Saturday, September 04, 2021

Art Apathy

This week, we had a small taste of the remnants of Hurricane Ida here in southwest Pennsylvania. Our inconveniences at home base were relatively minor: some water trickling in the basement for part of the day, and a few hours without electric service. We feel fortunate, knowing the devastating effects this storm (and other disasters) are having on so many. We hope that you and yours are safe and well, and that we'll all get through everything that's battering us, climatically and otherwise, very soon. If our drawings and jokes provide at least some temporary relief from the world's horrors, please know that we consider it our privilege to make them for you.

Last week, I was tickled to receive another family heirloom pipe pic, which I'm pleased to share, with the permission of my friend Tom W.

This is a great shot of Tom's mother, Gertrude, who would have turned 101 on August 26. Gertrude (known to all by her nickname Sally) was photographed in 1946 or 1947, hamming it up with army gear from her brothers, and holding a pipe in her teeth with a saucy smile. The image above is a clip from this full-length shot:

Thanks to Tom for allowing us to share Sally's photo with our readers. Most of the pipe pics I've found online are of men, so it was doubly refreshing to receive this one.

We can't compete with Sally's charming picture, but we'll try to make up for it in volume, by discussing our six latest cartoon panels.

It seems everyone has moved to online meetings, even absurdist theater characters. A Zoom staging of Waiting for Godot might serve to emphasize the protagonists' isolation rather well.

My drawings were loosely based on a 1961 production which starred Zero Mostel and Burgess Meredith. The play was filmed and broadcast on network television in April of that year. In that production, Mostel played Estragon and Meredith was Vladimir. I reversed their roles for this panel, purely for compositional purposes. Fortunately, nobody called me out for such artistic liberty. 

Quite a few readers remarked that they thought the characters were meant to be Laurel and Hardy. Outside of the derbies and body types, I don't see a resemblance, and I'd never draw Oliver Hardy with a handlebar mustache. He was known for a small toothbrush type mustache.

If I had a star-spangled outfit like this wizard, I'd probably wear it whenever I could, but there's something to be said for the simple black cloak.

Few people know that these two familiar names were actually siblings.

Who knew Mom was speaking literally?

Our blasé artistes were modeled on real-life French Impressionists Edgar Degas and Paul Cézanne. Cézanne is usually referred to as a Post-Impressionist, but I think I can get away with including him in the comic.

I enjoy using inanimate objects as comic characters, and usually try to avoid giving them faces or limbs. However, I did choose to show the speaking character as an open book, which then gave me an opportunity to make it even clearer that the second book was a therapist.

That's the latest from Bizarro Studios North. If you have a long weekend off from work with the upcoming Labor Day Holiday, here's hoping it's enjoyable. Don't forget to cruise on over to Dan Piraro's blog to find out what's on his active and curious mind, and to view his latest glorious Sunday Bizarro page.

Found in the Wild

Recently, my friend Rico Gagliano, the multitalented journalist, podcaster and radio host, posted a photo of a Bizarro comic he spotted when making a purchase at a frame shop in Los Angeles.

He mentioned that he knew the cartoonist, and the framer told him, "I put that up last year 'cause it’s about frame shops, but what’s funny is it’s actually come true. Everyone made improvements to their homes during lockdown, and now they’re framing art to put up in them. This is the busiest we’ve ever been."

When the comic originally ran last summer, I heard from a few frame shop owners who told me that their sales were up when people were spending more time inside their homes. I was pleased to hear it, as I encourage supporting professional framers as much as possible. A treasured work of art deserves a well-made frame for display.

Bonus Track

Neil Innes: I Like Cézanne
from The Innes Book of Records
Originally broadcast June 9, 1990

Note: Many YouTube videos are unavailable outside the USA.
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Neil Innes is often referred to as "The Seventh Python," acknowledging his extensive collaboration with the Monty Python troupe. His post-Rutles BBC series, The Innes Book of Records, ran from 1979 to 1981. It wasn't broadcast here in the US, but most of it can be found on YouTube.


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  1. My first thought on the Godot comic was, 'What're Laurel and Hardy doing on ZOOM?"

    and . . .

    How does the guy know he's going to hell in this handbasket? DEATH comes for us all, whether we go to heaven, hell, or no place.

  2. I suppose using a DSM-5 for the book-therapist would have been too much of an inside joke, but those of us who got it would have been delighted.

    1. I wish I’d thought of that!

  3. Checking in after...actuallly, I don't want to know how long. Damn Facebook.

    The Unimpressionists made me laugh and scare the cats.

  4. Another good song about Impressionists:

    Such great hilarity and fabulous connections. 🤍🤍🤍🤍

    I could only find 4 out of 5 Secret Symbols in the Handbasket panel!!! What did I miss? I looked and looked and had to jump out when they got near the Cerberus!
    Crown, Dynamite, K2, Eyeball...

    Great work as always!

    1. Bud, there’s an O2 on the water’s surface…

  6. Searching, Searching.. OH!!! FOUND IT!!! Brain spasm relieved. Ahhh....
    Thank you! :D

  7. Is the fish a secret symbol? if not, I am missing the 9th symbol in the book counselor

    1. Yes, the Fish of Humility is a Bizarro Secret Symbol. You got them all!