Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Talk to the Tongue

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Highland Park Cloning Institute.

After yesterday's contentious religious post, this seems a good mindless followup cartoon. This could have been funnier if it had been in reference to the porn industry, but newspapers don't allow that sort of topic on the funny pages, so here we are. I still like the gag, though.

I was once hired to do some art for a California winery and part of that gig was hanging out for a weekend in Napa with serious wine fans (I feel like there's a name for them other than "gourmet"–"wino" doesn't seem quite right, "wine nerd" is too derrogatory), vintners, tasters, those sorts. I wasn't that into wine at the time, so it was an alternately interesting and boring weekend, but there were moments when I was tempted to burst out laughing inappropriately like a kid in church.

My fondest memory is of a large, stately room fashioned after a European castle, with a huge, carved oak table in the middle of the room, an enormous ornate mirror, big Renaissance-style paintings, probably a suit of armor. Our group of about 20 were seated around the table and given various glasses of wine to taste. Since it was midday and we weren't supposed to get drunk, we were also given spit glasses. As the tasting began, the room fell silent and all one could hear for the next 20 minutes was the sound of spitting. As I looked around the room and saw well-dressed white folks in such a pompous setting swishing and splurching, staying focused was challenging.

I wish I'd thought to bring a colossal prosthetic tongue with me. Might have lightened up the occasion, albeit in a Homer Simpson sort of way.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Dubious Reunions

Bizarro is brought to you today by the Miracle Messiah Tree of Jacksonville, Florida.

When I was a tiny, oppressed, terrified Catholic School boy I began wondering about the afterlife and its myriad possibilities. Like most children of religious families, my own indoctrination was confusing: on the the one hand we were told that only our "soul" goes to heaven and our earthly body returns to dust, but all of the drawings we were asked to color in Sunday School, paintings in the Vatican, and stained glass windows in the church had people who looked like they did in life.

Then there is Hell, where everyone is all tortured and burning for eternity while their skin melts and peels and falls off, only to melt and peel and fall off again every second of every day for eternity. The burning and melting isn't enough pain for someone raised in the wrong culture (non-Christian), of course, so hideous creatures jab them with pointy sticks, too. What good would any of that deliciously sadistic torment be if you didn't have your body? Ever try to set a soul on fire and poke it with a stick? Good luck.

And if you do spend eternity with your body, wouldn't it be better to die young? Who wants to be bald, fat, tired and achy for eternity? I'd much rather have the body I had at 25. Listening to my grandparents complain about their health in their golden years led me and a handful of my more philosophical schoolmates to form a suicide cult in the second grade. We would have pulled it off, too, until one of us with a big brother told us how cool pubic hair was and we all decided to wait until at least then.

If, however, we are without our bodies and are pure "soul," how will we recognize each other? When people have the fabled "near death experience" that is becoming so popular these days, they always report having seen their dead relatives. (Which would be enough to scare me back to life, too.) Are these avatars that the "souls" have conjured up so you'll recognize them, or is Nana stuck with that deflated parade-balloon body and thin hair that she had when she died? Doesn't sound like there is much bliss in her eternity. I'm sure she'd much rather be the babe that attracted Gramps when he returned from WWII.

The nicest thing about this game is that you can change the rules as you go, make it whatever you want. It is comforting to believe you're going to a better place when you die and there are as of yet no images or reports from the other side, so make it what you want it to be.

Personally, I'm hoping for oblivion, the same experience I had before I was born. I get bored easily and can't imagine doing anything for eternity. As Mark Twain supposedly said when asked how he could face eternity as an atheist, "I was dead for billions of years before I was born and it didn't inconvenience me in the least."

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Veggy Thugs

(Internets expert hint of the day: You can enlargify this drawing by clickinating it!)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Suggestion for
What to Get Me for My Birthday.

My apologies to regular readers of this blog for missing the last couple of days. I've been as busy as Rush Limbaugh at an all-you-eat Jackass Buffet.

I like this cartoon a lot and I thought of it all by myself. I was watching a video of Mr. Pumpkinhead incarnate jumping up and down at the '09 CPAC convention and it came to me in a blinding flash. It also marks the first time in Bizarro's 25 year history (to the best of my recollection) that I have used the word "renege," in a cartoon. I also always enjoy drawing lighting effects like the cliche single-bulb-interrogation-in-a-dark-basement scheme. So all in all, it was a fun cartoon to draw and I still like it weeks later.

