It’s Just the Wasted Years So Close Behind

Link to today’s strip.

So:  this makes a walloping four times a strip has been unavailable for preview during my latest hosting period.  That’s gotta be a record of some kind.

Of course, two of those times were Sundays, and Sunday’s strips are always unavailable for preview.  Because why should he give us time to point out the shortcomings practically leaping all over his work?

Over at Shankcraft, for example, Apple Annie is about to sign her first author:  Lillian.  But–

–didn’t Ann have Les as a client?  It seemed only a short eternity ago that Lillian was hosting Les’ launch party for his book about John Darling, who was murdered.  I thought the story was, Les, seeing as he and his book were both garbage, tossed his manuscript into the trash (where it belonged, and where it was happy*).  Ann, then a bag lady, fished it out (making it unhappy) and got it published (terrifying it), thus leading to the greatest display of egomania ever shown on the comics page.  Way to go, Ann.  Thanks (said all sarcastic-like).  But no, apparently continuity is for losers if you can score cheap points about schizophrenia.  It’s supposed to be touching, but it shoots right past maudlin and treacly and lands right in the middle of gorge-rising.

Why is it that Tom Batiuk is completely incapable of creating sympathetic characters?  Does he think, “Well, she’s got a terrible mental condition, readers will love her, because they won’t dare not!”?  Someday I’d like to ask him about his methods, and I don’t mean that as something nasty.  I’m honestly curious about how his mind works.

Anyway, based on what’s coming next week (trust me, it’s not a superpower anyone wants), I’m thinking Sunday will be a stand-alone strip.  I’m going to take stab and guess Funky’ll be in it.  But who knows?  All we can really say is that it will be uninteresting in every aspect.

And speaking of next week, my time in the chamber of horrors has come to an end, for now, so please give a warm welcome to your next host, snarker extraordinare Epicus Doomus!

*I have an idea about a children’s book, about a manuscript that knows it’s bad, and wants to be thrown away, but it keeps getting passed from hand to hand until it’s published.  It has a happy ending, in that no one buys it and the author never tries again.  Does anyone have Ann Apple’s phone number?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

24 responses to “It’s Just the Wasted Years So Close Behind

  1. spacemanspiff85

    It kind of amazes me that Batiuk thinks a person introducing themselves as “schizophrenic” and now they’ve improved and only hear “the good voices” and are trying to help authors “find their voice” (which, that’s what a writing teacher does, agents help authors find an audience and market) is sympathetic, or witty, or worth publishing at all.
    His thought process: “I have a schizophrenic character, I should do some ‘wordplay’ based on her hearing voices!”

    • comicbookharriet

      Because, you know, auditory hallucinations are the only symptom of schizophrenia. Every schizophrenic person has those always and those only. Because disordered thinking, word-salad speech, delusions of grandeur or of persecution, flattened emotions, memory problems, and lack of self-awareness hardly show up in any sufferers, and are the least crippling and easiest to manage symptoms.

    • bobanero

      While on the subject of exploited mental disorders, let’s not forget Mason’s bi…polar disorder, which was mentioned only once as a cheap joke.

  2. spacemanspiff85

    I was looking at how incredibly weird the shape of Jessica’s head is in the third panel, when I realized that with shorter hair she’d basically look identical to Darin.
    I also noticed how, in both the strip and the title on the website, it just says this is “by Tom Batiuk”, with no artist named. I seriously doubt he’s drawing this himself. Maybe Burchett doesn’t want his name associated with this anymore. I can’t blame him.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      I found Chuck Ayers’ signature on the lower right side of the last frame.

      Locally, Ayers is putting his talent to a far more worthy cause – beer labels!

      Here’s the article from the Akron Beacon Journal, which shows seven labels that Ayers did, including a portrait of abolitionist John Brown.

      “Lock 15 Brewing Co. brought in a celebrity to help make a splash with its debut beers.

      “Chuck Ayers, the longtime illustrator behind the popular comic strip Crankshaft and a former Akron Beacon Journal editorial cartoonist, designed illustrations for all the beers at the upcoming Ohio & Erie Canal-themed, chef-driven brewpub in Akron.”

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Once again, in his zeal to be “cutesy”, the Great Pulitzer Nominee has completely forgotten that Boy Lisa and Jessica are not “young kids just starting out” but a long-married couple in their forties with a young son. Derpin is not away in the army or attending a far-away college, he’s working for a comic book publisher in Ohio. Likewise, Jessica isn’t a college kid pining for her far-away boyfriend and turning her dorm room wall into a shrine to him, she’s a wife and mother who was supposedly staying behind temporarily to sub-let an apartment. Batom’s always-bizarre comic book fantasies veer into some pretty peculiar territory sometimes, I’ll tell you what.

    • Jimmy

      This makes me wonder, how long until Batiuk retcons it that they’re in the infatuation stage of dating, and he erases Skyler from existence?

    • spacemanspiff85

      There are two stages of life for characters in this strip now: old, decrepit, and waiting for death, and young and just starting out.

  4. billytheskink

    Apple Annie did find Les’ John Darling murder book manuscript in the trash and returned it to him, but Les had a different agent when the book was apparently published. She almost got him an interview on the Today Show.

    On today’s strip, I don’t mind it. It would be kind of sweet if I didn’t despise these characters and Jessica’s silly mail brag in the first few panels. I’m not much of an artist, but I very much do like to draw and I do send drawings to my significant other (mail, scanned photo, text message, in-person). If she doesn’t like ’em, she does one heck of a job of humoring me, because she will pin them to a bulletin board.

  5. Gerard Plourde

    Surprisingly, Sunday continues the Darin/Jessica correspondence arc. What we see is more of the inexplicable “madly in love” theme. It looks like there are about fifteen separate letters sloppily taped (naturally) to the wall, which raises the question – with all of that mail why was the post office employee so incredulous when Darin showed up at the post office?

    • bobanero

      And somehow, somewhere between Ohio and LA, that big manila envelope containing a collection of comic books and a drawing morphed into a standard letter containing a drawing. It’s like the artist who did the Sunday strip didn’t talk to the artist who did the weekday strips.

  6. comicbookharriet

    Your idea for a book is great, BC! Unfortunately Stephanie Meyers already stole your idea with ‘Midnight Sun’.

  7. DOlz

    It looks like being alone and cut off from Westview pizza has caused Cindy to develop an cosmetic surgery addiction in search of that Modigliani look.

  8. Bricks. Smirking. Idiotic wistfulness. Inept use of tape. Add in some ritual Dead Lisa worship and fawning over the worst of junk culture and you’d have the ultimate Winkerbean strip.

  9. Jimmy

    Is Corey Winkerbean making an appearance this week? I think that’s who it is in the banner. If so, it should be super exciting tales of adventure, with action panels and everything!

    Who am I kidding? It will feature characters holding coffee cups with two hands and naking lame puns while smirking.

  10. Possible first-ever Velvet Underground reference in a post title. Nice job, BC.

  11. Lock 15 Brewing’s Beers page displays Ayre’s label artwork that Ian’s Drunkenbeard referenced above: