Saturday, October 12, 2019

Seance Fiction

Happy Saturday, Jazz Pickles. We're buzzing with activity here at Bizarro Studios North as we plan our Halloween costumes and begin the countdown till local ghouls come knocking on the door.

Our tradition for the holiday is to order a delivery from a favorite pizza shop and watch Something Wicked This Way Comes, with pauses to hand out goodies. If you haven't seen this 1983 movie, we highly recommend it. It was co-written by Ray Bradbury (and adapted from his novel) and boasts an outstanding cast, including Jason Robards, Jonathan Pryce, Diane Ladd, Royal Dano, and Pam Grier. It's an effectively creepy film, that was probably too scary for kids when released.

How do you celebrate? Reply in the comments section.

Now, let's look back at this week's sometimes-creepy cartoons.

To accommodate all of the restless souls floating around, some psychics are now taking sign-ups for variety shows.

A sharp-eyed reader pointed out that we used the British spelling of the word "specter." I must have been feeling fancy the day I drew this one.

While researching Tuesday's panel, I discovered that the familiar Three Musketeers bar was given its name because the original 1932 package included three small bars: one each of chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry flavor. I'd have called it a Neapolitan.

Understanding this gag requires a general familiarity with the Alexandre Dumas novel, which is no stretch for Bizarro's highly literate readership.

Be sure to pick up a tube of Super K2 adhesive for all of your vandalism needs.

True fact: In 2008, a Finnish tourist was fined $17,000 for chipping an earlobe off one of the iconic Easter Island statues, and was banned from returning for three years.

A footnote on an adjacent stone tablet reads, "The earlier explorer didn't need a magnifying glass."

When life gives you leeches...

Mea Maxima Culpa
For each daily Bizarro gag, I create four separate files to upload to the syndicate for distribution: I do the panel and strip layouts for both full color and black & white printing.

Thanks to a reader from Houston who posted on Facebook, I was made aware of an error in Friday's black & white strip as it appeared in the Houston Chronicle.
Apparently, when I removed the color layer to make the grayscale file, I neglected to replace the red lettering on the sign with solid black lettering.
This is how it should have appeared:
I offer sincere apologies to all readers in Houston, and anyone else whose paper runs the black & white strip. I realize that sometimes a gag may cause confusion, but for those who were scratching their heads on Friday because they didn't get the joke, it wasn't your fault.

My thanks go out to Mark Rogerson of Houston for bringing this to my attention. Going forward, before I send off the weekly files, I'll stop to do one more "idiot check."

The lettering may have turned white, but my face is still red.

Now, back to the final gag for the week.

Saturday's panel predicts a trend in rooftop bar design. 

This is my first pirate-themed cartoon that doesn't actually depict a pirate.
Print readers whose papers run the strip version of Bizarro had to rotate the page by 90 degrees, but through the miracle of the internet, you can view it normally here. 

This is the second time since I took over the dailies that I've done a sideways strip. The other one appeared during my first month on the job.

Mad Magazine's legendary fold-in artist, Al Jaffee, did a vertical comic strip called Tall Tales, which ran from 1957 to 1962. Mister Jaffee, who created more than 400 fold-ins, is still with us (and still drawing!) at age 98.

Don't forget to check out Dan Piraro's blog, and see what he has to say about this week's gags, and to marvel at his latest Bizarro Sunday page.

Oh, and let us know about your Halloween traditions in the comments section.

Bonus Track

Ronnie Cook & the Gaylords: The Goo Goo Muck

This is one of my all-time favorite Halloween tunes, and it was a staple here in Pittsburgh, thanks to our wildest DJ, Mad Mike Metro

Mad Mike introduced us to tons of obscure and crazy sounds, up until his passing on Halloween, 2000.


  1. Wayno, so glad to hear Something Wicked This Way Comes is one of your favorite Halloween movies. Mine too. Hard to believe it was produced by Disney.

    1. Yes, exactly! Very hard to believe, but glad it somehow got made.

  2. Thank you for the tree rings age explanation. I didn't notice the tree until the next day, I thought the storekeep was talking to someone off strip, asking for an arm or leg. Yours is funnier. Here in CA trees are inside all sorts of places.

  3. For more Tall Tales, you can go here: I always sent Al Jaffee himself (who is still with us at 99) a copy of my scans. He liked them so much, thta he strated buying his own Sundays on eBay.

    1. Thanks for sharing your blog post. Al Jaffee is endlessly inventive!