How ’bout “Murder-by-Book-Signing”?

Link to today’s strip

Look at that douche in panel 1, visible strain on his face as he forces himself to listen to Lillian’s blathering. Les does however hit paydirt as Lillian acknowledges that she’s here to buy “the new Lisa’s Trilogy books”. This is not how a real person would describe what she’s doing, but at least Les made one sale. I suppose that’s the part that drives this book signing sequence forward, since the punchline is nothing more than a continuation of yesterday’s punchline. I do like how Les in the last panel, looking puzzled, holds Lillian’s book right up to his face as if he’s never seen such a thing before in his life, deciding to smell it. He looks confused and disoriented. Oh, Lillian, your delightful smile is wasted on this man. He’s never going to read your book. Don’t kid yourself.

I have to admit that I’m more intrigued by the subtitle in panel 2 for The Last Leaf, which is “Lisa’s Story Concludes”, which with that awful stylized lettering I’ve read more than once as “lisa’s story omelettes.” How could this possibly be a conclusion to Lisa’s Story? She DIED in the last one! If it’s about Les’s ability to become a functional member of society again after his loss (which not only has a debatable premise, but is also the most reasonable direction for the book to take), that’s not about Lisa. That’s about Les. It’s as if Fitzgerald wrote “Gatsby’s Story Concludes” about how Nick Carraway got on with his life.

But that’s not really a surprise. After all, I bet if you took all the strips in the new “Lisa’s Trilogy books” of Batiuk’s and counted the strips where Lisa appears and the strips where Les appears, Les would have more by a substantial margin. Hell, dump the book where his purported protagonist is dead and I’d bet Les still has a wide margin in the other two. It’s never been about Lisa. It’s always been about Les. For every strip of Lisa reflecting on her own about her life’s circumstances in a way that doesn’t focus on Les, there are probably ten of Les moping about some damn thing.

Whew, what a tangent. Anyway, your main character, ladies and gentlemen.

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15 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

15 responses to “How ’bout “Murder-by-Book-Signing”?

  1. Epicus Doomus

    The only saving grace here is that this is a Les arc where he’s not doing or saying anything, which is nice. Imagine that, a “Crankshaft” character is finally actually good for something. Never thought I’d see that.

    “Lisa’s Story Concludes”…LOL yeah, that will be the day. The “Last Leaf” must be one hell of a compelling read. “For ten years I didn’t do anything, then I refused to commit to my longtime girlfriend until she forced me to have sex with her. Then after rejecting a suicidal woman who worshiped me, I finally proposed to her in the very same park where Lisa discovered her cancer”…and it’s illustrated too!

    • To him, Lisa was never a person in her own right. She was simply there to show what a great guy a boring, shit-stupid, arrogant, condescending and self-absorbed drone who never met a social norm he liked or understood really was and how he mattered more than a cool kid or an athlete and should have gotten the attention they did. It’s like what would happen if the show-runners for MASH made Ferret Face the protagonist.

  2. billytheskink

    I guess we are supposed to forget that the middle book of the “new” Lisa’s Story trilogy is previously released material… and also that the two new books are graphic novels. And that the Columbus Museum of Art isn’t a bookstore.

    So, are we ever going to learn how Cayla feels about the book that she was told was to be about her (and that is her silhouette on the cover with Les) being subtitled “Lisa’s Story Concludes”? Did she even get that trip to Hong Kong to *sigh* watch the books get printed?

    • Jimmy

      I completely forgot this was supposed to be in the museum of art*. Nice continuity.

      *Does anyone else say “Museum of Fart” like a 10 year old? Just me? Ok, then.

    • hitorque

      Why isn’t Kayla on this book-signing junket, too? I mean, she’s half of the story.

  3. All the “Lisa” stuff has never ever been about Lisa. It’s always been about Les, how awesome he is, and how he suffered, and how he felt, and yeah, his wife died but look how it affected him!

    Remind yourselves of the “time pool” arc, wherein Les decided to hide Lisa’s fate from Lisa. Why? Why didn’t he try to save her? Because his only chance to shine would come only if Lisa died. If she lived…he’d be a nothing, a nowhere-ville teacher of English, never nominated for a prize, never a book tour.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Very true and I used to think I disliked Lisa–her preachy, know it all attitude, etc.–but it is Les that is the true annoying one, milking Lisa death for fame and fortune, treating his new wife like a second class citizen, looking down on all his friends, sons on and on. Bull was right to beat on him.

    • hitorque

      Yeah, you’d THINK that if your wife died of cancer+grossly negligent medical care and you had ONE chance to meet her teenage self, you’d try to change the future by giving her all the advance knowledge you can give her… But then again, Les couldn’t even be bothered to say a single word to Time Pool Lisa, so we are right to question if he ever loved her in the first place…

      While we’re on the subject can I just say how much of a crock of bullshit that whole Time Pool arc was? Easily the worst thing I’ve read in this strip the past few years…

  4. Rusty Shackleford

    And the program length advertisement continues. For a self proclaimed master artist, Batty sure sullies his art with crass commercialism. Not sure that it is working. Amazon ranks the Lisa story at around 278,000.

  5. Spacemanspiff85

    I’m long past thinking logic applies to this strip, but if this is a trilogy, why on earth are two of the books coming out at the same time? That’s not how trilogies work, from both a marketing and dramatic standpoint.

  6. A terrible, formulaic book about a kindly old lady forced to murder her bus driver neighbour seems to be a more interesting read than the maunderings of a self-absorbed jackhole yowling “Why does everything happen to ME??” as his wife slips away of cancer. I too am shocked that a Crankshaft character is actually useful for something for once.

  7. Doc

    Why does the Columbus Museum of Art look like a library as opposed to an art museum?

  8. It’s curious–despite the Lisa crap being front-and-center in the strip’s art, there have been precious few actual remarks by characters about the book. I’d have expected this week to be all “Ooo, what a beautiful book!” “This is really high-quality paper, Les,” “I learned so much from the first book, I just had to get these,” or “I’m buying six copies for my grandchildren.”

    Instead, it’s all about this Crankshaft person and her books. Very strange, and not what I would have expected from Mr. Batiuk.

    • Spacemanspiff85

      Batiuk loves to do this, having his characters talk about how great some fictional work is without ever showing any of it. I’m pretty sure the only line we ever saw from the original Lisa’s Story was the drivel about “I’m here for you even if I don’t know the right words to say” that inspired Batiuk/Les to run the bases in his mind.
      And considering how this strip has basically revolved around Starbuck Jones for years now, it’s amazing how we never saw any of the movie.