(To embiggenate these images, click any character in the solar plexus.)

bizarro-09-18-16-webBizarro is brought to you today by Forgotten Muscle Groups.

This Sunday comic about the family health club membership is worth enlarging, if only to search for the 12 secret symbols. There are 11 official secret symbols (as documented and explained here) but one of them appears in this image twice.

I’m an athletic sort of guy and a big advocate of staying in shape, so for most of my adult life, I’ve been a regular at various gyms, yoga classes, tennis courts, bike routes, etc.  I’m not, however, the type of guy who spends so much time at a gym that my body is swollen and bulging in unnatural places as though I’ve been attacked by a swarm of bees. I have too many more important things to do to spend that much time lifting heavy things. As I write this, I realize how “judgy” it sounds; as though people who are big and bumpy from copious weight lifting are somehow inferior to me. I apologize for that and do not wish to inspire stronger people than I to assault me. I don’t know any more about the secret workings of the universe than you do, so for all I know lifting heavy things while staring at yourself in a mirror is more important than drawing silly pictures. We all have our own path.


This ostrich cartoon coincidentally appeared in newspapers the day after 9/11. I say it was a coincidence because it didn’t cross my mind when I drew it, dated it, and submitted it for publication several weeks previous. I often don’t notice the dates I’m slapping on cartoons each week––I just write seven cartoons, draw them, color them, look up the next seven dates I’m supposed to provide to King Features, write them in under the signature and submit them. I usually will notice a major holiday like Christmas or Halloween, but other holidays or anniversaries that I’m not looking to address in my cartoons just slide by without notice. So I thought it was a bit odd when I noticed the proximity of this one to the anniversary, considering 9/11 is the reason there exists a “no fly list” in the first place. If I’d noticed that when I was dating this batch of cartoons, I likely would have bumped it to the end of the week so as not to draw unintentional parallels in reader’s minds. Whatever. As you most certainly have noticed by now, I don’t have anything interesting to say about this cartoon. Let’s see if we have any more luck with the next one.


OMG, have you ever been around a surgeon who holds his hands this way all the time so you’ll ask, “Why are you holding your hands that way?” and then he says arrogantly, “I’m an important surgeon,” as though some surgeons are totally UNimportant? No, neither have I. No one has. It’s stupid.  But we all know insecure nitwits who find ways to organically drop information into conversations so that you’ll be amazed, and then they act like it’s no big deal and pretend they’re a little embarrassed that you’re making a fuss when that was obviously their intention all along. I’ve known several people like that and it is such a challenge not to slap them in the face with the hand I used to spread sunscreen on Sophia Loren on the French Riviera that time I was the guest of the Prince of Monaco because he liked my cartoons so much.


My good email buddy, Michael Roth of someplace in Germany, suggested this subtle cartoon about Chewbacca, which I really like. He’s a writer of some sort which impresses me because that means he’s even better at German than he is at English, which is pretty much flawless. I’m jealous of bilingual folks because I’ve always wanted to speak another language but have found that it is difficult to learn so many new gibberish sounds that supposedly mean things and then use them in exactly the right order so that you don’t sound like an idiot. So far, this skill has eluded me. I’ve been taking Spanish lessons online for a few months now because Olive Oyl and I have bought a house in Mexico and are moving there full time soon. I’m starting to get the hang of it in a tiny, microscopic way but I can still only say things like, “Tengo un pato bonito,” which has yet to come up in conversation and I am skeptical that it ever will. Unless I get a duck.


My favorite thing about this saber-toothed tiger and corkscrewed-toothed bobcat is the drawings of the animals. If you’re a big drinker of wine, you might like it for that reason but I’m more of a tequila and whiskey kind of guy. I like wine and drink it on occasion, as long as it is red, but if I get drunk on it I get a worse headache than pretty much any other kind of booze.


