Saturday, July 23, 2022

Insect vs. Arachnid

This is the weekly dispatch 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.



Art needs hard work more than hard work needs art.
Franz Kafka

Once again, it's time to review the week's Bizarro comics, but not before we share another pipe pic found on the information superhighway.

This strange pipe holder/display was found on a site for collectors of MAD Magazine items called MadTrash. It's possibly from the 1940s or 1950s, and appears to be a version of a ubiquitous, unnamed advertising character that was at least a partial inspiration for MAD mascot Alfred E. Neuman. 

The piece comes from a massive collection owned by Dr. Gary L. Kritzberg. I tried contacting Dr. Kritzberg to ask if he'd mind me reposting the photo, but never heard back from him. Since it's out there on the MadTrash site, I thought it would be okay to share it here with proper accreditation. If you know Dr. Kritzberg, please direct him to the blog, and vouch for my character.


I found the Kafka quote at the top of this post in a New York Times review of a book collecting drawings by the writer. Kafka drew odd little figures in the margins of his travel diaries, letters, and college notebooks. A friend, Max Brod, preserved many of them, although Kafka dismissed them as "scribblings." Brod said that Kafka was "more hostile to his drawings than he was to his literary production," and wanted his drawings to be destroyed when he died.

Kafka may have valued his drawings less than his writing because he dashed them off quickly. That might be what he was referring to when he wrote about art and hard work in a letter to a friend in 1903. 

On the other hand, he could easily have destroyed the drawings himself while he was alive, so perhaps he secretly hoped they might survive and be seen and appreciated at some point.

The quote makes sense to me. Art that seems uncomplicated can require considerable effort to get to its "simple" state. Hard work, as an end in itself, doesn't necessarily require any artistic intentions.

Whatever Kafka actually had in mind, the idea is worth considering as we form opinions about art of any kind.

The following comics may not be museum-worthy, but I assure you that hard work and artistic intent went into their making. 

And nobody turned into a giant insect the entire week.


Sometimes we need to reach for modest goals, although this panel contains more Secret Symbols than the average Bizarro daily.


It's something of a game among cartoonists to squeeze one more variation out a familiar trope. Dan Piraro discussed this in his blog last Sunday, where he published a great desert island gag.

I regularly turn to islands, the therapist's couch, the old west, heaven and hell, etc. For my money, the undefeated champion of fly-in-the-soup cartoons remains J.C. Duffy of The Fusco Brothers. Of course, that won't stop me from doing more of them.


Yes, this is just a cartoon, but there's an element of despair for the human condition beneath the funny drawing.

Not only do you need the right tools, but dressing for a job can also put you in the frame of mind to succeed.


It's fair to say that the ghosts wearing linens have become a personal trope in Bizarro. There are more to come in the next month or so.


We ended the week with a character from Greek mythology dropped into a classic cat-and-mouse rivalry. 

That wraps up another week of scribblings from Bizarro Studios North. Don't forget to visit Dan Piraro's blog to see what he has to say about this bunch of gags, and to check out his latest spectacular Sunday Bizarro page.

Don't forget, you can also subscribe to my free newsletter, where you can see a preview of an upcoming Bizarro cartoon, along with something old from my cartoon and design files.

Bonus Track

The Rolling Stones
"The Spider and the Fly" (Mono)
Released January 1, 1966

For a hot summer day, we offer a lazy blues from the Rolling Stones.


  1. Anonymous12:22 PM

    Loved the Dr. John recording, Wayno! So upbeat. Catchy earwig, thank you! I always find myself wondering if any of our favorite, most famous, crooners would ever get past the first tryout on “The Voice!” I’ll just leave that out there!

    1. I've never watched "The Voice," but I'm sure those TV talent searches don't discover anyone I'd be interested in.

      So glad you liked the Dr. John number. He was one of a kind. I was lucky enough to see him perform live
      quite a few times over the years.

  2. Wonder how many got the "sham" pun? Thanks to Google just learned it's an ornamental pillow covering. If one of the ghosts looked like a picnic table cover, he could say "Your life may have been a sham, but I had a very checkered past."

    1. Good follow-up! And I *LOVE* readers who take the time to look something up. We do have the best readers.

    2. Anonymous11:10 PM

      But is it the kind of sham that makes you say "wow!"?

  3. Anonymous1:54 PM

    I loved the "sodium chunk" for $1.95

  4. Anonymous9:46 PM

    Although the album cover says "MONO" that song has definitely been updated to stereo (or my system is doing a good job of creating two channels). Some may not understand that the Stones were all about the American blues. I had not heard this before and it is a great example of their love of the blues.

    1. In one of their early interviews, Jagger commented, "I hope they don't think we're one of those rock and roll outfits".

    2. Yes, they were ALL about American blues. "Spider & the Fly" was one of their earliest original songs, and really shows their influences.

  5. Anonymous12:51 AM

    better a fly in your soup than soup in your fly