Flash Fire

Bizarro 03-06-16 hdrWEB

(See some of these images larger by clicking and embiggenating them.)
Bizarro 03-06-16 WEB

Bizarro is brought to you today by The First Plausible Explanation I’ve Heard.

There’s a raging controversy on social media this morning about the Christmas tree cartoon above and whether or not the symbol count (small number above my signature) matches the number of actual Secret Symbols hidden therein. Okay, perhaps not a “raging” controversy, but a couple of people have written polite notes asking me what’s up. If you go to Bizarro.com and look at the cartoon posted there in the main frame at the top for today, March 6, 2016, you’ll see that the “K2” on the rooftop door of the building in the upper-right corner of the cartoon is missing. I remember when I submitted this cartoon four weeks ago that my editor told me the symbol count didn’t match, and upon inspection I saw that I had somehow deleted the K2 from the door in one of the hundreds of complicated technologically scientific steps it takes to create one of these images. I remember replacing it and sending the corrected one to King Features but somehow it didn’t make it to the online version. I’m not sure if it made it to the newspaper version, perhaps not. So here now is the corrected version with all six symbols. If you want to see where they all are, here’s a version with the symbols circled. 

As for this method of Christmas tree disposal, I’ve not actually tried it so I can’t recommend it without reservation. If the tree is sufficiently dry, it will likely go up in a flash before you can even let go of it, much less hits the ground. So if you’ve got some eyebrows and an arm you’re not fond of, perhaps this would be a good activity for you.

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On Monday, this Trump/Monroe mashup was published. I got a few angry comments on my Facadebook page admonishing me for being too political but honestly, this cartoon is simply about the ridiculously stupendous comb-over critter living on Trump’s head. I’ve done jokes about it before (as have hundreds of humorists of all types) long before he became a performance artist and began running for president.

But addressing the political side of the topic, I read a fascinating article this past week about how and when people are tempted to vote for brutal, authoritarian personalities like Mr. Trump. It’s based on decades of historical studies and explains a lot about where the world is at the moment and where we may well be headed. The bottom line is that this isn’t just about a single personality; in times of turmoil and fear, voters often turn to authoritarian “daddy” figures who promise to clamp down, restore the status quo, and punish anyone who dares to step out of line. So even if Trump isn’t elected in November, this problem won’t go away with him. Fascism is on the rise in Europe, too, even in normally tranquil countries like those in Scandinavia. Terrorism, social upheavals (refugees, immigrants, gay rights, etc.) and economic stresses cause people to feel uneasy, media and politicians trump up the dangers (pun intended) because it drives voters and ratings, and all of this breeds an increasingly frightened electorate. Under these circumstances, even normally rational voters often indulge in the temptation to elect a strongman who promises to put it all back where it was. (Make America Great Again)   Here’s the article: it’s a bit of a long read but worth it in my opinion.

I’d also like to add that this cartoon is in no way related to the Snickers commercial with Willem Defoe. The original motif is, of course, from a Marilyn Monroe movie called “The Seven Year Itch,” and it has been parodied thousands of times since its release in 1955. I chose it purely because I was looking for a funny way to have his hair blow straight up. I think the Snickers commercial is very funny but I’d not seen it until someone mentioned it to me in relationship to this cartoon.

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That brings us to this disturbing cartoon about a magician. We’re immune to the sight of a man sawing a woman in half but if you interject a baby into the equation, even though we know it is a “trick”, it seems somehow so much more wrong.

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A reader pointed out to me this week that the doctor in this cartoon looks a lot like iconic sportscaster of yesteryear, Howard Cosell. It’s true, it does, but it was completely accidental. As with almost all of my characters, I just made up a face off the top of my head (there’s an interesting phrase) and didn’t think about it resembling anyone famous.

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This cartoon is another attempt to meld mythology with fact, in this case trying to explain the existence and extinction of dinosaurs within the creation story of Genesis. I kind of like drawing the comparison that it took dinosaurs 165 million years to overstay their welcome here on Earth but we’re doing our best to kill ourselves off after only 2% of that time.

Here’s another inventive way to justify Genesis and dinosaurs, and is also one of my favorite cartoons I’ve ever done.
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This nurse cartoon makes me smile. It’s a simple slapstick visual, but it works for me. Someone asked why I didn’t use the term “feel a little prick” but I think the answer is obvious. In fact, I’ve not heard a nurse say that in recent years, probably because they get tired of patients sniggering. By the way, I’m giving blood next week and do so regularly. I recommend you do, too.

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I admit I’m not a fan of so-called “jam bands.” I was once dragged to a concert by one called “The String Cheese Incident” and I made the mistake of being completely sober––perhaps the only audience member who was. Still, I don’t think I could have afforded the amount of drugs it would have taken to make it palatable. It was one of the longest nights of my life. On a side note, I like the stoned skull image I designed for the drum.

That’s the week’s roundup. I hope you found it amusing. Because it’s part of my job, I’ll mention that a unique and tasteful gift for that special someone (or your own damn self) might be a signed, limited-edition, high-quality, artsy-fartsy, framed, fine-art print of one of my favorite Bizarro cartoons. Since the editions are limited, once a given image is sold out you can then chide your friends for the rest of their lives for having missed their chance. And what’s more fun than gloating?! Here are the goods, daddio.


Past Performance

bz panel 08-21-13bz strip 08-21-13Bizarro is brought to you today by Delicious Death.

“Death of a Salesman” is a pretty darned good play by a guy named Arthur Miller, who married Marylin Monroe in spite of being a goofy-looking nerd. (Miller, not Monroe.) I like this kind of story because I am a goofy-looking nerd and I like beautiful women. By many reports, however, he was pretty mean to Marylin and drove her a good deal deeper into depression, a problem she already had when she came to the relationship. If that is true, that wasn’t nice. I’ve been accused of doing this to a couple of women, too (though none of them committed suicide) but I hope it isn’t true. I’ve never intentionally been mean to anyone whom I didn’t think richly deserved it as a result of their own behavior toward me. Normally, I try to be a considerate, nice guy, but when I’m pushed past my limit, I admit that I can be an unmitigated asshat and a formidable foe. Sort of a primordial defense mechanism that kicks in.






VINTAGE JAZZ: Bz panel 06-16-06 FUNERALAnd here’s another funeral gag from 2006. I have occasionally been criticized for doing funeral gags (always by people in grief, so I can’t really blame them) but I believe that our ability to laugh about death and tragedy is a uniquely human trait that balances our unique ability to imagine the future and the pain that most surely awaits us. So I persist, as much for my own peace of mind as any readers who may benefit from it as well. Sorry if you’ve lost someone recently. We all have and it always sucks––but a smile, even a brief one, helps.