Hide-ku Hai-key

Gasp! It’s today’s strip!
Rummaging through the drawer
Linda finds failure

Bull asked for the keys
Is known obsessive searcher
Just what could go wrong?

Keys barely hidden?
Linda phones homebody Bull?
This is asinine

No, seriously
This narrative makes no sense
All over the place

A Chevette 4 door
Indy 500 pace car…
And what year was that?

Buckeye State Police
Really do use that logo
But don’t use Chevettes



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

43 responses to “Hide-ku Hai-key

  1. CRM114

    Yeah, if I wanted to know whether my dog was still in the house I’d look for his leash.

  2. Still NO indication that Bull was committing suicide (ie, the Award Bait). Instead, just looks like a routine accident.
    Batiuk, you suck.

    • Epicus Doomus

      No indication whatsoever. On top of that, the main focus of the story so far (Linda being overwhelmed by caretaker duties and expenses) has seemingly been forgotten, as apparently a carefree Linda was merrily making some sort of dinner all afternoon, totally oblivious as to Bull’s whereabouts. The events of this story literally can’t be happening, yet somehow they are. It’s like he just threw away any pretext of this being a “story” at all and just started improvising as he went along.

  3. Banana Jr. 6000

    Oh no! Bull took the cream cheese!

  4. Epicus Doomus

    This is just so scattershot and harebrained, even by FW standards. The timeline here makes less than no sense, he didn’t even try to make this a coherent story. It’s all just weird Batiukian imagery, imagery he didn’t even draw. Speaking of which, that drawer is practically a full-fledged character in the strip now.

  5. William Thompson

    Trooper Gloom: “Who tells the widow?”
    Trooper Doom: “Let’s toss a coin. Heads or tails?”

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      Trooper Gloom: “I hate doing these DMF calls! I never know what to say.”
      Trooper Doom: “You just have to be tactful. Watch and learn.”
      LLB: “Yes, officer?”
      TD: “Good evening, ma’am. Are you the widow Bushka?”

  6. William Thompson

    Out in the car, the troopers ponder how to inform the widow. “Got it! Lady, your Halloween costume problem just solved itself! Your husband can dress up as the Headless Horseman!”

  7. spacemanspiff85

    This storyline really just seems like Linda either wanted Bull to kill himself, or she was forgetful and he got in a car wreck. I really think the reason Batiuk spoiled this storyline is because if he hadn’t nobody would’ve ever guessed Bull killed himself.

    • Epicus Doomus

      You know, that’s an interesting theory and the actual strips kind of back it up. If he hadn’t spoiled it this would be downright baffling now. It’s weird, but if you don’t sort of train yourself to see how BatBlab thinks you might not really “get” much of FW at all.

      • spacemanspiff85

        Like, in all honesty, I imagine how it went down is Batiuk called up the artist and asked him how it felt to be an artist on a serious, sure to be award winning strip dealing with the serious, award winning topic of suicide. And the artist had no idea what Batiuk was talking about.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I was just thinking that! Yes, you have to train yourself to read FW, because Tom Batiuk is such a poor storyteller that he’s basically an Unreliable Narrator. Here’s the TVTropes description:

        In most narratives, there’s an element of trust that the person telling you the story is telling the truth, at least as far as they know it. This trope occurs when that convention is discarded. The narrator’s facts contradict each other. If you ask them to go back a bit and retell it, the events come out a little differently. It can be like dealing with a used-car salesman — there’s a real story in there somewhere, but you’re left to piece it together through all the lies, half-truths, and mistruths.

        That is spot on, and it’s completely unintentional in this case. Batiuk constantly shows us things that contradict the story he’s trying to tell us. Hell, the central premise that Bull has CTE is dubious. He seems calmer and more intelligent than he’s ever been. Did you know he could work on cars? I didn’t.

        Spacemanspiff is correct that there appears to be another story going on at times. But it’s never followed up. Buck and Linda are very casual discussing Bull’s symptoms in week one, but Buck never comes back and Linda never hints at wanting to see him again. Her actions show no real concern for Bull, but never cross the line into wanting him gone either. And of course, the next five weeks will be devoted to Bull being mourned by people who didn’t give a shit about him when he was alive. You can’t trust what the strip tells you.

        And you have to guess what it doesn’t tell you. Did Bull intentionally floor it, or was that mental confusion? Why did the NFL letter matter so much, especially when Bull never actually played in the league? What did the neurologist tell them about Bull’s condition getting worse, especially when CTE can’t even be diagnosed until after death? And when he appears to be getting better, not worse?

