Bye!

(To embiggenate a cartoon, click on any character’s ear.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Marriage Statistics.

I often don’t comment on the title panel that appears at the top of each of my weekly posts but I’d like to say that today’s was cobbled together using a detail of one of the pages of my new book. It’s technically an adult coloring book (aimed at adults but safe for kids) but even if you’re not a person of color(ing) I have no doubt you will enjoy the fanciful hallucinations I’ve illustrated on every page. Here’s the full page that the title panel art was taken from. And here is where you can go to arrange for that and the other 30 pages of the book to arrive at your hovelAnd, no, that price is not a misprint.

Regarding today’s cartoon about babysitting, one reader complained thusly:

“My family usually enjoy your cartoons but today made us sad to see that you are ecouraging [sic] irresponsible parenting. Shame on you, Bizarro!” 

What this reader doesn’t know––aside from the fact that my name is not “Bizarro”––is that both of these parents are hardcore Fox-News-watching conspiracy nuts and are on their way to kidnap the Clintons and waterboard them until they admit that it was they who killed Abraham Lincoln, and not John Wilkes Booth as the lame-stream media has been telling us for over 150 years. What would be far more irresponsible would be to subject these children to their parenting skills.

(And seriously, would you call Charles Schulz, “Peanuts”?)

You may think that this cartoon is about a funny cat who is wearing a suit like a businessman and reacting to a live mouse the way a human might react to a ringing phone. But it is actually about the “Cat of the Year” award in the background that was given to him by the other cats who wanted to ingratiate themselves to him because he has so much money and power. In a perfect world, no way that cat wins Cat of the Year. Come on!

Oh my gosh. How surprised is the person heading to the bureau of missing persons going to be when they find that the people who work in that office are missing?!  Well, if they’d carefully read the sign on the door before entering, maybe they wouldn’t be. Stupid imaginary off-screen cartoon character.

Since the real world was so devastatingly depressing last week, I thought maybe a cute cartoon about grandkids would be a welcome respite from the harshness of reality. Personally, I don’t think it helped.

This cartoon about death may be in danger of bringing you down from the giddy high you got from looking at the cute kids in the previous comic. But don’t let it depress you; it is only a plant that died and not even a real one. Those are just pixels on a computer screen made to look a little like a plant. And the person inside the Grim Reaper costume is none other than TV’s Patton Oswalt, and everyone loves Patton Oswalt! (Seriously, if you don’t love Patton Oswalt, stop reading my cartoons. I don’t understand you.)

The topic of cloned humans makes me ask if you’ve been watching “Black Mirror”. Each episode is completely different, ala the 60s TV show “Twilight Zone,” and most of the stories are somewhere between chilling and horrifying in a yes-this-is-totally-where-technology-is-headed kind of way. Based on that show, I’d say artificial intelligence will be able to produce facsimiles of specific people before cloning ever gets approved by those in charge because our species is too superstitious to ever allow actual cloned humans.

The thing I want to tell you about this cartoon is that the day it published, January 21, marked the 32nd anniversary of the syndication of Bizarro. My first cartoon appeared in less than ten American newspapers on Jan 21, 1985. Here it is. I don’t mind the joke, even though it is sort of a goofy pun, but the drawing is hideous to my eyes and makes me want to cut off the hand that drew it, set it on fire and float it down the Ganges. Fortunately, my drawing style improved.

When I first got syndicated I thought my ship had come in. “I’ll be able to quit my day job as an advertising illustrator because I will be rich very soon,” my brain said silently inside my head. What my brain didn’t know was that it would be another 12 years of working full time as a commercial illustrator and doing Bizarro at night after my kids went to bed before I made enough money to pull away from my day job. So, contrary to what many think, being a cartoonist is not the playboy-jet-setting, mansion-buying, cocaine-and-sex-orgy-party lifestyle you imagined.

The thing I remember most about the first year was how hard it was to come up with gags. Each time I wrote one I worried it would be the last idea I’d ever have. Fortunately, I found that joke writing was like pretty much anything else: practice makes it easier over time. BUT, if someone had told me during that first year that I’d be doing this daily for more than 30 more years, my head might have exploded. When you’re young, 30 years seems an eternity. When you’re older, it seems like 30 days.

And thanks to you for reading, by the way. Without you Jazz Pickles, my career would not have existed outside of my fantasies. It’s been great fun amusing you and I hope to continue for a while longer, unless I disappear into a canyon while riding my motorcycle in Mexico. Fingers crossed!

53 thoughts on “Bye!

