Fade to Wack

April 20, 2013 at 4:53 am
…So where did we go this week? Well, Les dithered around uselessly and then started writing his script in the most mundane fashion imaginable. I can’t believe Batiuk is actually going to do this. Never mind that he’s going to show Les writing this script, but what he’s going to have Les writing is godawful.

Not to mention improperly formatted.

Everybody can relate to the illness and loss of a close friend or loved one. And Batiuk did a creditable job of telling “Lisa’s story” the first time around. Readers were moved; at least the ones who didn’t object to such depressing content in the comics section. But TB, through his avatar Les, has spent the last five and a half years rehashing this story over and over again, as a book and then a movie, and Lisa’s story has become All About Les. The book was a success, and adoring fans lined up for their signed copies. Then Hollywood sends him a fat check and lets him write the screenplay, despite his complete lack of screenwriting experience. All the while, Les carries on like he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. After a week of dragging his heels, today the Delicate Genius can bask in the afterglow of having written a trite and stilted line of dialogue.

Does the “home run” fantasy indicate that what he’s just written is the last scene? Doesn’t the story end with Lisa dying?



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31 responses to “Fade to Wack

  1. Señor Tortilla

    What a total hack! This makes Stone Season look like good reading.

  2. Charles

    Wouldn’t go that far, Señor.

    But Jesus this is bad, and Batiuk is congratulating himself on that perfunctory line. It’s unbelievable. So Lisa gets cancer and everyone understands and does what they can to help. The only way this could be even remotely interesting is if Screenplay Lisa throws Screenplay Cindy’s condolence back in her face because she’s knows it’s empty bullshit. Fuck you and your fortune cookie sympathy.

    Anyway, I love how Les breaks one of the fundamental rules of screenwriting in the splash panel: “A Screenplay by Les Moore”. Thanks asshole. If you didn’t include that line, I would’ve thought it was your stupid fucking grocery list.

    Wow, this is annoying me more than I realize.

  3. bayoustu

    Ooooh- get a load of that look of grim, writerly determination on Less’ teeny-tiny face in Panel 2. In this same panel, Less’ nose seems to have been replaced by an octopus-like beak; how odd!

  4. Epicus Doomus

    The self-congratulatory Lesturbation over that book is just never-ending. I can hardly wait until Les has to agonize over writing the music and lyrics to “Lisa’s Story…The Other Shoe…The Musical” which should be sometime in 2016 or thereabouts. It amazes me how he’s either oblivious to how played-out this Lisa stuff is or he just doesn’t care, either way you can’t help but be impressed by the sheer mileage he’s gotten out of it. Doesn’t make it any less nauseating, but still.

    The irony of this guy doing a strip about a writer finally coming up with a “home run” idea is certainly not lost on me. I guess that on some subliminal level this one is really about the author wondering and fantasizing about what that might be like.

    Batuck must have been going through a mini-baseball phase last April or something, that’s two baseball references in a single week for Les. The dialog itself was actually pretty funny: he struggled all week to come up with that? Based on those lines of dialog and all the pamphlet reading, this flick sounds like a real thrill ride, doesn’t it?

  5. John

    Ann: “…Les, why does LISA’S STORY now include a scene with you on trial in a courtroom, telling the judge and jury that they may stop your body but they’ll never stop your heart? Why do all of the girls who ever rejected you in high school come forward to bemoan how they lost their big chance with you? Why is your character acting like a sadsack even as life is showering him with a blissful life even BEFORE the cancer struck your wife? And dear GOD, why the plotline about the emotionally unstable teen fatally smitten with your grown-man ass?!?”

    Les: “That actually happened! In fact, I even congratulated her for being such a great kisser when she returned years later at the same school where she once tried to attempt suicide! I loved kidding her about how crazy she could be!”

    Ann: “….*….”

    Les: “What?”

    Ann: “Will you and reality ever meet at any point in this script?”

    Les: “Piffle. I guess you just don’t understand, it’s CALLED writing!”

  6. Beanie Wanker

    Hey, Tommy BatYuck, it would probably be a lot smarter just to let us IMAGINE Goatee Boy’s writing and guess that he (you?) can’t write, than to SHOW his writing and remove all doubt.

    Does Batspaz have any idea how big a baseball field is? Those guys appear to be playing on a field built and sized for 5 year olds. So absolutely, I’m almost willing to believe that Goatee Weenie could “hit one out of the park” with the fences 60 feet away. That is, as long as he doesn’t foul tip the ball into his own punchable face.

