Aw, Poor Les. And Poor Mason, He Clearly Developed Face Cancer Between Panels 1 and 2.

Ugh, this is one of my least favorite parts of this strip. Something ostensibly good happens to someone (Les is getting paid money to make a movie out of their book, meaning there’s at least a chance a story he cares about will speak to people in a new medium, and at the very least more people will read the book, also MONEY, how does that not mean anything to a public school teacher with two daughters in their seventh year of college), and he reacts to it like he just sat on a turd and he’s too crushed with despair to do anything about it but moan.
Even if you want to look at it Les’s way, where he’s worried his beautiful story will be ruined (How exactly do you glamorize “woman dies of cancer”?), he has to just sit around like a wimp about the whole thing, like he’s still the nerd who had his lunch money robbed by Bull (since Batiuk is so clearly still obsessed with high school). Grow a spine and say no if it’s so painful, Les. Especially since you’ve been down this exact road before.  “Gosh, I guess three people who have no real role in my life thing I should do something I’m dreading, well okay, what can you do.”
I know Campbell’s idea of the Hero’s Journey can be cliché often, but it’s worlds better than the Batiuk Method. Here’s some famous tales, as redone by Tom Batiuk;
The Aeneid-Aeneas loses his home of Troy, then sits in the ashes of his home until he dies from lung cancer.
Paradise Lost-Lucifer is cast from heaven, then spends eternity laying where he fell moaning “Why me?”.
Star Wars-Luke whines about the droid he bought blowing up, shrugs and just figures that’s how life is and goes home without doing anything about it.
The Lord of the Rings-Frodo hands over the One Ring to the first Ringwraith because clearly he wants it, and it’s a long walk, and he tried his best, but sometimes things just don’t work out, but he does plan to go home and write a bestseller about it.

45 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

45 responses to “Aw, Poor Les. And Poor Mason, He Clearly Developed Face Cancer Between Panels 1 and 2.

  1. Epicus Doomus

    The Delicate Genius is fiercely protective of Her Legacy and would never do anything to defile or dishonor it, yet whenever he gets an offer about it he endlessly waffles and whines for weeks and months on end. So is he fiercely protective or isn’t he? This is part of what makes Dick Facey so intensely hateable. He’s not just smug, wry, bearded, pompous, pretentious and annoying, he’s spineless, wishy-washy and whiny too.

    Remember when he went to Hollywood the first time? That third-rate studio set him up with first-class accommodations across the board and Les reciprocated by sleeping on the job and being smug, sarcastic and rude while he was awake. Then, after wasting their time for years, he just took their money anyway and killed the entire project without a second though. And apparently the readers were supposed to IDENTIFY with him and see him as the hero of the story, as he wouldn’t allow them to defile Her Legacy, even though it took him months to ultimately decide that.

    Again, this is why Les is so much more despised than any other FW character. He’s garbage on every imaginable level, he’s every objectionable human characteristic rolled up into one violently annoying cartoon twerp. I hope Mason turns that stupid cancer book into an animated sci-fi musical comedy.

    • Charles

      The Delicate Genius is fiercely protective of Her Legacy and would never do anything to defile or dishonor it, yet whenever he gets an offer about it he endlessly waffles and whines for weeks and months on end.

      Which he never rejects, you’ll notice. He’ll whine endlessly about how he’s being taken advantage of, but he’ll certainly never refuse their money. It’s really rather amazing. It leads to Batiuk showing Les as someone without any real principles.

      And if what Batiuk was attempting to do with the last Hollywood Lisa’s Story sequence in 2014 was show how Hollywood just doesn’t “get it”, he failed at that. He has Clay and the screenwriter change all of these elements of his “great work of art” but never shows Les attempting to defend what he originally wrote, even though that could conceivably burnish Batiuk’s credibility as a “great artist”. If Clay doesn’t understand the dramatic impact of Lisa dying at the end of the story, have Les explain to him why it does matter, and what the story loses by not having her die in the end. But he doesn’t do that, and I’m increasingly given the impression that that’s because Batiuk really doesn’t have any notion of drama and why Lisa dying might have a more substantial dramatic impact if done in the proper fashion.

      Instead, I just get the impression that Batiuk simply inverts the standard cliche happy ending thing and thinks that makes him a genius. His story isn’t any deeper than the inane happy ending story, it’s just a sad shadow reflection of it. He can’t explain why Lisa’s death makes a story better, because it doesn’t serve any more substantial purpose than having her survive would.

  2. William Thompson

    “Shopping agreement?” Who buys the bowl cleaner and who buys the scrub brush?

  3. William Thompson

    Don’t worry, Les. No story that involves you can be glamourized. You make King Kong look like a debonair gentleman taking a lady out for a night on the town.

