Rhymes with Attic

“There, there, lie quiet now. You just had a bad dream.” Yep, it had to be the “off-gassing of the plastics” in a helmet that’s sat in the attic since 1980. In addition to her prowess at video games, Donna’s also some kind of an expert in plastics chemistry.

39 Comments

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39 responses to “Rhymes with Attic

  1. Banana Jr. 6000

    Oh no! I forgot my comic book! I changed history, got arrested, and failed to save Lisa’s life, but the important thing is I forgot my comic book!

    • Charles

      I still can’t get over the fact that when he tried and failed to warn Lisa about her ultimate death from cancer, he just flat gave up and didn’t bother any further.

      “If I try again, I might not get to Captain EZ’s until after it closes! Priorities, man! That said, I could delay the return to my own time simply by not putting the helmet back on until after I’ve warned Lisa, but… nah. With all that pizza in me I’m gonna need a nap soon!”

      • Epicus Doomus

        Crazy’s failure to warn Lisa re: early breast cancer detection was the punch line of a gag, it was apparently supposed to be funny, I guess. And on top of that, he forgot all about Lisa as soon as he cooked up a get-rich-quick scheme involving (sigh) a comic book. And then when he returned, he lamented losing the comic book, not his failure to warn Lisa. Priorities, man!

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          This whole arc is so self-contradictory that I can’t even guess what the intent of that scene was. Harry fails to tell Lisa something useless, because he wasn’t being interrupted by a police officer that wasn’t arresting him. That’s… funny? Ironic? Sad? You tell me.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Just got back from vacation and so I am still catching up….but I was happy he didn’t warn Lisa.

        More comic books…sigh…once again he fetishizes the object, and then tells no story. Even Mary Worth was able to generate some interest with today’s strip.

  2. Sourbelly

    Outgassing? Eh. Not unless the temperature in the attic was well over 100 F. Even then….

    Passing out from wearing a cheap stupid helmet 18 sizes too small may have had more of an impact on Kwazy Harry’s boring, stupid, pointless psychotic embolism. Whatever. It’s over, right? On to the next thing!

  3. Gerard Plourde

    Dumb doesn’t begin to describe the level of anticlimax here.

    As a palate cleanser, I’d like to join Banana Jr. 6000 and suggest the scene they discussed late in yesterday’s thread from the Twilight Zone episode “Walking Distance”. It deals directly with the pitfall inherent in idealizing the past.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Thanks, I’m glad you enjoyed it. It’s amazing how much truth is in that little scene. And how badly Tom Batiuk needs to hear it;

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Tom should watch this and observe how a real storyteller tells a story.

        PS: read the book by Rod’s daughter…sorry the name escapes me now…but it paints a beautiful picture of Rod’s life.

    • Professor Fate

      Anticlimax, yes. Still one would like a stronger word to describe this nonsense – in the end the only thing that happens is a rip off of one his own earlier stories otherwise it’s an exercise in banal nonstory tedium without even his usual wallow in bathos. Why anyone would do other than hate read this strip is beyond me.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        “Anticlimax” gives it too much credit. Anti-climax is a narrative choice not to have a climax, but it still plays off the audience’s expectation of a climax. It’s no even a No Ending, like Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This narrative has no plot, no conflict, no escalation, or anything at all that would constitute a story. Batiuk wrote himself an excuse to talk about his favorite comic books some more, so that’s what this strip is here to do. The End. Or the beginning, more likely.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    “Off-gassing”, eh? I hope none of those “gases” are carcinogenic, or here we go again. Yet another incredibly stupid Batiukian twist no sane person could have seen coming. And because it’s just the ever-zany Crazy, his poisoning is played for laughs. Simply hilarious.

  5. billytheskink

    On the plus side, Crazy’s reality of getting asphyxiated is somehow far more interesting than anything his oxygen-deprived brain dreamed up for him to do in the past.

  6. I do appreciate the use of the plural noun plastics.

  7. Hitorque

    1. So how long was Harold out with those two idiots doing nothing the whole time? Nobody cared enough to dial 911?

    2. So Donna is smart enough to know about the chemical degradation of plastic but she isn’t smart enough not to tell her dear husband to put on the damn thing in the first place?

    3. FWIW, some little Halloween/toy helmet made to circa 1979 plastics standards would have gotten brittle over the decades and come apart the moment Harold tried to squeeze it over his giant head…

  8. none

    Oh no! The comic book! No!

