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.


  1. The OED sez, "bee-line n. a straight line between two points on the earth's surface, such as a bee was supposed instinctively to take in returning to its hive." (emphasis added)

    1. Ah. A meandering route leaving and a straight line back home. The opposite of humans!

  2. I was devastated when Big Al left NRBQ. At least I had the good fortune of seeing that lineup live once even though I live on the west coast. I bought a Jerry Jones bass because that's what Joey played. Jerry Jones made Danelectro look-alikes back before the Danelectro name got resurrected.

    1. Big Al and Joey complemented each other so well. But Johnny Spampinato is no slouch, either.

      One of my greatest concert going experiences was seeing their 35th anniversary show in 2004. The show included every former member of the band, plus John Sebastian.

  3. Hi Wayno.
    There are a number of species of parakeets but the ones in the cartoon are Australian budgerigars. We call them budgies here in Australia.
    Not to be confused with the term 'Budgie Smuggler'.

    1. According to what I’ve read, the budgerigar is a species of parakeet.


  5. Whether zoologically accurate or not, it makes sense to me as a folk coinage. Hmm... Can we ask Sherlock Holmes? He kept bees.

  6. Thanks for the link to the Andy Mackay cover of The Rockin' Rebels. Imagine if Mackay had the opportunity to play the sax lead on Baker Street instead of Raphael Ravenscroft.