Page 1 of 212

Jocularity Jive

Bizarro is brought to you today byBizarro 04-12-15 hdrWEB Lost in Translation.

Barrooms, restaurants, downtown streets and the like are always a bit of a pain to draw because of the complexity of the space and all of the characters involved. I often avoid these kinds of scenes because they put a major crimp in my schedule but when I do force myself to get into it, I always end up enjoying the process and appreciating Bizarro 04-12-15 WEBthe result. Feedback from readers over thebz panel 04-06-15 years tells me that they enjoy the complex art, too, so that’s a win/win. This image has some fun details which I hope you’ll enjoy. It also has a whopping 9 secret symbols to look for! For an easier search, click the image to make it bigger.

Last week’s cartoons began with a foray into the inherent cruelty of the bz panel 04-07-15modern office environment. I don’t know what’s under that table, but it can’t be good.

Tuesday’s gag was about the cruelty of nature as it depicts a female praying mantis––who are known for decapitating their male lovers (no idea what the LGBT mantises do)––visiting her insurance agent to find out if she

bz panel 04-08-15can collect on his life insurance. The name of the company on the window is a side joke: Aetna Insurance is a company in the U.S. and my “Enta” is a cross between that and “entomology,” the study of bugs.

Over on the King Features site a couple readers left comments describing their confusion over the vegan diner gag. The joke is bz panel 04-09-15simple wordplay, of course. If you don’t get it, don’t worry about it.

My fireside gag between a man and his young daughter got some interesting comments on the King site, too. Several came from right-wing types who buy the FOX News angle that it isn’t corporations who are destroying the middle class but illegal aliens. I bz panel 04-10-15often forget that conservatives read my cartoons, too. What I can’t forget is that although FOX News is the highest rated news channel in the U.S. it also consistently proves to be the most inaccurate news source in America according to  independent studies. Its followers will decry that these studies are biased, of course, and bz panel 04-11-15there’s nothing one can say to dissuade a true believer of anything, so I won’t try here. To my eyes and ears, FOX News is a flashy, corporate propaganda machine not unlike the one Ned Beatty was running in the brilliant and prescient film from 1976, “Network.” But perhaps I’m wrong. (Whether you’re right- or left-wing, rent it now!)

Moving on to the Pie & Coffee cartoon, I got this idea while drawing a cartoon from the previous week with similar art. See it here. This gag is very simple but I think it’s my favorite of the week.

Lastly we have the TSA joke. I can’t imagine how bored the people who work those lines at the airport must be. To be trained to be hyper-vigilant against an insidious enemy that you are almost certainly NEVER going to encounter is a strange kind of torture. I’ve not done any research on the subject but my average brain tells me that the TSA is an enormous waste of money. The odds of another giant terrorism attack on American commercial airlines seem like an absurd longshot. I say just go back to running everyone and their luggage through metal detectors and forget about shoes and liquids and body scanners and pat downs. But, again, maybe I’m wrong.



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

Civilized Saucers

Bizarro 12-07-14 hdr Bizarro 12-07-14 WEB(Treat yourself to a larger version of these images by clicking them!)

Bizarro is brought to you today by The Perfect Gift.

Have you ever felt the need to run away from “civilization” and live a more natural life? It seems to me that there is little about civilization that is civilized and little about humans that is humane. Accordingly, I have found myself rethinking my choices in this world. It’s not that civilization is treating me badly, it most certainly isn’t, especially on a worldwide scale. It’s more about getting in touch with what I am, not what I’ve become as the result of social pressure and historical tradition. In my recent readings about the origins of human societies, I’ve begun to see that we are far from what we should be, and my instincts tell me that I’d be much happier and live a more meaningful life if I were more true to my nature. That’s where my head’s been at lately and why I wrote this cartoon.

