Saturday, April 09, 2022

Almost Amazing

This is the weekly communiqué from Bizarro Studios North, where I (Wayno®) have been writing and drawing the Monday through Saturday Bizarro comics since 2018. My partner and friend, Dan Piraro, who created Bizarro in the late twentieth century, continues to do the Sunday comic from Rancho Bizarro in Mexico.

Greetings once again from Hollywood Gardens, PA. The day after our last blog post, we celebrated a personal comics milestone, which I'll discuss a little later in this entry.

This week's pipe pic is a screen grab from a 1969 BBC report on pipes as a fashion accessory.

The video is a groovy and goofy time capsule of Swinging London. The middle section, with gents at a pub expressing their opinion on women smoking pipes is hilarious, and could easily fit into a Bonzo Dog Band or Monty Python routine.

Speaking of time capsules, this past Sunday was the thirteenth anniversary of my first Bizarro gag.

I'd met Dan Piraro at an event in Pittsburgh in 2008, and a few months later, I started submitting ideas to him.

A search through the bowels of my email turned up the first batch I sent as possible Bizarro comics. I hadn't seen these for years, and am sharing this on the blog for what I believe is the first time ever.

Dan's drawing was quite an improvement over my inept faux New Yorker panel. Between 2009 and 2017, I wrote more than 150 gags for Bizarro, spent three years coloring Dan's beautiful art, and did a couple of week-long stints as guest cartoonist before taking over the dailies in 2018.

Working with Dan continues to be a dream collaboration. I'm beyond grateful to him for leaving the side door unlocked, and allowing me to display my work in the gallery he built 37 years ago. 
Let's see if my art has progressed at all since that initial submission package.
Our favorite monster returned to the panel on Monday, getting a little trimmed off the sides.
Apparently, it's still possible to write a desert island cartoon. The rescue boat was quite happy to leave this know-it-all character in place.

It's not widely known, but when bitten by a slightly radioactive spider, a person only get six limbs, but this guy makes the most of the situation on his morning commute.
I enjoyed constructing the phony comic book cover, but the elements required some serious rearrangement for the strip configuration.
The most troublesome piece to fit in was the thought bubble. No matter how I broke up the text, the thought bubble crowded out the drawing. Eventually I switched to a speech balloon. It changed the feel of the gag just a bit, but since the character was looking at his phone, it worked out all right.

A scene at the offices of Jacoby & Meyers & Silver.
As regular readers know, I usually schedule my favorite gag of the week in the Friday slot. Puns don't often rise to the top, but I liked the simplicity of the caption, along with the silly image.
The opening act was three ducks playing French horns.
This could easily take place in Pittsburgh in April.
And that wraps up the week in Bizarro. Thanks for popping by.
Be sure to visit Dan Piraro's blog, where he'll offer further insights on these gags. While you're there, you can learn check out his latest Bizarro Sunday page, and find out what else is occupying his inquisitive mind these days.

If a double dose of bloggery doesn't satisfy your cartoon appetite, you can subscribe to my weekly newsletter as a supplement. It always includes a sneak preview of an upcoming Bizarro panel, and something pulled from my illustration & comic archives.
Oh, yes, and Dan also published an amazing midweek blog showcasing his drawing process for his epic graphic novel, Peyote Cowboy. It provides a detailed look at the work of a master cartoonist.
Bonus Track
Roxy Music: "Ladytron" 
Old Grey Whistle Test, 1972

Roxy Music, live on BBC television fifty years ago. The song opens with a haunting oboe introduction by Andy MacKay, though, to be fair, almost any oboe music can be described as "haunting."
A great performance, culminating in a wild guitar versus electronics freakout by Phil Manzanera and the ultra-glam Brian Eno. 
I've been a fan of Roxy Music since hearing their first record. I've been told that I look a little like singer Bryan Ferry. What do you think?


  1. Greg Schreiber10:32 AM

    Hopefully, you can get a chance to see their 50th anniversary tour in September.

    1. I’ve got my eye on the tour schedule. I did get to see them years ago, on the “Siren” tour.

  2. Great collection this week. I particularly liked the "Dudebro stuck on a desert island" gag.

    As far as the Roxy video goes (you did ask for our opinion), I will have to respectfully disagree with you. Musically it was not all that dynamic. The oboe intro was the same 4 notes played repeatedly. The sax part was a simple 1-3-5 scale. The guitar solo was completely overwhelmed by the electronic, sci-fi sounds. I am thankful they didn't pull out a theremin. But that's just my opinion and who the hell cares anyway?

    1. Nothing wrong with respectful disagreement, my dear Watson. And I can’t really argue with your assessment. All art hits each person differently.

      I’m probably biased as a fan of Roxy Music, and I enjoy the tension between Bryan Ferry’s studied coolness and the anarchy of Eno’s oscillator noodling.

      Your line about the theremin gave me an appreciative chuckle, too.

      Thanks for the thoughtful comment and opinion!

  3. It's all in your mind.

  4. I am always impressed by how much rework you have to do to get from panel configuration to strip configuration. Our local paper changed to strip a year or so ago. At first, I thought panel was better, but now don't think I have a preference. Why do you have to do both? Why do papers change from one to the other? Does anyone really know? (Ask Chicago?)

  5. tennisjazz, We offer both configurations to make it easier to sell the feature if a newspaper has a vacant strip spot, but I've no idea why an individual paper would switch from one to the other!

  6. Anonymous11:19 AM

    I like your "faux New Yorker panel" and find it charming and not at all "inept." But I am often inept myself, so what do I know? -v

  7. The BBC link was great! Just as good was another bit they did in 1970, a cheerful girl in a miniskirt pinching men's bottoms and then interviewing them, in the service of sexual equality.