Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Little Toast

Today's Bizarro comic is another food-related joke written by yours truly, and drawn by Dan Piraro, the Most Meticulous Brush in the West:

There's nothing deep or intellectual this time around; I have no axe to grind or indignation to vent, just a bit of silliness to share. A package of Melba toast spotted in the grocery store led me to an image of workers on an assembly line placing tiny slices of bread into itty-bitty toasters, which I found to be absurdly amusing.

Here's the original submission:

I love the background details that Dan added, particularly the chute delivering bread to the guy loading the toasters. In my sketch, the conveyor belt travels right-to-left, which Dan reversed. I think left-to-right works better for readers in the Western world.

I must say, however, that I think the smaller props make this gag funnier, so I'll award myself a few points for the scale of the bread and toasters in my rough. Otherwise, Dan's finished work is--as usual--a marked improvement over the concept piece.

Click here to view our previous collaborations. Once we complete a few more, I think a gallery show is in order!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Step Right Up!

Here's my latest gag for Dan Piraro's comic, Bizarro

I'd been kicking this idea around for months, revising the names of the three freaks, and writing the descriptions over and over. Finally, I sat down to sketch out several submissions for Dan, and ended up with this:

The word "freakshow" works much better than "sideshow." I wasn't sure whether "freakshow" would fly with the syndicate, so I was happy to see that change in Dan's final version.

There's no question in my mind that the phrase "high-fructose corn syrup" sounds a lot funner than "genetically modified fruit." Say each one out loud. I think you'll agree.

The talented Mister P also creates a special header panel for each of his Sunday strips, although some newspapers don't use them. Here's the header for this one:

Knowing about the headers, I submitted the idea (below), which Dan completely outdid with his wild barker. My sketch was intended to look like him.

As always, I'm thrilled to see one of my ideas brought to life by my friend Mister Piraro.

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All of our previous collaborations are viewable by searching this blog for the Bizarro label.

Please consider joining my Facebook Artist's Page, and check out my prints of musical performers currently available from Portland's RockPop Gallery.

And, since you're already wasting time at work, I recommend reading Dan's blog, which gives insight into his creative process, documents comments from angry readers, and always has funny links sprinkled throughout. He also sells his original art at very reasonable prices. Dan's original black and white art is astoundingly beautiful.

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September 17 update: Dan's comments on this same strip.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Peel Slowly and See

Once again, I have the privilege of seeing one of my gags drawn by Dan Piraro for his Reuben-winning daily comic, Bizarro. It's a spin on the long-standing comic cliche of a guy slipping on a banana peel.

I've read various accounts tracing this to the early days of music-hall comedy at the turn of the 20th century. One site I came across claims it's rooted in an actual urban hazard, and that rotting banana peels were all over city sidewalks before anti-littering laws became commonplace. Whatever its origins, it's become visual shorthand for a simple joke.

In a neat little Hitchcockian stroke, Dan depicted himself in the cartoonist's role. 

Here's the sketch I submitted to Mister P:

Dan chose a rather elegant way of using three people indicate a crowd, rather than drawing the dozen figures suggested by my sketch. Now that I look at it, I think I was drawing myself as the cartoonist in this version.

My original showed the victim as a high-hatted dandy, which I imagined as a cross between Ebenezer Scrooge, the Monopoly game's Rich Uncle Pennybags and The New Yorker's Eustace Tilley. This is the traditional motif, where a confident, pompous character gets his comeuppance by slipping on the peel, and is cut down to size in front of onlookers. Dan shows a working stiff in overalls (perhaps the driver of the nearby delivery van) as the unfortunate victim of the stray banana.

As usual, Dan's changes streamline and improve the cartoon. In my sketch, the stuffed-shirt in the top hat distracts the reader, taking attention away from the cartoonist muscling through the crowd. The crux of my gag is that the guy busting his way in isn't offering medical or legal help, but instead wants to document the other fellow's misfortune as a drawing. The cartoonist is the real butt of the joke.

Thank as always to the gracious Mister Piraro, for exposing his audience to another of my gags. All of our previous collaborations are viewable by searching this blog for the Bizarro label. There will be a few more in the coming weeks. Watch this space!

If you're a Facebook user, please consider joining my Artist's Page. Also, please check out my prints of musical performers, which are available from Portland's RockPop Gallery.

September 15 Update:

At the risk of creating an infinite loop, here's a link to Dan's blog, with his comments on this comic.