Saturday, July 13, 2013

Garage Punk

The punchline in today's Bizarro is based on the old game of Rock-Paper-Scissors, which supposedly began in 15th-century China. Apparently flipping a coin to decide who bats first had not yet been invented.
The final art by Bizarro Grand Poo-bah Dan Piraro, follows my submission sketch pretty closely, with only a slight shuffling of elements.
The change I find most intriguing is the slight revision to the caption. We didn't discuss it, and in fact, I hadn't noticed it until I started writing this post. My thought was to try and make the payoff ("paper beats rock") the last thing the reader encounters. Dan's rewrite eliminates the comma, so perhaps he was shaving every possible text character.

In the ancient game, each hand gesture represents a physical object, although I can't accept simply being covered (paper's advantage over rock) as a defeat equal to being cut (scissors cut paper) or broken (rock breaks scissors). 

The gag is delivered when the reader's brain processes the idea of a physical object (the paper citation) defeating something nonmaterial (rock music). That process of finding meaning in what initially appears to be contradictory or nonsensical is the basis of many cartoon gags. Within the panel, there has to be some logic. The moment of surprise when you figure it out results (we hope) in a laugh.

Stay tuned for more funny business, and if you enjoyed this disturbance of the peace, please feel free to browse our prior infractions, in this blog's Bizarro Archive.

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Highlights for Larvae

This Sunday's Bizarro depicts something we've all had to put up with: reading outdated magazines while enduring that boring wait for a medical appointment.
Dan's finished art expands on my submission sketch, and adds several fun bits of detail.
For readers who are too young, or culturally lacking, to catch the reference, the magazine title Them alludes to a 1954 movie of the same name, about giant man-eating atomic ants.
Although I drew the sketch, submitted it as my own, and pocketed the writer's fee, the gag originated in the fevered brain of my friend Jesse Schell. Jesse is a frighteningly talented guy who does too many things to list here. Go check out his website and be amazed.

Like most cartoonists, I hate when someone tells me they have a great idea for a cartoon, as it almost always turns out to be awful. I'm too conflict-averse to be honest about it, so I usually pretend to pass out, playing possum until they go away. Jesse, however, is very patient, and when my insistent bladder forced me to get up off the floor, he blurted out this gag idea (which I loved) as I ran to the men's room.

Almost exactly a year ago, another idea from Mr. Schell appeared in Bizarro. Jesse, I owe you a beer, buddy!
 And, speaking of the wonderful Mr. Piraro, he and I had a rare chance to hang out last month when he was here in Pittsburgh for the National Cartoonists Society's annual Reuben Awards Weekend. Here's a rare photo of several members of the Bizarro Collective from the formal shindig:
"Dangerous" Dan McConnell, Dan Piraro, Jim Horwitz (JimHo),  and Wayno
modeling a selection of official NCS neckwear.
As I have no doubt mentioned a few hundred times, my band, The Chalk Outlines, performed at the closing night of the NCS convention. Everyone agreed that we were loud. My good friend Jill volunteered to brave a room full of cartoonists in order to shoot some photos for us, and here's one of my favorites. It may be a little blurry, but that's how everybody remembers the weekend anyway, and this one makes me smile every time I see it.
That's Danny boy, cutting a rug with the lovely lady Klamelda, as the Chalk Outlines besmirch a stage that is rumored to have hosted the likes of Duke Ellington's band back in the Jazz Age.

As always, you are encouraged to peruse my earlier collaborations with Bizarro's creator Dan Piraro, in this blog's Bizarro Archive.