Saturday, January 28, 2023

The Maltese Mackerel

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 created Bizarro in the late twentieth century, and continues to do the Sunday comic from Rancho Bizarro in Mexico.


Write drunk, edit sober.

A few days ago, our hard-working Bizarro editor caught a typo in one of my comics. It was an obvious error that I'd missed, and I said that it looked like I must have been drinking on the job. She replied with the comment above this post, which is often attributed (incorrectly, it turns out) to Ernest Hemingway.

In a purely metaphorical sense, it's got some merit as advice for cartoonists. I wouldn't suggest literally being drunk while writing, but letting go of logic and rules sometimes helps generate ideas, which can then be edited (or refined) in a clear-headed and methodical way to hammer them into something usable.

After the work's completed? Now, that's a good time for some liquid reward, if one is so inclined. What the hell, today's the twenty-eighth; even if you're doing Dry January, it's nearly over.

I may have a nip this evening, and if I do, I'll raise a glass to our editor, JB, who catches and corrects my goofs before they can make their way out into the world. Thanks, JB!

Speaking of alcohol, this week's pipe pic offers a surprising use for vodka, as seen in a 1964 magazine article.

For those brave enough to give it a try, here's the full image, showing the recommended brand of hooch.

A tip of the old porkpie to Bizarro reader Steve D for sending us this oddball image.

Now, let's check the week's comics for evidence of cartooning under the influence.

At some level, we can all relate to Monday's gag.

Alexa's latest software update includes enhanced attitude. Unlike the smart speaker, I have no beef with opera.
Despite being woefully uninformed, I have in fact enjoyed operatic performances and recordings. What little I know about the art form, I gleaned from Bugs Bunny cartoons.

I got carried away with the Secret Symbols, and placed a dozen in this panel. I nearly included them all, but after several attempts to cram the Fish of Humility into the frame, I gave up.

We followed with a simple palate cleanser of a gag.

I made some adjustments to the server's posture to fit him into the strip layout.
This revised body language resulted in an unexpectedly improved drawing.

The introduction of a new character can significantly change a familiar story.

I enjoy hard-boiled 1940s crime cinema as much as I enjoy sushi, so this panel was like dinner and a movie to me.

This caption employs adjacent metathesis, which is the transposition of sounds within a word, or words within a sentence. The term comes from a Greek word meaning "I put in a different order." I occasionally use adjacent metathesis as a way to create a surprising balloon or caption for a comic.

We wrapped up with our second gag of the week employing inanimate objects as protagonists. They're a close-knit family.

That's the latest in words and pictures from Bizarro Studios North. If you enjoy this blog, I also recommend these related Bizarro locations:

Dan Piraro's Bizarro Blog
Dan's always-gorgeous Sunday Bizarro, plus other thoughts from Rancho Bizarro World HQ in Mexico

 Wayno's Bizarro Newsletter
A supplement to the blog, with a peek at an upcoming Bizarro gag, and an illustration or design from the archives

Dan Piraro's epic, award-winning, surreal western graphic novel

Bonus Track

Frank Gallop, "Got a Match?"
ABC-Paramount Records, 1958


A vinyl gem from the Bizarro Studios North collection.

Copyright© 2023 by Wayno®







  1. Carol W10:22 AM

    First let me say my favorite this week was Film Nori!
    As soon as I saw the pipe/vodka article, I thought of Martha Stewart, of course! She’s got a sense of humor for sure.

    1. Thanks for the comment and the video link, Carol!

  2. Anonymous9:41 AM

    You really nailed Alan Ladd and Veronica Lake...

    1. Definitely inspired by Veronica Lake, and the guy was modeled on both Alan Ladd and Robert Mitchum.

  3. Anonymous10:32 AM

    Broken magazine slipped-in record...

  4. Anonymous3:39 PM

    So, the mice on the menu are from a lab?

  5. Anonymous5:05 PM

    All home runs for me this week, Wayno. I’ll be wear’n a smile all day. Thanx !

    1. I'm wearing a smile now, thanks to your comment.

  6. "Got a match?" Why no, I haven't had a match since Hercules. Love your work Wayno.

    1. Many thanks! Glad to hear from another harp player.