Creepy Friends

Bizarro 05-29-16 hdr

(To achieve embiggenation, close your eyes, click your heels together, and click any image.)

Bizarro 05-29-16 WEB

Bizarro is brought to you today by What We Do Now.

I’ve done a lot of Noah’s Ark cartoons and I think I’ve still got a few left in me. The same reason myths like these endure for centuries among the population is the reason they provide so much fodder for humor. These myths say something important about the human condition as we stumble through life on Earth.

The story of Noah’s Ark is in part about our desire to control our environment and our destiny. In my version above, Noah is controlling his environment in a small, seemingly insignificant way, by tossing out a couple of spiders. But while this seems small, it is enormous in an environmental sense. By destroying the last two spiders on earth, the delicate balance will be hopelessly thrown off center and cause who-knows-what-kind of chaos. As a species, we’ve done this kind of thing time and time again and it’s never good. I didn’t create this cartoon with that dour message in mind, it just occurred to me while I was writing about it this morning. (Also worth mentioning is that a friend of mine is a world-renowned spider expert and tells me that you should never kill spiders in your home or catch them and throw them outside. They aren’t interested in people and provide a valuable piece of your home’s ecosystem––mostly by eating other bugs that are after us!)

On a lighter note, here’s probably my favorite Noah’s Ark cartoon I’ve ever done. It’s one of the super-nice-high-quality-fine-art prints you can get from the LA art gallery that is offering them online here. Each one is signed and numbered by my own human hand on my own kitchen table while I use my other own hand to shoo away my own cat who wants to walk on them with her own feet.

bz panel 05-23-16

Here we have a cartoon that confused at least one reader who asked me what it meant. If you were similarly confused, it’s probably simpler than you think. The woman’s car has no wheels because it is not a car, it’s a park bench.

bz panel 05-24-16

I got a couple of questions about this cowboy cartoon, too. If you are among the mystified, google this phrase: “Alas, poor Yorick. I knew him, Horatio.” Then google “Hopalong Cassidy.” Okay, you’re done. If you still don’t think it’s amusing, even in a vague, surreal kind of way, just move on to the next cartoon.

bz panel 05-25-16

If you’ve ever had a computer freeze up on you and had to restart it and lost everything you’d done since you last saved, you have known utter despair. (The same might be true if you owned an AMC Gremlin, which is the sort of car I drew in this picture. I like vintage vehicles and drop them into my cartoons whenever I can. Especially goofy ones.)

bz panel 05-26-16

I think this is a fun cartoon about modern society’s narcissism. I say “modern,” but I honestly don’t know if the ubiquitous selfie is a sign that we are more egocentric than we used to be, or if it is just a visible expression of what we’ve always been. I remember back in the 80s when my children were small and I got my first video camera. It was the large, heavy kind, about the size and weight of a toolbox. (Yes, youngsters, the early days of technology were hell!) After a few years of video taping every moment of my children’s lives I realized I was experiencing important, one-of-a-kind events through a tiny eyepiece, instead of being present to the actual event. And I virtually never went back to watch the damn things. So I put the video camera away and found that life’s experiences were more meaningful if I viewed them with my own eyes, and my memories of them were better than a shaky video. Smartphones have only made this avoidance of being present to our surroundings even easier. I predict that one day, people will stop leaving their homes entirely and just live inside their tiny screens. Many have already begun.

bizarro 05-27-16aWEB

Yes, I got a couple of questions about this cartoon, too. This kind of humor is what attracts alternative thinkers to my work, and also what has kept me from getting rich. If you’re a regular fan of my work, you know that Bizarro isn’t for just every member of the herd. So congratulate yourself for being a Jazz Pickle.

