Friday, August 19, 2011

These Cards are Marked!

Here's my latest gag to appear in Dan Piraro's Bizarro:
This is one of those concepts that evolved over time.
The sketch I submitted (above) was based on a famous image from Ingmar Bergman's 1957 film The Seventh Seal.
Bengt Ekerot and Max von Sydow in The Seventh Seal (1957)
Dan suggested that the chess motif was a bit overused, and that changing the scene to a card game might make for a better cartoon, and he was spot on. Discussing our collaborations earlier this year, Dan said, "Our sense of humor depends on the most part on a realistic scene with realistic people where something really strange is happening to them," and this cartoon is a perfect example of that combo. The casual demeanor of the regular mooks provides a nice contrast to the presence of the Grim Reaper at a basement poker game. The Bergman-inspired image is a completely strange scene, with no realistic grounding for the reader.

The idea of gambling against death as depicted in The Seventh Seal is frequently parodied, and has become familiar through those very spoofs. People who have never seen the original film and know nothing about it still have enough awareness of the concept to make the joke work, similar to the cartoon we did referencing The Graduate.

I'd been playing around with a joke built on Death resenting people trying to cheat him for a long time, beginning with this unpublished New Yorker style cartoon from 2007:
Apparently, my brain had been quietly processing this for nearly four years, and spewed it out again, with the joke finally seeing print today. The 2007 drawing mashes up two stock characters: The Grim Reaper and a psychiatrist. Had I placed them on a desert island, it would have been a gag cartoon hat trick.

My next collaboration with Dan will appear on Sunday, and it's one of my recent favorites.

The fifty-odd (!) cartoons we've done together are all viewable in this blog's Bizarro Archive.


  1. Time for a show featuring your Bizarro cartoons! You could even show befores and afters the way you do in your blog. It's quite interesting to have a peek into the creative process!

  2. Dan's choice for setting for this joke makes it 10K times funnier than your witty original. It's just hard to laugh at something that was birthed from a Bergman film. That kind of depression hangs with you.

  3. Denise: There are plans formulating for a joint show, maybe in early 2012.

    Hemlock: I agree that the card game setting improves the joke, but, really, does that make it ten thousand times funnier?

    Now I'm depressed!

  4. i use this one for my blog ...THANKS!