I’ll admit I found today’s strip amusing. What’s interesting is that Tom Batiuk actually took the trouble to build to this punchline, both by portraying Holly as increasingly anxious and angry, and by using yesterday’s strip as a direct lead-in to today’s. The payoff is nice; it shows Holly being self-aware enough to know she was overreacting, and it de-escalates things (for now). It also shows that Mr. Batiuk is (or was, as this week was likely made up of old standby strips) capable of creating something that is at least funny.
The pacing is still off–it would have been better to cull the “fat-fingering” episodes and reformat this arc as a single Sunday strip–but it’s been obvious for some time that Tom Batiuk is just running out the clock. Ya can’t make that ol’ 50th by being briefer, after all. Still, the week showed some nice craftsmanship; the humor, instead of coming completely out of the blue like most of his “wit,” was planned in advance. Bravo.
The craftsmanship in the artwork is 50/50. The drawing of the scene is quite good, showing some nice perspective and giving a sense of “place.” The characters, on the other hand, are rendered as slap-dash, sketchily-defined blobs–and I’m aware that they are slap-dash, sketchily defined blobs; it would just be nice to see some consistency panel-to-panel.
It would also be nice to see the non-author avatar characters drawn with a bit more sympathy. Holly looks like she steps on puppies for fun, and Funky looks like someone exhumed him from a shallow grave somewhere. But none of that will change; it’s also obvious that Tom Batiuk just loathes Funky with all his heart. Still, there’ve been worse weeks here; considering we had no Les and no comic books, I’d put this episode in the “plus” column.
Congratulations Mr. Batiuk.