Comic Book Harriet, back in the saddle again. I want to thank BeckoningChasm for a great stint through this horrorshow. He really puts me in a tough spot. Because what is there to say about this nightmare abortion of a plot arc that hasn’t been said already by our crack team of beady-eyed nitpickers?
I’d never expected to see the loss of a father, spouse, and friend, approached with every character acting so sedate that depression is indistinguishable from boredom.
I remember those times when our esteemed historian Billy the Skink has put up strips from Act II full of intense soap opera pathos. Les running down the street shouting “USA! USA!” Wally trembling and crying while standing on a landmine begging whatsisface to tell his wifey something something he loves her.
Bull’s been dead for over a month, and we’ve yet to see a single tear.
34 responses to “Running on Empty, Running Blind.”
Glorious photo corners must signify a poignant event right? Right?
“I found this album Bull kept. It’s nothing but pictures of you and him. They’re quite artistic, and for two thousand dollars a month I can guarantee nobody will ever see them.”
Has Batiuk returned to the days of Act I, when Creepy Les was an obnoxious loser and Funky Winkerbean was the central character? Or is he gaslighting everyone?
Well, poor poor Bull was, after all, just a dumb sporto who wasted his life on stupid sports, unlike characters like Funky, John, Dinkle and Les, who wasted theirs on pizza, comic books, marching band music and smug self-pity respectively. And BatBrain LIKES pizza, comic books, marching band music and smug self-pity, but not stupid sports. Therefore it’s OK to not take Bull or his untimely death too seriously.
On top of that Bull was not a “nice guy” (retcons notwithstanding) in high school and, as we know, what you were in high school defines you forever unless your wife happens to die tragically and dramatically, in which case all bets are off. So it’s OK to goof on Bull during his funeral and mock him during his retirement ceremony.
Yeah, it’s usually pretty obvious as to who TB likes and dislikes in the Funkyverse, and Bull was definitely the latter. The whole CTE thing was like the perfect crime, what better way to kill off Bull while mocking him all the way? From the tennis match to the angry driving to the suicide, there was NO compassion and ZERO respect.
I dare say, even Grandpa Jim’s strokes were given a far better and more realistic treatment than this. You saw Jim’s mental AND physical turmoil, realistic symptoms, and the effect that the situation had on every member of his family (even if some of them weren’t the nicest to him, that’s still family for ya). And he still lived to be in his 80s! It wasn’t pleasant to watch, but hey, mental/neurological disorders just… aren’t.
So why is Bull such a joke? Why does every arc he’s in turn into mockery or freaking Les?!
Remember back in 2014 when Bull suddenly became a successful winning coach? He just couldn’t wait to snatch it all away from him in the cruelest way possible. First he took his football away, then he killed him. Just brutal and ice, ice cold.
“Don’t you remember any of this, Les? How you tried out for the football team one day, but were reduced to a whiny little dork after one head-butt gave you CTE? You don’t remember? Good! You can help me make my case to the NFL that Bull could have got CTE during his half-day on their practice squad! When they see what a gibbering idiot you are, they’ll have to settle!”
I looked up “ponderous” in the dictionary and saw this strip, which is a remarkable coincidence because the reason I looked up the word “ponderous” to begin with was last week’s strips…
fUm, water bottles for sports don’t have straws for basically this exact reason, you squeeze them. I also find it kind of insane that Batiuk expects anyone to believe that Les played football to the extent where he was given a uniform. I really don’t understand how he can shill the collected editions of his comic so much when he’s just crapping all over what he wrote in the older strips.
Where I expect this storyline to go: the photo jogs Les’s memory and he recalls how, when he was the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, they ran out of players and pulled Bull off their practice squad and he made a block on the play where Les won the Super Bowl. After the play, Les heard Bull, lying in pain on the ground, moan “Ow-ee, my brain gots a booboo.”. Les repeats this in testimony before Congress, and the Supreme Court rules that the NFL must pay Bull’s medical expenses.
I wouldn’t put it past Batiuk to write any of that.
This is extremely baffling for longtime FW readers, as I cannot think of any reason why Les would be in a football uniform. I mean sure, maybe there was some long ago gag where Les had to be the waterboy lest he failed gym or something but unless I see it I’m not buying it.
Not only is Lester in a practice uniform, he’s wearing shoulder pads?? What the fucking hell??
It’s Kleenex. He wanted to look fully-developed, so he stuffed his shoulders like a middle-school girl stuffing her training bra.
