A lot of my comics have been published in the Huffington Post over the years, not on a daily basis, although I suppose they could have been, but I've decided to start publishing daily on Facebook. I will still publish political cartoons here at Huff Post. My goal was always to be published in newspapers daily, and I've had a few bites from rather large newspapers, but the timing is always off. And almost 20 years ago, when I had my chance for daily publication, I decided to go in another direction. I'm still kicking myself in the head for that.
The problem is today is that newspaper comics are part of a dying profession. To be part of comics in the 1940s and 1950s would have been ideal. Comics were made for newspapers and it pains me not to be part of the original format. Almost like making a movie and having it go right to video, rather than be on the silver screen, which is what movies were meant to do.
Newspapers are so hesitant to drop a comic to make room for a new one in a shrinking printed newspaper world, because of the age-old dilemma of people dropping their subscriptions when you drop their favorite comic. Comics are digital today and not necessarily published daily, although I am comfortable with that schedule.
Following Guy Gilchrist, the cartoonist for Nancy, on Instagram one sees how he is constantly drawing in hotel rooms because he travels so much. Deadlines! While I like and respect deadlines, I wonder if I would go mad after a few years of those. Also, for a long time I liked the size constraint. You know, you have this box that this size and you have to do your thing in there daily. But it's not like that anymore and the current crop of readers - Millennials - are used to different boxes and shapes, sort of like Elaine on Seinfeld with the muffin tops - it's the part of the muffin that pops out of the pan and does it's own thing. Digital comics can do their own thing.
But being a single comic at a website daily may not be great because I don't believe that people will drop everything to come to the website to read a single panel cartoon every day, but they will on Facebook and I've always been a fan of social media for comics. For a long time I did a comic daily on Instagram and it had thousands of readers a day. It just came up on their feeds and they read it that way. Unobtrusively, because social media is unobtrusive.
Over a billion people use Facebook daily. A billion! That's some potential audience. When Berkeley Breathed brought back Bloom County, he used Facebook and he publishes there daily, he has about 670,000 fans on there and New Yorker Cartoons has over 913,000 fans and amazingly, Matthew Inman who does The Oatmeal, has almost 4 million fans on Facebook, he links to his website from there. The Facebook posts are "liked" and shared all day long!
Some of my comics were shared many times and "liked" many times over the years on Facebook. There was a "Doctor Who" comic shared by actor George Takei once and it went crazy viral - almost 30,000 shares and over 85,000 likes! Recently a similar experience occurred with a political cartoon which someone shared on Facebook and it took off.
So the realization is that Facebook is the place for my Tomversation comic panel. I had thought of making a widget where people could place it on their own websites and share Tomversation daily, but simply by clicking the "share" button on Facebook, is doing the same thing. And every time someone "likes" a comic, their friends see that they liked it. So starting January 1, 2017, Tomversation will appear daily on Facebook. The goal is to build up a fan base during the year. Digital is where comics are these days. Unfortunately, reading a daily newspaper, literally holding it in your hands, is becoming a thing of the past, like dial telephones and film.
Here's hoping you'll become a fan at Facebook.com/Tomversation. There are many items there now and you'll receive the updated comic when it starts. That's one thing great about Facebook - you don't have to go out of your way to see news, comics, friends, etc., it all just appears on your wall without any fuss. I hope that Tomversation becomes part of your wall. If you don't like a comic one day, just bypass it without a mention or "like," it if you like it, and share it! Easy!
And you can always read my thoughts and see what I'm up to at my Tomversation blog, where I will post a batch of comics at once, so you can binge read them, sort of like Netflix for comics. In the meantime the blog covers arts and culture and some personal stuff sometimes.