(To electronically embiggenate any image, turn the arrow thing on your screen into a pointy finger thing and poke it.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Is That So Difficult?

I confess I’m not a big fan of cats. I hope too many of you don’t hate me now. I mostly object to their habit of forcefully placing their fangs and razor-sharp claws into places I’d prefer they not be such as furniture, doorjambs, my flesh, etc.  However, I live with a cat that I have come to love because my beloved Olive Oyl loves her.

Another thing I do not care for is drawing theaters, auditoriums, and stadiums with multiple rows of seats and people. However, I do it when it facilitates a gag because my beloved Jazz Pickles enjoy it. The cartoon below is an example of such an instance. It was published in 2014, but I think it is even more relevant today as an allegory of the Trump administration.

(Embiggen it and see if you can spot the bunny and the moose.)

I think we all know what kind of hat Mickey the Human Garbage Disposal usually wears.

Wedding rings. I’ve never been a person to have any use for tradition unless it serves some purpose I can relate to. I’m okay with the basic symbolism of wearing a ring on a certain finger to signify that you are in a committed relationship. What I’m not okay with is the concept that it must be a diamond––a chip from a shiny rock that is not rare and that’s value is artificially inflated by the former monopoly practices of the deBeers company. Plus, there are all kinds of human rights abuses associated with the mining of diamonds in war zones in Africa, where many of them come from, including enslaved children working in horrendous and miserable conditions for almost no pay. A shiny rock created synthetically, however, is indistinguishable by the naked eye and you can be fairly certain that no slave children died as a result of its journey to your finger, but many people turn their noses up at those as not being “authentic”. If you’ve got a fiancee who insists on an overpriced rock that slaves died for, run away fast. This won’t be the last time you’re sorry you went on that second date, believe me.

Lastly, I find it fairly hilarious that there is a formula for how much you should spend on an engagement ring. It varies, but after a cursory google search, the average seems to be 3 months salary. Gosh. Where did that figure come from? Oh, the diamond industry. Well, I guess they should know what they’re talking about.

And if you don’t spend a painful amount on a shiny rock chip does it mean you don’t love her? What if you took that same money and used it toward a downpayment on a house, something you could actually use to build your life together and will likely be able to sell for the same amount or more someday?  Try selling an engagement ring sometime and see what percentage of your “investment” you get back. And keep the experience in mind the next time someone calls a diamond ring an “investment”.

By the way, the proper amount to spend on a piece of original cartoon art for your loved one is six month’s salary. Anything less means you don’t love them. I should know, I’m a cartoonist.

Some people complain that I’m hostile to religion (in general, they’re right) so I thought I’d toss them a lovely religious cartoon to warm the cockles of their soul. I don’t normally do “adorable” so cherish this while it lasts.

This cartoon got a fair amount of attention on FB this week. What I really enjoyed about it was that some people loved it, many could not figure it out and had to have it explained to them, and a handful complained because it is not actually about grammar, or they felt they had found a more logical reason why the tuna doesn’t belong with a vegetable and a fruit. One of my favorite things about creative expression is the tendency it has to be interpreted differently by each person. (Side note: I think the best argument for why the tuna does not belong here––other than the reason I gave in the cartoon––is that tuna is cat food, while the other two are appropriate foods for humans.)

The premise of this joke is a little dated now that everyone carries a cell phone and can call for help from anywhere, but I still enjoyed riffing on the old cliche.

Sometime when you’re just the right amount of drunk, go into a crowded elevator in a fancy office building and do this. It’s tons of fun and you get all kinds of different reactions. Some people laugh, some ignore you, some ask if they can have an M&M.

For some reason, I’ve been on a bit of a ventriloquist jag lately. I think I have another couple of jokes about them coming up in the next week or two. When I was a boy in the ’60s, ventriloquists were on TV a lot and I was fascinated by them. You almost never see them now but I still think cartoons about them are funny. Here’s one of my favorites from some year previous to this one. And here’s another one that still gives me a chuckle.

