Saturday, May 15, 2021

The Scenic Route

Greetings from Bizarro Studios North, where the sun is shining while the temperatures fluctuate wildly.

Once again the blog post begins with a pipe pic, and this one's a beauty. It's a scan of an original drawing by underground comix great Skip Williamson (1944-2017), provided by longtime friend of Bizarro Hank Edenborn. It was made to illustrate a Mark Twain manuscript entitled An Encounter with an Interviewer. Williamson shows Twain being interviewed by his character Snappy Sammy Smoot, who is mostly obscured by smoke.

Thanks to Hank for sharing this wonderful piece. Be sure to click on the image for a closer look at Skip Williamson's gorgeous art.

In non-comics news, this week my (fully-vaccinated) musical trio, The Red Beans & Rice Combo had our first practice session in over fourteen months. We felt a bit rusty after our long hiatus, but were overjoyed to be making music together again.

Our rehearsals always provided a perfect mid-week break for your cartoonist, and I'm thrilled to start them up again. After playing music with these guys, I return to the drawing board with renewed energy.

Dave Klug, Wayno, Tom Roberts
Double Dog Studios, Carnegie PA

Until I saw this photo, I didn't realize that I was the "fun-size" member of the band.

Speaking of the drawing board, let's see what fell from its well-worn surface this week.

Among the many advantages of working from home is avoiding that one colleague's insufferable recounting of the weekend's exploits. Unless of course you're that insufferable colleague.

Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov composed "Flight of the Bumblebee" to evoke the rapidly changing flight patterns of bumblebees, which caused me to wonder why a direct path between two points is referred to as a "beeline."

While pondering that apian paradox, I imagined pages of sheet music following an equally complicated route from beginning to end.

The gag was ideally suited to the alternate strip layout.

This makes as much sense as any number of crackpot conspiracy theories making the rounds.

A few months ago, I scribbled a note in my sketchbook about Frankenstein's monster having a screw-top lid to provide easy access for tweaking or replacing its brain. When I sketched out the gag, it became an old-fashioned bottle cap, mainly because I loved the idea of drawing a giant bottle opener.

A few readers correctly noted that the doctor's assistant was modeled after Charles Addams's Uncle Fester character. Many others insisted that my Dr. Frankenstein resembles the 1960s animated cartoon character Clyde Crashcup.

I didn't have him in mind, but there certainly is a resemblance, and I remember seeing the Clyde Crashcup shorts on The Alvin Show when I was a kid. His image might well have been lurking in my head for all these years, looking for an opportunity to show itself.

On Friday we offered our take on a favorite cartoon trope: a fish growing legs and emerging from the water. I'm always up for an excuse to draw a character with a tuxedo and martini, particularly a non-human.

Saturday's panel is a rare example of a clean joke about a talking bird. This one sent me on a web search for reference photos of parakeets.

Thanks for visiting. Please drop by next Saturday for another stack o' laffs. And be sure to check out Dan Piraro's blog for his take on these cartoons, along with another spectacular Bizarro Sunday page. Last Sunday's Bizarro was a particularly funny gag, and the art was miles beyond anything else on the funny pages. 

I'm so glad Dan is my partner and not my competition.

Bonus Tracks

Monday's comic made me think of the 1963 instrumental hit, "Wild Weekend," by the Rockin' Rebels. I'd like to share two cover versions of this tune.

The first one is from Roxy Music member Andy Mackay's 1974 LP, In Search of Eddie Riff. It's a fairly straightforward cover, and sounds like a higher fidelity take of the Rockin' Rebels' original.

His album also includes a nifty version of Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries."

Next up is a live performance by NRBQ, with vocals. This take was recorded in 1989, and features my favorite lineup of the band. More than a dozen members played with them over the years. At this time, the quartet consisted of Terry Adams (piano, vocals), "Big Al" Anderson (guitar, vocals), Joey Spampinato (bass, vocals), and Tommy Ardolino (drums).

As a side note, Joey Spampinato was featured in the Chuck Berry concert film Hail! Hail! Rock 'n' Roll. None other than Keith Richards was blown away by his musicianship.

Please note: Some You Tube videos are unavailable outside the USA. On some devices, you must select "View Web Version" of the blog to see the video links.

