Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Shootin' Thangs

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Arrogant A--hole Fashions of Beverly Hills.

I usually feature the comic that ran in papers one week previous to a given date, but I'm not that fond of the one I ran last week on this day, so I'm posting this one instead.

This was not published in Bizarro, but will be published in a Swedish comic book doing an issue about biodiversity. They asked me to do a full-page comic on the theme of endangered species and this is what I submitted.

If you're very young or extremely poorly educated, you may not recognize the literary conceit. It is from old Agatha Christie-style crime novels (Perhaps Christie invented this motiff, I dunno) where the British constable or inspector calls all the suspects from the book (or movie) into a lavish Victorian drawing room and announces he knows who the killer is and that he is in this room. Everyone in attendance gasps, the camera pans around the room as each face looks suspiciously at the others (unless it's a book, in which case there are no cameras or faces, you just have to imagine it, which is a lot of brain effort and could account for why books are less popular than movies in some areas of our country, especially the ones with large Palin rallies) then the inspector recounts the crime step-by-step and eventually exposes the killer.

At this point, everyone grabs the killer and subdues him, or he darts for a door and a bobby (British for "cop") is waiting on the other side to arrest him. This is the polite and bloodless (British for "non-American") way the British catch criminals.

If this method were tried in modern-day America, the detective would call everyone into a bleak white, flourescent-lit room full of folding chairs and lock the doors. He would shout for all the motherf-ckers to shut the f-ck up because he knows who the killer is and he's going to pop a cap in his a--. At this point, the killer would produce two large handguns and, rotating his wrists 90º so that the guns were laying over on their sides, cross his arms, jump high into the air, and shoot wildly as he summersaulted over the small group of unsavory street scum. People would scatter, guns would be drawn, flashes of gunpowder would fill the room, and a car would crash through a wall. The killer would jump onto the hood and, while hanging onto the windshield wipers with the toes of his shoes, spray the room with bullets, causing an explosion, as the car continued through the next wall, down the hall and into the street for his getaway.

If I were a cop in America, I'd start by keeping an eye on young people with unusual gymnastic skills.


isee3dtoo said...

The comic reminds me of two things:

First the Roy Rogers Museum, I went to it when it was in California and Roy Rogers' goal in life was to shoot everything and have it stuffed. He has three monkeys stuffed at see no evil, say no evil, and hear no evil, plus elephant leg umbrella holders and zebra leg tables to name a few. It grosses you out. Then you find his stuffed dog and horse and are amazed his wife is stuffed somewhere on display.

Second I love the outdoors but every Cabelas is a display that has gone overboard. There is a mountain of dead animals. I understand hunters who hunt for food but to use dogs to tree a mountain lion then shoot it out of the tree is not hunting. Then to mount the lion and put on it display is sick. I am all for hunting mountain lions if you make it fair. That is if you tree the lion with dogs you have to climb the tree and use a knife to get the lion down. That is hunting like a man.

isee3dtoo said...

There is an oops. I meant to say "...and are amazed his wife ISN'T stuffed somewhere..."

Since his dog "Trigger" is mounted in his favorite position "rearing up on his hind legs" I was surprised to find that Dale Evans wasn't mounted in hers.

Anonymous said...

I get the hunting/killer thing, but to whom is he referring to? Himself? I understand going for the Poirot look, but giving him a visual connection to the carnage might have made the "killer" bit clearer.

Daniel Joseph Sardella said...

I love Hercule Poirot novels

Unknown said...

I suspect that since they are simply dead and not splattered, that the culprit is Carbon Dioxide ( i.e. global warming) My next culprit would be man himself and the fact that he is in fact indoors. Man's buildings have encroached further and further into the habitat of every creature on Earth, in some way, shape or form.

Penny Mitchell said...

Anonymous, the killer is man in general.

Regarding Sarah Palin, I don't understand why PETA or similar hasn't been screaming about the clearly established ties between cruelty towards animals and cruelty towards people. It's well established that people who are apathetic-or-worse towards animals have the absolute capacity to go on and apply their (dare I say) "world view" towards people. Many would argue that Palin isn't necessarily cruel to animals, but I beg to differ. Any one who thinks that shooting wolves out of an airplane is just peachy is clearly lacking in empathy and kindness, not to mention just a flat-out BITCH.

