Today's Bizarro is made possible by Mr. and Mrs. Marciuliano.
This cartoon represents day two of the vacation week I took, my first in 23 years of syndication. The week off, during which Francesco Marciuliano wrote and drew cartoons for Bizarro in my stead, actually happened five weeks ago – that's the lead time on daily cartoons.
I was having some serious personal issues that were bringing me down, plus I had a trip to South Dakota with the in-laws coming up and between the two, I was at my wit's end. One day, I found myself standing on the ledge outside of my building with a handful of sleeping pills and a gun in my mouth.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in Gotham City, mold-mannered Francesco Marciuliano ("Ces" to his friends) sat quietly at his drawing table sketching naked Smurfs when a radio news report caught his eye. "Why, that's my friend Dan Piraro on that ledge!" shouted Ces. "I've got to do something (that could benefit my career!)"
Grabbing a cape on his way out the door, Francesco raced into the subway station and hopped an express train to Brooklyn. A mere one hour and 49 minutes later he was standing at the foot of my building shouting up at me through a bullhorn, "Dan, it's me, Ces! You don't have to end it like this! There's another way! There's gas fumes, carbon monoxide, asphyxiation, who knows how many more!"
Suddenly it hit me to ask him to do a week of cartoons for me so I could regroup and he not only stepped up to the plate, but licked it clean. So you not only have Ces to thank for a week's entertainment, but also for my ability to return to my former glory in full stride.
Thank you, Francesco Marciuliano, for a job well done! You are this week's Cartoonist Suicide Prevention Operative!