John Dar-Ring

There really isn’t a ton of actual content here to snark on. Two people arrive at their destination, ring a doorbell, and wonder if someone is home-but he is! What interests me most about this strip is that it’s yet another example of how nobody in the Batiukverse ever calls or emails anyone, they just show up at the house of a stranger they’ve been told is odd without giving any kind of advance notice. I guess it’s meant to be more interesting or dramatic, but it’s always kind of funny to me.
I am looking forward to tomorrow’s strip. “You don’t know us, but this guy you worked with decades and decades ago told us you have something we want and gave us your address . . . “



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

44 responses to “John Dar-Ring

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Correct there, Spiff. Requiring a full strip to depict a character ringing a doorbell…that’s the Boy Lisa experience, all right. And tomorrow, Mitchell will need another day to open the door, and on Wednesday, IF we’re lucky, they’ll actually enter the house. And weeks and weeks from now, when this idiotic John Darling (Jessica’s father, BTW) story lurches to its inevitable conclusion, this one will already be long, long forgotten, like the other 99% of BatYam’s “work”. If he’s already stalling for time on a Monday, it means this story is even dumber and duller than I assumed it’d be, which shouldn’t even be possible.

    • erdmann

      And what are the odds that when it does lurch to its conclusion the initially hostile Knox winds up joining the Atomik Komix staff?

      • Epicus Doomus

        I didn’t consider this possibility. Either Mitchell will turn out to be a one-and-done weirdo, or he’ll turn out to be the obsessive weirdo with a heart of gold, who’ll fit in seamlessly with Flash, Phil and the rest of the AK gang. Shudder.

    • Y. Knott

      This being Batiuk, it will feel like it drags on for weeks and weeks. But it’s the strip’s odd, hazy, synapse-shorted rhythms that make it feel that way — there’ll be an entire strip about ringing a doorbell, but then, say, two days later we’ve skipped over an actual big reveal so that it can be backsold later in a throwaway bit of incidental dialogue.

      And the ending of the arc will be rushed in a way that serves no dramatic purpose … except to get this thing over with so we can visit Funky’s next riveting AA meeting, or Harry Dinkle’s thrilling medical appointment for an ingrown toenail, or Batton Thomas’s gripping tour of Ohio comic shops, or whatever else the worn-out pointer on the broken Wheel of Misfortune that is Batiuk’s brain lands on in a week’s time.

      • The Duck of Death

        The endings are always rushed because Puff Batty follows some cockamamie rule that he says an editor once gave him: An arc may not last longer than three weeks.

        I read some great classic comics on CK, including Big Ben Bolt, Heart of Juliet Jones, Buz Sawyer, Johnny Hazard, and Thimble Theater (aka Popeye). Every one of them routinely has arcs lasting months. Since the writers can actually write, the stories move along nicely and don’t get boring.

        It seems obvious: A story should last as long as it takes to tell it well.

        It also seems obvious that if you have decided to follow the arbitrary rule of keeping your stories short, you need to cut out all fat and pace the story so that it works dramatically in the time frame you’ve chosen.

        But then, a lot of things that seem obvious to us have apparently never occurred to TB.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          It’s like Batiuk doesn’t understand anything more complex than less than 3 weeks=good, more than 3 weeks=bad. Being short doesn’t even help in his case, because he’s also adhering to an arbitrary “must be one week long” rule, which leads to so much padding, and needless transactional conversation. Tomorrow they’ll probably introduce themselves, even though we already know who they are and why they’re there.

        • Green Luthor

          So Batiuk slavishly follows that “no arc longer than three weeks” rule, while also telling us all about how great he is for breaking all sorts of “unwritten rules” of comic strips (that were broken many times over by better writers before Batiuk). Yeah, that’s totally on-brand, actually.

          (Meanwhile, The Phantom has been running the same story line for God only knows how long, all framed as a story being told to The Phantom about what will happen if/when he does what he’s going to do anyway. It’s kind of boring and silly and confusing and pointless, yet it’s still more entertaining than Funky. Go figure.)

    • gleeb

      At least there’s no envelope involved. We’d still be sitting in the car outside the post office.

  2. William Thompson

    I figure that . . . after a week . . . of listening to . . . Dullard and Messica repeat . . . things the reader already knows . . . Mitchell Knox will do anything to get them to go away. Which will make him the only sympathetic character in this story.

  3. I imagine panel one spoken in a robotic, brutally autotuned voice: “THIS IS THE ADDRESS THAT CHESTER GAVE US FOR MITCHELL KNOX.”

    And then it somehow gets stupider over the next two panels. This is like the comic strip version of something MST3K would riff on. And I’m confident that we’re all in for some Deep Hurting.

  4. billytheskink

    It’s an election year, so Mitchell’s reluctance to open the door is pretty understandable.

    But we’re supposed to think he’s the weird one… not these two people who are showing up at the house of someone they don’t know completely unannounced hoping to procure memorabilia from a local daytime talk show that has been off the air for 30-40 years.

    • William Thompson

      “Oh, splendid! Two more giggly cub reporters! Every week it’s the same! First they’ll talk like I had a wonderful time at Batom Comics, and then they’ll ask why I fantasize that I’m Plantman, the hero who murdered the first goofball reporter to talk like I had a wonderful time in the bull pen!”

  5. Knox’s angry, suspicious glare out the window is the reaction shot for the year in comics. That is a semi-visible facial expression that deserves to be a meme. Also maybe the secret fourth panel of every Funky Winkerbean/Crankshaft ever.

    • The Duck of Death

      Agreed. For an added frisson of tension, check out his hand. Is it going through the curtain?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        His fingers are drawn the wrong way! If he’s opening the drapes to peer through them, it should look like one of these:

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I like today’s Crankshaft even better. It looks like Ed is shocked to find out he’s for sale.

