Can the Living Marry the Dead?

Link to today’s strip.

Apologies first off–I don’t know how Fearless Leader embeds these sideways things into normalcy, so you’ll have to suffer with strained necks for the nonce.  Unless I reach beyond myself, and give it a try–

–hey, that worked!  I think!

And check out that cast.  Isaac The Robot (defaming Dr. Asimov’s memory), Moon Mile Meek (or whatever that bowel movement was named), the Space Cadets, the Black Ghost, the Amazing Mister Sp0nge and the (*Cough* undead) Absorbing Junior, and the latest ass-pull, the Blue Astra.  I’d love to see a follow-up strip showing what gifts they brought (“a gift certificate for $10 at Best Buy?  Who the hell–“) but follow-ups are definitely not this strip’s strong suit.

–Case in point.  So, the Starbuck Jones movie world premier has come and gone, and we are no wiser as to how it fell on the world.  Was it a hit?  Did people enjoy it?  Were the fanboys irate over how it changed canon?   Did it rescue the Valentine Theater from foreclosure, and did it spring the careers of Mason, Marianne, Cindy, Cliff, Vera, Pete and Dullard into the stratosphere?  Did it circle the drain on the way through the toilet?   Is Cable Movie Entertainment now on the level of Marvel Studios, or are they instead competing with The Asylum for most horrible crap ever?

As the Residents once sang on their album Not Available, these are “Never Known Questions.”   Because the only answer here is another question, “Who cares?”  And the answer to that is, “Not Tom Batiuk.”

My theory on this is actually quite simple, and obvious once you hear it.   The success or failure of the Starbuck Jones movie was something that–had nothing to do with Les Moore.

Think on that for a moment.  Has this strip ever featured a creative, successful idea that didn’t involve Les Moore?  I certainly can’t think of any.  For the most part, it’s been “I need help, oh thank you for helping, [blink] oh it’s the next day and everything worked.”  (I’m thinking of Pete Movement and his battles with the…sigh…Lord of the Late.)

The message of the strip has been pretty constant in Act III–Les Moore is the only person who can be allowed a creative success in the world.  Everyone else succeeds only because they betrayed their ideals and settled for hackery.   No one else has lost a wife…no one else wrote a best-selling book detailing how he suffered when losing his wife…no one else wrote about how he just damn kept on, after losing his wife…and found a woman willing to be doormat.  That last bit is a little troubling, but, you know…Les Moore was once married to a woman, who…died.

It makes me fear what comes next week.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

25 responses to “Can the Living Marry the Dead?

  1. spacemanspiff85

    I honestly miss Funky and Les. I’d take strips in Montoni’s or the school, with an actual plot, with the actual characters this strip is supposed to be about, over this half-assed childhood comic book fantasy of Batiuk’s.
    Seriously, there was one of blog posts recently where he was talking about one of the covers. He mentioned the artists wanted to draw an original character, one that Batiuk hadn’t made up in sixth grade. And Batiuk made it sound like this was some blasphemy he really agonized over endorsing.

    • I wonder if that’s why he was told he wasn’t allowed to play in Stan The Man’s sandbox. We could well be dealing with a figure akin to Hilary Forth squealing about how cruel people are to have ideas of their own and thus not allowing him to have his ideas.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    What about Frankie’s Film Food scam? How can he return to that now that the MOVIE IS OVER? Like everything else in the Batiukverse, everything just kind of peters out and dies on the vine without ever really getting started. I don’t get his fascination with pairing everyone up and marrying everyone off either. My guess: it’s a really easy and hacky premise that doesn’t require a lot of effort.

    Re: The Delicate Genius. Not only is Les the only FW character who’s allowed to have true meaningful success, his creative output is so profound and so deeply soulful that he himself can’t even enjoy it or even bring himself share it with anyone else. Mainly because the whole thing involved documenting his wife’s tragic death from cancer, which tends to be the kind of subject matter that starts to weigh on you once you find out it’s the only thing you’re capable of writing about. It kind of mirrors FW itself too, as after he killed Lisa off he realized he didn’t really like writing boring sappy melodramatic arcs about the other characters anymore. So after “re-booting” the strip ten years in the future specifically to “move on” from the Lisa years, he then spent the next five or six years writing boring sappy melodramatic Les and Lisa arcs again anyway.

