Kudos to the our newest bullpen addition BananaJr6000 for a stellar debut. Is it too late to hold him over for another week? Because I was hoping that by the time it was my turn in the barrel, this Phil + Flash + Kitch arc would be concluded, and I would get to write about something, anything else besides Batty’s imaginary comix universe.
Apologies if this point has been raised around here, but has everyone noticed that BatAyers no longer uses the photo album corner thingies to denote a flashback panel? Looks to me like these were last employed in March. While faithful readers understood this visual cue to represent occurrences in the past, the photo album corners were inconsistently and sometimes improperly applied. In a lot of cases too, their presence would lead the reader to wonder “um, who would have been there to take that picture, let alone save it in a photo album?” Anymore, it appears Batiuk and Ayers have replaced that device with a layout that I have unimaginatively tagged the memory bubble*: a panel with one or more corners formed as a cloud, with contents rendered in sepia tone or occasionally duotone.
Since it’s been established that this scene is taking place in their high school days, let’s invite a quick aneurysm by trying to calculate the year in which today’s panel three is taking place. According to the Book of Batom, chapter 3, verse 2, it was 1954 when Flash “showed up on Batom Comics doorstep,” after stints as “a stringer for the Press as well as a freelance writer for various publications around town.” Let’s allow a couple years for his prior work experience, preceded by a minimum of two years of college. And we’ll make them sophomores here, as presumably were Darin and Pete when we met them in Act II. This generous estimate puts us circa 1948…seventy four years ago. Which would make our boys about ninety now.
They say “age ain’t nothing but a number,” but in the Funkiverse it’s anything but. Once a Funky or Crankshaft character leaves high school (after eight or 20 years), they age elastically. You have your spry nonagenarians, like Phil ‘n’ Flash, Ruby Lith, and Cliff and Vera. I reckon Morton and the rest of the Bedside Manor residents (except for decrepit Ed Crankshaft) to be somewhat younger, with Mr. and Mrs. Dinkle a few years behind them. The core characters (remember the core characters?) are, like myself and many readers of this blog, late Boomers, though they (except for brilliant Les and ageless Cindy) share the infirmities, world-weariness, and woe of the older cast. Meanwhile, ostensibly fortysomething Act II characters like Darin and Jess, Pete and Mindy, are presented as starry eyed kids.
Act III begat teenage Summer and her pals, closely followed by Cody and Owen’s class, who were succeeded by Bernie Silver and company. With their graduation this summer, it’s officially time to retire the old tag line: “[A] reality-based comic strip that depicts contemporary issues affecting young adults in a thought-provoking and sensitive manner.” Anyone have a suggestion for a substitute?
July 24, 2022 at 7:02 am
The tag line for this strip should be: Pizza and comics with a heavy dose of boomer gripes.
Not to be confused with the reality bubble, that tiny, round bit of original content that BatAyers sticks at the bottom of a sideways Sunday comics cover.