Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Bizarro is brought to you today by Rashid's Walking Sticks of Cairo.

Here is a different take on word play, a collaboration of mine with my friend, Cliff. He and I are working on a book project together, which consists entirely of word puzzles. This cartoon is not part of it, however. More on that as it develops.

I grew up in Texas and Oklahoma and found myself wondering each summer as the heat reached 100% Fahrenheit (that's 614% Celsius for those of you not familiar with the metric system), why people before the days of air conditioning decided to settle there. Especially when you consider that they regularly wore coats and ties and petticoats and long-sleeve dresses and boots and hats. If they didn't have diminished I.Q.s when they got there, they soon would after a few summers dressed like that.

Come to think of it, it might explain some of the voting patterns of the Deep South.

Christmas Humor

My friend and colleague, J. C. Duffy, of The Fusco Brothers syndicated strip and New Yorker magazine cartoon fame, posted what I consider to be a funny cartoon and a clever poem last week. The cartoon is at right, seek ye here for the poem.

His other posts are quite amusing, as well. His blog is one of my few daily reads.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tourist Compulsions

Bizarro is brought to you today by Unique New Year's Appetizers of Omaha!

Here's a fun idea from my mythical buddy, Derek. His musing about what the observation deck on the Tower of Pisa might be like led to this drawing of Aryan tourists struggling mightily against the forces of gravity to peer through the pay telescope which was installed shortly after construction in 1302. The key to the telescope was lost in the 15th century, and the money has not been emptied since. It is thought to contain in excess of $7 million dollars in coins.

Among the most notable features of the tower is the number of tourists who take this kind of picture of it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Santa Slim

(For a SUPER HOLIDAY SIZE look at this cartoon, click on the image!)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Family Holiday Visits

I had a lovely holiday last week, hope you did, too. Unless you didn't celebrate a holiday last week, in which case I hope you had a lovely, regular day of no particular significance. Unless you are a rotten person who makes the world a worse place for your having been in it, in which case I hope you got what was coming to you and you're reading this blog from the bottom of a pit in the wilderness. Don't bother posting your location in the comments section, either, nobody is coming to rescue you. Should have thought of that before you made the world a worse place.

This week is New Years Day, depending on your religion and culture. Don't forget to set you clocks back to 1959 and party with this dude.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Shoes Make the Man

Bizarro is brought to you today by Shoes for the New Depression.

Few people realize it, but I'm a big fan of American football. My dad and I bonded over football when I was a kid and I've enjoyed it ever since. I played it all through elementary school and junior high, but after that you had to be a side-of-beef-with-cleats to make the team, regardless of your skills, and the social scene (macho jocks) did not suit my delicate, artistic temperament. I don't go to games and paint myself like an inexpensive souvenir, but I do watch a lot of football on TV.

While I like football and follow it each year, I still find the macho attitude part detestable. I can stand few things less than an athlete or coach interview. They are all the same, virtually interchangeable, utterly predictable. You might as well be asking chickens why they crossed the road.

I often wonder if mainstream pro sports will ever become gay friendly. Statistics would support that there are any number of gay men playing pro sports, but none have ever come out. I wish someone at the very top of the game, like a Super Bowl winning quarterback or linebacker, would come out of the closet. (There is still hope for Steve Young of the 49ers.) It would cause an uproar at first, but in the long run I think it would do a lot of good for gay rights.

One thing I like about sports is that there is such a large psychological component in it. Size, speed, strength, ability, none of these things are enough to win. Without the proper psychology, you're just another muscle-bound thug with a number on your shirt. Even more interesting, is that an entire team can have a group psychology. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are a good example. They could scarcely buy a win when they had their original, prissy logo and uniforms. After they changed to a much tougher persona, they started picking up steam and are now a regular contender.

The pink and blue uniform in the cartoon above is a nod to that idea, of course. I wrote the cartoon because I thought the concept of playing sports in glass shoes was sort of funny, and most markets print Bizarro is black and white so that was the end of the joke. In color, I think it's a bit of a nice bump to add the matching colors of the Fairy GMother and his uniform.