SUPER COOL SEMI-FINAL NOTE: My daughters, Krelspeth and Krapuzar, are going to be on the field during today’s Super Bowl. They are both super creative with costumes and parties and karaoke and anything having to do with having fun, and the younger one (Krelspeth) won a contest recently which allows her and a friend to be on the field during the Lady Gaga halftime concert. Neither of them give a baboon’s ass for football, but they both love them some Lady Gaga, so this is a super big deal for them. I’m just really happy for them and wanted to share with you guys. If you’re watching the show, keep your eyes peeled for two lovely young women who look vaguely like me, but without facial hair. Unfortunately, they were not allowed to wear crazy costumes or they most certainly would have.

NOT QUITE AS COOL: I’d be honored and personally enriched by about 25 cents if you bought one of my new books. It’s called a coloring book but you don’t have to be a person of color(ing) to enjoy it. It’s safe, fun, and inspiring for any age person and I guarantee you’ll think it is worth twice the $6 cover price. Grab a few extra copies for gifts, because if you buy four, I’ll make an entire dollar. Muchas gracias, mi Pepenillos de Jazz!


59 thoughts on “Territory

  1. Dan…don’t ever change. Your cartoons caught my attention years ago and I love the combination of satire and cynicism. I have never felt a greater connection with an artist. Me, a veteran of 25 years in the U.S. Army, including 3 all-expense paid trips to Vietnam and two bullet holes. Keep it up as many of us vets love you… (p.s.- stay in Mexico until the Cheeto gets consumed…)

  2. I enjoyed this selection of cartoons, in particular the one on the origins of wedding rings along with your comments.

    Hats of to your girls getting to see Lady Jaja. Really glad to hear they don’t have your facial hair.

  3. Congratulations to Krelspeth and Krapuzar for being part of the half time show. I was in the 1977 Grey Cup half time, so estimate they have about 40 years worth of bragging/boring people rights. Way to go, Ks.

  4. As South African, I must take issue with your claims about the diamond industry. Most diamonds come from South Africa? That’s news to me – South Africa isn’t even in the top five diamond producing countries.


    And child slave labour!? What have you been smoking? We have some of the world’s strictest labour laws, and child labour is a criminal offense here. Any company caught here using child slaves will be promptly closed down and its CEO put behind bars.

    I think you may have been a victim of alternative facts. Or perhaps you live in an alternative universe? A, dare I say it, Bizarro-universe?

    Never mind. I remain one of your most enthusiastic fans. :-)

    • Right you are, Brian, and thanks for the correction. I was in a bit of a hurry when writing that post and didn’t research that statement. A foolish mistake that I’m happy to correct. Let me know if you think the current wording is still inaccurate. :^}

      • Much better! Now you just have to draw a cartoon about blood diamonds and see if you can offend a few more people with your appalling lack of sensitivity. :-)

  5. I love all of the ventriloquist jokes, but the finger one is my favorite. I also love the Birds of Prayer, which I think is a great spin on birds of pray, and Cat Training, which I just think is a really well-drawn panel.

    I talk into bags of M&Ms all the time, but I usually seem to forget to turn them on first.

    Got a new interview up on webcomicsinterviews, with Doug Savage, who says that he really likes himself some Bizarro.

    • The great fraud (after religion) is the widespread belief that a huge engagement / wedding ring is “security” or an “investment.” It is neither. It is a consumer good that will – if you are lucky – realize maybe 50% of purchase price on re-sale.

  6. I’m not a football fan, however, I watched the Superbowl because I wanted to see the halftime show and because I was hoping the Atlanta Falcons would win (since Bill Maher had said it would greatly irritate the current U.S. president who is involved with the owners, coach AND Tom Brady. Also, my youngest, football-loving sister cannot stand Brady — I don’t know why — so, I also rooted with her in solidarity). Well.
    I LOVE Gaga. At one point toward the end of her halftime extravaganza, she walked through a crowd of young women, all with dark brown hair (it seemed) and bright red lips, stopping to hug one of them. Did you spot your daughters?