I have hopes that you, too, will find it amusing. Thanks for reading, you're very sweet.

P.S. Here's the header panel that went with it. It was created from a photo of myself at about 1 year of age, which I have used numerous times in different ways for other header panels. My apologies to my mother.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Marsupial Interpretations

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Steroids.

I've never reached into a kangaroo's pouch and I don't recommend it to others. In doing so without invitation, you run the risk of offending the pouch's owner, thus inclining her to use her formidable legs or tail to remove your appendage from her hidey hole. I feel certain that the youngster in this amusing sketch escaped with nothing short of a dislocated shoulder.

Still, who can blame the child? She is an average, curious lass of the 21st century First World and as such, has not seen a slot such as this in anything other than a hand puppet. She only wanted to make the funny puppet dance.

But perhaps we are missing the point. It could be that the young lady is, in fact, manipulating a giant puppet and using her ventriloquistic acumen to make it appear to ask her to stop. This is a sophisticated child indeed, with an impressively eccentric sense of humor.

Or perhaps the child only perceived this scene while visiting a petting zoo after sampling wild mushrooms in the park. Who among us can say we have not thrust our arm into places it did not belong under similar circumstances?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Curmudgeon Cartoonist

Bizarro is brought to you by Classic Messiah Pranks.

I think I've ranted about GPSs on this blog before, so I'll skip it today except to say that I like the GPS on my iPhone precisely because it has no voice. I find noises very distracting. With a talking GPS, I am habitually telling it to shut up.

I have a lot of bugaboos like that, mostly to do with sound. I love music, but I can't stand to hear music from a source other than my own doing. Like if I can hear a neighbor's stereo, or a car is parked outside with the radio blasting. (In Brooklyn this happens a LOT. Loud car stereos are the mating call of the local species.) Even if it is a song I like, which is virtually never because I'm really picky about the music I like (surprise), I still find it irritating and drift toward thoughts of violence or at least a water cannon.

I think I am unable to ignore sound. For instance, I cannot read in public unless it is quiet. If people around me are talking, I can't NOT hear them, no matter how riveting the book is. Even if I'm not reading, I can't stand to hear other people's conversations. It drives me nuts. I want to tell them to shut up, nobody cares where Robert went on his vacation last year and whether or not he would recommend the hotel he stayed in. In NYC this happens a lot, usually on a bus or the subway. You're right, I should probably live in a suburb or out in the country somewhere, but it's just too boring.

Car alarms make me want to learn to use explosives. People are so used to ignoring car alarms, how could they possibly thwart a theft under any circumstances? So you hear a car alarm and see a guy fumbling with a car door: you root for him to succeed and disable the alarm, or at least drive the car away.

These irritants are becoming worse lately, perhaps it is age. I prefer the term "curmudgeon," but I think I may just be an a**hole.

SPECIAL COMMENT: Thanks for all the caption submissions on yesterday's post. Many of them were funnier than the one I had originally written. Now I'm reticent to divulge it. Suffice to say that many of you have my silent respect.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Saggy Ink

Bizarro is brought to you today by an Awesome Rock Show.

Simple word play again today, seems to be the week for it. Nothing much to say about this one other than that Cliff is a friend of mine, with whom I am working on a book project. His fiance did not break up with him, however. He's happily married.

In other news, Parade Magazine continues to publish my cartoons from time to time and below is one they've featured as a caption contest. If you consider yourself a captioneer you can still enter their contest and win whatever it is they are awarding.

A lot of people really enjoy caption contests and I'd have one on this blog except that I've found two things to be true of them:
1. it is a tedious task to sift through all of the entries, many of which are uncannily identical
2. if 800 people enter, you make one person happy and piss off 799

Seems a losing proposition to me so I'll not be offering any caption contests here, but if you want to submit your idea for this cartoon in the comments section, I'll read it. I won't choose a winner and all you stand to win is my silent respect. Obscene captions will be deleted as I continue to attempt to keep this blog relatively family friendly so I can continue to list the URL in my client newspapers.

Thanks for understanding, you're a sweetheart.

After the Parade contest is over, I'll tell you my original caption for this cartoon. Which I meant to use in Bizarro and maybe did. I can't remember just now and can't find my archives. If I didn't use it, I will later this year. The joke was inspired by CHNW's grandmother, who has numerous tattoos, most of which she got after the age of 60.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Victoria's Puck

Bizarro is made possible today by Eternal Honeymoon Lingerie.