OLD BIZNESS: I came across this cartoon from 2002 on a different subject and thought it was amusing. I share it with you now in hopes that you will, too.Bizarro 10-27-02 WEB

Reap Hat Wig

bz panel 05-07-14bz strip 05-07-14bz panel 05-08-14bz strip 05-08-14

Bizarro is brought to you today by But What’s the Red Pipe For?

When the Grim Reaper comes a reaping at your door, will he be able to speak to you without a larynx? Can he sneeze without lungs, a mouth, or sinus cavities? Can you knock him down an run since he has no muscles to hold him up? For that matter, how does he hold up that heavy scythe?













This next cartoon is about how certain public officials have funny hats. What does their hat-hair look like at the end of the day? When I had an afro in high school, I briefly worked at an old-fashioned ice cream parlor and had to wear one of those straw boater hats and a hairnet. The walk home after work was only a block but I was terrified someone would see me either wearing that stupid hat or the ludicrous shape of a flat disk that my afro would maintain until I washed my hair. Oh, the pain of adolescence.






bz 09-08-99 TOUPEEwebBIZARRO BASEMENT: And now, from 1999, is another person with a hair issue.

Below Deck

Bizarro 04-27-14 hdrWEBBizarro 04-27-14 WEB(Click on anyone’s nose to get a larger image.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Japanese TV of the 1960s.

I like today’s gag because it’s one of those that doesn’t quite click (for most readers) until they read the dialogue balloon, then search around the image for what it means. I used to have one of those mirror periscope toys when I was a kid. I don’t know why it was fun to see around corners but it was. There was invariably nothing of great interest to see that I couldn’t have witnessed by walking around the corner, but imagination is a powerful thing.


BIZARCHIVES: Here’s a look back in time to 2002. I have no memory of writing or drawing this cartoon but I came across it in my archives this morning and thought it was really weird. Who are these people and what are they doing? Your guess is as good as mine and I hope the answer amuses you. bizarro 11-10-02 Expect WEB

Hot Tub Surgery Funeral

bz panel 03-03-14 bz panel 03-04-14bz strip 03-04-14Want to be notified by email each time I post something new? Drop your email address into the slot below the Tip Jar in the right margin! I won’t abuse it!


Bizarro is brought to you today by My New Part-Time Job.

As I’ve mentioned here before, I can’t stand the idea of working for a company and having to go to meetings. Most people find a way to get through it, some probably actually enjoy it, but we artistic types live primarily inside our own heads so it is difficult for us to pay attention to people talking for long periods of time. No amount of note-taking would work for me. I’d forever be wondering what was said and then I’d get fired. A hot tub would help, though.


One reason I’ve been doing a lot of health insurance and medical cost cartoons lately is that I’ve not had medical insurance for well over a decade and my shoulder is blown out. For those you of without a medical degree, “blown out” is a technical term for when something inside your shoulder always hurts when you move your arm a certain way, and it lasts for years. I’ve done some research and am pretty sure it’s my rotator cuff. Whatever it is, it hurts like hell if I try to move my right arm above my shoulder, or reach for something in the wrong way. Surgery (in the U.S.) would be tens of thousands of dollars and I’d not be able to use my right arm for weeks while it heals. I make my living with my right arm, so it’s doubly problematic. I’m guessing I’ll just be the guy with a sore arm for the rest of my life.


BIZARRCHIVES: Here’s a fun little ditty from 1997 about a guy who didn’t need health insurance, either.


Lifestyle Variations

bz panel 02-17-14bz strip 02-17-14bz panel 02-18-14bz strip 02-18-14Bizarro is brought to you today by My Previous Job.



I am fortunate enough to have spent very little time in my life working in traditional offices. I’m really not very good at being a team player, following rules, sitting quietly through meetings that aren’t about me, performing tasks I don’t care about, etc. In short, I’m an artist and we make fairly terrible employees. But I can easily imagine the torture that most people go through in those settings, hence cartoons like this one.








