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Alt Tarzan

Bizarro 03-22-15 hdrBizarro 03-22-15 WEB(Nobody will mind if you make these cartoons larger by clicking them. Try it. You’ll see.)

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. bz panel 03-16-15 bz panel 03-17-15 bz panel 03-18-15 bz panel 03-19-15bz strip 03-19-15bz panel 03-20-15 bz panel 03-21-15

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.

Pooping in the Park

bizarro 03-15-15 hdr eWEB Bizarro 03-15-15aWEBbz panel 03-09-15 bz panel 03-10-15 bz panel 03-11-15 bz panel 03-12-15 bz panel 03-13-15 bz panel 03-14-15(Make this pigeon statue comic swell like a lip after a knuckle sandwich, by clicking George Washington’s boots.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Super Styles For Super Men.

I conceived of this cartoon back in my first year of syndication in 1985 when I was just a child cartoonist, but the drawing was perfectly awful. (OMG, look how ugly it was!) I’d forgotten all about it until I came across it again recently but I liked the concept so much that I decided to draw and publish it again. I hope you enjoy looking upon it as much as I did redrawing it in a less ugly fashion.

Last Monday’s cartoon was this one about a vending machine called The New York Experience. I lived in NYC for almost ten years and can say that I enjoyed it very much for the first four or five, but then it began to really wear on me. There’s lots to do and tons of terrific history, of course, but the vibe of the city is stuck-up, irritable, and aggressive, the weather sucks big time all but a few weeks out of each year, and the bureaucracy that one encounters with even the simplest of tasks is enough to make you shoot yourself. If your wifi or cable TV is out, be prepared to wait a week or more for a service appointment. If you’re going to the DMV to get your driver’s license switched over, be prepared to wait four or five hours in line. Going to a post office is like visiting prison: bullet-proof glass, surly inmates and sadistic guards. I was happy to leave and honestly don’t care if I ever go back.

Tuesday’s cartoon was also about NYC, but in a less realistic way.

Moving to the West Coast, my Wednesday cartoon highlights the attention many Californians put on invisible forces of the universe. No definitive way to tell how much is real or imagined.

Thursday’s gag takes a shot at politicians and their never-ending scandals. The older I get, the less I trust anyone in a position of power.

Friday’s funny explores one woman’s battle with the power of temptation and a store manager’s gracious attempt to humor her.

And my Saturday cartoon is a wildly reckless foray into the world of politically correct language and is therefore fraught with danger. These days, a single slip of the tongue or ill-conceived email can ruin a person’s career. Polite language has a place in society but in my opinion, we’ve gone a bit overboard in the U.S.––far too many people are looking to be the victim of hurt feelings and take someone down.

Thanks for reading this far, Jazz Pickles. I hope you’re enjoying your life wherever you are today (even in NYC!)

 

Good Game

Bizarro 03-08-15 hdrWEB Bizarro 03-08-15 WEBbz panel 03-02-15 bz panel 03-03-15 bz panel 03-04-15 bz panel 03-05-15 bz panel 03-06-15 bz panel 03-07-15(For a more festive experience, click any of these cartoons and make it bigger!)

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.

 

BIZARRCHIVES: I’ve not posted an old comic from the archival dungeon lately, so here’s one about golf that I hope you enjoy.bizarro 04-12-09 WEB

 

 

Tower of Titters

Bizarro 02-22-15 hdr Bizarro 02-22-15 WEB1(Indulge your desire to embiggenate these cartoons by clicking them.)

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.)

bz panel 02-16-15 bz panel 02-17-15 bz panel 02-18-15 bz panel 02-19-15 bz panel 02-20-15 bz panel 02-21-15My other most recent cartoons looked like this:

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.BizarroVanAmerongen07-16-00WEB

 

7 Days of Silly

Bizarro 02-15-15 HdrWEBBizarro 02-15-15 WEBbz panel 02-09-15bz strip 02-09-15bz panel 02-10-15bz panel 02-11-15a bz strip 02-11-15bz panel 02-12-15abz panel 02-13-15bz panel 02-14-15

(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.

30 Years of Shits & Giggles

Bizarro sock exchangeWEB Bizarro Cow Court 1985 WEB Bizarro Alien OutletWEB BizarroPigeonStatue1985WEbPIraroPubShot1988 WEBOn this date thirty years ago (January 21, 1985 if you don’t have a calculator handy) I got out of bed early and hurried out to the front porch of my cheap little rental duplex on the outskirts of Dallas, Texas, to get the latest edition of the Dallas Times Herald. In it was the very first Bizarro cartoon ever published.

That means I’ve published 10,950 cartoons as of today. What?!

My career started 10 years before I owned a computer so my first decade of work was not digitized and I’ve no idea where my early work is in my archival catacombs. I’ll be honest, as I review my first year of work now, I can’t find much to recommend it. In my humble opinion, the art was stiff and a bit sloppy, and the gags were mostly lame. I’ve pulled a few of the less embarrassing ones from my first compilation book to show to you here today.

