Today’s strip was not available for preview, but it is making me bored nevertheless.
Typically, I dive into the archives when a strip is not available for preview but I’m so bored by this story arc that… Yeah, OK, I’ll still do it. Someone has to make an effort when it comes to this strip.
Let’s see what strip celebrates it’s sweet 16 today. Here’s Funky Winkerbean from January 10, 2004:
Facing declining revenues, DSH glumly threatens to close Komix Korner (then located across the street from Montoni’s above the Jade Dragon Chinese restaurant). Mopey Pete, who worked in the store at the time, is excited about clocking out early (he was shirking even back then). Crazy get’s really sad. Les shows up for the above ONE strip and takes everything from maudlin to insufferable. This may be the most insufferable a comic book-focused FW strip has ever been… and that is saying something!
Of course, we know that Komix Korner survives. In fact, the very next week Tony agrees to rent the then-unused Montoni’s basement to DSH for the amazing price of “whenever you can pay me”. Hilariously, he only does this after Pete applies to work at Montoni’s, apparently figuring that giving Komix Korner the Montoni’s basement for FREE handily beats the prospect of hiring PETE (and he’s a guy who hired Durwood on two separate occasions).
32 responses to “More Les? Probably. *sigh*-day, January 10”
Did Bats do his own artwork then? Who’s the artist?
The same fellow Les mentioned in that strip from 2004: Pig Asso.
Man, Act II was just so BUSY, you know? It was still one premise a week, just like it is now, but it just seemed like more was actually happening, sort of.
Act II was The Lord of the Rings compared to the state the strip is in now.
I’d agree and disagree on that, actually. Act II is dramatically better than Act III on a technical level. The pacing alone is light years ahead of the strip’s glacial pace now and story arcs generally had a definitive direction. TB largely knew what he wanted the strip to be. Unfortunately, what he wanted it to be was a self-important, awards-chasing, after-school special. Act III may consistently deliver slogging boredom, baffling retcons, and inconsistent artwork but Act II was an exhausting and never-ending parade of maudlin, self-seriousness that was a tremendous disservice to important “serious” issues on an almost weekly basis. We get a wannabe Lisa’s Story every year or so now, back then we got one about every week. It was awful.
It really was. As horrible as Act III has been (and don’t get me wrong, it’s abysmal) Act II actually drove me away from FW for years at a time. Prestige arcs out the ying-yang, each one more bogus and predictable than the last, plus Lisa was still alive and spewing her pious sanctimony all over the place too. For the longest time FW and FBOWF ran right next to one another in my local newspaper and it was like they were competing to see which one could be the most insufferably maudlin. “Awful” is putting it nicely.
So as a general poll…which is more tolerable and, most importantly, snark fodder providing? Inanely dull, or preachy and overwrought? I find I can wring humor by finding weird cracks in the dullness, but the passion that comes from confronting his preachier side leads to more biting wit.
At least back then he was clearly trying and putting effort into it. There were stories. Even though it was often insufferable it met the basic qualifications of a narrative. As opposed to now, where I wonder why I should care about reading the strip, since the author clearly doesn’t care about writing it.
That’s how I feel. With actual stories with actual events, there are far more things to discuss (positive and negative).
With the Act III slog, it is, I kid you not, a struggle to come up with guest post material. There’s just nothing there there, unless it’s Les and I’d rather have nothing.
“Frankly, Les, I’m surprised you haven’t been tarred and feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail!”
Indeed. My first thought reading this strip was “there are so many better reasons to picket Les’ house…”
Too bad Les is such a hack that he never makes his students read the classics. We could have a scene where he’s on the roof, shouting “Sanctuary! Sanctuary!” while an angry mob storms the Cathedral of Notre Damned Lisa.
“Les, what’s the real problem? Don’t you want to see Lisa’s Story filmed with your original script and Jason Marred playing you as a hero? Why are you afraid to win an Oscar for Best Comedy?”
Harry learned about loss from Batman? Has he spent his nights beating the crap out of people on the streets of Westview since his daughter ceased to exist? And if so, why in the world is this strip not all about that?
