Our own newagepalimpsest called it yesterday… but we can’t be assigning blame for the reappearance of him. For one thing, we all know TB works a year in advance (note the reference to a graduation ceremony from “two years ago” in today’s strip). For another, reading this strip always carries a risk of appearances by him or Dinkle, regardless of the context.
I know we were all hoping he was not out loathing people on a book tour or a Hollywood something… but nope, he‘s loathing people here at the graduation ceremony. At least he‘s observing rather than participating (as the faculty often do), so I guess it could be worse.
32 responses to “Dick and Mortar”
Good ol’ Dick Facey, always a radiant beam of sunshine and light. And good ol’ BatHam, never afraid to drag out the moldiest and most hackneyed gags, regardless of the topic.
Every high school graduation I’ve attended, the faculty wear academic gowns and either process in as a group and sit together or, if they have a homeroom may sit with their homeroom class.
So why is Les wearing his brown suit coat and sitting in the audience with Cayla?
And I’ll refrain from commenting on the round mortarboard “joke”.
Correction: I just checked the strip again and I see that he’s wearing a blue-grey jacket.
Yes, I’ve never been to a HS graduation where the faculty are not in academic robes, and I’ve been to quite a few.
As I was posting the pictures of Luigi’s yesterday, I looked more closely at the photos of long-forgotten bowlers and crooners that are firmly screwed to the walls. I was amazed to see that each array contained an image of my favorite FW character. It was that Scotch-swilling, cigar-smoking, firearms-fondling, English-speaking, murdering chimp that we all love, Zanzibar! If I had noticed the pictures while I was there I would have taken some closeups, looked for more pictures of him, and certainly asked if anyone knew more about him. He looks pretty snazzy wearing a hat and suspenders as he guzzles a bottle of beer. His photo was right next to one of Trace Adkins, for dogs sake! I wonder if he shot those two men after he finished his beer?
Excellent work, Ian, just top notch!
Holy cow! Good eye Ian’s!
That’s funny! Thanks for following up, @ian’sdrunkenbeard. I was stumped.
I almost mentioned the dirty glasses in front of wine bottles. I don’t know if it’s just dust because they’re part of a neglected display, or a dirty film left by a substandard dishwashing machine. Please don’t serve me in one of those glasses. *Yuck!* 🤢
Yesterday, you posted a couple of photos of the infamous green pitcher. The green pitcher was shown adjacent to a couple of smaller ice water pitchers. Do you know what was in the green pitcher?
I didn’t notice how hazy those glasses looked.
I think The Green Pitcher held water.
Round mortarboard rims are non-hazardous? I guess Odd Job from “Goldfinger” isn’t on Batty’s cultural radar.
Goldfinger isn’t a comic book.
It appears “Goldfinger” (and several other early Bond movies) actually were issued as komix. Newspaper strips, actually, by Express Newspapers. Available in a nice collection for forty bucks on Amazon.
Hate to admit I researched this (one google query and one click), but I’m stuck in a hotel in a dry county in Arkansas, waiting for the rain to let up so I can continue my motorcycle trip. It’s not like I’ve got anything else to do.
An adaptation of “Doctor No” appeared in DC’s *Showcase* title (#43, to be exact.)
1980 Bruce Springsteen (listen up, Harry K!) insists that James Bond and Secret Agent Man can’t do it like he can.
There is no way Les knows more school board scuttlebutt than his wife, who works right outside principal Nate’s office.
Two years ago when they all threw their graduation mortarboards into the air… a couple of people almost lost an eye.
Almost lost an eye? That’s a rather dark view for what may be one of the happiest days in these students lives. Thanks for throwing the “almost” in there, Batty. That statement could have been horrifying rather than just morose. These are just kids, Batty.
Is this supposed to be funny? I guess, for the readers who enjoy schadenfreude.
I guess dark humor like this should be expected from the writer who thought the school bus rodeo featured in Crankshaft several years ago was funny.
What? No Bernie today? 💔😭
Or the students could just not throw the mortarboards. That was what my high school did. Especially when you can’t do live in-person events anyway, which was yesterday’s joke.
