Page 18 of 39« First...10...1617181920...30...Last »

Comics Censorship

I’m breaking out of my normal routine today to tell you about a blog post by one of my friends and syndicated cartoonist colleagues, Rina Piccolo. Rina draws a popular cartoon strip called “Tina’s Groove,” and, just like the rest of us whose main income comes from newspaper cartoons, is subject to the ludicrously (and I use that word literally) puritanical standards of newspaper comics. We’ve all had comics pulled from our lineup that wouldn’t even be called “edgy” in any other form of mainstream comedy because they could result in our features being cancelled in a given market. Rina describes the situation and reasons behind this phenomenon rather eloquently and it offers an interesting view into the behind-the-scenes workings of the syndicated comics world.

If you’ve ever wondered why webcomics are so funny and newspaper comics are so damned dull, read her short post.

Thanks, Rina, for articulating the kind of disappointment we’ve all felt about this.

Tina's Groove


Crime Giggles

Bizarro 05-10-15 hdrWEBBizarro is brought to you today by Mother’s Day Hat.

My big Sunday Comics gag today is okay, I guess, but for my money there’s just as much fun to be had in the small background gags. There are also 10 Secret Symbols to search for. If you’re not sure you know what all of my Secret Symbols are, click here.  If you click the cartoon (and this damn blog is working properly) you’ll get an enlarged view for better examination. I hope it pleases you.

Let’s talk now about my cartoons of the past week. bz panel 05-04-15 bz panel 05-05-15 bz panel 05-06-15 bz panel 05-07-15 bz panel 05-08-15 bz panel 05-09-15

Monday’s child is full of twerk: To someone my age, mid-fifties, this thing the youngsters call “twerking” is the opposite of sexy. In fact, it is hilarious. Like naked-guy-with-a-shiny-tourist-sombrero-and-black-socks hilariously unsexy. No matter how young you are right now, if you live long enough a younger generation will adopt some kind of fashion or activity that you will think is hilariously stupid, but they’ll think is cool. It’s just a law of physics. To get a jumpstart on dealing with it, do this simple exercise now––imagine the stupidest, most embarrassing fashion or activity that you can, one that you would rather die than be caught in public wearing or doing. THAT is what will be in style when you’re older.

Tuesday’s child is worth a smirk: I found out not long ago that “service animals” are not just used for obvious things like guiding the blind, but also for people who have severe anxiety issues and find that an animal calms them. I immediately wondered what would happen if the animal that calmed that one person made everyone else panic.

Wednesday’s child is in withdrawal: When society collapses and the electrical grid is out and cell phones and computers don’t work, the current generations being raised on constant contact with the entire world will suffer severe withdrawal. Not if, when. It might look something like this.

Thursday’s child had a nasty fall: I guess when I wrote this batch I was thinking a lot about our collective addiction to apps like Twitter and FacadeBook. “Josh” isn’t a specific person, I chose it simply because I wanted a name that is common among a certain age group that might contain members with the type of mindlessness that this character is exhibiting. My favorite part of this cartoon is the look on Descartes’ face.

Friday’s child is losing feathers: What about a parrot who talks more than his human? Is that funny? I thought it kind of was and so did my German penpal, Michael Roth, who suggested the setup.

Saturday’s child is vulnerable to the weather: In line with the philosophical subject matter of Thursday’s cartoon, I raise the question of how well a person who needs to hide actually wants to hide. No particular reason. I didn’t do anything recently that would land me in a witness protection program. Seriously, I’ve just been minding my own business and not bothering anyone.

That’s it for today. Later this coming week I’ll likely be making a dandy announcement about some new stuff so come back with your eyes in a few days and have a gander.


Yuck It Up!

Bizarro 05-03-15 hdrWEb(For a bigger-looking cartoon, click it!)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Millennial Confusion.

If you’ve ever been to the taping of a TV show, you know that those with live audiences are driven like slaves building the pyramids to laugh and applaud and hoot and holler and gasp Bizarro 05-03-15 WEBand whistle as though they’re having the times of their lives. The less funny the show is, the harder the audience wrangler has to work. It’s just one more aspect of TV that isn’t what it seems, like the scripting and multiple takes on “reality” TV shows. While I think this is notable and funny, I don’t actually think it is wrong. TV shows of this sort are theater, and by definition, aren’t meant to be real.

To be upset that the laughs on a sitcom are added electronically or the arguments on Real Housewives of New Jersey are scripted is like being upset that Scarlet Johansson isn’t really a martial artist. What is upsetting, however, is when shows portraying themselves as journalism are finagled for the sake of ratings. That happens a lot, too.

Going back in time (not really, cartoons are a kind of drama, too) let’s review last week’s gags…

bz panel 04-27-15Monday: Town criers used to play the same role as a newspaper so this one is adding a crossword puzzle to his format. I resisted having him describe a Garfield cartoon.






