Today's Bizarro cartoon is a neat little quickie that gets in there and delivers the gag without any fussin' around.
As always, Dan Piraro's art is spot on. Have you ever tried to draw a bagpipe? It's no easy task. Fortunately, the joke was, I believe, worth the effort.
The identical vowel sounds and rhythm of "Scotty" and "Johnny" immediately bring that great voice to mind, and make this one work. "Hello—I'm Angus Cash" just wouldn't cut the haggis.
My sketch is a little stiffer and simpler than Dan's version, but I think it does the job pretty well, too.
I usually draw from an eye-level "camera angle," whereas Dan incorporates more perspective, and often uses a "crane shot" point-of-view. I suspect that this helps when he formats his comics for the alternate strip layout used by some papers, and also makes things a little more interesting to draw. I've always admired Charles Barsotti's minimalist approach, so perhaps that's reflected in my own drawings.
The joke didn't pop into my head fully-formed, but was the result extended stewing. After receiving a card announcing the release of our friend Gwyn's latest book, my wife and I started batting around ideas about kilts. One thought that seemed to have legs (sorry) was a Scotsman whose "tartan" is solid black, perhaps a member of the Gaelic Secret Service. I jotted down a very quick sketch and a couple of possible takes on the concept. Interestingly, this early doodle looks more like Dan's version than the sketch I eventually submitted.
My good friend Brian, who recently helped me out with a great iPhone gag, suggested the caption Goth Ness Monster. I considered that one (and still like it quite a bit) but finally, a couple of days later, Johnny Cash (THE Man in Black) came to mind and the punchline fell into place.
I thought about discussing the connections between traditional Scottish music and some American roots music in this post, but I'm far from expert on the topic. A Google search of the phrase "Scottish roots country music," turned up a 2010 story from the Guardian about Johnny Cash tracing his own ancestry to Scotland, so it's possible that he referred to himself "Scotty Cash" at some point. At least I'd like to think so.
Oddly enough, the headline to this story reads Johnny Cash, the Man in Black Tartan. I swear, I never saw it before. Really.
Please browse all of the gags that Dan and I have produced together, and to check back around Halloween for the next three we have lined up. They'll run on October 28, October 30, and November 1.
Thanks for reading, and feel free to comment.