Recently I got a comment on a posting of a Bizarro cartoon (“Dinosaur connoisseur”), wondering why I hadn’t commented on the space alien and the stick of dynamite in it, and I explained — as I had a number of times before, to other readers of this blog — that this was just one of cartoonist Don Piraro’s things, a little game he plays with his readers: some number of “secret symbols” are salted in almost all his cartoons (they have nothing to do with the actual content of the cartoon), and then their number is noted in the cartoon, just above Piraro’s signature.
Here’s a recent Bizarro with a pun on boot, with two secret symbols:
The eyeball and the piece of pie. The symbols are listed here.
Now the question is: How can I provide this information to my readers?
I will certainly create an explanatory file — a Page — in my “Language of Comics” directory. But how would a reader know they should be looking there to find out about the weird symbols?
I could add a link from the name Bizarro in each posting, but the reader would have no idea what’s in that link — probably would suppose it’s general information about the strip: who the cartoonist is, what the strip’s special preoccupations are, and so on. This is material only a few readers would have an interest in, so most would just disregard the link.
Or I could be more insistent, and start each and every Bizarro posting with an instruction like:
(Read this first.)
But that’s not informative enough. For full success, it would need to be something like:
(Puzzled by the weird symbols in this cartoon? Read this.)
Again, for each and every strip.
That strikes me as overkill; it clutters up all those the postings. But I don’t see how anything else would work.
Or I could just leave things as they are now, and reply to queries about the symbols, as they come up, with the link to the explanatory Page. That’s probably what I’ll do. Of course readers will have to think to ask.