adds some new absurdities
By JACKIE LOOHAUIS
of the Journal Sentinel staff
Monday, March 12, 2001
A little space alien peeping out of a tropical thicket.
A bunny rabbit in a junked car. An owner-less eyeball peering
up from the pavement of Disney World.
They're strange. They're weird. They're "Bizarro."
Many fans of the mondo nutso comic "Bizarro,"
which appears in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Good Morning
section, recently have noticed something more peculiar than
usual going on. Hidden within the main drawings of talking
chickens and buxom snow-women, little symbols keep cropping
up: a slice of pie here, an upside-down bird there. What
does it all mean?
We tracked "Bizarro" creator Dan Piraro down in
his Dallas studio to try and find out. There are some things
we could force out of him, but others...
Piraro told us he started planting the little symbols "a
little over a year ago. I was using them as a way to say
'hello' to the important people in my life."
The first symbol was the royal crown, because his girlfriend
uses a crown in her artwork. "And little by little
it started to grow into a whole system."
A secret system, the meaning of which the artist is loath
Loath, that is, until it all -- by stunning coincidence
-- is revealed in a new "Bizarro" book due out
this fall titled "Life Is Strange And So Are You."
Piraro also promises that some of the tiny totems will be
discussed in a new Web site he's unveiling in about six
weeks, which also will market "a line of strange, useless
inexpensive gifts meant to satirize the kind of products
that most cartoon strips end up licensing." He promises,
however, not to sell stuffed animals or cute note paper.
Readers should bear in mind that everything Piraro does
is designed to help fans achieve "Ultimate Bizarro
Awareness," a cross between the teachings of Zen and
UBA, said Piraro, is "a mind-set. My readers tend to
be people like me who notice things that a lot of people
miss. Like when you ask for a small pizza at Domino's and
they say they only have medium and large. How can there
be a medium without a small? The symbols are signposts on
the road to Ultimate Bizarro Awareness. I'm a pilgrim on
that road myself."
But, oh, Bizarro Master, will you not tell your followers
just a bit more about the true meaning of the symbols? Well,
because this reporter was so nice and seemed well down the
road to Ultimate Bizarro-ness herself, said Piraro, he would
give the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel a scoop and reveal:
-- "The UFO Alien is a symbol of the immense and immeasurable
universe and all its possibilities. As anyone who has ever
found themselves at the cold, steely end of an extraterrestrial's
medical examination can tell you, aliens are already here
and living among us. They are benevolent creatures who wish
to study us and learn what they can about our culture. Disguised
as earthly creatures of all sorts, they watch us daily.
You undoubtedly know many and do not realize it. My Aunt
Ruth is an alien. Two of my three brothers-in-law are. Most
fast-food workers are, as well as some dogs and all cats.
It has been scientifically proven that people who disagree
with this are stupid."
-- "The K2 symbol is representative of the names of
my two daughters, Kodak and Krapuzar. I just made that up."
Copyright 2001, Journal Sentinel Inc., All rights reserved.