  4. louder

    What the F is there to shop around??? They did it once before, with Less involved, who “killed it”. What freaking studio is going to finance a failed production involving a key person who lost a studio money because of his holier-than-thou attitude? Off a book that was released long ago and went straight to the remainder table for $2.00? BatHack should be embarrassed by this story, but to be embarrassed you need some kind of self-awareness, and as we’ve seen all these many years, there’s zero evidence of that to be found.

    • Charles

      It really does amaze me that anyone would invest money in this project, even if Lisa’s Story was some great work that could be well adapted to the screen.

      Its star is a guy who walked away from a project that he had signed onto, this very same project, leading to it falling apart less than a day later. And the rights holder disavowed and withdrew from the project on the same day, and took home a bunch of money for doing nothing. CME lost all the money they sunk into Lust for Lisa, and Les and Mason would be plausibly blamed for it. If this was remotely real, Hollywood would never touch either of them again. Someone puts up $200 million for a Flash Gordon rip-off and it all depends on this guy following his contract this time? Someone’s going to finance a cancer porn story and risk having a douchebag writer cause massive delays every single time someone tries to change a word of his “beautiful work of art”? It’s absurd on its face.

  5. The Nelson Puppet

    Forget Mason Jarr…I nominate Sean Connery’s kid brother Neil Connery for the role of Les Moore!

  6. CRM114

    From Guardians of the Galaxy:
    Rhomann Dey:
    He said that he may be an… “a-hole”, but he’s not, and I quote, “100% a dick”.

    Nova Prime:
    Do you believe him?

    Rhomann Dey:
    Well, I don’t know if I believe anyone is 100% a dick.

    Clearly, Rhomann Dey never met Tom Batuik.

  7. Doc

    I spent thirty years in the film biz, and never heard of a “shopping agreement” or “kill fee.” I suppose he means option for shipping agreement, but this Lesturd has no clout to get the elusive kill fee.

    Mason looks horrible this week, seems like he can only be drawn from one angle, otherwise, these “cartoonists/artists” are lost. Ugh.

  8. I hope they get the late George A. Romero to direct.

    • Epicus Doomus

      If you could turn this into a Christmas ornament I’d buy two dozen of them tomorrow. I’d even get a sparse and dying Lisa tree instead of a nice one. With the little bench and the baseball cap, a tiny gazebo, that spray-on snow, the whole kit and caboodle.

    • The Nelson Puppet

      Big Brother Sean Connery quips as he fires his Walther PPK: “Mason Jarrrrrr shent me to deliver the KILL FEE…”

  9. “Shopping agreement…” I just get the feeling that Batiuk’s throwing out a little Hollywood lingo that he picked up somewhere. The term “wish fulfillment” gets thrown around quite a bit in these parts…I think all the comics based storylines (Pete becomes a top writer for DC and Marvel before helping start up Atomik Komix) are Batty’s way of soothing his ego, decades after those New York editors passed on his work. And don’t forget that George Kennedy nearly played the lead in a Crankshaft movie that never saw the light of day. I’m sure that left a bitter taste in Batty’s mouth: in his blog, TB refers to that project as “just another date with Holly[wood] that didn’t quite pan out.” Uh huh.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Pretty much every Act III “showbiz”-related arc has been steeped in Batom’s bitterness and ill-will toward the “industry”. Writing the cancer book, dealing with the publisher, the agent, doing promotional work, every second of it was depicted as sheer torture. Ditto pretty much every “Hollywood” arc too. Anti-Communist blacklists, drunken murder chimps, suicides, money-grubbing studio executives, it’s always overwhelmingly negative. He even depicts the comic book business as being more akin to working in a sweatshop than anything else and he LIKES comic books.

      Fact is that no one had any serious interest in turning his stupid cancer story into anything other than a hardbound comic strip compilation. It dropped, it caused a minor pop-culture stir for a few days, then it was all over. No one wanted to turn it into a film, it didn’t become a widely beloved or iconic piece of entertainment, so he opted to turn the fictional LS into everything he always hoped the real one would be.

    • erdmann

      TB is just mad because he took Hollywood for dinner and dancing and Hollywood ordered the most expensive thing on the menu and drank most of a bottle of the restaurant’s finest wine but still wouldn’t put out afterward.

    • The Nelson Puppet

      Who the HELL thought Crankshaft would make an entertaining movie?

    • Hitorque

      George Kennedy?? Way too tall… You’d need a Martin Sheen or Richard Dreyfuss or John Mahoney to do this thing right

  10. billytheskink

    Oh, if only newspapers worked like “Hollywood”…

  11. Charles

    I don’t understand why Les can’t simply say no, or, if he’s ambivalent, tell Mason to send all the proper paperwork to his lawyer and they’ll look it over. Instead, he acts as if Holly or Cindy (whose opinion he solicited) or Mason can actually force him to do this. For a guy who cares so much about how his creation is treated, he sure doesn’t seem to stake much of a claim to it.