        I could go on, but you get the idea. We can’t simply can’t take the strip at face value. We have to know Batiuk’s thought process, know which characters are his favorites, and know that we can’t trust facial expressions half the time.

    • Charles

      Indeed. The only evidence that Bull intended to kill himself was the panel of him flooring it right before he went off the cliff, which is hardly conclusive.

      How much do you want to bet that Batiuk completely ignores the dramatic irony potential here and just has everyone knowing Bull’s motives despite not having any reason to know them? I mean, if Linda thought that him killing himself was a real possibility, she wouldn’t have just let him wander around unsupervised.

      Actually, she would, wouldn’t she?

      • spacemanspiff85

        I would totally have just thought Bull thought he was hitting the brakes and got confused either because of the CTE or just because Batiuk loves portraying him as an idiot.

        • comicbookharriet

          We’re going to get a note…just you wait.

          • William Thompson

            And Linda will have missed it because she didn’t search the house for Bull. Or, just as likely, he hid the note better than she hid the keys.

          • gleeb

            The note will be in the helmet.

          • William Thompson

            @gleeb If it’s in the helmet, it means that the cops did a rotten job. They should have searched the helmet, hell, they should have kept it as evidence, in case more evidence of a crime turns up. Like, how did Bull find and take the key from the kitchen junk drawer when Linda was working in the kitchen?

  8. Epicus Doomus

    Hey, that flying tire logo is real, BTW. And did all of this happen at night, late afternoon into evening or what? It’s total chaos.

    You know, as awful and stupid as the Bull character typically was, he was also pretty damn far from being the most hated. Yeah, his “dumb jock” persona could be grating at times but all things considered, when you got an Act III Bull arc you could pretty much count on it being a simple gag-a-day story about football or about how fat/stupid/incompetent he was. There was almost a sense of relief, as you knew it wouldn’t involve comic books and would most likely be pathos-free.

    So of course, just like he always does, BatYap had to go and f*ck it all up just because. I mean he killed off Bull, a mainstay second-tier character who was almost always played for laughs, just to take his half-assed stab at football. There’s a certain cruelty about it all, a cruelty longtime FW readers are all too familiar with.

    Why couldn’t he do an arc where Bull becomes a football safety advocate after meeting that asshole Buck? Was it really necessary to kill him? And even if killing him was unavoidable couldn’t he have taken a few panels to flesh the character out a little more before he whacked him?

    I think it’s a horseshit way to kill off an original Act I mainstay character. Turning him into an addle-brained buffoon before throwing him off a cliff is pretty goddamned cold. He’s done vicious things to longtime characters in the past but this one might be the worst of them all. Maybe we’re all just so jaded now, I don’t know. But it seems pretty vindictive to me.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Oh, it seems super vindictive to me, too. Look at how many formerly prominent characters have just completely disappeared. He could’ve done that with Bull. But nope, he made Bull suffer, and twisted it in a half-assed way to get attention and praise.

      • Charles

        Actually, Batiuk didn’t make Bull especially suffer, because that would suggest that there was a progression here. He just trotted Bull out when he decided he wanted to make fun of him or squeeze out some cheap pathos. And once he decided he couldn’t get any more mileage out of those two things, he decided to kill him. Bull is really no different in this sequence than he was in the previous several sequences concerning him. The only indication that we got that anything was amiss was that Linda simply said something. There wasn’t any evidence from his behavior that things were getting worse.

        • spacemanspiff85

          I just mean, he blew his shot at a professional playing career, his coaching career was somehow a joke even though he did win a championship, and as soon as he retires he’s a broken shell of himself, and the only time Batiuk ever showed him was just to update us that yep, he’s still miserable and just getting worse.

    • comicbookharriet

      I feel the same way. So reread Epicus’ post, but with angry swear words punctuating the end of every sentence.

    • gleeb

      Hated? How could anyone hate the character who bullied creepy Les Moore?
      And if you’re worried about the vanishing of early characters, take it up with Roland and Livinia.

  9. William Thompson

    This whole arc reeks of a high-concept movie script written by studio executives. With MBAs.

  10. billytheskink

    The one redeeming thing about this strip is that if you read it without any context it kinda looks like Linda is about to get arrested. That taco lasagna is definitely a crime…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I still say that Sunday strip looks more like she’s being arrested for murder, then being informed of Bull’s death. People being told that a loved one has driven off a cliff to his death don’t just put their heads down like that.

