Monday, April 26, 2010

Holiday Hell

Bizarro is brought to you today by Paradise Pie.

So much for my intentions to blog daily while away from home. There is just too much to do in Hawaii to make myself sit in front of a computer. Typically, we get up early and hit the beaches – snorkeling, sun bathing, napping. It's a tight schedule and by the time we get home, we're exhausted and barely have the energy to clean up and go to bed. Holidays can be hell.

More later, lots of stupid pictures to share.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Hawaii? Fine, how are ye?

Bizarro is brought to you today by Hawaii.

Hello, dear reader, it is good to see you. I am back online and blogging again, hopefully daily, after a few days of Internet silence. For the last four days I was in the birthplace of our president, Honolulu, Kenya, (where I did not have easy access to the Internets) and since yesterday have been in Maui. I was brought here by the Hawaiian Vegetarian Society to do a couple of talks – Honolulu on Tuesday night and Maui last night. Great crowds, great folks, a few real freaks (but that's one of the things I love about Maui) and now that the business end of my trip is through, CHNW and I are going to hang out for another week and enjoy the island.

The pic below is our new best friend, having met him in the security line at the airport because he and CHNW are apparently the same sort of people who cannot be near another human without getting to know them. He's around 7 feet tall, is way freakier looking in person than this photo conveys and is quite an amusing character. According to him, he is a Vietnam vet, spends most of his time rumbling around Maui on one of his four Harleys, and his name is Atta(then six or seven more syllables of Hawaiian-sounding stuff that I can't remember.) We hung out with him for a while in the airport, took some pics, and said our goodbyes. Maybe we'll see him around the island.

Until tomorrow, I bid you "Aloha." (Which I think is Hawaiian for "Where da bitches at?" )

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tube View

Bizarro is brought to you today by the Death Star.

I've always wanted to visit on of those huge mountaintop observatories like the one badly depicted in this cartoon. I think it would be cool. I have a small telescope that I used to like to use but here in NYC, there is too much ambient light to see much so I don't bother. You can barely even see the credits, much less read them.

I'm off in a few hours for a vacation, but I'll be posting here almost as regularly as I usually do. I likely won't post again until Tuesday or Wednesday of this next week, but after that, it will be fairly consistent. I've been working 12 and 14 hour days for a few weeks now trying to get ahead on Bizarro so I won't have to work while I'm gone. Hope it doesn't take me too long to relax and enjoy myself. For the first few days I'll likely be haunted by the feeling that I should be working on something other than a tan.

For those of you in Hawaii, I'll be speaking in Honolulu on Tuesday, April 20 and on Maui on Thursday, April 22. Both talks are sponsored by the Hawaiian Vegetarian Society, so look up the details on their website and come see me. I'm friendly and it's FREE!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Destroying the Lives of Children

Bizarro is brought to you today by Animal Husbandry.

Last week my cartoon was drawing attacks from all quarters. Yesterday's post was a bout a plagiarism accusation, today's is about my mistreatment of preschool icons. Below is the email I received, in its entirety:

I usually do not take the time to write someone about a comic strip. But this time I could not just ignore it.

I take EXTREME OFFENSE at your comic today. I am surprised Sesame Street hasn't talked to you yet.
(How does she know they haven't?)
The Birds
(Capitalized?) in the your comic strip today are very obviously Big Bird and Foghorn Leghorn.

You are making these characters out to be bullies. That is NOT what these characters stand for.
They are good characters, and I feel you are beating up on their images by using them.

I have two younger children that love to read the comics everyday with me (age 7 & 10).
When they saw what you had drawn, I'm not sure they will never want to see your comic strip again.
They were both extremely offended (as was I) and at the ages they are they knew that Big Bird would
NEVER do anything like that!!!!!!
(Then what is the problem?)

It is NOT FUNNY to bully someone's image like that, to infer that they would do anything like that.

(I believe she means "insinuate." "Inferring" is what she's doing.)

To pick on an image that has been out in this world doing nothing but good for over 40 years is SHAMEFUL!!!
You should be ashamed of yourself for picking on something as PURE as Big Bird!


Name withheld because I'm embarrassed for her.