NEVERMIND THE FACT THAT because this is nineteen-seventy-something, a public high school wouldn’t have been using plastic bottles anyway — We’re back in the era of the big cooler and hundred little paper cups littered along the sidelines…
You’d think someone who lives in the past as much at Batiuk would remember that…
Sometimes I seriously believe that BatYap is writing this shit just for us and amusing himself by our consistently outraged, bored and disgusted reactions. “Heh heh, watch them freak out when I have Bull and Les sharing a water bottle on the football practice field, they’ll lose their minds!”.
See above. Now it’s not only not about CTE or suicide anymore, it’s not even about Bull OR Linda, but LES! Apparently this old and totally implausible photograph that Linda lovingly shared with Les triggers Les’ memories about what a disgusting slobbering animal Bull was, all sweaty and gross and germ-laden. That’s some truly touching and timely stuff right there. I’m wagering that he didn’t share this part of his big prestige arc with the NYT people.
Knowing that we’re in for a dull, stupid, implausible and self-indulgent week of a pea-brain yowling that people who are good at things he sucks at deserve endless torment reminds me of the time when someone told Cindy to get the Hell over high school already. Her brain simply couldn’t process that.
Linda, how many panels do you need to say “I found this old picture of you and Bull”?
Two whole days devoted to this disingenuous photo, where the two of them aren’t friends or interacting in any meaningful way. The flashback even proves how meaningless this moment is!
But it’s of high school, so lord knows what maudlin crap we’re going to be subjected to.
Les is about to discover he has CTE from his one day as a sporto. The realization that he’s a brain-damaged peckerwood who can only write about death and misery will push him into a suicidal depression. In other words we’re about to get lectured on the horrors of CTE and suicide. It’s all Bull’s fault, of course.
“Les is about to discover that he has CTE from his one day as a sporto.”
That awful plot twist is plausible. TomBa’s love of his most annoying mouthpiece almost guarantees that Les has a central role in this arc. It also provides a way for the movie project to move from “Lisa’s Story 2.0” to “Les’s Story” with Mason playing Westview’s star-crossed Renaissance Man/Genius.
It’s a trifecta of core FW themes.
Photo mounts? If this is supposed to portray memories, why photo mounts? How about squiggly framing to denote the past? Why not step into Crazy’s time pool locker to see the retcon play out in real time?
TB uses squiggly panel borders when he transitions from one place to another in the middle of a strip, all in the present, rather than using them to denote memories/dreams/thoughts like every other comic artist in history. Drives me crazy when he does it.
God, I had bleached that dumbassed storyline from my memory…
Yeah, I wished she would have jumped.
I actually don’t mind the photo mounts. They indicate that something happened long ago. It’s a trope. Although they are becoming a little out of place now that “long ago” could be the 1990s.
I wonder if Bull will come back as a ghost? If he does, will Lisa talk to him, seeing as how he was mean to Les? If they do get along, they’ll talk about the most important thing in the world, which is how Les is doing.
Will they give each other a thumbs up?
In what universe is Les a football player? When I was in high school the students who assisted the team all wore t shirts, they were not eligible for a jersey.
Well at least Mary Worth has been GREAT! Watching a drunken Wilbur make a fool of himself, A+. Lots of meme worth panels…
Mary Worth is actually a good measuring stick for Funky Winkerbean. Compare Aldo Kelrast’s death arc with Bull Bushka’s. Even though Aldo was a goofy and unlikeable walk-on character, his death was portrayed with far more emotion, dignity, and told an actual story.
By comparison, this strip just dropped a bridge on Bull Bushka. It gave him a condition, killed him in an implausible way, and since then the story has been about everything but him.
This strip doesn’t mourn or remember, it fetishizes: the helmet he wore when he died, the NFL letter he never saw, the meatloaf he never ate, and now the old picture of Les that proves they were friends all along or something.
I like the way you think. That’s very true.
Although, with Karen Moy at the helm, the strip has become like Funky. Dumb characters, implausible situations, etc.
On the other hand, the artwork is much better. Drunk Wilbur is hilarious.
What was Westville was so badly off they only had one water bottle? And just what does this have to do with ANYTHING? I suppose there is a point somewhere but it’s going to take a week to get to and I don’t care now, hate to imagine what a frenzy of indifference I will be raised to by Saturday.
Earlier today, it was my horror to discover that this actually happened in Act I. September 16, 1976.
*sigh* And I used to love nostalgia…
Continuity? In FW? I…I…(collapses on floor twitching).
(*Pats*) Don’t feel bad. There’s always a 50% chance these things happened at some point, just so TB could go find ’em for future retcons.
Bull and Les aren’t next to each other. The bottle gets passed from Kid A to Bull to Kid B to Les. Though yes, Les is wearing the football pads.
Again, why is he wearing a uniform? There is no way they would put him on the team.