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Clarification

Thanks so much for all of the well wishes and sweet talk I’ve gotten from you readers regarding my retirement from the daily comics pages. It’s seriously appreciated, I assure you!

BUT, to clarify, when I said I would be moving on to other things in the “foreseeable future,” I was talking about two or three years. In the grand scope of my 30+ year career, that seems like the foreseeable future to me, but I didn’t want people thinking I meant that Bizarro would be disappearing in the next few weeks or months.

I’m happy I’ll be with you on a daily basis for a while longer. In the meantime, I’ll be working hard to build a following/clientele for my original art. I hope you’ll become one of them!

What’s in Store…

I’ve been drawing Bizarro cartoons for 30 years but I won’t be for much longer. In the foreseeable future (two or three years perhaps) I’ll be retiring from my daily grind and spending my days working on artwork without punch lines or deadlines.

To free up my time for more personal art projects, in fact, I stopped drawing my comics on actual paper three years ago and moved to working entirely digitally, so original Bizarro cartoon art that a person like you could own and proudly display on the wall of your own yurt or teepee has already stopped being produced! That makes the dwindling supply of available pieces even more valuable!

I want each and every one of my precious Jazz Pickles to have a piece of my original, hand-drawn art so I’ve created a new store where you can buy various types of art to enhance your daily living. subpage-header

If you’ve got a favorite Bizarro gag from years gone by, why not possess it for your very own? Imagine what a conversation starter a favorite gag of yours (from Bizarro) will be when it’s framed and hanging above your toilet! Here’s how to get them.

If the panels from Bizarro are more than your budget will allow at the moment, perhaps you’d be interested in one of my hand-drawn, stream-of-consciousness sketch cards. Ever wondered what kind of weird shit wafts through my mind? These images will tell you. Each one is completely unique, will never be drawn again, and is guaranteed to lead to years of contemplation about the layers of deep meanings within; even my therapist doesn’t know what to think of these images.

Are you ready for the fancy stuff? For years I’ve had a secret, double life as a painter of fine art. Now, for the first time ever, I’m offering some of my paintings for sale to anonymous members of the public at large, like you. There is currently only a very small handful of this kind of work and some of them have been hanging on my own walls at home for years! I don’t have to tell you what “rare” translates to in the world of art. Your soul and your feng shui will definitely thank you.

Finally, if you’re the sort to march boldly where others fear to wander, consider this.

I’ll be adding other things to the store in the near future––#4 in the Jazz Pickle T-shirt series is coming SOON––so keep your eyes peeled. And if you have ideas about what you’d like to see in the store, let me know!

Go to the Bizarro Store now, please.

Fear of Farm Girls

Bizarro 05-17-15 hdrWEBBizarro is brought to you today by Alex Trebek Sighting.

I made a mistake in today’s Sunday comic and I didn’t catch it until it was too late to stop it from getting into print. I’ve posted the corrected version here but the inferior one is in papers all over the world today. In the version with the screw-up, the caption reads, “Farm Bizarro 05-17-15 WEBgirls, scarecrows and tin men, oh my!” I guess I was writing it correctly, instead of mimicking the way the similar line was said in the film, with the extra “and” between “farm girls” and “scarecrows”. Arrrrggghh. I know it’s no big deal but it bugs me and I wish I’d caught it sooner. On the bright side, there are still seven secret symbols to look for, which you can find more easily by clicking the image and making it larger.

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Let’s review the rest of the cartoons from the past seven days, shall we? (I’ll take your silence as a yes.)

Monday: I once did a cartoon about a guy playing checkers with a dog, I think, so here’s someone playing Scrabble with a cat. Most of the cats I’ve lived with seem to enjoy sitting on whatever I’m working on: artwork, keyboard, sandwiches, you name it.

Tuesday: I used to see commercials on TV all the time for the Hair Club for Men but I haven’t in a while so I hope it’s still a thing people remember. I don’t watch TV commercials at all, really, so I’ve no idea if these guys still advertise. They have a website, of course, but so does everyone and everything that has ever existed since the Big Bang.

Wednesday: Olive Oyl and I moved to a neighborhood recently that has a lot of big parrots screaming through the skies. I’ve seen the small parakeet-sized ones in American cities before but these are larger and look like the ones in this cartoon. They’re descended from escaped victims of the pet industry, of course, so that’s why they inspired this cartoon.

Thursday: Yes, I know almost no one uses a telephone with a cord and receiver like the one in this picture anymore, but I couldn’t do the gag without the old-fashioned phone so let’s just pretend these guys are “retro”.

