Saturday, April 26, 2014

Wait For It...

Today's Bizarro shows us what's actually behind a common warning sign.
This gag was inspired by a conversation with my spouse when we saw a "slow danger" sign on the road, and started joking about what it could mean. She snapped a quick iPhone picture of the sign so I'd remember to do a sketch back at the home studio.

My submission sketch is a rather sloppy hybrid—the turtle was scanned from a sketchbook drawing, the road sign was clipped from the photo we took, and I digitally scribbled in some rough background details.
Dan Piraro's finished art takes an already absurd idea and refines it, replacing the turtle with a tiny snail, and reducing the time bomb to a single iconic stick of dynamite (one of the recurring symbols he loves to tuck into his cartoons). This is a nice example of the benefits of editing and economizing.

We'll have more new collaborations appearing in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, feel free to mosey through the Kartoon Time Kapsule, where you can find all of our earlier joint efforts.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Roving Ova

Today's Bizarro cartoon takes place in the local chicken coop, and illustrates a  simple rhyming pun.
My submission sketch for this gag used a wide-angle view of the henhouse, and showed the eggs lifting the chicken from her nest.
Each version works in its own way. Bizarro's creator Dan Piraro chose to zoom in on just two characters, which was a wise decision in the name of graphic economy. The simple barnwood walls and boxed nests clearly establish the setting. The third, oblivious chicken, and the expanded view of the scene aren't really necessary to deliver the gag.

I had a feeling this one might go over with Dan, as he'd done comics about the phrase "restless leg syndrome" in the past, using such variations as restless peg, and restless pants. The condition was also referenced when the annoyingly talented and prolific cartoon machine known as J.C. Duffy filled in last year as a Bizarro guest cartoonist. Dan's blog post from November 2013 provides information on an effective home treatment for RLS. 

In recent weeks, I've been reading Sigmund Freud's 1905 book, Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious, to see if I could learn some things about humor and its creation. 
As you might imagine, it's a pretty dry volume. However, it does occur to me that today's gag seems to fit in with Siggy's description of one type of joke-making as "bewilderment and illumination."
The comic effect is produced by the solution of this bewilderment, by understanding the word. [Theodor] Lipps (a German philosopher and university professor, and a contemporary of Freud's) adds to this that this first stage of enlightenment—that the bewildering word means this or thatis followed by a second stage, in which we realize that this meaningless word has bewildered us and has then shown us its true meaning. It is only this second illumination, this discovery that a word which is meaningless by normal linguistic usage has been responsible for the whole thingthis resolution of the problem into nothingit is only this second illumination that produces the comic effect.
That long-winded explanation reminds me of a briefer, more memorable quote attributed to E.B.White:
Humor can be dissected, as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.
On that grumpily academic note, we'll close today's scholarly post, and remind you to wander the aisles in this blog's Bizarro Research Library, where you can find our earlier collaborations.
Analyzing humor is like dissecting a frog. Few people are interested and the frog dies of it.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Love is Visually Impaired

Today's Bizarro comic plays with alternate meanings of a single word ("the existence of three dimensions in space" versus "complexity or profundity of thought; intensity of emotion").
As we like to do here, we also present the original submission sketch for comparison.
Dan Piraro, Bizarro's mastermind, edited the dialog a little and rendered the characters in his own unique style, for a nifty little gag. 

This one was fun to write and draw, once I figured out a setup that enabled me to show the woman wearing an eyepatch. I suppose she could have been a pirate, too.

For the male character, I was thinking of a smarmy 70s lounge lizard, as exemplified in the screen capture below of actor Jess Nadelman, in a 1975 episode of The Bob Newhart Show.
We've got more funnies in the pipeline. Meanwhile, you're invited to explore our earlier collaborations down in the depths of the Bizarro Fruit Cellar.

As always, your comments and readership are greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, April 02, 2014

The Sweetest Tattoo

Today's Bizarro, I believe, comes close enough to qualify as a wordless gag.
Dan's final art certainly brings extra life and personality to the gingerbread man, and he tweaked the staging a little.

I can't recall the exact circumstances leading to this particular funny, but wouldn't it be nice if tattoos were as painless (not to mention removable) as frosting on a cookie?

By the way, this finished art,
including the spectacular coloring, is all the handiwork of the mighty Dan Piraro. I've been coloring the daily (Monday through Saturday) Bizarro comics for the past three years, totaling around seven or eight hundred panels. Currently, I'm taking a brief sabbatical from the daily coloring duties. It seems that I was late with my dues payment to the ABCCP (The Amalgamated Brotherhood of Comics Colorizers and Paint-Slingers). The union steward for Local 412 paid me a visit, and he made a very persuasive case for taking some time off while they sort out my membership status. And to allow my knuckles to heal.

I've almost felt guilty getting paid for the privilege of coloring Dan's drawings, and have learned a lot during this run. When I pick up the digital paint bucket again, you, dear readers, will be the first to know.

I will, of course continue to collaborate with my good pal Dan as a contributing gag writer. Our next joint effort will appear in less than a week.

As always, you are cordially invited to review our many collaborative gags, which are housed in this blog's Bizarro Storage Locker.