Food Nightmares


(One may embiggenate any image herein by placing the cursor within that image’s borders and activating the device that triggers the cursor to act.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Why I Became An Artist.

Mr. Potato Head is an almost endless wellspring of cartoon ideas. I’ve done quite a few over the years, including this very racy one from two weeks ago that I still can’t believe didn’t get censored by any of my newspaper clients, and this one, which is one of my favorites from my entirely-too-long cartooning career. I like this one, too, for slapstick reasons and this one because of its absurdity.

And, the title panel for today’s cartoon (top of this post) is an altered version of a photo of yours truly when I was about three years old.

My first cartoon from the past week is a bit of fun with the Garden of Eden myth. One reader wrote to ask me if I was lampooning the way the Trump Klux Klan and right-wing media tell people completely unmitigated, irrational lies and they believe them. To be honest, that was not on my mind but it is a terrific analogy.

The human mind has an almost insatiable need for myths, and not just in the realm of spiritualism; many of them have to do with politics and leaders. There is no other explanation for the fact that millions of the American poor and working class believe(d) that an old man who demonstrably built a fifty-year career in business by abusing the poor and working class suddenly intends to be their savior. The disastrous health care bill they tried to pass last week was a perfect example of how much current-day Republicans care about the working class.

I’m not sure how successful this cave cartoon is. I liked it when I first drew it but it doesn’t work very well for me now. I’m hoping your results vary.

Old ladies can be such bitches, am I right? ( I said “can” be. Many are quite lovely and sweet.)


This cartoon is quite strange and I like that, but even stranger is how it appeared in one California newspaper. I didn’t find out what had happened until a few readers sent me FB messages about it, but apparently this cartoon was edited at just this one newspaper to this version. (It’s not about it being in strip format rather than panel format, I offer both to all my client newspapers.) You’ll notice that the cartoon is the same except that the “G” is gone from the word “God”. Which is rather “od”.

I suppose it could be an accident but it is hard to imagine how. My guess is that they removed the letter to avoid offending religious nuts who are incensed by the use of god in comics. (Of which there are more than you would think and I’ve got the hate mail to prove it.) If that is true, I think this is the kind of way-over-the-top, nonsensical liberal pandering that drove a lot of not-big-city folks to vote for Trump. Just my opinion, of course.

On the other hand, there’s no arguing the fact that we live in a world where people are murdered every day in the name of imaginary people in the sky, so maybe it pays to steer absurdly clear of religious nuts of any stripe.

I particularly like this cartoon and it says a lot about today’s electorate. Someone on one of my posts made the point that foil hat nuts reside on both sides of the political aisle but I don’t think you can effectively argue that the vast majority of conspiracy nuts don’t belong to the right wing of American politics. I’ve not done a deep dive on this but I think it is because the Republicans made a conscious effort to court them a couple of decades ago. The modern Republican party doesn’t have policies that help anyone but the extremely rich and corporations, and there aren’t enough of them to elect anyone to office, so they consciously began some time ago to find more conceptual ways to appeal to voters on topics like Christianity, “family values,” terrorism, and crime (abortion rights, the supposed “immigrant threat,” the ridiculous “War on Christmas,” marriage equality, Planned Parenthood’s supposed plot to kill babies and sell their parts to mad scientists, etc.)  In doing so, they’re happy to pander to anyone, including people on the fringes of reality who believe just about any crazy idea you could possibly dream up. I mean, when all of your policies are bad for anyone making less than a million dollars a year, you have to find something to get people excited about. Fear of “the other” is an ancient and very successful method.

Finally this week, we have this daring gentleman who is diligently practicing his dangerous pastime. I skydove once (not a word but should be) and I found it exhilarating. The moment I stepped up to the open door of an airplane and told my body to jump out of it into thin air and every molecule of my being screamed back at me is one I will never forget.

Thanks for spending this time with me, Jazz Pickles. I always enjoy talking to you about my cartoons and hearing about which ones you enjoyed (or didn’t) in the comments section. As the world changes and more people read my work online (for which I do not get paid) instead of in newspapers, I look for new ways to make a living as an artist. If you’d like to help support the ideas and art that you value, please consider one of the options below. My beloved Olive Oyl and I will thank you as we continue to live indoors and eat daily. 

Grab a copy or several of my new book, full of crazy groovy art and only $6. (Buying it from any site that sells books is fine, doesn’t have to be the one I linked here.) 

