No Fly List


Bizarro 07-21-13 WEB










(To see a more enormouser version of this cartoon, click eye # 8435 on the fly in pink.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Big Kiss.

This is a fairly soft gag about the lifespan of common houseflies but I used it as a Sunday panel so I could really get into drawing the bugs. I’m a big fan of insects, which don’t scare me or creep me out unless I suspect them of being dangerous. Outside of that, I think they’re the coolest things on earth.  Also worth noting in this cartoon is the maggot-covered Bizarro Bunny on the wall poster––also really fun to draw.

I spent a couple of months in Costa Rica a few years ago living in an open-air cabin in the jungle, and every single day one or more huge insects I’d never seen before would appear in the cabin somewhere. I took lots of pics. Usually it was a beetle- or grasshopper- or moth-type bug so I knew they weren’t dangerous. In fact, the only insects I feared in Costa Rica were the mosquitoes, some of which carry a flesh-eating virus. I’m not exactly sure what happens if you get this virus, but if it makes you want to eat flesh, it’s disgusting. They should call it a zombie virus.

Below is the header panel that appeared with this cartoon in some newspapers and a version of what they’d look like together in your Sunday Punnies. As I’ve mentioned before, most newspapers don’t use these header panels, but I create them for the ones that do. This one is unusually simple compared to what I usually create for these.

Bizarro 07-21-13 hedrBizarro w title 07-21-13 WEB


40 thoughts on “No Fly List

  1. Highly effective cartoon! Though it’s a fly, I immediately saw myself in the applicant’s shoes. Oops, they obviously don’t wear shoes! — Not even the lady fly! Well, who would want to spoil the look of such beautiful hairy feet anyway!?

    I hate job interviews! It’s like standing trial. Nightmare! — With most failed job interviews I know today: They didn’t take me meant ACQUITTAL!

    That header panel is cool! It would make for a great cover for many an Indie-Rock album. As such, people would appreciate your work much more, I guess. Cartoons are looked at as disposable articles. Bizarro cartoons — for the most part — are reusable products.

  2. Nice touch with the maggots! I noticed them before reading your comments. :-) Not sure about getting as close to bugs as you do (what is that critter hanging from your hat?), but I love forensic entymology.

  3. While I appreciate that you liked my fly photograph enough to trace it for your header, I would have liked to have been consulted first.

    My original photograph is here:

    In the future, please ask before using my work for your commercial projects. And for the present, I would appreciate having a small acknowledgement and a link back added to this post.

    Alex Wild

    • Wow, that really is your photo that I used for this art! At first I thought one of my regular readers was pulling my leg. I’m impressed with your photographic abilities and love that photo, but when converting anything to art, especially by hand, no acknowledgement or permission is required or due.

      Still, I’m happy to give you a plug on this post. Thanks for checking in.

      • Thanks for responding, Piraro. However, you are not correct, that artists may copy photographs by hand, legally. While this is obviously a grey area, allowable use has tended in court decisions to involve either parody/commentary of the original image, or significant changes in pose, composition, and meaning to the original, which I don’t think this does. Yours is pretty much a straight-up trace of my photo, and both images are intended with an illustrative purpose. In contrast, here’s an example of what I consider acceptable, transformative use of my work:

        Do you have a reference that shows copying photos is not infringement? This notion seems more like an urban legend that circulates among the wishfully-thinking art community.

        In any case, this particular dispute will remain academic, as of course I’m not intending to drag you to court. That’d be stupid. Still, I’d appreciate just a small note at the bottom of the original post noting the reference.

        • Happy to oblige, Alex. I think the court cases you reference are about much more literal depictions of the original source, not to mention ones in which a decent amount of money was made from the art. Neither is the case here, of course. Mine is a loose sketch of a fly using your photo as reference and I’ve not made any money from it. Nonetheless, I love your photos so I’ll post about you and our conversation with a link. :o)

        • Hi Alex,

          Your photographs are awesome (in the real sense, not like every idiot uses this adjective ALL of the time)!

