Cortez, Florida, is a very old fishing village on Sarasota Bay just across from Bradenton Beach (Anna Maria Island) When I was a kid the only bridge to the island was from Cortez. It was a rickety old wooden bridge. When the bridge had to be opened to let boats by, it was done by hand by the bridge tender. It was a turn bridge, if that makes sense. There was a socket in the bridge which attached to a pivot, and he would put his pole in the pivot pole and walk around in circles to open the bridge. In Cortez you still buy the best and freshest seafood from the Gulf of Mexico. I don’t know about the other Gulf states, but here in Florida it is definitely number one. When I was a kid and gill nets were legal, the fishermen would often let us pull their nets to shore, and when we were finished they would give us a fish for helping. In those days there were fish out the wazoo. My old man went out regularly, and they never failed to come back with a locker just crammed full of fish. Those days are long gone. Now fishermen have to go out a couple hundred miles for grouper. And believe me, there’s no better fish for dinner. If you ever come to West Florida, be sure to order a fried grouper sandwich. By the way, Cortez was mentioned in that movie “The Perfect Storm”.
Here are some shots…
This is the Star Fish Restaurant associated with the Star Fish Market, where I buy lots of seafood. It’s very popular. This time of year when all the snowbirds (Northerners) are down, it’s hard to find a seat.
Here are some Spencer Sundays from 2004:
Whoopie! Well, enough of that. Those guys make too much money anyhow. How come a world class cartoonist (me) is on food stamps.
Check out the sinkhole in downtown Bradenton. It’s in a parking lot. Looks like it’s been there a long time. Hey, if a car hasn’t been swallowed up and buried up yet, to heck with it.Frau Grace likes to play with my food. Here’s my salad last week:
Wait. She’s still not done:
I like the anchovy lips. As a matter of fact I love anchovies. I go through a can every two days. There’s a village down on the heel of the Italian boot on the Adriatic. I read that there are 300 people living there of which 60 are over the age of 100. Ok, don’t go down there looking for a hot date. You couldn’t speak the language. But here’s the thing: What they eat tons of are anchovies and rosemary. I got to start eating rosemary. I’ll drive them nuts in the nursing home. The teeth are pecans. Kind of look like my teeth.
Here’s some more Sundays. This time from this time of year way back in 1990. Sorry, I don’t have color files for these. You may be interested about why the first three panels sometimes aren’t really part of the story. That’s because different newspapers use different formats when they publish. The strip has to make sense if you drop any one of the first three panels, or if you drop the entire first line of three panels. Believe me, it’s a real pain in the butt. I could do much better work if this weren’t the case. I would love to do just eight panel Sunday strips.
That’s just north of Clearwater. Turns out I had an unbirthday last week. (I don’t have birthdays any longer. I haven’t aged in fifteen years.) Dunedin is a very nice small town. We went to The Livingroom. That’s a terrific restaurant in downtown. The food was wonderful. On the outside of the restaurant is a pet mural. You can pay to have your pet’s portrait painted into it. The proceeds go to some animal charity:Here’s a closeup. You can see one portrait is waiting to be finished.
The inside is decorated like somebody’s living room.
Check the ceiling lights. They’re shaded by lampshades.
This was early. The joint filled up soon after. They grow your salad on the wall:
Thanks so much to Ann, Rosemary (Ann’s sister) and Arthur and Marthur. (Art and Martha spent a couple days with us here in Bradenton.). And check the cake. Turns out that Rosemary and I share the same birthday. So they split the cake down the middle. How about the piranha?!
Enough of that. Here are some Sundays from 2000. At the time I was doing a bunch of comic book work, and these were inked by Jay Scruggs, a terrific cartoonist in his own right. Notice that the lettering in some of the strips is very regular. I made some font suitcases, and then I wrote a little program that would alternate the different font sets as the dialog was typed in. I think the hand lettered dialog is much better.
A few yers ago I posted a little video I took of Bob the Cockroach in the Men’s room at the Clam Factory in Cortez, Florida. My elderly cousin, Al loves to go to the Clam factory, Before his stroke he was there every night of the week except Sunday eating raw oysters. On Sundays whe went to the Anna Maria Oyster Bar in Bradenton and ate raw oysters.. He’s nuts about raw oysters. Hes always trying to pick up old ladies. His pickup line is “Do you like raw oysters?” It doesn’t work. I take Al to the Clam factory on Tuesdays when they jam. People love the joint. The music is kind of loud for me. Here’s the jam from last Tuesday:
People have been asking me if I intend to publish more book collections in the future. Yes, I do. I hope to get three more Ernie/Piranha Club books out this coming year. I also want to publish two single panel books, one of which will be fuol of science cartoons. When I first started cartooning I had an inside track since I was a PhD physicist (yes, it’s true), and I sold lots of cartoons to science publications.
Here are some Sunday strips from 2009