Hope everyone had a swell holiday week. The cartoon I ran on Xmas day this year attracted tons of hate mail. More on that subject middle of next week when I post the cartoon.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Death Takes a Holiday

This special Xmas edition of Bizarro is brought to you by
Last Minute Gift Ideas.

The photo above is from CHNW's and my 2007 holiday email. We took this picture in Montreal in the beautiful and huge cemetery up on Mount Royal, for which the city is named. It isn't Photoshopped, we came across the head stone just as it appears and put our camera on timer to make the picture. As an inveterate hater of Christmas and the entire tacky season, I could scarcely believe my good fortune.

We searched for hours looking for other gravestones with names of other things we wished were dead like "Neo-Con," "Factory Farms," "Fox News Network," and "Reality Shows," to no avail. For some reason, they don't place them alphabetically.

The cartoon posted today is from several years ago and is one of my personal favorites. I published it on Xmas two years in a row and it was very popular both times. I got complaint letters both times, too, of course, from people who thought I was making fun of their heroes, missing the point of the cartoon entirely.

I'm going up to Woodstock Farm Animal Sanctuary for a dandy holiday with a nice big wad of friends. Hope your holiday is as groovy as the Monkees in 1969.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Fish Face

Bizarro is brought to you today by Solid Rhythm.

One of my favorite books as a student was To Kill a Mockingbird. The movie adaptation with Gregory Peck is great, too. A few weeks ago, a reader suggested the phrase "to mock a killingbird," without any firm idea of how to use it. I liked it and quickly came up with this caption and image for it.

Another reader wrote saying that he liked the cartoon but that eagles catch their prey facing the same direction as they're flying. That makes sense, I suppose, so I thanked him for his knowledge morsel.

I was inclined to draw the fish facing the same way as the bird, but reversed it in this case so that the caption would be on the right, which I liked better compositionally. But now that I look at it, it occurs to me that the fish isn't face backward or forward, his body is perpendicular to the eagle's. So they may be traveling the same direction as the fish when they nab them, but once in the air and they return their feet to their natural position, the fish faces sideways and it doesn't matter which way its head is facing.

These the are the kinds of things I spend too much time thinking about.

Some interesting stuff about the author of To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee:
She was a tomboy and a childhood friend of Truman Capote, who was the opposite of a tomboy. (a tinagirl?)
She worked as a reservations agent for an airline until she was in her thirties.
After having published only a handful of articles, she quit her job and wrote her first novel.
It won the Pulitzer Prize and was made into an Academy Award winning film.
She traveled with Capote to Kansas when he was writing In Cold Blood, another great book.
Aside from a couple of short essays, she never published again.
Capote did very little publishing after In Cold Blood, and nothing of any real note.
Both Harper and Capote had prehensile tails.

For more information on Harper Lee and Truman Capote, speak with your village elders.

Monday, December 22, 2008

A Time for Healing

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by a cult of pie worshippers.

I like a good pie chart joke. I like chart jokes of all kinds, in fact. My favorite chart joke that I've done was back in the late nineties and I'd be able to show it to you now if my big computer wasn't in the hospital.

For the last several days, I've been doing my blogs, email and cartoon coloring work on my laptop computer. It is several years older than my desktop computer and not nearly as powerful, so I've been slowed way down. Also, a lot of things I had arranged on my desktop computer for easy access are not arranged that way in my laptop, so finding things like my favorite chart joke from the late nineties would be too time consuming to attempt.

Last Tuesday night, my computer came down with a cough and a mild fever. I thought it was nothing, gave it a little Tylenol and sent it to bed. The next morning it was comatose and would not wake up. I rushed it to the emergency room and it is still being diagnosed. I should hear from the doctor today, keep your fingers crossed.