Yes, this joke is a bit adolescent, but at least I didn't use a basketball. I do have some restraint. Nor did I use a baseball, which, come to think of it, might have been funnier. A golf ball would have been too small to read legibly, as would a hockey puck, which is not "cup shaped" even when cut in half. If her husband were hooked on watching sumo wrestling, I'd have no idea how to illustrate a sports bra for that.

Still, lots of people like visual puns, that's how Carrot Top got rich, and I like to cater to my entire readership, not just the sophisticated humor connoisseurs who frequent this blog.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Detective M. Richard Tracy

Bizarro is brang to you today by
Gooder Grammar.

This kind of simple word play where you combine the names of two things and create a third thing is very common, I know. Maybe there's even a name for this process, if anyone knows of one, please leave it in the comments section. Or make one up.

What made this one appealing to me was the deadpan humor of a whale with a two-way wrist TV that he can't possibly see from his vantage point. Plus the tiny hat. I also like to render underwater scenes, so all that added together made for a green light.

As I look at this thing this morning, I can't find the 5 symbols that the number by the signature says there are supposed to be. I only found four. So here's another version with one added. If someone finds all five in the original, let me know.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Non-Gay Rainbow Rankings

Bizarro is brought to you today by Hideous Monsters.

The most funnest part of this comic was the drawing. Even though drawings like this are tedious and time consuming, both to research and to draw, I always really enjoy the final product. (For you technique buffs, I should mention that the entire drawing is done with a small brush, even the lettering, and I use no straightedge of any kind.)

I like this gag and its soft parody of the stupendously transparent propaganda tool of the Bushies. As any scientist will tell you, a human's ability to reason is seriously compromised by fear. Ergo, if you keep the people frightened, it takes them longer to figure out you're screwing them. It's an age-old political trick but still works like a charm. Most recently, it worked on Americans for 8 years. Some are still trying it.

I've included the strip version of this one, too, since it required a lot of extra art and fenagling. My favorite part of the strip version is the anatomical heart on the sign in the back. What is that company selling? I have no idea what the Japanese type on all these signs says, I just borrowed stuff from signs I found on the Internets. For all I know, they could say (insert your own joke here.)
(As always, click the image to colossalize it.)

Finally, I got this email from a reader:

How dare you !?!?!

Rodan is easily a higher priority than Mothra. He's older ( released after Godzilla and before Mothra to terrorize us in our movie theaters ), leatherier and gnarleyier.

My sincere apologies to this or any other reader who was offended by my rankings. I was rating them by how often I'd heard their name. I hope that I have not offended Rodan or his followers.

DISCLAIMER: The writer of the above email was not serious, he was actually taking a self-deprecating jab at his own obsession with Japanese movie monsters. Taken out of context, though, it's much funnier. Saying the Security Alert System is a tool of propaganda does not mean I don't there is any danger of another terrorist attack, it is only to say that there isn't anything the average person or society can gain from this rainbow bogeyman thermometer. My apology to followers of Rodan was tongue-in-cheek, if you really were offended by this you need professional help, possibly medication, definitely a girlfriend.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Fighting For Fun

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by A Useless Degree in Marketing.

I am a fan of air hockey, regular hockey, and fighting, so this cartoon appeals to me in many ways. I like the general concept that since hockey leads to fights, if you're playing air hockey your fight would logically consist of trying to blow each other down. (The last word in that sentence is the most important.)

People who are not fans of hockey often question why there is so much fighting. It is not gratuitous, as is often surmised, it actually serves an important purpose. A good friend of mine some years ago came up with a theory about this that I've adhered to ever since: Hockey is arguably the most difficult sport in the world to play as it requires very high levels of disparate skills.

1. You must change direction quickly and constantly while standing on ice
2. You have knife blades strapped to your shoes
3. You must control a rock-hard disk moving at lightening speed on a slippery surface with a bent stick
4. You are being pushed and slammed into by other knife-shoe-wearers covered in armor traveling at very high speeds

It's sort of like combining surgery with dodge 'em cars. Just when you're about to suture that aorta closed, somebody slams into you from behind and ruins the whole thing. Again.

