Critically panned

Linda takes a break from baking a meatloaf? a potato grown under the power lines? you know, let’s go with a small boulder in today’s strip to… call Bull on his cell phone. Is… is that really what is happening here?  What the everwhating what?!

If Linda thought Bull was inside the house, why did she not walk 17 feet to try to find him instead of calling him on the telephone? If she knew he was out, where did she think he was and who did she think he was with (Buck?)? Was she really letting him go out on his own? This is her behavior as a caregiver? Even murderers after life insurance money would say she’s trying too hard.

While Bull didn’t survive his trip off Nobottom Road, his cell phone sure did. Much as how folks in our universe wonder why airplanes aren’t made out of the material used to make black boxes, one would think there are folks in the Batiukverse wondering why they don’t make cars out of the material used to make cell phones…

43 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

43 responses to “Critically panned

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Most of probably know how I feel about the use of texture squiggles in FW. I don’t like it. In fact, there’s something so shower-drainy about it that I often physically recoil in horror upon first seeing a texture squiggled strip. But I gotta admit, the texture squiggles totally save that repulsive brown blob Linda is removing from the oven, as without them it’s just a repulsive brown blob. It looks like she killed a yak, tore a hunk off and threw it in the oven before she even skinned it. I certainly wouldn’t eat that f*cking thing, I’ll tell you that. Then again I’m notoriously picky and real curmudgeonly about it so what do I know?

    Linda appears to assume Bull is both at home AND “out” at the same time, which is of course just not possible. And why is she so seemingly carefree and happy today? That kind of, you know, totally contradicts the entire story so far. I mean I get that he really wanted that ringing phone imagery in panel three, but he didn’t have to fold the entire story in half to get there…did he?

    • ComicTrek

      The Bat gave her happiness for no other reason than to destroy it. This whole time, she’s been a walking cloud of despair – that is, herself, so knowing how she is, there is NO LOGICAL REASON for her to be in such a good mood right now. I can understand finding a moment of true serenity and peace in making dinner, but we readers know that she’s actually blissfully unaware that her husband is DEAD – which she’s going to find out within the next few minutes.

      This is just the worst.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        In addition, Batiuk wanted the drama of someone calling a dead person’s phone, even though it makes zero sense for Linda to call Bull when she shouldn’t know he’s out of the house. This is the kind of storytelling you get when you put pathos above all else.

    • C.W. Major

      She’s carefree and happy because she knows Bull is off driving and will likely die a violent vehicular death. She’s busily baking a meatloaf to give herself an alibi, and now is calling to see if Bull answers or not, so she knows if he kicked the bucket or not.

      • William Thompson

        “And in conclusion, your honor, the prosecution would like to emphasize that the defendant allowed her mentally-diminished husband to work on their car. Was the damage found in the engine compartment caused by his blunderings, or did it disguise her sabotage? How did she miss the opening and closing noises of the garage door? She claims to have been working in the kitchen when he left, so how did her husband take the key that she ‘hid’ in a kitchen drawer?”

  2. She called him on his cell phone. Rather than, you know, being an actual caretaker and knowing where he was at all times–

    Oh good grief, if awards mean that much to Batiuk, just give him one, please? Please stop these poorly thought out, poorly paced, poorly planned idiocies. Mad magazine’s Sergio Aragonies did far better work with his “border comics.” Which were peripheral gags spread throughout an issue.

    • Epicus Doomus

      It’s incredible. Just last week Linda was distraught over the massive burden Bull’s care has placed upon her, now today she DOESN’T EVEN KNOW WHERE HE IS! And she doesn’t even hesitate, she immediately goes for her phone as if she knows he isn’t there, which simply isn’t possible.

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      https://tmotley.com/marginals-for-aragones/

      Sergio Aragonés is a brilliant writer and artist who began his career at Mad
      in 1963. Thanks, BC, for making me Dr.Duckduckgo him and looking again at his art.

      That made me look at the work of the late, great Antonio Prohías, who created Spy vs. Spy in 1961.

      https://superradnow.wordpress.com/2012/09/19/spy-vs-spy/

      My oldest Mad from my childhood had a story featuring John, Jackie, and Robert Kennedy, Khrushchev, Castro, Dean Rusk, Dean Martin…I believe it was drawn by Mort Drucker. Who is another great cartoonist. Why are we here?

      • The family visited the Mad office in the early 70’s, and Antonio Prohias gave us autographed paperbacks.

      • MAD Magazine had a huge impact on my sense of humor as well as my own drawing style. I hadn’t picked it up in years (I was reading it in the days when the cover price was “35¢ Cheap!”) but was sorry to learn that it finally folded earlier this year.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Same here, except for the drawing part. I used to read each issue multiple times. First the stuff I liked…usually The Lighter Side or one of the main satires, second pass the rest of the content plus fold-in, third pass marginals.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Me too, I grew up on MAD. Back in the 1970s it was the cream of the crop. Speaking of cream, Creem magazine was a music rag but also enormously funny, I’ve borrowed more Rick Johnson lines than I’ll ever cop to.

        • William Thompson

          My best memory of MAD? The day in the fifth grade when I brought a copy to school. Parochial school, and this was the issue that satirized how Americans treat the Ten Commandments. Ever see a half-dozen penguins gathered around a confiscated magazine and missing the entire point of an article? My life flashed before my eyes. The boredom almost killed me.

      • erdmann

        I always loved “Spy vs Spy” when I was a kid. It was so wonderfully violent. I was a fan of Paul Coker Jr.’s artwork, too,

  3. billytheskink

    So that’s what Linda’s infamous taco lasagna looks like uncovered.

    I’d say Holly’s got it pegged pretty well…

    • Makes me hate Les Moore even more than I thought possible. Thanks, Batiuk for widening my horizons in the darkest possible directions.

