Hiya, Jazz Pickles. I’d love to be posting about the past week in Bizarro cartoons right now but my blog won’t let me upload pictures of any kind. There’s Interweb voodoo afoot and the gurus who fix this kind of thing for me won’t be back to their respective IT caves until Monday. Monday’s are busy cartoon deadline days for me so I don’t know when I’ll be able to get to it but I’ll do it as soon as I can! Thanks for your patience.
Hi, Jazz Pickles. A friend of mine has written a very interesting story and has a terrific illustrator to execute it but needs some cash to turn it into a comic book. If you’re into graphic novels and stuff, check out his short video on kickstarter and toss him a dollar or two!
Bizarro is brought to you today by Horseracing Cheaters.
Last Sunday I published a cartoon with soldiers on a statue of a pigeon (this week’s title panel was constructed from it, in fact!) so this makes it two Sunday’s in a row that I’ve featured a cartoon with a human on a statue. This kind of thing often happens to cartoonists; one idea leads to another idea in the same vein. I like this one about Tarzan being raised in a city park instead of the jungles of Africa. The perspective was fun to draw and it has a few behind-the-scenes aspects that truly dedicated Jazz Pickles might find interesting: The statue’s plaque features a name that is similar to my fiance-in-law who is an award-winning brewmaster, the speaking character looks more-or-less like me a couple decades ago, the name on the back of his jersey refers to my lovely life partner, Olive Oyl, and the 13 is my daughter’s birth date (the one engaged to my fiance-in-law.) Lastly, more observant readers will notice that I tucked Tarzan’s loin cloth beneath him, thus obscuring an unpleasant view. You’re welcome.
Earlier this week (or “last” week, if you consider Sunday to be the first day of a new week) I published some other cartoons which you may notice floating in the space to the left of this text. I’m particularly fond of the parents who found their investment in a hidden video system worthwhile, though not for the reason they thought they would.
In this vampire cartoon I chose to draw a Nosferatu style character, though he’s wearing the traditional Hollywood Dracula outfit so he’s a bit of a hybrid. I regret that I made it look like daytime outside the window; that breaks the rules of vampires and was an absent-minded mistake on my part.
This next cartoon was born from my thoughts that living in a community controlled by a neighborhood association would for me be barely one step above prison. I have a lot of trouble with people who need this level of control over others.
I particularly like the bookstore cartoon, but more for the books on the shelves than the main gag. At this resolution you likely won’t be able to read the back of the book the kid is holding so I will tell you it says this: More titles by Seuss PhD, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Mercury, The Cat in the Bathrobe, Horton Steps on the Lorax, Thidwick the Big-Mouthed Moose. The book on the lower right corner of the shelf says, A Kid’s Guide to Propaganda, and the large yellow one on the top shelf is Harry Potter and the Climate Change Deniers. I’ve also included the horizontal format of this gag (which I now only do when it shows something different or interesting that the vertical version does not) has one extra book on the far left called Bizarro Among the Cabbages. I once published a book titled Bizarro Among the Savages, which is long out of print but you can possibly still find one on the Interwebs somewhere.
I have little to say about these last two comics other than that I think they are humorous.
I hope you had a good week, Jazz Pickles, and I wish you a good week to come. Olive Oyl and I are settling in nicely in our new digs and almost everything is unpacked. The house is small and humble but we think we’ve made it look pretty cool and cozy inside.
Bizarro is brought to you today by Fear of Balls.
IN the comments section of this cartoon on King Features’ site, a couple of readers were debating whether or not I was a sports fan. I’m one of those rare Bohemian, artistic types who is. I follow football and hockey pretty closely and as a kid played pretty much any sport my school or community offered: football, baseball, basketball, track, soccer, tennis. I gave most of it up in high school because I was too small to be given a decent chance by short-sighted coaches and also because I began to be acutely aware of the social differences between creative types and jock types. But I still enjoy sports and physical activity of most kinds. (Except for those featured in the “Jackass” movies.) What I don’t enjoy (and never have) are interviews with players and coaches––as dull and predictable as political debates.
Monday’s cartoon about the pimped-out puppy is a reference to the Superbowl commercial from Budweiser. (I think.)
Tuesday’s cartoon is about something I don’t consider as much of a sport as a game. I find it too dull to watch. I’d watch full-contact golf, though.
Wednesday’s cartoon is about the baldness trend. Even before my hairline began receding I was happy to see shaved heads become fashionable. As a kid, I thought Telly Savalas and Yul Brynner were cool. Plus, to my eyes, anything looks better than thin, see-through hair, or, GOD FORBID, the comb-over.
I’m proud of my party store cartoon from Thursday and a little surprised my client papers didn’t object to it. You’d be surprised how puritanical some newspaper editors can be about the funny pages. But they are getting better; ten years ago I’d likely not have gotten away with this gag.
