Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Angel Horse English

Bizarro is brought to you today by Great Abs.

After more than 25 years as a daily cartoonist and over 9000 published cartoons, I find that I sometimes copy myself. This angel cartoon is one such occasion. When I wrote it a few weeks ago, I thought it was completely original, but a few days after it was submitted I was digging through old archives, gathering super hero cartoons for my next book, and saw an old Bizarro with the identical concept. If I'd thought to write down the date, I could have shown it to you here.

Instead, I'll have to use what I call "language" to describe it: A couple of angels in Heaven are looking at another angel who is upside-down, his head and shoulders buried in the clouds. His halo is above his feet, his robe is falling down, but not far enough to expose his underpants (which would be considered pornographic by daily funny pages standards.) One of the two onlookers says, "In life, he was a performance artist."

I was shocked to find that I had ripped myself off so closely without even knowing it; thank god it was one of my own gags and not someone else's. I've done that on a couple of occasions, too, and felt like a quantity of feces.

And now a horse-in-a-bar joke. This is one of those weird cartoons that doesn't relate much to real life, but to me, much of the humor is in the look on the horse's face. I put a lot of effort into getting just the right attitude and expression on my characters, I hope you, the reader, notice and appreciate that. Some do, some don't, that's the way the cartoon cookie crumbles.

I got out of the habit of posting older cartoons for a while, but I enjoy it and so do many readers (perhaps you are one of those?) so I'm back to it today. I've always enjoyed this take on the cliche of the guy whose wife doesn't understand him. In fact, this guy could have been me.

When I was 20, I traveled through Europe with a backpack and a train pass and while in Milan, I met a beautiful Romanian woman who was a few years older than I. We spent many weekends visiting museums and parks together and I developed a huge crush on her and would have been stupid enough to marry her and take her back home with me if she'd been willing. Thankfully she wasn't. She spoke five or six languages fluently, but English was not one of them. We communicated by means of a bizarre combination of the hundred-or-so English words she knew and the hundred-or-so Italian words in my vocabulary. The rest was pantomime and pictographs. It was terribly romantic but I can only imagine what calamity would have ensued if she'd come back to the U.S. with me, learned English, and we had found out what each other were really like.

I dodged that bullet, but caught many others throughout my foolish, youthful romantic escapades. But how many of us escape life without a few romantic bullet wounds? As somebody once said: Better to have loved and to have been ripped apart over and over again by the machine gun of ill-advised sexual choices than to have never loved at all. Amen, brother.


rob said...

Ever thought about collecting your (imaginary) anecdotes and putting them together into some kind of overall story? Maybe about someone who lives on a planet all-together more interesting than our own.

pixie lou who said...

I for one am glad you didn't smuggle your Romanian crush into the country...
and if you're only ripping yourself off, then rip away! You deserve a break.

Jason Fisher said...

Is it always accidental when you copy yourself, or have you ever done that deliberately (i.e., going through a block, extreme fatigue, sh*t hitting the f@n in other aspects of life, etc.)? I remember a stretch a couple years ago, I think, where you had a bunch of cartoons, more or less all in a row, that were self-copies.

If I had noted the dates, I could have been more specific. But I know when I recognize an old one: I've been reading your cartoons since the mid-1980s and I own copies of all your books (yes, even Bizarro Among the Savages). I should get a medal. :)

Binky said...

It is strange how, when you experience similar situations, you can sometimes come up with the exact same idea or gag. It must be how the brain is wired; expose it to the same inputs, and the output is almost identical. GIGO.

Anonymous said...

please continue posting old cartoons.

Thanassis said...

Hi Dan! Yes I am one of your regular time readers (first time commenter) who enjoys your old cartoons! Thanks for asking :-)

I liked your European adventure story. I have to note thought that language was not the major issue. Besides, you can tell a lot about someone from non-verbal cues. Even if she spoke English it would have been equally stupid to get married. Two people *on vacations*, knowing each other for a few weeks, coming from different cultures... do I hear "calamity"? In fact language could have made your chances worse :-P

Thank you for your cartoons and ... amen to love!

Piraro said...

@Jason Fisher...yes, I've done that a couple of times in my career for exactly the reasons you mention. I hate to resort to it, but when I do it is only as a matter of self defense when under severe duress. Only real die-hard fans (like you) notice. :o)

patrick said...

I hope you pay yourself royalties when you steal one of your own ideas!