Make a one-time donation or a monthly contribution to the good people at Rancho Bizarro (there are only two of us––my beloved Olive Oyl and me) who fearlessly bring Bizarro to you 365 days a year in spite of the obvious dangers of publicly attacking a powerful, thin-skinned, authoritarian egomaniac. Any amount is appreciated.

Buy a print of any Bizarro cartoon you can find by using the calendar function on Starts at around $25.

Buy a larger, limited-edition, signed and numbered, archival, color print of one of my personal favorite Bizarro cartoons from an LA art dealer. ($200) They also sell some of my original ink drawings from Bizarro. ($1000)

Until next time, be well, be smart, be nice.


55 thoughts on “Food Nightmares

    • No worries, lots of folks didn’t. If you consider that all of Mr. PH’s extremities are detachable and then think about what a urologist examines, you’re there.

          • Took me a good while too. If the item in question was cased more asymmetrically, it would have clicked into place (ahem) more easily. But as is, it reads like a more common musical instrument.
            Love the gag!

    • I feel better now, I wondered what was wrong with me because I couldn’t figure it out. Now that I get it, it’s a favorite.

  1. I don’t think Girl Scout cookies aren’t made by Girl Scouts, but I’ve never checked the labels.
    “Us and Them” (being in a tribe) is one of the things that made humans successful in evolution. We don’t really need that now, but it still runs many people.

    • So true. Tribalism is the root of racism and causes us all to distrust anyone not from our tribe, whatever you consider that to be. Used to be quite useful, now causes no end of trouble.

      • There’s the Democrat tribe and the Republican tribe.

        I stay above that filth … I’m proud to be an independent who makes up his own political positions based on objective observation without regard to whether the Right or the Left is in agreement.

  2. Today’s set is lovely.

    I remember playing with Mr. Potato Head when we used real potatoes.

    I find the second to be an analogy for how religion is used to overrule people’s perceptions of reality simply through the exercize of authority. In ancient times, rule of authority was invoked through the fear of torture and execution: today, all it takes is a $2000 suit and a wallet full of fancy looking cards (it used to help if you weren’t ‘batshit crazy’ but that’s not so much of a requirement any more)

    If the two transdimensional invaders watching the cave owners (suddenly discover how sparse their domain is) are actually the culprits, then this cartoon reminds me of HGTTG and might actually be the question associated with ’42’ .. Dan, if the vogon constructor fleet shows up later this afternoon, I’m blaming you.

    That old lady is my Mom: she’s 104, and would lecture children who couldn’t perform a trick to go with their costumes on halloween.
    We love her.

    The godwheel is a key component of this lecture: The Yaqui used to tell me that when your ceiling turns into an open window with the northern light’s winds blowing through and your bed becomes a magic carpet flying though stardust at a moment you know you are still awake: it’s time to get serious, and start feverently ‘digging in the dirt’ (a’la Peter Gabriel).

    • That’s an excellent guess but my editor actually changed that to an upper-case “G” before sending it out to client newspapers. I forgot to change the one on my copy that I use for this blog post because I don’t normally capitalize that word.

  3. You wrote “more people read my work online (for which I do not get paid) instead of in newspapers”… before I see your weekly summary here, I read your work online via the email service from which I pay for and I assume they pay you a penny or two, as much per subscriber as the newspaper (I also have a Sunday-only subscription to the local dead-tree, the San Luis Obispo Tribune, just for the coupon sections, but you are in their way-better-than-average-selection comic pages). And I own most of your books, going back to your first collection with the cow lawyer on the cover. But none of your wall art – my meager wallspace is dominated by this piece I inherited from my father:

  4. I especially loved the tin hat ‘toon. The weird thing is, one of my few Republican FB pals didn’t get it — or she thought it applied to liberals. A wee bit dense there, hon. Anyway, Dan, keep up the great work. :)

  5. There is little doubt, the “tire your god” cartoon was the most original and funniest. In short – it was the most bizarro. A few more of these from this week (and especially those from last week), and I’ll have to order another t-shirt.

  6. The “tire” cartoon is indeed strange. When I saw it, I thought, “Wow, I will have to wait for Dan’s explanation!” And it turns out that it is just strange, which I like, too 😄

  7. It only took me a second to figure out the G was missing, but I had to explain it to my husband! I doubt if it was intentional. The Times is constantly getting letters about how biased it is.

    I liked the cave robbery one. They lost their most precious possession; probably set civilization back to the darkest ages!

