Saturday, September 17, 2022

Out of My League

This is the regular 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.


Keep drawing those funny pictures.
Charles M. Schulz

The studio is a bit melancholy today. The National Cartoonists Society is holding their annual Reuben Awards weekend in person for the first time since 2019, and I couldn't make it to Kansas City for the event. I've been an NCS member for many years, and started attending the Reuben weekends in 2013, when it was held here in Pittsburgh.

The awards dinner is always a lot of fun, with everyone dressed in fancy duds, and the workshops are informative and interesting, but the best aspect of the weekend is hanging with colleagues and talking about what we do. We spend every other day of the year working alone at a drawing board and/or computer, and when we get together with others of our tribe, it's refreshing and energizing.

The cartoonist community is friendly, kind, and welcoming. Over the years, I've met and become friends with many artists I've admired since childhood. I miss them all today.

I wish all of the nominees the best of luck, and promise to be there next year, wherever the Reubens take place.


This week's pipe pic comes to us from Bizarro reader Antonio F, who snapped this photo of clay pipes at a market in Siracusa, Sicily.

Grazie mille a Antonio! (Thanks, Antonio!)

While I'm moping about missing all of my pals at the Reubens, I suppose we ought to review this week's Bizarro comics.

The whole book this story came from could benefit from judicious editing.


Sheep's clothing still requires some actual work, so the move to a poodle suit represents evolutionary progress.


I like the way this gag works, with the text referring to part of the drawing that you probably don't notice at first glance.

On Thursday, we traveled back in time to what may have been the first fly in the soup gag.


This twist on the pairing of a grizzled veteran detective with a clueless rookie provided the opportunity to draw a classic New York City Greek-motif coffee cup. I simplified the design, since comics are printed at such a small size in papers, but I think it's recognizable.

Here's a closer look.

We ended the week with a Saturday Switcheroo.



Vanishing Act

Monday morning, Lee Enterprises, a newspaper group which is majority-owned by a large investment firm, stopped running Bizarro and many other comics in their papers. Lee Enterprises owns more than 75 newspapers across the United States.

If you normally read Bizarro in your local paper and found that it wasn't there today, I encourage you to contact the editors and express your disapproval. The most effective catalyst for newspapers to make changes is demand from their readers.

Dan has more to say about this over on his blog.



Gridiron Graphic

I recently worked on a non-Bizarro project that might surprise our regular readers.

For the second year in a row, the Pittsburgh Steelers football team worked with local artists to create silkscreened posters for each home game, with proceeds from the sales going to local charities. I was asked to design a poster for the home opener, which takes place tomorrow.

CommonWealth Press, a great print shop I've worked with many times in the past curated the project and selected the artists. They're a union shop, and are passionate about printing. They partnered with WorkerBird, a friend and neighbor, who handled the scheduling and getting the designs reviewed and approved.

I know next to nothing about football, but did some homework regarding the team mascots, and filled up the space with iconic Pittsburgh imagery. The signs on the fence in the background feature a Pennsylvania keystone emblem, a "skyscraper" ice cream cone from Isaly's Dairy, the Pittsburgh coat of arms, a steel beam, the Roberto Clemente Bridge, one of the city's funicular "inclines," and a parking chair. The chair is an odd local custom, meant to reserve a parking space, although the practice is not technically legal.

The rubber duck represents a giant floating duck that signaled the opening of the city's Arts Festival several years ago, and the pierogi on the right is one of the area's favorite food items.

CommonWealth printed 200 of the 18" x 24" posters, using five colors of ink, which had to be signed and numbered.

Photo: Karl Roser/Pittsburgh Steelers

After the signing, I visited the team's training facility for a photo shoot with their official photographer. All in all, it was a surreal but pleasant experience. Tomorrow, I'll attend the game itself, to check out the shop where the posters will be sold. There's supposed to be a photo in the printed program, and some sort of announcement during the game. I'll be easy to spot in the stands: just look for the guy who has no idea what's happening on the field. 


That's the news from Bizarro Studios North for another week. Thank you for visiting. You might consider viewing these related sites for more of this kind of thing:

Dan Piraro's Bizarro Blog

Wayno's Bizarro Newsletter

Diego Piraro's Peyote Cowboy Graphic Novel

See you next week.

Bonus Track

Buck Owens: "Hot Dog"
from the album Hot Dog (Capitol Records, 1988)

Buck first recorded this song in 1956, under the pseudonym Corky Jones, so as not to alienate hardcore country music fans.



  1. I love the poster! I live in Philly and I am an Eagles fan but for purposes of the poster, I am a Steelers fan. Under no circumstances would I be a Patriots fan! But it's a nice poster and maybe the Eagles should think about hiring you! Also, I have a rule that I do not read newspapers that don't have comics. All the papers I read still carry your work. A paper without comics is a waste of time.

    1. Thanks for the kind words.

      Yes, there's something special about reading comics on newsprint.

  2. Anonymous8:18 PM

    Hot dawg!

  3. Anonymous9:14 PM

    The do the chair 'reservation' in Chicago too, in the snowy season.

    1. Interesting. I think Chicago vernacular also includes the word "jagoff," which is popular here.

  4. Thanks for educating me a bit about Pittsburgh. I have been watching an old TV show (2001-2004) called The Guardian, set in Pittsburgh. And now I know why a restaurant the characters are always going to for business deals and dates would be called The Incline.

    1. I'd never heard of that show. That's some good trivia!

  5. Anonymous10:57 PM

    What a wonderful night! After I heard Buck Owens I clicked to the right and heard Lefty Frizell! I used to hear him in the 50s when I was dating, and then they played the number #1 hit of each month from 1950 to 1960, I sang right along with all the old stars, most who have passed on, and it was wonderful. So thank you so much - it brought back great memories of my youth. Plus I got to enjoy Bizarro and your comics, which I look forward to each week. Lots of love!

    1. Wow, thanks for sharing that. The YouTube algorithm sometimes gets things just right.

      Thanks also for the kind words about the comic. Much appreciated!

  6. I was looking at the poster, great artwork, but I couldn't find a single icon! And then I remembered this was not a Bizarro project.

  7. Anonymous12:13 AM

    How about a Seahawks vs Cardinals poster (game played in WA)

    1. If the NFL wants me, I am available!

  8. Anonymous12:56 AM

    Given that three of the five ink colors are yellow, red, and blue, I'm a little surprised that the Steelers' logo appears in monochrome black. Was there a technical reason that the three diamonds could not be printed in there usual colors?

    1. I considered it, but the "hypocycloids" are so tiny, I was afraid the yellow one would get lost in that white space. I also kind of like the monochrome version.

  9. 🚧 I didn't recognize the Roberto Clemente Bridge without all its "closed for repairs" signs.

    1. Heh heh. You must be a Pittsburgher!

  10. Anonymous10:03 PM

    I loved living in Pittsburgh. Even though I was only there for less than 10 years, they were significant years, and I really miss it. Awesome poster 💕