I’ve enjoyed my career and feel very blessed that I’ve been able to make a decent living as an artist. Even though I never got rich off Bizarro (and likely never will) as a college dropout  wandering into the workplace unprepared, I beat the odds by any standards and can’t complain. I’ve met some fascinating people, been to some cool places, and gotten some inspiring feedback from readers who’ve felt I’ve made a difference in their lives in some small way. I’m not one to live in the past, but upon reflection I must say that cartooning has been much better to me than it needed be, and I am indeed fortunate.

Also, just for kicks, I’ve included one of my first official publicity shots. It was concocted the old-fashioned way, before the days of Photoshop; I drew a bunch of cartoon images on a big sheet of butcher paper, then drew some more with fabric paint on a white, long-sleeved T-shirt, then stood in front of it and had my picture taken. After the film was taken to the drugstore for development, I zeroxed the photo and colored my face and the nose of the character just behind me with colored pencil. Then I took another picture of the final result and mailed it to the PR department of my syndicators. (God, how did we have that much patience back then?!)

Anyway, thanks for being a Jazz Pickle for however long you’ve been reading my cartoons. Without you, I’d be working in the stockroom of a local art supply store still.

 

Week That Was

Bizarro 01-18-15 HedrWEBBizarro 01-18-15 WEBbz panel 01-12-15bz strip 01-12-15bz panel 01-13-15bz strip 01-13-15bz panel 01-14-15bz strip 01-14-15bz panel 01-15-15bz strip 01-15-15bz panel 01-16-15bz strip 01-16-15bz panel 01-17-15bz strip 01-17-15(Go ahead and click any of these images and see if I care.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Five Cool Dudes Having a Ball.

I’ve been blogging less frequently lately because I’m working on an oil painting commission and need the extra time. It’s coming along fine, thanks for wondering. I’d like to do more fine art before I die and since I’m old and nearly dead, it’s time to get started on that before it’s too late.

Today’s cartoon stars my beloved Olive Oyl and her cat, Boo. I’m told by one of my Jazz Pickles that Gary Larson did a similar gag back in the 80s and, following the link he provided, I saw that he is correct. Sorry about that. It’s a little embarrassing, but these things happen to cartoonists all the time. His had no secret symbols to look for and mine has seven, though, so there’s that.

Reviewing the cartoons from last week, we have a “hands-on” therapist doing something of a Vulcan Mind Meld on Monday.

On Tuesday a thief is reminded that he’s supposed to take food with his drugs. Since someone invariably asks, I reversed the image between the strip and panel version in order to keep the punchline as close to the end of the reader’s experience as possible.

Wednesday’s cartoon was particularly enjoyed by my friend Randall, from Tulsa. He’s an engineer and says they like to make fun of architects. I didn’t know that but I’m happy to have helped, Randall.

Last Thursday’s cartoon was (and still is) a satire of the Flintstones. As everyone will doubtless remember, Fred’s car didn’t have an engine, he just used his feet to get it moving. Because at least one reader asked about the cables with paddles, I was referring to that contraption they use to zap someone’s heart back into working. Maybe they call that thing a defibrillator, but I’m not exactly sure.

Friday’s cartoon is a hilarious bait-and-switch style gag that plays with the idea of an Indian restaurant. Why aren’t there American Indian restaurants? They probably dined on delicious, healthy cuisine before the White Man arrived with his fast food franchises and high-fructose corn syrup.

Finally, we have Saturday’s cartoon which is about the ubiquitous pumpkin-flavored stuff in America every fall. I dislike pumpkin-flavored things so this gag came from my own personal struggles to keep such things out of my mouth. I wrote, drew, and submitted this cartoon weeks ago but since then have seen a few other everything-is-pumpkin-flavored cartoons. I guess the fad hit critical mass this past year and became a part of the collective unconscious (not the correct usage of that term but you get the idea.) Or maybe people do gags about this every year and I just haven’t noticed, which would be very likely since I don’t much follow cartoons.

PAZZ JICKLES: Exactly a certain number of years ago today, the following cartoon was published in newspapers around the world. This is notable because three days from now is the 30th anniversary of Bizarro. Yes, the first Bizarro cartoon appeared in newspapers on January 21, 1985. How did it suddenly become thirty years later?! It makes my brain hurt. It also makes me feel old. (See comment about my impending death above.) biz03tscooWEB

Party Drug Snack Group

bz panel 12-31-14bz strip 12-31-14bz panel 12-29-14 bz strip 12-29-14bz panel 12-30-14bz strip 12-30-14Bizarro is brought to you today by My Choice for Album of the Year.

My least favorite night of the year to leave my hut is New Year’s Eve. One might reasonably think this is a sign that I am getting old but I’ve been this way since my twenties. New Year’s Eve is an arbitrary moment in time that has no meaning for me, it’s also noisier, more expensive, and more crowded than most any other night of the year. There are also a lot of drunks on the roads and sober people have enough trouble controlling their cars. Thus, I can find nothing to recommend it.  On the plus side, however, this New Year’s Eve cartoon is kinda funny.