    This is horrible! How will they manage their $0 monthly mortgage payments? How will they pay the food and utilities which Harry’s USPS pension pays for? How will they afford the $0 car note for the paid off car? How will they account for the $0 tuition fee that Maddie is incurring because she doesn’t go to college?

    This is a disaster! Just think of all the things that Harry The Consumer could have additionally consumed with that extra money! Like comic books! And…. more comic books! And uh… um… what else does he care about now? Anything? Seriously, it’s just comic books at this point, right?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Comic books! Comic books comic books comic books comic books comic books comic books, comic books comic books comic books comic books comic books. Comic books comic books comic books, comic books comic books comic books. Comic books. Comic books comic books comic books comic books. Comic books comic books? Comic books comic books comic books comic books comic books! Comic books.

  9. William Thompson

    I call shenanigans. If there had been any fumes in that helmet, Crazy Harry would have huffed them long ago.

  10. Dood

    The Eliminator knows all about outgassing. Just pull her finger.

  11. Miskatonic Sophomore

    “Off-gassing of the plastics” should go straight into the Batiuktionary. An example of weirdly stilted quasi-formal Westviewnian English right up there with “vodka and orange “ and “solo car date.” Putting aside the question of why anybody would go straight to *that* explanation for Harry’s experience (over, say, oxygen deprivation, or a stroke), wouldn’t a native of Earth say something about “toxic fumes,” something like that? But no, “off-gassing of the plastics.”

    Then again, when one is a Great Writer, I guess one is entitled to the occasional special little flourish.

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    So I’ve been thinking about the overall timeline here. Harry was originally worried about causing ‘time anomalies.’ But then he blatantly tried to change Lisa’s future, and tried to change his own future. Which I guess he failed to do, because he returned to the same reality he started from: the one where John Howard acquired the valuable comic book he used to finance the comic book store Harry works in in 2022.

    But wait! In this reality, John Howard hired Crazy Harry to work in the comic book store after he lost his post office job. So maybe Harry leaving the comic book on the bench for John to find, so John could later start the comic book store and rescue Harry from an uncertain future, is the “fortune” Harry tried to secure for himself. He has a steady paycheck in a job he enjoys. There are a lot worse timelines out there. In competent hands, this could have been a great setup for a “you were in the good future all along” reveal.

    There are other problems, like Defender being an anachronism in April 1980, and teenage Donna having the wrong hair color and body type. Harry didn’t recognize his own wife, even though he knew her at that age… but she didn’t look right, so there were valid reasons he may have not noticed. If this were a Christopher Nolan movie, you might take this as a clue that this world isn’t what it seems. It’s a subtle hint to the audience.

    But this isn’t a Christopher Nolan movie. It’s Funky goddam Winkerbean. We all know full well that any “clues” the audience might detect aren’t intentional. They’re a function of Tom Batiuk’s laziness, sloppiness, unclear writing, and lack of research. So we can’t draw any conclusions about these things. We can’t trust what the story tells us. And that’s why Tom Batiuk fails so completely as a writer. We can’t trust what he’s telling us. Even though “telling” is all he ever does, in his exposition-heavy talk-in-circles style.

  13. be ware of eve hill

    Yet another Funky Winkerbean story arc ends, not with a bang, not with a joke, but with a yawn. *YAAWWWWWN* 🥱🥱🥱

    (cut and paste at the end of every Funky Winkerbean story arc)

  14. Y. Knott

    Batiuk also rhymes with “static”, which describes his work.

    And “undramatic”, which describes the attempts at storytelling in his work.

    And “problematic”, which describes the attitudes toward women displayed in his work.

    And “uncharismatic”, which describes the characters in his work.

    And “katabatic”, which means to slope downward, which describes the trajectory of the quality of his work.

    And “unidiomatic”, which describes the attempts to write spoken English dialogue in his work.

    And “idiosyncratic” — a word which could sometimes be used to express a positive trait, but in this case is used to express the thought that no other human would create the particular set of uniquely disappointing flaws that characterize his work.

    So Batiuk’s work is static, undramatic, problematic, uncharismatic, katabatic, unidiomatic and tragically idiosyncratic … and about all this, I am emphatic!

    • be ware of eve hill

      This post reminds me of The Logical Song by Supertramp.

      Ever thought about setting it to music?

      Batty: Please tell me who I am, who I am, who I am, who I am