Photo Funnies

Epicus Doomus
December 1, 2020 at 10:34 pm
Oh, so this is just a WHS garbage dump arc, a place to use up the one-off WHS gags he has laying around that studio of his.

Guess the humor in today’s strip derives from the fact that Maris is never satisfied with her school pictures. Speaking of retakes, today’s riff hearkens back to a similar gag from 13 years ago.

26 Comments

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26 responses to “Photo Funnies

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Oh yeah…Maris. I assume she has a brother named Mantle and her last name is Pepitone. I assumed this was an ancient old Cindy gag, as she was always the vapid vain unsatisfied one. Carrying a grudge, albeit an extremely mild one, against narcissistic high school girls for this long is kind of weird in a totally predictable and familiar way.

    In a sick way one could argue that these garbage dump arcs are actually better than his standard “one week, one premise, one gag” format is. With that format you end up with six days of Dinkle repeating the same joke five times or Adeela requiring four days to open a door and step inside a building. With the garbage dump arcs you hopscotch around randomly and get to see long-forgotten characters you typically never see.

    Plus you get to see the stuff HE considers crap, which is a fascinating concept in and of itself. I’d give anything to leaf through his “reject” pile, just to see how bad it really could be. Well, not “anything”, exactly, but at least five or ten bucks, no problem. Hopefully he takes change.

    • Gerard Plourde

      “Plus you get to see the stuff HE considers crap”

      It looks like we’re on the same page as to the source of this week’s offerings.

    • I have this vague recollection that Maris’ last name makes her entire name a pun on a baseball player’s name.

      • J.J. O'Malley

        Maybe her name, then, is Maris Rogers (after ’60s Yankees slugger Roger Maris)? Anyone else out there remember?

        Honestly, when I first clicked on today’s strip my first thought was “Gee, how did Cindy manage to get herself registered at Westview again?”

        • billytheskink

          Her name is, in fact, Maris Rogers.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Ugh, that strip is terrible. Does Tom Batiuk believe that a high school faculty advisor would judge students in front of each other like that? And invite students to join in? Even in my high school 30 years ago, they didn’t do that. Anything you had to apply for, and any decision making on it, was handled professionally. If my child had been subjected to that treatment, especially by this skeevy beardo, I’d be down there having a chat with the principal.

          • Westview Radiology

            Logan was white back then.

  2. Gerard Plourde

    Once again we have a random Westview High strip totally unrelated to what has run before.

    Turning to today’s offering: It’s December. What school is taking school pictures halfway through the year. I might be more forgiving of the joke(?) if the setting were a graduation photo shoot, but it’s not.

    Like I said yesterday, it really does look like he’s filling the space with stuff he had lying around.

  3. William Thompson

    Why is it that Batiuk hates everything about high school? I can understand him hating the comic-book industry (Big Komik won’t publish any of his creations) and Hollywood (they wouldn’t film Crankshaft the way he demanded), so what trivial grudge makes him dump on the entirety of the high-school experience? Did the prom queen refuse to date him? When he started teaching, did some bureaucrat laugh at his brilliant suggestion that teachers be fully trained in the use of colored chalks?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I wonder about that too. For someone who is such a supporter of public education, and band directors in particular, he sure has a negative view of the everyone connected to it.

      As I recall my high school days, most of my teachers seemed to enjoy what they did.

  4. billytheskink

    TB considers Sadie Summers, Cindy’s younger sister who was introduced in early Act II, to be “the worst mistake I ever made in creating a character”. Sadie was basically used to rehash the same kinds of stuck-up popular girl gags that TB had been using Cindy for, and TB, in an extremely rare bout of self-awareness, both realized he had done this and understood it to be a bad idea.

    And yet, here we have Maris Roger doing the same shtick. And before her we had Mallory Brooks… who was preceded by Rana Winkerbean… with Jessica Darling before her… and then the two Summers sisters. There have essentially been six generations of Westview High students in this strip’s history and EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM has had their own Cindy. TB has made his admitted “worst mistake” four separate times since he claims to have realized it.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The situation reminds me of good old Lucy here:

    • Rusty Shackleford

      That is what is so frustrating about Batty, he never learns from his mistakes. In his quest for awards he chases any shiny thing instead of doing real work to make things interesting.

      So he craps out hundreds of characters, but there are no authentic details to give the characters depth, and so they all end up as throw-aways.

      Of course Batty sees himself as a master of his craft—it’s the rest of the world that is at fault for not recognizing his greatness.

