Raisin The Bar…Lowering The Standards

Link to today’s strip

For what seems like the thousandth day in a row I have no idea what the gag here is supposed to be. Are the background anon-o-characters supposed to be characters I’d recognize? “Immaculate metro stations”…huh? There’s no “joke” here, again. And not only that, there’s no “story” either. Color me totally baffled. I even visited the official FW blog just to see if maybe something there would shed a little light on whatever the hell is going on here but (of course) there’s no help there unless you’re looking for way, way too much information on fictional comic book covers. All in all one of the most pointless FW arcs ever and that includes the band box arc AND the Food Film scam.

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17 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

17 responses to “Raisin The Bar…Lowering The Standards

  1. spacemanspiff85

    I’m pretty sure that’s TinTin on the wall there. Harriet’s comment’s supposed to make you think that they’re walking through a crowd of Belgians, but it turns out they’re actually looking at a mural in a subway. Which raises the whole problem of why she’s looking at a painting of people and talking about how friendly the people there are. Can she not tell the difference between real, live people, and cartoon characters on a subway wall? Because that’s not funny at all. But heck, any excuse to draw someone else’s comic character, I guess.

  2. Gerard Plourde

    The character with the blond cowlick wearing the raincoat and knickers is Tintin, central character of about twenty book length adventures created by Belgian cartoonist George Remi, better known by his pen name, Hergé. The rest of the scene is drawn to emulate Hergé’s style.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    OK. so they’re looking at a mural on the wall of a Belgian metro station. I did not realize this, although I did suspect something was amiss given the very un-Batiukian background characters.

    So this week’s arc was basically an homage to the chocolateers and murals of Belgium? Well, I certainly never saw THAT coming. Five years from now you’ll be reading through the old FW weekly summaries and you’ll say “huh? I don’t remember that at all”.

  4. DOlz

    Of course their Metro stations are immaculate. It’s not like Westview where they’re filled with forgotten characters living in old pizza boxes and on comic book handouts.

  5. Usually when Batiuk depicts an “exotic locale,” a little Google Image searching will produce the source image (usually on the first page of results). It took a little more digging to find the ostensible source for today’s panel:

    Of course, TB being TB, he takes some liberties here, mashing together two murals, removing Captain Haddock from the scene and turning TinTin to face us. Sadly, Belgian cartoonist Hergé does not get a tip of the Funky felt tip!

  6. spacemanspiff85

    @tfhackett:
    That seemed the strangest part to me. He’s ripping off another artist (an homage, I’m sure he’d say), but not even mentioning them. I seem to recally him doing this once before, not too long ago. Does he think he only needs to or should credit other artists when they actually draw his strip for them? Copying someone’s character and art style and using it for your own strip without acknowledging them (you’d think at the very least a little line at the bottom saying “If you liked this, read TinTin!”) is a real dick move. Or Batiukian, I guess you could say.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    I agree, even just a tip-o’ the felt tip would have really gone a long way toward establishing some context, as I had absolutely no idea what I was looking at here. I wonder what brought on this sudden Belgium fixation? It’s all so weirdly random.

  8. 1966tvbatman

    Boy that’s crap. Even the second panel doesn’t really read as a mural until you’ve looked at it a few times.

  9. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    I’m glad you told me that was a mural. Speaking of the Funky felt-tip and Netherlandish artists, Dinkle and his wife look more grotesque then characters drawn by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, without any of the underlying humanity.

    In the 1970’s the company my father worked for asked him to go to Belgium to set up a large piece of machinery he had built. He refused to go, and I told him, “Dad, you can get a free trip to Belgium!” His answer was curt: “I saw enough of Belgium in 1944.”

  10. As we look forward to an indeterminate week of an egomaniac and his mute doormat wife barging through a foreign country, we cannot help but speculate as to what ornate expression Captain Haddock would use to describe Batiuk.

  11. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    I’m afraid this is as close to an “I’ve got nothing” day as I can get. What occurs to me is that Batty has a warped and distorted idea of what his readers find interesting or entertaining.And we’ve always known he has a warped idea about what characters we’d find appealing, and what characters we’d “root” for.

    “Oh, you GO, Harry! All those years selling Band Candy. You worked so HARRRDDD! How wonderful you are getting the recognition you have always deserved. And BELGIUM? What a wonderful, beautiful, welcoming place! Tell us more!”

    Said about three or four 70-year-olds in Ohio.

    Why Batboy has such a stiffy for Belgium all of a sudden is a mystery, and why he thinks it would interest US is an even bigger mystery.

    All we can really take away from today’s episode is that every now and then, not often, but from time to time, Harry lets Harriet speak, but only when they’re talking to a wall and no other humans can hear her.

  12. Amy K

    I don’t know about this “Dinkle, Raisin the Bar” band candy.
    I’d still rather have a Nutboy.

  13. Doc

    Are they supposed to be coming off of an escalator in the smaller panel? Looking at a mural that’s in the metro station?

  14. What’s maddening is how this is so transparently TB’s idea of an Easter egg, as in, “I’m rewarding my devoted fan base with a clever homage, on a dual level of comics-referential and artistic-perspective, and once they reach that a-ha moment they will pinch themselves with their good fortune!” But as with the Nobel pun, it’s nothing more than a cringe inducing ploy to shoehorn in crap he heard or encountered (let me guess: someone took a European vacation last year, or at least saw a photo of a Belgian metro wall!),that nobody but he gives a shit about. It’s also offensive that he didn’t include a shoutout to the original artist behind the inspiration, because a good percentage of folks scanning the Sunday comics wouldn’t recognize Tin Tin, and those who did might not recall the artist anyway.

  15. batgirl

    I wonder if TB’s attraction to Belgium is related to the affection and respect they have for their comics artists? There are murals not only celebrating Tintin but Asterix, Corto Maltese, etc. And Herge’s work is referred to everywhere: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/destinations/europe/belgium/articles/On-the-Tintin-trail-in-Belgium/

    So maybe the message is “See? See? Other countries admire and respect their comics artists!”
    To which one could only reply: “Other countries have Herge.”

  16. Periwinklier

    @TFHackett:
    Wow. I recognised Tintin, but assumed the other foreground characters were from other Belgian illustrators who work in the Ligne Claire style. I haven’t read any others myself, but I’m at least aware that series like “Blake and Mortimer” exist, and that aficionados get really cheesed when people assume any comic in the style was drawn by Hergé. That apparently makes me more aware than Batiuk of the style and characters he was ripping off. Could he have at least chosen two streets that make sense facing onto each other?

    Now that we know multiple scenes are involved, but they’re all from Tintin, I realised that the girl on the left is clearly the Romani child from “The Castafiore Emerald” pages 2-3. At least she’s drawn from an original angle compared to her book appearances. Maybe I’m just a Tintin fanboy, but I rate this scene Batiuk’s most creatively bankrupt Sunday to date.

    @1966tvbatman:
    At first glance, I thought that the second panel showed our heroes sitting on a sofa facing a giant TV, not stepping off an escalator next to an oddly-placed mural. The miniature Tintin in the second panel is also terribly executed, considering he’s the whole point of the scene.

  17. bad wolf

    Well, Belgium is a nice place to visit, and they do have museums and public art dedicated to their cartoonists. We saw Brussels briefly a couple of years ago and i recommend it highly!

    Of course whenever a current strip gets a little too specific about something like this, i suspect there’s a recent EU stamp in TB’s passport, and he’s trying to write off the trip on his taxes as “research” for his work.