Saturday, August 08, 2020

Tall in the Saddle

Congratulations to us all for making it through another seven days in the Summer of the Pandemic. I sincerely hope you and yours are safe and healthy, and I look forward to a time when every greeting doesn't require that wishful addendum.

Here's what I've been up to for the past week.

Monday's gag refers to an artist known for making large scale sculptures of everyday objects. I've always enjoyed the playful quality of his work, and the commitment to executing such ambitious sculptures.
Before writing today's post, I wasn't aware this one, but it's now my favorite Oldenburg piece.

Everyone has had a pesky song (or song fragment) stuck in their brain at one time or another. For this panel, I drew larvae of the moth Helicoverpa zea, an agricultural pest that's sometimes called an earworm because it's often found feeding on corn. They're also know as cotton bollworms or tomato fruitworms, names which are descriptive, but not nearly as catchy. 

I this young entrepreneur had thought to serve the lemonade in rustic Mason jars, the price could easily have been doubled.

Among alligators, this is known as the reverse iceberg effect. It's a phenomenon similar to humans appearing professional in online meetings by wearing a business top and pajama bottoms.

Friday's panel is a self-referential take on the familiar cartoon trope of a restaurant patron finding a fly in their soup. Just about every cartoonist has used that setup, but for our money, the king of soggy fly gags is J.C. Duffy, creator of The Fusco Brothers comic strip. We feel that we've accomplished something when we come up with a variation that J.C. hasn't done.
My colleague Jeff Knurek shared this photo of the comics page from the Indianapolis Star, with Bizarro stacked atop another fly gag, in Dave Coverly's Speed Bump. This newspaper is running grayscale images of the color comics, which look a little dark and muddy. We create a pure black & white version every day, which looks cleaner on newsprint.
Of course, we're grateful to every paper that carries Bizarro, in whatever form they choose to print it.

What, beans don't talk back to you?

Thanks for reading Bizarro, and for visiting the blog. Keep those comments and social media shares coming. Your feedback keeps us inspired to make more funnies for you.


Check out Dan Piraro's blog for his review of the week's gags, and to see his latest panoramic Sunday Bizarro page.

Recommended Listening

Kind of Like Spitting, the Portland indie band led by singer/guitarist Ben Barnett, has released an album of songs written by the late Pittsburgh musician Karl Hendricks. 

Learn 2: The Songs of the Karl Hendricks Trio is a heartfelt tribute to a great musician and writer who died in 2017, leaving behind his loving family, and a multitude of friends and fans.
I was privileged to work with Karl as the cover artist for many of his releases over the years, beginning in 1990 with the single by his first band, Sludgehammer. He was a joy to work with, and always had a clear idea for the way he wanted to records to look, while allowing me the freedom to bring my own style to the images.

The new KOLS album is available from Bandcamp now, and all proceeds from sales are being donated to Karl's family: Megan, Maeve, and Nell.



Saturday, August 01, 2020

Beating Around the Bushmiller

We're another week closer to the end of this annus horribilis, and January can't get here soon enough.

I don't have a clever intro this time, so let's jump right in to a review of the week's cartoons.
Mommy's little monetizer got some laughs, but the most enthusiastic responses to this panel were comments on Dad's t-shirt. It's a souvenir from the tour supporting their hit album, Some Record You'll Never Listen To.

This little packet of joy will spend the next decade or so in a kitchen drawer with multiple siblings.

Wednesday's cartoon can be read as a simple twist on the trope of people offering ideas to cartoonists or children's book authors. It might also serve as a comment on ostensible adults who feel the need to cosplay as military types. 

Not only are our homes now offices, they're also assumed to be miniature broadcast studios and A.V. departments.

Friday's panel pays punning tribute to Ernie Bushmiller, creator of the durable comic strip, Nancy. I tried to copy Bushmiller's drawing style as closely as possible for this one, and came away with renewed respect for his economical approach.

The dialog is a simplified version of an eloquent statement on comics by the late Jay Kennedy (1956-2007).

[I]n the fine arts, artists generally comment on the world only obliquely; and sadly, only those people who have the leisure to study art history can fully appreciate their comments. By contrast, cartoons are an art form accessible to all people. They can simply laugh at the jokes or look beyond them to see the artist’s view of the world. Cartoons are multi-leveled art accessible to everyone at whatever level they choose to enjoy.
Jay was a scholar and collector of underground comix, and a friend and champion of cartoonists, who helped and encouraged hundreds and hundreds of creators, including yours truly.

Zippy the Pinhead cartoonist Bill Griffith has recently finished work on a graphic biography of Bushmiller, which is sure to be required reading here at Bizarro Studios.
Nearly thirty years ago, I wrote and drew this Nancy-centric piece for Heavy Metal. It was part of a mail order catalog parody. I still think it's at least as valid as astrology.

It takes special skills to sell not-yet-real estate.

Thanks for reading Bizarro, and for all of the comments and reposts. Don't forget to read Dan Piraro's weekly blog post, where he discusses the week's cartoons, and shares his latest gorgeous Bizarro Sunday page.

Also, please make sure you're registered to vote!

Bonus Track

For the past couple of weeks, after the passing of Ennio Morricone, I've been on an Italian Soundtrack kick. This swingin' tune was written by Piero Piccioni, another master of the genre, and it always brings a smile to my face.