Saturday, October 02, 2021

Dolls, Dogs, and Drinks

The longer we live, the more we experience the passing of friends, family, and others we admire. This week was no exception, as I learned of the death of musician Dr. Lonnie Smith at age 79. 

Dr. Smith was one of the most joyful players I've ever seen. I was fortunate enough to hear perform live twice, and his love for the music and the audience was evident each time. He was a master of funk on the Hammond B3 organ, and was also an occasional vocalist, as on his 1969 hit recording, "Move Your Hand."

I listened to several of his albums while working this past week, and they sounded as great as the first time I'd heard them. His latest was released in March, and featured two collaborations with the Godfather of Punk, Iggy Pop. 

Rest in Power, Doctor.

This week's pipe pic comes to us from another American original, children's author Richard Scarry (1919-1994).

Published in 1963, this was Scarry's first book as both author and illustrator, and kicked off his popular "Best Ever" series. A corncob pipe is a common accessory for a farmer, but a farmer who's also a lion is surprising.

Perhaps we'll surprise you with one of these recent Bizarro comics.

Monday's panel was a rare two-panel gag, without dialog. I'd been trying to create with a comic involving carnival photos for a while, and finally came up with this precursor of modern day Instagram filters.

In another nod to obsolete technology, we imagined a dressmaker who designs life-size paper doll clothing. 

This panel brought to mind my grandmother Mary, who ran a home-based business as a dressmaker for over forty years. Her work ethic and entrepreneurial spirit inspired me as a youngster and still do today. Both of my maternal grandparents influenced me in many ways, and I'm grateful to have known them into my adulthood. 

My grandfather started calling me Wayno, practically from the time I was born. I assume the name my parents chose wasn't Italian enough, and he bestowed the moniker on me. He also introduced me to coffee, adding a splash to my cup of milk. Although he left school at fifteen to start a fifty-year run working at a Pittsburgh steel mill, he read the local newspapers every day, as well as the Sunday New York Times, which counts me as a subscriber for decades.

I hadn't expected to take a detour into autobiography, but a reader who's a dressmaker expressed appreciation for this panel, and it brought up some pleasant memories.

But now, let's get back to the comics.

I've used Russian matryoshka dolls as characters a few times in the past. Before I signed up to be Bizarro's daily cartoonist, I did an online feature called WaynoVision. The gag below was my most shared (and most stolen) WaynoVision comic.

I just noticed a coloring error in this panel, on the front-facing wall above the word balloon. That small section is pink instead of gray. Not one of the scoundrels who clumsily removed my signature from the panel over the years ever bothered to make an actual correction.

As a constant second-guesser regarding my own work, I'm wondering if I should have used the word "drain" instead of "siphon." It could apply to a tank of liquid fuel as well as a battery. 

It wouldn't be a normal week here without a cartoon featuring dogs or cats, would it?

We're nothing if not dedicated to making things difficult for ourselves. This simple pun took longer to draw than any other panel this week, with those shelves full of bottles. Thankfully, it gave me some good spots for placing secret symbols. Plus I got to draw Bob Denver in his second greatest role.

The strip layout only shows two shelves and a small bit of a third. The rest of the display is implied by the cropping and Gilligan's revised posture.

Converting the panels to strips can be something of a puzzle, although Monday's novelty photo comic was no trouble at all.

That's the latest from your correspondent at Bizarro Studios North. Thanks, as always for stopping by and sharing your comments. Speaking of sharing, a special note of appreciation goes out to everyone who threw a few virtual shekels into the tip jar. We keep the blog and newsletter free, and appreciate any extra support in these times of uncertainty for printed papers.

Don't forget to visit Dan Piraro's blog, too. I read it every week, despite having seen most of the comics already. Dan's Sunday pages are always glorious, and I never fail to learn from his thoughts on other topics.

Bonus Track

Dr. Lonnie Smith with Iggy Pop
"Sunshine Superman," from Breathe
Blue Note Records, 2021

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  1. So, Maynard G. Krebs?

  2. Siphon is perfect there ... it sounds funnier than drain.

    1. Thank you, that was my thought when I drew it. I appreciate hearing that!

  3. You can buy Richard's book at Amazon - It is a Classic!

  4. Someone beat me to it, but I also think "siphon" in that context is a lot funnier than "drain", plus the implication of stealing invoked by siphoning rather than draining a fuel tank is quite strong and carries over to the electric car nicely.

  5. Definitely siphon! The connotation of siphon is much better. You can drain the electricity from a vehicle by running the car until the electricity is all gone, but if you siphon something you are deliberately drawing it off to be used elsewhere, it seems to me. PS Loved your detour into autobiography!

  6. Thanks to everyone who spoke up in favor of the word “siphon.” Every comment made good sense and made your cartoonist feel validated!

  7. 1) "Siphon" it is. The insignificant differences of meaning between your two choices don't affect the end result much beyond the humour-impact, which worked out for the best.
    2) This is just a point of curiosity (I have worked years as a professional proofreader and also with a fine-art limited-edition watercolour artist, catching early sketch-out-level inconsistencies, so please don't shoot the messenger), but in your Gilligan full-panel cartoon there are at least FIVE perspective vanishing points! A bit surprising, 'cause your other works are always perspective-consistent.
    It caused me to muse for a moment that perhaps you've decided to move beyond simulating a 3D world in the 2D-plane-environment, and went straight for that 4D effect!! ;-}

    Overall, though, I'm still amazed at the variety of ways your point of view on various weird stuff in life is reflected in your own inimitable style of generating laughs.

  8. Thanks for the kind words. You’re right, the perspective in that Gilligan gag is way off. I think I was hyper focused on drawing all of the bottles, and neglected the perspective (more than usual).

    I guess my point of view is skewed figuratively AND literally.

    I appreciate your thoughtfulness and your diplomacy!