Saturday, April 17, 2021

Drinking Dogs & Digital Dough

Welcome to the latest cartoon recap from Bizarro Studios North. As usual, we have a fresh batch of gags, puns, and social observation to review with you, but only after we share another found image celebrating the Pipe of Ambiguity, Bizarro's newest Secret Symbol.

This week's blurry pipe pic is a frame from a 1971 TV ad with animation designed by cartoonist Gahan Wilson (1930-2019). Wilson was an early influence, and is one of my all-time favorite cartoonists. I own several well-worn books collecting his work, which I've had since my teens.

As a young nerd, I subscribed to The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and the first thing I did when it arrived was to find that issue's Gahan Wilson cartoon. 

Occasionally, he even provided a cover illustration. 

This is my favorite Gahan Wilson cartoon. The pulpy image was photographed from my copy of the 1975 Tempo Books paperback, The Weird World of Gahan Wilson.

It’s a perfect Wilson gag: elegant, simple, deadpan, weird, and hilarious.

Gahan Wilson's work is among many inspirations sloshing around in our skulls, and we're grateful for his consistently excellent output over the decades. 

Here are our latest stabs at prompting chuckles from readers.

This gag may have been born of nostalgia for dining at a restaurant, which we hope to experience again before the year is out. 

By the way, in the newspaper comic universe, the musical choice of angsty teens is naturally The Smythes.

In a move to serve the mythical aquatic creature demographic, Apple introduces their new SeaPhone.

Anyone who works behind a bar is automatically eligible for sainthood.

If my count is correct, this is the 25th clown gag to appear since I took over the Bizarro dailies in 2018, with four more in the queue as of this posting. I suppose the gag-writing section of my brain is a sort of clown car, with eternal room for just one more.

As usual, our favorite gag of the week appears on Friday. We love crytpocountry music, but we wish it consumed less energy.

In response to a few persnickety commenters, I'll mention that the vocal mic shown above is the latest Bluetooth version, so no cables are needed.

This monastic order recently accepted a new member, known as Brother Loophole.

As mentioned in some previous posts, we conceive and draw each panel in the vertical panel (portrait) layout, and then use that art to build the horizontal strip for papers that require that format. This usually requires that some elements are added or removed. Occasionally the process results in a superior version with a  different feel, as this one did.

The reader's eye roughly traces a "Z" on a vertical panel, similar to reading text on the page of a book, but follows an upper left to lower right diagonal path when reading a strip.

In our panel layout, the reader picks up the text message, followed by the smiling monk, finally landing on the bearded monk who's also reading the text we've already seen.

When reading the strip, the viewer again encounters the text message first, then sees the bearded monk's phone and his backward-glancing eyes, leading us to Brother Loophole. This sequence delays the payoff for an extra beat or two, which makes a slightly more effective composition.

Building the strips each week is always a bit of a puzzle. This part of the process is sometimes a frustrating exercise in problem-solving, but it  forces me to look at a gag's physical construction from more than one perspective.

That's the week in review, wrapping up with a dose of over-analysis. Thanks for coming back week after week. Don't forget to pop by Dan Piraro's blog to see what he has to say about this batch, and to read his latest magnificent Sunday Bizarro page.

See you next week, Jazz Pickles.

Bonus Track

The Monks: "Oh, How to Do Now"
from Beat Club (German TV, 1966)

Formed in 1964 by a group of American GIs stationed in Germany, the Monks were primitive, experimental forebears of punk and noise rock. They never took a vow of silence.

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  1. I also used to subscribe to THE MAGAZINE OF FANTASY AND SCIENCE FICTION, but it never had the same feel after Gahan Wilson didn't contribute cartoons to them anymore. Guess he moved on to higher paying markets, and who could blame him for that? Have you seen that documentary about him, GAHAN WILSON: BORN DEAD, STILL WEIRD? It's very interesting!

  2. Bonus Track reminds me of early (very!) "Talking Heads".

  3. The monks are amazing, I recommend the autobiographies by bassist Eddie Shaw, Black Monk Time and Black Monk Time Too.

  4. My favorite Gahan Wilson cartoon showed a man coming out of the bathroom. The door is halfway open the man says, "I just had to crap something awful". In- side the bathroom emerging from the toilet is a hideous monster.

  5. What a terrific batch!

    I was familiar with some of Gahan Wilson's work - but not the cartoon you featured (thanks for that); also the Smyths - but not the Smythes (thanks, also, for that!), and the Monks - but more so with the latter Monks (those UK / Strawbs guys that put out the humorous poppy punk albums in the early 80s). I have found you (and Dan) very entertaining - even educational!

    I loved Wilson's "NUTS" series, featured in National Lampoon (just a "few" years ago).
    Remember "Is Nothing sacred?"? How about: "It's just one damned thing after another."?

    Another favourite (by someone else - I don't recall the name of the artist nor the exact publication it appeared in but I think it was Playboy; possibly National Lampoon) depicted devils in hell - one divulging to another (demonically, dryly and dead-pan): "Down here, it's one goddamned thing after another".

    Unfortunately, it's like that "up here", too. It's always been that way and it always will be, I'm sure. As Dan mentioned, though, humour (however you may spell it) is divine. I think it can also have the power to counteract evil - even without "super-heroes" (whether in their most intimidating and scary costume configurations, or not).

    Lately, it seems to me, the most obvious super-heroes are medical professionals. Yet, I would also include Alexei Navalny - as well as protesters in China, Myanmar, and all other places political repression is occurring - as super-heroic. I salute all and hope that health, freedom and democracy will prevail!



    If artists create super-heroes, are artists super-hero gods?