Originally created 10/07/01

'Chronicle' goes for laughs with three new comics



Readers should find today's funnies a little funnier.

Beginning today, The Augusta Chronicle introduces three new Sunday comics: Bizarro, Real Life Adventures and I Need Help. Don't panic. We did not eliminate three of your favorite comics to add these strips. The newcomers are taking the place of Non Sequitur, a comic The Chronicle introduced in February 2000. The Chronicle will continue to print Non Sequitur Monday through Saturday. Many readers have said they enjoy the daily comic more than the Sunday version.

So how are we squeezing three comics into the spot normally filled by one? The vertical space occupied by Sunday's Non Sequitur presents a challenge. Most Sunday comic strips are drawn horizontally. After searching for a cartoon that would fit this awkward position, we came up with an unusual solution. We are printing square-panel cartoons usually intended for daily newspaper comics pages. They fit the space perfectly, and we get to offer readers a three-for-one deal. All three of the new comics offer quirky looks at modern life. Here are samples of our new cartoons and profiles of their creators.

BIZARRO

Cartoonist Dan Piraro was raised in Oklahoma, "a very normal place in the dead-center of the United States," which he says accounts for the "water buffalolike hairdos" of the female characters in his cartoons.

His comic offers bizarre, surreal explanations for everyday events. Some recurring themes in Bizarro include pet life, pop culture and mysterious slices of pie.

An avid artist since childhood, Mr. Piraro worked as a commercial illustrator before becoming a cartoonist. Bizarro was syndicated in 1985 and is printed in newspapers in the United States and Canada, as well as parts of Europe, Asia and South America. The cartoon was honored with the 1999 Reuben Award for Best Newspaper Panel Cartoon by the National Cartoonists Society.

REAL LIFE ADVENTURES

The creators of Real Life Adventures describe it as "kind of art that sort of imitates life." It is a celebration of the banal by two truly mundane fellows, Lance Aldrich and Gary Wise. It is about stomach noises in business meetings, bugs in your porch light and trying to extract a single hanger from a closet. These are individual yet universal experiences and truths held up for public examination and ridicule. The creators mine ideas from their lives for the humor of Real Life Adventures. They are advertising partners during their non-cartooning hours.

Real Life Adventures appears in more than 200 newspapers.

I NEED HELP

Vic Lee is a Tucson, Ariz., native who has worked as a professional soccer player, a waiter, a bartender and an actor who later co-owned a chain of athletic clubs. In 1991, he drew upon his bizarre sense of humor and created some comics to promote his business. That's when he discovered his real love: cartooning.

Today the Cardiss, Calif., resident travels and hangs out in coffee shops to get ideas for his cartoons. His comics focus on interaction between people and paint an embarrassingly real picture of the world. I Need Help appears in more than 100 U.S. newspapers.

Reach Elizabeth Adams at (706) 823-3348 or eadams@augustachronicle.com