Friday, July 10, 2009

Nude Diving

Bizarro is brought to you today by Moth Lingerie.

I normally blog about my cartoons a week after they have run in the paper, but I've decided to bump this one up in the queue because I've gotten a lot email about it.

The cartoon is meant to be a guy coming home from work and, seeing the trail of clothing, assumes his wife wants to have sex. Instead, she has jumped out the window, presumably to her death.

I didn't realize there would be so many ways to interpret this, but I've heard plenty. Some excerpts:

"Are they his clothes and he can't wait to put them on and then sneak out the window?"

"Is his wife some kind of naked Superwoman?"

"Is his naked wife trying to lure him to the fire escape so he'll be blown up by the TNT on the sofa?"

"There seems to be a syringe on the sofa pillow. Did his wife get high and then jump out the window naked, thinking she could fly?"

More than a few people asked about the firecracker on the sofa pillow wondering if it figured into the joke, a couple thought it was a syringe. If you are among those readers who have never noticed, I hide little symbols like that in virtually all my comics for no good reason. The current list is: Firecracker/dynamite, eyeball, pie, alien, bunny, K2, upside down bird, a man's loafer, a fish tail, a crown, and the exceedingly rare arrow in the back. The number above the signature tells you how many symbols to look for, a la Al Hirschfeld.

That should clear up the mystery. I now return you to a nation mourning the death of Michael Jackson.


Anonymous said...

Mr. Madoff arrives home not knowing that his wife found out about his real line of work... (or insert the names of others...)

She just decided to cut to the chase before the reality of psychopathic capitalism exploded into their illusion of living the life styles of the of the rich and famous, that would destroy the lives of countless thousands of people and companies.

That is just one take on this and the not funny sadness of contemporary reality...

I am not laughing.

Aniruddha Agarwal said...

lol... those were funny versions :)

as a doctor, i too thought that the firecracker is a syringe!

Waldo said...

Ding dong the (alleged) pedophile is dead.

Dave Stratton said...

I got it immediately, but it made me sad. It's a brilliant twist, but that has to be the most depressing comic ever.

I suggest you atone with a donation to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. A few years ago I walked 20 miles overnight to help raise money for them, and it was a deeply moving experience.

Sorry for being a downer, but you started it.

Anonymous said...

I also got it right away, but was surprised at how dark it was - it would have been much more expected in Funky Winkerbean or as an online comic (like SMBC). But if it was approved by your editor and the syndicate, then it must be OK, I guess.

Dimension Skipper said...

I got it after a while, but still wasn't quite sure. I don't think I understand why she'd disrobe to jump out the window. Unless it was just laundry to be folded that she suddenly and exasperatedly threw down as she decided to end her life of drudgery.

However, even more puzzling to me—maybe I'm just getting stupider—is today's, uh... strip. "Honey, I'm home!" to the dog's "Let's get started!"...


Sorry, I'm drawing a blank with nary a clue to be found on that one. Can't wait for your explanation so I can scratch my head further.

For a long time after I found this blog I was confused about the symbols, but eventually thought to Google'em and now I make sure I find'em all in each strip.

Anonymous said...

Suicide not being funny explains why so many people didn't get the "joke." However, here I am visiting the author's blog and commenting, so I guess some purpose has been served.

Anonymous said...

I can only find three. What am I missing. I found, firecracker, alien, K2.

Anonymous said...

My boyfriend thought the guy was smiling because his wife was the (naked) invisible woman.

Tom said...

Sorry, Piraro, this is the worst "comic" I've ever seen you do. Totally insensitive. Not funny in any way.

Karl said...

She could have at least turned the light off.


Well there's just one more reason why I like you. Al Hirshfeld is another favorite! Very cool. Thanks for the explanation. I knew about the extras, I just didn't know that you gave a clue as to how many extras... Nice.

Anonymous said...

This is still a huge steaming pile of 'what the fuck?' - I'm sorry.

Men are only thinking of sex, ever? And women are famous for leaving their clothes lying on the floor, so we immediately assume they're not his?

