Saturday, October 05, 2019

Tasty Newsprint

A few days ago, I ventured outside of Bizarro Studios North and traveled to nearby Greensburg, PA, to see the Westmoreland Museum's current exhibit, Era of Cool: The Art of John Van Hammersveld.
Van Hammersveld has been working as a designer, illustrator, art director, typographer, and muralist for nearly 60 years, and it's likely that you have an example of his work somewhere in your home. In addition to designing the iconic movie poster for The Endless Summer in 1964, and many early psychedelic gig posters, he's responsible for over 300 LP covers, including Magical Mystery Tour and Exile on Main Street.

The Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators arranged for a group of members to attend an artist's reception at the museum, where we also saw a short documentary on JVH, Crazy World Ain't It.
JVH (in hat) with members of the Pittsburgh Society of Illustrators
Photo: Nancy Flury Carlson
Van Hammersveld graciously autographed posters, prints, and record covers, including my copy of a 1970 album by the novelty duo, The Pipkins.
He was surprised to see this, and apparently doesn't have a copy in his collection, because he snapped a couple photos for himself. Before heading to the event, I listened to the record, which I hadn't in over a decade. That should hold me for at least the next ten years. Great cover art, though.

Now, let's see what foolishness we unleashed on an unsuspecting world over the past week.

Of course, we all know that comics are the equal of classic literature, right?
I referred to a scan of a comics page dated February 6, 1970 to lend authenticity to the drawing.

I had a dream recently about buying something at a store where the cashier and counter were eight feet above floor level, and I had to climb a ladder to complete the transaction. Upon waking, I thought of the caption, but realized that such a scene would be tricky to draw (particularly for the strip layout), so I came up with this gag instead.

This practitioner decided on home schooling, since the college where he initially applied requires students to be current on their vaccinations. He apparently made the right choice, based on his stellar GPA.

The odd, reverse "L" shape of the panel art required a fair amount of shuffling to format the gag in its strip form, but it reads a little better in the end.

The three most important factors to consider when buying a home are location, location, and proximity to brains.

As we ease into October, and approach Halloween, expect several additional monstrous gags in this space. 

When hunting for treasure, you can't overlook any lead. This panel illustrates how well cats adapt to their human companions.

Coffee shops are prime spots to view all manner of live theater. Not long ago at a local cafe, I saw a piece of performance art that could have been titled Chest-Bumping Résumés. I'd like to thank the cast for helping me write Saturday's gag.

For even more sparkling comics commentary, check out Dan Piraro's blog, where he shares his thoughts on the latest batch, and unveils his latest widescreen Bizarro Sunday page.

Bonus Track

I cannot in good conscience share a video of The Pipkins, for fear of triggering a fatal earworm in one of our valued readers. Instead, here's a perky little ode to coffee, arranged by guitar great Billy Mure.

Mure was a prolific composer, arranger, and session musician, who released a series of wild instrumental albums in the late 1950s: Super-Sonic Guitars in Hi-Fi, Supersonic Guitars, Supersonics in Flight, and Supersonic Guitars Volume II.
Billy Mure, in an undated photo, probably from the 1950s
I've owned this record for years, but just noticed that it was produced and co-written by Sascha Burland, who's another fascinating character. Burland made a living writing jingles for commercials, but he loved jazz music. Shortly after the Chipmunks became popular, Burland formed a rival recording act called the Nutty Squirrels. Burland's Squirrels records also featured double-speed vocals, but instead of covering pop hits, they did vocal versions of Thelonious Monk and Charlie Parker tunes. They'll probably appear on this blog at some point.


  1. I read all those comics! I have always been addicted to newspapers - but just the ones that had comic sections! That was a real blast from the past! Love your work!

    1. Many thanks for the kind words.

  2. Good heavens, Wayno! "Gimme Dat Ding" -- I had this record when I was around 10 years old, I think! I was just thinking about it recently and had our Amazon Alexa play it -- and now you mention it, too, and post the artwork! Synchronicity? What a mind blower!

  3. What a lovely batch this week. I particularly liked the pirate / kitty litter one. The inconvenience store joke reminded me, as many things do, of a fantastic Gary Larson comic from many years ago.