Heavy Pedal Parking Lot

Link to today’s strip

What is this, the third wordless strip in a row? I haven’t seen anything like this since Darin had to open some mail. Today Bull is carelessly putting well over $100 worth of Batiukmobiles at risk as his inexplicable tantrum continues. As usual Bantom has confounded me by going off in a direction no sane person could have possibly seen coming. The clear highlight today is that “anger squiggle” over Bull’s head in panel one, which obviously indicates “anger”. Otherwise HOW WOULD WE KNOW???

While I’m still holding some hope that maybe we’re heading for a traffic fatality here or something, the likelihood of anything remotely entertaining happening here is dwindling by the second. No one takes longer to get to the “point” (so to speak) than BanTom does, every single thing simply must be dragged out for days and days on end until no reasonable person can possibly take it anymore. I’ve been doing this for years and it still never fails to enrage me and induce uncontrollable yawning. The notion that even the simplest plot point has to take an entire week (or longer) to build (so to speak) is exactly why no one bothers to read this thing, aside from those of us who like to test their patience, that is. WE GET IT, HE’S ANGRY! Now please, for the love of God, move on.

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Raging Bullcrap

Link to today’s strip

Thanks to BC and the entire SoSF crew! I’m back to wade once more into whatever the madman Batiuk has cooked up for us this time around. So let’s see if Bull is still alive and…

Sigh, what a letdown. I was hoping for something a bit more dramatic than this extended tantrum, something we could really sink our teeth into. Like a heart attack, an untimely death, some sort of dismemberment, you know, Act II type stuff. But Bull angrily throwing his phone because he misplaced his special dialing wand and has to use his fat useless fingers? Meh. So now he’s fat, angry, stupid and impossible to contact too. His worth as a character just continues to grow with every appearance. So whaddya think all this rage is about? Being married to Linda? Being around Dick Facey all day? Frustrated over his missing children? I’m (somewhat) sure BanTom will fill us in…eventually…maybe. Sigh.

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Stupid Tedious Enraging Meandering

Link to today’s strip.

Oh, no!  It’s Dinkle.

For the love of God, montresor, will no one rid me of this troublesome Dinkle?  At least Les Moore allows one to feel genuine, honest rage; this clod, who should be feeding the worms, has been in three Sunday strips dispensing his “wit” and his “wisdom” in forms that contain neither, and we do not need him.  He is loathsomeness made without goal, the skeletal clutching hands of ennui reaching for the throats of those asleep, in order to make their sleep seem profound upon waking.  He is the stench made by a skunk run over in the road; the animal and its purpose are gone, but the foul odor remains to scorch the senses of those driving nearby.  “Lingering” is the best adjective to describe Dinkle.

In case you can’t tell, I really, really, really hate Dinkle.  If there’s one character who really needs to be pushed out of the strip, it’s Dinkle.  At this point, it’s way too late to make him a beloved reminder of the strip’s glory days; he should just get hit by a truck (ironically, one delivering band uniforms), have Becky sniff over his coffin, and never stain the ink of this strip again.

But he won’t.  Tom Batiuk loves him some Dinkle.  One of the truly inexplicable aspects of this strip.  Why are all the horrible characters the most favored ones?

As for the episode itself, it says in six panels what should only take two.  The punchline was blindingly obvious from the get-go; I’m a little bit surprised Batiuk didn’t go and make all the STEM initials stand for musical terms.  How about “Sousa,” “Trombone,” “Elgar” and “Marching”?  That took me about a minute, and most of that was to think of what the “E” could stand for.  (I picked Elgar because of the “Pomp and Circumstance” things that usually play at graduation ceremonies.)  I imagine it took Tom Batiuk about the same amount of time to think this episode up and draw it.

Good Thing Watch:  My stint in the chair is over!  Yay!  Ha ha, charade you are!  Starting tomorrow, you wanted the best and you got it!  The hottest guest host in the land, Epicus Doomus!  (Cue audience cheers and power chords.)

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The Water Broke!

Link to today’s strip.

Sorry I’m late, folks!  One of our clients had a server crash, and–and you probably won’t believe this–I forgot all about Funky Winkerbean!  I know, right?

Anyway, those of you who had your bets on the “Bull Gets A Heart Attack” slot, please report to the cashier to collect your winnings.

however.  Those of you who bet on “Nothing Will Change,” I’d advise you to hold on your ticket stubs.  The only seriously incapacitated person in the strip was Fred Fairgood, and he rarely appears now.  I think Tom Batiuk enjoys torturing Bull too much to just fade him into Bedside Manors.

