Today's Bizarro comic features the unfortunate victim of electronic crime.
The final, published cartoon turned out to be quite a change from the submission sketch, although the character looks very similar.
Dan Piraro, Bizarro's head honcho, liked the concept of an identity being almost a physical object that could be returned as well as taken, but thought the gag needed some more work. He suggested that we show the same awkward character talking to
someone (perhaps at a party) and have him say, "I had my identity
stolen last month but, unfortunately, they returned it almost
That change sounded good to me, as interacting with another person would add to the guy's discomfort and reinforce the joke.
I drew this a couple of months ago, and looking at it now, it seems there's an tinge of sadness (maybe even unfairness) to this gag. I remember the idea coming up as a joke made in conversation. Some friends and I were speaking about someone with a cranky personality and no clue about keeping his personal information secure. We reasoned that if his identity had been stolen, the thieves would probably return it right away.
If the comic had included a continuing character with a well-established odious personality, the gag could have been built on the reader's knowledge of the character's history. Being a standalone gag, we had to show him as generally weird-looking. I'm wondering if I might eventually have found some other way to get the idea to work, without making the character the butt of the joke just because of his looks.
Comments are welcome. Is this gag simply funny, or is it also a little cruel?
Of course, there's no excuse for any adult to wear that shirt.
December will be a banner month for my collaborations with Dan. We've got at least four more lined up before the year ends. The next one will be up on Monday, and explores a favorite setup for gag cartoonists.
All of our previous joint efforts are viewable in this blog's Bizarro archive.