      • Gerard Plourde

        “So he craps out hundreds of characters, but there are no authentic details to give the characters depth,”

        I think this reflects the literary template he grew up with and seemingly never outgrew. Silver Age superhero comics for the most part (pre-Marvel’s turn to multi-issue story arcs) are free of any deep character development. Superhero comics of that era had pre-adolescent boys as their target audience. The plots were long on action and short on anything else because that’s what sold. The Marvel revolution paved the way for more sophistication in the media, which we see today.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          That literary template is called the “anti-Dickens”.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          “Never outgrew” is exactly Tom Batiuk’s problem. Have you ever read his “Flash Fridays” on the funkywinkerbean.com blog? He writes about comics like a 14-year-old would. He has a little understanding of how the adult world works, but he’s way off base on the details, and is far too concerned with unimportant things like how the characters’ superpowers work.

          https://funkywinkerbean.com/wpblog/flash-fridays-the-flash-258-february-1978/ is a great example. He doesn’t know what “fourth wall” means. He doesn’t know that comic books kill characters and bring them back all the time. He thinks exposition is unnecessary. He doesn’t know why newspapers failed. He rails against corporate ownership of creative companies, when that’s almost always how they operate. And he thinks AT&T is a hedge fund.

    • Charles

      It’s not just simply Cindy though. Batiuk simply uses a whole stable of stereotypes for his students, and if he tries to break out of the mold with a character, that character is a cipher.

      There’s Cindy, who’s almost always a hot blonde and always, surprisingly, interested in being a newscaster rather than the standard cheerleader that is this trope. The only time the “Cindy” didn’t fit into this mold was Rana, but that was when he had a whole host of infants that he grew up and slotted into the stereotypes, and he didn’t have a blonde girl among them. He’s also got the dork, the goofy guy who wears a hat everywhere and of course, the football-playing bully. There’s also the serious girl who often gets clowned on by the rest of the cast, who’s kind of a pale reflection of the dork, but isn’t quite so dorky. If a character doesn’t fit into a standard type, they don’t have much of a personality at all. And if he were to give them greater personalities, they’d simply fall into the stereotypes that he’s always had. I suspect that’s what will happen if Lumpy or Ravaged-Hairline-Guy become more central characters. The “delightfully crazy guy who wears a hat” role hasn’t been filled in this generation, after all. And while Bernie’s the dork, he hasn’t really fully established himself yet.

      • Rana only broke the mould because her tragic backstory collided with the “Cindy template” to become a Contemporary Issue Facing Today’s Teens.

        • Charles

          “Broke the mold” in Rana’s case only meant that she wasn’t blonde and she wasn’t interested in being a newscaster. She was still the bitchy hot chick, and he went with the traditional role of having her be the lead cheerleader.

          I do wonder if Maris going with the “blonde, but with Summer’s hair” is of any significance. The Cindy’s hair usually was “she thinks this is hot” style, whereas the Summer hair is “Batiuk thinks this is hot” style.

          • Yeah, I was thinking of this high-minded concept about how she was overcompensating for feeling out of place in Suburban America.

            I guess Maris Rogers has to deal with every Crankshaft in town trying to make her care about baseball stats, so it’s all relative. Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, etc etc

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Nah, Crankshaft would have named her Hornsby Rogers. Maris and Mantle are way past Ed’s time. Like expansion, and non-white players. He’s old enough to have pitched to the Rajah for real.

            I kid, but not by much. Canonically, Ed Crankshaft struck out three Detroit Tigers in an exhibition game in 1940. Rogers Hornsby played until 1937. Crankshaft almost could have struck out The Babe (last year: 1935).

        • billytheskink

          And even Rana’s tragic backstory was not dissimilar to her predecessor in the “Cindy” role. Rana’s family’s death (and her adoptive father’s subsequent decade MIA) is in many ways Jessica’s murdered father (I think his name was John Dar-something…) cranked up to 11.

  5. Perfect Tommy

    Maris Rogers?
    So she’ll require 61 re-takes?

  6. hitorque

    I TOLD YOU!

    I told y’all years ago that Cindy Sommers-Winkerbeane-Jarre would reverse-age to the point that she ended back up in Westview High!!

  7. So I guess that Mr. Batiuk’s favourite sitcom is “Fraiser.”

    And the thing about sitcoms is that sooner or later, there’s going to be a clip show, or a character that just disappears and/or appears without warning, or a hasty script rewrite. But comics generally don’t have to worry about actors being unavailable for reasons beyond the control of the other staff…