Friday’s Starbucks cartoon is my favorite of the week, I think. To me, it says a lot.
Saturday’s gag makes me smile, too. I love the idea of a guy who frames every dollar he ever makes. That’s why his office is so spare, in fact.
Bizarro is brought to you today by Priorities.
Dang, Jazz Pickles, it’s been a momentous week for this cartoon cobbler as I single-handedly (with the help of three big guys with a huge truck) moved Bizarro International Headquarters from Los Angeles to Pasadena. Nothing recommends the life of a Buddhist monk more than packing and moving. Like most people, every time I move I admonish myself for having so damned much stuff, but then I realize that if an apocalypse of some sort should befall us and there is suddenly a great shortage of boxes full of useless crap, I’ll be sitting pretty. So there’s that.
I awoke this morning feeling as though someone had snuck into my bedroom in the middle of the night and beaten the crap out of me, so it is gingerly that I sit down now to post this week’s Bizarro cartoons. I hope you’ll forgive me for cutting this missive short; I’ve got to get back to opening boxes so I can stop drinking my coffee out of cupped hands and replace the T-shirt I am wearing upside-down with actual underwear.
I got lots of questions about the two different versions of this cartoon. The reason is that the vertical version wouldn’t work in the horizontal strip so I had to draw more stuff off to the right. I thought that a kid feeding fish to sharks was actually funnier than bison.
Bizarro is brought to you today by Scaring a Child to Death.
It’s Oscar night tonight and this cartoon satirizes the Academy’s habit of showing a short video of the showbiz people who have died since the last Oscar ceremony. But I used an alternate meaning of the word “lost” and applied it to a famous fictional character who is perennially just that. That’s it. No secret meanings or messages. (I got asked if this was in reference to the Charlie Hebdo event.)
The rocket-crash cartoon was inspired by Planet of the Apes, of course, and is meant to be a couple of futuristic space travelers commenting on what an abysmal job we humans have done of “ruling” the earth. On King Feature’s web site, the comments below this cartoon devolved into a discussion of religion, evolution, and racism. (The most offensive racist comment has since been deleted by King Features) I’ll be honest, the tendencies of Americans to wallow in this kind of gutter sometimes makes it hard to keep myself from jumping off of something very high. In responding to this unfortunate conversation, I came across a recent Gallup poll that shows that nearly half of all Americans actually believe the mythological account of creation in The Bible over the facts our most intellectually gifted humans have discovered about our planet and it’s inhabitants over many centuries of accumulated knowledge. Nearly HALF. So embarrassing. You can read the comments here if so inclined.
The “well grammar” cartoon got picked up and forwarded a lot by some grammar sites, which was fun. Side note: even the grammar nazi in this cartoon makes a grammatical error (“real” instead of “really”) but I needed to use that tense to make the joke work. Sorry, grammar commandants.
The bird/worm cartoon is just a joke. A few readers thought it might have some literary or historical reference, but no.
My “auto parts” gag is a bit of fun wordplay. I just saw the truly amazing film “Birdman” last night and this cartoon reminds me of it in a way. Not because my cartoon deserves an Oscar (as Michael Keaton most surely does) but because it’s about a surreal theatrical endeavor.
My gag about bird seed is more wordplay as that seems to be the theme of the week. I’ve enjoyed thinking this way since childhood. If carrot seeds grow carrots…
And the duck gag is a dramatization of the ancient children’s riddle. If you were puzzled by this cartoon, it’s likely you just never heard the joke. Sorry about that.
BIZARCHIVYNESS: My Waldo/Oscars gag and it’s different meaning of the word “lost,” has reminded me of an old favorite gag of mine from 2000, shown below. I used the name Van Amerongen as a shout-out to my buddy and fellow cartoonist, Jerry Van Amerongen, creator of “The Neighborhood” and “Ballard Street.” He’s a funny guy and just the sort to pull this kind of stunt.
(Make your comedy world bigger by clicking these comics.)
Bizarro is brought to you today by Romance.
I hope you had a dandy Valentine’s Day this weekend. Olive Oyl (seen here with her grandmother) and I went to Topanga Canyon to visit some friends and take a lovely hike. Afterwards, the four of us went to a small, out-of-the-way Thai restaurant and had dinner with The Edge (guitarist for U2). And by “had dinner with,” I mean that he was at the next table with his wife and daughter and did not acknowledge our existence. But still, it was as close to having dinner with The Edge as we’ll likely ever get, so it was fun.
