School Smarm

Today’s strip marks the long-awaited and eagerly-anticipated return of Sophomoric Sightings, the comic strip that Durwood and Pete drew for the Westview High School newspaper back in Act II. It was last seen nearly a decade ago, in early 2007 I believe, when Pete lamented to Chien in the school paper office that he was having to create the whole comic himself since Darin was spending so much time with Jessica.

Honestly, I have a bit of a soft spot for “Sophomoric Sightings”, as it is not unlike my own attempts at cartooning when I was in high school (or, uh, now even)… the simple and inoffensive jokes, avoiding drawing hands whenever possible, significant artwork inconsistencies between panels. If only given the context that they are comic strips within a comic strip about high school, they actually serve their purpose quite well and perhaps exhibit some level of charm.

When given the context that they are literally the only depicted works in a Hollywood storyboard artist’s portfolio, that opinion… changes.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

13 responses to “School Smarm

  1. This is kind of like if Billy from Family Circus suddenly got called to illustrate for Marvel.

  2. SpacemanSpiff85

    I just love how these two panels are given as the only reason for Pete’s cocky expression and attitude in the third panel. And since we haven’t seen any of the art from The Last Leaf, I’m assuming that this is the extent of Darin’s talent.
    I anticipate Darin discussing the move with Comic Book John, Harry, and Les, but his wife not even being mentioned in this storyline.

  3. Apauled

    “I anticipate Darin discussing the move with Comic Book John, Harry, and Les, but his wife not even being mentioned in this storyline.”

    What about their baby with the oddly spelled unisex name?

  4. bayoustu

    What’s this- in panel 3 Pete Renfro seems to be exuding… what- confidence? Smugness? Arrogance, even?! Who are you and what have you done with the real Mopey Pete Riesbaum?! You know- the joyless one tormented with self-doubt and self-loathing!! THAT’S a true Funkyverse character!

  5. billytheskink

    I wish I could find that 2007 strip, maybe it was 2006, because it contains a comic that Pete created all by himself.

    The implication we get from today’s strip is that Pete wrote Sophomoric Sightings and Darin drew it. That is consistent with Pete’s career as a comic book writer and Darin’s lack of career as an artist of any type. However, when Darin’s dating life forced Pete to create the strip himself back in Act II, I recall the artwork being pretty much the same. So, yeah…

    I do honestly like today’s strip-within-the-strip, though. Not so much for SS Pete’s freakishly large ears, SS Darin’s peanut-shaped skull, or the possible cameo appearance of Pete’s sister and school paper editor Ally Roberts in panel 1. No, I like it because the depiction of a sign with Bull’s name posted on the inside of his own classroom door is a fairly sick burn.

  6. Guest Page Turner Author

    Back in my high school sophomore days, circa 1980, I also had a crudely drawn comic strip. With gags I thought were as clever as this one here. My strip was influenced by 2 strips.

    Funky Winkerbean, which was sort of clever to a 15 year old in 1980, and Doonesbury, which was still cutting edge in the late disco/Jimmy Carter era.

    Garry Trudeau has still got it.

    Glad to see Burke Breathed came back with it.

    I still shake my head and sigh at Battic’s fall into that late middle aged complacency. That end to the class reunion arc was so awfully executed and depressing.

    And now he has the young’uns in Hollywood acting as if the world still operates as it did back in his hey day!

    I read this strip so I can be a better middle aged man than him.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    Yeah Pete, that Westview is just bustling with Hollywood-level talent. Maybe Becky and Morty Winkerbean could collaborate for the soundtrack! And Jessica could work the camera and…oh yeah, that’s right. She gave that up so she could stay home and expose her child to pizza fumes all day, almost forgot.

    Poor, poor Boy Lisa. It’s only Tuesday and already he’s not getting any face time. He’s usually not eliminated from his own arcs until Wednesday or Thursday. Seriously, go back and re-read every Act III Darin arc (that’s a long twenty-five seconds you’ll never get back) and see for yourself, he gets shoved aside by someone else every single time. Even the arc about the birth of his child was mostly about Lisa. As was the Frankie mega-arc. He did give Summer the flu that time, which I appreciated even though it ultimately backfired. Hope he bothers to tell his actual parents that he’s leaving town, although I suspect they won’t care either.

  8. Drawing storyboards doesn’t really require a lot of artistic talent. However, one does have to depict action and motion, which seems beyond Darrin’s talent.

    I don’t know why I typed that…it’s completely irrelevant. We all know the Starbuck Jones movie will consist solely of people standing around making weak puns at each other and smirking.

  9. The only way any of this makes any sort of rational sense is if the studio has taken note of Uwe Boll’s tendency to make movies that he knows will fail but makes anyway because he wants a huge tax write-off.

  10. Hey, Durwood wrote a cheesy pizza app a couple of years ago! We can get him to do the CGI too.

  11. I’m bewitched by this arc already!


    Amazingly, the meta strip is just as unfunny as the actual strip it’s in. I mean seriously, the joke in “Sophmoric Sightins” could appear in one of Batiuk’s Owen and Cody strips. Normally, the meta strip would be worse or parody of the real strip, but Batiuk fails miserably in this attempt!!

  13. Instead of reflecting on how or why Tom Batiuk refuses to even hint in-panel** that Boy Lisa the Fair Good Grief can even draw, while allegedly illustrating Les’ “The Last Leaf to Nowhere” graphic novel extravaganza… I’d rather post a quickie gag panel I quickly drew for a friend a few weeks ago.

    **Sorry, Tom, but today’s “Sophomoric Sightings” doesn’t count for me.