Tuesday: You bz panel 04-28-15may not get this gag if you’ve never heard the expression, “I’ll dance on your grave,” which is used in an effort to express to someone how much you dislike them. I’ve never actually said this but I’ve thought it bz panel 04-29-15a few times.




Wednesday: I’ve often looked at thrones in museums and wondered how anyone could comfortably sit in one of those things for five minutes, much less for as long as it takes to declare war on a neighboring kingdom or hear a peasant’s request for justice. Today’s thrones are much more user friendly.


bz panel 04-30-15Thursday: This is one of those rare cartoons that was inspired by my own personal experience –– I got an email from a Nigerian prince once and was almost eaten by a cat.






bz panel 05-01-15Friday: This hasn’t ever happened to me but it is weird when you get to an age where many doctors and all cops are younger than you.







bz panel 05-02-15Saturday: I think a treadmill for a tightrope walker is amusing. I wonder if there’s a stationary machine of some kind for trapeze artists to use.

Here’s another treadmill gag of mine from a while back that I also like.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If you’ve signed up to be notified by email when I post on this blog, you must sign up again. The last program crashed and the addresses were lost. The box to sign up again––or for the first time––is in the right margin of this and every post! I’ll never sell or share your email address, so it’s safe. Thanks, Jazz Pickles!

An Open Letter to the Supreme Court

bizarro 05-03-13GayAirplaneWEBTry as I might to stay out of politics in my comics, some issues just grab me by the throat and force my hand. This is one such issue.

No matter how long I live I don’t think I’ll ever understand why anyone cares who anyone else marries.

Personally, I don’t think the government should be involved in marriage issues whatsoever. Marriage should be left to the individuals entering into it: a civil contract, an agreement on a handshake, a religious ceremony if you like, a costume party in the woods, whatever makes sense to the people doing it. But the government’s interest in the institution is entirely misplaced in this day and age. Why do married people get tax breaks, special treatment from hospitals and insurance companies, or any special treatment at all from anyone, unless the powers-that-be are trying to direct and control society to their own end? We know from history that this never turns out well for the rest of us.

Some would say that family arrangements outside of two heterosexuals legally bound to each other for life work to erode society but there is no evidence of this in the real world. Families consist (and have always consisted) of virtually every combination of people, places, and things that one can imagine, and yet the world has not spiraled into chaos as a result. Children need loving adults in their lives, as many as they can get, and never does it occur to them to ask what kind of thingy the people who care for them have between their legs.

Outside of the archaic and fearful “rules” of certain religions, there are no logical objections to an all-inclusive attitude toward marriage. And religious notions are not something America is supposed to be legislating.

So if the government is going to keep their grimy hands in the marriage business, they must open the institution to anyone willing to pay the price of admission. Anything else would be a transparent attempt to control the direction of the human race, which is as futile as attempting to control the weather. (Although we’ve had some luck controlling the climate, and look where that’s gotten us.)

Soupy Giggles

Bizarro 04-26-15 HdrWEB Bizarro is brought to you today by Big Plans.

My Sunday cartoon this week is a bit odd and I knew it would attract some questions. The most common question I’ve gotten about it so far is something along the lines of “What does this mean?”

Well, it doesn’t mean anything, it’s just a fun bit of nonsensical wordplay in the tradition of Bizarro 04-26-15 WEBthe original bz panel 04-20-15Monty Python TV show or the brilliant work of my official favorite cartoonist, B. Kliban. It was suggested by a bz panel 04-21-15friend of mine though I didn’t credit them and now I can’t remember exactly whom it was. Was it Keith? If so, thanks, Keith! If not, sorry someone else!

Earlier last week I had the following bits of fun…

Monday: The tale of the man bz panel 04-22-15who did not control his Sharpie. A modern tragedy that plays itself out daily in spite of numerous public service announcements warning people of the dangers.

Tuesday: Despite it’s corniness, most people chuckle at this one. This cartoon is historically accurate, by the way, as it was well documented that wearing one’s boots backwards negatively bz panel 04-23-15affected one’s shooting accuracy.

Wednesday: This one was inspired by the Chinese proverb, “He who ignores the clam, also probably ignores shellfish.” Need I say more?

Thursday: My internet buddy, Michael Lagace, tossed me the word “dinoisseur” and this is what I did with it. Michael is the guy behind a graphic novel project that I blogged about recently.

 Friday: I had a bz panel 04-24-15friend once whose wife was so jealous that she would punish him if their waitress was too good looking. Once she even punched him hard in the shoulder with her fist as soon as the waitress left the table. I should mention that I never saw my friend making any observable attempt to admire the bz panel 04-25-15waitress. Anyway, I figured more than one person had this problem so I made a cartoon about it.

