Thursday, August 30, 2012

Talk That Talk

Beer and Candy

Today's Bizarro takes a peek inside a watering hole frequented by advertising characters.
Obviously, the sugary sea captain and the aristocratic legume have heard this one a few too many times, but the old codger with the Mexican beer in hand just won't give up on it. Most of us have worked with (or are related to) someone who repeats the same tired joke at every opportunity, and can sympathize with to the eye-rolling patrons of this particular tavern.

My submission sketch was fairly rough, but conveyed the idea. I'd originally included Elsie the Borden cow, but she was replaced by the more recognizable Mister Peanut. Maybe it was boys' night out.

In the sketch, the marshmallow man's perturbed face is partly visible, but Bizarro CEO Dan Piraro chose to depict just the back of his head, which does a better job of showing that this comment has been repeated so many times that anger has given way to indifference and resignation.

About a third of the people who previewed this cartoon didn't get it at all. This indicates that they probably don't waste a lot of time watching television, particularly the commercials, which speaks well of them.

The gag is based on "The Most Interesting Man in the World," an advertising character created to sell Dos Equis beer, portrayed by a guy named Jonathan Goldsmith. Goldsmith is fairly interesting in his own right. One of the character's taglines is "Stay thirsty, my friend." Dos Equis was a low-profile regional brand that has become very popular because of these "most interesting" commercials.

The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man (much to my surprise) was created by the writers of the 1984 film "Ghostbusters," and was not a real consumer product. In 2010, Omni Consumer Products, a company that "defictionalizes" made-up products, began marketing actual edible marshmallows under the formerly-fake Stay-Puft brand.

So, if you didn't get the joke, you're probably an educated person of taste, whose head isn't filled with trash-culture detritus, and for that I commend you.

My next joint effort with Dan Piraro will appear on September 6, and might anger some fans/worshipers of a certain "magical" kiddie-entertainment empire. Stay tuned for that, and in the meantime, help yourself to my previous collaborations with the multi-talented Mister P.

Please enjoy these cartoons responsibly. And stay risible, my friends.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Peppermint Heimlich

Today's Bizarro comments on the grotesqueness of a popular candy.
I've always found Pez candy dispensers to be slightly disturbing. In order to eat the candy, you yank back on a cute cartoon character's head, and pull the brick-shaped confection from its gaping neck-hole. Yummy.

This cartoon is an example of the type of joke that simply points out a small truth that everyone ignores, or no longer notices. Surely the first child given a Pez dispenser must have run screaming when an odd foreign object popped out from beneath Santa's nearly-severed head.

I was very pleased to see that Dan Piraro's finished art duplicated my sketch so closely, although there's nothing in the frame besides the two characters and the word balloon, so there wasn't much that I could have misplaced.
Stay tuned for more new Bizarro gags, and if you have time to kill, please enjoy our previous 100 (!) collaborations in this blog's archive.

Very soon I'll officially announce a Winter exhibit of my illustration and cartoon art, along with a "lecture" (or some sort of public speaking event), at a prestigious educational and cultural institution here in Pittsburgh.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Will Work for Pizza

After many production delays, the first few pallets of boxes have arrived at A'Pizza Badamo, one of several great pizzerias in my area.

Wayno, the box, Anthony Badamo
Anthony Badamo opened his small shop two years ago, in the space previously occupied by Caruso’s, a neighborhood tradition for 30 years. Anthony's nonna sometimes supplies homemade cookies, which sell out quickly, and Anthony himself is usually behind the counter fielding takeout orders from working parents, employees of local businesses, and groups of schoolkids. 

The shop has a few tables, and a BYOB policy, and is a regular gathering place for local musicians, restaurateurs, and artists.

In addition to the boxes, we've put his friendly mug on menus, business cards, t-shirts, posters and banners.

Anthony's menu also now features "The Wayno," a pie that includes fresh mozzarella, anchovies, tomatoes, garlic and other seasonings. Anthony and I experimented for some time to match the sweet smoothness of the cheese with the acidity of tomatoes and the salty punch of anchovies.

The pizza box design was my first experience working in water-based ink on cardboard, and we're pretty happy with the results. I was delighted when the printer informed me that they had an ink color called "standard pizza box red."

Weapons of Self Destruction (Number 100 in a Series)

Today's macabre offering marks my one hundredth (!) appearance in Dan Piraro's aptly-titled daily comic, Bizarro.
The layout in my submission sketch is similar to the final product, although Dan seized the opportunity to add a stick of dynamite (one of his recurring secret symbols) to the female character's instruments of mayhem. He also shifted the "camera angle" a few degrees. I tend to draw my panels from a very straightforward point of view, while Dan usually adds visual interest by altering the perspective.
There's a long, ongoing tradition of cartoonists using the Grim Reaper as inspiration for a gag. This one is based on the common phrase "flirting with death" as a description of risky behavior. The combination of cigarettes, alcohol, firearms, knives, drugs and dynamite certainly qualifies.

A few months earlier, I drew a nearly identical sketch, with the woman speaking.
This version works, too. It's a little subtler, and relies on the character's body language and expression to establish the mood and expectation. The "flirting" version has the benefit of adding the props to reinforce the joke. This earlier drawing clearly shows the influence of Virgil "VIP" Partch.
Virgil Franklin Partch (1916-1984)
As mentioned above, the Grim Reaper is a staple of gag cartoons, and some of my earlier Bizarro collaborations have also featured the old Pale Rider:
January 31, 2012
August 19, 2011
June 29, 2011
It's a true pleasure, as well as an invaluable learning experience, to be working with Dan Piraro. We're already getting started on the next hundred collaborations.

If you have some time to kill, feel free to peruse the previous fruits of our combined psyches in this blog's archive

Thanks for reading and commenting.

My eternal gratitude goes to all-around prince Dan for allowing me to occasionally shake off a dusting of cold, harsh reality and stick my head into Bizarro's Rectangle of Strangeness.