Get-well-soon cards are appreciated and should be sent to this address:
Guy Fixing Piraro's Mac
Somewhere in Park Slope
Brooklyn, NY

No flowers, please.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Khan Job

(I would not mind at all if you clicked these images to view them larger. In fact, I would prefer it.)
Bizarro is brought to you today by the Christmas Tornado.

Here's a kookey little play on words about the Great Wall of China. If they have a great wall, why not a great chair, rug and lamp? Get it?!

A reader (and writer) wrote to me last week and asked me why they were flinging a plate of spaghetti at the wall. I thought it was obvious, but in case there are others out there wondering, it's because I figure what better way to attack one's furnishings than by spilling spaghetti and red wine on them?

The title panel, or "header panel," as it is called in the cartoon industry, was an old one that I reworked to look Genghis Khany.

Here is the original header panel. Can you spot the differences?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Tiny Ink Bubbles

Bizarro is brought to you today by contributions from people like this.

Some readers of this "blog," as I like to call it, have expressed an interest in seeing some of my unpublished work. So today I bring you two pages from a sketchbook from 1997. I'd lost this book for years and worried mightily about it, but just discovered it in my basement a couple of weeks ago. Thank goodness.

Like most of my sketchbook drawings, these images were produced by starting out in the middle of the page somewhere, with no real idea in mind. I draw whatever comes to mind, then add to it until the page is filled. I guess you could call it stream of consciousness. They aren't meant to mean anything, of course, but these kinds of images are among my favorites that I've ever done. I still enjoy looking at them years later.

This particular sketchbook is very small, about 5"x7". To see the images full size, come to my house. Or just click on the images.

Friday, December 19, 2008

3 Sheets to the Wind

Bizarro is brought to you today by
Taliban's Discount Clothiers.

Since yesterday's cartoon sparked such a lively debate about religion's place in law making, I decided to post this cartoon from last January, which, if memory serves, appeared on this blog back then. I'm too lazy to look it up.

When this first ran, I got a couple of complaints from people who accused me of bigotry toward Islam. This plays into yesterday's theme about gay marriage because less important than my silent respect for another person's religious beliefs is the rights of the victims of those beliefs. The burqa robs a person of her identity, as this cartoon shows, and places her irrevocably as a second-class citizen. I don't believe religion is an acceptable excuse for oppression, bigotry, murder, imprisonment, or any number of other atrocities visited upon the world by people, and I think it is important to make a stand against it, both here and abroad.

That being said, I think this cartoon is funny. I've often thought of one of those cheesy photo studio shots taken of a Taliban man, his wife, and their three daughters, with all the women in burqas. Does he carry it in his wallet to show people? Does he remember which ghost is which kid? Can he even be sure that the people under the robes are his family?

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Brokeneck Mountain

Bizarro is brought to you today by Unexpected Visits From Mother Nature.

I'm not too modest to admit that I'm proud of this cartoon. It isn't easy to get politics, slavery, and gay rights onto the funny pages (as opposed to the editorial page), especially all in the same cartoon.

Readers who see my work in the newspaper as well as online, will notice that in the black and white version used in most markets, the cowboy's line ended with a question mark. That was a typo on my part, which I later corrected for the color version. The gag works either way, but I was going for a sarcastic proclamation by the cowboy, not a question.

This cartoon points out that times have changed in the past 150 years, but not as much as we'd like to think. While we no longer officially sanction discrimination based on race, but we still officially discriminate against romantic proclivities.

To those that argue that race is "born" while sexual orientation is a "choice," I would ask, was your sexual orientation a choice? If you didn't consciously choose what turns you on, what makes you think anyone else can?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Bizarro is brought to you today by Friendly Tongues.

It's been a dark day at Bizarro headquarters. Late last night my computer went into a deep coma. In spite of heroic efforts on my and several Apple expert emergency personnel's part, its brainwaves remain as flat as the top of Rob Blagojevich's head (under the brunette tower of protein.)