    But it’s hilarious that Batty or his dorky cartoon character think they hit anything out of any park with the “writing” depicted today.

  7. Jeffcoat Wayne

    Incomplete screenplay — he forgot to mention that the girls are sitting at the kitchen table drinking either coffee or Johnny Walker. Set the mood much? Anyway, I take it this is the big scene where Cindy consoles Lisa after the discovery that Les is having an affair with Linda? And just look at him there, gloating over what a real bastard he is for it! Keep dreaming about that Oscar, man, ’cause that’s all it is… a faraway, nigh impossible dream.

  8. BeckoningChasm

    Monday’s strip – Les is high-fiving himself, when the phone rings. “Mr. Moore? This is Doctor Cancer’s office. I hope you are sitting down. The test results are in, and…and I’m sorry to tell you this, but you have Smirk Cancer. You may never be able to pun again.”

    Tuesday’s strip: Les puts the muzzle of a Smith & Wesson 642 with the optional laser-sight into his mouth and pulls the trigger.

    Wednesday’s strip: Funky is cleaning glasses at Montoni’s. “Hey, Harry Lunaire, did you hear about Les?”
    Harry Lunair: “Who? Did he do the inking on Daredevil 32-38?”
    Funky: “I don’t know. He was a guy, somewhere, who ordered pizza sometimes and always gave me this weird smirk when he picked it up. Said something under his breath, like ‘May the pizza the Lord be upon you,’ or maybe it was something from TV.”
    Harry Lunaire: “Are you still talking?”

    Thursday’s strip: Three black panels with the sound of sobbing.

    Friday’s strip: see: Thursday’s strip.

    Saturday’s strip: one black panel, with another filled with text: “Thank you, dear readers of this strip, from me, the person who draws and then writes the strip, using the words I’ve got and the drawings I’ve saved. You’ve made Les a household word, in houses all across the word where they hold words. You’ll never be forgotten as long as I remember you. Tom Batiuk.”

    Sunday’s strip: Welcome to Bill Watterson’s new comic, HUME AND LOCKE!

  9. DOlz

    This is going to be a shoe in for the Stephenie Meyer Award for writing excellence.

  10. Helskor

    This is a shoo-in for a plagiarism lawsuit from Hallmark or American Greetings.

  11. Duane

    Perhaps somebody will set off a bomb at the Lisa’s Legacy run and cheer things up around here.

  12. Sgt Saunders

    Wait until Les finds out that the real movie is called “Mount DoucheMoore” about a hack writer overcome by greed and hubris who sells out his dead wife’s non-story, demands to write the screenplay, eventually to be hounded into greater depths of Leshackery by his current wife who finally sees her life investment paying some dividends.

    Keep it up Les, maybe you’ll hit another touchdown before “Hollywood’s” genuine writers get through with you.

  13. Louder

    Knowing BatHack attention to detail, I predict that Less will win the Man Booker Prize for screenplays.

  14. Merry Pookster

    I think Cody must be a ghost writer on this

  15. Señor Tortilla

    OK, maybe not Stone Season bad. But close. It’s really sad when one of the best-selling books of 2012 was an S&M-themed Twilight fan-fiction with the names filed off (and of course, Twilight before it, which I am absolutely convinced originally started as fan-fiction of something else).

    All I’m saying is the target seems to be lowered for idiots like Tom Batiuk and his idiot author avatar.

  16. MKay

    I’m going to need a bigger barf bag.

  17. John

    Senor Tortilla: The bona fide breakout best-seller before “50 Shades” AKA “Moms are into porn now!” wasn’t Twilight, it was THE HUNGER GAMES, which really wasn’t that bad.

  18. bad wolf

    Senor Tortilla’s mention of Twilight reminds me of an interesting article i read a while ago by “Film Crit Hulk” that had some insight into the books and movies, including a link to a fascinating interview with Stephanie Meyer that reminds me of Batiuk in terms of self-oblivious writing.


  19. Andrew

    Les’s shirt today seems to remind me vaguely of that of the FPS star Serious Sam wears.

    Now I would like to see how long Les would be able to survive alien hordes with only that little smirk of his.

  20. bad wolf

    Oh, and for telling details: isn’t “by Les Moore” slightly larger than the title and his wife’s name?

  21. $$$Westview Oncologist$$$$$

    No way do I believe that Les Moore would hit a home run!

    He would have been beaned by the pitcher long before he ever swung the damn bat.

    Hell, I am actually hoping the shortstop will perform a Ty Cobb special on Les’ groin.