  8. Yo! Danno —
    I hope it’s OK to call you that.
    A few notes on this week’s anthropological bent —

    #1) The Garden of Eden cartoon [Monday, 20 March].
    Not only is the myth of this “garden” powerful, it appeals to us skeptics too.
    And the notion of such a Utopia actually seems to be on our genome.
    Like, dont you feel — in your very bones — that you deserve a Utopia?
    Isnt this very similar to the religious notion that we will die & go to … Utopia?
    Where cd these deep-seated & hopeful yearnings be coming from?
    How bout this — We evolved on the Pleistocene savanna in Africa.
    Warm climate, blue sky, grassland & mountains, streams & lakes.
    And all of those ANIMALS!!!
    I suspect all of that got onto our genome.
    And we had to think up names for them — just like in Genesis?
    There is a cartoon for you — folks arguing about what to call the Elephant!
    How bout the Giraffe?
    The Warthog?

    #2) The Rip-Off in the Cave [Thursday 23 March]
    Somehow I finally got it — their fire was stolen!
    Who will be their Prometheus now?
    How come we have firebugs?
    I have known a couple of these destructive & troubled young guys.
    [One was a student in a remedial reading class, the other a neighbor.]
    It seems they cant help it.
    Like — Maybe it’s in their DNA?
    How cd that be adaptive?
    Well, back on the African savanna, in our Utopian Eden, we had need of many talents — hunters, botanists, weavers, stone-knappers, story-tellers.
    And I might say also — artists of every stripe!
    One of those many needs was for every clan to have 1 or a few fire-starters.
    What wd happen if your clan lost their fire — like in a catastrophic storm?
    If your clan did not have resident fire-starters —
    your clan
    might be
    … toast.
    It was ADAPTIVE to have pyromaniacs pop up every generation or so.
    So — Let’s imagine it got onto the collective genome of the clan.
    But it was expressed in only a few individuals — usually erratic guys.
    Other antisocial attributes seem to piggy-back along with this love of fire.
    But, back on the savanna, those attributes cd have been controlled.
    And the guys wd have been valued — even special — members of the Clan.
    Picture this: Wilga sez to Thag — “Um … Thag … cd you come light my fire?
    Nowadays, pyromania is very harmful — but it may be with us forever.

  9. When I woke up face down in the driveway, (not really but close) I realized that the strong meds the doctor prescribed were, in fact strong. So strong, I had to stop drinking. I was on the meds for ten years, weaning myself off of half my dose in July and the last half in December. But now I don’t want to drink. Weird.
    Absolutely love your work, thanks!


  10. Maybe the reason that “skydove” is not a word is that you wouldn’t know if it was a verb, i.e. past participle of “skydive”, or a noun, i.e. the kind of dove you find in the sky (which is all of them).

  11. Hi Dan,
    Another great batch of cartoons! Can I tell you my skydiving joke? It’s pretty rude, so I hope you get the opportunity to weed it out before it shows up on your site!

    This fellow is in the army (?) and he’s having a beer with his friend on the weekend:

    “So how was your skydiving exercise last week?”

    “Ok, I guess. We were all lined up to do the jump, and I was the last guy in the line. But when it came to my turn, I just froze.”

    “So what happened?”

    “The sarge said, ‘Boy, if you don’t get off this airplane, I’m going to f*ck you up the ass right here and now!!”

    “And did you jump?”

    “A little, at first.”

  12. You, “The Far Side” and “Herman” from my Canada are my all time favorites. We, in Canada currently have our fair share of nut cases who use these tactics to get people to vote against their own best interests. [ viz:Kellie Leitch, Kevin Oleary (self-named ‘Mr.Wonderful’ ) both who are trying to replace Stephen Harper as Conservative party leader and take on Justin Trudeau in the 2019 election ]

  13. I LOVE your stuff.

    I have been hunting for one of your older cartoons which show a building completed a foot off the ground, while the workmen ponder the plans to find what they’ve done wrong.

    • Thanks for the note, Emily. I’m happy to hear you’re enjoying my work. The cartoon you described sounds vaguely familiar but I’m sorry to say that I can’t find it in my archives anywhere. To be honest, I can’t even be sure it was mine, but I’ve published over 10,000 cartoons since Bizarro began in 1985 so I’ve forgotten a few. Sorry I can’t be of more help at the moment!

  14. I am a vegan and love your vegan gorilla cartoon. I have bought the print, but would love to have it on a t-shirt. Not many creative vegan t’s out there. Others have told me they would like one too. Don’t know if a company like Society6 would be an option. If you decide to do anything with this, please let me know.

    • Thanks for the note, Clair. I’m currently looking for a new T-shirt company and weighing my options so I’ll keep your suggestion in mind. Stay tuned to this site and my Dan Piraro Bizarro Comics FB page for announcements.