  1. Dan, Como estas amigo?
    On the babysitting cartoon, brilliant! When my kids were young my wife and I would get a sitter to get out for a few hours and believe me it had nothing to do with neglect or irresponsible behavior. As a matter of fact, it was to ease the possibility of that happening. And the thought of getting away for a long, long while well…can any parent while in the toddler, young kid period, say they never thought of what they’d be doing if they never had children…come on be honest parents. Great cartoon. On another subject I saw the word, BYE in big letters on your post and I thought oh no he’s not going to be doing his cartoons anymore. After rushing through your blog I saw it wasn’t so….phew! Thoroughly enjoy your art and commentary, please keep it up and thank you, you give me respite from the mundaneness and of course, that I’m not the only imaginative, out of the box thinker out there…..thanks Piraro…aka bizarro haha

  2. Keep up the good work, please! You are needed more than ever!!

    I guess that lady who wrote to you about today’s cartoon never had a fantasy, or even a fleeting thought, about taking off and never coming back? That is the spirit or situation in which I viewed the cartoon. I don’t have kids but you do so you would know whether or not and how often this kind of thought passes across a parent’s mind.

    This cartoon is also an example of “slippery slope” thinking, of continuing on an idea along to a conclusion way beyond an initial conclusion, in this case, a baby sitter caring for children for far longer than one evening.

    • I know from personal experience that running away is a thought parents have on a regular basis. The important part is the difference between thinking it and doing it. :^}

  3. (And seriously, would you call Charles Shulz, “Peanuts”?)

    Those folks probably would. But then, the strip is pretty much your “corporate identity”…. Anyway, I enjoyed this strip as usual… keep on truckin’! ;-)

  4. Bad parenting, Bizarro! And some bad grand-childing, and bad MPing, and there are no dinosaurs this week! I don’t know if I laughed more at the jokes or at the commentary. Either way, thanks for the laughs!!

  5. Congrats on reaching 30 years of comicry. Cat Of The Year is comic of the week. But cats lie too! And yes, we’re watching Black Mirror. How can you not get hooked after the premier episode featuring a pig?

        • Holy crap! Thanks for telling me about that. I can believe I missed that but I can’t believe my editor did. She’s usually flawless!

        • Talking about proofreading, there is and extra “up” in the Bye! cartoon that shouldn’t be there…

          “…and extra “up”…”

          Talk about proofreading!

          • Your Repliers shouldn’t be throwing stones. Talk about proofreading, “there is an [not “and”] extra “d” in that word.

            I am STILL laughing at Kevin of Jericho. It is still the funniest thing ever I’ve ever seen. Why isn’t it here on your fb site somewhere?

            I would love a great big poster of that on my wall.

            And no, not the kind of poster who posts and not the kind of wall on Facebook.

            Wait, I’m not on fb anymore. How did I get here, and where am I? Definitely not in Kansas.

  6. It has been great fun being amused by you, Dan. But I’m feeling rebellious enough to admit that I had no idea who Patton Oswalt might be, and yet I intend to continue reading your cartoons.

  7. Do my aging eyes deceive me or was there no pie anywhere in this week’s comics? Perhaps a comment on the no fun ambience of this past week. Saturday was a blast, however. Ladies know how to organize a peaceful demonstration.

  8. I sure wish that people would realize that these are just cartoons and not real life and you’re not condoning anything. People just need to get a grip!!
    It was really a fantastic comic!! I loved it!!

  9. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I loved every cartoon on the post. Babysitter toon reminded me of a refrigerator magnet I read somewhere: “We decided not to have children. The children aren’t taking it very well.”

  10. My mother sent both of her ‘issue’ today’s comic under the subject line “Nothing personal, of course.” I’m now wondering if that’s one of the reasons I never babysat.

  11. A Couple of Notes About This Week —
    #1. I see that K2 appeared only on the 1/20/17 cartoon on the green coffee mug.
    But I have been seeing “K2” appearing now-&-then on the strip “Luann.”
    And I wondered — Is that strip copying you?
    The icons are such a wonderful & astonishing idea —
    & Im a little surprised not to see them show up in other strips.
    But the “K2” in Luann refers to the “Kafe Kablooie” of that strip.
    Dang.
    Still, I think it may be a nod to you!

