Boy, the artwork in today’s offering is really terrible. Those faces in panel one look like a set of sad balloons from an abandoned “melting-flesh” themed carnival. And I don’t know what’s going on with Cayla’s hand. That doesn’t look natural at all. Rick Burchette is becoming worse and worse all the time; he’s actually making Batiuk’s work look good by comparison. Whether this is due to influence from above (“Make it crappy, like me!”) or a growing disenchantment with his task (“This strip sucks, so who cares”), it’s hard to say. I would guess that the recent Atomik Komix (gah) covers are his way of saying “I am actually quite a competent artist; ’tis the subject that dictates the work and moves the artist’s hand.”
And as to today’s content, well, we’re back to the self-depreciation crap. I know Batiuk loves to have his characters wallow in misery, but seriously, give it a rest. It hasn’t been “edgy” for decades now, it’s just tiresome. It’s the sort of thing that teenagers grow out of. Sheesh. Cliff himself has had a 180 degree turnaround in his life, and he’s now revered and celebrated. But no, he has to be all “Woe is me.”
How can one be a “Hollywood Heartthrob” by starring in one forgotten (but beloved) serial before disappearing into bitter exile? How the Hell can these people be ambulatory and lucid, let alone alive, in their late 90’s? It’s easy, really. Because reality in this strip is whatever Batiuk wishes it to be, because reality in the real world refuses to cooperate.
If it weren’t so dull, it would be sad.