Saturday, September 12, 2020

Umlauts and Allergies

We had a minor heat wave in scenic Hollywood Gardens, PA, but on the drawing board at Bizarro Studios North, it was late December.

We've been drawing Santa Claus, snowmen, fir trees, and reindeer, which distracted us from the high temperatures. By the time this post is online, we'll be working on our first gags for 2021.

Returning to the recent past, here's a review of the week in Bizarro.

Cartoonists' brains are abnormally wired, but fortunately we have jobs that allow us to use our strange ideas. This one makes perfect sense, as long as you don't ask how a snake operates the steering wheel, pedals, and gear shift knob.

Everything came together when investigators realized that the kid who stole that pig wasn't the son of just any piper.

This gag generated tons of comments and sharing on social media. That response was gratifying, because while drawing it, I was cursing myself for doing a comic that had to show the underside of lobsters. As a good friend mentioned in a message, a lobster's mouth is "a mess of horrible appendages and flaps."

My favorite detail in this one is the roving umlaut in the band's name.

By the way, the song in question appeared on their second album, Tyranny and Crustacean.

Thursday's panel refers to the supposedly funny "I'm with stupid" t-shirt, which I've never seen on an actual person.

The animation industry has exploited this sailor's health issues for decades. At least today's gag reminds us to remember the composer Franz von Suppé.

When you work for a micromanager, sometimes it's fun to throw them a tiny bone.

That's the review for this week. Drop by again next Saturday for more behind-the-scenes stuff. And don't forget to visit Dan Piraro's blog, to see what's been on his mind, and to marvel at his latest widescreen Bizarro Sunday page.

Also, do not miss Dan's serialized web comic, Peyote Cowboy. It's a magical, surreal, dreamlike story, and the art and writing are stunning. Best of all, you can read it every week for free (although it'd be nice to send him some support via Patreon if you're enjoying the tale and want to help it to continue).

Life Imitates Comics

Recently, Bizarro-like imagery has been popping up during my non-working hours.
One of our favorite farm market vendors was offering beautiful tiny blueberries last weekend, and my extremely talented spouse used them in a rustic blueberry galette. As I was poised to slice it, I stopped, realizing that it reminded me of Bizarro's Pie of Opportunity.

That evening, we opened a bottle of wine to enjoy with our dinner, and its name looked as if it could have sprung from our comic universe. It was a tasty Spanish rosé, and I'll keep an eyeball peeled for more in the future. You can trust the K-Pi label.

The Reuben Awards and NCS Fest go Virtual

Today, starting at 10 AM, the National Cartoonists Society will present the second annual NCS Fest and the 74th annual Reuben Awards. This virtual event is free and open to the public. 

The Reuben Awards have always been presented at a private, members-only dinner, but this year, it's open for anyone to stream. The festival includes a full day of panel discussions, creator spotlights, and interviews. 

The awards will be presented in five groups of categories throughout the day, wrapping up with the Cartoonist of the Year Award in the evening. 

This year's nominees for Cartoonist of the Year are:

  • Hilary B. Price
  • Lynda Barry
  • Terri Libenson
  • Mark Tatulli
  • Raina Telgemeier
Bonus Track

"Now Let's Pop-Eye"
Eddie Bo, 1962

Note: Video may not be available outside the U.S.


  1. I have always been bummed out that the word "umlaut" does not actually have an umlaut. But, on the bright side, at least you don't have to break any eggs to make an umlaut. (Please don't hit me in the face with the Pie of Opportunity for that one!)

  2. Every Saturday morning at 7 Turner Classic Movies (TCM) has an episode of Popeye the Sailor on. They are on the episode from October 1942 now after starting years ago with the early 30s.

  3. So gratifying to see you used the Fleischer brother's version of Popeye rather than the Paramount. Great rendition of the Thimble Theater sailor.