Monday, April 20, 2009

Tragedy + Time = Humor

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Woodland Creatures.

I submitted this cartoon many weeks ago, long before the Somali pirate story hit the news, but the cartoon appeared in papers a day or so after the story was making headlines. Some readers wondered why I was tying the banking crisis and the hostage situation together.

A reader wrote to me recently and suggested a good caption for this cartoon would have been "pirates are giving pirates a bad name." I chuckled and told him I would have used it if I were an editorial cartoonist and could get a cartoon into the paper the day after I drew it. As it is, there is a six week delay between my turning in a cartoon and its appearance in papers, so I can't be that current.

That delay makes it a little nerve wracking if I do a cartoon about an earthquake or a plane crash. More than one syndicated cartoonist has erroneously been accused of making fun of a tragedy the day after it happened. I've been the victim of this kind of coincidence a couple of times in my career, the most ludicrous of which was once when I drew a cartoon about a bicycle pizza delivery guy standing at the Pearly Gates with a pair of twisted handlebars in his hand. St. Pete says something like, "Sorry about that bus, but I was really craving a pizza."

The day after it appeared in papers, I got some angry letters from people in a certain city who thought I was making fun of a prominent cyclist in their community who had been killed by a car the day before my cartoon printed.

Whaddyagonnado?

30 comments:

Robert Finis said...

One of the few times I've read this blog and honestly thought "Glad I'm not a cartoonist."
I like the reader's alternate caption, btw. I've been wondering when people will stop associating the word "pirate" with johnny depp, and start thinking of somolians with AK's in zodiac boats.

Pagani said...

There is always a percentage of people who are looking for something over which to be offended.

We see them mostly here on the Internets, taking cheap shots and nitpicking obscure points.

They also write letters to to newspapers, forever failing to realize that their "offended" comments are only commentary on their own sad, pathetic lives.

Personally, I've almost entirely stopped reading comments for that reason and you might want to consider the same round-file approach. :)

Jeremy said...

I have heard many figures from cartoonists (Jim Davis, my hero, being one of them) on how long it takes to get your cartoon published. 10 weeks, 6 weeks, 3 weeks. I guess it just varies based on how your editor is and if he can get the stuff approved in a timely manner?

Flower girl said...

Haha, pretty good. I think it's amazing how you come up with a joke for every day of the year. Wow. Of course, it's a lot easier for you than most other cartoonists, who have to think of something funny pertaining to the same characters day after day. You can draw a gag about just about anything in the world. Which is why all those other cartoons are never very funny. *cough* DRABBLE *cough*

Big D said...

While the cartoon is in jest, it makes a very good point. What is happening in the white collar sector is crazy - doing far more damage to people's lives than what could be imagined.

PIRARO said...

@ Jeremy...
Different syndicates and editors have different lead times. They ask you to turn them in x weeks ahead, but then you get behind and find out their deadline was a bluff and it changes, etc. Mine are about 6 weeks out for daily cartoons and 8 weeks for Sundays.

Anonymous said...

Hey Piraro - I know you cannot defend the cowardly act of deleting wholesale my comments (good and bad) but can you at least EXPLAIN to us all how you justify it? Surely there must be some reasoning behind it other than merely wanting nothing but compliments on your work. Your actions go against all the pompous statements you've made on blog commenting to date, so I would love to hear your justification.

doug nicodemus said...

that pirate one is laugh outloud funny the sjr just ran your kid smashing living room table one today it was real funny

hahahaha

hitting your stride..

John said...

If my memory serves, back in the 70's when Doonesbury was essential reading, Gary Trudeau negotiated an amazing contract that stipulated that his strip be printed in the political section, and he has a much shorter lead time so he can stay topical. He also negotiated that Doonsbury be reproduced at a specified size, which is now bigger than everybody else, but I think all panels were that big, until some editor decided to maximize revenue by squeezing the strips...Dan, is that right? Prince Valiant used to be huge, back in the dark ages.

Anyway, a little off topic, but Bizarro is one of the few comics that has actual artwork. The drawings are as important as the words. Keep up the good work.

Penny said...

Dan, do you work every day? Do you make yourself stick to a 9-5 schedule? Do you work M-F or do you fart around for almost the whole month and then stay awake for three days straight to get caught up? Do you work Sundays? Do you get in trouble with yourself if you take too long for lunch?

If I was self-employed I would be starving within about two weeks. I would not have the discipline.

Anonymous said...

Missed u on the 19th, Mr. Piraro.
Don't u sometimes wonder if they print the cartoon on those specific days on purpose.

It really would've been funnier if printed before the Pirates story.

ur Fan,
Dee Sh

Anonymous said...

Nice idea, Dan, but technically, I think you mean the caption to read: "bankers are giving pirates a good name." or perhaps "the bankers are making us pirates look good." See what I mean?

Sheik Yerbootie said...

One of the main reasons why I subscribe to one of our 'national newspapers',(none of your frigging bizness what country I am in)- is because it carries YOUR 'toons!
Nothing like starting one's day with a chuckle! Thanx!

PIRARO said...

