Saturday, June 26, 2021

Clothes Don't Make the Man

Greetings from sunny Hollywood Gardens, PA, the home of Bizarro Studios North. Since our last post, we celebrated the Summer Solstice by watching not one, but two seasonally-appropriate creepy movies. I believe I've recovered from that disturbing entertainment, and can write a post reviewing the week in cartoons.

Speaking of the blog, it seems that ye olde Google Blogger platform will no longer provide email notifications to subscribers. So, I'm going to start sending out a weekly notification with a blog link to everyone who's currently subscribed.

If you'd like to have a fresh link delivered to your inbox when we publish a new post, you can subscribe here, or by clicking the subscription link over to the right, under the Useful Linkages header. You will also have the option to unsubscribe at any time.

Before we jump into the week's gags, we have another pipe pic to share. This one is from our illustration archives.

This snappy simian was created for a beer label several years ago, and he was recently retired, so you can only see him here. Perhaps I can sell it as an NFT to some tech zillionaire. If you're interested, submit an offer.

Now, with the preliminaries out of the way, let's review our latest batch of drollery.

Monday's cartoon made me hungry, and, during the writing of it, a little bit crazy. I agonized over the dialog and changed the first word balloon from "I hear boiling water" to "I hear water boiling" and back again at least a dozen times. Without a submission deadline, I might never have finished it at all.

I had fun with this one, and spent more time than I should have tweaking the "Strawbucks" logo in the window. Quite a few readers made me laugh with punning comments. My favorite asked if the couple had met on Tinder.

Surprisingly, nobody suggested that the smiling partner was going to bale on him.

The strip layout allowed me to show more of the logo, which I found satisfying.

What he lacks in self-awareness, he makes up for in misplaced confidence.

Some businesses know exactly how to appeal to their customers' egos, such as this shop, where the well-dressed emperor can buy the very latest in exilewear.

An illustration from our unpublished book, Probing for Dummies.

I'm not quite sure how the data gets reported, but a single panel gag can avoid such questions. A close friend once had to wear a (non-reptilian) heart monitor for several days, and I have a feeling it wasn't any less unpleasant that the one in our cartoon.

That's it for the week in Bizarro. As always, thanks for stopping by. Don't forget to visit Dan Piraro's blog, where he shares whatever is on his active and inquisitive mind, along with a new widescreen Sunday page.

In non-comics news, I was out of the studio Friday morning, and stopped by a favorite cafe to buy some coffee beans. I was thrilled to find that they were open for in-person service, and I started the morning the way I did many hundreds of times before our months of lockdown, with a cup or two of espresso, friendly conversation, and the daily crossword puzzle.

I've certainly become more appreciative of small, normal things over the past year and a half. I hope each of you encounter unexpected pleasures this week, too. 

Bonus Tracks

Wednesday's overconfident mascot brought two musical selections to mind, so have a double bonus this time around.

Note: Many YouTube videos are unavailable outside the USA. On some mobile devices, you must select View Web Version of this blog to see the video links.

First, a catchy number by Gang of Four, from a 1982 television appearance.

And to close out, a laid-back tune by my old friend Ben Vaughn.

I met Ben 1988, when his band performed here in Pittsburgh, and graciously autographed their LP, Beautiful Thing for me.

Ben is a talented composer, performer, and songwriter. One of my earlier musical aggregations regularly featured his songs "A Good Woman is Hard to Find" and "She's a Real Scream" in our set list. I probably owe him a few bucks in royalties.

This is also the perfect opportunity to recommend his weekly radio show and podcast, The Many Moods of Ben Vaughn. It's up to nearly 400 episodes, and I've personally enjoyed each one. He's a knowledgeable and entertaining DJ, too.


  1. Hey, maybe the pipe-smoking simian former beer label would be good as a t-shirt. Just saying...

    The heart monitor really hit home, as Hallie recently had to wear one for a couple of days (but everything is fine with her heart, thank goodness).

    1. I’m relieved to hear that all is well with her kind heart!

  2. I hope nothing goes wrong with the heart monitor, or the guy could suffer from a reptile dysfunction.

  3. Boiling water vs. water boiling.

    Hi. You made the right choice. According to information theory, 'water' carries the heaviest information load and there belongs at the end of the sentence. Also, 'boiling water' is a noun phrase and nouns are more natural in final position, at least in English.
    ("Theme" and "information" in sentence word order was the subject of my Ph.D. dissertation.)


  4. I left this comment on Dan's blog then realized it should have gone to you.

    I counted 5 secret symbols in the straw couples drawing, #5 being "K2" from the
    Strawbucks logo's last two letters (viewed from the inside looking out.

    As I noted on his blog, love the work you guy's do, the thought, time and effort you put in really shows.

    Keep up the great work!


    1. Dave,

      I’ll be darned. That does sort of look like a K2 in the Strawbucks logo! I’m going to say you can count that, as an unintentional bonus symbol.

      Thanks for your kind words. They came on a day when I’m working hard to get a new batch ready, and gave me a boost!

  5. I so love that you write and draw Bizarro, AND you like Ben Vaughn. That is a great combination. Ben's twice rescheduled show at the World Cafe Live in Philadelphia is now set for November 27. If you feel like trekking to this part of the state on a holiday weekend, it should be a fun time worth the 18 month wait.

    1. Thanks Karen! Oh, man… I haven’t seen Ben in person in years. He’s so good live!

      I appreciate your kind comments.