Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Doping Scandal

Today's Bizarro exposes an incompetent would-be cheater who provides a pun I haven't encountered in a cartoon (although there is a font with this name!)
My submission sketch provided suggestions for Bizarro mastermind Dan Piraro to improve upon, which he did, handily.
The final version is similar, although the fellow athlete was replaced with an angry coach (from sports powerhouse Pie State), and the composition was flipped horizontally. By switching the characters' positions, Dan put the ballooned-up fellow to the right of the panel. He likes to place the punchline (verbal or visual) to the right side of the panel, as the eyes of (western) readers tend to travel diagonally from top left to bottom right when viewing a panel. It delays the payoff just a bit, and is an effective rule of thumb, which I completely forgot when throwing this together.

Please view all of our previous collaborations here, and stay tuned for more cartoon laffs.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Senza Zucchero, per favore!

Note: While cleaning up some disk space, I found this rant, which I wrote in 2009. I usually hang at a different coffee shop these days, so I'm not subjected to this particular irritant as much as I once was, but my opinion hasn't changed since then. ~W

I'm of Italian descent. I drink espresso every morning. I enjoy Italian food and culture, and embrace and cherish my heritage.

But I have a confession to make. 

I can't stand Zucchero.

For those who haven't heard of Zucchero, he's an Italian rock singer, and is probably the country's most popular performer. Everyone I hang out with at the coffee shop is crazy about him, and most mornings they've got one of his discs on the sound system. Good friends with high musical standards continually tell me I should give his music another listen.

I tried. I really tried. 

After several excruciating sessions with a "best-of" collection, I'm left with the same impression I've had all along: that this bozo's music is nothing more than middle-of-the-road "classic rock," loaded with corny duets (Sting, Pavarotti, Clapton, Elton John, etc.) and Journeyesque Boltonisms (or, if you prefer, Boltonesque Journeyisms).

The guy's so incredibly hammy that "Prosciutto" would have been a more appropriate stage name.
In fact, if Zucchero were an English-language performer, I'd wager that most of the rabid Italophiles who worship at his chest-beating altar wouldn't pay him any attention. He gets an undeserved pass simply because of his nationality.

Anything that's the most popular in its category merits of an extra measure of skepticism, and Zucchero is no exception. I can't get behind anyone who covers "You Are So Beautiful" in earnest. It's a bit too "Italian Idol" for me.

I'm sorry, mi amici, but I still say that zucchero belongs in my espresso, not my iPod.

Friday, October 19, 2012

GI, GI, Ohhhhh

It's been some time since I've collaborated with Hilary Price, the cartoonist behind Rhymes With Orange, and it's a pleasure to have a new gag appear in her comic.

It's a simple, direct joke, which I like a lot, and is an example of what I refer to as a Tufnel (wringing a joke out of a familiar phrase by changing a number or letter by an increment or two).

Hilary based her comic on this (extremely) rough submission sketch:
Her revised dialog is a nice refinement. The first line, "Thankfully, it hasn't progressed." neatly sets up the idea that before you contract e. coli, it has to go through the a, b, c, and d stages. Bravo!

Earlier this year, I filled in as Hilary's guest cartoonist, allowing her to take some time off, and have written a few other jokes she liked enough to include in RWO. All of these can be viewed here.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Birthday Bug

Here's a Bizarro cartoon depicting an awkward social situation we've all experienced: receiving a repulsive gift from a well-meaning family member.
Bizarro CEO Dan Piraro worked his usual magic, transforming my rough drawing into a sparkling cartoon gem. Although the submission was patched together from a sketchbook page and digitally finished, it's actually not too bad.
This idea had been percolating for some time before the final text for the caption box arose. My first thumbnails documenting the idea definitely needed refinement.
After stewing on it for a couple of weeks and discarding several variations, I finally came up with the phrase "dung beetle-in-law," which does a nice job of describing the characters' relationship in an unexpected way, mostly as subtext.

Next Friday, one of my new gags will appear in Hilary Price's Rhymes With Orange, and after that, more Bizarro yuks are on the way.

My previous collaborations with Dan P can be viewed here. Dan's own Bizarro Blog is highly entertaining, and is of course, highly recommended.

Thursday, October 04, 2012


In honor of Halloween, here's an old comic based on a childhood memory.

This was originally published in 1991.

Read on—if you dare!