Tomorrow it goes into surgery and intensive care. (My computer, not Blagojevich's hair) If you have a god, please say a prayer to him/her/it/them and keep your fingers crossed. I backed everything up recently, so that's good, but it's never recent enough.

Meanwhile, I've lost a lot of recent emails and an entire day of work, so I may not be posting as often in the next few days as I deal with my grief and scramble to recover lost time and work.

Also, I was three or four weeks behind on many emails, so if you sent me something more than a day ago and I have not answered, please resend it. If you are not looking for the answer to an old email, however, please don't add to the smothering heap of laundry I currently have raining down on my head. If you wait a week or two before sending me a new email, it will be much appreciated and will be answered more quickly. Thanks.

Today's cartoon isn't a thigh slapper, but I like the picture. It was fun anthropomorphizing all these birds and think it turned out pretty well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

X-Ray Specks

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Perfect Holiday Gifts.

When I was a kid, it was a somewhat common element of suspense stories to have a guy handcuffed to an important briefcase. He was usually some hotshot spy or secret agent and there would invariably be a scene where he'd have to fight off villains while wearing the breifcase. When he was caught, of course, there was the tension of them threatening to chop his hand off to get the case, as if just cutting open the case were not an option.

While going through airport security last month, taking off my flipflops (because flipflop-shaped bombs and guns are so common), I thought of this image. I assumed the days of this kind of courier were over because of 9/11, but since this cartoon appeared in newspapers a week ago, I've heard from four different agencies/people that actually do this for a living and have this problem. They've described various strange solutions, one of them said that in a foreign country he was forced to check the case and ride the conveyor belt through the luggage tunnels to reach the plane.

As a bonus chuckle, here is a sketch for another cartoon I did a few years ago on this same theme, which is too adult for Bizarro, but not filthy enough for adult magazines. Thus, this meager blog is it's world premier.

(As always, click the cartoon to enlargerize.)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Book Suggestion

Fairly often, someone will write to me asking how to go about shifting to a vegetarian or vegan lifestyle. There is tons of info on the web for this, but a good friend of mine has produced a terrific book that has everything you'd need to get started and live the good life.

Both those who are leaning in this direction but have yet to make the leap and those who've been in the camp for a while can find an endless list of helpful resources in this book. Great for holiday gifts.

Buy it here.

Magical Time of Year

Bizarro is brought to you today by The War on Christmas.

Today's cartoon is from this time last year and is one of my favorites. I like the gag but I also like that people on both sides of the holiday fence can relate to it.

Long before I was interested in politics I wondered about the contradiction of "separation of church and state" and national holidays like Xmas. Constitutionally, this is clearly not a "Christian nation," as so many right-wingers are fond of calling it, but at the same time we have many laws and government customs that are based entirely on Christianity. Maybe there is a reason other than the Bible that I'm missing, but why can't a person have more than one legal spouse, as long as all spouses are consenting adults? Why is Xmas a legal holiday for government workers, but Yom Kippur is only a holiday if you're Jewish? And the most significant current example of course, is our denial of basic rights to gay couples.

Each year I get one of those Christmas War emails that people circulate about how "it's a Christmas tree, not a Holiday tree, not a Hannukah bush, not a Quanza" something-or-other... I usually respond by sending to the same list an explanation about the pagan origins of what is now called a Christmas tree. If you're going to be sanctimonious, seems you should at least have the facts.

Most rational people don't take this so-called "war on Christmas" seriously, but those who do fear the loss of their right to use government facilities and funds to celebrate their religion publically. But there are always loopholes. One can always resort to "Mary and the Magic Baby."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Rot, Papal, Fissures

(To see the comic big-like, click it)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Perfect Gifts Suggestions.

This cartoon is an unusual amalgamation of ideas from different places. A reader suggested I do something about Edward Rock/Paper/Scissors, and a friend of mine, Derek, whose ideas I have used before, suggested an idea about Edward Scissorneck. I thought each of these ideas had some merit, but neither appealed to me on its own. When combined, however, I think they make an interesting triptych.

