That Is A Painful Face

today’s strip

I know trying to figure out the meaning of Tom Batiuk’s work these days will have the same result as looking upon a Lovecraftian Elder God, but seriously, what is the deal with Mr. Silver’s face? It’s hideous, of course, but I can’t tell if he’s supposed to be squinting or what. And if he’s never even met Mason then why does he have a poster of his Mason up in his waiting room?

I really couldn’t tell what the “free coffee” line was supposed to be.  I’m guessing it’s supposed to mean people are so interested in working with Mason they buy him lots of coffee, but I thought at first Alan was hitting on Mason, since he’s pointing right at him and has that horrible expression on his face.

Oh, and Les is Mason’s sidekick. Isn’t that cute. I don’t know why Les is bowing to shake Alan’s hand, apart from the artist wanting to make sure there was room to showcase Mason and still fit that word balloon in.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

52 responses to “That Is A Painful Face

  1. Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

    Is Mr Silver supposed to be part Asian or part Gilbert Gottfried?

    • Christopher Robin

      He’s clearly half Grimley.

      • Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

        Well, that’s a disturbing similarity, I must say. Masonne and Les’s project is as doomed as doomed can be! Give me a break!

      • Jimmy

        I completely forgot Martin Short got that character made into a cartoon. Good for him spinning that one-note character from late-stage SCTV to slumping SNL to forgettable kids’ show!

        • Christopher Robin

          I’m not sure what kind of neural convolution managed to dig up the comparison. I’m pretty sure I never watched the cartoon. It’s completely mental!

      • billytheskink

        Not his first appearance in FW either, though certainly his most prominent.

    • Epicus Doomus

      That has to be based on someone he knows in real life, as it’s way too specific a caricature. He does that sometimes, like with his marching band aficionados and such. I have no earthly idea who it’s based on, though.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    I think the coffee gag is a wordplay-based joke on “Starbuck Jones”, like Mason is always jones-ing for Starbuck’s. It took me a while too. I could be totally wrong, of course. This one is just plain confusing all the way around.

    • justifiable

      It’s a reference to Starbucks – like all of Todd’s “witticisms” having to do with pop culture, it’s ponderous, hammered to death, and not witty to start with.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Wow, you’re probably right. Does Batiuk really want to draw attention to that, though? Starbucks seems like they’d be the ligation-y type.

      • Epicus Doomus

        In all this time that pun never even occurred to me. Now I’m wondering if Starbuck Jones was a designed pun all along. If anyone is capable of generating terrible puns on a almost intuitive level it’s BatTom.

        • William Thompson

          If Bathack really did create Starbuck Jones as a child . . . okay, as someone in grammar school, for an extended number of years . . . .then he most likely took “Starbuck” from “Moby Dick.” Was there a comic-book adaptation of the novel?

          • Christopher Robin

            There was a very popular film version in 1956, at least.

          • justifiable

            I’m betting it’s just a ripoff of Buck Rogers with “star” slapped on, either for Texaco Star Theater that broadcast the serial, or just “star” as in outer space. Starbuck was the first mate on the Pequod, but I seriously can’t see an adolescent Todd getting all steamed up over a one-legged whaler captain’s obsession when there were Batman comics to read.

          • ian'sdrunkenbeard

            I’m currently reading the paperback copy of “Moby Dick” that I bought in high school. I also have this Classics Illustrated version.


          • Christopher Robin

            He might have gone sour on Batman comics by ’56. They’d gotten pretty silly and kid-marketed by then, not the serious exploration of the dramatic concept that he expected. But I suppose there’s always back issues from before they jumped the shark with that dumb kid sidekick.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Starbuck was also the name of a major character in Battlestar Galactica. Doesn’t seem like something Batiuk would borrow from, but it reminds me of it every time.

            There’s something about the generic surname Jones, and being reminded of Dirk Benedict in 1980, that really drives home the all-consuming lameness of this character

          • Remember, when Les talks about literature, he has only two examples. “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” and “Moby Dick.”

      • justifiable

        Battocks’ character is “Starbuck” – not “Starbucks” plural. Starbucks was founded by a history teacher and writer, with the latter heavily favoring Melville’s Moby-Dick as a source for the name. At some point an old mining map of the Cascades was consulted – when they saw a town called “Starbo,” that inspired them to choose “Starbuck,” which is the name of the first mate.

