Explosions, Smoke and Chaos (Oh My!)

Link to today’s strip.

I’ll take a guess that we won’t see any of those explosions, smoke and chaos.  Heck, we’ve been told about them, isn’t that enough for our ungrateful little hearts?

I still can’t imagine what a high school graduation ceremony has to do with a space adventure film.  I guess that’s a failure on my part, because Pete Rossini is such a great writer that he never writes terrible things.  He wrote The Amazing Mr. Sponge, for God’s sake!  That’s as awesome as you can get without crushing someone’s windpipe.

It’s hard not to notice how the whole Starbuck Jones keeps diminishing.   First, it was an epic space adventure with a hero who flew to alien worlds with his robot side-kick.  There were aliens and death capsules and an octo-shark.   It looked like it might be something…fun.  Entertaining.  Something expansive and open for adventure, like the Star Trek universe.

Then it started shrinking.  Shooting in Cleveland?  Well…okay, some CGI overlays could make it appear futuristic.  A present-day school bus in a scene?  By accident, and the director wants to keep it?  Um, well, I dunno…

And now we’re shooting a contemporary graduation ceremony.  That seems to have done it–Starbuck Jones has been brought down to earth.

Should the Starbuck Jones movie ever see the light of day, it will consist of Starbuck and Jupiter sitting on the couch watching TV.  They’ll be dressed the way suburbanites dress today.  They won’t say a word to each other, and we’ll never get a look at what they’re watching.  And it’ll go on for two hours.

Or, you know, it might be something fantastic.

That seems to be the consistent nature of Funky Winkerbeanlower your expectations.   No, no, lower than that.  Holly travels to complete Cory’s comic book collection.  Will she learn to wheel-deal, develop her killer instincts?  Nope, people will just hand them to her.   A Funky-Dick Tracy crossover?  Oh cool, maybe shoot-outs and a murder!  Nope, Dick and Sam will haul boxes of comic books.  And now Starbuck Jones is taking place at Westview High.

I will give the strip this:  it has really taught me the limits of my imagination.  Every time a story begins, I posit that it will be the dullest, least-creative thing I can imagine.   And I’m always wrong.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

11 responses to “Explosions, Smoke and Chaos (Oh My!)

  1. HeyItsDave

    Yeah, awesome sci-fi epic. A Cleveland street battle featuring uniformed cops and a school bus that somehow wanders onto the set. A high-school graduation attacked. Some kind of spaceship that uses a 1970’s gonkulator as its main computer. I swear I won’t be surprised if I find out they’re filming it all on a thrift-shop 8mm Bell & Howell camera.

  2. spacemanspiff85

    Batiuk really seems to think that people are scared by movie special effects, doesn’t he?

  3. At some point, Starbuck Jones seems to have been rebooted into a MCU-type deal. Except instead of being set in New York and other high-profile cities, it’s set in Cleveland.

    That tells you everything you need to know about the project, I’d say.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    BC: No matter how dull, stupid or pointless you think (and know) a FW story arc will be, you (nor anyone else) can ever fully grasp just how dull, stupid and pointless it will actually be. Rule One of predicting a FW arc states that regardless of what YOU think might happen and no matter how much you dumb it down, it’s most likely way, way too complicated, logical and entertaining for the actual strip. It’s why FW fascinates me so much, it’s as plodding, dumb and brainless as it’s possible to be yet in this bizarre unpredictable way. And I still can’t tell whether it’s deliberate or just ineptitude on a previously unknown scale.

    I don’t even get the joke. Why does Batiuk think that a high school graduation ceremony is fraught with terror and anxiety for the attendees? Is he just trying to imply that it’s just that intolerably boring or is there some other point he’s trying to make here? Everyone is acting like it’s common knowledge too, like the terror of attending a HS graduation ceremony is this universal American fear everyone can relate to. He’s a weird f*cking dude.

  5. Well, this is the problem with expecting things…..expecting that Batiuk has the mental capital to deliver the goods. He’s far too busy on Crankshaft beating us over the head with the fact that Jeff will always be an angry little boy who wants his mommy to apologize for being the victim of an undiagnosed medical disorder to do anything like show us a coherent story on Winkerbean. Also, he sort of still hates high school because they didn’t bow down and worship the skeevy geek bloviating about DC Comics.

  6. Chyron HR

    Okay, everybody, raise your hand if you initially read that as “explosions, smoke and chullos”.

  7. It’s like you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel, and you find a trap door at the bottom that opens up into a whole new barrel world that exists entirely below the bottom of the barrel.

  8. @Bobanero: To swipe Roger Ebert, this strip doesn’t deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels.

  9. Don

    “I’ll take a guess that we won’t see any of those explosions, smoke and chaos.” You mean the same way that, other than a snippet of the speech, we didn’t see any part of the graduation, either?

    Speaking of graduation, somebody refresh my memory – how many years has Summer been at Kent State now?

  10. @spacemanspiff85 — well, of course, if they were professionally-produced special effects, with all the safeguards in place in a post-Twilight-Zone- disaster world, there’d be nothing to fear. But, this contributes to my personal mental canon, mentioned earlier, in which Starbuck Jones is some poverty row, AIP-style venture. Think Golan-Globus at its low points. Somehow it’s being made like a kung fu movie in the 70’s, in the Philippines, where life was cheap, and sure five or six stuntmen might get killed, but the film turns a tidy profit of $200,000.

  11. You know how we keep ragging on Batiuk for being tone-deaf and clueless, right? It just occurred to me that he might finally fit in at Marvel now that they got that idjit Brevoort wondering WHY people want his head on a stick for the Captain Hydramerica mess.