The two old sportos go for a walk. Buck’s comment about Bull having lost weight is a rare bit of naturalistic small talk, and also aligns with reality: persons with dementia can lose their appetite of their interest in eating. In panel 2, Buck seems surprised that their steps have brought the pair to “the scene of the crime,” the high school football field that now bears Bull’s name (and that of “A&L Automotive“). Has he brought them here on purpose, or is his own mental decline finally kicking in? The upcoming Sunday strip that accompanied the NYT article suggests that Bull’s suicide will take place outside his home. If Bull chooses to end it all on the football field, this amounts to some grim foreshadowing.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

37 responses to “Gridirony

  1. spacemanspiff85

    “You mean when I spilled a corpse all over the field? That wasn’t a crime, was it? I can’t remember if I went to jail. I have CTE, have you heard?”

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Oh Batom, you pathetic hack. “The scene of the crime”, eh? It also just happens to be the place where Bull was proudly and happily gainfully employed for twenty-whatever years, but obviously that doesn’t fit neatly into the current “football is sheer evil” narrative the great Pulitzer nominee is gunning for here.

    And if the WHS football field (named after Bull Bushka, no less) is the scene of the crime why is Linda bitching about the NFL? Why isn’t she going after the Stropp estate? In his zeal to create bad melodrama and promote his “football = death” agenda he’s just all over the place here and more or less ignoring decades of FW history. And why walk to the football field at all? I mean Westview is lousy with parks and gazebos, don’t these idiots stop thinking about football for even a second?

    I still think an arc where Bull dedicates himself to promoting player safety would have been more believable and in character for Bull, but obviously that wouldn’t have the same “impact” as his grim scenario does. IMO it just seems sort of unbelievable that Bull, even after his diagnosis, would suddenly grow to hate the stupid sport he dedicated his entire life to, just like that. Perhaps that’s a compromise Batiuk didn’t feel comfortable making but still, IMO it just would have sat better than the implication that Bull’s entire life amounted to a big nothing. But I suppose when you’ve been wildly hacking away for almost fifty years you eventually become unconcerned with things like that.

  3. Smirks ‘R Us

    “Hey, who’s that woman falling from the scissor lift over there?”

    ( just trying to help BatHack tie up some loose ends over here)

  4. Charles

    “Where the hell else are we gonna go, Buck? There are like 4 places on earth where I’ve been. We just left one and the other two won’t allow our writer to wax unpoetic about my dumb plight.”

    Seriously, his basement, his AD’s office, Montoni’s and the football field. If Bull went anywhere else it would be, at most, the second time in the strip’s history he was shown there.

    • billytheskink

      His options really are limited. Outside of the places you’ve named, the only other things within walking distance are probably Montoni’s, Komix Korner, and the park with Les’ Lisa bench. Bull would probably walk through quicksand rather than go to any of those places… or maybe I’m just projecting my own option onto him.

  5. William Thompson

    That second panel is creepy, as if Bull just realized Buck Futt is going to sacrifice him to dread and nameless gods.

  6. Gerard Plourde

    The Sunday strip is confusing. The officer is definitely a member of the Ohio Highway Patrol. As near as I can tell, the Highway Patrol doesn’t do routine police patrol duties, so unless Bull’s suicide is vehicle related I have no clue why the Westview Police Department or the county sheriff’s office isn’t the agency informing Linda.

    • William Thompson

      Batiuk goes for the maximum irony: “Mrs. Bushka, your husband rushed a moving bulldozer! And he rushed an entire forty-eight yards before he tackled it!”

  7. comicbookharriet

    I really, really really hope that Bull decides to pull a Willy Loman, and wreck a car. Because imagine if he necks himself off the goal posts… There’s been foreshadowing.

    That field would be tainted forever. Every single event ever held there, someone in the crowd would be whispering, pointing to the endzone, and telling the story. Bull would scar every single student he ever taught or coached.

  8. Epicus Doomus

    My guess: after Bull dies BanTom will do a sort of Bull’s Greatest Hits thing where “the gang” remembers their zaniest Bull moments. Featuring characters after they’ve died is an old FW tradition, for the first few years after she died Lisa was in the strip pretty much every day. This will no doubt take place at Montoni’s right after the off-screen funeral.

  9. Paul Jones

    What Batiuk misses out on when dropping a huge spoiler is that we’re not seeing proof that life is full of irony when you’re stupid. We’re just seeing places Bull can end it all and taint everything said places represent…..mostly because his ghost will also have the brain damage and loiter there.

    • William Thompson

      And be haunted/taunted forever by the ghost of Jack Stropp: “You couldn’t cross the goal line even without opposition!”

  10. Count of Tower Grove

    . . . Now let me tell you about the town of Westview, Ohio, where this is all happening. They’ve got three stop signs, two police officers, and one police car. But when we got to “the scene of the crime,” there were five police officers, and three police cars, being the biggest crime of the last fifty years and ever’one wanted to get in a newspaper story about it. . .

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    I feel like I’m watching a live performance of a serious story where one of the actors is trying not to crack up with laughter. It’s called “corpsing”, which is an unpleasant word considering what’s going to happen to Bull, but that’s the word for it. The infamous Debbie Downer skit is a famous example.

