Another frantic day of trading at the New York Sock Exchange
January 21, 2015 7:08 PM   Subscribe

It was 30 years ago today, Dan Piraro made "Bizarro" de...but. One of a bunch of "Far Side Copies" (and with a name borrowed from a Superman comics character), it may have never reached Gary Larson levels of success, but it stayed away from LOOKING like a copy, and almost 11,000 daily panels later, it still frequently lives up to its name.
posted by oneswellfoop (23 comments total) 27 users marked this as a favorite
Ah, the pie, the eye and the upside down bird
MK forever.
posted by carping demon at 7:23 PM on January 21, 2015

Thanks for posting this oneswellfoop , despite the "Far Side" copy comment. I've enjoyed his work over the years, and I need to catch up on the collections of his comics in book form.
posted by King Sky Prawn at 7:29 PM on January 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

Don't forget the dynamite, K2, and the three rocks.
posted by angerbot at 7:36 PM on January 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm a longtime fan of Bizarro (I bought the first collection book in '86; it had the 'hamburger lawyer' on the cover) and I have never stopped hearing the "Far Side copy" criticisms but NEVER agreed with them. So I included that as kind of a pre-emptive move against "the obvious criticism".

Here is the guide to Bizarro's "easter eggs". The pie, the eye, the upside down bird, the dynamite, K2, the bunny head, the crown, the shoe, the flying saucer, the arrow and the fish-tail. (He even combined two of them into a recurring store sign in street scenes for "Bunny's Pie Repair") Three rocks? That's a recurring symbol in NANCY, fergoodnessake! /comicsnerd>
posted by oneswellfoop at 8:11 PM on January 21, 2015 [5 favorites]

“Modern Life! It's What You're Living!” from 1999 has always been my favorite.
posted by ob1quixote at 8:16 PM on January 21, 2015 [5 favorites]

I vaguely remember that in the mid-90s, Piraro went on a road trip across the country, visiting people he met through the internet - back when meeting people through the internet was a new and weird thing to do. And afterwards, he reported that it was a terrible experience.

Or did I imagine this??
posted by moonmilk at 8:17 PM on January 21, 2015

He did a one-man show at New York's Fringe Festival once - I remember a few cartoons, some quasi-standup, and a crude song about Sandra Day O'Connor.

But I also remember a quip that I quote myself still today - he showed up at the venue a bit late, and in the very beginning of his act he apologized and explained to us all that it had been a taxi problem, with his driver being a meek sort who kept running into other crappyndrivers and yielding to the pm while he fumed in the back seat. "That's the reason I don't own a gun," he concluded - "it's because I would NEVER STOP USING IT."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:39 PM on January 21, 2015 [5 favorites]

One of the few comics I miss from my old daily newspaper subscription. I need to hunt up an RSS feed for it from the syndicator.
posted by immlass at 8:48 PM on January 21, 2015

Shocking that he has been around for 30 years. I really enjoy his work and boldness. He's an atheist vegetarian (right on!) and not afraid to express it in his work. Way funny.
posted by charlesminus at 9:20 PM on January 21, 2015

I always liked that comic when I saw it. Sounds like if I'd have gotten way more into it it would still have been very rewarding.
posted by edheil at 9:23 PM on January 21, 2015

In the Blog on the Bizarro site (from which I got the 30th anniversary link) Dan regularly features his summary of the last few days' comics with commentary (plus some repostings of past Bizarrity). That's what the RSS feed gives you, so you may be a few days behind, but you'll get everything. Otherwise, it's on King Features Syndicate's Comic Kingdom site, but with no RSS feed.