Service animals are a funny thing. Keep in mind as you read the next few sentences that I have no personal experience with service animals, nor have I read up on them or even googled the subject. But it is my impression that while some people use service animals for obviously important things, as is the case of seeing-eye dogs for the blind, there are also people who get anxious if they don’t have their pet caiman with them and overly compassionate people put pressure on weak, liberal politicians to give them that right, and then they want to visit a children’s carnival and somebody’s baby gets eaten. Maybe that never actually happens but now that I’ve put it on the Interwebs, thousands of people will think it did even if every major newspaper in the country proves the story is false. That’s how things work now.


And now here’s a cartoon of Jesus heeling a dog. Is it a harmless pun or does it heretically ridicule our Lord and Savior and it sure is telling that I wouldn’t dare make this cartoon about Mohammad? Depends on your version of reality.

If you enjoy thinking about things the way my cartoons lead you to, please consider supporting my efforts (and my pato bonito) with a one-time donation or a monthly contribution here.

Another way to support my humor is to buy a piece of original art from Bizarro, or a limited-edition, signed and numbered print of one of my favorite Bizarro gags. The original art is black and white, the prints are in color, both are framed, super nice, and make a wonderful gift for friends and enemies alike. Even for yourself. Do it here.

Thanks for your eyes, Jazz Pickles. Have a great week!



44 thoughts on “Pumping

  1. Hilarious! Again! Love all your work.
    And no, you most definitely would never ever dare to make a Mohammed version of the Jesus cartoon… ever, super-positively not, no way. Nuh-uh. Nope. You wouldn’t and you won’t.
    No one will. We all co-operate. We all obey …
    Hey! Thanks for the laughs!

  2. I used to find imbibing a glass of water before retiring a healthy way to avoid hangover, back when I binged responsibly, but I’m healthier now, and hope that you enjoy living en Mejico, and thanks for all the cartoons.

  3. In the health club comic, you have the doorknob and the hinge on the same side of the door. Was that intentional to see how many people notice? As for your moving to Mexico, I wish you and Ms. Oyl good luck and much happiness! Does this mean you’re retiring? Please say it ain’t so! And why a duck?

    • Yes, that’s exactly why I drew the door that way! And congrats for being observant enough to catch it!

      I won’t be retiring from Bizarro until I can afford to and that target is not in sight yet. But moving to a country with a lower cost of living is part of the overall plan. :^}

  4. I also hit the gym pretty regularly, and it seems to that everyone in the family is skipping leg day, even the cat, who I thought would skip everything.

      • Same here, but in the opposite direction. It’s like my own personal body horror movie every morning. And don’t even try to get them to run: I can pass them twice in a mile run around a 1/8th mile circuit, and I’m an extra 40lbs of flab!

  5. I too have been trying to learn Spanish online.

    My favourite line so far is “Tengo mis propios gatos” – I have my own cats.
    So if I ever go to a cat party in Mexico, I can tell them that I have brought my own cats with me.

  6. “…every major newspaper in the country proves the story is false.”
    Mainstream media doesn’t do that. They would just run with the sensation and call it fair and balanced.

  7. Hey, did you see that the hinges…oh, never mind.

    I, too, frequent the gym 2 or 3 times a week (with frequent lapses of 4 to 6 months), but it’s just to hold back (or at least slow down) the ravages of time. It seems to me that the folks like you put in that cartoon “exercise” by hoisting some enormous amount of weight, doing two or three reps then letting it fall to the floor in the noisiest, most attention-getting way possible. This is followed by 30 seconds of walking around, hands-on-hips, casting sidelong glances to see who’s watching.

    In fact, the gym has introduced a bunch of new “exercises” that seem to be deliberately designed to make a lot of noise. My “favorite” is a weight that looks like a 6 foot diameter, 300 lb tractor tire (complete with a hole in the middle) that you’re supposed to flip over and over down the floor and back. Makes me not even want to go there, and the last thing I need is an excuse not to go. Besides, the place smells like a gym room…

    • I’m with you on every part of this. I only go often enough and long enough to keep from dying fat and weak and too soon, I hate the smell, I’m not crazy about the conspicuous types, but THANK GOD there’s not room at my health club for giant tires! The most annoying thing at my club is one of those giant ropes that people string 20 feet across the floor and waggle up and down like they’re trying to get a kink out of their garden hose. And also people who take giant medicine balls and slam them on the ground in front of them as though they are trying to get them to bounce back up. Do we really need to strengthen our throwing-things-on-the-floor muscles?