        “Starbuck Jones” seems less of a Melville riff than it does a deliberate ripoff of Buck Rogers, but Todd’s gonna glom onto what he can here. He’d really be shit-out-of-luck today if the writer partner hadn’t been talked out of going with “Pequod Coffee.”

        • ian'sdrunkenbeard

          “Peqoud Coffee” is good. Van Johnson good.

        • Doghouse Reilly (Minneapolis)

          Maybe Starbuck Jones is a riff on Starman Jones, Robert A. Heinlein’s 1953 juvie novel.

          • Christopher Robin

            I’m gonna put my chips on this as the #1 contender. We all knew he couldn’t have come up with any aspect of the character from within his own brain cells.

    • Am I the only one here who remembers “Jo Jo ☆$”?

  3. Christopher Robin

    JEERS: Lesserman thrusts himself forward, dripping with sarcasm, genuinely indignant that the producer acknowledged Mason before kissing his genius ass.

    CHEERS: Silver’s visible disgust over being forced into physical contact with whatever the hell this is that Mr. Jarre has dragged into his office.

  4. billytheskink

    Seems an apt title for Les. You can’t spell “sidekick” without “dick”.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I think I get this one now. I think that between panel two and panel three there’s supposed to be a sort of awkward comedic pause, at which point Les breaks the tension by making another far, far weaker SJ-related joke. What’s really funny about it is how he’s doing a gag about someone making a social interaction weird by blurting out a bad pun, which has probably happened to him many thousands of times in real life.

      • justifiable

        What’s moronic is that no studio head would call an actor by the name of a character he’s played. If George Clooney takes a meeting, you’d better believe no one tells him that it’s great to meet Danny Ocean.

        • Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

          Of course not. They’d say it’s great to meet Batman.

          • justifiable

            Not after what he did to the franchise – there’s a reason why there’s an eight year gap between Batman & Robin and Batman Begins.

            It was only after it bombed that Clooney realized that taking a role just because he needed the work might not be such a great idea, and started to pay attention to more than just his part in a film – something Masonne is utterly clueless about.

        • billytheskink

          I’d like to think this is based off a real meeting TB had with some “Hollywood” or agent type who shook his hand and told him “It’s great to meet Funky Winkerbean”.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            I imagine it went something like this Mitchell & Webb skit:

            (NSFW, politically incorrect)

          • Epicus Doomus

            “The band is just fantastic, that is really what I think, oh by the way, which one’s Pink?”

        • Doghouse Reilly (Minneapolis)

          They’d squeal “Pleased to meet, George Burnett! The Facts of Life are all about YOU!”

  5. William Thompson

    “Which side do you want kicked? How about all of them?”

  6. Paul Jones

    A caricature slammed for reading the room properly. Typical Batiuk.

  7. I really like Silver’s expression in panel three,

    “What is this thing…and why am I touching it?!”

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    So Les is a sidekick to Mason’s cancer movie now? Would that make him his… chemo sabe?

  9. So aghast is everyone at Alan’s horrific mug that nobody noticed Mason’s missing his right arm in panel 1. Alan appears to be pinning up his empty sleeve.

    • William Thompson

      Look at Silver’s right hand and you can see Mason’s fingers there. It looks like Silver is using both his hands to grip that arm. “This deal will cost you an arm and a leg, Starbuck Jones! Beginning now!”

  10. KMD

    Seriously. The subtle, perhaps unintentional, anti-Semitism is a bit much over the past week and a half.

  11. Starbuck was also a soft rock band from the 70’s or 80’s. They had a nit with “Moonlight Feels Right,” supposedly the only hit song with a marimba solo.

  12. Count of Tower Grove

    Larry Storch has come out to retirement to play Agarn’s great-great grandson.

  13. Gerard Plourde

    I’ve been at a loss to react to this pointless train wreck, but then I imagined where this could be (but certainly isn’t) heading.

    Suppose this latest Hollywood excursion were an elaborate plot to get revenge involving everyone Les has annoyed (basically the entire town of Westview). It could be a setup to buy exclusive worldwide rights to Lisa’s Story, including the book rights, in order to catch and kill it. As an added twist, Funky could be shown to be the mastermind behind the scheme. Maybe even throw in the revelation that he and Lisa had a long-standing affair and he’s actually Summer’s father.

    Anything would be better than what’s being served up currently.