B.Z.P.D.

Today’s Wayno/Piraro Bizarro collabo:


(#1) (If you’re puzzled by the odd symbols in the cartoon — Dan Piraro says there are 4 in this strip — see this Page.)

I’m going in disregard everything in this strip except the B.Z.P.D., presumably an initialistic abbreviation for BiZarro Police Department — the police department in Bizarro’s world. Compare N.Y.P.D., L.A.P.D., and S.F.P.D., just to pick three similar initialisms prominently displayed in tv police dramas. However, this is the first time I’ve noticed the B.Z.P.D. in the Bizarro strip.

The police department in Bizarro’s world then led me to Bizarro World, the dark part of DC Comics’ world that is the mirror-image of Superman’s world.

Cops. Compare the B.Z.P.D. cop in #1 with this fictional, and much more stylish, police inspector (played by Don Johnson) from the S.F.P.D. in tv’s Nash Bridges:

(#2)

The adjective bizarro. From GDoS on the playful derivational suffix -o:

… 5 used variously to create extended adjs. [cheapo, neato, bizarro, all with their own entries; plus an assortment of innovations, like correct-okeeno, bad-o, fake-o; 1st cite for bizarro is from 1971]

The point here is that this suffix has been available since at least 1919, so that an adjective bizarro could have been innovated at any time in the last hundred years, and might well have been innovated on a number of occasions. The NOAD entry suggests that there is evidence dating bizarro back at least to the 1950s (though this evidence is not yet in the OED), and also suggests a connection to DC Comics (starting in 1958), though these could have been independent developments:

adj. bizarroinformal, chiefly North American bizarre: a whacked-out frontman for a bizarro fringe rock n’ roll band. ORIGIN 1950s: alteration of bizarre, perhaps from the name of a character in DC Comics’ Superman comic books.

The Bizarro cartoon was launched well after this, in 1/22/85, and Dan Piraro was surely aware of the adjective bizarro and also of its use in naming a DC Comics character, but that doesn’t mean the cartoon’s name was directly borrowed from DC Comics; it is, after all, a good name, well suited to the spirit of Piraro’s cartoon.

In the DC Comics world. From Wikipedia:

(#3)

Bizarro is a fictional supervillain appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The character was created by writer Otto Binder and artist George Papp as a “mirror image” of Superman and first appeared in Superboy #68 (1958).

And about the physical world  that serves as the home for the comics characters, from Wikipedia:

(#4)

The Bizarro World (also known as Htrae, which is “Earth” spelled backwards) is a fictional planet appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Introduced in the early 1960s, htraE is a cube-shaped planet, home to Bizarro and companions, all of whom were initially Bizarro versions of Superman, Lois Lane and their children and, later, other Bizarros including Batzarro, the World’s Worst Detective.

In popular culture, “Bizarro World” has come to mean a situation or setting which is weirdly inverted or opposite to expectations.

(As it happens, Batzarro has already made an appearance on this blog, in the 2/22/16 posting “Batzarro”.)

I have no idea what B.W.P.D., the police department of Bizarro World — if there even is such a thing — is like.

(Nor have I been able to find out anything about D.B.P.D., the police department of Dingburg in the Zippyverse. The place might well be too anarchic to support a force of civil order.)

 

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