Over the course of 2½ years of presiding over this forum, sharing nearly a thousand daily posts and over 19,000 reader comments about your work, I've managed to hang on to a tiny shred of admiration for you. When the "Fuck you, TB" comments flew, I could confidently poke my head out of the foxhole and say, "Hey! Give the man credit. He's made a forty-year career of doing something he loves." Or, "He's seems like he's actually a nice guy in person." Or, "Well, he has some interesting musical tastes." Or, "He's raised a fair amount of money and awareness to fight cancer." Or, "O.K., today's strip is truly funny." All right, that last one, not so much.
And then, today, Tom, you pull this. You spend three weeks on an arc where Crazy Harry gets fired (or retires, according to one strip), with one week's notice, and no severance, pension or unemployment benefit, and has to sell off his books and comics before accepting a part-time temp job (which he'd willingly do for no pay) at the Komix Korner. Come Sunday, he-e-e-e-e-re's Harry, in full postie drag, to deliver the annual "Buon Natale dalla soleggiata Florida!" postcard from Tony (along with a bonus potshot at e-mail).
Admit it, Tom: your heart's just not in it any longer. This is more egregious than having Les show up in Westview a week after getting on a plane to Tanzania. You fancy yourself a writer; you regularly lecture and chastise the readers; you dismiss as "beady-eyed" anyone who finds fault with your creative output. Even in a fictional milieu where continuity long ago became an afterthought, today's strip signals to the readers that you flat-out don't give a shit anymore.
Well. The tree managed to hang onto its beautiful golden canopy of leaves until the big day. And Mrs. Les Moore hangs on to her groom, the better to flash that band o' gold (remember Les still has his from last time). The guests (where is Cayla's family?) are all choked up, but Jim goes even further by inexplicably declaring this union to be the best thing that ever happened to him.
"On the arm of her Daddy she's a-walkin' down the aisle" as the music plays. Really loud music, judging from the way the notes completely fill the background in panel 2…Becky probably brought the high school band. More leaves fall. I guess in a front-lawn, folding-chair wedding, conventional etiquette is dispensed with, as Tony and DSH John are seated on the bride's side of the aisle. Etiquette also dictates that I refrain from commenting on Cayla's sizeable booty.
BeckoningChasm October 12, 2012 at 1:39 am
I do want to ask, though…what's with the dropping leaves? They seem pretty pervasive lately.
For what it's worth, every strip in October has depicted falling or fallen leaves (except for when Les was inside watching a Lisa Tape). At this rate, there won't be much of a "beautiful golden canopy" left for our bride and groom. Today the whole town of Westview is brought to a standstill; neither pizzas nor mail shall be delivered. Out on Les' front lawn, the guests regard one another anxiously, while One of Cayla's Relatives (do we know who? Does it matter? No.) makes a last-minute adjustment to her gown.
Finally, a special occasion that actually deserves to be celebrated at Montoni's. The joint hasn't been this packed since Darin discovered breakfast pizza. Everybody's here…of course, Becky and Wally have to slave away back in the kitchen, and Khan's been a persona non grata since opening up his own eatery nearly a year ago. Holly and Donna are in the same shot, proving they are not the same person; ditto Summer and Pete (wasn't he leaving town?). Dead Skunk Head John and Bull are either gazing lovingly at one another or have just finished sharing a joint.
In case you've been wondering whether the 40th anniversary "flashbacks" are the actual vintage strips, today TB tips his hand. Compare today's panel 2 (at left) to the original, taken from the archive page on the official FW site.
It's a shame, really, because you'd expect the redrawn version to be better than the original.
billytheskink March 27, 2012 at 11:16 am
I kinda like seeing the old, original FW artwork. It was the closest thing this strip ever had to charm. It’s not entirely coincidence that the further TB moved from this artwork, the further the strip sank.
It's natural for a cartoonist's style to evolve, especially over four decades. But the "charm" that billytheskink mentions is absent in the redrawn version. Check out the facial expressions, Les' comical posture, and the sweet checkered tablecloth. Compare both panels: imagine the dialogue balloon is not there, and consider which one still tells the story.
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