And, here's the submission sketch:
Bizarro's creator, Dan Piraro, improved on the sketch in several ways. His revised text does a much better job of setting up the punchline in the caption box. As is often the case, this one was written backward, starting with the caption and then laboring to develop an image and text to tee it up. My original dialog conveys the idea that the couple is interested in buying the Daliesque property, but Dan's final text includes appropriately surreal prices as well. Viewing the drawings together, it becomes apparent that the size and position of the caption in Dan's version neatly delay the payoff for a heartbeat.
The "surrealtor" is based on René Magritte's iconic painting, The Son on Man, an image that pops up regularly in New Yorker cartoons. I used this same character as a comic springboard in an earlier cartoon.
As a final masterstroke, Dan added the shrouded figure on the left, referencing another Magritte work, The Lovers. This not only reinforces the gag, but ups the otherworldliness of the drawing, and makes for a funny little reward to interested readers.
The sketch presented a good, funny idea, but definitely needed some refinement. Dan's revisions, particularly the new dialog, added more layers to the joke, turning it from a merely amusing biscuit into a rich, buttery, comedic croissant.
We'll be back with a new collaborative gag on Tuesday January 17, one which may have some extra appeal to my hometown readers.
If you've got time to kill, please feel free to browse our previous joint efforts here, or follow my occasional Twitterations.
• • •
Update: Dan just posted this cartoon on his blog, and included multiple links to surrealist works referenced in the panel. Go take a look!