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PIRARO, Dan 1958-

PERSONAL:

Born 1958, in Kansas City, MO; son of Fred (a petroleum engineer) and Carol Lee (a secretary) Piraro; married Kalin Burke, 1980 (divorced, 1996), married Ashley Louise Smith, April 15, 2002; children: (first marriage) Katherine Killian, Kathryn Kaitlyn.

Education: Attended Washington University (St. Louis, MO). Politics: Liberal Democrat. Hobbies and other interests: Painting, animal rights and liberation, skiing/snowboarding, travel, stand-up comedy.

ADDRESSES:

Home—11 John St., #800, New York, NY 10038. Agent—c/o Author Mail, King Features, 888 7th Ave., New York, NY 10019. E-mail—[email protected].

CAREER:

Cartoonist, illustrator, creator of the comic strip "Bizarro." Worked variously as a store manager, display artist, rock musician, and designer of ads for Neiman Marcus and others.

MEMBER:

National Cartoonists Society (New York Metro area chapter president).

AWARDS, HONORS:

Reuben Award, National Cartoonists Society, 1999, 2000, and 2001, for best newspaper cartoon panel.

WRITINGS:

Bizarro, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1986.

Too Bizarro, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1988.

Mondo Bizarro, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1989.

More Bizarro, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1990.

Sumo Bizarro, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1990.

Glasnost Bizarro, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1990.

Post-Modern Bizarro, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1991.

The Book of Lame Excuses, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1991.

The Best of Bizarro, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1992.

The Best of Bizarro, Volume II, Chronicle Books (San Francisco, CA), 1994.

Bizarro Number 9: A Collection of Bizarro Cartoons, Andrews and McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1995.

Bizarro Number 10, Andrews and McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1996.

Bizarro among the Savages: A Relatively Famous Guy's Experiences on the Road and in the Homes of Strangers, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1997.

Life Is Strange and So Are You, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 2001.

The Three Little Pigs Buy the White House, Griffin (New York, NY), 2004.

SIDELIGHTS:

Dan Piraro's long-running cartoon strip "Bizarro" was first syndicated with Chronicle Features in 1985, when it replaced Gary Larson's "Far Side," which had moved to Universal Press Syndicate. Ten years later, "Bizarro" moved to Universal as Larson retired. Piraro's strip is published in more than 200 daily and Sunday newspapers in the United States, Canada, and overseas, and he visits cities where it appears, starring in his own The Bizarro Boloney Show.

Piraro was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He spent his teen years in Tulsa, Oklahoma and attended college in St. Louis. Piraro was writing a science fiction strip in the early 1980s, and having no luck getting it published. When he saw how successful "Far Side" had become, he collected some of his own strange cartoons and sent them off to several syndicates. When Chronicle did have room for his strip, he didn't have a name for it. Managing editor Stuart Dodds picked "Bizarro" from a selection of names Piraro had solicited from friends.

When Piraro launched his collection, Bizarro Number 9: A Collection of Bizarro Cartoons, his publisher had no budget for a tour, and so he called on fans to finance one. He had collected email addresses through his Web site and sent out a plea for bed and board, meals, and plane tickets for his "The Bizarro 1995 Lap of Luxury Book Tour." He immediately began receiving invitations from families who said he could have a child's bed, and the more wealthy who could offer a room with a view of the pool. At one point he stayed in the skull-decorated apartment of a surfer. Piraro documents his adventure in Bizarro among the Savages: A Relatively Famous Guy's Experiences on the Road and in the Homes of Strangers, a running commentary on his couch-to-couch adventure in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, Raleigh/Durham, and Portland.

A reviewer for Whatzup noted that upon arriving on the West Coast, Piraro realized that he and the person meeting him had not prearranged a way to identify each other. "Seeing a young man with a huge sign taped to his back that read 'Dan Piraro Your Fly Is Open,' Piraro figured that this was the guy. Like nearly everyone he met on his book tour, Piraro learned that his shy-biased fears of lunatics was unfounded, and he hit things off instantly with his host." The reviewer also noted that Piraro experienced a common phenomena, in that people shared with him the very intimate details of their lives. "Piraro thus heard over a dozen 'life stories' on his trip and began to crave them like a soap opera junkie. He was rarely disappointed and shares them with the reader." A Publishers Weekly contributor wrote that both fans of the strip "and those curious to encounter a colorful cast of real-life Americans will enjoy this offbeat twist on the travelogue/memoir."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

BOOKS

Piraro, Dan, Bizarro among the Savages: A Relatively Famous Guy's Experiences on the Road and in the Homes of Strangers, Andrews McMeel (Kansas City, MO), 1997.

PERIODICALS

Editor & Publisher, August 9, 1986, David Astor, "How Dan Piraro came to draw 'Bizarro,'" pp. 32-33.

Publishers Weekly, October 13, 1997, review of Bizarro among the Savages, p. 68.

ONLINE

Dan Piraro Home Page,http://www.bizarro.com (January 9, 2004).

Planet Cartoonist,http://www.planetcartoonist.com/ (January 9, 2004), "Ten Stupid Questions" (interview with Piraro).

Whatzuphttp://www.whatzup.com/ (February, 1999), review of Bizarro among the Savages.

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Piraro, Dan 1958-

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