Although I’ve been happily tearing this strip a new one over the past couple weeks, I think it helps keep me fair and honest to make sure I leave my mind open to actually enjoying the occasional strip. And today’s strip is one of the best in a very very long time.
As I said yesterday, I don’t hate Miss Mackenzie. I know she had a story about her sister with Alzheimers that painted the poor old biddy in a very harsh light, but other than that the lady has become one of the more active characters in the current Funkyverse! She has goals that she thought up herself that she actually works to achieve. No one called her up to hand her a series of unwarranted writing jobs via the Central Ohio Nepotism Mafia. She’s not passively falling into a job at a business or school she used to frequent in her adolescence because she literally is incapable of growth.
Between Cliff Anger, Lillian, and the Bedside Manorisms, Batiuk keeps leaning on an obsession with the success of the elderly. I attribute most of this to the fact that Tom is 70 years old. 70! He writes both 50 and 90 as similarly decrepit AND capable, because he’s trying to convince himself that he’s still pretty much late middle aged, AND that old age isn’t some terrible impotent decade where nothing new can be created or enjoyed. It’s a fine enough sentiment, hardly the most toxic or offensive of his hangups.
And I’ll give it to him. Fear of aging is real, and if writing about little old ladies scoring it big in the writing world helps, then great.
Because it gets us to today’s wonderful strip! Where Les Moore is gazing in envy at Ms. Mackenzie’s line of fans, all smiling, reading, and discussing. And Ms Mackenzie not only rubs it in his face, she knows she’s Betty White levels of nonagenarian sex appeal and flaunts it. She also thinks that Les has grown flaccid enough moobs to create cleavage. And also that the only thing that could possibly generate interest in his horrible books is if he prostituted his pasty white, flabby, androgynous body to the niche of Paul Giamatti stalkers that frequent Ohio bookfairs.