I don’t think Harry learned as much as he thought from Batman, and neither did any of his friends. Batman, after all, used the murder of his parents as motivation to become a crimefighter. In other words, he *did stuff,* rather than sitting around a pizzeria bitching and whining…Damn it, now I’m imagining the Justice League by Batiuk. It would be Bruce, Clark, Diana, et al, in a perpetual Westviewnian mope. “My parents were killed.” “My home planet exploded.” “The gods made me from clay and men find me intimidating.”
For extra fun, imagine how they’d be drawn. Specifically, picture Holly in a Wonder Woman outfit.
I’d still hit it…
Superfunky: “I screwed up.”
Batles: “Yes, you did.”
And of course, we spend the whole week not getting to the real point: Les is afraid that they will ‘ruin’ Lisa’s story by making it about her and her feelings. The cover art that has her all but obscured by the real victim Les says way too much.
I’m sure that the substitute teachers of Westview aren’t the least bit surprised that Les doesn’t take sick time. Without a captive audience his need to demean others would go unsatisfied.
And What does it say about TomBa that his recurring theme is that real existence is so negative that the only source of moral teaching is comic books.
After a couple more weeks of this fascinating discussion, these two nitwits tell Princ’pal Nate they’re just going to skip out and go to California.
They land at LAX and take a cab to Movie Duuuhhhren’s house.
“So! We’re here! What did you need?”
“Oh. Nuthin’. Just wanted you to tell Cindy that bent nail story you once told me.”
Welcome to Day Five of “Nobody Ever Asked Masone Jarre The Hollywood Movie Actor What He Wants To Talk About.”
Simply riveting blabbering about whether you should ever miss work – with someone who misses work all the time. Next week: These two idiots spend the week debating how many pairs of socks to pack.
This would be much more interesting if it were three panels with nothing but “This page intentionally left blank.”
This sort of “story” is what I was talking about yesterday, about whether Batiuk will retire when the strip hits 50.
When I’m at home, I like to create animation. If a character has to enter a room, my thought is “How can I make this interesting–interesting for me to do, and more importantly, interesting for someone to watch.”
I see NO evidence here, or at all lately, that Batiuk has either of those goals. It’s painfully obvious that he doesn’t care if anyone finds his work interesting, and it’s also clear that there’s no thrill in it for him.
I mean, he’s got an entire comic book publishing firm, and all he can come up with is the most tedious drivel imaginable. The Inedible Bulk? Really? Does he know that “inedible” means “cannot be eaten”? Where’s his Batman, his Superman, his Flash? No where to be found, when someone with an imagination could easily create them, and in a form that wouldn’t get him sued.
I think when that 50th rolls around, that day’s strip will be a wall of text lamenting that no one was insightful enough to give him awards, and that will be the end of it.
I am going to agree with you, and guess that the big finale of the strip will center on the new Lisa movie.
Gah. I can just see it. It will be at the premier. Les will say to someone, “Well, Lisa;s Story is now there for all the world to see.”
Final panel: Les, looking right at the camera, “What happens next is up to you. We all make our own stories, make yours now!”
I think I just threw up.
How dare you give him such usable ideas! We know he trolls here.
Here’s my version: it’s a Sunday strip. First panel is Cayla, outside the Crankshaft movie theater, saying to Les: “Well, did Lisa’s Story: The Movie meet your expectations?”
Six panels of just Les, thinking harder than he’s ever thought about anything in his life. Like Batiuk is trying to draw one of those great Sunday strips where Calvin goes through a series of expressions. Les knows this is his final chance to receive praise, pout, exhibit his commitment to Lisa, and be seen as a literary genius. And he brings his A game. Every drawing is a masterpiece of unearned smugness.
The final panel: Les, with an earthquake-sized smirk : “Close enough.”
Someone should figure out how fast the “Complete Funky” anthologies are coming out. He seems the type to try and coordinate the final issue of that coordinating with the final comic, and the 50th anniversary. That sort of thing would tickle him pink. Then, in 5-10 years, no one will ever remember Funky Winkerbean existed. He’s no Watterson or Larson.
Les is just scared shitless of airports since Dead Lisa called him on the White Phone. (Doooonnn’t get on that plaaaaane).
It’s funny because their flight left yesterday.
Okay, Cayla isn’t even trying anymore… Regardless of if she’s being serious or glib, that line is craptastic…
“Think if it this way, by never being sick, you are taking money away from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, ambulance drivers…Les, how selfish can you be?”