Of course, the movie came out back in the 1900s and appealed to a cult demographic, so I suspect a lot of my older and very young readers will not get this gag at all. I don't mind publishing cartoons that some readers won't get, though, which is just another of the growing number of reasons that I'm not rich.

Longtime readers often ask me if I've thought of doing a Bizarro movie or animated TV show. I have, but with no recurring characters, story lines, or even subject matter, what would that show be like?

If you have any suggestions, I'd love to hear them before all the newspapers in the country go out of business and I'm forced to seek employment at a Hollywood escort service.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Real McCoy

Bizarro is brought to you today by Useful Information.

I wrote this joke during the last throes of the presidential campaign. One of the pointiest sticks in my craw for the past ten years is how many Americans will choose a candidate because he or she seems "folksy" (read: dumb) like them, over someone who is intelligent and well educated. Adjectives like "Ivy League" and "brainy" have been the worst things a person could be called if they hoped to win an election. No, you would never want a person smarter than you to lead the most powerful country in the world. That might make you feel inferior.

In spite of the amazing PR job that was done to convince voters of the opposite, W was the epitome of Ivy League elitism (though no one would ever accuse him of being brainy.) His privileged stroll from birth to the White House, and his now-proven utter indifference to the conditions of life for those outside his anointed circle, are precisely what most Americans do not want in a politician. Yet all they need to be convinced otherwise is a "gimme" cap and a phony accent. (Ever wondered why no one else in Bush's family has a Texas accent? I lived in Texas for 22 years and can attest to the fact that W's is pretty unauthentic. Maybe it's because he was mostly raised by a wealthy political family from New England.)

Thank God (or "no one," for my atheist readers) that Obama was able to get past this idiotic trend of electing counterfeit bumpkins to the Oval Office. While oozing intelligence, compassion, authenticity and elegance, he still managed to get elected. I pray (figuratively) that enough Americans are tired of hillbilly heads of state that those days are over, at least for a while.

But just when I feel comfortable in that assumption, a silhouette with a banjo and a corncob pipe appears on the horizon of Alaska.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Bulging Artists

Bizarro is brought to you today by Creepy Grandpas.

Roger Clemens and his drug problem were back in the news this week so I thought I'd post my cartoon from this time last year. Yes, that's supposed to be me on the left and yes, I actually do have one impossibly huge and over-developed hand and no, it isn't from too many years as a single guy. (That tends to develop the wrist and elbow muscles.)

In spite of what this cartoon implies, performance-enhancing drugs are not illegal for cartoonists so I can admit without fear of prosecution that I've taken plenty: Ibuprofen, yerba mate, coffee, single-malt scotch, fine tequila, cigars, anti-depressants, and high-cocoa-content chocolate.

Speaking of performance, I just noticed that I neglected to draw the backs or legs for the chairs the characters would be sitting on. That means they're just squatting at the table, pretending they have chairs. That kind of muscle control would not be possible without performance-enhancing drugs, even for a drawing.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Long Arms, Short Laugh

Bizarro is brought to you today by Very Tall Photographers.
I admit that this isn't a great cartoon. First, it isn't funny on a level beyond slapstick, and secondly, it's sort of a reach that global warming has gotten so bad that the ice caps have melted and flooded these people's home to the depth that a giant squid would be lurking outside their living room window. Also, there is the issue of water pressure, which would have smashed their windows long ago and typical window glass would most certainly not endure a small hole in it long enough to set up this scene and allow the woman to deliver her line. But that's cartoon logic for you.

I suppose I sacrificed logic and cleverness here in order to draw a fun picture. And that's fine sometimes. Lots of people read my comic because they like the art, so I'm guessing their are readers out there who enjoyed this image. I hope so, anyway.