I responded politely to her note, as I invariably do, and told her that everyone knows that Big Bird would never act this way and that is what makes it funny. I suggested that if she explained that to her children they would no longer be upset by the cartoon and learn a little something about the way humor works, too. I got no response.

Oh, the tremendous weight of social responsibility that a cartoonist bears.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thieves, Cowards and Clones

Today's Bizarro is brought to you by Amateur Crime Fighters.

After this cartoon appeared in the paper last week, I received two emails. One was from a polite person wondering if I had seen a Far Side cartoon from the late 20th century with a similar joke, and one from an impolite person accusing me outright of stealing the old Far Side cartoon and thinking no one would notice.

As I politely explained to both, widely-read cartoonists like me don't steal from even more widely-read cartoonists like Larson. Why? Because I have an I.Q. above that of a houseplant. You could never hope to get away with it, and what is more embarrassing that being caught stealing?

In truth, this kind of thing happens to professional cartoonists all of the time. There are hundreds or thousands of us searching our brains every single day for jokes, a twist on fairy tales or popular culture or recent movies, a way to turn a common phrase into an unexpected meaning. It is only natural that more than one person comes up with the same idea from time to time. The cartoon above is not all that unique, really. You take the common phrase, "let sleeping dogs lie" and think of a new way to illustrate it, this is pretty much what you get. The sort of things a dog might lie about are even likely to be similar. It's just the way the human mind works.

Professional cartoonists will pretty much all concur on this. We've all unintentionally published gags similar to our colleagues, and all had others publish ones very similar to ours. It just goes with the job, none of us waste much time pointing fingers because it's only a matter of time before we are the seemingly guilty party.

As a person who has judged caption contests before, I can tell you from experience that this happens to non-cartoonists, as well. If you publish a given picture and ask people to caption it, no matter how many entries you get, around three quarters will be in the same couple of veins of thought. None of us is as unique as we'd like to think.

My apologies for not having memorized more Far Side cartoons back in the last century. If I had, I would not have published this one. But as far as I can tell, no harm was done. I appreciate the two readers who wrote to call this to my attention, although I appreciate the polite reader far more. One of the downsides of the Internet is that its anonymity often fills the cowardly with false courage and incivility. (Hence the need to moderate comments.)

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Toddler Shock Collars

Bizarro is brought to you today by Future Families of the Past.

I used to have children a long time ago (now I have adults), before it became socially acceptable to put them on a leash. As weird as it looks, I could have used this device and would have in a heartbeat.

Toddlers are energetic drunks with no sense of their own mortality, so if you don't have them tethered, there is nothing to keep them from darting out into traffic after a shiny object. I tried tying a water ski rope around mine's waist but this raised too many eyebrows and questions from mall security guards. I moved to ankle weights, just to slow them down, but that only developed their leg muscles, making them even faster when the weights were removed. Drugging them seemed harsh, braiding their hair and hanging onto the end of it seemed cruel, as did a shock collar. There was just no good answer in those days.

But modern science has brought us toddler leashes and all is well. Now if we could just get parents to carry pooper scoopers and clean up after their kids, we'd have a truly civilized society.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Brain Goo

Bizarro is brought to you today by Dubious Parades.

I remember visiting a museum years ago – can't remember which one or where, which is one of the problems of traveling a lot – wherein there was a display describing prehistoric surgery. For reals.

Apparently, somebody (anthropologists? archeologists? utility workers?) found ancient skeletons from cave man times that have pretty clear evidence that their skull had been cut into then sealed again while they were alive. I suppose scientific curiosity is a possible motive but that aside, I have to wonder what they were trying to cure. How aberrant can a caveman's behavior be that his friends decide they might be able to fix it by digging around in his head? If he was killing people for no reason, seems more logical that they'd just kill him. If he was hallucinating, they'd likely chalk it up to a spiritual experience. Same with epilepsy or whatever. Maybe he was the first person to start talking and they thought he was crazy. It's interesting that they even suspected that fiddling with the goo inside your head might change something about your life.

