Saturday, August 08, 2020

Tall in the Saddle

Congratulations to us all for making it through another seven days in the Summer of the Pandemic. I sincerely hope you and yours are safe and healthy, and I look forward to a time when every greeting doesn't require that wishful addendum.

Here's what I've been up to for the past week.

Monday's gag refers to an artist known for making large scale sculptures of everyday objects. I've always enjoyed the playful quality of his work, and the commitment to executing such ambitious sculptures.
Before writing today's post, I wasn't aware this one, but it's now my favorite Oldenburg piece.

Everyone has had a pesky song (or song fragment) stuck in their brain at one time or another. For this panel, I drew larvae of the moth Helicoverpa zea, an agricultural pest that's sometimes called an earworm because it's often found feeding on corn. They're also know as cotton bollworms or tomato fruitworms, names which are descriptive, but not nearly as catchy. 

I this young entrepreneur had thought to serve the lemonade in rustic Mason jars, the price could easily have been doubled.

Among alligators, this is known as the reverse iceberg effect. It's a phenomenon similar to humans appearing professional in online meetings by wearing a business top and pajama bottoms.

Friday's panel is a self-referential take on the familiar cartoon trope of a restaurant patron finding a fly in their soup. Just about every cartoonist has used that setup, but for our money, the king of soggy fly gags is J.C. Duffy, creator of The Fusco Brothers comic strip. We feel that we've accomplished something when we come up with a variation that J.C. hasn't done.
My colleague Jeff Knurek shared this photo of the comics page from the Indianapolis Star, with Bizarro stacked atop another fly gag, in Dave Coverly's Speed Bump. This newspaper is running grayscale images of the color comics, which look a little dark and muddy. We create a pure black & white version every day, which looks cleaner on newsprint.
Of course, we're grateful to every paper that carries Bizarro, in whatever form they choose to print it.

What, beans don't talk back to you?

Thanks for reading Bizarro, and for visiting the blog. Keep those comments and social media shares coming. Your feedback keeps us inspired to make more funnies for you.

Check out Dan Piraro's blog for his review of the week's gags, and to see his latest panoramic Sunday Bizarro page.

Recommended Listening

Kind of Like Spitting, the Portland indie band led by singer/guitarist Ben Barnett, has released an album of songs written by the late Pittsburgh musician Karl Hendricks. 

Learn 2: The Songs of the Karl Hendricks Trio is a heartfelt tribute to a great musician and writer who died in 2017, leaving behind his loving family, and a multitude of friends and fans.
I was privileged to work with Karl as the cover artist for many of his releases over the years, beginning in 1990 with the single by his first band, Sludgehammer. He was a joy to work with, and always had a clear idea for the way he wanted to records to look, while allowing me the freedom to bring my own style to the images.

The new KOLS album is available from Bandcamp now, and all proceeds from sales are being donated to Karl's family: Megan, Maeve, and Nell.


  1. Respectfully - playing a song and repeating it all night - that lets the brain swiftly tune it out as background noise. Exact opposite of (perhaps cure to) an earworm. An earworm would be something catchy that the brain can't stop playing for itself, and very often comes from the brain just remembering a fraction of a song.

    1. The characters in this panel are meant to be a literal embodiment of that phenomenon, and maybe they’re even inside someone’s brain.

      And, yes, you’re correct about hearing the recording sometimes helping to flush it out of the mind!

      It’s great having such well-informed readers. Thanks for adding to the conversation here!

  2. Keep up the good work, kid!
    You [& Ol' Dan] are doing your part in our joint enterprise, called The Human Condition.
    We are all ... Human ... & we all participate, whether we want to or not.
    It's a ... Condition ... of being born into a community & surviving to more-or-less adulthood.
    The Human Condition has 3 parts --
    1] You BELONG to your community --
    2] You CONTRIBUTE to your community --
    3] Your RECEIVE from your community.
    Wayno Belongs to the larger community of readers, other cartoonists, all kinds of folks.
    Wayno Contributes by doing his cartoons, including his teamwork with Ol' Dan P.
    Wayno receives in various ways -- the newspapers & other sources pay him actual money.
    And sometimes he gets these pats on the back.
    Like this one -- "Good Work! Pat! Pat! Pat!"
    There now -- I feel like I Belong too!