Besides, remember Dinkle.  (Ugh.)  First he was deaf, and now he isn’t.  Admittedly, Batiuk loves Dinkle….

I guess we’ll all wait and see.

Good Things Watch:  this episode was actually pretty well told.  I assume that next week, or whenever, we’ll get the walls of unnecessary text, but for now, a really good example of “show, don’t tell.”

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Terribull

Link to today’s strip.

I actually laughed at today’s episode.  Not because of the “joke” or anything, but because of the way Bull is drawn in panel one.  With his oversized head, he looks like a giant, enraged baby.

And the idea of a giant, enraged baby running out onto a football field, arms a-flappin’, all red-faced and colicky, is funnier than anything seen in this strip in a long, long time.

Other than that, now that we’ve gone from three full days of talking about Bull to actually seeing Bull in action, nothing’s really changed.  All this has happened about a hundred times before.  Bull is a terrible coach who hates his players and is certain the season is doomed.  I almost put myself to sleep just typing that out, it’s so boring.  Maybe Tom Batiuk has a point in having characters discuss things off-stage; it saves him having to draw action.

Of course, we’d miss out on the giant, enraged babies dashing out onto the field.  Personally, I’d miss that a lot.

Is Tom Batiuk really going to be doing this for another five and a half years?  Jesus wept.

Good Thing Watch:  that giant, enraged baby.  Every time I look at that, it makes me happy.

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A Friend to the Animals

Link to today’s strip.

Just when you think hatred of Les Moore can’t possibly get any deeper, he steps up to the plate and knocks another one out of the park.

“It’s funny,” Les says, “but you’ve given me the opportunity to tell you how awesome I am, in that I beat Bull at tennis recently.”

Funky’s face in panel two:  Here it comes.

“Like you,” Les continues, “he’s just a loser through and through–unlike myself, naturally, who is awesome at everything and should be admired and given prizes.”

What a wonderful friend.  Say, Funky, what do you suppose Les says about you behind your back? You can be sure it isn’t complimentary!  Because you don’t deserve compliments.  Not like Les Moore.

Isn’t it just terrific that Les Moore condescends to share his time with the shuffling, gelid animals that inhabit Westview.  How nice it is of him to pat them on the head and offer stories of his life to offset their weak-kneed misery.  Without his presence, they might be happy never know the marvelous entity that is Les Moore.  Has any man done so much for those who deserve so little?  Allowing them to share his light, so that the shadows don’t fall so heavily on them…gosh!  What a guy!

Les Moore is the one thing in this strip that puts it straight into fantasy, because in real life, no one would have anything to do with this loathsome man.

Good Thing Watch:  Les’ head in panel one.  It looks like it’s been thoroughly wrung out by the Hulk.  A Scene We’d Like To See (tip of the felt tip to Mad magazine).

 

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Bullpun

Link to today’s strip.

Lack of Les Moore crotch shots is a definite improvement, and the pun is kind of clever.  I like the implication in panel one that Les is sticking his lips out as far as he can, trying to do a good duck imitation.  It’s rather poor but at least it’s an attempt.

However, the strip is still just two guys talking.  It’s a boring conversation about things happening to other people who are elsewhere.

It’s a strip designed to take up space.  There is no other purpose.  No plot is being advanced, no wisdom dispensed, and the pun isn’t that good.  And when the action consists of someone pouring a pot of coffee into a mug, maybe it’s time to rename this strip to something more accurate, like “How sedimentary rocks form” or perhaps “I don’t care.”

Why not try to show, instead of constantly telling?  I suppose the answer is, because showing is difficult.  It requires work.  Planning.  And the reward isn’t worth it.

I think we’re past any changes in the way the strip unfolds..  Like Funky, it’s ossified and congealed into a barely moveable mass.  Maybe we should look at Funky’s disgusted expression in panel three and figure, yeah, that’s about right.  That’s how this strip rolls.  Or stays put, actually.

In all honesty, I would love to find things to praise in this strip.  Reading each painfully bad episode is a chore; there’s rarely any relief from the omnipresent gloom that hangs over this thing.  It gets old, really fast.  My recollection of Act I was that it was also not action-packed; like Act III it was just people taking, but were talking to each other, about each other, and at the end of the talking there was a joke, and sometimes the joke was pretty funny.  I know that’s an awful lot to ask these days.

An awful, awful lot.

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