Monday, May 02, 2011

Breakage • Breakdown • Breaking and Entering

Here are two new Bizarro cartoons written by yours truly and drawn by the comic's creator, Dan Piraro: yesterday's splashy Sunday page and today's dollop of esoteric snootery.

First, the belly-laffer:
This one started out a bit differently. Early sketches showed a beheaded Barbie (or a Rock'em-Sock'em robot) being told by a doctor that he'd refer the patient to a plastic (ha!) surgeon.

Neither of these had the zing of a truly successful gag. As I thought about other plastic toys to put in the scene, I decided against using a molded green army guy. That seemed much too close to a very unpleasant and sadly common real-life scenario.

Dan decided to place several toys in a waiting room, which is a nice solution. Not only does it have more impact with multiple patients, but all it requires is the four-word caption box. We both feel that fewer words make for a stronger gag (unless wordiness is part of the joke). Also, most papers run the Sunday comics in color, so the majority of readers will be amused by the bright colors.

• • •

Next up, here's today's head-scratcher...
...and the sketch:
The two drawings are very similar, except Dan flipped the image horizontally. Since the English language is read left-to-right, he usually tries to position the payoff (whether it's verbal or visual) as far to the right as possible. Check out some previous comics and see how often you notice this compositional choice.

Genesis of the Joke

Several weeks ago I dropped off a poster at my friend Scott's house, and noticed a little pile of sticks and rocks on the front porch. I texted him to ask about the carefully-placed arrangement. His answer read "Snowman deconstructed," to which I replied "Highly conceptual!" Naturally, I stole the phrase from him and drew up this sketch for Bizarro.

That's right, jokes can sometimes be plucked right out of a conversation, if you have the ear to hear them and the temerity to take them and claim them as your own. Thanks, Scott!

• • •

I am now free to make an announcement that I've been itching to post for several months: Late last year, Dan Piraro asked me to take over Bizarro for a week so he could have a little vacation, and the results will be published May 16 through May 22. That's seven consecutive days of solo work by me: writing, drawing, and coloring--the works!

Dan had hoped to get Ernie Bushmiller, but when he heard that Ernie had died in 1982, he figured I couldn't do any worse than a skeleton that's been in the ground for 30 years, so he invited me aboard.

So if you're offended, confused or enraged by any Bizarro cartoons between May 16 and May 22, don't blame Dan! All comments are welcome, and of course every comic will be posted here (and flogged on every other social networking platform, and any place I see someone with a newspaper).

I'm jazzed about this, and hope it goes over well with the loyal readership. At some point, I'm sure Dan will comment on his own blog.

There will also be two new collaborative comics appearing between now and the start of Wayno Week. They'll appear on Friday, May 6 and Monday May 9.


  1. Huzzah!
    "Snowman Deconstructed" is great.

  2. First, congratulations.
    Second, remember that Dan will be back from vacation when your panels are published, so watch out then.
    And third, good luck on the coloring.

  3. Congratulations Wayne! What an awesome opportunity! I have long felt that you needed your own strip so this will be a great practice run for you.

  4. Wayno, the real joke of Snowman Deconstructed is in real life the kid would've won this year's Turner Art Prize!

    But where I think Dan trumps your version of Best Tattoo Ever! isn't so much he rotundifies the pigs but he gives them blousy faced bleary eyes, making them look as if they've reached that stage where not only can't they remember how many suds they've choked down but they're actually starting to forget who each other is.

  5. Borky, that's a very good observation regarding a subtle but effective detail that Dan added. Thanks for adding to the discussion. Well said.