Saturday, August 28, 2021

Dark Waters

This week, we're opening with a pipe pic hat trick, courtesy of Denis Kitchen, by way of FoB Hank E. We have three related photos of an item from Denis's collection.

The first two images are side and top panels of the box containing an official Smokey Stover Screwball Pipe, and the third one shows the actual item. Smokey Stover was a wacky "screwball" comic strip created by Bill Holman (1903-1987), starring a loony firefighter. The strip ran from 1935 until Holman's retirement in 1972. In fact, Holman and his comic will grace us with at least one more pipe pic sometime in the future. He drew hundreds of pipes during his career.

Holman loved puns and nonsense words. He was particularly fond of the word "foo," which was the basis for many puns in his strip, and Smokey often referred to himself as a Foo Fighter.

Here at Bizarro Studios, our humor is less manic than good ol' Smokey Stover, but we love that style too. Here's our own comic output from the past week.

It's best to be honest upfront, to let someone know you're not playing games with them, even when you're playing a game.


This couple wrote their own wedding captchas, although a competent robot could easily beat most humans at this sort of thing.
Certain cephalopods love to prank their friends. Thankfully, a third squid was nearby and snapped a photo for us to use as a reference.

Drawing the ink cloud was a slightly hypnotic exercise, and I felt relaxed when I finished the art. I only wish I'd had the appropriate ink on hand for the project.

The sketchbook preliminary shows that this image presented itself to me fully formed.

I was also pleased with the strip version, which allowed for additional ink-cloud therapy.

The past eighteen months have been an emotional windfall for introverts, and have taught some others that it is possible to enjoy quiet and solitude. Of course, it'd be preferable if we had the choice of gathering or being alone without having to factor in fear of infection by a willfully ignorant segment of the populace.

Their most serious disagreement was over the use of a litter box versus the backyard.

Over the millennia, washing instructions have become more specific but less comprehensible.

That's the latest from my drawing board. Thanks for visiting. Be sure to visit Dan Piraro's blog for additional commentary on these gags, and whatever else is currently occupying his active and curious mind. While you're there, you can also marvel at his latest masterful Bizarro Sunday page.

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Bonus Track

Mose Allison: "Look What You Made Me Do"
from the album I've Been Doin' Some Thinkin' (1968)

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On some mobile devices, you must select View Web Version
on this blog to see the video link and preview image.

Known as "The Sage of Tippo, Mississippi," Mose John Allison, Junior (1927-2016) is a longtime favorite here at Bizarro Studios North. I was lucky enough to see him perform many times. In the mid-1990s, Mose's daughter attended college here in Pittsburgh, and when he visited, he usually played at a local club. We also traveled to hear him in Georgetown on many occasions, including a particularly memorable New Year's Eve show.

Allison was the subject of one of about 150 portraits I did many years ago as a project for Rhino Records. At a concert in 2001, he graciously signed the original art.

Thanks for the music, Mose.

It's time for me to wrap up this post. My musical trio has a gig to get ready for this evening. We'll be sure to include one of Mose Allison's songs.


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  1. Extrovert Hubby claims that I've been practicing for this time my entire life, as I'm an extreme introvert. He could be right; give me books and dogs, and I'm happy to be alone. Even so, I've had two shots and a booster.

  2. Is that, perhaps, where the Foo Fighters group got its name?

    1. I’m guessing the musical group got the name secondhand, from Allied WWII pilots who used the term to refer to UFOs, but Holman is the original source.

  3. Wayno, the facial expression on that inky squid is just brilliant. I bow to you...

  4. Shark-masked cephalopods have hidden being an eighth tentacle, I guess.

    Thank you for your great work!

  5. This may be irrelevant, but the French word for fire is "feu", making a firefighter a "feu-fighter".

  6. Thank you for the small variation between your version of the final comic and the one on Dan's blog. It helped me confirm that I'd found all of the symbols.

    1. Thanks for pointing that out! We got our wires crossed on that one. I originally drew the version with six symbols, as shown on Dan's blog, but we decided that the inverted pterodactyl would probably be too small to see, particularly in printed newspapers. So, I did a slight update to remove the hat and turn the pterodactyl right side up, with a new symbol count of five.

      Somehow, the first version (with six symbols) was published, online, in papers, and on Dan's blog.

      I suppose that makes the one on my blog a rare variant.

  7. Just for the foo of it...

  8. That last panel on Dan's blog took me a while, but the hat finally convinced me that the upside-down pterodactyl was the sixth symbol.