    But anyway, it really is kind of hilarious how there’s been absolutely no mention of the movie or its twenty different sub-arcs at all. That studio spent several years and countless millions of dollars making the thing and the premier crowd was way more into a guy in a foam rubber monster suit marrying a C-list actor, a washed-up anchorwoman and two ninety-three year olds.

    What a lame cover too. What’s with that space penis? Maybe he could do a Starbuck cover set thirty years in the future, when his wife looks exactly like Holly. “Long haul love”…WTF is this guy talking about?

    • Charles

      Keep in mind though that it seems as if Mason is Les v2.0. Les’s fall into the background where he doesn’t even appear in the strip for more than two months at a time mirrored Mason’s ascent into the de facto main character of this strip.

      As for the role marriage plays in this strip, I think you’ve got it right. It’s just inauthentic sentiment forced onto the strip. Think about how little it matters in the world of this strip that it’s Cindy getting married. Think about all the themes Batiuk could explore with her and her getting married again, how much she loves Mason and what he has brought into her life; what this second chance at marital bliss actually means to her. He’s done none of that. As far as this wedding goes, he could have substituted any of the single female characters in this strip for Cindy and it wouldn’t have made a difference. Put Summer up there, or Keisha, or Rana, or Maddie, and he could run identical panels. There’s no acknowledgement on Batiuk’s part that this is a special moment for the character of Cindy. It’s just cheap, inauthentic sentiment.

      And this isn’t the first time he’s done this. Look back at Wally and Rachel’s wedding, where the PTSD-suffering veteran and former POW gets married to the single Mom. For a while there it appeared that Wally was going to kill himself, and quite possibly take down a lot of Westview residents with him. Yet it was his relationship with Rachel that saved him and pulled him back from the brink, and helped him become a functional human being again. Instead of addressing any of this in their wedding sequence, Batiuk decided to write about how Wally had a dog as his Best Man (and not once acknowledge the dog’s presumed role in Wally’s life), how it’s really funny to have it rain on your wedding day, and how great a destination Montoni’s is for your wedding reception. Again, the sequence could have had profound significance in his characters’ journeys, but Batiuk blew it in order to make dumb cheap jokes at the expense of one of the participants. (Sound familiar?)

      And let’s not even get into Cliff and Vera, two insignificant characters who seem to be getting married for no other reason than Batiuk ran out of things for them to do. Hell, the derisive comments here about how Vera wasted her entire life waiting for Cliff after he was blacklisted give more thought and life to their backstories as it pertains to this wedding than Batiuk ever did.

      The snarker in me heartily looks forward to the disaster that will be Cory’s wedding with Rocky.

      • Charles

        Forgot to address this particular stupid strip:

        It’s as if it’s more important to Batiuk that the actor who plays Starbuck Jones is getting married than the fact that it’s two of his major characters getting married. That he could have a comic cover of Starbuck Jones drawn by John Byrne seemed more important to him than anything actually happening in his story. Mason himself doesn’t even matter. The only thing that matters about him in this particular strip is that he was the guy cast as Starbuck Jones.

  3. I’m not a comic book guy and only know John Byrne via his association with Tom Batiuk, with whom he shares a serious penchant for Muppety hatchet faces.

  4. @epicusdoomus What a lame cover too. What’s with that space penis?

    I know, right? Even Moon Mile Meek looks appalled.

  5. Epicus Doomus

    @tfhackett: Bah! It’s like the guy in the helmet is aiming it.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    The more I look at it the weirder it gets. It’s a pretty motley guest list there as it is, but the space penis really, uh, stands out.

  7. sgtsaunders

    What’s with all the Nazzy salutes? There must be three or four from that crowd watching Starjuck Bones marry that space ho. I know her name, but can’t bring myself to type it.

    • Jim in Wisc.

      I know this crap is drawn a year in advance, but given recent events, it’s still really some rather inappropriate imagery.

  8. billytheskink

    This cover is so dense, every single inch has so many things going on.

