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Double Trouble for Syndicated Cartoonist

Alternative text for a gay marriage Bizarro panel fails to reach some newspapers.

August 14, 2005|From Associated Press

SAN FRANCISCO — A quirky cartoonist trying to assuage political sensibilities ran into double trouble.

Bizarro cartoonist Dan Piraro said he developed two texts for a gay marriage cartoon to give newspapers an option, after learning from King Features that some editors had complained about his left-leaning politics.

But because of a glitch, every newspaper that published the cartoon in color Thursday ran the gay marriage version. Papers that used the black-and-white cartoon, including The Times, got the much tamer one that made no reference to homosexuality.

In the original cartoon, a surgeon tells another man: "Your husband is in the recovery room. You could go back and see him if you like, but our government-sanctioned bigotry forbids it."

In the tamer version, the doctor says: "She's going to be just fine -- she's quite a fighter. The anesthesiologist has a black eye and I think she may have cracked my ribs."

Piraro's cartoon goes to about 200 newspapers, but he said he didn't know how many published the cartoon in color.

Piraro said King Features has never tried to censor him but added people in the "heartland" have much more conservative views.

"We get a lot of complaints and screaming when I get even vaguely political," he said.

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