Friday: I came up with this gag because I get stopped in public often by people who think I’m Bradedict Cumberpitt (a combo of Benedict Cumberbatch and Brad Pitt.)  But seriously folks, I was actually asked about a week ago if I was Les Claypool. I knew he was a musical type affiliated with a band called Primus but I had no idea what he looked like so I Googled him just now and was quite surprised by the resemblance. Since I’ve grown a beard, I not only look a lot like him, we dress very much alike, too. I hope no one thinks I’m a fanboy. Ugh.

Saturday: I like this gag about the wildebeest. Wildebeests are one of those rare things whose name is easy to imagine the roots of. European explorer from ages ago on his first trip to Africa: “What are those wild beasts?” Other guy with him: “No idea. You get to name them.” First guy: “Let’s call them Wildebeests.” Second guy: “Okay, but I get to name those things over there and I’m not going to call them ‘Stripy Horses’.”

SPECIAL OFFER: I’m about to publicly launch a new store on this site (in a few days) but it’s already live and you can shop there now. Here’s the deal: by the time I announce the new store (midweek?) I’ll have raised my prices on Original Cartoon Art from Bizarro (cartoons from the syndicated Bizarro feature) and on the Hand-Drawn Sketch Cards.  To reward you for reading all the way to the end of this post, you can grab something at the current price before it goes up. Click on the “Store” link at the top of this page to find out what’s being offered and for how much. By Wednesday, the prices listed now will change. Everything in both of those categories is one-of-a-kind, original, hand-drawn art from my lap to yours.

Comics Censorship

I’m breaking out of my normal routine today to tell you about a blog post by one of my friends and syndicated cartoonist colleagues, Rina Piccolo. Rina draws a popular cartoon strip called “Tina’s Groove,” and, just like the rest of us whose main income comes from newspaper cartoons, is subject to the ludicrously (and I use that word literally) puritanical standards of newspaper comics. We’ve all had comics pulled from our lineup that wouldn’t even be called “edgy” in any other form of mainstream comedy because they could result in our features being cancelled in a given market. Rina describes the situation and reasons behind this phenomenon rather eloquently and it offers an interesting view into the behind-the-scenes workings of the syndicated comics world.

If you’ve ever wondered why webcomics are so funny and newspaper comics are so damned dull, read her short post.

Thanks, Rina, for articulating the kind of disappointment we’ve all felt about this.

Tina's Groove

 

Crime Giggles

Bizarro 05-10-15 hdrWEBBizarro is brought to you today by Mother’s Day Hat.

My big Sunday Comics gag today is okay, I guess, but for my money there’s just as much fun to be had in the small background gags. There are also 10 Secret Symbols to search for. If you’re not sure you know what all of my Secret Symbols are, click here.  If you click the cartoon (and this damn blog is working properly) you’ll get an enlarged view for better examination. I hope it pleases you.

Let’s talk now about my cartoons of the past week. bz panel 05-04-15 bz panel 05-05-15 bz panel 05-06-15 bz panel 05-07-15 bz panel 05-08-15 bz panel 05-09-15

Monday’s child is full of twerk: To someone my age, mid-fifties, this thing the youngsters call “twerking” is the opposite of sexy. In fact, it is hilarious. Like naked-guy-with-a-shiny-tourist-sombrero-and-black-socks hilariously unsexy. No matter how young you are right now, if you live long enough a younger generation will adopt some kind of fashion or activity that you will think is hilariously stupid, but they’ll think is cool. It’s just a law of physics. To get a jumpstart on dealing with it, do this simple exercise now––imagine the stupidest, most embarrassing fashion or activity that you can, one that you would rather die than be caught in public wearing or doing. THAT is what will be in style when you’re older.

Tuesday’s child is worth a smirk: I found out not long ago that “service animals” are not just used for obvious things like guiding the blind, but also for people who have severe anxiety issues and find that an animal calms them. I immediately wondered what would happen if the animal that calmed that one person made everyone else panic.

Wednesday’s child is in withdrawal: When society collapses and the electrical grid is out and cell phones and computers don’t work, the current generations being raised on constant contact with the entire world will suffer severe withdrawal. Not if, when. It might look something like this.

Thursday’s child had a nasty fall: I guess when I wrote this batch I was thinking a lot about our collective addiction to apps like Twitter and FacadeBook. “Josh” isn’t a specific person, I chose it simply because I wanted a name that is common among a certain age group that might contain members with the type of mindlessness that this character is exhibiting. My favorite part of this cartoon is the look on Descartes’ face.

Friday’s child is losing feathers: What about a parrot who talks more than his human? Is that funny? I thought it kind of was and so did my German penpal, Michael Roth, who suggested the setup.

Saturday’s child is vulnerable to the weather: In line with the philosophical subject matter of Thursday’s cartoon, I raise the question of how well a person who needs to hide actually wants to hide. No particular reason. I didn’t do anything recently that would land me in a witness protection program. Seriously, I’ve just been minding my own business and not bothering anyone.