The grizzly bear skin (and head) and stuffed king crab in her office in Alaska are said to be two of her proudest possessions. That's not the sign of someone who possesses much empathy, in my opinion. We need LESS of her mentality among our leaders, not more!!!!!!

marine_explorer said...

So now I'm wondering...did editors reject this panel as "too controversial"--or it was never intended for the U.S. newspaper audience? Sorta sad on both counts, because I find your pointed work often the best, besides your truly wacky/surreal take on things.

The Victorian setting works well here because that period "studied" the natural world by stuffing/bottling/mounting life as grotesque cadavers that convey little of the unique traits of living animals. Today, I really hate visiting natural science museums that involve some poor creature "frozen" in a diorama vainly constructed to appear "lifelike". Unlike the Victorian era, animals are seldom killed to make these displays today, but the end result is exactly the same.

Old habits die hard, and our modern zoos/aquariums are a "living" extension of viewing nature as "specimens under glass." Proponents of zoos maintain these exhibits are "educational", but their value to that end is questionable for obvious reasons. Besides, digital media can now allow any student to study animals in their natural habitat across the world—quite unlike the unnatural, harmful and stilted experience of zoos.

I apologize for "platforming" on this blog, but I didn't think our enlightened cartoonist would mind. My work is in creating "virtual environments" whereby students can study animals in their natural settings—without creating a parlor scene of victims.

Anonymous said...

Penny, I get that several conclusions such as yours can be made - however, my point was that it isn't very clear.

Janta said...

I absolutely love it!

Lorie said...

Marin Explorer, you may enjoy this. It is an excerpt from a piece I wrote about hunting. Preserving animals is indeed alive (no pun intended) and well, especially abroad.

First are the sophisticated hunters, the ones that participate in African big game supervised cullings, or what we less civilized refer to as canned hunts. These hunters are typically patrons of the art of taxidermy. I recently read a story in Vanity Fair about the burning down of Deyrolle, considered to be one of the greatest taxidermy establishments in the world. I hated this masturbatory article and its detailing of the excessive catering to its owner, Prince Louis Albert. 60 firemen had been called, along with 50 French soldiers and hundreds of local police, during which Louis Albert was told "Prince, the army is at your disposal." Hermes issued a limited edition silk scarf named "Plumes", with proceeds going to benefit Deyrolle, and Christie's chimed in "Deyrolle is an institution." Businesses from all of Europe, and for that matter, the world, were willing to donate an outrageous amount of money toward its restoration. I could go on and on but you get my drift. This was not a more deserving children's hospital, or even a bona fide zoo full of living, breathing creatures, but an ancient business (albeit one that had received a considerable makeover), and this entire article glossed over the fact that these animals were DEAD. Two sentences stand out and I shall quote them here: "In taxidermy's modern form, the objective is not static conservation but robust vitality. Stuffed and mounted animals seem to leap or fly from their pedestals." Feel free to correct me if I am wrong, but robust vitality and leaping and flying are traits I typically attribute to the living. Here I unfortunately must give credit where credit is due. Prince Louis Albert does attempt to lend to the "sport" of hunting a certain air of aristocracy and decency, and I believe he does think himself to be contributing to taxidermy as a form of historic art (and commanding an impressive fee to do so), preserving a variety of species in "haunting magnificence", while also attempting to preserve this much beloved establishment who's unfortunate time has come. But instead of using the considerable amount of funds coming from Europe's most influential to create sanctuaries for endangered species, he intends to restore Deyrolle to its former non-breathing magnificence, and the donations of stuffed and mounted death are pouring in from all corners of the globe.

As an aside, imagine my chagrin when the cause of the fire was determined not to be that of which I had hoped, some crazed PETA member hurling mol tov cocktails through the window (I KNOW what I said earlier, but I don't participate, therefore I am faultless), but the work of something much more benign, a decidedly less impressive short circuit.

John R. Platt said...

Love this.

If you find out how folks in the U.S. can order this comic, let us know!

Piraro said...

You can order a poster of this comic by writing to my poster partner, Rey: rey@bizarro.com

Tell him you want a poster of the "Endangered Species" cartoon.

Erik said...

That magazine isn't Swedish, it's Norwegian. And it doesn't surprise me they're doing an issue on endagered species, it's very much in the spirit of the main artist.

Fabian Göranson said...

This post cracks me up as well as the cartoon.

That comic book is in both Norway and Sweden.

Would it be too much to ask for to have the strictly Blogger users thing in the comments changed to anyone?