May the 4th be with you!

We’re one today! Well, this incarnation of Tomversation is one.

On May 4th, 2020, I started publishing this incarnation of Tomversation, right at the beginning of the pandemic. This is the first cartoon. I started on May 4th, so that I would remember “May the 4th Be With You!” Although I don’t think I would have forgotten an important anniversary date.

A lot of the beginning cartoons were pandemic related, I guess it was easy to come up with those idea since that was an all consuming topic at the time. And it’s great to know we’re almost out of it!

Thanks for sticking around.

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What’s in a word?

Today’s Tomversation cartoon was influenced by the word, “orbisculate.” I got the idea from CBS Sunday Morning.

Growing up, Jonathan and Hilary Krieger’s vocabulary was enriched with a word their dad, Neil, used whenever a citrus fruit squirted you in the eye – a word they couldn’t find in a dictionary. Turns out he’d made it up! But with his passing last year from COVID, the Kriegers have set out to honor Neil by getting his word officially recognized by the publishers of dictionaries.

Their idea is to get the word used enough so as to make it become part of the English language. There is a list of uses they hope for and one was a comic strip. So I decided to accommodate them.

Here is the short story about it on CBS Sunday Morning.

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Am I trending? They seem to think so

So I’m getting some European love! Nora Gouma, a fashion/people magazine did a little feature on me.

They had seen my Ten With Tom feature in the Huffington Post and turned that back on me and did 10 questions with me.

I hadn’t done the 10 With Tom feature for awhile, but the feature is still popular. I guess when people Google certain celebs, my column comes up, so it’s always got some traction. I may bring it back, I’m in talks with the Huff Post. I have a bunch of the 10 With Tom columns here in tact in this blog.

Anyway, I see from a few of my recent press articles, that I need some new pics. Because of the pandemic, they aren’t sending people out to take pictures and I have to send the pictures in myself. I guess this European publication would not have sent anyone, but the Miami Herald and others would have when they did stories.

Frank

I tend to use certain characters over and over again. One of them is Frankenstein, or should I say Frankenstein’s monster. I used him and his wife the other day in this health care cartoon.

Whenever I use him in a gag, I call him “Frank,” and there is always someone who has to correct me and tell me he is Frankenstein’s monster – Frankenstein is the doctor. I know that.

But what would I call him? If he is Frankenstein’s monster, do I call him “Monster?” I think it’s nicer to call him “Frank,” which is short for Frankenstein’s monster.

But I have to always crack up that people always seem to have the need to correct the name. But of course, having people engage with the comic and discuss it is always a good thing.

One lady called him “Lurch,” getting her “monsters” mixed up.

Shots are coming

This is yesterday’s cartoon. I wasn’t sure how it would be received, would people like it? And lo and behold, people seemed to like it.

I overheard someone say this the other day and thought it was funny, and for some reason, whenever I read it or hear it, it makes me laugh.

But perhaps this is a good idea for those who are hesitant to get the vaccine – a jello shot in exchange for an arm shot. In this case, many people may opt for the two shots, rather than the single Johnson & Johnson shot.

It is an exciting time, just the thought of travel has me excited.

Be an Arts Hero

This cartoon from earlier in the pandemic is being rerun today as part of the Be An Arts Hero campaign, which is Monday, March 15. Cartoonists from all over the world are participating to bring awareness to the arts. Cartoons will start spreading across social media at 9 am eastern time.

The AAEC (Association of American Editorial Cartoonists) has been asked to spread the word about Be An Arts Hero, a push by the arts and cultures sector for direct government support of creatives during the time of coronavirus.

Be An #ArtsHero is joining a national effort of Arts Workers, urging the Biden/Harris administration to support the Arts and Culture sector. Together, cartoonists contributed to this political cartoon initiative.

An original cartoon (or a repurposed or existing cartoon on the subject), is to illustrate a unique point of view on the particular struggles of editorial cartoonists during this crisis.

I chose to repurpose the one shown above, which was first published towards the beginning of the pandemic.

Hashtags and tags include: #ArtsWorkersUnite, #ArtsHero #First100Days, and @JoeBiden, @KamalaHarris, @WhiteHouse, and @BeAnArtsHero. So if you look for them after today, you’ll see the cartoons all over social media and at BeAnArtsHero.com.

The arts and culture stats sheet can be seen here. You’ll see the large economic impact the arts have on our country.

My subconscious mentor

Recently I was interviewed for a publication and they asked me about my influences. I mentioned Hanna-Barbera and Charles Schultz and of course Ralph Dunagin, who I only recently realized was a big influence on my work. I had written about that in June 2020, when Ralph passed away.

For all these years I had not thought about him, but when he passed away and stories and images of his work started appearing, it struck me right away that that was my work! I was looking at my own work, yet it was Ralph’s work, who I was influenced by.