This next cartoon is a collaborative effort between myself and my showbiz manager, the wild, wooly, and weirdly wonderful Jeff Topper. If this technology doesn’t already exist, you can be sure it will soon. Perhaps before I finish typing this sentence. Imagine being able to program your mirror to show you a “live” image of yourself, but looking the way you’d like to look, instead of the way you do. I could shave George Clooney’s face very morning instead of my own. (Not that I would like to look like George specifically, but he is widely considered to be handsome.) Clear a space on your wall for it because it is coming.







BIZOMBIES: bz 11-15-96 WEBI came across this little something from ’96 while searching my archives this morning. I’ve always liked this gag, although it was better the way I originally wrote it, in which the song title she concludes with is, “I Wish I’d Been a Lesbian.” That word wasn’t allowed in the newspaper funny pages back then (is it now?) so I had to find another lifestyle that was likely childless and far from the average, suburban, PTA mom. Nowadays, plenty of lesbian couples live in suburban settings, raise kids, and are PTA moms, but back then it was much less common, or at least known of. I still think “Malcontent Moms” is a good name for a band.




Is That Necessary?

Bizarro 01-19-14 hedrWEB Bizarro 01-19-14 WEB(To see any of these images larger, click on any human ear within any graphic)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Manly Men.

I was at a crowded bar on New Year’s Eve 2012, sitting at a booth with a group of friends. I hated this bar because it was too crowded and the music was too loud and most of it was hip hop, which I cannot abide, so I was not having a very good time. As we sat at this booth, facing the crowded room and watching the various people doing their New Year’s Eve thang, a 20-something couple worked their way to the spot more-or-less right in front of our table. They were squirming around against each other engaged in something that could only barely be called dancing, and pawing each other like young, horny primates, which they most certainly were. It wasn’t pleasant to watch but it was understandable. Just then, the male primate decided to go get another drink, leaving the female to hold their spot on the floor. After he left, the female began moving to the “music” by herself, eyes cast down to the floor, her lips protruding in one of those I’m-cool-and-I’m-concentrating-on-what-I’m-doing “O” shapes. Then her entire body began to convulse.

For a split second, I was tempted to jump to her aid, put a stick in her mouth, lay her down on the floor, and call 911. But then I realized she was “twerking.” Twerking is a term that means to shake your buttock flesh up and down without tensing your glute muscles (try it, it isn’t easy) so that the twin blobs of flesh bounce freely up and down very quickly, not unlike two water balloons on the back of a flatbed truck on a bumpy road.

I fully realize I am not in the demographic that this activity is meant to attract (and I most certainly found it anything but attractive) but I was reminded of some kind of animal mating ritual like birds puffing up their feathers and dancing, and I suppose that was the point. What I think our species fails to recognize is that it is the male of most any species that will mate with anything and the female that chooses based on suitable qualities for reproduction. That is why in the rest of the animal kingdom the male virtually always does the impressing while the female pretends to be unimpressed until she makes her choice.

With humans that is still true in most cases (the male driving a “cool” car with very loud bass speakers that broadcast a “hoompa-hoompa” noise is one example of a classic mating call) except that many females of our species also attempt to impress and attract males with various “sexy” outfits, and now this bizarre activity we have named “twerking.” From my viewpoint, the whole spectacle is very National Geographic.

PALEOZARRO: From 1999 comes this old piece of office comedy. This was a year-or-so before I began coloring my comics on Photoshop so that accounts for the garish colors and comparatively simple lighting scheme. biz intercomWEB

Neigh, Brethren

bz panel 10-19-13bz strip 10-19-13Bizarro is brought to you today by Interesting Swimwear.