I got this idea while making coffee one morning when I noticed the packaging said, “100% Columbian Coffee”. Then I thought of the archeological time period called “pre-Columbian”. Now that you know how it works, you can be a cartoonist, too.

bz panel 05-28-16

Finally today we visit this couple who find themselves in a common cartoon meme: crawling through a desert. A bit like Noah’s Ark, this meme is popular because it represents the struggles we all face while trying to make our way through life. It’s funny that these cartoons never feature people walking through a desert. I guess once you’ve lost your shoes, crawling is easier on the feet. This cartoon is a collaboration between myself and a writer in Hamburg, Germany named Michael Roth, who befriended me via the Interwebs a few years back. One day I hope to meet him in person, but I hope it isn’t as we crawl through a desert.

I deeply appreciate your readership, dear pickles. As fewer people subscribe to 3-dimensional newspapers and the industry shrinks, we cartoonists have to aim our creative energy at finding new ways to get paid for what we do. For those of you who’d like to help keep Bizarro going or just say “thanks for the chuckles,” I’ve installed a Tip Jar in the righthand margin of this blog. You can make a one-time donation, or scroll down to set up a small, monthly contribution. Anything is appreciated and none of it will be used to kill spiders.

P.S. My Tip Jar only works with PayPal, which I’ve found to be reliable, convenient, and trustworthy. But soon I’ll be opening an account with Patreon, which I believe will offer different payment methods.

P.P.S. Bizarro won an award last night and here’s an article from The Washington Post online about it!

68 thoughts on “Creepy Friends

  1. Awesome stuff as usual. I love the mirror one… When the text adds just a little information that changes what the image initially seems to be about.

    Also, your Noah’s Ark gags reminds me of a brilliant webcomic called Noah’s Brother’s Ark. Google it. It’s awesome!

  2. Have you ever noticed EVERY time someone depicts Noah’s ark…They always show elephants and giraffes? Hmmmm

  3. You had a particularly good week, Dan. You made me laugh (or at least chuckle loudly) every day, and I re-posted each one of these comics this week Good job, Bizarro man.

  4. Loved the one with the AMC Pacer. Next time you need a car of similar eye-candy value, might I suggest a Yugo? Total babe magnet…

    • Good suggestion, thanks! I just did a Sunday cartoon with a Mercury Bobcat from the early 70s. Look for it on Sunday July 10. Next one I do will be a Yugo!

      • That orange one in a recent cartoon was a Gremlin, correct. But these guys above are talking about one a did a few weeks back and what kind of goofy car from that period that I should do in the future. :^}

    • Absolutely. As long as my cartoons are not changed or edited in any way, I’m happy to allow Internet sharing. Thanks for asking!

  5. I like the Noah’s Ark cartoon about the spiders. I leave spiders in my home alone, though one time, baby spiders invaded my favorite recliner. Baby spiders bite and those bites really hurt. I had to get rid of them.

  6. quote: (Also worth mentioning is that a friend of mine is a world-renowned spider expert and tells me that you should never kill spiders in your home or catch them and throw them outside. They aren’t interested in people and provide a valuable piece of your home’s ecosystem––mostly by eating other bugs that are after us!)

    Thank you for finding expert-level justification for my practice of not bothering spiders in my home. Unfortunately, I still have to remove many (but not all) of the webs they build in order to avoid being called a crummy housekeeper (which I still sometimes fail at) and the spiders themselves sometimes fail at their job, based on how often I must take remedial action against cockroaches (Boric Acid. It works and isn’t toxic for everything else). Still, I think my tolerance of spiders is partly due to childhood reading of Spider-Man comics and the hope that if I were to get bitten, it would have positive effect, but I’ve never lived close enough to a good source of gamma rays.

    • I used to be pretty spider-phobic but I’ve successfully defeated it. I don’t go out of my way to play with them but their residence in my house doesn’t bother me a bit.

  7. I am disturbed by your claim that you own a cat (“…my own cat…”). Cats do not have owners. I thought everyone knew that. You are setting yourself up for big trouble here, and you are in for some surprises that will make “Game of Thrones” seem pretty predictable. :-)

  8. A particularly strong week, IMHO. (Although the “pre-Columbian” one was a bit punny for my taste.) Especially loved the Yorick one. Seems so obvious now!

    The older Ark cartoon: Amazing how much depth and realism are given by the clouds and fire.