  22. Myke

    Ok this one is just totally unbelievable. I mean the smugness, distorted faces, tiny ballpark, and lack of understanding for how bad this movie really is, yeah sure that all makes perfect sense. But you expect us to believe there would not be any half eaten pizza or empty Montoni’s box in that nasty little office? C’mon…

  23. Señor Tortilla

    I whipped this up as a sketch. It’s not particularly well-drawn, but I think it gets the point across nicely. (SFW)

  24. Gyre

    I don’t really get it. Is that supposed to be the last scene of the movie? What about her husband (you know, a scene I’d expect him to be in) or something about her daughter?

    If that isn’t the last scene, does it really deserve a ‘home run’? Sure you could make the argument that Les has just managed to finish a part of the script that was giving him trouble, but so far the entire script has given him trouble. For all I know this could be the first actual dialogue in the movie which would make his self congratulations premature and unprofessional.

  25. I made the terrible decision not to drink 10 ounces of whiskey before reading today’s strip, because now I’m doomed to remember it. Let’s break it down.

    1. The screenplay ends with a trite conversation between Lisa and Cindy. Really‽ Even Les sitting forlornly on that park bench would be more poignant. I thought that up right now, and I’m just a fat guy sitting in an easy chair.
    2. Les, who is famously—famously!—the least athletic guy in Westview, goes straight for a sports metaphor when he contemplates a job well done. Really‽
    3. He gets the sport wrong, setting it in, as others have noted, some kind of postage stamp instead of a ball field.
    4. In the last panel, I think we’re supposed to interpret Les’s horrible hands as getting their knuckles popped after an arduous keyboard session. But to me it looks like he’s trying to shake his own hand. What’s next? A scene at the Westview urgent care, where Les is being treated for a sprained arm brought about when he attempted to pat himself on the back?

    It was a bright and sunny day, or maybe a grey miasma engulfed the world seen through the window of Les Moore’s studio, for it is in Westview that our story takes place, with Les having just completed the screen adaptation of his memoir—or novel, as he liked to think of it—about the cancer-ridden death of his first wife, Lisa.

    Is that bad enough to be called writing, Batominc?

  26. Señor Tortilla

    I’m confused by the use of Cindy, too. If he wanted to end it with another character, it would work with Summer (that’s how Act II ended, at least), Cayla (can’t have that happening, she’s a trophy wife), Funky (best friend, reportedly), or Lisa (Dead Lisa, of course).

    Wait until the Hollywood producers decide to compress the battle with cancer into the first ten minutes of the movie, and have the rest deal with a zombie uprising.

  27. Don

    Doesn’t the story end with Lisa dying?

    The book might. However, the movie will probably end with Lisa’s indiscretion rapist going to jail.

  28. Spode

    I was traveling this last week & not reading FW, and I just looked at today’s strip cold, (and with a reduced tolerance to the thing), and I just want to thank the SoSF community for being there for me.

  29. Yaoi Huntress Earth

    Did anyone check out Comic Strip Critic’s interview with Tom Batiuk: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ieCQSz4I9VQ Interesting stuff.

  30. My reply to John Weber:

    This is a response to John Weber’s video, Tom Batiuk interview.

    Hi John,

    You’re a thoughtful man whom I respect, but I think you’ve erred in letting Tom Batiuk influence you. You should not, in particular, have hidden your review of his work, which I believe was spot on. That work deserves opprobrium for the bad writing, indifferent artwork, inattention to detail, awkward retconning, and condescension towards the reader.

    Here’s where you erred, IMHO. As a reviewer, you have to review the work as it stands. You get to review everything that lies within the 4 corners of the strip. What you don’t get to do is consider anything outside the work. I don’t mean that you don’t consider the social, cultural, and historical milieux in which the work is embedded. I mean, though, specifically, that it is bad form to give the author a second bite at the apple.

    He wrote what he wrote. He drew what he drew. He condescended to whom he condescended. He made Les a Marty Stu author avatar. For these artistic sins, he must be called out, even if he’s a delightful man in person. I think you did succumb to a little fan-boyishness here.

    With particular reference to the arc which led you to name Funky Winkerbean the worst strip of 2012, I got his point. We all got his point. The trouble is, it was condescending and badly written.

    I really like your work, and we all make mistakes. Put the videos back up. Stand up for your work. Don’t do a retraction unless you were objectively wrong. And you weren’t objectively wrong. You expressed an opinion, one in which I concur.

    I wish you all the best, John!

  31. Yaoi Huntress Earth

    @Withering Heights: You could always send him a PM as well.