Saturday, May 08, 2021

Look Ma, No Pants

Welcome back to the blog, Jazz Pickles, and happy Mother's Day to the moms among you. Whether your kids are human or another species, we salute you.

This week's pipe pic is a news clipping from 1987, when Mr. Potato Head decided to quit smoking in a public ceremony alongside Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.

We're not smokers here at Bizarro Studios North. The habit we can't kick is babbling about our newest cartoons every Saturday. Here's this week's download.

I recently received a press release that mentioned an author putting the finishing touches on a new book. At first, I thought it said touchés. The accent mark turned out to be a speck of dust on the screen, but I made note of the accidental pun and built a gag around it.

My latest indulgence in the form of wordplay I refer to as a streptonym. I'll continue to flog this coinage until it makes its way into a dictionary.

If you're getting married on Cinco de Mayo, a taco truck is the perfect caterer. I'm happy to encounter a good taco truck on any occasion. Five years ago, we were promised one on every corner, and we're still waiting.

On Thursday, I made fun of something I dislike by doing that very thing. I find the ubiquitous gags referencing Schrödinger's cat to be self-consciously clever, if not self-congratulatory. And yet, here I am doing one myself. Cartoonists are seldom rational or consistent.

Still, I promise never to tread this turf again.

Friday's comic was a bit of silliness in support of a serious cause. I encourage each of you to consider donating to a clothing charity in your area. For my hometown friends, I'm recommending Dress for Success Pittsburgh, whose mission is to provide a network of support, professional attire and development tools to help women thrive in work and in life.

That's no joke.

I'm grateful every day for having the job of creating the daily Bizarro comics. Over the years I've worked in a variety  of industrial and corporate settings, and each one had its share of exasperating microbureaucrats. The text in today's gag is entirely believable.

That concludes the latest pile of words and pictures from your obedient cartoonist. Pop by again next week for more of the same. And please visit Dan Piraro's blog for his latest musings and a brand new Bizarro Sunday page. 

Bonus Track

"Something for Cat"
the Henry Mancini Orchestra
from the Breakfast at Tiffany's soundtrack

Saturday, May 01, 2021

Say How Do

It's May Day, which means we'll break out our DVD of The Wicker Man, director Robin Hardy's 1973 folk-horror film starring Edward Woodward, Britt Ekland, and the subject of this week's pipe pic, the late Sir Christopher Lee.

This distinguished photo is from a 1979 karate/kickboxing exploitation film titled Jaguar Lives!, in which Lee played a criminal kingpin. I've never seen this one, in part because I generally don't trust a film with an exclamation point in its title. However, I have seen The Wicker Man dozens of times, and never fail to enjoy it.

Lee's performance as Lord Summerisle is widely considered to be his best ever. The film is a sexy, smart, suspenseful tale of paganism and ritual sacrifice on a remote island. Similar territory was explored more recently in the 2019 Swedish film Midsommar, and Mayday, a 2013 British TV series. Both are worth seeing, but The Wicker Man is the undisputed champion on this genre. Paul Giovanni's music in an integral part of the film, with Giovanni and members of his band Magnet appearing in several scenes.

Here's hoping the gods find your May Day sacrifice to be acceptable to, and that your crops flourish.

Now, let's review this week's crop of Bizarro cartoons.

Speculative historians tell us that this method of tracking down criminals is the origin of the term "You're busted."

This clown is pumped, and has a overinflated ego.

A reference to the legend of Robert Johnson's musical education, and a tribute to the skill of Old Scratch's tailor, who added a fly in the back for comfort.

As more citizens are vaccinated and travel picks up, let's pause for a moment in respect to all employees of the hospitality industry, and all they must endure. When we all emerge from our homes, may we all be grateful for the folks who help to make travel and dining enjoyable, and may we all tip generously.

There's a mysterious ashy residue in the oven, too.

The key to a healthy diet is platelet control.

Thanks, as always, for checking in here at the old Waynoblog. Don't forget to visit Dan Piraro's blog to see what he has to say about these cartoons, and to admire his always-spectacular Bizarro Sunday page.

Bonus Track

"Willow's Song," from The Wicker Man

The scene that features this song is definitely NSFW.