Doing all of this at once is very difficult and, by definition, very frustrating. Every now and then you have to blow off some steam. So the refs let the surgeons swing away at each other for a few seconds before they break them up. Then they send them each to a little room (penalty box) to think about what they've done or take a short nap.

Leaving the topic of hockey fights behind, I just noticed a grievous error in the art of this cartoon. The perspective on the hockey table is way off. The brown outside border of the table is more or less in line with itself, but the three black lines in the middle of the table are hideously askew. That's very unlike me to not notice and fix such a visual faux pas, but perhaps I was in a hurry or drunk. Or maybe one of my hockey pals was slamming me against the boards while I tried to work. Anything is possible at Bizarro International Headquarters.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Nature's Candy

Bizarro is brought to you today by Fair Warning.

Simply put, some people care about their health, some don't. You can preach till you're blue in the face about health and nutrition to some folks and it just doesn't matter. That's fine, I don't really care if other people are healthy or not. I figure diet is just another type of natural selection.

If you happen to care about your health, however, what you eat is the single most important area of focus. Fill a Lamborghini with high quality fuel and you've got a race car. Fill it with corn syrup, it's up on blocks.

Most people know by now that corn syrup is bad for you. It's not because it's full of cancer-causing chemicals (like grilled chicken) as much as that it is incredibly fattening and it is in virtually all processed foods. Even stuff you might think is good for you.

Other things to eliminate from your diet or eat in moderation: nails, glass, burning coals, explosives, plastics, battery acid, batteries, animal protein, lead, mercury, urine, cyanide, turpentine, anything Rush Limbaugh eats, road signs, scissors.

I'm a vegan but I'm not a huge health nut. I enjoy the health benefits of a vegan diet, which are numerous, but I am vegan for ethical reasons (animal compassion, environment), not for my own health. I stay away from products with corn syrup because I like being thin, but it does not contain animal products, so it is technically vegan. Some people assume veganism is a starvation diet and we're all thin. Not true. I know plenty of vegans and they come in all sizes from shoestring to blimp. Soda pop, french fries, peanut butter – all vegan, all fattening.

True, vegans are less likely to be overweight than the average American who eats anything that tastes good, but that is more because they are already paying close attention to what they eat so they tend to eat healthier. Animal products are inherently more fattening than plant products, so you're already halfway there just by cutting those out.

A blog reader brought to my attention a commercial about corn syrup that has been parodied to humorous effect. Here is the original:

Here is one of the many spoofs (there are other good ones, too, check them all out):

Here is a boring but true video about corn syrup's actual health benefits and dangers:

DISCLAIMER: I have nothing against corn in it's natural state–it is good for you, in spite of what some carb-o-phobics will tell you. I am not making fun of Rush Limbaugh because he is fat–there are so many things wrong with him that I cannot possibly list them all here. I am not making fun of fat people in general, unless they are fans of Rush Limbaugh. If the videos above don't work, go to YouTube and search "corn syrup commercial." I eat french fries and peanut butter in moderation, they are two of my favorite things to put in my mouth.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Save My Reputation

World-famous cartoonist, Dan Piraro, at a Halloween party in 1991 wearing a costume of his own design, holding a baby who was not. (of his own design)

Okay, I'm putting myself on the line here by telling you I'm involved in an auction. I say "on the line" because if nobody bids to have lunch with me, I'll look very unpopular, at least with people who have easy access to NYC and are willing to pay over a $200 to have lunch with somebody who is not a prostitute or an elected official. Not including food.

Come to think of it, that's seems pretty steep. Now I feel a lot of pressure to be enchanting and fabulous at lunch, if someone does bid. Why do I get myself into these things?

It's for a good cause, so bid away, even if you have no intention of meeting me for lunch. Here's my auction: Lunch with a Loser
Here's the other auctions for the same charity: People More Famous Than Dan Piraro

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Prehistoric Holiday Fun

Bizarro is brought to you today by the fine folks at Prehistoric Autos of Hollywood.

Judging by the emails I got, this was a very popular cartoon. I'm sorry to say I didn't write it, it's another idea from my strange friend, Derek. Sometimes I change his ideas a bit to make a cartoon, but this one is pretty much just as he wrote it. My only contribution is the drawing. Many thanks to Derek for his continuing input.