    1. Thank you kindly for the thoughtful comments. You certainly made my day, and gave me a true feeling of community.

    2. ...and you certainly do belong!

  3. Greetings Wayne! Longtime reader, first-time commenter. Love "Bizarro" and am thus slightly embarrassed to admit I didn't know about the whole Wayno-Piraro collaboration (thanks, Wikipedia!). It certainly is working out well, and seamlessly.

    I'm so glad you posted that photo of the two fly-themed panels appearing together, as this is a phenomenon I've often noticed on my local comics page, as I'm sure you have. I guess it's inevitable - though sometimes the common subject matter between strips is uncannily obscure and unlikely!

    Finally, a question. What would you call this occurrence? It seems there should be a name for it. Comicoincidence?

    1. Glad to hear from you! I’m relieved to hear the transition wasn’t jarring to you. Dan and I have similar writing styles, but our drawing styles are pretty distinct from one another. Mine is sparser, and, I think, more cartoonish. Continuing to use the same fonts for dialog and captions probably makes our differences less obvious.

      Those weird juxtapositions happen now and then! My pal Dave Blazek and I had a couple of instances where the staging of our respective panels were eerily similar. You’re right, there should be a word for that! “Comicoincidence” isn’t bad at all.

  4. I did kind of do that earworm thing last night! I played the different variations of "In My Life", by the Beatles, from various artists that Spotify had drummed up for me. I was sitting at my picnic table, after the sun went down, contemplating the goose bumps and the butterflies that dark nature had instilled within my body at that particular time of the night. And now I want to transfer the notes of the song to my keyboard.
    + Sorry, Wayno, I couldn't help but notice that there were a lot of, or maybe a few of, missing words and letters in your commentary above. Your proofreader must of went on But, good thing most of us have a lot of common sense, right? I figured it out...
    + My cell phone would not allow me to read the comic panel, "Speed Bump", since it was too blurry when I expanded it. I did open the image in a new tab which was slightly better. I was able to guess the rest of the words being said. Now I am wondering what the speaking fly's name is! "Wally"?
    + I am a regular comic strip reader. I have noticed on many occasions comic strips seem to have the same theme from time to time, coinciding with each other, somewhat. I like it when that happens. It gives me a sense of unity. But, it also makes it a little more fun!
    + Thank you for this blog. It is a great outlet!
    + Now, how about one less syllable? "Comicidence" (I am a big fan of portmanteaus.)
    + Since I am signed in at Bizarro, I expected my commentor name would transfer to here. I do not see how to correct that, so, I am commenting with the website commentor name suggestion...oh well. (I am Dan Wesson, not "Ibolts"
    + Thank you once again.

    1. Dan W:

      Thanks for the kind words on the blog. I'm gratified when I hear that someone does read it.

      Your earworm activity sounds like a kind of cool, hypnotic experience!

      Apologies for any typos or omissions. I hate when they slip through, but I have a substandard proofreader for the blog.

      I'm a fan of portmanteaus too. If you say "comicidence," is the "c" in the middle hard or soft?

      Have you heard the Reply All podcast? They did a fascinating and hilarious episode about an earworm. It's podcast episode #158, "The Case of the Missing Hit." I highly recommend it.

      Here's their description of the episode:

      A man in California is haunted by the memory of a pop song from his youth. He can remember the lyrics and the melody. But the song itself has vanished, completely scrubbed from the internet.

      Thanks again for commenting!


  5. > If you say "comicidence," is the "c" in the middle hard or soft?

    I'm thinking it should be _heard_ as "comics-sidence". How about "comiccidence" (the "cc" like in "accident") with the emphasis on the second syllable?

    1. I like it! By the way, check out today’s Bizarro and Rhymes With Orange comics...