  15. True, many old ladies are sweet. Some are not. But no old ladies are bitches, except the ones who are canine.

  16. I had to laugh at your old lady cartoon. They can be very colorful characters at times.
    True story. I was working as a bank teller when the Susan B Anthony dollar coins were first distributed. I had a very elderly lady come up to my window, tossed a 10 spot on the counter and said, “Give me some of those bitch bucks.”
    “Excuse me?”, I said.
    “Give me some of those bitch bucks” she said again.
    I replied, “I’m not sure what you mean.” Here I was entertaining thoughts that maybe she actually had known Susan B Anthony and didn’t hold her in high regard.
    My imaginings were dashed when she retorted, “You know, some of those new dollar coins that everyone’s bitching about.”

  17. I love the cartoon [3/28] in the L.A. Times of the founding fathers. It is the prefect criticism of originalism as a way to interpret the Constitution.
    Can anyone send it to Judge Gorsuch?

  18. The tire _od cartoon instantly reminded me (even before I read the words) of the first joke I ever read online:

    Two priests died in a car crash and went up to the Pearly Gates. St. Peter said, “Guys, we’re doing a software upgrade and can’t let you in just yet. To compensate, I’ll send you each back to Earth until we’re ready. You can go back as anything you’ve ever dreamed of being.”

    One priest said, “Well, I’ve always wanted to be an eagle soaring over the Grand Canyon.”

    “Done,” said St. Peter, and the priest vanished.

    The second priest said, “This may seem a bit odd, but I’ve always wanted to be a stud.”

    St. Peter arched an eyebrow ever so slightly, but said, “Done,” and the priest vanished.

    A while later, the software folks let St. Peter know they were back online and offered to retrieve the two priests. They asked how to locate them.

    St. Peter said, “The first one should be no problem. He’s an eagle soaring over the Grand Canyon. He’ll have an aura you’ll spot.”

    “And the second one?” the engineers asked.

    “That could be a bit of a problem,” St. Peter said. “He’s somewhere in Minnesota on a snow tire.”

  19. Two things.

    The comic regarding Girl Scout Cookies took me back to the first time I saw /The Addams Family/. In the scene focus on Addams kids’ lemonade stand (complete with vials of chemicals and a lemon on the counter), along comes a girl scout as a potential customer. Went like this:
    Girl Scout: Is this made from real lemons?
    Wednesday: Yes.
    GS: I only like all-natural foods and beverages, organically grown with no preservatives. Are you sure they’re real lemons?
    Pugsley: Yes.
    GS: Well, I’ll tell you what. I’ll buy a cup if you buy a box of my delicious Girl Scout cookies. Do we have a deal?
    W: Are they made from real Girl Scouts?

    And then skydiving. As far as I understand (mostly from folk who did paratrooper training), the unspectedly tricky part is leaving the plane. Ever been in a backseat when someone sitting in front of you spits out their window. If you’re fortunate enough to have the barrier in place, you’re treated to a lovely display of their spittle. When you leave an aircraft in flight, your first goal is to not be that spittle. In jumping from a plane, especially from the side (where too close would be bad) but also from the rear (where too close might be bad), the goal is to get your aerodynamics reasonably separated from the plane’s aerodynamics. (Since I have a reference for this in WWII and for 15 years ago, I’m guessing that so long as we have military jumping out the side of planes, any initial jump will have around two trainees hit the plane.)

    I figure one of the best ways to practice skydiving would be anxiously waiting around a doorway and then suddenly leaping out it as far as you can. Bonus if it’s a main door that has a step or few. Could scare the bejeezus out of any outsiders that might come to the door. (Deliverymen, paperboys, costumed children, carolers, etc.) Could work for a comic panel, I guess, if the practice-diver was fully outfitted. “Ge-rah!”, he could cry.

  20. Maybe I’m dense, but I had to look up the Cialis ad where the dialogue says something like “no need to take a pill or have to find a bathroom” in order to find out why the couple needed to find a bathroom. I couldn’t envision the ad writers suggesting “do it in a public bathroom” although that image in my mind was quite hilarious. I found out it was the other reason for taking the product (enlarged prostate) which wasn’t mentioned in the ad.

    • If you listen to the commercial, it says cialis is good for making limpness stiff and improvement of a condition called BPH (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) which apparently makes one spend a lot of time doing the “Run to the Outhouse” maneuver, (which was a wonderful book I heard about as a 3rd grader, written by I P Daily…also the author of the now famous “Yellow River.”)

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.