Today is St. Patrick's Day. All over America there are drunks wearing various forms of green, from everyday items of clothing to vomit. I'm partly Irish on my mother's side, but haven't celebrated St. Pat's Day in many years. I used to love this holiday in elementary school, when we made great sport of inflicting painful pinches on the poor slobs who forgot to wear green that day. My mom, who is a notoriously good sport with more than her share of a wacky streak, would let my 9 sisters and I draw a green shamrock on our cheek with what we called in those days a "Flair pen." Seems tame by today's standards, but in the Catholic school I attended in the sixties, that was as outrageous as going to school in drag. Oh, the memories.

My first inkling that it was St. Patty's today came this afternoon while on one of my rare forays outside Bizarro International Headquarters in Brooklyn when I saw a man in a green Scottish getup carrying a bass drum with a big green shamrock on it. I'm not sure what kilts have to do with the Irish, but he seemed to be having fun.

CHNW and I are celebrating quietly at home in our traditional manner, painting potatoes green and hiding them in tailpipes around the 'hood.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Lunch Minute

Bizarro is brought to you today by I.Q. Test in a Can.

This is one of those ideas that popped into my head from nowhere, no relation to anything I was doing or looking at.

It might, however, have been subconsciously suggested by my own schedule. Though I don't work in an office and haven't since the mid-nineties when I worked daily in an illustration studio, I do work way too many hours a week. I stop for lunch, dinner and a late afternoon nap, but usually put in 8 to 10 hours a day, seven days a week. I almost never do anything fun or social unless I'm out of town. It's getting me down.

I'm working toward taking a small amount of time every day, especially on weekends, to do something fun for myself. I'd love to have more time to work on fine art, but it just isn't in the cards at the moment.

The first step I'm taking to this end is not accepting as many out-of-town gigs like appearances and comedy shows. They're fun and I really enjoy them, but getting ahead on deadlines before I leave and catching up on emails when I get back is killing me. Not to mention how tired I am of schlepping through airports.

Many of you might be thinking, "How dare you complain about such a fun career?" Okay, you're right. I'm a terrible person and I take it back. I'm very grateful for my job, I live indoors, eat regularly and like it so much better than any number of things I might be doing or used to do before Bizarro made enough money to support me. But no matter what you do, you can't keep putting out without taking in. It wears on you and you become a zombie.

Enough complaining. You didn't stop by this blog today to read my pathetic whining. Plus, I have to get back to work. Oh, wait, this blog is part of my job. My favorite part, actually.

You're a lamb for reading. Thanks for letting me vent.

(DISCLAIMER: I am not suicidal, don't worry. Yes, I'm still taking my crazy pills. I eat right and when the weather is good I ride my bike for exercise. I do not own a gun, so you are unlikely to read of me bursting into a local church or school and mowing down innocent strangers. Yes, things could be worse, I know that, I'm fine, really. Tomorrow's post will be less serious.)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gumby and Goliath

(And the angel said, "Weep not over the smallness of the image, for ye must only click it and have faith.")

Bizarro is brought to you today by Drunken Shriners.

I didn't realize this was Spring Break for some people when I submitted this cartoon six weeks ago, but it's a fairly suitable image for it. Just change the waiter's line to, "Seniors?" This cartoon, however, is not about getting drunk, but melting in the sun because you're made of putty. Just so you know.

CHNW and I recently saw a pretty interesting documentary on Art Clokey, the guy who invented the Gumby and Pokey series. The story behind the development of the series was somewhat interesting but the strange twists that his personal life took are fascinating. I recommend it to anyone interested in human behavior. The film is called Gumby Dharma. Careful with that keyboard – if you accidentally order Dharma and Greg, my previous comments may not apply.

Clokey is also responsible for the Davey and Goliath series, animated shorts that are as difficult to turn away from as a train wreck and for all the same reasons. D&G has the same quirky, jerky animation techniques but adds an insufferably precious element of morality. If you're like me, it makes you squirm and giggle with embarassment for the producers who created it as you ask yourself incredulously, "who buys this crap?" But the documentary casts a whole new light on it.

If you've not seen Davey and Goliath, ask your doctor if watching Davey and Goliath is right for you.

(DISCLAIMER: As a child, I was a fan of Gumby and Pokey and do not wish them ill. By making fun of D&G, I am not making fun of Christianity or morals per se. Even when I was a devout Christian, I found D&G to be squirm worthy. Linking to a picture of a figurine of Jesus with children does not mean I hate children or your idea of Jesus. My use of the word "morality" in a humorous context does not mean I am ammoral. Your experiences while watching the aforementioned programs may be different from mine.)

