I’m in NY for Comic Con

Another October, another NY Comic Con. I arrive in Manhattan yesterday, Saturday. Comic Con starts Thursday, so I’m here a little early.

I did my usual – visited the green market at Union Square, stopped by Washington Square Park and Madison Square (I like all the squares I guess).

I am tempted to approach the guy at one of the newspaper syndicates if he is at Comic Con this year. He sort of gave me the run around when I showed him my comics so I want to schmooze with him, maybe go to lunch or something. For some reason, people have a rapport with the syndicates, I’m not sure how they start this conversation up, I tried but it went nowhere. Others seem as if they have an ongoing dialogue.

I may be brave and approach their booth this year and start up a conversation. I’ll let you know. I’ll of course take lots of pictures of Comic Con and post them here.


Peanuts Hotel

There’s a new Peanuts Hotel in Kobe, Japan. I would think it would be in Charles Schulz’s home, Santa Rosa, CA.

The hotel in Kobe has 18 rooms, a Peanuts Diner and a Peanuts Cafe. Each room has its own theme, like the “Happiness is a warm puppy,” room.

The rooms appear as regular hotel rooms with a painting or mural on the walls, so I’m not sure if its worth a trip to Japan for that, but then again, if you’re going to Japan, I doubt you’re going because of the Peanuts Hotel.


Photos courtesy Peanuts Hotel.


Graffiti and ground zero


courtesy CBS

I had seen these murals in New York this past summer. CBS Sunday morning did a story on it. The murals are right outside the World Trade Center in NYC, right at the Oculus.

This CBS piece is a great story on history and art. Here is the link to the video: https://www.cbsnews.com/video/leaving-their-mark-graffiti-artists-decorate-the-wtc-site/

And here is the story with photos: https://www.cbsnews.com/news/decorating-hallowed-ground-with-street-art/ 

What’s interesting is right across the street is Trinity Church, where that land was purchased and deeded in 1696. The first church was built on that location in 1698 and the current church and graveyard are there from 1839 after being rebuilt three times since the 1600s. It’s amazing to take it all in, where you see the 1600s to today in one glance.

This graffiti story is cool because it was commissioned by the 87-year-old owner of the property Larry Silverstein, who purchased the Twin Towers six weeks before they were destroyed. Through is vision and the vision of the artists, the area is alive again.

So from the 1600s until today, the area is ever-evolving and alive.

Cut and paste


Years ago I worked for a local newspaper, it published three days a week, that is where I got my start in the newspaper business. It was the mid-80s. I remember my boss telling me that one day, there would be a thing called “pagination,” where the whole page would come out as one thing – the headlines, the columns, the photos. We all stood back  in awe at the thought of that.

At the time, everything was done separately, we used exacto knives or razor blades to cut and past, I preferred the blades. We had a waxing machine and waxed the stuff and placed it down on blue-lined boards. I remember years before that I went on a tour of The New York Times, I think it was in junior high school, and they had the hot type method which is really ancient by today’s standards.

One machine was used just to create headlines, another for the columns of text. For the photos, we cut in red material that came out clear when shot in the back camera room and the photos which were shot separately were then stripped in. It was a process.

I remember when I started my own graphics business a few years later and we had Compugraphic machinery that actually allowed us to change the fonts on demand! We didn’t have to stop the whole operation and change fonts.

When computers started being used in the process, I asked one of my brothers who was in the computer business if he knew of a way where we could change fonts on the computer. He said there is possibly a way but it would be hard to program. I just wanted a few fonts to switch back and forth from. Crazy to think of now, huh where we have thousands of fonts at our disposal.

My comics had brought me to the newspapers business. I had submitted a bunch to the newspaper and they called me to come in one time, when I went in I found out that they weren’t interested in my comics, but they wanted me to work at the newspapers in the production department, which ended up being my design future to this day.

I did draw a lot for them though, I did a lot of cartoon work for ads that people placed and also I did political stuff. I’m sure I have those old newspapers somewhere, probably in my parents’ garage or something. I need to go look for them.

New Yorker videos


Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal create captions.