@ Anonymous...
My decision to moderate comments came with difficulty. I would prefer to allow everyone their say, god knows I have better things to do than babysit the comments, but what this section had devolved into was a handful of childish readers apparently with nothing better to do than check this blog a dozen times a day, sniping at each other and trashing every cartoon that did not arouse their narrow definition of humor.

These sophomoric readers kept other commentators away and do nothing to enhance the blog (except to each other.) This is, after all, a commercial venture and allowing it to be dominated by juvenile criticism is counterproductive. Intelligent criticism is welcome, abusive jibes are not.

In short:My blog, my rules.

PIRARO said...

@ John...
Some of your facts are right, some have been mythologized. Trudeau never insisted on being on the editorial page, he was moved there by editors who tired of readers complaining that editorial comments were on the funny pages, where they hoped they could escape intellectual activity althogether.

The size requirement is something that Waterson of "Calvin and Hobbes," and Breathed of "Opus" did. They attempted to stem the move toward smaller comics (an economic necessity, according to newspaper officials) by demanding their comics be printed larger. They gallantly insisted they were doing it for all of us, standing up to the man, etc. What it actually did was force newspapers to cancel other comics to make room for the prima donnas. Their decision was not popular among other cartoonists, myself include.

PIRARO said...

@ Penny...
I work seven days a week, usually 8 to 10 hours a day. There is always far more to do than I can keep up with, I'm always weeks behind on emails, for instance. Still, I prefer it over working in an office for someone else, so the discipline isn't that hard for me. It is sometimes a real drag, though, and I'd love to retire from cartooning in the near future if I can afford it. The relentless deadlines are a royal bitch.

AND DEREK WAS ONE OF THEM said...

LMAO ...PIRARO LOL

but what this section had devolved into was a handful of childish readers apparently with nothing better to do than check this blog a dozen times a day,

Jeremy said...

"this section had devolved into was a handful of childish readers apparently with nothing better to do than check this blog a dozen times a day, sniping at each other"

HEY! I resemble that remark!!

Anonymous said...

Dan - enjoy burning all these calories. You waited this long to moderate because you don't want to do it. I have no doubt you will abandon it sooner or later, as I'm sure you think the folks you don't want commenting will just stop coming to this blog eventually. But rest assured you will tire of moderating comments throughout the day far sooner than I will checking your blog once a day.

Keep up the mediocre work!

Anonymous said...

dunno why, but I thought I'd get a smile outta u....

the word verification for this comment was 'hooker'. Honest.

ur Fan,
Dee Sh

manz said...

I am one of those readers who stopped reading the comments section out of disgust over the handful of snipers ruining it. Thank you for making them interesting to read by moderating.

Anonymous said...

And, for the record, I have had both compliments and criticisms of your comic deleted in the past week.

How do you squeeze that into your twisted reasoning?

Anonymous said...

So now all of a sudden, after a week of blanket deletions of every comment I made, you are letting my comments through? Huh?

PIRARO said...

@ Anonymous...
Since you're posting as "anonymous," how am I to know which comments are yours? I mean really.

I take these comments individually and if I think they add to the blog in some way, I post them. If not, I reject them. Usually, I don't even read the name of the person posting.

Anonymous said...

Dan, c'mon now. You know full well who I am. I've been the most consistent commenter on this blog for over a year now. And, really - if you didn't know who I am, you wouldn't be deleting comments of mine complimenting your work. But playing dumb is the angle you want to play, have at it.

Karl said...

Anonymous,

I am curious why it bothers you, if your comments are deleted or not. Since you have not established a personal identity, does it really matter?

I can understand remaining anonymous for security reasons, but having the advantage of hiding behind anonymous, just for the purpose of making rude comments (if this is the case) doesn't seem fair to others posting on this blog.

Anonymous said...

I'll try responding Karl, but its up to Piraro whether you'll see this or not. He's been deleting my comments arbitrarily thus far.

"Since you have not established a personal identity, does it really matter?"

I've established just as much of an identity as you have - your name is "Karl", my name is "Anonymous." What's the difference? They are both our Google names. I would go further to say that my identity is more established than yourself or anyone else on this blog, as I've been posting comments here far longer.

"I can understand remaining anonymous for security reasons, but having the advantage of hiding behind anonymous, just for the purpose of making rude comments (if this is the case) doesn't seem fair to others posting on this blog."

If you cannot tell the difference between everyday anonymous commenters and my Google "Anonymous", I can't help you. I have as much of an "advantage" with my name as you have over anyone else posting under the name "Karl." No one's hiding anywhere.

We'll see if this comment ever sees the light of day. I won't hold my breath.

PIRARO said...

@Anonymous...
Honestly, I don't look at these posts closely enough to notice who is who when it comes to "anonymous" posters. Nor do I keep score of who says what.

Comment or not, whatever you like. If I think it adds to the blog, I'll post it.

Penny said...

"I would go further to say that my identity is more established than yourself or anyone else on this blog, as I've been posting comments here far longer."

Dude. Get over yourself.

Anonymous said...

So exactly how have my past comments in response to Penny been "snarky"?