Well, it’s another Sunday time-waster starring Owen. I recognize that’s a really redundant statement, but like that fetid chullo, there it is.
Tom Batiuk has some thoughts on the original King Kong, and he is of a mind to lecture us on its short-comings.
Let that thought sink in for a few minutes.
In preparation for today’s post, unlike Tom Batiuk, I actually sat down and watched King Kong (1933). If you’ve never seen it…well, you probably know the plot anyway, but some of what I note below can be considered SPOILERS.
1. No one on the voyage knows they are looking for a giant ape. Carl Denham has heard there’s “something” on Skull Island, and he knows it’s called “Kong,” but he doesn’t know what it is.
2. Furthermore, all he wants to do is photograph it. That they end up capturing it is not the point of the voyage–that’s Denham’s last minute improvisation. But Owen says “determined to capture” as if that was the goal.
3. Denham and crew do not see any dinosaurs “along the way.” They don’t spot any dinosaurs until well after seeing Kong for the first time. At this point, they’re trying to rescue Ann Darrow so they have other goals in mind than film-making or capturing animals.
3. The dinosaurs were not “small,” though some are slightly smaller than Kong (which still makes them pretty huge). And they definitely don’t appear to be “a lot easier to capture” or easier to control. They cause several deaths. (Remarkably ghastly deaths for the time, too.) Of all the dinosaurs in the film, only one can be considered “small” – a bear-sized beast that climbs up a vine in an attempt to menace John Driscoll.
These things effectively negate everything in today’s strip.
I try to keep from saying anything about Tom Batiuk personally in these posts…but this is shameful. There are really only two explanations for this. A – He wrote this based on vague memories of King Kong, or of the various remakes or sequels. And he didn’t bother to watch the film again to confirm any of this. That’s sheer laziness, especially with a year’s lead time. B – He wrote this, then watched King Kong to see how clever and superior he was; he saw instead that he was King Wrong, but decided it didn’t matter, that no one in his audience would remember King Kong, and even if they did, they wouldn’t bother to watch it either and they’d think Tom Batiuk was some kind of film genius for poking holes in a masterpiece. That’s sheer contempt.
I’m not sure which one is worse, to be honest.
That leads me to my final point about today’s strip –
4. I’m not a psychiatrist, nor do I play one on television. But the whole strip seems to be asking the question, “Why try for something unique and spectacular? Aim for ‘good enough’ and that should be good enough.” Why climb Mount Everest when you can climb the local dump instead? Why go to the Moon when it’s much less dangerous to go to the mall? Why use actual jokes and interesting characters in your comic strip, when you can just use fifth-rate puns and have people smirk to show they “get it”?
Oops…did I type that last one out loud? Whoopsie.