed newspapers – for 20 years! The ’80s flash by in my mind.

The other morning I saw a report on Tears for Fears, who to me, was the sound of the 1980s. The report was about them getting back together and going on tour this summer with a new album. So of course I dug around for one of my favorite albums, “Songs From the Big Chair,” which I couldn’t find, so I download my favorites from that album.

To me “Shout,” “Everybody Wants to Rule the World,” and “Head Over Heels” scream 1980s – the best decade for music and just about everything!

I’ve been listening to this in my car and yesterday, as I drove by the school with the song on, I went back in time – like a time machine. I was back in time. It was surreal.

There are so many great songs from the 1980s, but for some reason, these three songs from Tears for Fears bring me back to that era and shout, no pun intended, 1980s.

I had it blasting so loud in the car, that I couldn’t hear a truck driver yelling at me and calling me names because I passed him on the road. I was in stuck 1985 anyway, out of his realm.

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Sharing Cher; Thank you for being a friend

There is a special dedicated to Betty White on Monday night – 10 pm eastern time on NBC. This is Cher who taped this as part of the special. Cher is singing on the Golden Girls soundstage.

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They like me, they really like me

I never pay attention to Google Alerts about myself. In fact, I took myself off of Google Alerts years ago because most things written about me where not nice.

When I was doing the daily news, I would get written about and mocked for things I wrote on almost a daily basis, so I just removed myself from the alerts – ignorance is bliss.

But I put myself on the alerts again once I started my Tomversation cartoon but I never look at them when they arrive in email (the alerts, not my cartoons), this morning I looked because there is a guy with a blog called Tomversations – with an “s” and I thought to myself, “Let me see what he’s up to.” But it was me that was in the alert – and it was all featured items of my cartoons.

There are a lot of sites that seem to be copying each other, I think the Bored Panda thing that was done a few months back and then other sites all seemed to have gone through my comics and picked out their favorites and featured them.

I don’t mind because I’m given the credit and it’s free publicity.

Here is a google list of recent ones – you can see I’ve been featured on places from Bored Panda to Newsbreak to Savage Humans and even YouTube!

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Travel plans for the new year

Will Comic Con be affected by my travel plans in 2022?

Got most of my Christmas shopping done. Did it online. Now I just sit back and wait for the deliveries. I also made some donations to various causes, including Wikipedia! I had never donated to them before; an ad popped up on Facebook for them so I donated. I use them almost daily, so why not? I kept ignoring that thing at the top of their page this time of year, but some reason, the Facebook ad worked on me.

I know I should shop local, and I do. But I gave up mall shopping years ago, although the last time I was in a mall wasn’t that long ago. For my mother’s funeral in October, I needed a new pair of pants to go with my black suit. I put on a few pounds during the pandemic and the pants didn’t fit. So I want to the mall with a friend, got a new pair of black pants and we had lunch. So we shopped local.

Glad to say since I have been back to working out, I don’t need those over-sized pants. But I’ll save them just the same.

Speaking of suits, I was making airline plans for a wedding I have to got to in September. The reason suits reminded me of that is because I seem to only wear suits at weddings and funerals. The issue with the wedding date that it is going to screw up my NY Comic Con for 2022. The wedding is about three weeks before Comic Con, so I can either stay in NY for those three weeks or come home after the wedding and then go back again a few weeks later, which I don’t think I’ll do.

I was talking with a friend the other day and was telling her that after my long trips, I come home and totally forget them. Not on purpose, but I tend to forget the fact that I left town and I’m just right back into my routine here at home. I was just in New York and Boston and basically have no memory of Boston. Well, I do, but I have to actually sit down and think about it, it’s not like it just comes to mind as a recent memory.

My friend said the trick is to travel for short periods – like maybe three days – and go to many different places. I may just try that. I’ve been doing the opposite – going for long periods of times, but what is the point if I return home and feel as if I never left the house?

First world problems.

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