    Dan’s last words about the “mirror” one reminded me of the British TV anthology series Black Mirror (Netflix streaming service, and possibly your local library). Very dark visions of the near-ish future. Most horrifying to me was the special trilogy episode “White Christmas”. I might have been better off not seeing it. To all except those extraordinarily impervious to the disturbing, I recommend to forgo Black Mirror (stick to your zombies and vampires).

    To Dan: Congratulations on your Silver Reuben.

  9. Most of the spiders I find in the house I try to take outside. Unless they resemble the Brown Recluse or Fiddleback. They can get into a bed or clothing and will bite. Very painful.

    • My arachnologist friend tells me that inside spiders won’t survive outside. They come back in or die. Just an FYI.

      • I don’t smush spiders or chase them out, but I also don’t rearrange my activities to spare one — in other words, if one is in the sink or the tub, I give it a few minutes of advance notice, but if it hasn’t climbed out (and they usually don’t — maybe they don’t speak english?) I turn on the tap anyway. And since I don’t enjoy soaking in a tub with a spider, I will remove or down-the-drain those before filling the tub. I always apologize to them — but then I go on with my tub-filling or dish-washing. If they were up on the wall or ceiling, out of the way, I wouldn’t bother them!

        I have to tell this story — I just shared the Noah spider cartoon with a friend via email — he wrote back and said “see that little block of wood in the water? That’s why we still have spiders today.” I replied to explain about the pie and other cartoon icons, and then we realized that, since the pie will attract flies, it works even better as an explanation for why we still have spiders today!

        • oops, meant to post this to the previous comment by Dan, where he says he doesn’t play with them but doesn’t chase them out. I had to switch browsers to comment and I lost my place.

  10. Thanks for making the acerbic comment on the “crawling across the desert on hands and knees” meme. I never did understand how knees could be a good substitute for feet, or a good replacement for shoes.

  11. While entertaining some friend’s children, they asked their father why unicorns were not allowed on the Ark? He said it was because they were too dangerous. His surprised kids then asked how they could be dangerous, because they look so beautiful and lovely. He said they were clumsy and sprang a leak in the hull with their horns, almost sinking the ship, so they were evicted. He also added that dragons caused too many fires and had to leave too. Maybe another cartoon idea there.

    • Fun ideas but I’m afraid plenty of cartoons have already been done on how/why unicorns missed the ark. :^}

  12. I loved the pre-Colombian coffee one in particular, as there sure is no coffee in it (with the plant originating in Ethiopia).

  13. Love your take on life! It’s no surprise that people don’t always “get” the humor. Isn’t that generally true? I appreciate so much the folks who can make people, me, laugh! Also, very much appreciate the high quality of the drawings. Thank you.

  14. all my friends are creepy friends…. I don’t even want friends anymore…. they creep me out….. I am also creeped out by insects and wrote a poem about June bugs last night…

    I am not an entomologist,
    The June Bug creeps me out!
    I hear them on my patio.
    Each May , Buzzing about!

    Each spring, with that familiar drone,
    I am reminded of the sound,
    Of how they crunch beneath the soles
    of my shoes upon the ground.!

    Cinnamon delights in them !
    She wakes up promptly from a nap.
    I open up the screen door ,
    and she eats them in a snap!

    AHHH ! I scream! One got inside
    and landed on the light!!!
    Dave wakes up out of bed
    to see what is the fright!

    “Oh it’s just The June Bugs,” I said,
    “that Cinnamon wants to eat.
    She snacks on them like popcorn!
    to her they are a treat!”

    “OK” says Dave and he’s Back to bed.
    (Just more weird stuff at our place)
    Not too much surprises him..
    But he checks us, just in case!

    Now the question begs to be answered,
    should she eat June bugs in the night?
    Is this something that is safe?
    Is this something that’s alright?

    Yahoo Google states
    that it depends upon the bug
    Does it sting or is it sharp?
    Is it a beetle or a slug?

    Is it a spider or a wasp
    a grasshopper or bee?
    take care , check what your dog devours.
    it’s your responsibility!