Coincidentally, weeks after I drew this comic and a couple of days after it appeared in the paper, I was at that science museum in SF and took this picture of an octopus. I'm a big fan of tentacled critters – octopi, cuttlefishes, squids* – and got a kick out of seeing this one up close. I'm not certain whether octopi mind being enclosed in aquariums, I'm guessing they do. If so, I'm against this guy being cooped up here. I probably wouldn't have given this place my money if I'd known they had live animals in there.

Here's a pic of me and CHNW on the roof of said museum. As I mentioned in a previous post, the architecture of the place is the best feature.

*My apologies to squids for associating them with Rush Limbaugh.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


My readers interested in veganism and animal rights will no doubt notice that I did not mention my feelings about animal slavery in the previous post including the cartoon about zoos. I think the cartoon says enough so I didn't expound. For those of you who don't know my opinions on this and are interested, I find all forms of animal exploitation – for entertainment, medical experiments, food and clothing (in countries where alternatives are available) – ethically indefesible.

And now, for the holiday season, I present to you what I consider to be a clever and humorous short essay about the "turducken" from a brilliant writer, Francesco Marciuliano. He is not vegetarian, or at least he wasn't last time we had a meal together, but he is sympathetic to my views on the subject. I haven't asked him, but I'd like to think I may have influenced this essay. Both his writing and his cartoons are among the few things I read daily.

Here also is a cartoon I did last year on the same subject.

(Click the image to see biggerized)

A Hard Day's Work

Bizarro is brought to you today by Bubblegum Deer.

Flew home from Caliphornia last night and am thrilled to be back at Bizarro International Headquarters. Even though being back means dealing with hundreds of emails, stacks of envelopes, a mountain of voice mails and a mob of lazy employees who haven't done a thing since I left last week.

Few people realize it, but it takes over 600 people to get each Bizarro cartoon from the planning stages to your daily paper. The think tank in my Conception and Development Department alone has 126 employees. From there, the ideas go to the marketing committee that tests them on various groups of consumers, then compiles a list of the ones that scored most favorably and sends them on to my personal assistant. She then reviews them to make sure none contain images or ideas that I might find unpleasant, and puts them on my desk.

After I've seen the finalists, I choose the ones I want to see finished and send them on to the sketching and inking department. Each cartoon is drawn by 13 different artists, then I choose the one that I feel looks the most as if I had drawn it myself. If none represent the true essence of Piraro, I send it back to be done again.

Once finished and accepted, I add my inimitable signature and send the image on to the coloring department. Each cartoon is colored by 8 different artists, then those images are sent back to the marketing department for consumer testing once again. The one that scores the highest is sent to King Features, ready for publication.

By the time a Bizarro cartoon reaches the discerning eyes of you, my precious readers, over 800 people have seen and judged it, and around 375 artisans have poured the entirety of their considerable talent into making it an authentic Dan Piraro Original. It's a long, hard day of bone-grinding drudgery for each of these tireless workers, but knowing that they've made countless inhabitants of planet earth laugh is a reward that money can't buy.

No syndicated cartoon feature works harder to bring you the level of authentic artistic integrity that you've come to expect from Bizarro.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Learning is Pun

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Cheap Thrills for Kids Under 12.

I'm on my way home to Brooklyn in a few hours. Had a great time in NoCal, thanks for inviting me.

Saw the new multi-bazillion-dollar science museum in Golden Gate Park yesterday. In the humble, uneducated opinion of CHNW and I, the architecture of the museum is very cool, the content is pretty dull.

They have an indoor rainforest, but it isn't as good as one I saw in Dallas built 8 or 10 years ago. They have an aquarium that's pretty nice, but I've seen many better ones. I missed the planetarium, so I can't comment. The roof is a cool idea with grass and plants all over it, but that is more about architecture than science. That's about it. Unless you're an architecture buff, it isn't worth the $25 admission fee. San Francisco's Exploratorium is better, in my opinion.

More about the book events I did while here later. Hope you like today's corny pun cartoon. Can't wait to be home.

Modern Times and Lovers

Bizarro is brought to you today by Great Music.