    All week long, it looks like the actor playing Buck is corpsing. His facial expressions are too big, too funny, and inappropriate to even the most generous interpretation of the story’s humor. I challenge you to give me any other explanation for Buck’s face in panel 2. What is that? Even if he could be surprised that a high school football stadium materialized where it’s known to be, his reaction is too big for the “gee whaddya know” smirk the dialogue calls for. Even by this strip’s standards.

    If this was a TV show or movie, they would cut for 5 minutes so Buck could laugh at whatever’s so goddam funny, and filming could continue. But it’s a DRAWING. Why is he drawn this way?

    I know this is just saying “stop smirking at everything” again, but by God, the visuals make so much more sense when you interpret them this way.

    • William Thompson

      Today’s Bull/Buck piece reminded me of the scene in Val Lewton’s “The Bodysnatcher,” where Boris Karloff is about to murder a drunken, hapless Bela Lugosi. Maybe Batiuk remembered that scene and thought borrowing from it would make Bull look like a doofus. On the screen it’s a disturbing moment of horror. Here, it’s just another horrible moment.

    • It’s called “corpsing” because actors on the stage who were supposed to be dead bodies would get the giggles.

  12. I’ve often said over the last 20 years, that these are TB’s characters and he can punish them anyway he wants. He has and he will continue to bring carnage to the characters who represent those that “done him wrong” in his youth, with only his personal avatar, Les entitled to a happy ending of any kind. Bull is about to be “Junior Seau”-ed, allowing TB closure on those who bullied him when he was young. I feel sorry and sad for the author who corrects his world-view by creating chaos for his characters for the thrill of creating chaos. I’m very sad about this strip right now, but not for the reasons TB hopes.

  13. Gerard Plourde

    I think you’ve tapped into what brings me to this site. As the strip became darker and more disturbing and the work on plot lines became more haphazard, I needed confirmation that what I saw wasn’t my imagination. Once confirmed, reading the strip has become like a car wreck – it almost unwillingly commands one’s attention and comment.

  14. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    Why do they keep going to the football field? It’s because in Batty’s pointy little bald head, whatever you were in high school is what you will be for life. These two morons played football, sooooo…

    And whatever it is you’re known for is all you think about 24×7. Dinkleberry thinks about nothing but music. He has treble clefs on his house. “Behold! A musician lives here!” For Bullsquat, every waking moment is all about football. There’s no reason for BatWit to draw him if the subject isn’t football.

    “Bull, we’re gonna walk to a football field so we can talk about football. We might even play a little football, you and I. We won’t discuss family, weather, health, social media, politics, TV, cars, or anything like that. It’ll just be football. We’ll make football analogies, football metaphors, football puns. Just football, football, and a little more football. Then we’ll tie it all in to how it relates to football. Ya know why, Bull? Because we’re football players. So let’s walk over to that football field. That’s where we belong.”

    • Gerard Plourde

      Right. His characters never evolve beyond two-dimensional mouthpieces for whatever news item or thing he has encountered on the Internet has taken his fancy. And they are solely defined by whatever stereotype he’s assigned them.

  15. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    It’s all coming together now. Bull steals the car keys so he can crash the car and kill himself. (No airbags in an East German Batyuckmobile.) BUT he wears a football helmet to protect his tiny brain, so it can be preserved for CTE research. Way to take one for the team, Bullsquat!

    Upon examination of Deadbull’s brain, doctors discover he didn’t have CTE after all. “He’s just a moron and a jerk. Want the brain back? We’re just gonna toss it.”

  16. comicbookharriet

    Bull was kind of hefty to begin with. And we saw him working out in the basement before going to the doctor once. But we’re going to assume a fat man dropping a few pounds is as telling as coughing up blood.

    • Double Sided Scooby Snack

      Yeah, he was “working out” with what looked like 2 pound dumbbells. I guess that’s BatBoy’s idea of a hefty workout.

  17. Rusty Shackleford

    Is Buck suffering from dementia? They’ve been taking the same walk for over a year now and he is surprised that they walked by the football field.

    Great writing Batty, you are a master at churning out crap.

    • Melissa Jones

      In one strip (I don’t remember the exact date) Buck offhandedly mentioned that he had been diagnosed with CTE, too.

      • William Thompson

        The problem is that Buck never mentions or displays any symptoms. At some point B&B should have talked about it. The problems are that Batiuk hasn’t researched the topic, and he’s been more interested in making Bull into a mediocre clown.

        I’ll be astonished if in the next few days Batiuk writes anything merely realistic, much less enough to justify Bull’s impending suicide. Like: “It’s hard living with myself, Buck.” “Bull, I understand.” “No. I’ve been hitting Linda. Hard. She’s got bruises. And I can’t stop myself.” “She’ll forgive you.” “But I can’t forgive me.”

  18. Rusty Shackleford

    Can’t wait for that Sunday strip. I think the officer is asking Linda why she backed a bunch of her hair is a casserole dish. I think she is the crazy one.

    Bull probably killed himself because he was surrounded by idiots.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I was wondering what the hell that dish was supposed to be. It looks like a blackberry pie wedged in sideways.

  19. Rusty Shackleford

    One final comment today: I had friends that played football in high school, as did one of my cousins, they never talked this way. Some of them aren’t even interested in football anymore.

    Batty still insists on playing up the idea that you never grow beyond high school—unless you are a writer.

    What kind of fantasy land does he inhabit?