Saturday, November 27, 2021

Worm Jerky

Brace yourselves, folks. We've entered another fraught holiday season, with the probability of a new pandemic surge as we deal with fatigue over reasonable and necessary precautions, and pigheaded resistance to a safe and effective preventative. Not to mention further normalization of violence, as long as it's perpetrated by a select class of weaponry fetishists.

Despite my tendency to voice a lack of faith in humanity (see above), I do realize that I have plenty to be grateful for, and I try to keep those people and things in mind. Among these gifts is the ability to connect with people like you, who read and enjoy Bizarro—and even those who don't always enjoy it.

America's Thanksgiving holiday was based on the whitewashed reframing of a particularly horrific chapter in the country's history, but taking time to express gratitude for people and things in one's life is never a bad idea, and it predates the colonization of North America by centuries.

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope yours was calm and uneventful, with no political arguments or food fights. I'm writing this post early in the week so I can take a few days off and return to my drawing board refreshed and energized.

As is our practice, we begin with a pipe pic. This one comes direct from my record shelves: Vivian Stanshall's 1978 LP, Sir Henry at Rawlinson End.

Stanshall (1943-1995) was a founding member of the Bonzo Dog Band, who are much beloved here at the studio, and he had a fascinating and varied career after the Bonzos disbanded in 1970. Among his many projects, he was the master of ceremonies on Mike Oldfield's Tubular Bells album, and he co-wrote songs with Steve Winwood into the 1980s. He was a longtime drinking buddy of Keith Moon, and the pair were responsible for legendary and outrageous pranks. Stanshall is often described as a classic English eccentric, but that seems inadequate for this singular character.

My most eccentric behavior is spending just about every day making comics and letting them out into the world. Let's review the latest batch to escape from my workshop.

Spyware was less discreet in its infancy, and body heat generated by nervous stoolies often melted the wax recordings.

Tuesday's comic can be read as a simple joke, or as an allegory.

The strip version illustrates the sidewalk's peril with a withered variant of Bizarro's flying saucer symbol.

Rodents are able to adapt and thrive in many environments. Firehouse mice are no exception.

Naturally, Bizarro offered a nontraditional Thanksgiving scene. I had fun drawing this one, especially the zom-bunny portrait in the hallway.

We all know how intelligent our pets are, yet we sound like imbeciles when we speak to them. If we weren't managing their food and hygiene, they probably wouldn't tolerate our babbling.

Over the years, I've based several gags on The Picture of Dorian Gray, but this one is my favorite because nothing in the text mentions Oscar Wilde or his novel. I give our readers credit for having a general cultural awareness enabling them to get this joke.

I searched for reference images in order to portray the Monopoly man (whose name is Uncle Pennybags) and Richie Rich (whose middle name is a dollar sign). Pennybags has a benign retro clip art vibe, but as I studied panels from Richie Rich comics, his appearance became increasingly disturbing. He's weirdly distorted, with a giant head and misaligned eyes. He has a diminutive torso perched atop outsize legs, and looks like a deep sea diver who surfaced too fast. Plus he always wears that humiliating outfit. He's nothing if not instantly recognizable.

That wraps it up for another week. Thank you for reading the comic and following these ramblings. Don't forget to visit Dan Piraro's blog for his latest Sunday page and to see what else he's been up to.

If you'd like to be notified when I update the blog, you're welcome to subscribe to my free newsletter. It lands in your inbox every week, and each edition includes an exclusive peek at a yet-to-be-published comic.

Bonus Track

Vivian Stanshall & bIG Grunt
"11 Mustachioed Daughters"
From BBC1's Marty Amok, broadcast in March, 1970

The hyperkinetic performer who solos on the custom built "theremin leg" is Bonzo Dog Band alumnus Roger Ruskin Spear. Spear frequently collaborated with Stanshall, and released some wonderful records under his own name.

Marty Amok was an Easter special starring comedian Marty Feldman, proving once again that British television was superior to anything we had in the states.

The blog & newsletter are always free,
but gratuities are welcomed.


  1. From the withered variant to the zom bunny to all the small details and the way you write your comments, this blog is terriiffiic!

  2. Always appreciate that you include a strip version for comparison to what I read in my local paper.
    And a left-handed drummer for good measure!

    1. Thanks! I like to show both configurations, especially when they have significant differences.

  3. Worms cannot express the feelings I have as I read your blog and study your amazing artistic contributions - and warnings - to my re-interpretation of the world. Profound thanks for burrowing another earworm into my bug-laden brain of Bizzaro-ness!

    1. Thanks, Bud! I thoroughly enjoyed reading your comment!

  4. I still prefer "Oingo Boingo" but the flies around the wig was a nice touch...

  5. Thanks for all yer good work

    1. It’s all for readers like you.

  6. You are at least partially responsible for my favorite comic strip, and a fervent fan of Viv Stanshall. Wow.(I actually saw the Bonzos at the Tea Party in Boston. Life changing.)

    1. I'm so jealous of you seeing the Bonzos live!

      Thanks for reading Bizarro, and for your shared appreciation of Viv S.

  7. I may be too old - I did not pick up on the Richie Rich identity; I've only seen a silly movie (live action) about him and don't know the comics. Monopoly man of course I got at once. That was a terrific Dorian Grey gag.
    Best of all was probably the near-perfect zombie Thanksgiving. Thanks for another week's worth of fun.
    (I come for the commentary and the pipe pictures. I have to admit that I always get here from Dan's blog, so I've already seen the panels with his contents. That's a good way to see them, though!)

  8. Whatever road you take to arrive here, I appreciate it. Thanks for the kind note!

    The next pipe pic is really something!