Hairline Crack

Link to today’s strip. I’m not sure, but I think today’s strip is supposed to be a “joke.”  You might remember jokes, they’re stories with a humorous climax (as Mr. Spock observed in Star Trek IV–a moment of silence for Mr. Nimoy, please). They’re also things that this strip abandoned because it wanted to say serious things about serious issues.  And if this is supposed to be a joke, you can tell that Tom Batiuk has kind of lost his ability to tell them.   For one thing, he should have made Cindy’s narwhal horn blonde, so it looks like her hair and not simply a printer’s error.  Unless her narwhal horn is supposed to be pure white?  Which begs another question–if you don’t know anything about Cindy’s old hairstyle, if you haven’t read this strip obsessively for 40 years, this joke will make no sense.   It’s a joke for Tom Batiuk and no one else. If this strip had a lighter tone, something like this could work.   There are strips out there that have a regular cast and use story arcs, but manage to remember that what readers want are jokes, or at least sincere attempts at jokes.  Those strips could have a well known actor, let’s call him Leonard Nimoy the  Movie Actor, fly across the country to watch old videocassettes in preparation for his role as Lisa Moore Mr. Spock, and the story could work without calling attention to how moronic and unrealistic the situation is, and we could all have a good laugh. Since this strip has made a fetish of being serious, such similar episodes call attention to themselves in ways that Tom Batiuk really resents.  And his joke-telling ability has, as noted, atrophied.  Who knows, though?  Perhaps he’s great at parties and really livens things up.  In his day job, though…. Finally, Cindy looks much younger in panel one than she does in panel two.  Dear Mr. Batiuk, a 45th anniversary still indicates a pretty good run, and it’s only a couple of years from now.  You might consider it.

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16 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

16 responses to “Hairline Crack

  1. SpacemanSpiff85

    If Batiuk wanted to do strips set back in Les and Funky’s high school days, under the guise of them telling stories leading up to the reunion, I’d be perfectly fine with that. But instead he seems to think it’s enough to just point out something that was sort of funny, and leave it at that. Like he did with Funky being Crazy’s “roadie”.
    Please, go back to the melodrama and cancer. At least something would happen in this strip for a change.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Blech, talk about lazy. We’re two weeks into this idiotic premise and Cindy STILL hasn’t handed over the full Reunion Chairmanship duties to DickFace. So far it’s all been Les’ whining and these interminable retconned memories, it’s like a clinic on how to succeed in comic strip writing without really doing much of anything.

    And yeah, why are these people constantly thumbing through those annoying old yearbooks? Why are they acting like this is their first reunion ever? Why is BamTon celebrating the same old gags he couldn’t run away from fast enough “back in the day”? “Har har, Les is a loser” to “har har, Les is better than you” to “har har, Les was a loser” and all in a mere forty-three years. All of it time well spent, I might add.

  3. John

    Les: “You’ve got to admit…”

    (Fifteen minutes pass.)

    Cindy: *ahem*

    Les: “Hmmm? Oh, yeah. You’ve got to confess…”

    (Another fifteen minutes elapse.)

    Cindy: “What, Les?”

    Les: “Hmmm? Oh, are you visiting, Cindy? Ah, the yearbook. Well, you’ve got to concede…”

    (Fifteen minutes of stony silence.)

    Cindy: “CONCEDE WHAT?”

    Les: “Hmmm? Oh, hello, Cindy. Looking at yearbooks? Man, you’ve got to allow…”

    (Fifteen minutes pass.)

    Cindy: “AAAAAAAAAAARRRGH!”

    Les: *gasp* “Jehosaphat! What are you doing here, Cindy?”

    Cindy: “Leaving.”

    ***SLAM***

    (Fifteen minutes pass.)

    Cayla: “So, um, Les. Tonight would you like to…to…”

    Les: “Hmmm. There’s a picture of Lisa.”

    Cayla: (sigh)

  4. Mason Jarr

    Ugggh!

  5. Nathan Obral

    This indeed smacks of a inside joke that Batom® intended for himself.

    After all, he’s not a writer, and he’s not an artist. Okay, I take that back… he IS an artist… a con artist. He’s scamming King Features/North American Syndicate on a daily basis, as he sends them unreadable garbage and gets paid for it. And no one at the syndicate or any of the client newspapers bothers to notice or care.

  6. Next up: jokes about Holly setting herself on fire with flaming batons, Crazy Harry playing air guitar, and Funky….doing whatever he did in high school.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    It’s weird how he never waxes nostalgic about the bulk of his post-Lisa Act I & Act II work, isn’t it? Les never reminisces about, say, his first few days as a teacher at WHS. Cindy never looks back fondly at the time she interviewed that Major World Leader. Funky never brings up the time he…uh, OK, bad example. But you get the point. Especially recently, it’s almost as if a huge chunk of the strip’s history never even happened. It’s always the old Act I stuff.

  8. A HREF

    I will give TB a pass on the hair color thingie because it is some drone who colors comics. But that face in the yearbook for Cindy, … well looks like early Act III Corey wearing a wig. With a chaw of tobacco in one cheek.

  9. Charles

    So we’ve really reached a point where Batiuk spends at least two weeks every year of Les looking at his yearbook. It’s one of the few things we can rely on. You’ve got band fund raisers for Thanksgiving, Bull insulting the football team, and Les reading the yearbook. Those are the only things we’re promised year after year.

  10. We also have to watch Funky be berated by his dominatrix-like trainer.

  11. $$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$

    If your joke can be easily ruined by a coloring error…it was never a good joke to begin with.

  12. Professor Fate

    Not a Joke but an incredible simulation. And half the fat!

  13. captaincab

    Batiuk did a gag strip just like this at least once showing Cindy’s narwhale do extending to another photo space to the right. “It’s called recycling.” Can’t remember if it was a flashback strip from the 90s or 2000s.

    As SpacemanSpiff85 said, a series of flashbacks with Funky and crew as kids would make so much more sense. But no, let’s have characters who for some reason have a tenuous and unrealistic friendship blandly musing in between their errands in preparation for this dumb reunion.

  14. Jim in Wisc.

    wrote: Dear Mr. Batiuk, a 45th anniversary still indicates a pretty good run, and it’s only a couple of years from now. You might consider it.

    I think I may have finally discovered the reason TomBat is shooting for 50 years. The National Cartoonists Society (of Reuben Award fame) gives out the Golden T-Square to anyone who makes it to 50 years as a professional cartoonist. My guess is Mr. B is aiming for that, because he knows it’s the only award he’ll ever get from the NCS.

  15. captaincab

    It’s also rediculous how many plots this last year mainly revolve around characters hauling around boxes of things between locations. Cindy lugs a box of high school memorabilia to Les. A week of strips ends with Funky, Crazy and John carrying the band box and putting it into a van. Dick Tracy and Sam’s potentially cool guest spot is completely ruined just so they can be used as errand boys to carry boxes of comic books. I mean, the mind boggles at the sheer galling and seemingly deliberate lack of effort and imagination on display constantly by Batiuk.

  16. billytheskink

    I feel bad enough for us readers, who have to endure a gag about how Cindy looked like a goblin shark back in Act I. But who I really feel bad for here are John G and Rob. They managed to escape the grip of Westview, and were likely leading rewardingly normal, tax-paying lives (or maybe not, but no doubt still better than a Westview life) until Cindy and her yearbook drug them back into the strip.