By Jeremy Meltingtallow

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Bizarro is brought to you today by Then Vs. Now.

My weekly blog is three days late because I was traveling last week, culminating in a visit to the annual cartoonists convention which this year was in Portland, Oregon. A good time was had by all, and by “all” I mean Olive Oyl and myself. Other people seemed to be having a good time, too, but I can’t speak for them with any authority. Here is a picture of me with the great Bill Plympton. He seems to be thrilled to meet me, as one might expect.

Below is a lovely photo with my good cartoonist buddies, Wayno, Jim Horwitz, and Dan McConnell. The four of us tend to hang out a lot together at these events, mostly because the more successful cartoonists won’t have anything to do with us. We tried on lots of hats at this awesome shop but only Wayno bought one. I already have too many and didn’t want to schlep more back to Mexico. I did find exactly the cowboy hat I’ve been looking for, however, but it was $225, which is not the price I’ve been looking for. You can get almost any kind of cowboy hat in Mexico for less than $30 so I decided to be patient and keep looking.

These are the hats I was lobbying for JimmyHo and DannyMac to buy but they did not heed my advice because they are idiots. (Which is also why they are friends with me, so I guess I can’t complain.) JimmyHo’s “Watson” cartoon strip is tons of fun, see it here. DannyMac and his cartoons hang out here.

Below is Wayno and his new lid. I’m wearing the only hat I brought from home, which did not match every outfit so sometimes I had to go without, which was scary.  We sat next to each other at the Sunday afternoon signing event that the National Cartoonists Society put on for the public. I met lots of super nice Jazz Pickles, drew little sketches for them, signed a bunch of my books, and took ˜ridiculous pictures. Thanks to all of you who stopped by, the place was packed for three solid hours! Check out Wayno on GoComics and his FB page.

Here I am with Graham Annable, one of my favorite cartoonists in the known universe. You can see things he does here and he also has delightful animations on YouTube.

On Saturday night we have a formal dinner and awards show. We call it the Oscars of the cartoon industry, but it’s more like the Daytime Emmys. In this photo I am pointing at the teeth my inferior gene pool robbed me of. Sadly, mine are more like small shards of brown beer bottle glass.

After the show we posed as Charlie’s Cartoonists. We go around solving crimes while looking sexy. The second part of that equation is much more difficult for us than the first.

I would be insane to neglect to post this lovely shot of my beloved Olive Oyl and me at the big awards dinner. If you happen to talk to her, please don’t tell her how far out of my league she is. Just between you and me, the only reason she’s with me is the same reason that this photo is in black and white: her skin is a sort of pale green color.

Olive Oyl took the following candid, not-at-all-staged shot of the four of us laughing at the difference between how much money we thought we’d make as cartoonists and how much we actually make. Sometimes truth is funnier than fiction.

I’ll end with this lovely selfie, taken by JimmyHo, who has deceptively long arms.

There were lots of other wonderful times at the convention, including some with one of my top five favorite cartoonist of all time, Lynda Barry, who won a lifetime achievement award and gave a kick-ass seminar. Matt Groening, David Silverman, and Tom Gammill did a super fun talk and were a hoot to hang out with at the hotel bar, as well as tons of other super talented folks that I only get to see once a year like Mo Willems, Hilary Price, Rick Kirkman, Jerry Scott, Ann Telnaes, Mike Peters, Wiley Miller, Patrick McDonnell, Cathy Guisewite, Lynn Johnston, Shannon Wheeler, Mark Tatulli and tons of others. I wish I wasn’t so lousy at remembering to take pictures when I’m having fun. All the ones above are from other people’s cameras.

And now, last week’s comics…

People who talk in movie theaters are just one of the many reasons I don’t carry a gun. Any kind of inconsiderate public behavior, in fact, drives me nuts. It is my belief that life is so much more enjoyable for you and everyone around you if you don’t act like a selfish dick. I know that manners, civility, and kindness are taking a major nosedive in the U.S. because of the horrendous example our current Oaf in Chief sets on an hourly basis, but I hope they make a comeback. Along with intelligent, conscientious leadership.

Dogs are pretty much my favorite animals on the planet for a multitude of reasons but one thing I am not in awe of is their fascination with horrendous odors. The more offensive the smell, the more likely they are to want it all over them. I walk my two dogs around our semi-rural neighborhood in Mexico every day and I have to keep an eagle eye on them both to keep them from rolling in harrowing odors. If they spot the rotting corpse of someone who pissed off The Cartel before I do, I have to don my gas mask and give them a rigorous bath when we get home. It gets old real quick.

Some people complain about having to fill the ice trays in their freezer but not me. I thank my lucky stars each and every day that I don’t have to go fishing for ice the old-fashioned way.

Just the other day I talked to a guy whose father was a watch repairman and he had all kinds of interesting things to say about it. I wish I could remember even one of them.

One of my favorite TV shows as a kid was the late 60s’ “Batman” and one of my favorite things about that show is how Batman labeled everything with the word “bat”. “Bat computer,” “bat pole,” “bat hernia belt,” etc.  I understand why the “cool” Batman of the modern era is more popular but I still prefer the goofy one of my youth.

The biggest challenge here was drawing a man putting on a Cowardly Lion suit with enough of his underwear showing that readers could tell what I was getting at, but not so much that it becomes smut. I think I did a fairly good job, especially without reference.

Thanks for reading this far, Jazz Pickles. I appreciate every one of you who endure my weekly missives. Until my next post, be happy, be smart, be nice.