Saturday: I’ve been thinking a lot about the collapse of society recently and it has led to gags like this one. Once the infrastructure collapses and there is no TV, Internet, or cell service, fighting for resources will likely be the most common pastime. Just a thought.

Enjoy your week, Jazz Pickles. I’m adding some new pages to soon that will feature some original art I have for sale so I hope some of you will avail yourselves of a piece or two. After the apocalypse, you’ll wish you had some interesting art to gaze at between battles over canned food.



GMO Shuffle

bizarro 04-19-15 hdrWEB
Bizarro 04-19-15 WEBBizarro is brought to you today by The Three Stooges.

A few years ago we had a very long and spirited debate on this blog about the dangers/benefits of GMO crops. People I trust were on both sides of the issue so in the end, I wasn’t sure if I’m for or against them. Like most things, there are likely good and bad elements to the practice

bz panel 04-13-15 bz panel 04-14-15 bz panel 04-15-15 bz panel 04-16-15 bz panel 04-17-15 bz panel 04-18-15and there is definitely a lot of false propaganda about the subject. But this cartoon isn’t about that, it’s just a ludicrous look at a “what if” scenario. If this damn blog site is working properly, you should be able to click the image for a larger view so you can see some of the background elements better.

As for my other cartoons in the past seven days, let’s sally forth…

Monday: The American health care industry is insidious in my opinion. Don’t get me started.

Tuesday: An idea from my good buddy, Cliff The King of Wordplay. This one is so dry you’ll need to reach for a cold beer after reading it, but that’s what I like about it.

Wednesday: I’ve never been to a speed dating event but I’ve heard of them. It’s where lots of single people all get together in a big room with lots of small tables for two and I guess you jump from one person to the next, spending just a few minutes chatting up each person and seeing if you get a spark that you might want to pursue later. I envisioned a “too much information” guy and used a rough version of my own romantic biography for his line.

Thursday: My buddy Rick and I were having lunch one day and the topic of being able to throw a surprise party for a psychic would mean he/she wasn’t a very good psychic. We chuckled, I made a mental note and then later a cartoon.

Friday: My German pen pal and a writer in his own right, Michael Roth, tossed me an idea about a seeing-eye-snowdog and a snowman with no coals for eyes and I fashioned it thusly. It is sort of sweet with a touch of pathos. Heres an old favorite of mine from a few years back on a similar subject. Yes, it is late in the year to feature a snowman cartoon but my feature is called “Bizarro,” not “Normalo.”

Saturday: Just a bit of fun with a famous fictional character whose name is nothing more than a description of her clothing. I used it to make fun of two loooooooong-standing fashion trends that offend my eyes daily. As an artistic type, I find the poor fashion choices of others more distressing than others might.


Once again, my blog isn’t working properly and I am unable to post my usual weekend cartoon extravaganza. I’ll post again as soon as “they” get it fixed. (sigh)

Jocularity Jive

Bizarro is brought to you today byBizarro 04-12-15 hdrWEB Lost in Translation.

Barrooms, restaurants, downtown streets and the like are always a bit of a pain to draw because of the complexity of the space and all of the characters involved. I often avoid these kinds of scenes because they put a major crimp in my schedule but when I do force myself to get into it, I always end up enjoying the process and appreciating Bizarro 04-12-15 WEBthe result. Feedback from readers over thebz panel 04-06-15 years tells me that they enjoy the complex art, too, so that’s a win/win. This image has some fun details which I hope you’ll enjoy. It also has a whopping 9 secret symbols to look for! For an easier search, click the image to make it bigger.

Last week’s cartoons began with a foray into the inherent cruelty of the bz panel 04-07-15modern office environment. I don’t know what’s under that table, but it can’t be good.

Tuesday’s gag was about the cruelty of nature as it depicts a female praying mantis––who are known for decapitating their male lovers (no idea what the LGBT mantises do)––visiting her insurance agent to find out if she

bz panel 04-08-15can collect on his life insurance. The name of the company on the window is a side joke: Aetna Insurance is a company in the U.S. and my “Enta” is a cross between that and “entomology,” the study of bugs.

Over on the King Features site a couple readers left comments describing their confusion over the vegan diner gag. The joke is bz panel 04-09-15simple wordplay, of course. If you don’t get it, don’t worry about it.

My fireside gag between a man and his young daughter got some interesting comments on the King site, too. Several came from right-wing types who buy the FOX News angle that it isn’t corporations who are destroying the middle class but illegal aliens. I bz panel 04-10-15often forget that conservatives read my cartoons, too. What I can’t forget is that although FOX News is the highest rated news channel in the U.S. it also consistently proves to be the most inaccurate news source in America according to  independent studies. Its followers will decry that these studies are biased, of course, and bz panel 04-11-15there’s nothing one can say to dissuade a true believer of anything, so I won’t try here. To my eyes and ears, FOX News is a flashy, corporate propaganda machine not unlike the one Ned Beatty was running in the brilliant and prescient film from 1976, “Network.” But perhaps I’m wrong. (Whether you’re right- or left-wing, rent it now!)

