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June 13, 2007

Dante’s Infernal Laptop

Filed under: Bill Bickel, Bizarro, CIDU, comic strips, comics, Dante, Home on the Strange, humor — Cidu Bill @ 12:20 am

For some reason, Sunday’s Bizarro strip

reminded me of this old Home on the Strange strip:

Backtracking a bit… What exactly is going on in the first panel of the Bizarro strip? The statue hitting himself in the head with the hammer caused the sculptor to do the same??

And speaking of Home on the Strange…

Are we supposed to assume that her reference is more esoteric than his?



  1. Most young people would be more likely to recognize a quote from the movie “Clerks” than they would Dante’s Inferno. I on the other hand had to google it – apparently the character Dante Hicks says “I’m not even supposed to be here today.”

    Comment by Charlene — June 13, 2007 @ 12:53 am

  2. As to your question about Bizarro’s 1st panel (“What exactly is going on in the first panel of the Bizarro strip? The statue hitting himself in the head with the hammer caused the sculptor to do the same??”):

    My take on it is this is: The statue and the sculptor have different opinions about art, and the sculpture got tired of quietly enduring the sculptor’s whims. So he knocked him out (somehow) and is now proceeding to do the job himself. As in “If you want something done right…”.

    Admitted problem with my theory: There’s two hammers & two chisels.


    Comment by Ron Obvious — June 13, 2007 @ 1:58 am

  3. We’re not supposed to assume that her reference is more esoteric than his, though I’m sure there are people who have seen “Clerks” but haven’t read the inscription over the gate to hell in the Divine Comedy. Probably many people, actually. We’re supposed to assume that she is smart and knowledgeable, and he isn’t.

    Comment by John — June 13, 2007 @ 8:50 am

  4. On the Bizarro sculpture question, I saw it as the sculptor using himself as a model and hitting the chisel while it was still on his head instead of on the sculpture. That, however, may reveal more about my opinion of sculptors than anything else.

    Comment by Steve — June 13, 2007 @ 9:39 am

  5. I think the height of pure nerdiness involves recognizing both references, which I did. I thinkt he humor is in the guy (forgot his name) not recognizing the classical reference but immediately knowing a pop culture line. Since the strip really encapsulates “geek culture”, this particular installment is a very good one, because this is a very geek culture kind of conversation

    Comment by Dave Geary — June 13, 2007 @ 10:05 am

  6. Bizarro: I took that first panel as a sculptor’s suicide note

    Comment by Zandermann — June 13, 2007 @ 11:16 am

  7. On Dante: the true humor in the observation here is that Dante (Clerks) is supposed to be funnier to you knowing the history of the name, and implying in everything he says and does a hellish existence.

    That the fellow here knows pop-culture refer-back to the Divine Comedy, but not the Comedy itself, implies the very nature of our society is such it erodes the foundation of all concepts, until most see ‘Dante’s pizza’ and think not of the author but of the character.

    But that could be me projecting.

    Comment by Steve (2) — June 13, 2007 @ 12:02 pm

  8. This avante-garde sculpter was attempting to create a mirror image of himself in the act of sculpting stone. (Note that the statue is left-handed the artist is right-handed.)

    For some reason the sculpture got carried away with posing and whacked his own skull.

    Comment by GDN — June 13, 2007 @ 2:03 pm

  9. Rule of thumb #1 for funny:
    Dumb is funny.

    Rule of thumb #2 for funny:
    The guy is dumb, the girl isn’t, and that’s funny.

    In this case (last cartoon) it’s supposed to be funny that the guy doesn’t get an ancient literary reference.

    Comment by ctdonath — June 13, 2007 @ 9:14 pm

  10. I don’t know. The statue comic reminds me of what my teacher once said of statues that were unfinished. That they look like a real person trying to emerge from the granite. To me this comic is sorta saying the same thing, except the statue can’t wait to be finished, so he’s finishing himself off. And I think the sculpter has either been hit by the statue or he fell asleep. Though, if that was true, then there should be movement lines around the statues’ arms. Hm….

    Comment by Jenny — June 13, 2007 @ 9:16 pm

  11. The first comic’s first panel resembles a famous old sculpture of a man struggling (IIRC, with hammer & chisel) to free or create himself from a large stone; it’s a great and meaningful work of art, arguably reflecting the artist’s struggle to, in a sense, create himself. Just seems natural for Piraro’s take to be the same sclupture hammering himself in the head, and (as another poster noted) leave that as his suicide note. This is, of course, funny.

    Comment by ctdonath — June 13, 2007 @ 9:36 pm

  12. Regarding the first panel of the Bizarro comic, the sculptor was creating an image of God – but God creates his own form. So of course God had to “smite” the sculptor and take over.

    Comment by src — June 14, 2007 @ 12:43 pm

  13. I’m old . . . and I’m happy that I recognized the second quote as coming from “Clerks”

    Comment by laterain — June 14, 2007 @ 6:48 pm

  14. I’m fairly certain the sculptor was sculpting himself sculpting himself, and got a bit carried away trying to find the right pose with the hammer and chisel, accidentally chiseling his own head.

    That would have been more obvious if the chisel was still stuck in his head, or if there was a mirror in the picture.

    As for the laptop joke, I can’t imagine he wouldn’t have noticed sooner that his you-know-what was getting a bit warm.

    As for the Dante joke, it took me a bit but I finally remembered the “other” famous Dante. =)

    Powers &8^]

    Comment by Powers — June 15, 2007 @ 6:31 am

  15. The second panel in Bizzaro (God and Adam), it appears to me as if God is reaching out to Adam and Adam is holding up a finger as if to say, “Hang on one second — just let me wrap up this call…”

    Comment by Molly — June 16, 2007 @ 11:44 am

  16. …and who exactly would Adam be calling in the painting during his creation?

    Comment by Pinny — June 18, 2007 @ 7:50 pm

  17. I think the sculpure got tired of being hit with a chisel and so it hit the sculptor. “so there, how d’you like that?”

    Comment by lauretta — June 19, 2007 @ 6:27 am

  18. It’s another case of sculptorer imitating sculptor. His name was Art.

    Comment by Will — June 19, 2007 @ 3:17 pm

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