Single panel vs comic strip

IMG_4076I’ve been asked why I like single panel cartoons rather than comic strips.

I like to read both, I appreciate both, but for my own projects, I prefer the single panel. They both have their pros and cons to me.

A single panel comic might seem harder in theory, as each day is a single gag that has to be funny, where a comic strip can move the story along without being a belly laugh daily because once you know the characters, you don’t have to be funny every day.

With a comic strip or even a panel with the same characters daily, I’ve found that they write themselves after awhile. Their own personalities come out and you can have a character stare out into the audience and get a laugh without even saying anything. But I get bored drawing the same characters and basic situations day after day.

While a single panel may be a bit difficult where you have to come up with different situations and gags daily, I really enjoy that. I like having different characters and different situations; different time periods -future, past, whatever. As for coming up with the gags, I don’t seem to have a problem with that, I guess it’s just how my mind works. I’ll hear something or read something and I then sort of twist it in my mind and get a comic out of it. I don’t do that to get a comic, I just think like that on a daily basis!

The comic strips take me from three to four hours to complete each strip, where a single panel can take from 45 minutes to an hour. I was told one time by a comics editor that I work too fast, he could tell that by looking at my work, not watching me work, but just by looking at the completed comics.

I like the fact that with a single panel comic, it is easily shared on social media. You don’t have to know the characters, you don’t have to know the storyline, it is just a single gag that you might enjoy and share. I’ve had single panel comics shared on social media by thousands of people and liked by thousands, where I don’t know if that would be the case with a strip unless it’s Peanuts or Pearls Before Swine or something like that.

So I hope you’ll be following Tomversation daily when I start publishing my comic starting May 4th. You can follow here online (that’s a different address than this blog, or at Instagram: instagram.com/tomversation.toons/  and Facebook: facebook.com/Tomversation.toons/

Go ahead, follow now so you won’t miss out on premier day!!

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each time I publish Click here. 

Another rejection letter and I’m grateful!

hal-and-high-water-benilda

So it’s time to get off the pot. I need to make a move.

After 15 years, I ended my daily news blog, which chronicled our local town and I am now fully committed to posting daily comics. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, the syndicates do not like Hal and High Water.

Just like Benilda threw Hal out, the syndicates seemed to have thrown the Hal comic strip out. I received rejection letters from most of them and yesterday, Andrews McMeel Syndicate sent me a letter explaining their decision, and I’ll take “no” for an answer, as for the rejections, I believe Charles Schulz received 80 of them!

Here is their response:

Thank you for your submission. I have had a chance to review your comic and, unfortunately, we are not in a position to syndicate your feature idea. Although there are some qualities to your work that I do really enjoy, I feel like there isn’t enough to your concept for us to consider running it. There are a number of other syndicates that do an excellent job and you might consider sending your work to them, too.

Best regards,
Andrews McMeel Syndication Editorial

I am happy about this as I find it tedious to draw the same characters and situations day after day. It’s like painting the same painting over and over day after day, my true love is the single panel cartoon. I’ve always been “drawn” to that.

I did explain that to the editors at Andrews McMeel and they must be wondering why I submitted a comic strip. I’m not quite sure myself. I did 30 of the strips and submitted those 30. Maybe one day I’ll post them here so you can see what they were all about.

I’m not sure what they meant by not having enough of a concept as I explained what I would do with the comic for years in the future. But again, I am happy they declined the feature as I would like to do my Tomversation comic panel, rather than a strip, on my own terms.

So here is the news: Starting May the 4th (“May the 4th be with you” day) Tomversation will start publishing daily. So far I have three venues where I will publish online:
At this website: TomFalco.com
Facebook: facebook.com/tomversation.toons
Instagram: instagram.com/tomversation.toons/

If I decide to add another venue, I’ll let you know here.

There are comics on Instagram and Facebook with millions of fans/followers. That is my goal.

Stay tooned.

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each time I publish Click here. 

Stop and smell the art

met1

It rained on Sunday, so I went to the MET Museum in New York, I mean I would have gone anyway, but usually I go the day after Thanksgiving as a tradition. And this time I did something different. I didn’t take pictures, or many pictures. I did post a few on Facebook, but then after a bit I put my phone/camera down and enjoyed the experience, which is something we don’t do these days.