  11. Paul Jones

    It doesn’t matter that Batiuk spoiled the story so he could forestall those who substituted what they see for his intent. What matters is that Linda will die convinced that she did the very best job possible of hiding the keys. Too bad for everyone that she’s right.

  12. William Thompson

    How many characters are going to say shit like “If only I’d known Bull would kill himself! How was I supposed to know? How could he be so selfish? This hurts me something awful!” Probably none, given Batiuk’s blithe disregard for reality. But the only thing now that could partly redeem this Pulshitzer-worthy arc is if Bull’s ghost shows up and torments everyone who mouths off like that.

  13. Gerard Plourde

    Spacemanspiff85 and Epicus Doomus raise an interesting theory. This week’s installment of the Bull CTE arc is so contradictory and disjointed that it almost seems as if the early reveal to the media was an attempt to salvage the mess.

    The next question is whether any of that extensive research TomBa allegedly did on CTE will appear over the remaining five or six weeks of this arc and, if so, if it will follow the “tell, don’t show” pattern featuring frame-overwhelming word balloons.

    • What are the odds that we see Linda and/or Buck speaking before Congress before this is over?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Pretty low, I think. Congress asks tough questions. Batiuk is not going to put his crappy narrative under any scrutiny. I imagine it would go like this:

        LINDA: …and that’s why Congress needs to take action. My husband was cruelly denied compensation from the National Football League, and drove off a cliff to his death. (applause)

        SENATOR: Thank you for your testimony, Ms. Lopez Bushka. Tell me, how long did your husband play in the NFL?

        LINDA: He had one tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals.

        SENATOR: Uh-huh. That’s it?

        LINDA: Um… yes.

        SENATOR: I see that you were both retired schoolteachers, did you explore whether your retirement plans would pay costs associated with Mr. Bushka’s condition?

        LINDA: Uh… no, I didn’t think of that.

        SENATOR: You were his primary caregiver?

        LINDA: Yes.

        SENATOR: And what were your daily duties?

        LINDA: Well, I hid the car keys from him, and I chatted with my online support group. Oh, and we went to North Carolina to see a neurologist.

        SENATOR: Oh…. kay… what did the neurologist say?

        LINDA: That his condition was getting worse.

        SENATOR: Anything else?

        LINDA: No.

        SENATOR: Where were you on the night of your husband’s death?

        LINDA: I was at home, preparing dinner.

        SENATOR: When did you realize something was wrong?

        LINDA: When I called my husband and he didn’t answer.

        SENATOR: What? Why did you call him?

        LINDA: I… I…

        SENATOR: You just said you hid the keys from him. Why did you call him? How did you know he was out of the house?

        LINDA: Umm…

        SENATOR: Had your husband shown any indication he was going to try and drive?

        LINDA: Yes, earlier that week he said he wanted to work on the car. Said it helped him calm down?

        SENATOR: Hold on, your husband, who has CTE, said he wanted to work on the car?

        LINDA: Well, yes.

        SENATOR: Had he ever worked on the car before?

        LINDA: Not that I know of.

        SENATOR: And this didn’t alarm you?

        LINDA: Well it did, but —

        SENATOR: Hold on. You’re providing no discernible support to your husband. You let him modify your car despite his brain condition. The night he was killed, you called him on your cell phone, when you shouldn’t have known he was out of the house. And you demanded payment from the NFL, when he never he played in it.

        LINDA: Uuuuhhhh…

        SENATOR: Refer this matter back to local law enforcement for further investigation.

  14. Professor Fate

    late to the party but as everybody else has noted this has to be the crowning pinnacle of the Author’s inability to tell a freaking story. We’ve gone from Linda being utterly worn out taking care of Bull (and hiding the car keys) to her making a meat loaf and calling him on the phone because? The whole thing is such a mess that one starts to wonder why a meat loaf and maybe she’ll offer it the officers seeing that Bill ain’t coming back.

  15. The Dreamer

    Bull is going to survive. He is after all one of TomBat’s FW ‘core four’ original characters along with Les, Funky and Crazy. Cant let him die. I’m thinking Bull is shown on his deathbed in the hospital receive a deathbed visit from the Ghost of St. Lisa, who urges him to live. Bull, having long been secretly in love with Lisa, finds the will to live!

  16. Merry Pookster

    Bull exits the Highway patrol car…. his football helmet saved him

  17. Apaulled

    Just occurred to me that, since TB no longer drawers the strip and now merely “writes” it, he’d have to share the Pulitzer Prize if it were awarded — right?