Saturday, November 26, 2022

Good Grief

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.


I love mankind... It's people I can't stand!
Linus van Pelt, in Charles M. Schulz's Peanuts

If you celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope yours was calm and uneventful, with no political arguments or food fights. Although the holiday itself is based in on a self-serving mythology, there's never a bad time to express gratitude.

I have much to be grateful for, including the ability to spend every day drawing cartoons, working with mi amigo Dan Piraro, playing music with super-talented friends, connecting with Bizarro's community of readers, and having regular meals, shelter, a wonderful spouse, and an affectionate feline companion.

Today, November 26, 2022, is the one-hundredth birthday of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz, and more than eighty syndicated cartoonists (including yours truly) are paying tribute to him in today's comics.

Our pipe pic this time around is a panel from the June 20, 1979 Peanuts comic. 

It's impossible to overstate Schulz's influence on cartoonists and comic readers. In our childhood home, my two brothers and I had what now seems like dozens of paperback reprints of Peanuts comics, which we read and reread countless times. We watched all of the television specials, although I preferred the printed version, without those overdone sound effects. Still, the Vince Guaraldi scores provided an early introduction to jazz.

I literally grew up with Schulz's work, and perhaps naturally as teenager, rebelled against it, particularly when it focused on Snoopy's fantasy life, or more accurately his fantastical life. What brought me back to Peanuts was the humanity of its characters, with their varied personalities, and their mix of optimism, friendship, jealousy, pettiness, fears and neuroses.

The first installment, published in October of 1950, established a wonderfully dark tone for the comic, and for this reader, it remains the perfect Peanuts strip.

I never met Schulz, but I've heard stories from many colleagues about his generosity and encouragement of younger cartoonists. His work is part of our collective DNA, and will continue to be reproduced (in ink, pixels, or something else entirely) for as long as people read, study, discuss, and enjoy comics.

Now that I've set an impossibly high bar, I'll drag you down to earth with my own recent cartoon output.

Artists and art history turn up regularly in Bizarro. I've referenced Christo in the past, but in today's panel, three Secret Symbols have been given the wrapped-object treatment.

Peanuts paid tribute to Christo in 1978, so I think I'm in good company.

I'd been toying with the trope of someone looking at a starry sky and commenting on how it puts things in perspective, but wanted to make their response resentful rather than humble.


My first sketch was a more typical setup. Later it became a hotel room.

In reality, alligators wouldn't survive for long in human sewage, and they'd probably dress more stylishly than we've shown here.

Easter Island's moai statues are never alone, while Liberty Island has a sole inhabitant. This felt like an apt conversation for Thanksgiving Day.

I did my homework on the look of each character, but I'm sure the relative scales are way off.

This week, I heard an interview on The New Yorker Caption Contest Podcast with cartoonist David Borchart, who mentioned a cartoon that either included Jonathan Swift's Gulliver character or used the word "Lilliputian." When he showed his cartoon to a group of students, none of them knew what it was about. That was a bit of a shock to me, but I suppose I shouldn't be surprised if some readers don't get this one. Nonetheless, I liked it enough to run it on Friday.

And, finally, my cartoon for Charles Schulz's centenary. I felt it was true to both Bizarro and Peanuts, and worked as a standalone gag, in addition to commemorating the cartoonist's milestone birthday.

That's the latest from Bizarro Studios North. Thanks as always for reading the comics, and this commentary. You might also enjoy these Bizarro-related locations:

Dan Piraro's Bizarro Blog
Dan's Sunday Bizarro page, and other nuggets of wisdom

Wayno's Bizarro Newsletter
Extra stuff from my Little Shop of Humor, a preview of an upcoming gag, and something from the files

Dan Piraro's award-winning graphic novel 
Thanks for dropping by. See you next week with more words and pictures.

Bonus Track

Hoagy Carmichael, "Memphis in June"
from Hoagy Sings Carmichael
Pacific Jazz Records, 1956

Tuesday, November 22, was the 123rd anniversary of the birth of Hoagy Carmichael, one of my favorite songwriters and singers. He was a pretty good whistler, too.

Copyright© 2022 by Wayno®


  1. Melissa8:41 AM

    Great bunch of comics this week. I particularly love the Charlie Brown gag. The band Marillion recently mentioned Christo in The Crow and the Nightingale, which is a tribute to Leonard Cohen.

    1. Thanks for the info! I don't think I ever listened to Marillion before, though I definitely saw their LPs in stores over the years.

  2. I'll bet that doctor charges more than 5¢!

    I had all those Peanuts paperbacks and read them all the time too. My friend Matt and I would go to the local 7-Eleven and scour the racks for new ones.

    I'm thankful for your and Dan's great work on Bizarro.

    1. Thank you so much for the kind words.

      I'm now recalling tons of comic strip paperbacks we had at home. Beetle Bailey, BC, Tumbleweeds (I really loved that strip), Eek & Meek... There was something special about the crappy reproduction on cheap pulp in those books.

  3. Anonymous1:01 PM

    I just LOVE The Gulliver’s Trousers gag!!

  4. Anonymous5:57 PM

    Your mention of “Lilliputian” producing blank stares reminds of two similar moments. In a college study abroad program in Florence a young coed decryed the fact that all the “Madonna and Child” renderings she’d seen had only depicted male children; no girls!
    A colleague elsewhere described having a H.S. who hadn’t realized before his biology class that there was more than one kind of tree. Probably never climbed any either.

  5. Great bunch especially the Sparky tribute. Will there be a Mori meet the aliens toon soon?

    1. Hmmmm, I'll have to let that thought marinate for a while. Could be something there!

  6. Anonymous3:05 PM

    Here it is Friday and I'm just getting around to reading your blog from last Saturday. Oops. On the bright side, I realized I was reading your cartoon of November 22, while wearing my sweatshirt depicting the Milky Way galaxy with a "You Are Here" pointing to an insignificant dot.
    Additionally, I'm enjoying a Hoagy Carmichael tune I've not heard before. I was introduced to his beautiful melodies in the 60s after hearing Spanky and Our Gang's rendition of Hong Kong Blues. Thanks for making my Friday do pleasant.

    1. Thanks for the comment and the weird serendipity of your sweatshirt when you read the comic.

      I love Hoagy Carmichael, and am pleased to hear that you lik "Memphis in June." Many years ago we adopted a cat who had come from an extreme hoarder home. He had untreated respiratory infections in his past which left him with a very distinctive voice, not conventionally "pretty" but full of personality. We named him Hoagy, and he turned out to be a truly social and loving little gent, despite all he'd been through.

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments.

  7. Anonymous2:41 PM

    Re this week's email: If you're a Dr Feelgood fan you probably already know about the Will Birch books. If not, check out No Sleep Till Canvey Island and the related Nick Lowe biography. I've heard about Oil City Confidential a couple of times recently and hope to view it sometime. - Pat Grealy