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Pi Day

(click the funny funny picture to make it bigger, clearer)

This special edition of Bizarro is brought to you by Pi.

Because today is March 14th (3/14), math nerds everywhere (like me) are celebrating Pi Day. Sometimes confused with Pie Day, which is on January 23rd, today's variety refers to the magical math number 3.1415blahblahblah, which is called "pi" by those of us in the know.

There are lots of things you can do with pi, like figure out something about a circle or time travel or something. It's been a while since I was in a math class, but I remember it was really useful.

For you history buffs, "pi" was first invented by the people who built Stonehenge, which is really just a bunch of them stuck together.

Squirrels of the Caribbean

Bizarro is brought to you today by Foolproof Get Rich Quick Schemes.

We were all raised believing that pirates habitually buried their treasure like it was a trait of their species, beyond their control, something they just did without thinking like the way certain tough guys adjust their scrotum every 45 seconds.

In all likelihood this stereotype comes from a single source, like Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island. But I wonder if it has any historical basis at all. Did any pirate ever bury a treasure and then forget to go back and get it? Did any pirate ever bury a treasure at all? If so, why?

It can't be one of those schemes you see in movies sometimes when a guy steals something, hides it, turns himself in, then spends the money when he gets out of prison. A pirate would know that if he ever got caught, he'd never see the light of day again. Was it to save room on the ship? Were pirate ships typically so crowded with scallywags, wenches and scurvy knaves that they needed the extra two square feet a treasure chest inhabited?

And what's with those useless maps they made? Even a pirate would know that a map that consisted of drawings of trees and dotted lines would not be enough to navigate by. These guys were professional navigators, for Pete's sake. And who is Pete? Why have so many people done things for his sake? Is he at grateful? Does he even know what we've been doing on his behalf?

As a person who has published a book about pirates (okay, a book of pirate cartoons) I know all too well that the mysterious life of the pirate raises far more questions than it answers. Perhaps it is best that we never know the truth and just admire these filthy, ruthless, criminals for the romantic heroes they were.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Celebrating Celebs

Bizarro is brought to you today by Questionable Public Behavior.

I think celebrities often go off the deep end because they are used to being above the rules. I've experienced this on rare occasions when a group in a small town invites me to perform or something. For an hour or two, they treat me like Mick Jagger or Dane Cook. I don't wait in lines, I get special favors, everyone treats me like gold, nobody disagrees with me or questions any whim. I don't take unfair advantage of those situations because they are so rare and I don't feel entitled to it. In fact, it's fairly embarrassing.

But if you lived every day of your life like that for years, I think there is a great temptation to begin to believe you really are that special and develop a general attitude that you are immune to the rules that guide most people. I think this explains some of the celebrity drug addictions, weapons possessions, speeding tickets, shoplifting arrests, and the way Bono looks on the recent cover of Rolling Stone magazine.

I hope I never get to the place that there is no one in my life who will stop me from leaving the house like that.

(DISCLAIMER: There are other reasons celebrities get into trouble. Lots of people who get into trouble are not celebrities. Some people are more prone to feeling entitled than others, whether they are celebrities or not. I like Bono's music and his work for charity. I am not equating myself with "real" celebrities. I don't think Mick Jagger and Dane Cook are crazy, I just used their pictures to illustrate a point. I really do, however, think that eye makeup on Bono is grotesque.)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Bird Envy

Bizarro is brought to you today by Extremely Young Morticians.

Here is another gag submitted by my strange friend, Derek. I changed it a tiny bit, not much, and I think it is his best yest. There have been many cartoon versions of the "Wrong brothers" before, but this one is fresh and simple, in my opinion. It makes me chuckle.

I admit that I didn't research Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. For all I know there are no bluffs within twenty miles, it's as flat as a pancake and that's why the Wright brothers chose it. Nothing to run into.

If the Wright brothers could see what today's flight industry has become, they would be astounded by how badly I was treated by Delta two weeks ago when they stranded me for a day in Atlanta, then left my luggage outside in the rain overnight. This was NOT what Orville and Wilbur had in mind.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blind Justice is 20/20

Bizarro is brought to you today by Lassie Knows Dad is Hiding Something.