      • Mela

        He does look like he’s part of the For Sale poster doesn’t he? Although it would amuse me more if there were a poster left over in one of the cases from it’s brief run as a strip club- a poster of Hottie Lottie or Betty Bouncy still locked inside the glass case.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          If there’s an Elmer Season, can there also be a Crankshaft Season?

          Maybe they fall at the same of the year!

          (Be vewwy, vewwy quiet, we’re hunting Eds and Elmers..)

      • be ware of eve hill

        Those damn Ed Crankshafts, you can’t even give them away.

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        Of course the thespian misquotes Shakespeare. It’s enough to make me cry, “Hold, enough!”

  6. And of course, these two drive around in a classic blue Batiukmobile®. Is there even room for their child to ride in the back?

    • J.J. O'Malley

      No, there’s no room in the car, which is why they left little Skywald back at the Atomik Komix Batty Bullpen, where Uncle Chester, Uncle Flash, Uncle The Late Phil, and Uncle Ruby (who must have been in the other office making coffee for the fellas) can look after him.

      Does anyone else out there feel like today’s action-filled entry is reminiscent of Brad and Janet approaching Frank N. Furter’s castle in “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”? I know I have the sudden urge to yell out “A**hole!” at Durwood.

  7. ComicTrek

    It’s annoying how those with interests outside of football, pizza, or comics are always portrayed as total weirdos or “freaks”.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Even though Mitchell’s reaction is understandable. These people just showed up at his house in the middle of the day, for what we know is a very odd reason. He’s right to be suspicious.

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    It’s more transactional storytelling. Batiuk has to show every single step of the most banal processes, as if this makes it more realistic. In Crankshaft, Lois Flagston is introducing herself to Mason and Cindy. And Ed Crankshaft is still hanging around for some reason.

    Which shows that Batiuk can’t even do his transactions right. You wouldn’t show a property to a married couple while some creepy stranger lingers. Especially not to a celebrity. They value their privacy, and tend to attract paparazzi and other malignant followers. But I’ll bet money he hangs around all week, just so Crankshaft can have an actual Crankshaft character in it.

  9. BD Nitpicker

    And the doorbell button moves down 6 inches from panel 2 to 3…interesting feature

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    So here’s the latest entry in Tom Batiuk’s great comic book covers:

    What the hell is going on here? Why is there a dwarf on Dagobah? Did the monster rise through the dwarf, as the motion lines of the fluid suggest? Are they both between the legs of a creature made out of space backgrounds, that’s also blocking the sky? What does any of this have to do with Darth Vader? This is a baffling hodgepodge of comic book cover action tropes that doesn’t make a drop of sense. So of course Batiuk loves it.

    But he can’t even say why, saying only “There’s just something about almost any Franco Francavilla cover that makes me want to buy it.” Being able to explain seemingly intangible qualities is called writing, Tom.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      You remind me of the quip about the James brothers (the literary ones, William and Henry, not the outlaw ones, Frank and Jesse).

      To wit: “William James writes philosophy like a novelist; Henry James writes novels like a philosopher.”

      In his excellent novel about H.G. Wells, *A Man of Parts,* David Lodge offers a variant on this, stating that William uses the simplest language to make the most difficult concepts comprehensible, while Henry uses the most difficult language to make the simplest concepts incomprehensible.

      Milt Caniff said that his job was to get you to buy tomorrow’s newspaper. A good cover will get you to buy that issue, but whether you’ll buy the one after that depends on what follows the striking illustration. And as Mr. Dickens wrote:

      “There are books of which the backs and covers are by far the best parts.”

  11. sorialpromise

    When Mr. Batiuk leaves little for us to comment on, we find the gold wherever it hides, either in Crankshaft or in FW. I especially enjoyed BJ 6000 writing that Ed was for sale. I had to go back and look. He is!
    Then BD Nitpicker and the artist beckoningchasm had a comedy riff on the doorbell button. Comedy gold.
    It is the rings that I wish to discuss. Are any of you watching GoT House of Dragons or Rings of Power? I am so impressed with both. NO SPOILERS AHEAD!
    HOTD is so filled with family issues, political intrigue, fascinating characters and actors, dragons and crabs. What a delight. I will never read GRRM’s books because he will never finish them. So my comments are only for the TV show. I have read some of his short stories. “SandKings” is as good as it gets. Loved it. But I don’t think I will get into the novels.
    As for ROP, it is a slow start, but the show runners are setting the tone and introducing the land and the characters. Wow! It really pays off in episode 3! Love it. JRRT wrote a great outline that will be followed more or less. But many new characters are being added to the show that greatly increases the enjoyment. I don’t know about HOTD, but ROP is supposed to be 50 episodes over 5 years.
    And now back to our regularly scheduled program: the Boring of John Darling.

    • batgirl

      Sandkings is great. It’s like the apotheosis of an EC horror comic.

    • be ware of eve hill

      We had an HBO Max free preview this past week. I recorded the first three episodes of HOTD out of curiosity. We have not watched them yet.

      I’m not really of big fan of weekly episodic television programs anymore. Too many times I’ve watched months of a TV program only for it to be cancelled on a cliffhanger without giving the viewers adequate closure.

      BTW, I went to school with a guy named John Darling. He had nothing to do with TV broadcasting, but he did have a remarkably square head.

  12. batgirl

    Not surprising, but annoying, that Jessica is so without agency that she cannot even RING THE DAMNED DOORBELL herself, but has to stand there passively while D-boy rings it for her.
    Also, does anyone else find D’s posture with the straight-out arm indicative of overbearing entitlement?