If anyone knows more about this, let me know. I don't have time to research it this week, I'm trying to get ahead on deadlines so I can take a little vacation. Even if you just have a theory, leave it in the comments. I find this kind of thing pretty fascinating.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Adult Humor

(Click it now. See it bigger.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by
Inflatable Baby.

Finding someone to take your kids off your hands even for just a few hours is always difficult. Rick has found a simple and creative solution that rids him of the little tykes for good. And he's made some lovely lady very happy, to boot. The children are a little bewildered at the moment, but kids adjust and it is easy to imagine that life anywhere would be better than it had been with Rick.

Another cartoon with a happy ending for everyone. You're welcome.

*All of today's links came from, one of the best sites in the world.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Fear of Facsimile

Bizarro is brought to you today by More Cloning Horrors.

When this cartoon appeared in newspapers last week, the bottom caption title box dealy said "Downside of Cloning." But as I was reformatting it this morning for this post, I changed it to this one, which I like better.

A lot of objections have been raised about human cloning but none of the worst-case scenarios I've heard are as bad as being able to see myself the way others do. Terrifying. It's all I can do to escape suicide when I stay at a hotel with full-length mirrors in the bathroom, I can only imagine how depressing it would be to see and hear myself in widescreen, 3D, high definition. Forget about it.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hanging Wif My Homey

And now this bit of odd: I was interviewed this week by a puppet.

To enjoy more from the amusing mind of my buddy, Matt Sky, go to

Sexy Beast

Bizarro is brought to you today by Second Amendment Mailboxes.

Here's an example of a cartoon I wasn't sure all of the editors of my client newspapers would tolerate, but I got no complaints so that is good. Not 15 years ago, the term "gay" was not allowed on most funny pages, so perhaps the country has evolved. That tends to happen as older editors are replaced by younger, hipper ones.

There is no deeper meaning or grand statement made here, I just thought that a gay Chewbacca was funny. I originally conceived of the joke as a gay Bigfoot, but couldn't find the right caption for it. Having him head out to a comics convention seemed a good vehicle, so I changed him.

I submitted this cartoon almost two months ago, but just last week I saw a hilarious sketch on "Important Things with Demetri Martin" about a gay Bigfoot. Hitting upon the same idea is something that happens frequently to cartoonists and humor writers of all kinds. One of my cartoons that ran in the paper this week was apparently very close to a very old "Far Side" cartoon and a couple of people wrote to me about it. I'll talk more about that when I post the cartoon next week.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Prehistoric Diplomacy

Bizarro is brought to you today by Prehistory.

I'm happy to say that this was a very popular cartoon, judging by the mail I received. I thought of it as a purely visual gag but as it developed, it became a nice statement about the way different people think. Some of us try to solve problems with cooperation, logic, shared information and common interests, others want to use a hammer. I'll let you draw your own conclusions from there, political and otherwise. One could easily see this as a cartoon about foreign policy, of course.

Cutting it short today, it's 80 degrees and sunny in Brooklyn and CHNW and I are hopping on the motorbike and heading to Coney Island. Not for the roller coaster or freakshows, but the ride out and back will be grand. Hope things are sunny and freaky where you are.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Stupidly Suspenseful

Bizarro is brought to you today by Therapy.

For readers familiar with the TV show "24," this cartoon is self explanatory. If you're not, Jack Bauer is the preposterous, soap-opera-style hero of the fictional Counter Terrorist Unit of the U.S. government. He is a combination of James Bond and Batman, all wrapped up in the 5', 4", elfen body of Kiefer Sutherland. Bauer gets what he wants by threatening and torturing people, not unlike a Jack Russell Terrier.

In spite of it's myriad inconsistencies, preposterous plots and shameless overacting, or perhaps because of those things, CHNW and I have become avid fans over the run of the show. We never miss an episode, each of which takes several hours to watch as we pause it to laugh at the nonsensical twists.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Bizarro iPhone App Update

I've heard from some users of my Bizarro iPhone app that they've had some problems with it crashing. The gurus have issued an update to fix that, so check your App Update button. Or, if you haven't bought it yet, the new one should be complete with the fix. Thanks!

Baby Bear

(To experience the bear at actual size, click his nose.)