    Thank heavens the phenomena
    Of June Bugs doesn’t last
    (at least the flying beetle stage )
    goes by relatively fast.

    For A few weeks in the summer,
    They spend the day up in the tree.
    at night they lay eggs in the dirt.
    and buzz around just bugging me.

    For three years underground
    the larvae pupate eat
    ruining roots of plants and trees
    and sometimes killing off the wheat!

    It’s a nasty little grub
    that is crawling underground
    small mammals like to feed on them
    so keep a mouse or two around!!!!

    By Joanne Monyelle

    05/29/2016

    My future looks to be a bench without wheels .. I am VERY fond of Crows….I realize you drew pigeons… I’m imaginative though…

    I feel sorry for the cow (made me sad)

    the brick wall is pretty much the story of my life…

    the cell phone / mirror is frighteningly true…. A few years back I re wrote the lyrics to “All my friends live in Texas”……….. it’s ‘All my friends are on FB’ and Its about 8 of my creepy friends…. I could write the next one, “All my friends are in the psyche ward…”

    Coffee…. BRILLIANT LOVED it

    Desert life……..yea… I live that…..
    I’ve been feeling awful pathetic lately….
    So I found my way through the desert to Bizarro.

    Thanks Dan ……. you gave me a brevity of sanity.

  15. Congratulations on the award!

    I have managed to face my spider phobia enough to stop smashing then flushing them and, instead, I scoop them up with a dust pan & brush & deposit them — in tact — outside.
    The only spiders allowed to remain indoors are those spindly-legged, “delicate”-looking ones I know as “Daddy Long Legs”.
    The rest of any indoor insect population seems pretty low but that might be because we have cats — although, I also have never seen a cockroach here…yet…Maybe Belgium is too far north? (Growing up in south Florida we had squadrons….)

    • Thanks for the congrats, Pat! My arachnologist friend tells me that inside spiders won’t survive outside. They come back in or die. Just an FYI. :^}

  16. We love you, Dan Bizarro @ Sardonic Humor. We so often post your cartoons there and had to give a shout out for you, yesterday. Hey, Congrats on your award and thanks for making us think and smile! Janet Murray

  17. Dan, I tried to subscribe using PayPal and it keeps kicking me out without completing the transaction. When you get another way of receiving payment, please let us know. A workman is worthy of his hire. :)

    • Thanks for trying and for the note, Kim. I’m no fan of that kind of computer voodoo but fall prey to it often. :^}

  18. “After a few years of video taping every moment of my children’s lives I realized I was experiencing important, one-of-a-kind events through a tiny eyepiece, instead of being present to the actual event. And I virtually never went back to watch the damn things. So I put the video camera away and found that life’s experiences were more meaningful if I viewed them with my own eyes, and my memories of them were better than a shaky video. ”

    So VERY TRUE! We had the same experience. If one were to view our videos (wherever they may be), s/he might conclude that our child did not live past the age of 2.

    On another note, it makes me so very sad that you view religion as myth, especially since I learned you were born into a Catholic family. As a lifelong Catholic, I hope you find your way back. This is not stated to create a discussion, debate or argument. I’m old enough to know that nothing I say on the subject of religion will change anyone’s mind. I’m just expressing my emotion that arises whenever I encounter someone who’s left the faith. All I can do is comment, move one and pray.

    Finally, I love the Noah’s ark cartoons, especially the one you call your favorite! Great work.

  19. I love BIZARRO! I read it every day in my newspaper. I found 6 BIZARRO compilations at a store in Oberlin and bought all of them. Thank you for creating a great comic.

  20. Congratulations on winning the 2016 Reuben Award in the Newspaper Panel Cartoon category at the 70th annual Reuben Awards ceremony! No argument here!

  21. You haven’t asked for Sunday Punnies in a while but I’ve had a couple rattling around my brain for a while so I thought I’d pass them along before I lose them. As I recall posting my idea here is the only way to get it to you.