Oh now I geddit, women jumping naked to their deaths! Oh, haha! Funnn- neeee! Yeah, suicide is hilarious. Especially when it's women who don't have ... sex ... with ... men ... who ... work? (??) Okay.

Dude, the only way this could work as a gag is if you thought neither men, nor women, nor anyone living with a depressive illness, was any fucking kind of a human being at all.

I've never gotten this needlessly cruel and bafflingly sexist vibe from your strip before. What an unpleasant surprise.

Mark Brown said...

Ah. First time commenting, long time reader. You had me wondering, and am grateful to see your so-called explanations.

I saw the K2, the firecracker, and the bird in the left picture, you said there was one more (what was it?

b0b said...

The lack of a caption just left me baffled. Women's clothing on the floor, and a firecracker? Makes no sense.

Brian B said...

Hmm, I interpreted the comic as his wife trying to lure him out the window to his death. That would be more funny than sad so I assumed it was your intent; the one you describe, as Dave Stratton points out, is (unexpectedly) quite depressing.

Anyway, keep up the good work.

doug nicodemus said...

thanks for explaining that cartoon it left me did another one yesterday ...i know you have no idea which one that was but it was the family with the talking dog..."ok let's get started"...left me clueless..not being critical you know i love your stuff..

Anonymous said...

I thought she was trying to lead him to fall to his death, which I thought was quite clever/amusing.

Anonymous said...

I also found the strip unusually depressing.

As a personal survivor of both attempted suicide and suicide resulting in the death of a loved one, it is hard for me to see this comic from a neutral standpoint.

I'm sure that many of your readers, as well as an overwhelming percentage of the general population, have some deep emotional connection with suicide/suicide survivors.

I still respect you as a comedian, and realize that in the real world sometimes we need to learn to laugh at real issues in order to learn to deal with them.. perhaps this just conjures up a little too many personal injuries.

All the same, I'll continue to read Bizarro, and keep referring it to friends.

More luck to you on future strips,

Andrew said...

Cha-ching! Nailed it! I also had the thought that the wife might be "Ladyhawke", a movie I otherwise hadn't thought about in about 20 years.

Anonymous said...

Wouldn't he have seen the corpse before he entered the building?

RSJ said...

@Anonymous (1): As they say online, LOL at the Bernie Madoff scenario -- but I was laughing to avoid crying.

In the years I've been enjoying Bizarro/Piraro cartoons, I never realized these little 'bombs' were planted in each one and how many interpretations there could be of a single illustration.

Here's a toast to emerging as the James Joyce of the single-panel cartoon! (And I mean that as a compliment.)

Dave Stratton said...

BTW -- still a fan.

I usually appreciate dark humor, but I think I reacted to this one with sadness is because it brought back a specific bad memory.

When I first moved into the cool part of the city, I went to look at an apartment in a high rise complex. As she was showing me around, we came upon a grisly scene -- a woman had just crashed though her window and fell to her death on the pavement. (We weren't the first ones there, police and ambulance were there already.)

Here's the weird part -- she did that naked. It didn't make any sense. Why would she dive through glass rather than taking the elevator up to the roof? And why strip down? Maybe she wanted to make some kind of statement with her death. "Crazy" people do crazy things. I seemed to recall there were witnesses who saw her do it, so they ruled out homicide.

Anyway -- keep on taking chances. That's what makes Bizarro interesting. If this one hadn't brought up that specific memory, I probably would have loved it.

LaLaOrange said...

The friecracker looks great, like a regular living room conversation piece.
A couple of my friends (and one of my ex-boyfriends) have committed suicide, but I thought the comic was cool. I guess everyone responds differently to suicide jokes.

Shawn Boggs said...

I consider myself a very compassionate and sympathetic human being... We all need to embrace our sense of humanity in order to be of service to those not quite capable of coping with the pains they feel in response to life and its manic flux. That said, I thought this was a very funny comic. Cheers to feeling courageous enough to expressing ourselves in the face of the universe's always present liminal adversities. Tragedy and comedy will reign. We will not.

Anonymous said...

She's a werepigeon.

Anonymous said...

This cartoon slayed me.