No matter where we are, we are looking through the camera and not enjoying the actual experience. At the museum, at concerts, at a party at a ball game at a parade – everywhere, we are not enjoying the experience, we are missing it by trying to get the best photos.

There was a time at museums and concerts, where you were not permitted to take photos. Now they are permitted to do that, I guess they can’t control it anymore; and at concerts, videos are allowed, but for some reason they don’t like that at museums. They’ll allow snap shots but not videos. I got yelled at this past summer for taking videos at the MET.

Anyway, I put my camera away and enjoyed the experience and it was quite enjoyable. I was tempted to take the camera out when I saw others buried in their phones among the most magnificent art in the world – the Masters and ancient Egyptian and Chinese antiquities. I’m not sure what was so important on their phones, but Egypt and Matisse and Van Gogh and the rest were not as interesting, I guess.

met2met3met4met5met6met7

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Getting Hal ready for his close-up

hal-and-high-water-the-preview

These are the first two panels of my new Hal and High Water comic strip. I’ve been working on it every day, getting it ready for publication.

I’m trying to get the story going fast, I don’t want to drag out the story, you know, explaining how Hal and his best friend Beau get into their current situation, I want the adventure to start right off, so I’m wrestling with that – do I explain it all for a few weeks’ worth of strips, or just get into the action after a week or so of strips?

I could do a flashback, you know, start off with them being out in the wilderness and then backtrack, you know, have a few strips later on titled, “How it all began.” Hmm, maybe, I like that idea.

Anyway, I need readers and fans, so hope you’ll be one of them. You can find the strip online somewhere daily, not sure where yet, but on social media, you can find Hal at these links below. When the strip starts publishing, I’ll post it daily on Facebook and Instagram. Twitter, I’ll use that for conversation, sharing cartooning stories, blog posts and things like that. Here are the 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

NEXT BLOG POST: Where did the name Benilda come from?

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each time I publish Click here. 

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

Daily News Sunday comics; a blast from the past

I started following a page on Facebook that is all about The New York Daily News Sunday papers. Mostly the comics and thrown in are some old images and comic from the New York Mirror.

What I like about it is that as you scroll down, you feel as if you are reading the actual comics pages at the time. Three comics stood out that I had forgotten about but when I saw them here it brought back so many childhood memories for different reasons.

louie-comicThe reason I remember Louie so well is Silly Putty! I distinctly remember picking up this comic by pushing Silly Putty onto it and then taking up the image. Like this image shows below.

I don’t know why Louie stands out, because I’m sure I did this with all the comics, but I distinctly remember picking up Louie with Silly Putty.

sillyputty

pottsy-comic

I liked Pottsy because it was funny, but also it was New York. He was a NY cop and the scenes clearly depicted New York. This top comic is obviously Coney Island and the one below clearly shows City Hall in lower Manhattan. I was just there a couple of weeks ago.

pottsy-comic2super-duper-comic

As for Super Duper, I remember drawing it as a kid. When I learned to cartoon by redrawing the Sunday comics and putting my own characters in. I can clearly remember drawing and re-drawing Super Duper.

In my own little bubble

I posted a video to Instagram of a boat coming into shore in our little lagoon where I live in Miami, in February. Someone sent me a message telling me that it’s 17 degrees where they are and that I was being cruel and teasing them. He was kidding about the cruel part, but it made me think. When I post things I’m sort of thinking of my own little world. I told him I’m in my own little bubble and not realizing there are others our there seeing the images or even reading this blog post.

I know people from all over the world read me. Once I was stopped walking down the street and a guy asked me, “Are you Tom Falco?” When I told him I was, he introduced himself and said he was a reader and follower of mine from Liechtenstein! That’s a country near Switzerland!

When I’m in New York City, which is often, I don’t think about home. I took photos of the snow this past November and posted photos on social media, but I never though, “Hmm, what is the weather back home in Miami as I am here in the snow in New York?” Am I the only one who does or doesn’t do this? Is it selfish to just be in our own little bubbles?

On the other hand, I have the weather on my phone from different cities I like and I look at that often, I wonder what the weather is like today in Albuquerque for instance, but if I’m out in the snow in New York or on a boat in Miami, I’m not thinking of Albuquerque at the moment.

I guess we are living in an Instagram world, which is a selfish bubble world.