      • The “bouncing the medicine ball” used to be my favorite and I was going to mention it, but my comment was getting too long already. I’ll see if I can get a picture of the giant tire-thing for you.

  8. As always, I really enjoyed this week’s comics. – nitpick coming:

    A bobcat has a very short tail, as if it had been bobbed, or cut short. Your corkscrewed-toothed housecat looks great though.

    Oh, some of those cats are more formal and prefer to be called Robertcats.

    • True. I hadn’t thought of that when I wrote my post. Still, it’s a cartoon about an imaginary species so it might have evolved to be shorter in the past 10,000 years. :^}

  9. I didn’t notice the hinge and doorknob thing because I was too busy looking for the damn exuberant bunny. I now have Elmer Fudd singing, “kill the wabbit” as an earworm for my trouble. I’d even zoomed in on every little bit of the drawing and still no dice. In the end, I had to do what I do to find the one S in a grid of 100 5s which is to pull way back and let my mind pick it out without looking anywhere in specific. Thank the gods for pareidolia. And Dan Piraro? You’ve a bit of the devil in you sometimes, haven’t you? :D

  10. I have tried more than once to learn a second language, and have failed miserably. While I believe that some people have a natural aptitude for learning languages, it is also clear that the earlier you learn a second language, the better. It is humbling to travel in Europe and find so many people who can speak at least basic English. In Venice I walked up to a gentlemen to ask a question about a local event that night. “Excuse me, do you speak English?” He stood there for a moment, as if thinking, and then replied “Sometimes.” Laughed so hard I thought I was gonna split a gut.

    Here is one of my most favorite jokes:

    What do you call someone who can speak three languages?


    What do you call someone who can speak two languages?


    What do you call someone who can speak only one language?


    • Great story. My first trip to Europe as a young man made me embarrassed to be monolingual, but in my case it was a reaction to early 20th century immigrant ideas about patriotism. My Italian grandparents intentionally stopped speaking Italian and did not teach their children, wanting to assimilate fully as American citizens. It was common for the time and understandable but I wish they’d maintained and passed on their bilingualism.

  11. Kudos for learning Spanish, Dan. I, too, am trying to learn all the new gibberish sounds of Spanish. When you feel ready for a conversation I highly recommend http://www.speakshop.com. It is a non-profit that connects you with tutors in Guatamala with whom you can talk to in Gibberish via Skype for $10 an hour. The entire fee goes to the tutor, which is decent pay for them but relatively cheap for me, so I feel like it is a win-win.

    • Great idea. Someone recommended a site like that called iTalki, which Olive Oyl has been using. I think her tutor is in Venezuela. I’m nowhere near being able to chat with people yet but will move to that eventually, I think. I’m currently using Duolingo, which I really like.

  12. There’s a book called “Crazy English” that makes one wonder how anyone could learn it.
    Parking in a driveway, driving on parkway, “with” that means “for” and “against,” and lately “literally” is now interchangeable with “figuratively.” And there’s the Carlin joke. “I’m not getting on the plane. I’m getting IN the plane!”
    It may not be all that cheap down there in Mexico with all that wall building expense, tee hee.
    Imagine 40 years hence when President Reaganito shouts “President Clinton (Chelsea), Tear down this wall!”

    • Just saw that. No idea what happened to that file. I’ve seen corrupt files look like that on my computer before but if I accidentally upload one to King Features they kick it back. That didn’t happen and the one they posted on Bizarro.com looks normal so I’m mystified. I tried to contact Arcamax to offer them a fresh file but it’s not easy.

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