Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Spare Parts

Today's monstrous Bizarro comic is the result of a happy accident.
Bizarro CEO Dan Piraro created the art for this panel, but had to scrap it, because he'd somehow repeated a gag from earlier in the year. If you're keeping track of 365 cartoons every year, sooner or later one will be forgotten—or repeated.

The thought of this creation going unseen bothered me, so I got to work trying to come up with a new punchline so it could still be published. I wrote two versions, the one shown above, and one with the monster replying, "It's taken me forever to assemble my collection. I could never break it up." Dan opted for the briefer version, which is usually the way to go.

The process behind this particular comic illustrates a point that any cartoonist can verify for you: Occasionally, a gag will come to mind fully-formed, or nearly so, but, for the most part, writing comics is work, plain and simple. It requires skills which can be cultivated, such as developing an awareness of potential raw material, but the notion that creating cartoons (or any other art for that matter) is the result of some "gift" bestowed on a lucky few is off the mark. In some measure, that idea is a bit insulting to someone who works at any craft. 

Artists create good works because they do it over and over, always striving to improve, and trying to figure out what to keep and what to edit out.

I hadn't intended for this blog post to become a sermon on creativity! I just wanted to show that there are many paths from idea to finished product, and this one was a little different from my usual explanation.

Since this gag was only written by yours truly, there's no submission sketch to show. So, for your enjoyment, here's a snap of Dan Piraro celebrating the publication of today's comic.
Working with Mister Piraro is a wildly enjoyable part of my weekly routine, and I'm happy to share all of our earlier collaborations in this blog's archive. There's another dandy one coming your way in less than a week.

Happy Devil's Night. I found my favorite costume in the attic, and can't wait to break it out for Halloween.
Yes, that's me as a young'un, masquerading as a cephalopod

1 comment:

  1. That is an sublimely cool costume from your childhood! Never seen anything like it.