(if I may humblebrag, my local dead tree newspaper has a comics page with Bizarro, Non-Sequitur, Pearls Before Swine, Sunday Foxtrot and Doonesbury, and very few sucky strips (Family Circus I think has become mandatory to get the paper published)
posted by oneswellfoop at 9:44 PM on January 21, 2015 [4 favorites]

Wait, that's a pie? I've been seeing it as a spiky-haired bird-critter with huge teeth.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:04 PM on January 21, 2015

I can't find a link to it but one of my favorite ones I remember from the early 90's was a man on his deathbed saying "I have a confession to make... I was only pretending to understand David Lynch"
posted by SmileyChewtrain at 11:19 PM on January 21, 2015 [2 favorites]

"Far Side" copy

That's funny. I always thought of Larson's comic as an inferior derivative of Bernie Kliban's work.
posted by Herodios at 3:59 AM on January 22, 2015 [9 favorites]

I appreciate the quality and distinctive style of art that he's cultivated (especially compared to most other single-panel newspaper strips) but in the ten-or-so years that I've been aware of Bizaro, I don't think it's ever hit a higher humor mark that "oh... heh" with me. Subjective, obviously.
posted by Wolfdog at 4:04 AM on January 22, 2015

"Far Side" copy

That's funny. I always thought of Larson's comic as an inferior derivative of Bernie Kliban's work.

posted by Herodios at 5:59 AM on January 22
[1 favorite +] [!]

Beaten to the punch again. Damn you, Herodios!!!
posted by hwestiii at 5:45 AM on January 22, 2015

I wasn't hallucinating about the internet road trip! He wrote a book about it (Bizarro among the Savages, 1997). Here's an extremely purple summary of the book.
posted by moonmilk at 6:53 AM on January 22, 2015

That is a baffling (and indeed very purple) summary. Maybe it is the paleolithic web design, but where I would expect to see a byline, it reads "by Dan Piraro" which ultimately belongs to the title of the book under review. Thus it reads like something written by Piraro which begins,
Back in 95, good friend Roger "Spleens! You're It" Shuman and I spent a number of months chatting happily with syndicated cartoonist Dan Piraro, creator of Bizarro, over e-mail.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:57 AM on January 22, 2015

One of my favorite Bizarro cartoons was reprinted in a job-hunting/resume book. It has a nervous job applicant sitting in front of an interviewer who bears something of a resemblance to the Marvel supervillain/gangster The Kingpin. This is one of those offices that has a big picture window in it that looks out over the cubicle farm, and the window is behind the interviewer... and on the other side of the window is everybody from the cubicle farm, holding up a big sign that reads, simply:


I've had jobs like that.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:22 AM on January 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

The first I can recall is a couple of kids standing on a lawn on a summer's day in shorts and short-sleeved shirts. They are critically examining a fully intact snowman and one is saying something along the lines of, "I give it one more week and then I am tearing it down. It is giving me the creeps."
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:14 AM on January 22, 2015 [4 favorites]

Herodios: "Far Side" copy

That's funny. I always thought of Larson's comic as an inferior derivative of Bernie Kliban's work.
And Michaelangelo is just a cut-rate Leonardo Da Vinci.

Or maybe all three are genius artists, each with their own style and world-view, who build upon the legacy of comic-strip art (and other art) that came before them.

Nah, on reflection: they're just comic-strip artists, not real artists. [/sarcasm]
posted by IAmBroom at 9:27 AM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

In my Oklahoma history class in high school, we each had to prepare a "famous Oklahoman" presentation. At some point before this assignment I had read an article in the paper about how Piraro had grown up in Tulsa (and IIRC had gone to my junior high / middle school). So I selected him as my subject and tried to get hold of him. And nearly failed, because his parents were on vacation and I didn't manage to find the one person at the local paper who could have given me his info.

Eventually his parents returned from vacation, I got his contact info, and did a phone interview. He was confused about the project and surprised anybody had heard of him, but he was gracious and funny. Afterward he sent me a custom drawing which is still … somewhere. I think it's at my parents' house (also still in Tulsa) but I may have it here.
posted by fedward at 10:30 AM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed reading Bizarro when we used to get the newspaper. There are only two that I remember:

A waitress standing at a table in a diner with a mug under one of her armpits. She is talking to one of the patrons (who has a mug in front of him) saying "do you need your coffee warmed up too?".

Batman and Robin are at a diner. There is a pile of salt on his plate and the top of the shaker has been removed. The caption at the bottom is something to the effect of "the joker strikes again".

I've definitely misremembered some of the details but you get the general idea.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:21 PM on January 22, 2015 [1 favorite]

« Older Better Call Jimmy McGill   |   Call now for a free start-up kit! Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments