Mongrel Money

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Bizarro is brought to you today by Medical Uses For Liquid Paper.

If you’re a person who enjoys knowing the behind-the-scenes workings of the syndicated cartoon world, you’ve found the right blog because I’m way more honest about that stuff than I probably should be. Whatever.

As you likely know, the creators of the comic characters Snoopy and Garfield (and their families and descendents) have more money than the sum total of all the assets of Canada and its inhabitants. I, on the other hand, have only enough to retire in a developing country. What is the key difference? Good looks? Brains? Creativity? Giant hands that can grab cash faster? All of these are good guesses but far from the truth.

The difference is licensable characters. Sure, I have my Secret Symbols, but they don’t have personalities that cause people to fall in love with them and feel compelled to spend a fifth of their salary on items that display them—everything from underwear to RV spare tire covers.

To be fair, I knew this when I got into cartooning. I gave serious thought to developing a comic with regular characters but I simply couldn’t bear the thought of having to draw and make jokes about the same characters every day for a very long time. It just didn’t fit my humor style or personality. So I decided instead to forge ahead without a plan and just try to write the best gags I could and hope to make a living, which I eventually did after many years of working another full time job while doing Bizarro at nights and on weekends. So if I end up destitute, living under a taco cart in Mexico somewhere, I’ll have no one but myself to blame. On the plus side, I may not have a personal jet, but at least I have the self respect that comes from not having been involved in the Garfield comic strip in any way.

Yes, that was a shitty thing to say but don’t get me wrong and think that I am disparaging Peanuts and Garfield simply because they made hundreds of millions of dollars. I’m only disparaging Garfield. More on that in a moment.

Peanuts suffers from the apathy that comes with overexposure and most folks have completely lost sight of the historical context in which it falls, if they ever knew it. I was once one who saw it as boring without actually giving it much of a read, but I now believe it is a truly creative and brilliant comic strip that deserved the attention it got. It was the first strip to rely on psychological humor instead of slapstick, and its minimalist style of art was on the cutting edge of newspaper cartoons when it debuted. These days, almost all cartoons are psychological in nature and with very few exceptions, the art is minimalist. Charles Schulz shaped newspaper cartoons that much.

And “Sparky,” the name his friends called him, was a truly complex and compassionate man who suffered from self-doubt and depression and poured his insecurities and compassion for the human condition into his work in ways that anyone reading it could relate to. And he could get you to chuckle while doing it. And finally, unlike the vast majority of cartoonists with FU-money, he wrote, sketched, inked, and lettered every one of his cartoons for half a century. Every joke. Every stroke of the pen. 365 days a year for 50 years.

Garfield the cat, on the other hand, is a feline imitation of Snoopy which quickly became a rubbish bin full of lame, repetitive jokes written and drawn by god-only-knows-which of the 50+ employees of the corporation that churns it out. In my (maybe not as) humble (as it should be) opinion, Davis and Garfield don’t belong in the same universe with Schulz and Peanuts.

But this cartoon is really only supposed to be a chuckle about pets and banks.

Let’s find out what Wayno deposited in his cartoon piggy bank last week…

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I had a boss like this once. He wouldn’t even look at a proposal until it was baked to a golden brown and covered with melted cheese. And god forbid if you used the wrong kind of cheese because then he’s all like, “When have you EVER seen me eating Havarti?!”

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He should have known not to sign up for a year’s membership at the Judgment Gym. Of course, the “beard bun” is particularly egregious.

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I don’t blame this guy for worrying. A well-dressed swine may well end up in politics.

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Of course, burglars could also use it to see that you’re not home, so you really need a mannequin in a chair whose head swivels when there is noise at the door.

Or maybe just a yappy dog.

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He’s shopping at the Bones Bath & Beyond big-box store, of course. BB&BBBS to those in the know.

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The National Board of Broccoli Producers has asked us to remind you that they produce the original, “real deal” and that “broccolini” is just some childish fad thing made up by probably the Kardashians or someone. So I said I would.

Over on Wayno’s weekly cartoon blog, he has more to say about this broccolini. Also, a nice tribute to one of my faves, Louis Armstrong!

Well, Jazz Pickles, we’ve come to the end of another humor hallucination. Thanks for tripping along with us. If you enjoy what we do and would like us to know that, please consider patronizing one of the things behind the links below. Every little bit helps us keep the campfire stoked at Rancho Bizarro.

Until next week, be happy, be smart, be nice, and resist ignorance and fascism.

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Dan Piraro23 Comments