Another week in Our Pandemic Year is behind us, and that means we've got six new cartoons to revisit.
Also, we're cooking up a little treat to celebrate the end of this annus horribilis, which I'll discuss a little later.
But first I'd like to show off my favorite low-tech office equipment.
The round brass doodad on the right is a Möbius + Ruppert pencil sharpener, along with a box of replacement blades and a recently-retired pencil. I've ditched two or three electric sharpeners over the years because they fractured the cores of my colored pencils, which are a key part of my cartooning process. This spectacularly simple tool produces a perfect point, and allows the pencil to be sharpened down to its last usable millimeter of pigment.
Sorry for the rhapsodizing. I do love this sharpener.
Now, let's review the drawings we published this past week.
In my mind's ear, the headmaster's voice sounds like John Cleese or Michael Palin.
Wednesday's panel salutes the ancient Roman Everyplebe with a quiet gag. I was happy with the character's contented facial expression, which a regular reader described as "pleasantly buzzed."
Thursday's premise is a tiny exaggeration of the technological impossibilities regularly seen in crime dramas. This trope reached a peak in the 1982 film Blade Runner, which was set in the then-future year of 2019.
In the extended director's cut of this gag, the forensics tech soaked the printed photo in tea, crumbled it slightly, and frayed the edges to simulate thirty years of aging.
I've mentioned before that I often use television nature documentaries viewed at low volume to quiet my brain and prevent insomnia. A few months back, I drifted off to David Attenborough's film, Hummingbirds: Jewelled Messengers, and the next day, wrote a hummingbird gag.
I do a lot of cartoons about clowns, but I don't think clown videos would work as sleep aids.
In an example of coincidental timing, this comic ran less than a week after Dan Piraro blogged about an aspect of his investment planning. I wouldn't recommend putting your savings into plush toys, but I hope the idea at least paid a dividend of humor.
Thanks for checking in, and don't forget to visit Dan Piraro's blog to see what mischief he's been up to, and check out his latest glorious Bizarro Sunday page.
Now, about that treat for the new year.
To mark the close of the 21st Century's crappiest year, Bizarro Studios will introduce a new Secret Symbol on January 1, 2021.
We'll reveal exactly what it is a few days before its official debut. In the meantime, we'd love to see your guesses, suggestions, or completely wrong crackpot theories in the form of images posted to Instagram or Twitter, using the hashtag #BizarroSymbol2021.
Who knows, there may be a prize or two awarded.
Cheryl's Going Home
John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett
BBC Television, 1977
While working this week, I listened to a podcast called, Cor Baby, That's Really Me! - Rock and Roll's Greatest Failure, based on John Otway's autobiography, and read by the author.
Otway is a classic British eccentric, or what his fellow citizens would call a "nutter." He was convinced from a young age that he was destined to be a star, despite having no known talent, at least in the conventional sense. He's always had an abundance of optimism, dogged persistence, and a willingness to create his own opportunities. Plus, he's a hilarious storyteller.
This video is from 43 years ago this month, December 1977. Otway appeared on the BBC program, The Old Grey Whistle Test, with his on-again off-again (ad infinitum) partner, Wild Willy Barrett. Near the end of the song, Otway jumped onto Barrett's amp, which was atop a PA monitor, knocking over the equipment, and injuring his most delicate bodily parts. He continued anyway, in true show biz fashion, although he momentarily forgot the lyrics, only to have them shouted in his ear by Willy.
Many Otway & Barrett records hold a place of honor in the vinyl archives here at Bizarro Studios North. Last year, the duo recorded a new version of their first LP, live and direct to disc - the audio signal went straight from their mics to the needle cutting the master.
They performed each side in a single continuous take, pausing for a few seconds between songs to allow for gaps between tracks on the vinyl pressing.
|Otway & Barrett double LP reissue|
Photo courtesy Bizarro Studios North