Thursday, August 29, 2013

Spare Change?

The Internet has given us many gifts: the ability to make expensive impulse purchases at any hour of the day, the complete loss of personal privacy, and access to everyone's opinion on the latest meaningless controversy. In addition to those delights, we can also view videos of people asking for money to support their visionary projects, which is the subject of today's Bizarro comic.
Kickstarter is just one of dozens of crowdsourcing sites that liberate would-be geniuses from mooching off their parents (and apparently a lot of projects are initiated by the offspring of celebrities). Now, with a simple homemade video, they can ask friends, family, acquaintances, and zillions of strangers to pitch in!

If a funded project fails to materialize, there's little chance of the "investors" ever receiving a refund. In fairness, there are certainly many worthy projects, produced by people of honesty and integrity who deliver everything as promised. Perhaps some creators simply use up their energy on the pitch, and move on to their next idea.

There's no submission sketch for this cartoon, as we used a re-jiggered version of an old comic (which, coincidentally, was also one of my gags).
Although he could easily have recycled the entire image except for the computer screen, Bizarro CEO Dan Piraro made a few tweaks here and there, giving readers something a little different, and keeping his colorist employed. 

I don't recall ever seeing a previous cartoon reused without some alteration. That's just not the way things are done at Bizarro Global Enterprises.

All of our previous joint efforts can be viewed here.

Thanks for checking out today's comic. And, have I told you about my new project? All I need is to raise a couple million. If you pitch in, I'll send you a really cool trinket!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

One Man's Dummy

Today's Bizarro comic imagines an embarrassing predicament particular to a certain segment of the entertainment industry.
Here's my submission sketch for comparison.
In the sketch, one puppet asks the setup question, while in Dan Piraro's finished panel, the conversation is between the ventriloquists. I'm only guessing, but I think Dan made that choice to keep the magical/absurd aspect focused on the sleeping dummy. This is a quiet little gag, so it probably doesn't need two dummies behaving like people. Either way works, but it is interesting to note the slightly different feel in each approach.

Dan likes to draw the dummy and ventriloquist in matching outfits, which is a nice, funny touch. And now I want a red tuxedo.

An earlier sketch, never submitted, shows just one ventriloquist on stage with a sleeping dummy. 
I'd intended to show him thinking something like What a time for my arm to fall asleep!, but felt the gag didn't have enough punch, and almost immediately scribbled this thumbnail in the margin of the same sketchbook page.


Dan's drawing of the matching outfits reminded me of these uncannily accurate dummies of the band NRBQ, which appeared on the cover of their 2004 album Dummy.
Clockwise from top left: Joey Spampinato, Tommy Ardolino, Johnny Spampinato, Terry Adams
NRBQ has been around in various incarnations since the late 1960s, and have created a large body of wonderful records and compositions. The current band includes one original member, Terry Adams. The NRBQ dummies were made by an artist named Heidi Kennedy.

Back on topic:

Ventriloquists and dummies are certainly staple characters in gag cartoons (not to mention bad horror movies). One wonders if there's been a cartoon with a ventriloquist and a dummy on a desert island, being visited by the Grim Reaper.

Here's a ventriloquist-themed illustration I did ten years ago. I believe it was done for the now-defunct New York Press, probably for the astrology column.
As always, you are invited to browse the many collaborations between Dan Piraro and me right here in this blog's Bizarro archive.

Another new bit will appear a week from today.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Red Snapper

Today's Bizarro comic features a popular candy treat.
The submission sketch is naturally a bit rough, but the layout is pretty much the same. The glaciers in the final art are more majestic.
One very nice touch Dan made is the way the angler is holding his catch so daintily. As the colorist, I was very happy with the way the glaciers and the ocean turned out, with the original black line art replaced with colored lines.

Swedish Fish candies have been around for over fifty years, and actually originated in Sweden. I recall them being larger (and sold individually rather than in a sealed bag) when I used to buy them at the little league concession stand, but the unidentifiable "red" flavor seems to have remained about the same.

Today is the first of three consecutive Thursdays this month for Piraro/Wayno collaborations to appear, so check your daily paper, or that "web" thing everyone's talking about. And please feel free to peruse the many previous gags I've worked on with Dan.

Friday, August 02, 2013

Reflect Yourself!

Today's Bizarro features a happy fellow who's just finished a painful but apparently satisfying task.
Dan significantly changed the composition compared to my straightforward sketch, and the many details he included add a lot of interest to the scene. 
The flash samples on the wall and the gentleman's tattoos also gave him an opportunity to include quite a few Bizarro secret symbols.

The masterstroke in the finished art is the window sign. Since it's painted to be viewed from outside the shop, it also appears correctly to the protagonist as he looks in the mirror.

Oddly enough, this guy's MOM selfie worked out just fine.

I'd been trying for some time to craft a tattoo-related gag parodying Norman Rockwell's famous painting, Triple Self-Portrait, but could never come up with anything that recalled the familiar image and produced a laugh.
Finally, I realized that, as shown in the painting, Rockwell's canvas depicts his mirror image. That was the hook I needed for the tattoo gag. It bears no resemblance to the Rockwell piece that inspired it, but a train of thought sometimes arrives at an unexpected station.

The NO REGRETS text provides an extra layer of commentary on permanent bodily decoration. I know I've had second thoughts about my own youthful choice of epidermal enhancement.

Please feel free to browse all of my prior collaborations with the great Dan Piraro, and watch for more in the weeks to come.