I don’t want to say I copied him, because I never did and I never traced or drew his work like I did with others. I never traced Fred Flintstone, yet I drew him all the time as a kid. Same as Peanuts characters – I drew them over and over. But with Ralph’s work, especially his Dunagin’s People comic strip, I only viewed it and subconsciously studied it, but I never recreated it on paper, I never copied or drew it – I saved it only in my head I guess. And I don’t remember doing that. It was all so subtle.

I find it so interesting. I subconsciously studied his line work. He was an “unassuming influence,” as I called my last blog story on him. I draw clothing in his style and I don’t connect the lines when I draw, just like him. I also draw feet like he does. I literally see his work in my work. Only I never knew it until recently. So that is really a case of subconsciousness. All these years it was right in front of my eyes, but I never knew it.

The new normal?

Today’s cartoon reflects something that may be happening in the country; maybe the world. I haven’t seen it personally, but they started talking about it on tv. People who have been vaccinated have an air of arrogance and superiority. And maybe they should.

I got vaccinated yesterday! I hadn’t planned it, I’m not of age yet and I’m not a front line worker, but I got a note from my doctor and I made an appointment at Publix. I tried other places; hospitals and such, but I ended up at Publix. Ironically, I ended up at my family’s Publix. What I mean is the one where I grew up and went to as a kid and where my parents still go. It’s only four blocks from their house! The appointment just popped up and I grabbed it when I had the chance.

I got there early and there only ended up being three of us there – a lady and a man and me. We were in and out fast and it went well. We joked about seeing each other in a month for our next shot. “See you, same place, same time.”

Publix didn’t ask for ID or the doctor’s note or insurance card or anything, which seemed strange, but I guess it’s all about getting people vaccinated more than the paperwork and other stuff. I heard they are opening it to almost everyone now and it’s really going well. When President Biden said there would be 100 million vaccines in 100 days, I doubted that, but it’s happening, we are almost there!

I stopped at my parents’ house for breakfast after my first shot and I’ll do it again after my second shot. Happy that I am on my way to normalcy.

A good friend of mine is against vaccines, I don’t think she has ever been vaccinated in her life. I mentioned that I had seen articles that said in the future if you don’t have a vaccine, you may not be able to fly. I think some airlines in Europe started that rule already. My friend is not happy about this, but that could be the new normal. There is talk of digital “travel passports” now, for domestic and international travel.

I didn’t mind last year, I am glad I experienced it – all the changes in the world, etc. But I think it’s time to get back to normal now. The new normal. Whatever that is.

Redoing an old cartoon

Today’s comic is an old one. I originally did it in the late 1990s, and I liked the sound, the alliteration better. The one on the right is the old one – AOL/A&P, two things from the past. I know AOL is still around, but it’s not as common as it was in the ’90s. Just thinking about it and I hear that old fashioned dial tone sound it used to make when booting up. Remember that?

Another thing – many parts of the country say they are standing on line, rather than in line, which I guess is important for the gag, but I know you get it either way, right?

Looking forward to normalcy

I made a bunch of travel plans and reservations for later in the year – from the summer on. Hopefully things will be great then and we can travel without concern.

Things seem to be going back to normal little by little. I can sort of tell by the bay activity. What I mean is, I live on the bay, and I remember seeing so much activity in the water during the early days of the pandemic – people kayaking, paddle boarding and so much more, on a daily basis. Now I don’t see that much anymore. I guess now that people are out and about, they aren’t feeling trapped and bored, although all that fun and healthy activity seemed to do them good when they were feeling trapped and bored.

I did create a lot of cartoons which were covid-based – regarding masks, social distancing, working from home, and so on.

I keep seeing on the news that covid infections are dropping dramatically while vaccines are moving along. Many people I know were vaccinated, almost all getting both shots already, including my parents. I am anxious to get vaccinated. I have friends who are against it. But if the numbers of infections are dropping, something good is happening.

I’ve been asked many times if I got my shots. I am not quite sure how old people think I am. But I am nowhere near the age group that is being vaccinated currently.

I did sign up for a few waiting lists – like at Walgreens and CVS, so that when it opens up for the general public, I can get on the appointment list. My own doctor says he won’t have the vaccine for some reason, even though he always has the yearly flu shot.

Anyway, I am anxious to get on a plane again and get away. While last year seemed to fly by, it still was a long, anxious year. We are coming up on a year from when things started getting bad/serious. I remember watching Gov. Cuomo on tv every day, feeling calmed by his demeanor. I remember being afraid to leave the house for a month or so – getting food deliveries all the time.

I’m glad I blogged and cartooned a lot about it. I have it all recorded here in the archives and hopefully it will only live there and never in real life again.

You can see my comics at TomFalco.com, there are links to social media there, too, if you care to follow on a daily basis.