Thursday, January 02, 2014

Catch and Release

Happy New Year, Dear Readers. Here's a fishy new Bizarro comic to kick off 2014.
This one evolved quite a bit on its way from sketchy idea to published cartoon. My initial stab at it showed a trout-headed fellow admiring a woman's fishnet stockings.
As the notes on the bottom indicate, I felt that this was a half-formed gag that didn't deliver its point effectively. I tried another approach, depicting a couple dressing for an evening out on the town.
I like the composition and body language in this drawing, but realized that actual fishing nets don't attract their prey like a baited hook. They surround and entrap the animals, so a fish-man would probably not like to see fishnets on his partner.

Bizarro's creator, Dan Piraro, and I discussed the idea further, and together we came up with this revised version of the initial sketch.
We settled on this version. It's funny and a bit surreal, and readers could relate to the awkwardness of a first date.

However, when Dan sat down to draw the final art, he came up with the scenario that was published today. It's even more direct, and eliminates the caption.

This panel is a very good example of our process at its most collaborative. It also illustrates how the cartoonist's brain continues to stew in the background, working on a gag until it's as close to perfect as can be. Each refinement to this joke was an improvement on the previous version.

We've got more chuckles in store for you this year, and they'll all be posted here as well as the usual social media outlets.

Please feel free to review all of our earlier joint efforts at your leisure.


  1. The blind date one still works!

  2. I find the process of building a gag almost as interesting as the gag. When you look at a comic, it's tempting to think that it was done in one go. To see that it took many iterations is fascinating and enlightening. Thanks for sharing.

  3. Thanks, John!

    And thank you, dogu. I find the process interesting too, so it's nice to know others do. It is common to believe these things arrive fully-formed, but that's rarely the case. It usually involves a fair amount of thought and work.