But Basically Everybody Gets Cancer

“The best news is when you retire you get to keep working!  I mean yeah, you’re still close to all your high school friends, and get married and have a kid, but the best part is you get to work for minimum wage and touch comic books all day!”

So after yesterday, when Young Crazy Harry had no problem believing this random old guy he met was himself from the future, today he has no idea at all what a “comic book store” is. It’s one of the most self-explanatory names possible. If you know what a “comic book” and what a “store” is, you should be able to figure out what a “comic book store” is.
I really don’t think this is the first time Batiuk’s had someone be totally baffled by the idea of a comic book store before. I feel like it wasn’t too long ago when Batton Thomas was rambling on about how he still couldn’t believe such things existed. I did some quick Googling, and the first official comic book store was founded in 1968, and their heyday was in the late 70s and 80s, so I find it extremely hard to believe that a teenager would react that way.
It’s also funny how quickly he goes from having no idea what “comic book store” means to wanting to know if you can get rich going it. Maybe it’s just me but it seems a bit weird that the kid who skips school regularly to play arcade games in a pizzeria would be so concerned about getting rich.
Another thing I tried searching for was the phrase Harry is saying in the third panel. I thought maybe it’s a regional thing, but I couldn’t find it. Apparently it’s just rephrasing “you can’t get everything” or “you can’t have it all” for some reason, but it just sounds awkward.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

36 responses to “But Basically Everybody Gets Cancer

  1. William Thompson

    “‘Rich’? Haven’t you noticed that I’m wearing the same black shirt you’re wearing? Thank Gosh for time travel, so I could see how unobservant I was!”

  2. Banana Jr. 6000

    “What’s a comic book store”? Which of those three words confuses you, younger Harry?

  3. Y. Knott

    Okay, what with the incredibly terrible dialogue here, is Crazy Harry having a stroke? Or is Batiuk?

    Either way, we’re being treated to at least another week of this. So it looks like *we’re* the ones who’ll be getting ‘the whole thing’!

  4. Epicus Doomus

    Apparently Old Harry has forgotten that he was a mailman for a hundred years or thereabouts. Giving Young Crazy a “heads up” re: that might have actually been helpful. Oh well, maybe next time.

    I didn’t get panel three either. I assumed he meant that no, he wasn’t rich because he didn’t own the contents of the comic book store, but that makes no sense, as John DOES own the contents of the store and he isn’t wealthy either. The idea that it was some sort of Ohioian regional dialect/slang never occurred to me. Oh well, maybe next time.

    • be ware of eve hill

      I confess to having been Ohio edumacated from first grade through college. Having said that, I don’t fully understand Crazy Harry’s dialog in panel #3 either.

      What I believe Crazy Harry is trying to say is, working in a comic book store is his dream job, but it doesn’t pay very well. In other words, you can’t have everything.

      That’s just my interpretation and not sure if it makes any sense. There are a number of people who make a ton of money doing things they enjoy (i.e. pro athletes, top actors, etc.).

      • be ware of eve hill

        OTOH, I haven’t lived in Ohio since the late 1980s. Perhaps I don’t speak Ohioan anymore. 😉

  5. billytheskink

    Ah yes, the absurd notion of a store that sells nothing but comic books. Hilarious.

    And those hacks at Saturday Night Live tried to wring laughs out of the idea of a store that only sells Scotch tape

  6. Sourbelly

    “Wow! I get to work in a comic book store! I’m so excited! What is a comic book store?”

    “Forget it, Past Me. Nobody gets the whole thing.”

    “The whole…what? Hey, Future Me, why are you so confusing?”

    “It’s in our nickname: We’re both just Kwwwwaaaazzzzyyyy!”

    “So nothing we say has to make a lick of sense?”

    “That’s right, Past Me. It’s called writing (on easy mode).”

  7. Jeff M.

    Let us all be grateful for small things – that B & A have discovered the wonders of whatever that thing is called when you put the exposition in a sentence at the top of the first panel (no joke, there must be a name for that, and if so, I hope someone will enlighten me.)

  8. Jeff M.

    And I see we are back to “Defender” again. Someone commented that perhaps “Defenders” was akin to people referring to Kroger supermarkets as “Kroger’s” or, here in Chicago, Jewel supermarkets as “Jewel’s.” But that comes out of department stores referring to *themselves* as “Field’s” (Marshall Field & Co.) or “Carson’s” (Carson, Pirie, Scott & Co.). I grew up in two cities – Chicago and Pittsburgh – notorious for adding the “s” to the end of any business. And nobody puts an additional “s” on anything else that I have ever heard. So, in all seriousness, where are the IP police when you need them?

  9. Jeff M.

    “What is a comic book store?” “What does a yellow light mean?”

    • be ware of eve hill

      “What does a yellow light mean?”

      Slow down. Classic TV moment. For those that haven’t seen it.