That’s it for today. Later this coming week I’ll likely be making a dandy announcement about some new stuff so come back with your eyes in a few days and have a gander.

NOTICE: PLEASE CONSIDER DROPPING YOUR EMAIL ADDY INTO THE BOX IN THE RIGHT MARGIN SO YOU’LL BE NOTIFIED BY EMAIL WHEN I POST A NEW BLOG ENTRY. IT’S ONLY ONCE OR TWICE A WEEK AND I’LL NEVER SELL OR TRADE YOUR ADDY WITH ANYONE!

Yuck It Up!

Bizarro 05-03-15 hdrWEb(For a bigger-looking cartoon, click it!)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Millennial Confusion.

If you’ve ever been to the taping of a TV show, you know that those with live audiences are driven like slaves building the pyramids to laugh and applaud and hoot and holler and gasp Bizarro 05-03-15 WEBand whistle as though they’re having the times of their lives. The less funny the show is, the harder the audience wrangler has to work. It’s just one more aspect of TV that isn’t what it seems, like the scripting and multiple takes on “reality” TV shows. While I think this is notable and funny, I don’t actually think it is wrong. TV shows of this sort are theater, and by definition, aren’t meant to be real.

To be upset that the laughs on a sitcom are added electronically or the arguments on Real Housewives of New Jersey are scripted is like being upset that Scarlet Johansson isn’t really a martial artist. What is upsetting, however, is when shows portraying themselves as journalism are finagled for the sake of ratings. That happens a lot, too.

Going back in time (not really, cartoons are a kind of drama, too) let’s review last week’s gags…

bz panel 04-27-15Monday: Town criers used to play the same role as a newspaper so this one is adding a crossword puzzle to his format. I resisted having him describe a Garfield cartoon.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday: You bz panel 04-28-15may not get this gag if you’ve never heard the expression, “I’ll dance on your grave,” which is used in an effort to express to someone how much you dislike them. I’ve never actually said this but I’ve thought it bz panel 04-29-15a few times.

 

 

 

Wednesday: I’ve often looked at thrones in museums and wondered how anyone could comfortably sit in one of those things for five minutes, much less for as long as it takes to declare war on a neighboring kingdom or hear a peasant’s request for justice. Today’s thrones are much more user friendly.

 

bz panel 04-30-15Thursday: This is one of those rare cartoons that was inspired by my own personal experience –– I got an email from a Nigerian prince once and was almost eaten by a cat.

 

 

 

 

 

bz panel 05-01-15Friday: This hasn’t ever happened to me but it is weird when you get to an age where many doctors and all cops are younger than you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

bz panel 05-02-15Saturday: I think a treadmill for a tightrope walker is amusing. I wonder if there’s a stationary machine of some kind for trapeze artists to use.

Here’s another treadmill gag of mine from a while back that I also like.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’ve signed up to be notified by email when I post on this blog, you must sign up again. The last program crashed and the addresses were lost. The box to sign up again––or for the first time––is in the right margin of this and every post! I’ll never sell or share your email address, so it’s safe. Thanks, Jazz Pickles!

An Open Letter to the Supreme Court

bizarro 05-03-13GayAirplaneWEBTry as I might to stay out of politics in my comics, some issues just grab me by the throat and force my hand. This is one such issue.

No matter how long I live I don’t think I’ll ever understand why anyone cares who anyone else marries.

Personally, I don’t think the government should be involved in marriage issues whatsoever. Marriage should be left to the individuals entering into it: a civil contract, an agreement on a handshake, a religious ceremony if you like, a costume party in the woods, whatever makes sense to the people doing it. But the government’s interest in the institution is entirely misplaced in this day and age. Why do married people get tax breaks, special treatment from hospitals and insurance companies, or any special treatment at all from anyone, unless the powers-that-be are trying to direct and control society to their own end? We know from history that this never turns out well for the rest of us.

Some would say that family arrangements outside of two heterosexuals legally bound to each other for life work to erode society but there is no evidence of this in the real world. Families consist (and have always consisted) of virtually every combination of people, places, and things that one can imagine, and yet the world has not spiraled into chaos as a result. Children need loving adults in their lives, as many as they can get, and never does it occur to them to ask what kind of thingy the people who care for them have between their legs.

Outside of the archaic and fearful “rules” of certain religions, there are no logical objections to an all-inclusive attitude toward marriage. And religious notions are not something America is supposed to be legislating.

So if the government is going to keep their grimy hands in the marriage business, they must open the institution to anyone willing to pay the price of admission. Anything else would be a transparent attempt to control the direction of the human race, which is as futile as attempting to control the weather. (Although we’ve had some luck controlling the climate, and look where that’s gotten us.)