Let’s talk cartoons: Today’s big Sunday extravaganza tells the back story of how Mickey Mouse became the multitalented rodent icon that he is. Take heart, young, unknown performers! If a lowly mouse can do it, so can you!*
Monday: A friend of mine pointed out that there’s a commercial on TV these days with a penguin on an airplane. I’d not seen it until I viewed the link he provided and it has nothing to do with the gag here, so this information is meaningless.
Tuesday: Here’s a couple of puns about sheep and an unusual therapist/client relationship. I used to be a little ashamed of puns but I’ve decided to come out of the closet and admit that I really like certain kinds. And I’m not the only one; Alfred Hitchcock said that puns were the highest form of literature. And he was British.
Wednesday: As an artist, I have strong feelings about art. Messiness in and of itself is not art by my standards. I suspect Jackson Pollack happened to be doing what he did at a time when doing anything for the first time was applauded. If he’d done it at any other time in history (past or future) he likely (and justly) would have been ignored. In general, I think that a great deal of what the fine art world embraces is simply “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” over and over again. My blog, my opinion. Your results may vary.
Thursday: LA is a city with a lot of conspicuous wealth: fabulous houses, amazingly expensive cars, plastic surgery, etc. Especially here, but anywhere in the world these days, it is easy to feel left behind because you’re not fabulously rich and famous. When this happens to me, I remind myself that even the lower middle class in America have a higher standard of living than most people on Earth. And, even more important, that wealth and fame never made anyone happier than they would’ve been otherwise.
Friday: I thought of this gag because a random Internet troll once told me that the only reason I wear a hat most of the time is because I’m losing my hair. My response was that by that standard, people only wear gloves because they are losing their fingers.
Saturday: I needed three names for this gag so I chose three friends of mine. Chris Ryan is an author and new friend, Jeff Topper is my show-biz manager and nanny, Christy Higgins is my colorist and life coach. And she has the dreamiest eyes.
*But the odds are astronomical against it.
Bizarro is brought to you today by Spot the Imposter(s).
I was abducted by extraterrestrials not long ago and while I was being whisked away to another space/time dimension, they happened to be fooling around with my cell phone and came across a cat video which they thought was hilarious and adorable. I immediately thought this might make a good cartoon if I should ever find my way back to Earth and need to write cartoons again. Long story short, in an amazing display of ingenuity, courage, and derring-do, I managed to escape captivity and find my way back to my desk in time to draw this and submit it before deadline. Man, being a cartoonist is exciting sometimes.
Earlier in the week, I published the following six cartoons. A couple of them inspired readers to write to me with questions and comments that I thought you might find interesting.
The one about the guy in a warehouse operating what is commonly known as a “forklift” carrying what is commonly known as a “spoon” garnered this comment:
Being a long retired “fork lift” mechanic, your “latest”, caused me to study it for the humor. So the “fork lift” is lifting the “spoon”??? They are also referred to as “Towmotors”, “lift trucks, and Lifts. So anyway I am once again reminded of the fact that “someone” will pay people for “anything”.
I’m honestly not sure if this is hate mail or not, so here’s how I responded: I have no idea what you’re talking about here, Chuck, but at least I learned some new names for forklifts.
The cartoon published on Feb 2 with the elderly gentleman talking to his grandson attracted this comment: While I usually like your comic, today’s cartoon was in very poor taste in light of the Anthem (insurance company) hack which will affect millions of customers, and by the way, you are rewarding the little buggers for a cowardly act, in jest I know, but people now days take EVERYTHING as a cue to do a cowardly thing…
I get this kind of complaint from time to time because many people assume that joking about a crime somehow rewards/encourages criminals. I suppose anything’s possible but I think most people commit crimes for the money, not the vicarious thrill they may get from a cartoon that refers to the same kind of crime. I should also mention that the writer of that comment and I had a nice e-conversation about it, made up, and are on good terms. As I mentioned above, the life of a cartoonist can be very exciting.
My last cartoon of the week before the big Sunday extravaganza was this peculiar wordplay brought to me by my good friend Cliff The King Of Wordplay. Some people call any kind of pun a “groaner” but I think puns that catch you by surprise are chuckle-worthy, so I soldier on undaunted. This one is especially funny to me because I’ve been reading a lot about hunter/gatherer societies both past and present. The more I read, the more I lament that we ever became “civilized.” Too late now, of course.
Have a zesty week, Jazz Pickles!
Several weeks ago, I did an interview with cowboy-humorist Will Roberts. He’s a dude who has his own syndicated humor radio show called “Will Roberts Weekly Telegram” that is distributed to 39 stations in the United States and abroad.
He’s started a segment on his radio show called “ComicsKingdom.com” where he talks to cartoonists and since I am one, he talked to me.
You can listen to the interview online here. It’s a long radio show about various things and my part starts at 21 minutes.
And check out Will’s website at http://willrobertsweeklytelegram.com/