Saturday, June 18, 2022

Reverse Mycology

This is the weekly communiqué from Bizarro Studios North, where I 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.


I'm not sure, but I'm almost positive that all
music came from New Orleans.

Ernie K-Doe (1936 - 2001)

The month of June is packed with celebrations and events. This coming Tuesday is officially the first day of summer, as well as the summer solstice, although we've already experienced high temperatures close to one hundred degrees. I celebrated a birthday early this month, and my sweetie and I marked our anniversary a couple of days ago.

Our pipe pic comes to us courtesy of Bizarro reader Carol W, and is a WWII-era photo of her late father Ray. Since tomorrow is Father's Day, we're pleased to feature Carol's dad.

I zoomed in to show off Ray's friendly smile, as well as the shadow the pipe cast across his shoulder, making for an interesting photographic composition. Here's the full picture.


Carol tells us that Ray was stationed in Italy, and served in the Army's motor pool. He worked in construction, was a volunteer fireman, loved to fish and camp, and was a master of the barbecue rotisserie.

Thanks to Carol for sharing the photo and memories of Ray.


Monday is also Juneteenth, which was recognized as a Federal holiday just last year, though it's been observed since 1866. Juneteenth commemorates the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, and should also remind us of how far we as a country have to go toward achieving equality and eliminating racism.

Juneteenth is also observed by celebrating African American culture. The contributions of Black writers, artists, poets, entrepreneurs, jurists, activists, scientists, cartoonists, political and social leaders (and every other category imaginable) cannot be overstated.

As a lifelong music lover, I'm well aware that the overwhelming majority of music that enriches my life was directly created by Black artists. The human race itself originated in Africa two million years ago, so the late Ernie K-Doe, as quoted at the top of this entry, wasn't far off the mark.

If music is your thing, check out a Black artist, maybe one you haven't heard before. I can heartily recommend Sun Ra, Julius Eastman, Little Richard, Dave Bartholomew, Allen Toussaint, Irma Thomas, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Nina Simone, John Coltrane, Burning Spear, Little Willie John, Miles Davis, Shuggie Otis, Funkadelic, Louis Jordan, Louis Armstrong, Johnny Guitar Watson, The "5" Royales, Curtis Mayfield, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Robert Johnson, Prince, Aaron Neville, Barrence Whitfield, Mavis Staples, Eddie Bo, Wendy Rene, Betty Davis, Mary Lou Williams, Duke Ellington, Ornette Coleman, James Brown, Clifton Chenier, Aretha Franklin, Jimi Hendrix, Billie Holiday, Sonny Sharrock, Lee Morgan, Lee Perry, Eric Dolphy, Jelly Roll Morton...

You get the picture. The list could go on indefinitely.

We're all part of the same species, despite any ridiculous claims to the contrary.


Now, I invite you to check out our latest comics, most of which were drawn while I listened to the glorious music of some of the artists named above.

Monday's panel was a simple reversal of  the overly common statement made by exiting public figures. More than a few readers interpreted it as an attack on their sports idol of choice, and proceeded to pontificate in the comment fields.

Tuesday's gag featured a rebellious portobello.

Several sharp-eyed readers asked if I'd miscounted the Secret Symbols in this one, assuming that Holmes's pipe was Bizarro's Pipe of Ambiguity symbol.

The answer is no, we don't count an unambiguous pipe smoked by a character as a Secret Symbol. It's practically mandatory to draw Sherlock Holmes with a pipe, so while working on the panel, I checked in with Dan Piraro. He confirmed that a pipe smoked by someone falls into the same category as a character wearing loafers, which wouldn't count as the Lost Loafer symbol.

We do occasionally count incorrectly, so those queries weren't unreasonable.


Mechanical moms and dads often refer to that awkward conversation as "the nuts and the bolts."

I apologize to my cartooning colleagues for revealing a trade secret.

It would have been a better idea to place the speaker on the left, to make the strip conversion a little easier.

I had to swap the characters' positions and redraw the cartoonist's head for the horizontal layout, but it wasn't too difficult.

If only feng shui had been common knowledge when I was a kid, I could have minimized my consumption of overcooked canned veggies...

That's the latest from your cartoonist. Remember to check out Dan Piraro's blog for more pithy commentary, and to read his latest widescreen Bizarro Sunday page, which is always a visual feast.

You might also consider subscribing to my weekly email newsletter, where you get a preview of an upcoming cartoon, and some pre-Bizarro relic from my flat files. You can easily unsubscribe at any time, though I might pout if you do.

Bonus Track

Wendy Rene: "Bar B Q"
Stax Records 45, released 1964


An absolutely perfect summer record by an unjustly underappreciated artist.


  1. carol w10:24 AM

    Loved seeing my Dad! He also had a good sense of humor and liked music. :-)

  2. Happy Anniversary (a bit belatedly)!

  3. I was surprised the clapping in that tune started out on the 1 & 3. But then it switched to the 2 & 4. It sounded like someone tried to get that switch to happen a couple times. I'd love to know the story behind that.

    1. I hadn't noticed that before, but once you mentioned it, it's really clear! How odd! Thanks for lending a sharp ear.

  4. Vere Nekoninda10:31 PM

    I liked all the cartoons this week, as I usually do. A shout out to the fabulous K2 logo on the sports team's podium. That woven letter/number graphic is worthy of a trademark.

    1. Thank you, Vere! Once I started on that logo, I became a little obsessed and spent some time tweaking it, so I'm very happy to know someone noticed it.

  5. Anonymous9:08 AM

    Encouraging everyone to give a listen to the pioneering electric guitarist Sister Rosetta Tharp and those rockin' kids called Fishbone !

  6. Tracy P4:37 PM

    Oooh, I'd like to add some stellar black artists to that music list, too! Eric Burton (it's like his voice is infused with the spirit of amazing soul singers that went before him like Sam Cooke and Al Green...) and the incomparable Brittany Howard. 💖
    Thank you for keeping us entertained, Wayne, you are also stellar! 🙂

    1. Tracy, thanks for the intro to Eric Burton/Black Pumas, and the reminder about Brittany Howard! I'm listening to Eric right now.

      I also appreciate your very kind words.

    2. Anonymous1:40 PM