      • spacemanspiff85

        Knowing Batiuk, it’s a safe assumption that at least two of those women are madly in love with Les.

        • comicbookharriet

          Wouldn’t that be Cindy, Linda, and Jess’ mom, Mrs. Darling, whose husband was murdered?

          • billytheskink

            That’s Holly whose talking, believe it or not, followed by Linda and… Crazy’s wife Donna.

            TB is actually pretty consistent on depicting Jan Murdoch Darling with slightly wavy blonde hair, despite the fluffy mountain that Jessica has always worn on her head.

          • comicbookharriet

            Thanks Billy! I have so much trouble keeping the identical blonde barbies apart. Funny that Holly then looks identical to Cindy now who looks identical to Mindy. Linda is truly one in a million.

        • ComicTrek

          To be fair, he was a pretty nice guy back then. These days, he’s too wrapped up in himself (and Lisa) to notice other women, including his own wife!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Gee, Les doesn’t seem to have any broken limbs in that strip. He needs all these errands done for him why?

      • William Thompson

        Because Lisa is dying and, like the fishermen in “Gorgo,” Westview women think they’ve just netted a great catch.

  4. CRM114

    (click) “Bull, I’m looking at a beautiful meatloaf.”….”Uhh, Ma’am, this is the police and we’re, uhh, looking at a meatloaf too, uhh.”

    • comicbookharriet

      That’s not a beautiful meatloaf. That’s an overcooked turd. Kind of like what Batiuk is serving us right now.

      • erdmann

        You may say to yourself, “This is not my beautiful meatloaf.” And you may ask yourself, “Where does Nobottom Road go to?”

  5. William Thompson

    Does Batiuk have any idea how long it takes to prepare and cook meatloaf? Or does he think Linda bought it at the store? “Instant meatloaf! Just add water and heat at 325 degrees for five minutes!” He just had bad news from the doctor a week ago, so why isn’t she checking on him once in a while? Or is it “Oh, Bull is out in the garage again, only this time he’s been playing with the garage-door opener!”

  6. William Thompson

    It’s funny because the car radio is still working, and the oldies station is playing “Paradise By The Dashboard Light” by Meatloaf.

  7. AmigoLupus

    …Wait, is she supposed to be texting or calling Bull? Because the “RRRING” sound effect is used when calling someone, but she’s drawn like she’s texting rather than holding the phone up to her ear.

  8. ian'sdrunkrnbeard

    As he drove away on that rainy night,
    I begged him to go slow.
    Whether he heard,
    I’ll never know.

    No, no, no, no, no, no, no!
    Look out, look out, look out, look out!

  9. Paul Jones

    There’s a reason no one was helping the poor deluded idiot: they don’t know how bad it was because she’s bad at her job. Bull just looked a little more punch-drunk than usual and she wasn’t doing anything that would indicate that life was getting desperate so when it becomes clear that her idiocy is the match that lit the fuse, she’ll end up being what Lizard Lillian should have been: a pariah.

    • William Thompson

      Not when everyone discovers that she created new material for Creepy Les and his misery-porn career. They’ll thank her for getting him to shut up about Dead St. Lisa.

  10. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Get it you guys? She’s cooking meat while Bull is being loaded into a meat wagon! Now that’s writing!

  11. Gerard Plourde

    It appears that TomBa was so involved with his flashback plot device that he forgot the setup he established last week. While Linda was online pouring out her anxieties, Bull asked about the car keys which she informed the support group she was hiding from him. Yesterday’s flashback has her being completely ok with him working on the car three days before that online conversation. Now, presumably on the same night that she’s been online, we have her nonchalantly calling his phone to tell him dinner’s ready, meaning she knows he’s not in the house and that knowledge doesn’t worry her.

    This is a prime example of the sloppy storytelling that makes this strip aggravating.

    • Professor Fate

      This , So much This. If a caretaker is hiding the car keys from someone because he’s incapable of safely operating the car. YOU DON’T FEATURE THE CARETAKER THE NEXT WEEK MAKING A MEATLOAF WTH AN EXPRESSION OF BISSFUL WIFELY HAPPINESS AFTER HE’S FOUND THE CAR KEYS AND HAS DRIVEN AWAY.
      And the forced bathos of the cell phone ringing. Dear lord the mind reels.
      And by the by if the Bull is dead wouldn’t they wait for the coroner before moving the body. I mean it’s not really a rush now. yes?
      So many sins against story telling and in so little time. It really is to borrow from Oscar Wilde . a arc of “more than usually revolting sentimentality”

      • William Thompson

        The only thing that will make it worse is when Batiuk suddenly remembers that the Bushkas own a puppy. A sad-eyed widdle basset-hound puppy.

  12. William Thompson

    Look at the cloud coming from the meatloaf. Like Bull, it is giving up the ghost.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Somebody said the orange and blue cloud rising from the crash was Bull’s last fart. And now it emanates from the meatloaf, as if Bull’s last fart is now haunting Linda.

  13. bigd1992

    Perhaps Batiuk is trying to get an Otterbox endorsement deal

  14. Maxine of Arc

    I hate everything about this. Talking Drunken Murder Chimp storyline, please come back, all is forgiven.

    • Professor Fate

      Yes please. That didn’t make any sense but if you have Talking Drunken Murder Chimp you don’t need to.

  15. The Dreamer

    would TomBat really kill off Bull Bushka, who is one of his ‘core four’ original characters with Les, Funky and Crazy. You’d think he’d kill off anybody else but them. I bet Bull miraculously survives the crash thanks to a hospital bed appearance by St. Lisa urging him to want to live. Bull having long been secretly in love with Lisa and would do anything for her