Low Blow

Today’s strip reminds me of an episode of 50s/60s “animated” series Clutch Cargo, “The Ghost Ship”. The episode starts off with Clutch’s ward Spinner wondering aloud if the fishing boats in the harbor ever move.
A rare moment of self-awareness in an “animated” show that consisted almost entirely of still images (with creepy filmed lips placed on top of them) or a pure coincidence? I leaned toward the latter but was never 100% sure.

Similarly, I’m pretty sure today’s panel 1 is unintentional, but not fully sure. It could be a sly call back to that time in late Act II when Harry’s hearing loss forced him to hand his baton over to Lefty, meant to poke at us beady-eyed nitpickers who have noted on many occasions that TB completely ignored this maudlin mess once Act III began. I concede that is possible, but likely? Ha!
TB ignores precedents set in his own work and retcons things more often than Tom Armstrong draws Marvin soiling himself.

Poor Carl, he was doing so well when we last saw him on Christmas day. I admire his dedication to playing the trumpet



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

15 responses to “Low Blow

  1. HeyItsDave

    I know T-Bats seems to have retconned Harry’s hearing back to normal, but screw that. Someone’s got to keep track of the continuity around here…it may well be us.

    And what kind of douche makes a dude on oxygen play the trumpet, and then complains about the volume?

  2. You have to give Tom Batiuk credit, here. I’m serious, he has created an entirely new genre: boring-offensive.

    Honestly, that had to have taken some work. I mean, a bit of work. A little work. Kind of some thought, you know. If you squint a bit, look, just there–see it? Right there? No, no, under the cloud. Yes! That’s the bit of work it took to make the most content-free comic strip ever create a new genre.

    As for “Clutch Cargo,” the creator of the cartoon made it the way he did so that his deaf son could read lips and thus follow the story. I know it’s a silly cartoon and easily mocked, but that fact has always made me pause. It actually brought something to people that they would not otherwise be able to experience.

    Just like Funky Winkerbean has made it possible for literally dozens to know what a work completely devoid of content must be like. I’ll give this to Tom Batiuk: when criticism rose it’s ugly head, he did the best he could to deny the beast any red meat.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    You can’t help but wonder about a guy who visits an assisted living facility and thinks to himself “yes, this is all tremendous comic strip fodder”. The poor schmuck can’t breathe and he’s playing the trumpet outside in July…yeah, hysterical. Maybe tomorrow someone could develop a blood clot or fall out of bed and fracture a femur. Or if Batom is feeling especially zany maybe a whole arc about the freezer in the morgue breaking down over the long weekend. Har har har.

    God I just detest Act III Dinkle so much. He could have just killed him off and done a few “good old days flashbacks” about him a few times a year but nope, he had to “update” him into the fiercely annoying snide cackle-bot he is today instead of just leaving it the f*ck alone. Only BanTom would deliberately sabotage his longest-running regular gag then follow it up by constantly reminding his readers about the old classic running gag he used to do. It’s so bizarre and pointless. It wasn’t like I especially liked old Dinkle but at least they were jokes built around a premise. This though, this is less than nothing.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    Once again HeyItsDave demonstrates that you CAN include jokes in the word balloons if you really want to. And we don’t even get paid for it.

    BC: I bet you anything that somewhere along the line he did this exact same strip, only with high school kids and a retainer instead of oxygen. I just can’t stand the way Batiuk tries to do callbacks to an old running gag he himself deliberately cratered, which, as it turned out, was all for absolutely nothing. Just like with the cancer story…”hey, remember how funny/sad/groundbreaking this used to be?”. Yeah, great, now you have to find wildly contrived reasons to keep the characters you ruined around. It’s so half-assed and IMO, in an artistic sense, cowardly.

  5. Tomorrow: The percussionist has a seizure; Harry yells at him for not keeping a steady rhythm.

  6. spacemanspiff85

    The thing that makes me despise Dinkle so much is that I really think Batiuk wants us to view him as some sort of musical genius. I think originally the “world’s greatest band director” thing was supposed to be hyperbolic humor, but now it just seems like that’s a statement of fact, and all the kids (and now people his own age) who don’t appreciate him are just morons. Hell, even Les occasionally gets poked fun at and looks like an idiot.apparently

  7. billytheskink

    As for “Clutch Cargo,” the creator of the cartoon made it the way he did so that his deaf son could read lips and thus follow the story. I know it’s a silly cartoon and easily mocked, but that fact has always made me pause. It actually brought something to people that they would not otherwise be able to experience.

    I had not heard that, that’s a cool idea. Clutch Cargo was made on about 1/20 the budget that a major animation studio would spend on a short cartoon. Given that, and the fact that the show was well-received in its time, Clutch Cargo is quite an accomplishment.

    It is also an engagingly-written series of adventure stories, and, above all, a memorable piece of media. Can we say that about the Batiukverse?

  8. Old people, amirite? With their CHF and COPD and nasal cannulas, amirite? What’s up with old age?

  9. Great. An excercise in boredom here and on Crankshaft, a slam against Paypal because Crankshaft saves pennies.

  10. Charles

    Of all of Batiuk’s oft-repeated sequences, I have to admit “Old people are funny because they’re old” is my least favorite.

    He literally takes ordinary encounters or conversations between people and seems to think they’re made hilarious simply because the people involved are elderly.

    So here we go! Scene: John, age 87, has sat down next to Nathan, age 82, at the counter in a local diner.

    John: Did you get the newspaper today?
    Nathan: No, they sold out before I got here.


  11. Oxygen? Here in Cancerdeathville, where all the old people are on chemo, we prefer something a little stronger… and more in keeping with that great musical tradition:

    It’s the only way the band members have kept themselves from strangling Dinkle for the last three years. And yes, it’s now legal in Ahia…

  12. Rusty Shackleford

    The had a drawing of Dickle on the band director’s door when I was in high school. I’m sure Batty would have come after them for payment had he known about it.

  13. Maybe tomorrow, we’ll see the guy who plays the hand cymbals, but instead of hand cymbals he’ll be holding defibrillator paddles.

  14. Rusty

    Who loves that gazebo more than Tom Batuik? He will probably have his ashes buried underneath it.

  15. I love how Batiuk writes in his blog about a storyline taking place in Memphis December of next year. Batiuk, what’s the use of being a year-and-a-half ahead if you continued to produce such garbage as this storyline?