Most pundits predicted that Joe the Plumber would burn out quickly after the election and return to the well-deserved obscurity that he has worked so hard to attain. But, under his policy of surrounding himself with rivals, Prez-El Obama has hired him to be White House plumber. (Even though Joe "the Plumber" W- [I cannot remember his real last name for the life of me] has no plumbing license.)

Perhaps when he sees his taxes go DOWN because he isn't the semi-wealthy entrepreneur he was pretending to be for the McCain campaign, he'll eventually admit he's been in the wrong party all along.

Still in Le Bay Area, CHNW, my cartoonist/stand-up comic friend, Michael Capozzola, and I went to see Jonathan Richman at the Great American Music Hall last night. Great show, love that guy.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This Just In

(Click the map to enlargicate it)
Bizarro is brought to you today by The Next Fashion Trend.

This cartoon is outside my usual style, but I really love it. I thought of it a couple of weeks before the election but couldn't get it into the Bizarro lineup until weeks later. I figured as long as people could still remember the catch phrases from the election it would still work.

One thing I realized while writing this cartoon was that virtually all the catch phrases were from the Republican side. I tried to make it as "fair and balanced" as possible, but the Obama campaign only had a couple of slogans and didn't produce the kind of constant stream of punch lines that McCain and Palin did. But that's how the GOP of the past 10 years has been operating. They have depended on propaganda and jingoism to convince folks other than the uber-wealthy to vote for them, and that means SOUNDBITES!

One last bit of trivia: My dad's birthday is Nov 30 and I always put a small "Happy B-Day Dad" in the margin of a cartoon that runs on that day. This year was no exception and the cartoon that I originally turned in for Nov 30 had the message. But the following week, I did the Electoral College Map cartoon and to make it as relevant as possible, we bumped it up in the lineup. Long story short, the Sunday cartoon for next week, December 14, will have the birthday message to my dad, even though its two weeks late.

Yesterday's book store event in Clayton (which, in spite of what I had originally said, is only an hour or less east of SF, just beyond Walnut Creek, to answer the queries of some commentators yesterday) went very well. Sold almost all the books the store had ordered, nice-sized crowd, everyone was sweet as pie. Special thanks to Joel and Veritha (I'm terrible with names and I'd never heard yours before, hope I didn't mess it up too badly) for their hospitality.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Turkey Quack

Bizarro is brought to you today by Holiday Fashions for Less.

This ran a couple days after Thanksgiving or something. I often do some really blatant animal-rights message around Thanksgiving, but this year I soft-sold it a bit.

I'm still in Califromia and had a great event at Booksmith on Haight Street last night. Good crowd, fun presentation. Sold out of books. Can't ask for more than that.

Today I'm at an indy bookstore in Clayton, Ca, a couple hours east of here, I think. Someone from the store is driving me there. If I disappear and am never heard from again, show this blog to the authorities.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Bush Commemorative Stamp

Here's a sketch I did of a Bush commemorative postage stamp. The face isn't all that great, but it's a quick sketch proposed to a magazine. If they bought it (which they didn't), I'd have redrawn it. I know it looks more-or-less finished, but that's because I drew it on my computer, tracing over a photo of shrub and various images of old stamps.

There are commercials on TV now for an Obama commemorative plate and mug. It comes with a certificate of authenticity. They don't tell you what makes that plate and mug with a picture of Obama printed on it more "authentic" than some other plate and mug with a picture of Obama printed on it.

Desperado Dinner

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by The Perfect Christmas Gift.

Here's another cartoon by my kooky freind, Derek. I tweaked the caption a tiny bit, but it's essentially exactly as he conceived it. I really like this gag, the guard is so sublimely stupid. It causes a chuckling noise to issue forth from my face.

As I said in a previous post, I'm away from home and don't have as much time to post, so this is more brief than usual.

Holiday Combo Special

I'm away from Bizarro International headquarters for a few days, doing some book store appearances in Northern Californy, so my blogs will be simple or missing. Normal sched should resume next Wednesday. Until then, I'll try to post a cartoon or two here and there, with limited comments.