Then there’s this vision of what it might be like if doctor’s offices adopted the practices of airlines. They both overbook, so why not?

And now, here’s a bit of appetizing zombie fun.

 

BIZARRO OF THE LIVING DEAD: Since we’re on the subjects of zombies and the new year, here’s a cartoon about that topic from Jan 2, 2011. It reflects my feelings about the efficacy of online activism in general.bizarro 01-02-11 ZombieWEB (Click it to see it embiggened.)

 

Prank Blog Breakup Cauliflower

Bizarro 12-28-14 hdr Bizarro 12-28-14 WEB(For a larger view, click any dang image in this post.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Santa Gives Birth.

I hope you all had a happy holiday thing, whatever that might mean for you. As for me, I couldn’t be happier that it’s over. In spite of my affinity for the occasional stage performance, I’m actually an introvert and so the rapid succession of parties and family get-togethers really takes a toll on me. I’m looking forward to a few months without obligatory socializing.

I’m happy with my cartoon today. An email buddy of mine from Germany, one Michael Roth (who happens to be a writer) sends me cartoon ideas almost every week. Some of them intrigue me and I end up using them––or a version of them––in Bizarro. This is one such idea and came in as follows, “Snowman school. Little snowboy with magnifying glass bugs snowkid sitting in front of him with sunbeam. Bugged snowkid raises arm: “Mrs. Wiesencramer, Harry is doing it again!” I liked the graphic challenge of drawing a beam of sunlight channeled through a magnifying glass to melt a hole in a fellow snow-classmate. I’m very happy with the way it turned out and encourage you to click on the image and see it larger. There are also plenty of fun side gags in the posters on the wall, so click the image to enlarge it and check those out.

For you who bother to read the text I provide with my cartoons here, I’ll let you in on a fun back story: In the “Anatomy of a Cell” poster on the wall, the tiny hole in the center of the snowflake is designated as “anus.” My editors asked me to remove it because while it isn’t a hugely offensive word or concept, newspaper editors hate it when cartoonists sneak questionable content into their comics. If it had been large and an integral part of the gag, most editors would have likely approved it, but they resent getting emails or phone calls from uptight readers who are complaining about something that they didn’t know was there and had no choice about publishing. I suppose I can’t blame them and in the current climate of declining newspaper revenues, I can’t afford to lose clients so I took it out for the one that ran in newspapers, but left it in on this one for you. bz panel 12-26-14bz strip 12-26-14bz panel 12-27-14bz strip 12-27-14

The following cartoons are from the last two days before today’s Sunday comic. The first one is self explanatory, I think, but the second one confused at least one reader who sent me a comment about it. It’s simple, really; the cartoon looks and sounds exactly like a divorce or breakup of a romantic couple but when you read the bottom caption, you see that it’s something entirely different––a brief visit by a luggage salesman that ended without a sale. I’ve always enjoyed cartoons that misdirect in this way. (see below.)

Bygone Bizarro: This older cartoon is perhaps my favorite example from my career of this kind of misdirection. At first you think you are looking at a typical scene of an Indian pointing out smoke signals to a cowboy, but the bottom caption tells a different story that still makes me chuckle to this day. If you look at it closely, you’ll see they both have a bowl of salad in their laps. Hope you enjoy it.bizarro 09-21-03 TontoCauliflowerWEB

bz panel 12-22-14bz strip 12-22-14bz panel 12-23-14bz strip 12-23-14bz panel 12-24-14bz strip 12-24-14bz panel 12-25-14bz strip 12-25-14Bizarro is brought to you today by Scary Christmas and Santa’s Package.

This week brings four holiday cartoons for your end-of-year enjoyment. I’m  not one who adheres to the religious celebration of Jesus but I’ve long been bothered by the tacky commercial-ization of Christmas in America. To my sensibilities it’s noisy and ugly no matter what the reason, but the fact that it is all supposedly in honor of one of the least materialistic characters in modern times makes it even more unpalatable.  I stopped participating in it back in the early 90s, announcing politely to my friends and family that I wouldn’t be sending cards or giving gifts anymore and did not expect any. On the increasingly rare occasion when I do get a gift, I accept graciously, of course. I’m not trying to be an ass about it, I just don’t want to play anymore. I’ve found it very liberating.

Thus, my Xmas cartoons tend to come from a fairly irreverent place. In case you missed it, my previous post was a collection of 29 of my favorite Xmas-themed Bizarros from years past. Check it out here for more fun.

GHOST OF BIZARRO PAST: Scroll down to see a strange Xmas cartoon of mine from 1997 that depicts what holidays are like in Cookie Land. Other cultures can be so strange. bizarro 12-24-97 WEBThe nation of Cookie Land recently hacked into my website and stole a bunch of top secret information about future comics and some embarrassing emails in which I openly criticized their king, then threatened to attack my blog if I posted this cartoon. I told them, “I’m not Sony, assholes!”

Happy holidays to all my Jazz Pickles. Stay tangy.

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