    • Thanks, Pat. I’m an avid hater of Belichik and Brady and so, by extension, the Patriots. I did not know, but assumed they were Trump zombies. That makes yesterday’s game even more disgusting. Albeit one of the most exciting and dramatic Super Bowls of all time.

      Regarding my daughters, I didn’t see them and didn’t expect to, of course. It is my belief that every single person you were able to see up close on TV was a hired actor/dancer. They had professional costumes and knew exactly where to be and what to do. They don’t leave things like that to chance. Had those women that Gaga was hugging been contest winners, they’d have screamed and squealed and mobbed her, thereby ruining the choreography of the shot. That’s my theory, anyway. :^}

      I’ve not talked to my daughters yet to get their download on the event but I’m looking forward to it!

  7. I am perhaps 10 or 15 years older than you. Just enough that we had no television until I was 11 or 12. We listened faithfully to the entertainment on the radio. As a kid you literally watch the radio and imagine the staging. Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy were favorites. It is difficult to explain to younger people that we watched ventriloquists on the radio.

  8. Hi Dan,

    Great group of ‘toons as always. So, quick question for ya. After Googling you I learned (to my delight) that you have published a rather large number of books. I’d like to purchase one or more but wanted to make sure that you collect royalties from your work, as some artists do not, due to having signed contracts more favorable to people other than the artist (Blues / Rock musicians come to mind). I’ll base my decision to purchase on the fairness of your compensation.


    • I signed good contracts but most of my books are out of print. So whatever you buy online is an old book that’s already been sold once and I won’t get a royalty from what you buy. That’s no reason not to buy any, though; I presumably got paid for those books once before already.

      My latest book is the only one I can guarantee I’ll make money off of and that’s this one, which is all art and no jokes. You’ll still love it, though. http://store.doverpublications.com/0486808688.html

  9. The engagement ring is a stylized descendant of betrothal gifts — basically, a man giving serious valuta to the woman (or in some cases, her family) to show that he’s serious about wanting to marry her, and has the resources to support her. That’s why “costs a lot” is actually relevant.

    As one consequence of this, it’s important to remember that even if the engagement falls through, that ring was a gift, and the guy does not get to demand it back. In modern days, some women may choose to give it back (usually to make a point), but that’s completely up to her; if she wants, she can sell it, give it away, publicly take a hammer to it, or melt it into a bullet for use on the rejected suitor (local authorities may object to that last one).

    That said, the African diamond cartels were and are strictly a racket….

    • I recall Judge Judy calling the engagement ring a promise to marry, and if the woman changes her mind, she gives back the ring. If the man calls it off, different story.

  10. Great set this week, Dan; I appreciate getting the weekly email to remind me.
    And by the way, I bought your coloring book and may get to color it one day. You are indeed one sick puppy.

  11. I didn’t see the humor in the gluten-sensitive cartoon.
    With celiac disease, there have been occasions
    even at the home of relatives where I could
    not eat anything served–lasagna and French bread dinner
    So I have to always carry a GF meal bar
    People already think celiacs and gluten-sensitivity is
    “All in the head” and I’ve heard that myself.
    I think your cartoon, to me, perpetuated that myth.

  12. Yeah, the whole engagement thing smacks way too much of a commercial transaction. I find marriage kinda outdated as it is, but the engagement ring feels too much like buying a cow/being bought like a cow. Now, if both parties exchanged rings… well, I still wouldn’t do it, because jewelry is mostly pointless, especially rings, but I could at least understand it. Just the guy doing it? Nope, feels like a nose-ring for the cow he’s just bought. Only, fancier.

    If I actually liked diamonds, I would totally be buying synthetic ones. Us, puny humans, being able to recreate the power of the planet? Way more impressive, imho!