Soupy Giggles

Bizarro 04-26-15 HdrWEB Bizarro is brought to you today by Big Plans.

My Sunday cartoon this week is a bit odd and I knew it would attract some questions. The most common question I’ve gotten about it so far is something along the lines of “What does this mean?”

Well, it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just a fun bit of nonsensical wordplay in the tradition of Bizarro 04-26-15 WEBthe original bz panel 04-20-15Monty Python TV show or the brilliant work of my official favorite cartoonist, B. Kliban. It was suggested by a bz panel 04-21-15friend of mine though I didn’t credit them and now I can’t remember exactly whom it was. Was it Keith? If so, thanks, Keith! If not, sorry someone else!

Earlier last week I had the following bits of fun…

Monday: The tale of the man bz panel 04-22-15who did not control his Sharpie. A modern tragedy that plays itself out daily in spite of numerous public service announcements warning people of the dangers.

Tuesday: Despite it’s corniness, most people chuckle at this one. This cartoon is historically accurate, by the way, as it was well documented that wearing one’s boots backwards negatively bz panel 04-23-15affected one’s shooting accuracy.

Wednesday: This one was inspired by the Chinese proverb, “He who ignores the clam, also probably ignores shellfish.” Need I say more?

Thursday: My internet buddy, Michael Lagace, tossed me the word “dinoisseur” and this is what I did with it. Michael is the guy behind a graphic novel project that I blogged about recently.

 Friday: I had a bz panel 04-24-15friend once whose wife was so jealous that she would punish him if their waitress was too good looking. Once she even punched him hard in the shoulder with her fist as soon as the waitress left the table. I should mention that I never saw my friend making any observable attempt to admire the bz panel 04-25-15waitress. Anyway, I figured more than one person had this problem so I made a cartoon about it.

Saturday: I’ve been thinking a lot about the collapse of society recently and it has led to gags like this one. Once the infrastructure collapses and there is no TV, Internet, or cell service, fighting for resources will likely be the most common pastime. Just a thought.

Enjoy your week, Jazz Pickles. I’m adding some new pages to Bizarro.com soon that will feature some original art I have for sale so I hope some of you will avail yourselves of a piece or two. After the apocalypse, you’ll wish you had some interesting art to gaze at between battles over canned food.

 

 

GMO Shuffle

bizarro 04-19-15 hdrWEB
Bizarro 04-19-15 WEBBizarro is brought to you today by The Three Stooges.

A few years ago we had a very long and spirited debate on this blog about the dangers/benefits of GMO crops. People I trust were on both sides of the issue so in the end, I wasn’t sure if I’m for or against them. Like most things, there are likely good and bad elements to the practice

bz panel 04-13-15 bz panel 04-14-15 bz panel 04-15-15 bz panel 04-16-15 bz panel 04-17-15 bz panel 04-18-15and there is definitely a lot of false propaganda about the subject. But this cartoon isn’t about that, it’s just a ludicrous look at a “what if” scenario. If this damn blog site is working properly, you should be able to click the image for a larger view so you can see some of the background elements better.

As for my other cartoons in the past seven days, let’s sally forth…

Monday: The American health care industry is insidious in my opinion. Don’t get me started.

Tuesday: An idea from my good buddy, Cliff The King of Wordplay. This one is so dry you’ll need to reach for a cold beer after reading it, but that’s what I like about it.

Wednesday: I’ve never been to a speed dating event but I’ve heard of them. It’s where lots of single people all get together in a big room with lots of small tables for two and I guess you jump from one person to the next, spending just a few minutes chatting up each person and seeing if you get a spark that you might want to pursue later. I envisioned a “too much information” guy and used a rough version of my own romantic biography for his line.

Thursday: My buddy Rick and I were having lunch one day and the topic of being able to throw a surprise party for a psychic would mean he/she wasn’t a very good psychic. We chuckled, I made a mental note and then later a cartoon.

Friday: My German pen pal and a writer in his own right, Michael Roth, tossed me an idea about a seeing-eye-snowdog and a snowman with no coals for eyes and I fashioned it thusly. It is sort of sweet with a touch of pathos. Heres an old favorite of mine from a few years back on a similar subject. Yes, it is late in the year to feature a snowman cartoon but my feature is called “Bizarro,” not “Normalo.”

Saturday: Just a bit of fun with a famous fictional character whose name is nothing more than a description of her clothing. I used it to make fun of two loooooooong-standing fashion trends that offend my eyes daily. As an artistic type, I find the poor fashion choices of others more distressing than others might.

Sigh

Once again, my blog isn’t working properly and I am unable to post my usual weekend cartoon extravaganza. I’ll post again as soon as “they” get it fixed. (sigh)

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