The punchline in today's Bizarro is based on the old game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, which supposedly began in 15th-century China. Apparently flipping a coin to decide who bats first had not yet been invented.
The final art by Bizarro Grand Poo-bah Dan Piraro, follows my submission sketch pretty closely, with only a slight shuffling of elements.
The change I find most intriguing is the slight revision to the caption. We didn't discuss it, and in fact, I hadn't noticed it until I started writing this post. My thought was to try and make the payoff ("paper beats rock") the last thing the reader encounters. Dan's rewrite eliminates the comma, so perhaps he was shaving every possible text character.
In the ancient game, each hand gesture represents a physical object, although I can't accept simply being covered (paper's advantage over rock) as a defeat equal to being cut (scissors cut paper) or broken (rock breaks scissors).
The gag is delivered when the reader's brain processes the idea of a physical object (the paper citation) defeating something nonmaterial (rock music). That process of finding meaning in what initially appears to be contradictory or nonsensical is the basis of many cartoon gags. Within the panel, there has to be some logic. The moment of surprise when you figure it out results (we hope) in a laugh.
Stay tuned for more funny business, and if you enjoyed this disturbance of the peace, please feel free to browse our prior infractions, in this blog's Bizarro Archive.