This idea is from my nutty buddy, Derek. It ran last week on Thanksgiving Day, of course. I'm an animal rights advocate, so all Thanksgiving Days are thoughtlessly violent calamities in my book.

This one was fun to draw and I like the imagery a lot.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ageless Graffiti

Bizarro is brought to you today by the Alabama Gay Men's Chorale.

My friend, Richard Cabeza (best name ever) suggested an idea to me about a caveman art critic. I didn't use the idea exactly as he had envisioned it, but I liked the premise and particularly liked the fur suit the critic in his cartoon was wearing.

I've always found primitive cave art to be fascinating. It was the world's first graffiti. When visiting some Native American petroglyphs in New Mexico a few years back, I noticed that modern visitors had scratched their initials or name into the surrounding rocks, not necessarily damaging the ancient art, but adding their own touch on another part of the wall. This is, of course, illegal, as strongly worded signs inform you. Apparently, the trick with graffiti is age. If you get caught in the first few decades, you're a vandal. Get away with it for a few thousand years, you're a national treasure.

Regarding my rant about modern graffiti a couple of posts ago, I realize there are a lot of people who are fans of elaborate tagging. I don't mean to insult the fans of that genre or imply there is no skill involved in some of these images, it just isn't my cup of tea. Doesn't make it bad, just makes it not my favorite.

Some images, however, are just bad.

Porn Star Encounter

While cleaning the employee lounge at Bizarro International Headquarters, a member of my janitorial crew came across this photo of me and Ron Jeremy, possibly the world's most famous male porn star.

We met at a party at the Playboy Mansion and though I had no idea who he was, he is a big fan of mine and begged me to take a picture with him. I'm a friendly, humble guy, in spite of my tremendous celebrity, so I accepted.

Mr. Jeremy is mostly retired from porn now, but in the 70s, he was the king. I've not actually seen any of his films and am not even sure if they are available on DVD, having mostly been filmed in the daguerreotype technology of the day.

Like pretty much all famous male porn stars, his claim to fame is the result of a singular genetic condition that, shall we say, sometimes makes it difficult to find slacks that fit properly.

I, too, have trouble finding slacks that fit, but it is because my wallet is so hugely stuffed with money.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Spray It, Don't Say It

This Bizarro cartoon is brought to you by Signs of the Times.

I have a love/hate relationship with graffiti. I love it if it's good, or at least clever, or both, but I hate it if it's typical, boring, meaningless crap, which is the overwhelming majority of it. When I visit Europe I always notice that the graffiti there tends to be more sophisticated, both graphically and in content. They still have their share of boring "tags," but they have a much higher percentage of thoughtful graffiti by talented artists.

The same is true for any art form, of course – music, literature, dance, theater – most people like to express themselves in one or more of these ways, and should, but most are not particularly good at it. I guess the difference is that bad writers and dancers don't plaster their work all over public buildings where it cannot be ignored. (Although bad musicians are often difficult to avoid.)

Not an important subject, just a few random thoughts from my tiny head.

Monday, December 1, 2008

The Old Sandy Swimsuit Gag

Bizarro is brought to you today by Tough Guys on Tables.

Most of my cartoons just come out of some random knothole in my mind, but this is one of those rare ones that is drawn from my own life. My brother, Gavin, and I used to pull this gag on tourists all the time on the beaches near our childhood home in Burkina Faso.

It was enough of a challenge to build a sand-art replica of the sleeping sunbather without awakening him or her, but real skill was required in getting their bathing suit off and covering them in sand. We developed a technique similar to the way Indiana Jones replaced the jewel with the sack of sand all in one move. It worked for us a good 80% of the time.

I haven't tried this gag in years. I'm probably no longer fast enough to assure my escape should the victim awaken at an inopportune time, but I encourage those of you with a good set of wheels and a mischievous streak to give it a go.