Saturday, July 02, 2022

Stains & Stones

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.


You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.
Bob Dylan, "Subterranean Homesick Blues"


It's the July Fourth weekend, but for many, there's little to celebrate this year. Rulings by hacks on the country's highest court push the country closer to its new identity as Saudi America, or the United States of Surveillance, Ammo, Oppression, and Greenhouse Gases.

Corporations Über Alles

Pyrotechnical displays feel like little more than sparkly distractions from rampant power grabs, and it's sometimes difficult to make jokes while the rights of fellow citizens are being ratcheted back to nineteenth century levels, or worse.

Yet, on occasion, we're reminded that humor has a purpose in the worst of times. A few days ago, we received a lovely message from someone who read Bizarro for the first time after finding some comics on Instagram:

If you are the artist behind the creativity, I'd like to extend a genuine thank you for your work. Today was a sack of crap. I stumbled on your humour, it's wonderful, I smiled and laughed; thanks. The day still resembles a sack of crap but you've lightened the weight of it.

That note certainly made my day, and provided extra motivation to keep working. Thanks to brand-new Bizarro reader Andy B for the kind words, with hopes that the sack of crap was followed by better days.

With good will in our hearts, let's review the week's cartoon output.

We kicked it off with my latest inanimate object gag, depicting (as a witty commenter mentioned) "relationsnip" problems.
This one's a mashup of cartoon tropes: the evolving fish and the desert island. We've used both many times in the past, but this is our first two-in-one. Our protagonist has made an evolutionary leap, but might starve on that patch of land.

The next day, we regressed to a straight up desert island gag. Apparently, my humor isn't making any evolutionary progress, although this one may have a subtext of social commentary.

Macbeth Cleaners proudly notes that they've never had to attach this tag to a customer's order:

We saw a wide range of reactions to Thursday's panel. Many people who commented missed the Shakespearean reference, but those who got it seemed to like it a lot. 

I'm not an expert on the Bard by any stretch, and thought that a reference to one of his most familiar lines was fair game for a comic. I still do, and offer no apologies for not spelling it out. I only mention the negative comments because it was a bit shocking to see how many people were angry that a cartoon they didn't like has the temerity to exist.

I'd sketched an early version of the gag at least ten years ago, which I share here for the first time.

The final version, with its more concise dialog, is far superior to that sketch.

The reception may be spotty, but it's almost unbreakable.

Another gag based in no small part on personal behavior.

I freely admit to having no idea what is on granddad's plate.

Your guesses are welcomed.

Also, don't be that guy.

That wraps up another litter of funnies. Please come by next week, and check out a new batch of jokes. And don't forget to visit Dan Piraro's blog to see his newest Sunday Bizarro page, which is always a wonderful work of art, along with his commentary on comics and other matters.

If you'd like to see a teaser for an upcoming Bizarro comic, along with a graphic artifact from my files, you're cordially invited to subscribe to my newsletter. You can easily unsubscribe at any time, so there's nothing to lose.

Don't forget, kids: Fight the theocracy!

Bonus Track

I was dreamin' in my dreamin'
Of an aspect bright and fair
And my sleepin' it was broken
But my dream it lingered near

In the form of shinin' valleys
Where the pure air recognized
Oh, and my senses newly opened
And I awakened to the cry

And the people have the power
To redeem the work of fools
From the meek the graces shower
It's decreed the people rule

People have the power

I hope you're right, Patti.


  1. Re Macbeth: Banquo describes "a most indissoluble tie, forever knit." Now I know what Will truly had in mind. :)

    1. Ha! Thanks for that insight!

  2. Anonymous11:06 AM

    Grandpa's entrée is clearly day-old poutine (French fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy OR French fries topped with cheesy brown gravy). Ask any Canuck about it.

    1. Anonymous7:33 AM

      I concur

    2. I think that's gotta be it.

    3. Anonymous10:31 PM

      Looks like Humble Pie to me...

    4. Anonymous10:34 PM

    5. Anonymous10:35 PM

      As safe as yesterday is...

  3. Anonymous11:14 AM

    Grandpa is eating lasagna. Albeit there's no sauce, veggies, or meat. But it's thick noodles. Maybe stroganoff and meatballs are extra. Pre-Ikea cafe.
    Have you ever noticed that people wear a watch on their opposite wrist from their handedness? Maybe he's ambidextrous. A theater director would have the lady eat with her other hand to round out the acting. 😁

    1. Now that you mention that about watches, he hand looks awkward to me.

  4. Love me some Beefheart.

    1. Yes! I almost posted the live version of "Tropical Hot Dog Night" from that same concert.

  5. Anonymous12:22 PM

    on grandad’s plate…i’d wager to guess it’s more of a ‘who’ rather than a ‘what’

  6. FWIW, I'm no Shakespeare scholar but I loved the Macbeth joke.

    In reference to this week's email, my favorite Billy May album by far (and for the last 40+ years) is "Stan Freberg Presents The United States of America Volume One: The Early Years." That's one of those albums that has become woven into my DNA.

    Thanks for continuing to provide laughs while it all comes tumbling down.

    1. Yes, Billy May's work with Freberg was stellar.

    2. Anonymous10:52 PM

  7. Anonymous4:12 PM

    Macbeth Cleaners is brilliant! It's so fun when the joke has a delayed kick like this one did for me. (ie., ????... ?... Oh! I got it!)
    And a special thank you for the Patty Smith lyrics and link. I truly hope she's right too.

    1. Thank you kindly. It's nice when we can find a way to add a slight beat before the joke lands, and wonderful when someone tells us it worked.

  8. Grandpa's eating finger food. That's to say, used fingers. Only a ghoul stiffs servers, so they gave him ghoul-lash.

  9. Anonymous10:26 AM

    I love the MacBeth gag. Laughed out loud!
    Surprised at Bunny’s Cafe the “rabbit” wasn’t used. All in all, funny stuff!!

    1. Sometimes I like to use the name Bunny without showing the Bunny of Exuberance. I've no idea why, though.

  10. Anonymous4:10 PM

    Those are Big Eyed Beans from Venus on that cheapskates plate.

  11. Anonymous5:57 PM

    If you're like me and feeling dumb because the reference went right over your head, it's this: "Out damned spot! out I say!"
    I feel vaguely shamed for not getting it (though to be fair I liked Something Rotten more than all the Shakespear that I fell asleep during.) It also turns out googling joke meanings is about as joke killing as having them explained to you.

  12. Anonymous7:01 AM

    What is in Granpa's glass?! I saw eyeballs at first.

  13. Saudi America -- how appropriate. Awful but appropriate.