Saturday, February 10, 2018

Philosophical Puppetry

Groundhog Day has come and gone, and as of this writing the wind chill factor outside Bizarro Studios North is barely above zero. Your faithful cartoonist is staying warm by working over a glowing lightbox to keep you supplied with fresh gags as we count the days til Spring.

We started the week with a rather bleak cartoon, showing two puppets (or two puppeteers) debating the existence of free will. I had fun drawing the weird, old-fashioned toys in this one. Although it's not necessarily a laugh-out-loud joke, Dan Piraro and I agreed that it is a Bizarro cartoon. Dan will undoubtedly have more to say about this one, so be sure to visit his blog.

After Monday's Kafkaesque offering, we lightened the mood by eavesdropping on a pair of coworkers at the local apiary, enjoying their morning cup of nectar.

Today's panel reminds us that it's possible to over-prepare for some things. When drawing a cartoon with an inanimate object or an animal as a sentient character, I generally try to render it as realistically as I can. Maybe "realistic" is a stretch, but I prefer to avoid adding arms, legs, and eyes if they aren't necessary to get the joke across. It's not an inflexible rule, more of a preference. And sometimes a pencil is just a pencil.

I wish I was clever enough to come up with an Ambrose Bierce style definition of populism, particularly in its current manifestation. Since I'm just a cartoonist, this panel will have to do.

Criminal investigators who tack photos to the wall and connect them with pieces of string are probably not as common as TV and movies would have us believe, but we all immediately recognize a scene like this. Before photography existed, fictional detectives had to set up evidence walls like the one shown here.  

The most enjoyable part of creating this gag was playing around with the "Olde English" language. The least enjoyable part was drawing those ropes.

By the way, our cartoon sleuth is the forefather of a famous 20th century gumshoe.

These guys are nearly as frightening as War, Famine, Pestilence, and Death, and probably equally inevitable. 

Side note: Today's cartoon includes no Bizarro Secret Symbols, because the cartoonist barely left enough room for the signatures and the date. This is yet another reason I'm so happy when we come up with a wordless gag.

As always, I thank you for reading and commenting, especially if you slogged all the way through this post. Don't forget to read Dan's weekly recap, and order your Bizarro enamel pins while supplies last!

Populism Postscript

The Blasters performing their incisive tune, "Common Man," in 1985:


  1. Wayno, I'd like your help (TSOJ). I'm trying to start up a punk rock-themed bike shop, but I can't get funding unless I have inventory for collateral. And I can't get inventory if I don't have funding. What should I do? It's a Sid Vicious cycle.

  2. I laughed out loud at your two puppet comic, because I'm currently creating a marrionette show, asking myself, do I really have a choice?