If you’ve never paid much attention to the credits of movies you may not know that there is (or at least used to commonly be) a disclaimer at the end of Hollywood films that said something like, “No animal was harmed in the making of this film.”  As the result of pain-in-the-ass-animal-rights-advocates (like me) at some point in the late 1900s, Hollywood passed “laws” that you couldn’t injure animals to make a movie. Up until then, directors could be pretty ruthless when it came to battle scenes, stampedes, chariot races, etc., and would routinely trip horses with wires to make them look as though they’d been shot, and so forth. Lots of animals were killed making movies in the old days. Once, Timmy threw a tantrum and strangled Lassie, causing a nationwide search for another dog that looked just like him to finish the film. In another famous incident, during the making of Ben Hur, Charlton Heston was being such a horse’s ass that one of the horses from the cast mounted him. Heston mowed the horse down with a semi-automatic rifle, of course.

Meanwhile, the same people passing rules about not injuring horses or dogs in the movie business were eating steaks, pork, and chicken. Humans easily turn a blind eye to “food” animals and forget that they have the same qualities of the animals we deem worth protecting. How many people would think it hypocritical to serve meat at a fundraiser for dogs and cats? Not many. Humans have certain “magical” species (dogs, cats, horses, anything nearly extinct) that they’ll protect from abuse and the rest are just products to make profit from, no matter the cruelty involved in the process. Our arrogance astounds me sometimes, but then, I was guilty of the same kind of double standards until my early forties when a light went on in my tiny, pointed head. So I can’t be too critical. (But claiming the moral high ground sure is fun!)

bz 04-11-11 127HoursWEBPREHISTARROS: Both of these jokes about Hollywood agents were collaborations with my good buddy, Andy Cowan. Andy has had a long and successful career in Hollywood as a TV comedy writer so he has lots of amusing perspectives on agents, as you can imagine. I particularly love this one about the film, “127 Hours,” which, if you don’t recall, is based on the true story of a hiker who got his arm trapped between a rock and a hard place and had to chop it off with a spork to save himself from dying of thirst or being eaten by monsters. Dang.



bz panel 09-09-13 dummybz strip 09-09-13dummyBizarro is brought to you today by Quiet Flight.

I had a terrific time this weekend in Santa Rosa where I did a comedy show at a private seminar, and in Sacramento where I did a comedy “talk” at my buddy’s restaurant, The Plum Cafe & Bakery. It was fun to meet some new Jazz Pickles. Thanks to all of those who came out to see me this weekend and especially to the Cowan family for popping out on Sunday and having lunch with me before the talk.

On to more fascinating things, here’s a lovely bit of HATE MAIL that I got from my Sunday cartoon this weekend.

When I saw your strip in today’s (9/8/2013) paper, I could barely control my anger. To even suggest that firefighters are starting fires or encouraging the spread of fire is totally irresponsible. Yes, there occasionally are a few bad apples, but as a rule firefighters, both career and volunteer, are responsible public servants who do their job out of a sense of civic responsibility and pride. Publishing a strip like this only proves that you know nothing about the sacrifices made daily by these dedicated public servants. Then again, what else could we expect from an egotist like you. I demand a very public apology be published by you as soon as possible.

Just in case your wondering about my qualifications, I am a retired volunteer with 27 years of service on a rural fire dept. and have an Associate Degree in Fire Protection. I’ll be waiting for the apology and if I don’t see it, I will lobby our paper to discontinue your strip.

I love this kind of mail! It immediately makes me wonder what kind of person thinks that newspaper cartoons like mine are close enough to reality to warrant anger.  Particularly one like this that clearly derives the joke from the opposite of reality. One can only imagine what kind of fever this person gets himself into over TV commercials with ridiculous premises. Or maybe he only gets riled about things related to firefighting. We may never know.

He demands an apology, so here it is: I’m sorry you are one taco short of a platter. Get well soon.

BIZARRCHIVES: Here, for your historical enjoyment, is another of my many crash test dummy cartoons, this one from 2007. bz panel 06-29-07CRASHPop back in tomorrow for another crash test dummy cartoon; likely the only time in my career I’ve done two in a row! (This kind of random, pointless statistic is what passes for excitement in the life of a cartoonist.)

Page 1 of 212