Scenes from a Mirage

Link to today’s strip.

Now, I want an honest counting of hands, here.  How many of you thought we’d see something/anything of the Starbuck Jones movie during this, the arc in which the long gestating film finally had its premier?  Think of all the things riding on this film’s success–not just careers for Mason Jarre, Pete Robots, Darrin Undesireable and Cliff Anger, but the culmination of desire for a million fan-boys, the affirmation of belief for thousands of cellar-dwellars, and the salvation of the Valentine Theater (and a poorly-performing comic strip associated with same).   Surely such an expanse would provide proof of its benevolent effect.  Right?

Don’t be ashamed; after all, this was something that was fed to us for several years now as the event of the decade, as the measure by which this strip would ensure its place in the pantheon.

So, hands?  Well, there’s one.  Two.  Oh…oh…oh, dear.  That’s far too many hands than I thought I would see.

In my host duties here, I have tried to focus on the content of the strip and NOT on Tom Batiuk, the person.  I’ve never met, and don’t know Tom Batiuk; from all reports, he’s a genuinely nice guy, open and friendly, and I try to keep that foremost when I write here.  And to be honest, I wish him well.

But I’m going to violate that rule here.  Because Tom Batiuk cannot tell a story.

He must know this–aside from Les Moore, the characters he truly cares about (Starbuck Jones and The Amazing Mister Sponge) have never had a single panel dedicated to showcasing their, cough, awesomeness.  Sure, we’ve had lots and lots of covers, but nothing in the way of story.   Story being the key to why a character makes an impression.  Comic book cover?  Anyone who ever read a comic book ever knows that comic book covers are designed to lie you into buying them.  So they don’t count.

It’s much, much easier to ease back down off that plane, and shift the focus to a bunch of has-beens getting married.  Everyone likes marriages, right?  And that’s way more, like, focused than some movie thing that’ll be, like, forgotten in two years.  But marriage, man, that’s like eternal!  Until the next reboot.  But I’ve heard Les Moore has a new book!  Gotta be worth it all, man, gotta be worth it all.

And, just to be that guy,  I’ll be damned if I look it up, but I’m pretty sure Mason made this exact same joke some months back.

To paraphrase Charlie Brown, I weep for the newspaper comic-strip fans.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

18 responses to “Scenes from a Mirage

  1. Epicus Doomus

    BC: No violation at all, as I’ve mentioned at least a few (cough) times IMO he’s the single worst storyteller who’s ever lived. A fair, balanced, objective assessment based on his body of work, nothing wrong with that. As you said, for all I know he could be the nicest coolest and funniest guy in the world but sorry, this guy couldn’t write a story of you locked him in a room with a five foot high stack of Mad Libs. In fact he appears to actively go out of his way to avoid telling stories at all, preferring this approach instead.

    What kind of asshole takes a dig at his own bride during the vows? Why does every Mason and Cindy gag always come at her expense? What the f*ck does this “joke” even mean? What is with BatNom’s endless fascination with “options”? Every since the book launch tour movie option arc it’s been option this and option that, all right already, we get it. The guy tries to hawk one screenplay (based on a book that was actually just a collection of previously published comic strips, by the way) and suddenly he’s tossing around movie lingo like he’s David O. Selznick or something.

  2. The Dreamer

    Luckily for Mason, even though Cindy is *the exact same age* as Holly, she a) has no gray hair, b) still weighs the same as she did when she was 25 c) hasn’t hit menopause yet so no hot flahes .etc We’ll get more Holly hot flash strips next year when Mason and Cindy are having their first baby…

    • Saturnino

      You mean Cindy is somewhere in one of the panels? I don’t see her, I just see what looks like a 16 year old.

  3. billytheskink

    The nicest thing I can say here is that is the biggest book mark I have ever seen.

  4. Count of Tower Grove

    I’ll say this: a single panel that’s not sideways.
    Anyone notice that this week Cindy is looking creepily like Ivanka?

  5. SpacemanSpiff85

    You know, if you’re going to interrupt what should be a touching, emotional scene with a joke, you really should make sure it’s funny or even remotely relevant first.
    It’s also incredibly appropriate that the one line of the wedding vows Batiuk depicts is about death. I really hope that’s foreshadowing, but that would involve story happening, so that’s not possible at all.
    And what the hell is wrong with Vera’s neck?

  6. iian'sdrunkenbeard

    “‘Til death do us part…”

    “With an option to hasten the process after the first year!”

  7. What he can do is tell a series of mildly amusing but ultimately nasty jokes about losers, has-beens, never-weres, never will bes and similar outcasts and remind people of his mother issues. Telling a long-form narrative is simply beyond him and he should have admitted it a long time ago.

    • Gerard Plourde

      He was capable of telling a long-form story, though. His web site’s history of the fictional BaTom comics company and its writers and artists is coherent and even gives some detail about the characters. Tellingly, it’s about a subject that he knows (comic books).

  8. I’m sure that over the last couple of years someone has mentioned this before, but the light just came on for me this morning. Cliff Anger is supposed to be a take off on the word ‘cliffhanger.’ I am not proud of my slowness, but it is what it is.

  9. Rusty

    That neck is horrifying. Based on observation, little old lady’s have a lot of extra skin hanging around the neck. It would only make sense if Vera(?) had so many facelifts that she is running out of material, its all been pinned up in back of her ears.

  10. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    I would have gained new respect for BatBlurge if Masonne had said, “Yep, and YOU’RE 30 years closer to it! WAAAA WAAAA WAAAAAA!”

    Like everyone else, I’m shaking my head over the TOTAL glossing over of the movie itself. I wonder if Batty learned a lesson from Lynnuck Johnston. She once showed a brief sample of Michael’s great writing, and lo and behold, he wrote like a 70 year old woman! The forums lit her up but good for that.

    Since Batty has no idea what would be in a wildly popular movie, he “wisely” doesn’t try to guess. Good call. On the other hand, our necks are sore from abruptly jerking from “here we are on the red carpet” to “movie is over — forced, contrived wedding time!”

  11. Don

    Yes, I did say this earlier this week…but isn’t “having a long buildup to an event and then not showing any part of the event” Greg Evans’s gimmick? (West Side Story, Fuse Follies (what was Luann and Bernice’s act, anyway?), and I think even Brad & Toni’s wedding)

  12. Rusty Shackleford

    Is that Crankshaft on oxygen in the masthead? Oh man, I can’t wait for the Sunday strip!