I’ve been submitting comics to The New Yorker, they like my work and asked me to submit. But even though they like my work, I’ve had to adapt to their style and comic sensibilities. A friend sent me a New Yorker video page which is pretty cool. There are lots of comic-related videos (or cartoons, which The New Yorker calls them).

One is about a little girl named Alice Kassnove, who they call a “caption-writing sensation.” She’s really funny. She says the goal is to not be funny but in the end it is funny and her captions are hilarious.

These two guys, shown above, Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal do the same thing. It’s funny and interesting to watch and I learned a lot from all of the videos. I guess they rubbed off on me because I woke up at 3 am and came up with a couple of cartoon ideas that I’ll draw today. Here’s the page of New Yorker videos which has much more than just the caption videos.

There is a certain style and a different way of thinking when drawing for The New Yorker. It makes me think of the old days when there were so many magazines that printed cartoons. Did they all have their own style and sensitivities or did cartoonists just submit them in batches to all the magazines at once hoping for a sale?

The cartoon creating process is sort of like writing  a song, which comes first, the lyrics or the music? I’ve always had the gag in my mind first, then drew the image based on that, I have now tried the opposite. I picture a funny image and then come up with the caption and it seems to be The New Yorker way of doing things.

Some years ago I had a lot of work published in various magazines but I just drew my usual style and they liked that as it was. I remember one time the National Enquirer turned down one of my cartoons, not because it wasn’t funny, but because they thought I and used a computer to add shading to it! I used Ben Day and for some reason it looked computerized to them.  I laugh at that now since we are living in a digital world now and I’m sure the Enquirer is producing their whole newspaper digitally.


Visiting the New York Herald again


This image of Herald Square is from 1903.

I’m not sure why I am obsessed these days with the old New York Herald building. This past summer I spent a lot of time in front of the old site looking at it. It’s an ugly mid century (1960s) square block building now with a bank and drugstore in the space.

I was standing to the right of the trolley shown at the right of this photo; standing right in front of the site. Macy’s is the left today.

One day I was on my way to meet a friend to see Hello Dolly, 10 blocks away, and on the way I stopped here and just contemplated the location. So much history is still in New York, but so much is gone. I saw Hello Dolly in the Shubert Theater, which was opened in 1913. The Herald building was standing at the same time a few blocks away.

The Herald building opened in 1894 and they left around 1924 after a 30 year lease. A clothing store took over the location and retrofitted the newspaper offices and press room but around 1940, the building was demolished for the ugly new structure that is there today, which is almost 80 years old. The actual newspapers only lasted in that location for 30 years.

You would think Herald Square would have kept the Herald building. Times Square still has the Times building. It’s behind all those neon signs, you have to look hard to see it.


The ugly building that replaced the NY Herald at Herald Square.

The Village Voice is dead


The Village Voice is gone. Dead.

They went from printed publication to online publication three years ago, but that was good, as so many publicatons are going online. But now it is totally gone.

I read it in Gothamist, but Gothamist was dead for a bit but they were resurrected so who knows. Maybe the Voice will come back.

The Village Voice was special to me because it was my foray into New York City when I wasn’t in New York City.


Feiffer cartoon.

For most of my life I spent a lot of time in NYC, even though home is Miami. But ever since I was a boy, I would go to NYC and spend long periods of time there. I would go during high school vacations and sometimes spend months there and even now I will spend long periods of time there. I spent weeks there this summer and I’ll be back for ComicCon next month and then Thanksgiving in November so the Village Voice was how I kept up with New York when I wasn’t there. And you know what? I don’t think I ever actually read it while in New York. I think it was just my taste of NY when I wasn’t in New York.

There was something forbidden about it when I was 16, I don’t know what, maybe the backpage ads? Maybe the articles? Whatever it was, I would read it in the library at high school and college and also at our town library. It was so New York-y that I felt as if I was in New York when immersed in it.


Life in Hell, by Matt Groening

I loved the early cartoons as well as the articles. Jules Feiffer, R. Crumb, Matt Groening, Ted Rall, Tom Tomorrow, I could go on; such great cartoonists. I read them all.

I remember at one time their address was on University Place in New York and every time I walked by or crossed University Place, even to this day, I think of the Voice. I don’t think I ever sought out the building, but just seeing the street name reminds me of The Village Voice.