Saturday, November 19, 2022

Sympathy for the Demon

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'd hate to take a bite out of you. You're a cookie full of arsenic.
Clifford Odets, Sweet Smell of Success (screenplay)

A few days ago, residents of Hollywood Gardens saw the season's first snowfall. Before long it turned to rain, so no shoveling was required, but it was sobering nonetheless. It seems we'll be soon starting our supplemental winter exercise routine.

This week's dramatic pipe model is German novelist and Nobel Prize winner Günter Grass.

A tip of the ol' porkpie to Bizarro reader Dave J for directing us to this striking portrait.

In case they're forming a Nobel Committee for Cartoons, we'd like to present the latest Bizarro gags for consideration.

Everyone deserves a spa day, particularly those whose lifespan is less than a month.

Gags set in tattoo parlors provide handy spots to place Bizarro Secret Symbols. I was asked if eleven is the most I've placed in a panel, but couldn't say for certain. If not a record, it's on the high end of the scale for me.

Three of the partially obscured tattoo designs in the bottom row have Pittsburgh connections. The folding chair is a nod to the Pittsburgh Parking Chair, commonly used to hold a parking spot in neighborhoods where homes may not have driveways or garages. Other cities in the US have the same custom, but it's something of a Pittsburgh trademark.

The heart design is an homage to Mr. Yuk.


This famous graphic, used widely across the US, was created by UPMC Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh in 1971, as an alternative to a skull and crossbones symbol on poisonous substances.

Partly visible in the center of the row is the logo for indie label Mind Cure Records, also based in Pittsburgh. Your cartoonist designed the logo in 1992.

It first appeared on The Joy of Wine, an LP by Thee Speaking Canaries. Mind Cure went on to become a record store for several years, and is now a dealer without a physical shop, although they stock records for an independent store called Fungus Books.

One could say this panel contains some extremely secret symbols.

Alternate text: "It's not you, it's me, because you don't even exist."

We all know that kid, don't we?

Once again, Bizarro fearlessly avails itself of copyright law's fair use doctrine, peeking backstage at an animation studio.

The strip layout necessitated cropping and repositioning of characters and elements, and a flattened bow on the mouse's head.

They were so close to a workable concept.

That's the latest from Bizarro Studios North. You might also enjoy visiting these related sites:

Dan Piraro's Bizarro Blog
Dan's thoughts on this and that, along with a new Bizarro Sunday page

Wayno's Bizarro Newsletter
Additional scuttlebutt from Bizarro Studios North, with a peek at an upcoming gag, and a graphic artifact from the past

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

Unsolicited Endorsement


Dark Passages is The Hollywood Noirchestra's brand new album of classic crime jazz. The ensemble is led by guitarist, singer, composer, and arranger Skip Heller, and the LP includes atmospheric, moody interpretations of themes by Henry Mancini, John Barry, Jerry Goldsmith, and others.


It sports a cover painting and package design by Cal Schenkel, who's known for his covers for Tom Waits, Frank Zappa, and Captain Beefheart. Cal is an artistic genius and a national treasure. I've admired his art since I was an eleven year-old weirdo.

Full disclosure: Messrs. Heller and Schenkel are friends of mine, but if I didn't love the record, I'd have kept quiet about it.

Production of the album and licensing of the compositions were made possible by crowdfunding. Supporters have received their LPs, and the few remaining copies are being offered for sale to the general public. It's available within the US for $30 postpaid, via PayPal to anchorline(at)gmail(dot)com.

Bonus Track

Elmer Bernstein: Staccato's Theme
From the Johnny Staccato TV score
Capitol Records, 1959

Elmer Bernstein (1922-2004) composed original scores for over 150 films (The Man With the Golden Arm, The Magnificent Seven, Stripes, etc.) and more that 80 television series. He was responsible for a quite a bit of excellent crime jazz.

Copyright© 2022 by Wayno®



  1. Anonymous12:09 PM

    You know the digital quartz workings of that watch you cherish is easily replaceable!! Fixed one myself. Ordered movement online watch a YouTube video and voila! It’s ALIVE!!

    1. I didn't know that! It might be a fun project to try and bring it back to life.

  2. Thanks for the link to Prime Burger ... great stuff. I like to eat where you can see the cooks devotedly at work.

    1. It was such a charming place. I' feel fortunate to have experienced it while it was still around.

    2. Anonymous7:55 PM

      I hate it for the staff and all their regular customers. That’s a lot to lose after so many years 😔

    3. Agreed, it's sad when someplace like that, with a dedicated crew and customers disappears...

  3. Vere Nekoninda2:40 PM

    'External combustion engines' preceded the kinds with internal combustion (although I would argue that the horse is an internal combustion means of locomotion). The classic steam engine, mentioned by Vitruvius in about 25 BCE, has been used to power locomotives in passenger and freight trains since at least 1804. They are still used widely in cartoons even today.

  4. Anonymous9:29 PM

    I like the Parking Chair idea. When I lived in Albany as a student I had snagged a Niagra-Mohawk orange cone and kept that in my trunk.

    1. That's a stylish alternative, and one you could probably get away with, too!

  5. Anonymous9:51 PM

    The “Johnny Staccato” theme sounds A LOT like the music from “The Man With The Golden Arm,” loud, lurid jazz with a lot of discordant horns. The TV show starred John Cassavetes, and featured a lot of West Coast jazz musicians (even though it was set in New York!). You can find episodes on YouTube and/or the Internet.

    1. Since both "Scaccato" and "Man With the Golden Arm" were both composed by Elmer Bernstein, he was only copying from himself!

      Yes, the "Johnny Staccato" series is a fun and interesting! It was parodies on SCTV as "Vic Arpeggio."

  6. Anonymous1:14 PM

    I'm assuming you are familiar with the two Crime Jazz collections, "Music in the First Degree" and "Music in The Second Degree?" Featuring music by Shorty Rogers, Stan Kenton, Henry Mancini & more!

    1. I am indeed! Two great collections from Rhino Records. The Hollywood Film Noirchestra's Skip Heller coproduced the discs and wrote liner notes for the second volume. Small world, isn't it!