    (puns redacted in case I decide to use one)

    • I’ve not done a Sunday Punnies in a long time and have more-or-less given up on it because it was three times the work of a normal Sunday cartoon. I’m finding it increasingly difficult to manage my schedule these days. BUT, I’ll save your suggestions in case I decide to do one in the future!

  22. I am pretty certain your coffee said it was 100% Colombian (with an “O”). if it didn’t, probably it was neither Colombian nor Columbian…

    • The coffee in my kitchen says “Colombian” and the coffee in my cartoon was “pre-Columbian,” for the archeological period.

  23. Always love the ‘interesting’ cars in your cartoons. My girlfriend’s first car was a brand new 1972 AMC Gremlin. All her friends predicted she would get a blue car (her favorite color), so to be contrarian she ordered it in “Butterscotch Gold” sight unseen, which turned out to be orange just like your drawing. What a weird car. With a six cylinder engine and bob tail, most of the weight was on the front wheels. That gave it unfortunate handling dynamics with more than enough power to get yourself in trouble fast. Not a good choice for 19-20 year olds, but we somehow both survived.

    Her next car was a brand new 1974 FIAT X1`/9. Talk about a polar opposite, with fantastic handling (mid-engine, four wheel independent suspension, four wheel disc brakes) and no where near enough power to overwhelm the suspension. Love to see a tan one in your comic some day. Thanks for the memories.

    • I’ll try to keep it in mind next time I’m drawing traffic. I just submitted a Sunday comic for July that has a 70s Mercury Bobcat and some strange British panel van from the 60s in it.

      • My first car was a little black Vauxhall wagon. Can’t remember the year of the car, but I got it in the late 60’s for $ 500 (used) Loved it to death!
        RE: Spiders: Someone should invent a bathtub that the poor things can get out of when they slide in!
        RE: Cameras: I love to hike in the Sierras and the best times are without a camera, but I have sure missed some good shots….. Also, all that majestic scenery might make my head explode!

        P.S. Thank you for helping us keep our balance in this age of insanity!

  24. I just read “Why did the chicken cross the road?” and got a mental image of a chicken drawing a big “X” on the road. Then I saw it (mentally) as a Bizarro cartoon. It could be either a “real” road or a painting on the chicken’ easel. And then a typo here made me wonder why the Chechen crossed the Russian road. I think I need help.

  25. dear Dan,
    love your wit. yesterday out of nowhere a cartoon subject occured to me and i believe that it’s your kind of humor and you might get a kick out of it.

    (Dan says: cartoon idea has been redacted because I think I’m going to use it and don’t want to spoil it for readers!)

    enjoy, bernie

    • Thanks, Bernie! I love that idea and, after some research to assure it hasn’t been done before somewhere, will use it in an upcoming Bizarro. You likely won’t see it for four weeks or so, but keep your eyes peeled!

  26. I just read your cartoon with the picture I assume to be God and an angel talking about his fitness tracker and damning souls today. I am wondering if you have ever heard the gospel of Jesus Christ? Jesus/God does not damn us…that comes from our own choices from the free will he provides us. I just wanted you to know this in case you have never read the Bible or heard the gospel before. I have also see you refer to Noahs Ark as a myth. It is not a myth and the whole story is in the Bible. You should sit and enjoy reading it sometime. I pray your eyes to be opened to the Word of God and that you will be saved and live eternally in heaven.

  27. Hi, When you noticed the packaging said, “100% Columbian Coffee” I need to explain that you are wrong. My country is COLOMBIA with O not with U.
    I know Columbia and that city no have growing coffee ;)

    • Thanks for your note, Anna and you are quite right! The different spelling was intentional, however, to refer to the archeological period called “pre-Columbian”, as in “before Columbus”. It’s a pun on the two words that probably is more obvious to native English speakers. :^}

  28. Congrats on the award! I really enjoy finding this weekly collection in my inbox, and I love your commentary as much as the humour. I also very much admire your artwork — the more I see of it, the more impressed I am with how easy you make it look. The sign of a master, well deserving of awards!

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