Saturday, April 04, 2020

April Foolishness

If nothing else, we've had a productive work week here at Bizarro Studios North. I'm now almost three months ahead of publication. Even so, I miss seeing friends, visiting our favorite local restaurants, kibitzing at a monthly lunch gathering of cartoonists, and spending Wednesdays rehearsing with my musical collaborators.

Speaking of being ahead of deadlines, please be kind to syndicated cartoonists when a gag comes up that seems insensitive in light of the current situation. We're all currently working on comics that will be published at least six weeks from now, and we have no idea what will be going on in the world.
Rhymes With Orange cartoonist Rina Piccolo published a thoughtful blog post on this topic, and said it much better than I could.

With that in mind, let's review this week's funnies.

It's probably time to reassess the ranking of history's worst chief executives, and Russia's first Tsar is campaigning for a revised nickname.

Tuesday's cartoon sparked a few responses from people who bend what they read to fit their particular obsessions. This usually happens when a comic features  biblical characters, with self-styled scholars all too eager to explain what really happened. The gag here is simple: a giant, rampaging clown in the familiar King Kong scenario, being reported on by a blasé newsreader. However, some folks latched onto the word "governor," and concluded that the comic was meant to depict some individual public figure as an angry clown, which gave them an excuse to expound on their political peeves. It's a shame they missed a non-ideological laugh. 

As an observer of human absurdity I do find these responses to be amusing.

Speaking of obsessions, here's yet another gag with music as its inspiration. I followed the Bizarro April Fools' Day tradition of placing a false Secret Symbol count next to the signature, just like last year.

This time, I took it further and listed a different incorrect in each version of the comic (color panel, color strip, black & white panel, and black & white strip). All four are shown in my recent post on the King Features Bizarro blog.

Mother Earp was touched by the attention from her sons. For any historians out there, we realize that there were eight participants in the actual shootout. This cartoon was modeled on the dress rehearsal, which only included the Earps and the Clanton boys.

I must admit that I was pleased with the absurdist, paradoxical, circular logic in Friday's gag. This character impulsively got a full-chest tattoo, but had the foresight to plan for a time when he tired of it.

What beverage goes well with gingerbread?

Thanks for sticking with us through another week of hunkering down. I hope  you're all safe and healthy, and that we were able to provide some comic relief this week.

Don't forget to visit Dan Piraro's blog, to check out his latest Sunday page, and read more about this batch of cartoons.

Bonus Track

Since we featured musical snakes, I decided to share a recording by the late Phillip Lithman, a/k/a Snakefinger (1949-1987).

This 1986 track features Snakefinger and his band interpreting Nino Rota's music from the film 8 1/2. I was lucky enough to see Snakefinger perform live with The Residents, and a few times with his own band. He was a fine musician, and a friendly and kind human being.

Parting Thought

I stand with Flea.


  1. In response to your query, the perfect beverage to go with gingerbread is a pint of Gingerbread Oatmeal stout from a microbrewery near me. It is served with a roasted marshmallow garnish. And by-the-way, the tattoo cartoon really had me in awe. As you said, the circular logic was pleasing and for me, mind boggling and hilarious.

    1. That sounds delicious. I enjoy a stout now and then.

      Glad you enjoyed the tattoo gag!

  2. Stay safe — stay sane.

    1. And the same to you. Thanks.

  3. Snakefinger was a god. I've been a Ralph Records/Cryptic Corporation fan since 1982 when I stumbled across them shortly after joining the US Army.

    1. Yes! Snakefinger was incredible. I feel very fortunate to have seen him live on three occasions. A true gentleman, too.

      Ralph Records ( released a ton of fantastic music.

  4. Point of clarification: isn't Hilary Price the author of "Rhymes With Orange"? I know she and Rina collaborate a lot, but I've only occasionally see Rina co-credited on one of Hilary's works. Rina does "Tina's Groove", which is a wonderful work in itself and I'm sorry we don't get it in the Victoria (BC) Times Colonist.

    1. Hello, Drew! Thanks for the question.

      Hilary created Rhymes with Orange, and launched it in 1995.

      In the summer of 2017, Rina and Hilary started a collaboration just like the one Dan Piraro and I kicked off in January 2018.

      Since mid 2017, Rina does the daily RWO strips, and Hilary continues to do the Sunday comic.

      You're right, Tina's Groove was a terrific comic strip, full of humor and a style. Rina ended the strip on July 2, 2017. During the final few weeks, there were hints that the strip would end, and the storyline wrapped up with Tina moving on, too.

      Rina and I are in sort of an exclusive club, with our roles in RWO and Bizarro being very similar.