P.T. and Bromo stroll through the grounds. Artist: Howie Schneider.


Medium: Newspaper comics
Distributed by: Newspaper Enterprise Association
First Appeared: 1975
Creator: Howie Schneider
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It's hard to imagine a type of humor that doesn't work in comics, but some settings work better than most, because of their capacity for visual humor. When something can make the viewer laugh just from what …

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… it looks like, the humor is more immediate than a joke that has to be read before the reader can "get" it. That's one of the reasons The Circus of P.T. Bimbo retains many fans even today, a generation or more after it last appeared in newspapers.

The Circus of P.T. Bimbo started in 1975 from Newspaper Enterprise Association (Alley Oop, Arlo & Janis). The cartoonist, Howie Schneider (Percy's World, The Sunshine Club) had been doing Eek & Meek for the same syndicate since 1965. The title (which had nothing to do with Betty Boop's boyfriend) harked back to the days when a "bimbo" could be someone of either gender. In any case, it was changed to Bimbo's Circus in 1978.

P.T.'s circus environment provided plenty of opportunities for visual humor, with Hugo the Human Cannonball, Hevy Lamarr the Fat Lady, Mildew the Clown and even Eugene the Invisible Man cavorting around. Even the less-bankable performers and freaks, such as Bosco Mcnose, who had the world's biggest nose, provided visual contrast with what the viewer saw in his daily life. The biggest contrast was provided by putting tall, relatively normal Bromo, the manager, next to the extremely diminuitive circus owner, P.T. Bimbo himself.

Bimbo's Circus garnered its share of fans. But eventually the strain of doing two seven-day comics took its toll, even for a prolific cartoonist like Schneider. Something had to give, and Bimbo was it. The strip ended in 1980.


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Text ©2010 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Newspaper Enterprise Association.