Saturday, December 02, 2023

Breaking Up the House

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.


The worry is that, for the companies that shape so much of our cultural life, A.I. will function first and foremost as a way to keep pushing out recycled goods rather than investing in innovations and experiments from people who don’t yet have a well-known back catalog to capitalize on. I hope I am wrong.
Peter C. Baker

Last week the New York Times ran an insightful article by Peter C. Baker on artificial intelligence and its use in the creation of the recently released Beatles record "Now and Then." Baker is a fan of the group's music and enjoyed the heavily processed single and its accompanying promotional video, but the project raises questions about how A.I. could affect the arts.

I'm not here to critique "Now and Then," and have not heard it. People like it, and many find it profoundly moving, and that's perfectly cool. 

However, the project also portends profit-driven corporations using A.I. to reuse, remix, recombine, and simulate existing "content" to the detriment of new creative works is at least troubling and worthy of discussion. Popular culture is already dominated by endless remakes and "franchise" entertainment. If consumers are continually fed variants of what they already like, and it can be pieced together from existing materials, it will become that much harder for new creative works to find their audience. 

Perhaps doomsaying isn't called for yet, but the entertainment-industrial complex is already replicating footage of actors to fill in crowd scenes and the theft of visual art using A.I. is happening daiy.

A.I.'s facility in stealing existing art without permission and spreading disinformation is another matter, which we won't get into here.

Rather, we'll soothe our nerves with a somewhat mysterious pipe pic.

This appears to be an advertising image for Amphora pipe tobacco done in the style of René Magritte, but I've been unable to find any information confirming or denying that.

The URL in the lower right corner is a Swedish blog about poker. An image search turned up just one other occurrence, on a pipe-smoking blog with several pages of vintage ads, but no info on any of them.

The following images of the week's Bizarro comics have no shortage of information, as your cartoonist loves to talk about his work; maybe too much.

The week kicked off with what I like to call semiautobiofiction.

I rarely read the local newspaper but picked up a copy this week to look at Bizarro in its halftoned newsprint form. I was pleased to see that it hadn't been reduced to unreadability but noticed that it had been squeezed horizontally. Naturally, I had to do a comparison.

The printed version, represented by the red art, overlaid on the panel in its original aspect ratio revealed that the horizontal dimension had been reduced by about ten percent. That's not too bad compared to some papers, which print the comic at about the size of a postage stamp. At least they used the correct byline.

This stageplay in question is Web of Deceit.

Fortunately, this puzzle is water-solvable.

Technology was so much simpler in the old days, wasn't it.

We never pass up an opportunity to draw Frankenstein's monster. In this panel, we imagine the doctor is conducting market research for future experiments. 

We ended the week with a parent's final backhanded compliment.

Shameless Self-Promotion

Hey, kids! My musical trio has finally finished and released our second album, Breaking Up the House, and it's available on compact disc now. Click HERE to order yours.

The discs are manufactured on demand and usually ship a couple days after an order is placed.

It will soon be available on the usual download and streaming platforms. That requires extra work (and extra money) clearing licenses and paying the distributor, and it should appear the week of December 4.

We're pretty happy with it and are looking forward to seeing how it's received by music lovers.

Bonus Track 

The Rolling Stones: "The Spider and the Fly"
From the album Out of Our Heads
Abcko Records, 1965

One of the earliest Jagger/Richards original compositions, which is charming in its knuckleheaded simplicity and understated arrangement.

More Bizarro For Your Enjoyment

If you like what we do, and appreciate that it comes to you free of charge, we encourage you to explore any or all of the following links. 


 Wayno's Weekly Bizarro Newsletter

 Dan Piraro's Weekly Bizarro Blog

Dan's Tip Jar

Dan "Diego" Piraro's Peyote Cowboy Graphic Novel

Official Bizarro Shop

King Features Subscription & Archive Access

Copyright© 2023 by Wayno®  


  1. Michael Johnson, Prescott, AZ12:06 PM

    I'm glad I listened to the Spider and the Fly, which is obviously the work of beginners, but you can tell they've been listening very carefully to old blues records. I thought I had heard everything the Stones ever did, but this seemed new to me. Thanks.