I can see the Sunday strip now:
Panels 1 & 2:
“You will be given an empty envelope. After the ceremony, you will be given your diploma in exchange for your mortarboard. By the way, they have your names on them, so don’t try throwing them in the air and then picking up just any one that’s on the ground.” (In earlier years, show a close-up of Cory with a worried look along the lines of “no water bottles allowed during the final”)
Panel 3: students throw their mortarboards into the air
Panel 4: students wandering around calling out the names of the student whose mortarboard they picked up.
Panel 5: Les sneers at the students and tells (insert other useless Westview teacher) “I didn’t know they could read.”
I got the reference! Draco Malfoy.
Most people are probably wondering what the hell I’m jabbering about.
For those of you unfamiliar with the school bus driver rodeo in Crankshaft there was a bit of actual driving involved, but for the most part, the competition seemed skewed directly towards cruelty to children.
Here’s a recap:
Day One: Drivers are awarded points on the ability to stop the bus and align the exit door directly beside water puddles. The students are forced to exit the bus through the puddles. The most points are awarded to the driver who parks next to the deepest puddle. Yup, Ed Crankshaft is literally being awarded points by a governing body for his ability to make children miserable. What fun!
Day Two: Things move from the inconvenience of wet shoes to literally testing a bus driver’s aptitude for injuring children. The bus driver has to maneuver the bus in a manner that hurtles a crash test dummy to the back of the bus. The dummy closest to the back door wins the most points. The fact that the judges running the competition are visibly giddy at what’s going on is weird enough. Crankshaft’s easy smile as he leers over his shoulder at the broken body of the crash test dummy is disturbing to say the least. The pain of others is the only thing that eases Crankshaft’s troubled, pun-filled mind, and this shadowy cabal is rewarding him for indulging his most hateful impulses. I can’t see how anyone who loves their children could like this particular strip. I found it appalling.
The rest wasn’t too bad.
Day Three: More silly than offensive. The bus drivers must maneuver their bus between the cones. Ice cream cones. 🙄
Day Four: Crankshaft holding the winner’s trophy and being obnoxious towards Max Axelrod.
Day Five: The traditional confiscated squirt gun fight to wrap up the events.
Add school bus driver rodeos to the list of things Batty is clueless about. Real-life school bus driver rodeos promote safety!
A gag about a much-despised profession learning how to fail at their jobs is the lowest of low-hanging fruit. It’s amazing how unfunny Batiuk makes this, just by changing who the victim is. The joke is at the children’s expense, instead of the profession he claims to be making fun of. Because his characters can do no wrong.
Same basic gag, done better (and more succinctly) about 30 years ago:
You know, it’s just like Les to show up at graduation when he hasn’t been seen in the classroom in years. All he’s done since before the pandemic was things on his way to or from school, introduce Batton Thomas (who nobody but him wanted to meet), and some end-of-year burn-off gags. This entire graduating class would barely know who he is.
This is great! The whole time during this graduation arc, I kept wondering “What must Les think about all this?”. “When’s Les gonna chime in?” “Sure, kids are graduating, but what’s Les up to right now?” Glad to see the return of everyone’s favorite character. May he live to be a thousand years old, and never leave the strip, just like that old guy from Gasoline Alley.
I hate to say it, but a guy two classes ahead of me took a mortarboard, Kung-Fu throwing-star style, to the head. Got eight stitches for his trouble.
What were they making your mortarboard’s out of?! Mine was pretty flimsy cardboard covered in the same nylon garbage as our robes. You couldn’t have put out an eye with it if you tried.
I dunno for sure, but it was very solid. Maybe plastic. This wasn’t too long after the lawn darts era. A different time. Drinking out of garden hoses and…….Arghhhhh!!!
Wait a minute. Why is Les telling his own wife about something that happened at graduation two years ago? Was she not there? She’s been married to him, and worked at the school, for well over a decade now. How does she not know this?
Batty certainly can’t have Les ask the question. That would make Les appear ignorant, and he’s much too infallible for that. Batty always leaves the cluelessness up to one of his female characters. Cayla’s primary function in Funky Winkerbean is to play up Les’s (alleged) greatness.
Now here’s a strip that’s at everyone’s comfort level. The joke is stupid and Les is only here to talk about the misery of others.
Concise, and absolutely correct. 😆