Bizarro would like to wish you a Happy Easter, unless you're against Easter and resent being wished a happy of it. In that case, I wish you a happy, albeit insignificant, day.

Since Easter is full of fairy tale contradictions that don't make any sense together, like a magician who comes back from the dead and a giant bunny hiding decorated chicken eggs, this seems as good a cartoon as any to post today. I like this gag quite a bit, if I may be so immodest. It started with the idea of Goldilocks in her old age, then a reunion with the three bears, which turned into this chance meeting near a dumpster with Baby Bear. It has a certain sense of reality to it that amuses me.

I'm not sure if I've plugged Awkward Family Photos before, but I get a lot of my hotlinks from there and it's one of my favorite sites on the Internet. There are some good Easter pics on there today and they have a new book out, which I highly recommend.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sick and Funny

Bizarro is brought to you today by Showbiz.

Thursday night was the big Comedy for Karma show at Gotham Comedy Club in NYC and it was a big success. According to all reports and reviews, everyone had a great time with the exception of me, and here's why.

A few hours before the show, on Thursday afternoon, I started to come down with a deadly illness of some kind. I felt feverish, nauseous, a little dizzy, achy all over, and weak. Yay! Just how you want to feel when trying to make a roomful of people laugh.

I managed to make it through the show – adrenaline will prop you up on those situations – but by the time I got home that night, I felt like death and passed out like a freshman on Spring Break. About 3 in the morning, the barfing began and I spent the next 24 hours in hell. We all know the feeling. This morning, Saturday, I woke up feeling normal again and I'm keeping my fingers crossed. All in all, about a 40-hour bug.

Here are some shots from the show, my picture from the show is beneath the "Showbiz" link in the first line of this post, and yes, I brought my clothes to the show wadded up in a tiny sack.

Opening the show, Myq Kaplan, a relative newcomer but fast-rising star. Funny, smart, won Best Standup NYC competition last year, has his own Comedy Central special premiering on Apr 30. He's also vegan and has some very smart/funny/not-preachy material about it.

Next, Wyatt Cenac of The Daily Show. Smart, funny, Emmy Award winner, made people laugh openly and without remorse.

Lizz Winstead, creator of The Daily Show and Air America Radio, renowned standup comic, producer, performer extraordinaire. She talked a lot about her dog's habit of eating poop, hilarity ensued.

Gary Gulman, three-time veteran of our show, his Comedy Central special was called "Boyish Man," always a huge hit. Even I was laughing while trying to keep down my lunch.

Dave Atell finished the show in his inimitable, ear-burning style. He's been on every TV network, performed in every comedy club in America, is the quintessential pro, and never has a bad night. Atell killed, as he always does. There were a lot of bodies to clean up, but it was worth it.

Wait a minute! No picture of Louis C.K.? Indeed, he had a business emergency come up and had to cancel at the last minute. Very sad, but I explained to everyone that he's really not very funny and I think that made it better.

NOTE: Many readers have asked that we video tape the show for folks to watch online, but with so many performers, each with their own agents and contractual obligations, it is impossible to get anyone to allow a benefit show like this to be taped, unless it's being broadcast. Except for cartoonists, almost no one will give their work away on a large scale for free. Sorry, gang.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fly Crimes and Misdemeanors

Bizarro is brought to you today by Olympic Athletes of Other Worlds.

Today's cartoon is a collaboration between my friend, Richard Cabeza and I. We were discussing how short fly's lives are and then came to the idea of appropriate jail terms. We didn't actually bother to look up the lifespan of the common housefly, of course, that would have been too much like work. One of the nice things about being a cartoonist is that nobody can really hold your feet to the flames about inaccuracies. "It's just a cartoon," is a pretty good defense in virtually any situation.

Tonight is the big comedy show in NYC. I'm a little edgy, as I always am before a show, and I can't keep myself from ad libbing punch lines and cracking wise. It's a subconscious thing as my mind prepares itself to think quickly, but it's obnoxious as hell and CHNW does her best to stay away from me and keep conversation down to a minimum until showtime. Hope to see some of you there.

Until tomorrow, be well, my friends, and keep your hands and feet inside the cockpit at all times.