    Heads in jars, Starbuck suddenly looking like a Dawn Weston love interest from a mid-2000s Mary Worth, Jupiter’s bouquet of cancerous growth…

    The spaceship dragging the “just married” banner and tin cans would be charming if it didn’t look like a cross between a MiG-15 fuselage and marajuana joint with shark fins.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      “a cross between a MiG-15 fuselage and marajuana joint with shark fins.”

      I don’t like to type LOL, but I did actually chuckle aloud for several seconds. Thanks for the laff, bts!

  9. What Batiuk loses sight of when he fails to tell the story in the strip is that he makes his focus character Les look like the same incurious dolt he was back when he was cowering behind a plastic machine gun and failing to climb ropes. It simply doesn’t occur to Les to ask what the movie is about and this is the result: sound and fury that go nowhere and do nothing.

    • Bill Thompson

      My theory is that Batiuk has a number of Starsux Jones stories ready for print and/or filming, but he thinks they’re so brilliant that if he reveals plot or character details, all sorts of people will steal them for their own comics and movies. His genius will go unpraised . . . and, probably, he’d sue anyone who used his ideas. The one idea he has mentioned (the Holtron computer saves the day because it was too antiquated to be harmed by an alien attack) has already appeared in the BattleStar Galactica reboot, and his Xaxian aliens are dead ringers for the creatures in “I Married A Monster From Outer Space.” Maybe he’ll file some retroactive lawsuits for plagiarism.

  10. gleeb

    As for Mopey Pete Rhubarb, wasn’t the achingly slow pilgrimage to one of the Superman’s creator’s childhood home just Pete and John Howard? Of course, Pete was later kicked off Superman and onto Sponge Guy, so maybe it wasn’t a success after all.

    • Jim in Wisc.

      My working theory for why Petey lost the Superman gig – with (IIRC) no mention of it – is because Batty got one or more cease & desist letters from the various entities that claim ownership of The Man of Steel.

  11. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    “And do you all believe in long haul love?”

    Really? Long haul love? Never heard that one before, anywhere. Better put it right into the BatDicktionary, along with solo car date, killer shark issues, and vendos.

    I wonder how many of Batty’s adoring non-ironic fans will send wedding gifts for Masonnee, 15 year old Cyndi, Cleft Banger, and Furry Snatch. They seem like the type.

    Coming Monday: The debut of Tommy Batyuck’s new spinoff comic strip: Keeping Up With the Starbuck Joneses. These four idiots rent an apartment together upstairs from Montoni’s. Hilarity ensues. Running gag is Flunky constantly mixing up Cleft Banger with Crazy Harry. BAW haw haw haw!

    Episode 1: Cleft tells Masonnee if he ever comes home and finds a necktie on the apartment door, it means he’s banging Granny McPencilneck, and he (Masonnee) needs to go away awhile.

    Next month: Cyndi becomes pregnant and gives birth to the reincarnation of Dead Saint Lisa. Les feel conflicted.

    The Starsux Jones movie is never mentioned again.

  12. Rusty Shackleford

    I wonder how many of his daily readers give a crap about comic books. I’ve got nothing against comic books, it’s just that Batty never does anything interesting. He likes to throw out these butt kissing tribute covers, but again, that’s all for his ego, his satisfaction. The rest of us are left wondering, What happened?

  13. It occurs to me that any comic book that has reached issue number 357 is probably long out of the “10 cents” period. That’s almost thirty years.

    • DOlz

      I remember in the early 60’s (1960’s that is) when comics when from 10¢ to 12¢. What really bothered me about it was at 10¢ I could by a single comic and not pay sales tax. At 12¢ the sales tax kicked in and now my comic costs 13¢. Back then especially as a kid 3¢ was real money.

    • count of tower grove

      FYI, Superman’s #300 issue was in 1976, and cost 30 cents.

  14. Snifit

    Watch it turn that none of this Starbuck Jones stuff actually happened, and was really just a “””comedy””” novel penned by Les.

  15. Hitorque

    Why didn’t Cindy look down and fly into a violently jealous rage over that bitch being on the retro cover instead of her?