I have absolutely loved Dan Piraro’s strip “Bizarro” for years and am a daily visitor to his
blog. In addition to posting his latest daily comic (in color) he offers a little commentary, a couple goofy links, and the occasional contest. None of this generates any money for him, I suspect; he just does it for the love of the field and the amusement of the people who visit his blog. His goofy sense of humor I actually liked better than the Far Side and his artwork is a heck of a lot more interesting, too. “Bizarro” will probably never be regarded as a classic, but it is one of the few strips that made me interesting in creating comics (and a few of the strips I did for “The Lantern” at Ohio State had a definite Bizarro feel to the jokes.)
When Piraro mentioned on his blog that his quasi-autobiogaphy “Bizarro and Other Strange Manifestations of the Art of Dan Piraro” was out of print, I immediately went to amazon to locate a copy (I could have obtained it at the library, but I always like to own cartoon books.) As it turns out, it wasn’t particularly hard to find or all that expensive. I snapped up a copy.
I was able to read the thing in a day today, mainly because I’m shacked up with the stomach flu (I’m sure Piraro would appreciate this on some level) and really enjoyed the insight Piraro provided into his life and working methods. I have always enjoyed collections of cartoons where the artist provides commentary, and this one is full of them. We get a sense of why he is so passionate about animal rights (and so lacking in passion for George W. Bush) but I was really surprised to see how accomplished he was as a painter. Some of his work is quite astounding. Piraro would like to eventually paint instead of doing comics. It’s clear he derives a lot of satisfaction from this as well. His realistically rendered humans somehow still have that Bizarro sense to them.
Sadly, the section of favorite comics was not as long as I would have liked it to be. Most of the ones there I hadn’t seen, as they were from the gap between when Columbus’s humor magazine “Hoot” went under and the advent of the Internet.
Sadly, Bizarro isn’t as widely read as it should be; perhaps the humor is a little too esoteric for most people’s tastes. We don’t have it in Columbus, and I don’t believe it’s in the Chicago Tribune (the other paper I see regularly). Instead, we get the unfunny retreads of Marmaduke and Ziggy and other corporate creations.
Here’s a Bizarro comic I thought was pretty funny. This isn’t the one I’ve seen, however; apparently, he reworked the picture and resubmitted it.