    (Also, there was a bit on diamonds on a geological documentary I was watching, and even though it wasn’t kids, it felt so wrong, watching all those guys work not even for scraps!)

    Love your work!

  13. Dan, you may not be a self-professed crazy cat guy, but you sure know a lot about their habits and nature. I’ve loved all the cat cartoons you’ve drawn, so thank you and keep up the great work. :)

    • My pleasure. Because of my romantic partners, I’ve lived with cats consistently for thirty years so I know them pretty well. :^}

  14. Thanks for naming your daughters Krelspeth and Krapuzar. I am always on the lookout for fun names for story characters. Any history to share with us about those names? Maybe I missed that memo.

    What a terrific commentary about the diamond engagement ring tradition. I’m always amazed at how women show off the dang things and everyone judges her intended by the size of the diamond. Hello? I have suggested not only a down-payment for a house, but money set aside for marriage counseling, which many will need given the divorce rate in our country anyway. Instead, they are encouraged to spend thousands on the ring, and then thousands more on the wedding.

    I’m happy to have been unwed to the same man for 40 years so I don’t sport a rock, just a happy marriage. And I tolerate cats because HE likes them.

    • Sorry to say there is no story behind my daughters’ names, they just came off the top of my head. :^}

      I’ve always said that the amount of money spent on a ring and wedding is inversely proportional to how long the marriage will last. If couples spent half as much energy getting to know themselves and their partner as they do buying crap for their wedding, the divorce rate would plummet. And so would the marriage rate, come to think of it. If I’d known either of my two wives better, I’d never have married them. Olive Oyl and I have been together for just over three years and I know her much better than either of my ex-wives. I’m 58 and this is the first truly adult relationship I’ve ever been in.

  15. At the risk of ruining the joke, I’m afraid I have to ask: what kind of hat does Mickey the Human Garbage Disposal usually wear?

  16. The guy should stick with M&Ms. Or do people really get reception in elevators? (I don’t carry either M&Ms or a cell phone.) Also – my wife loved the idea of a manufactured diamond and that’s what she got!

    I don’t know about others, but I love your work and wish you great success.

  17. You are absolutely right regarding the ring. Here in Sweden the custom is that husband-to-be and bride-to-be exchange plain gold rings at the engagement and that the bride get an extra ring (quite often with one or several diamonds) at the wedding. When me and my wife got married we did not think in terms of monthly salary but we set a budget that would be equivalent to a third of anyone of our montly salaries. (Which is still a hell of a lot of money for a shiny rock).

    The problem we faced were that we could not find any ring that my wife liked at that budget. She wanted bigger rocks! One day she told me she had gone to a jewellers store by herself and found a ring that she loved. It was a used ring with one large diamond and several small ones. Since it was used the price was half our budget but the same ring new would have cost us at least double our budget. Since both diamonds and gold age very well, there were no way anyone could tell it had been used after they polished it up and engraved our names.

    This makes me think, I wonder how many rings that are sold as new are actually used? There were no way to tell that the one we got was used but obviously the price was about a quarter of the new ones.

    We’re still married by the way but it has nothing to do with the rings though.

  18. Of my four marriages, I bought a rock only once, for my ‘second’. The first, our rings were given to us. For my third, she bought the rings and the fourth, she bought the rings. The fourth is my last. And I guess I’ve been married 33 years but to four different women. What a life! Love your work, thank you!

  19. About those last two old ventriloquist cartoons: I guess Scott got his finger back, but the whole event bothered the dummy so much that he started questioning if he likes working Scott anymore. So he’s been doing shows with other ventriloquists, forgetting that Scott was just as likely as him to go to the ventriloquists convention.

  20. I am new to Bizarro and enjoy all the cartoons to date … so perhaps this question has been asked before.
    I am an optometrist and I’ve noticed from the beginning that you have an eyeball located somewhere in every print. What is the story behind the eyeballs?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.