Moving on to the Pie & Coffee cartoon, I got this idea while drawing a cartoon from the previous week with similar art. See it here. This gag is very simple but I think it’s my favorite of the week.

Lastly we have the TSA joke. I can’t imagine how bored the people who work those lines at the airport must be. To be trained to be hyper-vigilant against an insidious enemy that you are almost certainly NEVER going to encounter is a strange kind of torture. I’ve not done any research on the subject but my average brain tells me that the TSA is an enormous waste of money. The odds of another giant terrorism attack on American commercial airlines seem like an absurd longshot. I say just go back to running everyone and their luggage through metal detectors and forget about shoes and liquids and body scanners and pat downs. But, again, maybe I’m wrong.




You regular readers of my blog (called Jazz Pickles by some) likely remember when I used to collaborate quite a bit with Wayno, a cartoonist working out of Pittsburgh. Well, Wayno has moved on to a feature of his own and doesn’t send me ideas anymore (sad face here) and I thought you JPs would enjoy knowing about it and following his work. His feature is called WaynoVision and you can see it here.

And here’s a link to his blog.

Here’s an example of what he’s been up to that I thought was particularly amusing!



Sex Preachin’

bizarro 04-05-15 hdrWEb1Bizarro 04-05-15 WEB(Hankerin’ for a bigger look? Click the cartoons.)

Bizarro is brought to you today by Sex.

All of the cartoons from this week are self explanatory (as a cartoon should be) but I have a few things to say about the last one posted here: two ladies at a sidewalk cafe talking about an old boyfriend. I suggest you read all of these cartoons, then come back here for my commentary.

bz panel 03-31-15 When I submitted the cafe cartoon, my editor warned me that it could cause trouble. It is hard for someone like me to imagine anyone being upset in 2015 by a cartoon like this but at the same time, I know there are people who will. Fortunately, we received no complaints from the editors of any of my client newspapers and bz panel 04-02-15 I consider that a good sign, but I got a few complaints from readers who chided me for including a reference to casual sex outside of marriage in a newspaper comic “where kids could see it.”

Casual sex outside of marriage has been a hallmark of the human race since ancient bz panel 04-03-15 copy times and it always will be. Hiding it from your children won’t change their behavior when the time comes, in fact, it likely make it all the more attractive to them.

Whether we’re trying to control our children’s future sex lives or our own, we are fighting a force that is stronger than us and one way or another, we will lose in the end. Humans are highly sexual mammals bz panel 04-01-15and one of only a very small handful that have sex for reasons other than procreation. Most animals only tolerate sex because they are driven to do it. (We judge this by the ratio of copulatory incidents to conceptions. Most animals have sex around 3 or 4 times per pregnancy, humans do it over a thousand times per.) Humans bz panel 03-30-15actually enjoy it and need it often, one way or another. It’s simple biology and there’s nothing we can do about it no matter what we believe about gods in the sky who look down on us for giving in to our animal nature. In truth, when it comes to sex, we’re giving in to our human nature.

I’m not just talking “out of my ass” here, I actually raised two daughters who had no trouble navigating the waters of sex and dating and became well-adjusted, happily married adults. Here’s how I did it:

From a very early age, before they learned to be ashamed or embarrassed about sex, their mom and I told them everything about sexuality that they were capable of understanding (at a given age), as though it were a scientific fact of nature and an inevitable social force. (Which it is, of course.) Nothing magical or mystical, just the truth. We told them what to expect physically, emotionally, and socially and gave them things they should consider when the time came, and what good and bad things they could expect to experience as a result of becoming sexually active. And we were dead honest. When we would have these talks over the years, chapter by chapter, as they were old enough to understand a new piece of the story, they listened matter-of-factly and said, “Okay.” It was an open topic in our house and both of them knew that the power to make those decisions was in their own hands, not ours. As a result, they had less curiosity about it and waited longer than their peers to experiment. Both were in long-term relationships in college when they did. My point, of course, is that talking to your kids about sex doesn’t have to be mysterious and embarrassing and you don’t have to lie awake at night worried that your child might find out something about sex that might make you lose control over them. Your control over them is an illusion in the first place.

It makes more sense to me to relax about it, stop making it so important and mystical, and just get on with more important aspects of life; like whether your 12-year-old boy is constantly playing violent video games or is becoming a bully. In my opinion, it is literally insane that so few Americans raise an eyebrow over violence on TV and in pop culture, but a reference to sex raises the roof.


Page 18 of 39« First...10...1617181920...30...Last »