Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Guest Cartoonist


I normally don't write about Bizarro cartoons until they are a week old, but I want to address the "guest cartoonist" situation going on this week in newspapers a across the globe.

For a syndicated cartoonist responsible for 365 new cartoons per year, for as long as his/her career lasts, there are no vacations. For us to have time off, we have to write twice as many jokes for a given amount of time, draw, color, and format twice as many images, then rush out the door. When we get home, we race to catch up again because we used all our available ideas to get out the door, but now x amount of new ones are due again. It's a white-hot hell.

Some cartoonists will publish reruns, but unless your feature is widely considered indispensable, like Doonesbury or Peanuts, editors don't like to publish reruns and will frequently sub your feature out for someone else's, either permanently or until you get back to work. The market is so competitive these days that a smart cartoonist doesn't dare let that happen. Some syndication companies just ban the practice entirely.

Recently, some artists have gone to the "guest artist" system, which is a great alternative. I get my much-needed time off, another artist gets some exposure, the readers get a glimpse of a new artist they might otherwise have never come across.

Francesco Marciuliano, whom I chose as my sub this week, is a good friend and a brilliant and prolific humorist. The guy writes Sally Forth (I know, it's not typically at the top of a Bizarro reader's list, but read it a few times and see if he doesn't do an amazing job of breathing life into what is essentially a formula family strip) an Emmy-winning children's show for cable (can't remember the name of it – Binky and Floofloo? Invisible Playmate in My Pants? How Drunk is Uncle Rick?), as well as a clever blog, brilliantly funny essays, and a fair amount of stand-up comedy. My own personal favorite of Ces' myriad accomplishments, however, is his online comic, Medium Large. All of this, and he's as quiet and humble as a church mouse. And almost as furry.

Hope you like what Ces (pronounced: chez) did for this week. I'll be commenting on them daily next week. Here's one that didn't make the cut. (must be over 16 to read this one)

Be groovy, be well, B vitamins.

14 comments:

derekamalo said...

SAY THE FUCEKN WORD BRO ILL GUEST ANYTIME....

Lockwood said...

You know it's funny... I DO like Sally Forth. It's got attitude and a certain respect for the realities of life. I'm not an artist or a cartoonist, but there are a few "mainstream" comics I like. For Better or Worse, Louann came to mind. BC, on the other hand, well let's just say I don't expect to see this strip in our local paintcloth. But I'm glad I saw it here.

FixedXorBroken said...

This guy is really great. Please don't hesitate to recommend any other cartoonists who you enjoy. I'd love to read their stuff.

Francesco Marciuliano said...

Oh man, I would kill to write for "How Drunk Is Uncle Rick?"

And let it be known that Dan Piraro is truly a gentleman and a scholar. And I think a murderer. Oh, sorry...a "suspected murderer."

Eben Brooks said...

I'm impressed! He really does your style well! Until I saw the signature, I thought you had drawn you, and he had drawn him, but then I looked more closely to see that he drew both figures.

As I said, I'm impressed!

LysergicAsset said...

I thought the Tonsil Fairy was really gross. I'm sure your friend is a major talent, but I already miss the masterful madness of Bizarro.

Penny said...

"Chez" like the French pronounce it? You should have known this was going to come up.

Ginger said...

i like ces....i love the tonsil fairy. nice!

Anonymous said...

The strips this week have been great - my fav being the one with Big Bird the other day:) Thanks for a great sub week!
Cheers

LysergicAsset said...

Today's evangelical goldfish strip is a classic.

Anonymous said...

Derek - let's not get too excited. Your 5th period art teacher tells EVERYONE they have potential.

John Platt said...

I love Sally Forth. Love what he's doing with your strip this week, too.

Mary Blanca said...

Ces is great, I am so glad Medium Large is back online. Thank you for choosing him to sub for you, I am glad he is getting the extra exposure. His essays about his dad are the funniest thing I've ever read, everyone should read them.

B.A.D. said...

Great work on the guest strips. Good choice Dan.