Gulch Guffaw Gag









(To view this cartoon as big as Texas, click one of the cowboy’s hats.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Alternate Perspectives.

Who doesn’t love a good Escher cartoon? You there, with your hand up––please leave the room.

This one is a collaboration with my good buddy and colleague, Dan McConnell. Dan loves a good Escher gag and that’s why he has not been asked to leave the room. That’s him in the back standing on the wall.

I also love to do cartoons about the Old West, so this one combines two of my favorite themes. Accordingly, I spent a lot of time on the art and had a ball doing it. In the ancient, Golden Era of Newspaper Cartoons, virtually all cartoons were drawn with this kind of detail and effort. I’m not saying that all cartoons still should be or that I belong in the Golden Era, far from it. I just like to draw as real good as I can and I hope you enjoy the extra effort. Otherwise, I’ll start drawing Bizarro like Dilbert and save myself a metric buttload of time.

Until next time, be tangy, Jazz Pickles.

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45 Responses to Gulch Guffaw Gag

  1. Lynda M O says:

    It wouldn’t embiggen for me; is that a function of my machine or your link ?~!

    Sittin’ sweet and gherkin-like.

  2. Craig L says:

    Escher? I didn’t even kiss her!


    Escher? I’ve never Esched once!


    Escher? Epositive!

    (each of the preceding puns is best enjoyed at a 90-degree angle from each other)

  3. Leslee says:

    Wonderful cartoon, thanks for the extra effort.

  4. Ellen Nichols says:

    Love the landscape. Great use of the haze to really communicate distance. Did you turn your page upside down to draw the riders and horses?

    • Piraro says:

      Yes, I confess I did.

      • Bill Costa says:

        Seems only fair. I turned it upside down in order to better appreciate the artwork on the horses/cowboys. There is a very interesting phenomenon when looking people’s faces upside down and trying to read their emotions. There are alterations that can be made to the image that most people don’t see until the face is viewed right-side up. Check out:

        The effect is quite startling. This trick might make for an interesting cartoon gag.

  5. Bob says:

    Put in my vote to keep up with the artwork as long as you want to! We almost take it for granted in your comics so it’s nice to have a chance to tell you that it is much appreciated!

  6. Mark O. Hammontree says:

    Why is there a slice of pie up above?

    Why is there a lit stick of dynamite on the cliff?

    Why did I scan the entire panel? I was looking for your buddy in the back, standing on the wall.

  7. Old Davy says:

    Not only are your comics the funniest things currently running, they are true works of art. Thanks for all the laughs, Dan.

  8. phritzg says:

    The cartoon at the Escher link reminded me a little of The Kids in the Hall skit: “I’m crushing your head. I’m crushing your head. Crush. Crush.”

  9. Debbie T says:

    Love the “gag” and the artwork…but then I always love your cartoons!

  10. Yanoff says:

    Love your work but the XML / RSS feed has been off for a couple of weeks. I just see the title and no longer see the comic itself.

    • Piraro says:

      King Features tinkered with my blog and now things like that are a little wonky. Thanks for telling me about it. I’ll forward your comment to the ITT gal there and see if she can figure it out.

  11. Dee says:

    Looking at the art work of every individual strip – as a whole – makes us feel nice nice. And we doubly appreciate it when searching for the hidden clues as also when embiggening them. Please continue wasting as much and more time on the extra effort. :)

    • Dee says:

      *hidden Symbols, sorry, not clues. Somehow I’m used to thinking of the symbols as clues to the artist’s (your) mood at the time of creation as also a part of the storytelling (kinda like # used in twitter to say more in that limited space) and it spilled into the comment.

  12. Heywood J. Bloom says:


    This was one of your finest cartoons of the year. Was a younger Sam Elliot the model for the front cowboy?

    Truly excellent work. Please don’t get lazy and be like those other hacks in the paper. You know who you are, hacks, and we all know you read this blog!

    Producing quality artwork that he/she can be proud of is often the only thing standing between an artist and the bottom of a bottle.


    Heywood (who has enough college credits to be considered a psychotherapist in some developing nations).

  13. Joanne Monyelle says:

    My hand was up…. I clicked on Escher….. My hand is still up…. :/

  14. Calvin says:

    Your alternative perspectives link (the Escher’s Pub comic) had a stitched heart in a picture on the wall (or is it the floor). I’ve seen this “symbol” before in older comics, but in new ones over the past few years. It’s not listed on your symbol page, but it is a recognizable occasionally repeated item, so I’m curious about it.

    • Piraro says:

      My wife and I split up a little over a year ago but the stitched heart was for her. She had open heart surgery when she was 21 and now sports an artificial valve.

  15. Deirdre says:

    Please keep up the great detail in your work! It’s one of the reasons your cartoon stands above the rest!! Also, you’re pretty funny.

  16. Jan says:

    I get it. I love it. Keep being strange and wonderful. Some of us love you.

  17. Kenton Miller says:

    Whatever is going to help you enjoy producing cartoons works out well for the rest of us. :) This is excellent!!!

  18. Eric Simpson says:

    As one who worships at the altars of Winsor McKay and George Herriman, I truly appreciate any and all extra efforts on your part to maintain a high level of artyness in your work. And I freakin’ *looooove* Escher!

  19. Doug Clegg says:

    Hope the stick of dyno mite under the overhang doesn’t go off and get the boys all dusty.
    Great Escher reference… he was one of my son’s fascinations in middle school.
    Thanks for the Sunday giggles … and great SW artwork by the way.

  20. Pingback: Escher’s Gulch |

  21. Peter says:

    Your artwork is beautiful, Dan! I always try to appreciate the effort cartoonists put into their details. Bill Griffith is another whose work, I think, is under-appreciated.

    Here’s another Escher-esque comic folks might enjoy (do you allow links to other comics in these comments? Guess I’ll find out.)

  22. Vincent says:


    Are you JONESING?….Anotherwards trying to look cool by claiming you live in Los Angeles but don’t. Public records say you don’t. So your either jonesing or moved in with a friend who pays the rent.

    • Piraro says:

      As far as I know, the word “jonesing” means to yearn for something. How does it apply here? I live in Los Angeles proper and am paying my own rent on my own place, not that it is your business. I can’t vouch for public records as I’m not a stalker and have no idea how those things work.

      P.S. “Anotherwards” isn’t a word. The expression is “in other words.”

  23. Rob says:

    Your art, combined with the dose of weird in too-plain-and-starched Dallas, is what attracted me to your comic. It was a tiny little breath of fresh air in the mornings. I’m long gone from Dallas, but I still read regularly.

  24. Dan Robinson says:

    Hey Dan, got a list-o-punnies for your perusal and use. What’s a good way to get them to you?
    Signed- another Dan

  25. I am writing for permission to use your cartoon truth, justice, wisdom and 99cent Hamburgers. Let me know if I can use this cartoon on my blog.

    Many Thanks,

  26. Sean Vennett says:

    Thanks for all of the smiles and laughs. This is another great one, and your extra artistic effort is appreciated.

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