TB does it, why not you, Batton?

Kidz these daze and their cellular doohickeys! Always on ’em. Amirite? Amirite? Eh? Today’s strip knows what I’m talking’ about! Leave ’em alone in a classroom with no direction and they just start tap-tap-tapping away on their smartyphones. It’s nothing like it wuz back in my day when we’d get in fistfights and beat lunch money out of the weird kids.

By the way, Les’ opinion on the value of comics sure has changed over the years…



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

29 responses to “TB does it, why not you, Batton?

  1. comicbookharriet

    I’m wondering if this entire arc is an abstract apologetic for why Batiuk no longer does High School oriented strips. Kids aren’t interested in him, and he’s not interesting to kids. So he’ll just write about the elderly from now on.

    • justifiable

      It’s a dying art.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Surprised the syndicate didn’t force him to make this strip more relevant to young people instead of the cancer inducing Lisa-centric drama.

      Batty probably thinks he is relevant…I did a gay prom arc, look, gay people…relevant, relevant.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        All of Tom Batiuk’s “relevant” story arcs have already been done better by other comic strips. For Better Or For Worse had a coming out story in 1993, for gosh sakes. Even Aldo Kelrast’s death in Mary Worth was done better than Bull Bushka’s “prestige arc.”

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Very true.

          It is clear that Batty was only hired because his strip was cute and relevant to the funky 70s.

          But once he tried to go past that, it all fell apart.

        • Doghouse Reilly

          If you want to talk about comic strip deaths, the 1929 (!) passing of beloved character Mary Gold in Sydney Smith’s “The Gumps” drew ten of thousands of angry letters and phone calls, was front-page news in papers that didn’t even carry the strtip, and had folks wearing black armbands to work. Battyuk only wishes he achieved these kind of results with Bull’s CTE arc or the saga of Dead St. Lisa.

  2. William Thompson

    “High school! It wasn’t like this when we were kids! We studied! We wanted to get into college!”

    “It was either that or get drafted.”

  3. William Thompson

    Batiuk is surprised that kids don’t study when you leave them alone in a classroom? Somehow his ignorance doesn’t surprise me.

  4. Count of Tower Grove

    I nearly snickered at this one.
    BTW, I’ve been enjoying the constantly changing mastheads here for the last couple of weeks

  5. billytheskink

    Sorry, I think I linked a Dustin strip by mistake…

  6. spacemanspiff85

    When do you think repeatedly hammering home “kids are dumb and annoying” crosses the line into disturbing? I think Batiuk crossed that line a long time ago.

  7. Epicus Doomus

    Sigh. The fictional BatYak is just as boring as the real one is. I mean the guy is doing a story where he becomes a comic strip character and all the character does is make bland wry observations that he’s already covered countless millions of times. This is just boring, it’s extremely well-practiced boring, like professional elite boring, the kind of boring that’s been boringly honed over many boring decades. .

  8. Batgirl

    I checked, and Batton Thomas previously appeared in April of last year on Free Comics Day, sitting mournfully by himself at a sad, empty little table, trying to explain to an uninterested Bernie and disbelieving Thatsnought how comic books evolved from newspaper comic strips. I think Les was there as well, hawking the graphic novel Dead Lisa Book, but I don’t recall him speaking to Batton.
    Since TB works a year ahead, he would have been plotting out Batton’s triumphant return about the time those strips were appearing.

    And…what? Just as with the Amazing Mr. Sponge and Co., we know nothing of what the strip is about. I’m guessing it’s like early FW, a high-school gag-a-day strip, with the title being a vague pun/reference to the 1960s tv series Twelve O’Clock High (based on the 1949 movie). (Note: not an actual joke, just a reference). But that’s only a guess. Why does Les think this will be of interest to his students? Obviously they don’t actually read it, despite it being theoretically aimed at them. Why does TB think this will be of interest to us? Or are both TB and Les just using their venue to indulge their own passions?
    And if they are, why does none of their passion come across to their audience?

    • justifiable

      Three O’Clock High was actually supposedly one of the titles Battocks’ syndicate rejected when they chose FW instead – and after he went and drew a logo and everything. Yet when it debuted, several papers claimed the action took place at “Three o’Clock High,” [are you guffawing yet?], rather than Worstview High – which is a really dumb name for a school. So I wonder just how much of this “it was in the running for the title” shit Battocks has retconned in order to distance himself from that.