Lawyers like jokes about themselves. Almost any time I do a joke about lawyers, an attorney contacts me and wants to buy the original art. You might say that's because they frequently have expendable income, but the same thing is true of doctors and I don't hear from them when I do a doctor cartoon. There's just something about the sort of personality that becomes a lawyer that enjoys self-deprecating humor.

Granted, it would require a sense of humor to live with the fact that your chosen profession is among the highest paid and most hated in society, and that many times during your career you will be required to use all of your intellectual faculties to assure that a guilty party goes unpunished. It's a pretty weird job.

I have nothing against the sort of people who become lawyers, with some exceptions. I have several friends who are attorneys and find nothing fundamentally wrong with them. They just have a different perspective on the world than I do, as they tend to respect law above justice. I think the average person is the other way around.

I suspect most lawyers would agree that courts are about "law" and not particularly interested in "justice." There are a lot of high-minded reasons for this with which I agree, but I'm not cut out to serve that system on a daily basis. If I had been the judge overseeing the O.J. case for instance, when the jury announced their "not guilty" verdict, I would have sentenced him to life in prison anyway. And that's only because I don't believe in the death penalty.

Thank no one (atheist) I came out with this idea before this cartoon appeared in The New Yorker. Different cartoonists coming across the same idea independently is very common, it's just way better to be in the first position rather than the second. I'm guessing this idea has been touched upon by other cartoonists in the past, too, so I can't get too cocky. Mick Stevens is one of my favorites from New Yorker, so I'm honored to be in good company.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Teal

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Ghostbusters.

This is a simple visual pun switch-a-roony gag that refers to the NFL team from Jacksonville. For the unsporty, they're called the Jacksonville Jaguars and their colors are teal and something.

This is one of the only times you'll see the color teal featured so prominently in Bizarro as it is one of my least favorite colors in the world. This is distinct from the color I call turquoise, which has more blue in it and is a terrific color. The color I hate is the one with more green, the one that appeared on tons of new cars back in the late 80s or 90s, and is still used for clothing and such. Blech.

The 1960s Jaguar XKE, however, are one of my favorite sports cars ever, not that I'm some kind of a sports car junky who drives around in a $100K car. I ride a 1980 Vespa scooter and don't own a car (nor can I afford a classic Jaguar) but I'm not unable to appreciate beautiful design.

I thought I might hear from some football fans when this was published, but instead I got a number of emails from Jaguar clubs who wanted to share this cartoon with their membership in newsletters and web sites and such.

What are your favorite sports cars and least favorite colors?

Monday, March 9, 2009

Pied Piper, Paid Paper

Bizarro is brought to you today by Bizarro Tributes From Around the World.

The cartoon at left is what I originally wrote and wish I had published. But when I sat down to ink the idea, I decided for some lame reason that it would be better to have both the therapist and the patient sobbing because we're all up this creek without a paddle together (Paddles stolen by W, boat built by Haliburton, leaking profusely), so I drew and published the version below.

As soon as I saw it in print, however, I wished I had gone with my original instinct, which is a quieter, drier joke. Bummer.

As for the idea itself, I am a great admirer of BaRockStar Obama and think he is exactly the right person at the right time. (Although 8 years ago would have been an even better time.) One of the things I admire most about him is his courage under fire. The guy stays cool against unimaginable odds, when everyone else around him is pointing fingers and screaming like children. No matter how much petty political nonsense his opponents throw at him, he takes the high road and sticks to the issues. In the long run, I hope that the juvenile culture of Washington politics will grow up a bit and take a couple of steps toward his end of the spectrum. I don't expect it, I just hope.

Meanwhile, I thought it might be funny to depict him breaking down and sobbing under a couch in the privacy of a therapy session. I know I would.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bizarro Tribute

It's always nice when other cartoon strips pay tribute to Bizarro. Thanks to John for pointing this out.

Impaired Humor

(You can click the picture and it will become un-small.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by
Shark Week.

From where I sit inside my own head, there is almost no article of clothing more unappealing than the track suit. What is even stranger than the thought of someone thinking they looked good in this kind of color-coordinated baggywear, is the connection, or lack thereof, of the primary groups who wear them.

The fashion track suit is mostly the domain of three distinct groups: the tacky suburban house frau, goombas like "Paulie" from The Sopranos, and hip-hop-happy urban blacks. How did these three groups become members of the same fashion trend?