          Copyright issues can be very tricky. I have no idea what to make of this very case. I just see Dan having a nightmare now. He dreams of you at his bedside, and you brought a badass lawyer along. And then there is this huge, huge fly behind all of you, and the fly also brought a lawyer along (an even more badass one!).

          I hope you can settle this without any lawyers, just over a beer (and some sugared water for the fly). And now you’ll have to excuse me: I’ve yet to see the rest of those photographs!

          My best,


    • Mr. Wild.
      A friend called my attention to the discussion on Mr. Pirrarro’s blog.
      It would seem sir, that it is YOU who are in fact in violation of copyrighted material.
      You can see the TRUE original of the Musca domestica here
      You have clearly taken MY image and inverted the colors from the thermo-graphic imaging, removed the tiny cigarette and “fixed” its charming eye.
      Have you no shame? Is there no decency among entomologi..?
      Mike Capozzola
      San Francisco, CA

  4. This is the best cartoon I’ve seen in a while. I love it. Also, is that a stick of dynamite underneath the table. On the far right.
    Also what the heck is that picture on the wall?

    EDIT: Just realized that dynamite joke. Yes, I’m new here.

  5. Dan, check the penultimate sentence in the penultimate paragraph for a duplicate ‘you’.

    As always, enjoy your work! Thanks.

  6. Interestingly, one of the leading authorities on U.S. copyright law would appear to disagree with that characterization of copyright in photographs:

    “It is, of course, fundamental that copyright in a work protects against unauthorized copying, not only in the original medium in which the work was produced, but also in any other medium as well. Thus, copyright in a photograph will preclude unauthorized copying by drawing or in any other form, as well as by photographic reproduction.” – Nimmer 1-2 §2.08E.

  7. Dan,I really like this one.As for Alex-I checked out his awesome website and am now torn between the two of you.I’ll have to split my time between these.A little sad that Alex was bugged by your use of a photo that he has on the internet (how Wild is that?). Guess I can’t use any on facebook,huh? Next time you need a photo to draw from let me know-I’m happy to share.Now for a question-how can I get an avatar posted here instead of the generic shadow person?I gotta go look at some bugs now-will check back later.

    • Thanks for your support, Daddy C. I have no idea how the avatars work on this contraption, so sorry I can’t help. :o)

    • Sign up at Any website that uses the gravatar system (such as this one) will look up the email address you provide and find the avatar associated with it in the gravatar database.

  8. Reading some more from Mr.Wild,I’m curious if he received permission from either the fly or it’s handler (perhaps the dumpster’s owner) to photograph it’s likeness for publication?Really,how far out can one take this?Pretty far,it appears.

  9. Pingback: Going Forward |

  10. Every fly I’ve ever seen up close looks like the photograph. Did Mr. Wild have the permission of the fly before he took the photo and spread it all over the world? I think not.

  11. Alex, you might want to try overlaying Dan’s drawing on your photo. I’m pretty sure you’ll see the drawing was definitely not a ‘tracing’. There are numerous small details that don’t match exactly, such as the hairs on the feet and the patterns on the backs and wings. It seems unlikely that an artist of Mr Piraro’s long experience would find it necessary to trace a simple housefly. It also seems like an insult to his artist integrity, which is why you find his fans defending him; I’m sure you didn’t mean it that way. You were certainly generous enough in your unwarranted forgiveness. Your photo is nice, but not in any way unique or distinguishable enough to make a drawing of it be a ‘derived work’. It’s a drawing of a housefly. Its not a drawing of your photograph, even if your photo was used as a reference. If your photo were, say, John & Yoko lying in bed, and your name were Liebowitz, you could reasonably make a claim a drawing thereof is a derived work. But you would be on extremely frail grounds in this instance. Imho. IANAL. Etc, etc. Apply to infected area, use only detected.

  12. As a creative person I appreciate the dilemmas face by artists. Creating new and exciting works is hard enough but getting all left-brained about the process with legal concerns throws stumbling blocks in the path of the creative process.

    Be that as it may, since I always go for the joke, perhaps the header panel would really complement the comic if the fly were laying on his back.

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