  10. The Dreamer

    So Old Crazy must have told Young Crazy why he ended up at the comic book store Because he was laid off from the meaningless dead end job he had delivering mail from the post office. ‘Sorry Crazy but when you grow up, your life is going to be boring and miserable for yeara before you get to work at the comic book store’

    • Charles

      I do like how this suggests that nothing Crazy has done in his life prior to getting that pity job at Gross John’s store at something like 58 years old is worth commenting upon.

      It’s the “Best News”! Getting married, having children, being able to get a government job despite being functionally illiterate, getting paid for loafing at this very pizza place for decades, feeling so entitled and secure that when you get let go from that job you feel *violated* despite everything you did to deserve being let go – none of that matters. Nope, one day you’re going to work for this creepy, smelly guy who’s younger than you selling comic books – a guy who rips off old ladies, sells pornography in full view of any child who walks into the store, and cuckolds POWs, but only after they’ve been captured overseas.

      What an enviable life.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        What’s even more pathetic is that look of smug, imbecilic joy on young Harry’s face. Binkley from Bloom County met his future self in a similar plot line. He had enough self-awareness to realize his future sucked, and he was a parody of 1980s celebrity culture. What kind of a vacuous, brain-dead person do you have be to think a comic book store is some kind of awesome future for yourself? And to care nothing about anything else in your life? Older Harry doesn’t say anything about being a mailman, having a family. Or even meeting his wife, which had to do with the video game they’re playing right now.

        I think Tom Batiuk having untreated autism would explain a lot about Act III Funky WInkerbean. Especially his complete obsession with comic books, and making most of his stories and blog posts be about them. There’s already another arc later this year where they go to Palm Restaurant in New York City because comic books. An editor should put a stop to it. And the Lisa stories.

  11. ComicBookHarriet

    Thanks for the fact check Spaceman! How would young Crazy Harry, who got laughed at for his Star Trek lunchbox in 1976, not know what a comic book store was in 1980?

    How many wonderful anachronisms can we get this week? We’re up to two. I’m so glad Tom gave us a date to fact check against. It so much more fun to watch him be blatantly wrong every day, than to just wrestle with a non-concrete feeling of wrongness.

    • spacemanspiff85

      I mean, I could absolutely understand “I’ve never even seen a comic book store!” or even “I’d only heard rumors they existed”, but acting like you don’t know what the words mean is just strange.
      I feel like the first rule of writing a period piece or time travel story is make sure you don’t have any blatant anachronisms. The internet (honestly, just Wikipedia) make it so easy to check for them, which makes these worse.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I’ve got another one. On his blog, Batiuk has a ,comic book cover he calls “A beautiful example of the vaporware esthetic.” Does he mean vaporWAVE? Vaporwave is the pastel, retro-high tech 1980s art style often seen in association with music of the same type. Vaporware is a perjorative term for software that is overhyped and never delivered. And the Wikipedia page for each term says “not to be confused with” the other.

      That’s two embarrassing mistakes in one week that Mr. I Hate The Internet could have avoided if he so much as read the first sentence of a Wikipedia page.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Good catch there BJ6K. Though I feel an error like that is a little more forgivable for a one off, dashed out, blog post. As opposed to, you know, something you did an entire year in advance and expect to be published in hundreds of newspapers across the country.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          A little. It’s still a pretty glaring mistake that TB doesn’t know the right term to describe comic book art.

  12. ComicTrek

    Well, a lot has happened since I last commented here! I’ve got to say — I already wasn’t looking forward to the time-travel thing again since the “time pool” monstrosity, and now the feeling is even stronger. If this is really supposed to be young Harry, then he was the most clueless kid ever! “What’s a comic book store?” Dude…(*facepalm*)

  13. Dood

    Oh, look, it’s the jarring and complete indecipherability that has plagued this strip for decades. Nobody gets the whole thing. Nobody.

  14. robertodobbs

    I was a regular customer of a “comic book store” in the Midwest in the early 70s. I just looked it up and it opened in 1972. There were racks of new issues, old valuable ECs tacked on the walls, and undergrounds like Zap. 1972.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah we had shops in the Cleveland area back in the 80s. I wasn’t into comic books, but only went with friends to buy Dungeons and Dragons games.

      • Maxine of Arc

        Hell, out in West Sticksville, MA we had a comic shop in 1987. Possibly before, but I was 14 in 87 so it’s the first year I can actually remember.

  15. hitorque

    1. Like I said, Harold isn’t “Crazy” so much as he’s really fucking stupid. I guess the “Crazy” moniker was the town’s way of being polite to him?

    2. Holy shit… Even I’m disappointed at Young Harold’s lack of ambition, and if any of you knew me in real life, you’d know just how damning a declaration that is…

    • Epicus Doomus

      He was really more wacky and zany than crazy, although I suppose it’s all relative. He was obviously the (wink wink) “stoner” character but more Bill and Ted than Spicoli. Strictly G rated.