    I guess this is just Batiuk’s way of trying to make Les seem noble. He doesn’t do it because he wants the notoriety. He doesn’t do it because he wants the money. He does it because his friends tell him he has to do it. It also gives Les an out if Batiuk discovers that he’s fucking it up and has to shitcan it again like last time.

    As an aside, bet you we see that old crone again who endlessly praised Les and who Les never treated with any respect in return.

    • William Thompson

      True hero that he is, Les surrenders when outnumbered by his friends.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I mean he’s either fiercely protective of his stupid cancer book or he isn’t, it can’t be both. I wonder if BatHack will even mention the Lust For Lisa debacle? Will he just pretend it never happened or will it be referenced eventually?

  12. Doghouse Reilly

    “Oh, and one more thing, Les. In order to make this project more relevant to today’s moviegoing audiences, we’re going to have to change the ‘Written by’ credit to Nicholas Sparks. That won’t be a problem, will it?”

  13. Paul Jones

    I remember the last property Batiuk had that Hollywood tried to “ruin”: Crankshaft. When one cuts through the verbiage, one sees a picture of a dreary oik having a temper tantrum because he was told that the main character had to have a hidden soft side and not be nothing more or less than a whizzled-up old pisstank mad at the world after a life of what people in the Canadian military call “belt-fed cock.”

  14. Banana Jr. 6000

    Just when you think this strip exists solely to gratify Les Moore, it can’t even do that right. Eh, maybe he doesn’t WANNA make Lisa’s Story. Give me a break. Les needs Lisa’s Story needs more than he needs oxygen. And if Les doesn’t want to do this, why the hell are we even talking about it? Les is literally the only person on Earth who should care about Dead Lisa.

    The universe falls all over itself to indulge this man, and he can’t even accept it. Lisa’s Story is just too precious. Because his Nice Guy Syndrome didn’t end when Lisadied – he must continue doing unwanted favors for her in the afterlife. But he sure didn’t mind sucking up that praise earlier in the week, did he? What was even the point of including that in the story? And again, why does this clown think he’d be let anywhere near a movie set after what happened last time?

    It’s amazing how many different kinds of awful Les Moore can be at one time.

  15. The Nelson Puppet

    And here’s a preview of the scene where Les races to the Post Office after the bomb went off: “USA!”

  16. Count of Tower Grove

    “It shouldn’t be glamorized.” Wouldn’t that mean a straight up documentary? Otherwise, Lisa’s story is just another “Brian’s Song.”
    What’s with Cindah in panel two? Horsey face and smug smirk kind of makes her look as sanctimonious as Celine Dion.

  17. Smirks 'R Us

    Run Cayla RUN!!!!!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I like to think she’s already separated from Les, but she hasn’t bothered telling him and he hasn’t noticed. Like Milton in Office Space

  18. Professor Fate

    “sigh” I suppose I must accept if the hottest actor in Hollywood right now wants to do my book as a movie.”
    God in heaven what an utter wanker. It’s moments like this you want someone to star punching him and never stop.
    And the “not glamorize it” bit is just too much One it’s been years since screen heroines died of what they called movie star disease where they looked better as they were dying than when they were healthy. Two – my memory of how Lisa’s death was handled was straight up cancer porn – each step to death lovingly detailed. (of course to paraphrase Oscar Wilde one would have needed a heart of stone not to break out laughing at the over the top melodrama of moments like Lisa going blind, or of course the appearance of Masky McDeath.)
    Lastly as everybody points out THERE IS NO MOVIE HERE. NONE, NADDA, ZIPPO. None of the characters are changed by what happens, Lisa just gets sick and dies. Dark Victory this ain’t.

    The Author can get knotted.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Hear, hear. Nobody’s exploited Lisa’s existence than goddam Les Moore and his self-indulging cancer porn.

  19. Gerard Plourde

    Les’s behavior in the last two arcs is revealing of his character. I realized that he’s actually a bully worse than Bull ever could have been. From previous arcs we’ve seen how he berates his students and their parents. Last week he trashed Bull at his own funeral. And now, like the classic bully, when confronted directly by people he perceives to be more powerful than himself, he caves in but harbors resentment, waiting for an opportunity to escape and perhaps get revenge (like exercising his “kill fee” option the last time a Lisa movie was being made, putting a sizable number of people out of work).

    Whiny, passive-aggressive Les is the worst bully in Westview.

    • William Thompson

      There was at least one Act 1 scene where young Les made a snide comment to Bull and Bull responded to the provocation. Makes you wonder if that reflects Batiuk’s behavior in high school, and if he resented the real-life Bull for standing up to him.

      • Gerard Plourde

        It does make you wonder. And, now come to think of it, what was that whole Les the Hall Monitor with the machine gun all about (retconned to a cardboard gun according to Act 3)?

  20. bayoustu

    That “drawing” of Holly in panel 2 is the funniest thing I’ve seen in this strip in ages! Also: enough with Les and his vertical eyebrows!

  21. Hitorque

    What the fuckin’ hell is a shopping agreement?