    #2. Your “Death with a Scythe” figure showed up on 1/19/20.
    And the same figure was on “Speed Bump” the day before — on 1/18/17.
    There, he was hunting for the husband of a pair — he was hiding behind a chair.
    And the wife was telling Death, “Warmer … warmer.”
    I think some of you guys collaborate on these cartoons!
    Why not?
    It rewards folks who notice these things.
    Yeah — I know, you submit these 2 weeks ahead of time.
    So — you just say to each other you will do such a cartoon on such-&-such a day.
    Then 1 of you gets it off by a day.
    So — who messed up?
    You or Dave Coverly?

    • An excellent theory, Scotty, but I’m afraid I cannot confirm it. Coverly and I stopped talking three years ago when he got a restraining order against me for allegedly “camping in his backyard and annoying his wife on her way to the garage”. Which is bullshit. Why is it my responsibility that she is so easily annoyed?

      • I love your story here.
        Made me laff!
        But I aint a-buyin it.
        And my wife Annie aint a-buyin it either.
        You & Coverly both bear watching.
        Im thinking — Coverly is likely amused by your story also!

    • Speaking of time machine, this reader Scotty was back to the future reading a strip on 1/19/20. Does he have some extra-temporal ability? Could he maybe export the current Chief Executive Cheese Doodle to sometime in the past, like 1575, in this area where there is a really hostile tribe. It would be something like Kevin of Jericho — Donald of Comancheland.

  12. Dan, that very first Bizarro strip has a very strong M.C. Escher feel to it. Rather than condemning your hand to the Ganges, you could just put it in a bottle of vinegar and send it to the Louvre as performance art.

      • Then, send an ear. It’s smaller, and Van Gogh has already established a precedent. Say it’s Van Gogh’s ear and you found it when you were cleaning out your closet. That way, you can point to it the next time you’re in the Louvre, as an example to all other body parts that would defy you.

  13. Congratulations on your anniversary! I always enjoy your comics, and I very much appreciate these weekly “behind the scenes” posts. Thank you.

  14. Like others, your “Bye” gave me a start. Whew. I loved the babysitting cartoon. I used to sit for 2 ankle biters and when the parents would not come back at the stated time, that’s what I would start imagining. And wouldn’t have blamed them a bit, either.

    “Sock exchange.” LOLOL! Happy 32nd anniversary. I really enjoyed today’s Performance Art, as well.

  15. Dan – my latest activity for your strip is to first read it, then laugh, then search for the secret symbols, but before I read the number you wrote above your name. If I’m good, I can catch them all.

    For this week: Bye and Future call in show were the best.

  16. Now a serious comment, that you might not want to publish. The truth is – your strips are so white in race, it looks like the elitist college I attended in the 80s. Now that you are in a more enlightened environment, I look forward to seeing folks of a different color than pink in your strips.

    • Point taken, but I actually intentionally use a wide variety of skin tones in my cartoons (and have even been lauded for doing that more than most cartoonists, oddly enough.) I try to draw different races, but there are two problems with that: one is that my characters are often idiots and making fun of minorities in the funny pages is bad business, and the other is that while the colors I choose look fine on computer, they tend to be MUCH darker in newspapers, many of which use color in their weekday comics as well as on Sundays. So if I use a medium brown for an African American character, it often looks like black Sharpie in some newspapers and then I get flak for portraying minstrels. It’s a bit of a weird balancing act.

      Since you’ve mentioned it, though, I’ll make a concerted effort to make my characters more diverse. I think that’s a worthy endeavor.

  17. Congrats on the anniversary! Far and away my favorite comic strip, Bizarro blends humor, wit and art unlike any other. Thank you for the years of enjoyment you’ve provided me. Keep up the great work!

    • I think it started around 1997 with the upside-down bird, then I added the others gradually over the subsequent four or five years.

  18. You shake my nerves and you rattle my brain…
    Too much absurd comic humor drives a man insane.

    Believe it or not, those were the lyrics Jerry Lee Lewis wrote for his hit “Great Balls of Fire,” inspired by reading your toons 32 years ago.

    But then he got back into his time machine, zipped back to 1957 and right there in front of the mic, tape rolling in the Sun Records recording studio in Memphis, his manager made him change the lyrics.

    Damn dude, you were cheated!

    Nevertheless, we still love your work and sing your praises on a daily basis… including weekends.

  19. Watching the interview on ABC last night, I turned to my wife and asked “do we now live in a Bizzaro world?” Apparently, we do. I haven’t seen your cartoon in way too long so I am thrilled to find this treasure trove.

    • Thanks and welcome back. I’ve done a few Trump cartoons in recent months so have a gander through my past blogs since last Summer. :^}

  20. I guess today’s “ice fishing” explains why my wife and I moved from central NY to Virginia early on in our marriage.

    SenseiC bows out

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