      To recap, Three O’Clock High is Funky Winkerbean and “Batton Thomas” is Tom Batiuk, which puts no less than two author surrogates in one strip. So all the self-referential – and self-reverential – dick-sucking Less and Batton are indulging in means the strip is pretty much crawling up its own ass.

      • billytheskink

        Indeed. I’m guessing the syndicate sent out press releases to newspapers that were picking Funky up in 1972 and 1973 that claimed the strip was set at a school called “Three O’Clock High”, which, as you cited, a handful of archived newspaper stories from the early 70s out there on the internet claim the school’s name to be. Were TB and the syndicate on the same page about this? Eh, maybe or maybe not. One article refers to the adult character who made the most frequent appearances in the strip’s first few years, Fred Fairgood (so named from the beginning), as “Mr. Goodsite”, which indicates some miscommunication somewhere between TB and the author of the write-up.

        In any event, early strips don’t mention or even imply the school’s name is Westview (the first few football teams played with blank helmets, no W or goat horns), or the name of the school at all.

        • justifiable

          Todd’s syndicate would have sent out a press release so that the paper would have some info to print in the article about the new strip, and since not all papers picked it up on the same day, at some point Todd had to have seen that release. If the info was wrong about the name of the school, can you imagine a self-righteous pure comic obsessive like Todd not correcting it?
          It actually fits with the helmets being blank – try fitting TOC on the side of one and not having it look like a hot mess.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Well it is of interest to Tom. And only that matters. He is not interested in what is readers want. That would be selling out.

      Tom is a writer and artist.

  9. “Phoning it in” would be a big improvement for Batton Batiuk.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    Looking at their phones before class has nothing to do with wanting to hear the presentation. The teacher literally just walked through the front door. Until five seconds ago, this was unsupervised free time, and the kids have every right to use their cell phones if they want to. “Batton” didn’t even give them enough time to push the off button before he complained they weren’t paying him enough attention. Maybe Les could do his job for once and take control of the class. Or introduce the speaker. Or tell his guest not to insult his students.

    What was the expectation here? Were these children supposed to be sitting in awed reverence like North Koreans, awaiting the great Batton Thomas to give them on-the-spot guidance? For a presentation of dubious educational value, which Les Moore seems to have booked for his own enjoyment and no one else’s?

    The problem today isn’t kids and their cell phones. It’s adults and their egos.

  11. Paul Jones

    It’s like a field guide on spotting failed teachers who pivot to comic strips. Greg Evans of Luann started out the same way. Hell, Luann is simply a spin-off of a strip he did for Scholastic about Fogarty.

  12. Gerard Plourde

    I wondered if the idea for this arc came from something TomBa did about a year ago. His blog shows he spoke at an event at Baldwin-Wallace University in November of 2018 as part of a speaker series on campus. Turning this experience into a week-long arc (but without much in the way of concept development) seems to fit the pattern of the last couple years of the strip.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    Unrelated to today’s strip: that Laura Harrison McBride tweet is a quality burn on someone.

    • justifiable

      It’s like fried gold. She’s flaming Sarah Vine of The Daily Mail for designating someone criticizing Boris Johnson as “prize dick of the day” – while her husband, Michael Gove, a conservative MP who’s supposed to be in quarantine for another week because his daughter started exhibiting symptoms, decided to go jogging because the rules of 14 day mandatory isolation don’t apply to him. At a time when there aren’t enough tests and people practically need to be dying to get confirmation that they have it (which, BTW, will serve to give an inaccurate count on the total of COVID-19 cases and deaths worldwide), Gove apparently got special dispensation from Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty for his daughter – who was resting at home – to be tested so that “he could get back to work.”

      It’s a well-deserved slam, since it’s an abuse of his position when the rest of the country doesn’t have that luxury. To further flaunt it by exercising in public is a total dick move.

  14. Gerard Plourde

    To move to the inexplicable, in today’s strip, Crankshaft discuses the negative effect his improved bowel regularity has had on his ability to keep current with the news. I guess that at 66 I’m not old enough to appreciate the humor (?).