    1. I have a fondness for much of their early original material, when they were finding their way. "Tell Me" is another one I enjoy.

  2. Tim Howe12:48 PM

    The photoshopped model is Doc Adams from Gunsmoke. Love your work.

    1. That wasn't intentional, but it sure does look like him! Must be due to all those years of my dad watching Gunsmoke and other "shoot-em-ups" as my grandfather called them.

  3. mengelji2:28 PM

    The Spider and the Fly is a total tip of the hat to Jimmy Reed. Check out his "Bright Lights Big City" song and see for yourself.

    1. Good ear! You're right about that.

  4. Anonymous2:59 PM

    Caffiend presents an interesting paradox, he’s wireless and wired.

  5. Anonymous3:00 PM

    Eventually, people will understand that artificial intelligence is like artificial flowers - easier, different, occasionally an almost satisfactory substitute for the real thing

  6. The image of the newsprint comic reminds me that very often the quality of the comics I read (through ArcaMax) is pretty poor. Many of Dan's Sunday posts are not readable. I wait to read them from his blog/newsletter. Seems silly to me. How much is saved from reducing the resolution? At least I can read my comics and get to be smug about not wasting paper.

    1. Yes, I quite agree. There's one coming up that has some round objects in it, and I just KNOW they'll look weird when they're squished like that.

  7. Anonymous1:22 PM

    I read years ago that since rock music is usually made up of 3 chords (or 4) that there was a high chance of a band repeating another bands chords. Either on purpose or by accident. One famous musician did just that and when he was made aware of it he pulled the song and made profuse apologies. He said that he had probably heard the song years ago and when he was writing his own song he had inadvertently pulled that one from memory. Now, as to how AI fits into this, I think that AI is going to unknowingly plagiarize a lot of music and literature, simply because it will be drawing from its own memory banks. On a final note, one thing that I truly dislike is CGI commercials, simply because of the actors that they put out of work. Who’s going to have money to buy products if the buyers have been displaced by machines?

    1. Chord sequences are certainly repeated in countless compositions. The standard I-IV-V progression is the basis for most blues and rock songs.

      You're probably right about AI "unknowingly" plagiarizing, because that's what it was built to do.

      Oh, yeah, I hate CGI stuff. I remember watching a decently written TV film about Lincoln. All of the actors were real humans, but Lincoln was CGI. Talk about disturbing!

  8. Anonymous2:42 PM

    Ermm... Great stuff and zinging wit once again, but the commercial proofreader in me (18 years of it) just wants to note that alpha-styled "800" numbers always have at least SEVEN characters after them, corresponding to the 7 digits comprising the typical phone # following the 800-code.
    As in, "MONSTER" would have worked perfectly well for the Frankenstein cartoon.... "MONSTR" is short one character and thereby missing the corresponding last digit of the phone number it's encoding!

    1. You're correct. The six character spelling was a deliberate choice. Had I spelled out "MONSTER" it would most likely have corresponded to an actual working number, so I chose the shorter version to avoid any problems. Hope you'll grant me special dispensation since I had a reason!

  9. Anonymous2:07 PM

    I commented above about the 3 chord music and AI and CGI. I think that you’ll find this interesting, last night on the news they reported that Sports Illustrated and a New York newspaper had both published AI articles, without labelling them as such. Sports Illustrated even had a photograph of the man who had supposedly written it. I don’t know if he was CGI or not. Who was it that said, “The end is nearer than we think”.

  10. Anonymous8:27 PM

    Monday's comic, I thought you had done a 3D version. Once I read the explanation It all made sense.

  11. Anonymous1:19 PM

    I’ve always liked the Rollingstones earlier work. The Spider and the Fly is an old favorite. Once that earworm gets in your head, you’re singing it all day. I’m so amused that their current tour is sponsored by AARP. LOL!