I don't know when urban blacks began wearing these eyesores en masse, but my guess is that some iconic fadster like Sean "P. Duddy" Combs (Piff Daddy? Pap Doodly? P. Poopy?) decided he could manufacture a lot of them very cheaply in Asia, slapped his name on it, then wore one in public. Once the hoards saw him in one, they had to have one, too. A simple sheep/shepherd equation. Pup Dabby gets rich(er); millions look like walking laundry bags.

The habit among suburban soccer moms grew from a more utilitarian seed, I suspect . They're chasing their crotch fruit around 24/7 and have given up caring about the way they look. Their bodies aren't what they once were and these baggy rainbow parachutes hide that (sort of.) They need something that won't wrinkle when they pass out on the couch from gin and pain pills at the end of the day. It also doesn't hurt that these velour body bags have a built-in contraceptive effect–their husband has to be in a very bad way before he'll come on to woman dressed like Puff Dippy.

Jersey gangster types are perhaps the most puzzling. These are middle-aged, white, often Italian men who are not slaves to hip hop fashion by any means, and not worried about contraception or the shape of their bodies. They are, however, overweight and lacking even a shred of aesthetic aptitude. Perhaps that is where the secret lies. A man in this position is looking for clothing that will both adjust to his constantly morphing waistline and give him plenty of freedom of movement in his daily activities: threatening, extorting, wacking, eating sausage.

Regardless of the reasons, it is odd that one could accurately structure a Jeopardy! question thusly:
"Soccer moms, gangstas, and hit men."
"What are three groups that dress alike?"

In other news, I made another mistake that I would like to share with you. In the title panel for this cartoon, I looked up the sign language alphabet to spell out "Bizarro." Evidently, I looked at the wrong sign for "R" and used the one for "S" instead, a mistake brought to my attention by several readers, so my original title panel spelled out "Bizasso". The original and the corrected version (for future use) are below.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Shell Games

Bizarro is brought to you by Perfect Match Internet Dating Services.

I'm not crazy about this cartoon, I just thought it was kind of cute and amusing so I went with it. I didn't expect much out of it, writing a new gag every day for almost 25 years is daunting so you get used to the idea that not every one is going to be a classic.

But the day after this appeared in papers, I got a smattering of emails about it from various folks who really loved it and wanted to buy a print or use it in their newsletter or post it at their work site, things like that. Just goes to show you can never predict what will resonate.

And likewise, I'm sure there are just as many readers out there who didn't care for it, and are ready to take to the streets, criticizing me for losing my edge. You can't please everyone.

As diligently as I go over these cartoons in the penciling, inking, and coloring stage, I often still miss things. In this case, I only just this second spotted that I missed the black line work that goes with the ground shadow between the turtle's face and the blueprint.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Master Disguise Kit

Bizarro is brought to you today by impractically large beaches.

I haven't been thrilled with all my cartoons from this particular week, but I really like this one. It isn't for everyone and won't end up on a best-selling T-shirt (come to think of it, none of my cartoons have ever been best-selling T-shirts) but it has that certain combo of dry surreal humor and social commentary that I find amusing.

If you don't live in a celebrity soaked environment like NY or LA, you may not know that virtually ALL celebrities who do not want to be noticed in public wear sunglasses and a ball cap. I'm not criticizing, just observing. For all I know there is a Screen Actors Guild bylaw about this that I am unaware of.

I suppose it makes sense in the context of our current fashion mores. If you want to cover the part of your body that most people will recognize, which for celebrities other than J-Lo is the face, you'll need either a brimmed hat or a veil. Veils attract a lot of attention, the opposite of what you're trying to do, and brimmed hats other than ball caps are not common enough in our society to go unnoticed.

Sunglasses hide the eyes, so that's an obvious choice.

I do wonder why more celebs don't opt for a false mustache, however. That can really change your look and, if it is obviously a fake, makes other people uncomfortable and less likely to stare. Wax lips do the same thing. People would either think, that person is wearing wax lips, eek, look away, or that poor person has shiny, plastic-looking deformed lips, I shouldn't stare. This option would work for just about any celebrity other than Angelina Jolie.

Nose glasses are a classic disguise but people now associate those with humor so you'd likely get one of those overly-friendly goobers on a chartered casino trip start kidding around with you. Then your cover is blown and you have to listen to their yammering about how much they enjoyed Tony Orlando in Branson last month. I get this from time to time from people who just think I'm wearing nose glasses. Welcome to my hell.