Hey Is For Horses

Link To Today’s Strip

“Hey!”…that’s some mighty fine foreshadowing there, Pulitzer (nominee) Boy. As always, the master craftsman builds the suspense one panel at a time, very, very slowly, over the course of many days and weeks and sometimes even months. I sometimes think it would have been pretty cool if he’d have just made the entirety of Act III into one ultra-mega prestige arc, which he’d wrap up with a Saturday panel three word balloon full of wry expository dialog at some undetermined future date.

“A physical memento”…as opposed to what, a mental memento? A metaphysical memento? An ethereal memento? And again, if Mitchell is going to be so standoffish, why did he bother with letting them in to begin with? Is this a Midwestern thing, where you’re obliged to invite strangers into your home even if you’re all hostile toward them? We don’t really do that out here, back east.

44 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

44 responses to “Hey Is For Horses

  1. William Thompson

    “Hey! Didn’t your father John Darling like to pick his nose and hide the snot-blobs? Well, I think I found his treasure chest!”

    “Oooh! A memento of my father John Darling who was murdered! Can I have one?”

    “Uh–sure, you can have your pick!”

    (Seriously, has Dullard discovered that the end-table has a hidden label that says ‘To My Baby Daughter Jessica Darling Who Wanted This Out Of Her Nursery”? Which means Jessica gets to walk out the door with it?)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      He’s found something that will resolve the story and avoid any possible conflict. Because Funky Winkerbean can never have any conflict whatsoever.

  2. billytheskink

    Mitchell didn’t ask why they were here until now? You let these complete strangers into your house, man!

    My wife knows absolutely nothing about FW other than reading the strips from time to time before I post here. “How long have we been on this?” was her reaction today.

  3. Y. Knott

    Sure, this is building towards the breathless reveal of some sort of pointless fetish object that once belonged to a jerky, air-headed, dead TV guy we don’t care about. And that currently belongs to a jerky, self-centered TV collector guy we don’t care about. And is desperately coveted by two boring, not-especially-bright TV employed non-entities we don’t care about.

    But the amazing thing about Batiuk? No matter how stupid you think the reveal of what’s in the drawer will be … it WILL be stupider. You WILL be disappointed even beyond your lowest expectations. He WILL make you not care about this even more than you don’t care now. Just sit back, relax, and let the plot congeal….

    In other news, Tom’s desperate between-panels shilling for books has made its triumphant return!

    • gleeb

      Isn’t it the other bland blondes in the other strip who work in local television?

      • Green Luthor

        Yeah, the TV employees are Max (Crankshaft’s grandson) and… um… y’know, whatshername. Generic Blonde Woman Of Indeterminate Age. (Not to be confused with Generic Blonde Woman Of Indeterminate Age, or Generic Blonde Woman Of Indeterminate Age, or…) (At this point, I’m not even sure if Batiuk can tell them apart.)

        At least Generic Blonde Woman Of Indeterminate Age Whose Father John Darling Was Murdered has at least that one thing to set her apart…

      • Y. Knott

        I suspect you’re right. My defense is that if Batiuk himself can’t be bothered to keep track of character names, or timelines, or established character traits, or any kind of continuity whatsoever, I shouldn’t be expected to either!

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      And it’s still called writing!

  4. Hey, Messica, if you’ve been paying attention, you’ll know that a zero-star pizza joint in Westview called Montoni’s (ever heard of it?) has a signed copy of your murdered father’s photo. So, you could ditch this fat weirdo slob and head over to Montoni’s and negotiate with a different fat slob who is slightly less weird. Or you could opt for Drawer #1. Whatever.

  5. Lord Flatulence

    Why is he letting Dil-wad snoop around in his stuff?

  6. Green Luthor

    So about Mitchell’s shirt… it’s got the Flash symbol on it, so one would think, given Batiuk’s oft-stated appreciation of Silver Age Flash comics, it would indicate he’s probably a good guy. But… the shirt is BLUE. The Flash wears a RED costume. (Even the Golden Age Flash had a red shirt.) Does wearing the wrong color shirt negate the value of the Flash symbol, and actually paint him as a “fake fan”? (If it were yellow, it could be a Reverse-Flash shirt, but blue? Can’t think of any characters who would have a blue costume with a Flash symbol, honestly, at least that appeared before the 90s.)

    (Though I’d still guess the Lord of Lameness here will eventually turn out to be okay; so far the fact that he was a comics writer as a teen hasn’t factored into the story at all, and… well, it wouldn’t be out of character for Batiuk to introduce such an element that eventually means absolutely nothing. Still thinking he’s gonna end up at Atomik Komix at some point.)

    I’m probably putting too much thought into the color of this doofus’ shirt, but, really, overthinking this comic is pretty much the only entertainment it generates anyway.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      That’s the John Fox Flash color scheme, Flash of the 27th century. Such an odd choice of super hero for a man stuck in the past.

      • Green Luthor

        Huh, you know, I had completely forgotten that guy even existed. Truly, I stand in line. (Though in his first appearance, the symbol was on a red part of his costume, and I don’t think I ever read an issue with his other costume.)

        Whether Batiuk would treat that as a positive (“He even knows this obscure character!”) or a negative (“He doesn’t worship the REAL Flash, Barry Allen!”) remains to be seen. Assuming it ever gets addressed at all. Which it almost certainly won’t.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Why should it, though? Knox’s Flash fandom is of no relevance to the plot. Hell, his entire backstory is of no relevance to the plot. But we all know Batiuk is going to drone on about comic books because it’s the only purpose of the strip anymore. So what’s the correct thing for Batiuk to do? Ignore it because it’s, as Ron White said, “third-generation don’t give a shit”? Or does he have some kind of obligation to flesh it out, now that we apparently must accept what these stories are really about?

  7. Banana Jr. 6000

    She told you when you answered the door on Sep 13: “We were told that you may have some memorabilia from my dad’s show.” Now we’ve got to quantify everything instead of just having a conflict where she wants to buy something and he doesn’t want to sell. Durwood will find something Mitchell doesn’t care about and will take 5 days letting them have.

  8. erdmann

    Notice that Knox apparently has no life whatsoever beyond his collecting. Like all the other old-timey comic book creators in the strip, he stands alone with no family, no friends and no other interests.
    Knox briefly worked in the comics industry at 15. He must have been in his mid-30s to mid-40s when “Darling” aired (based on when the strip was published). What did he do in between? Did he marry? Have children? Follow the Dead on tour? Serve in the military? Serve time in jail? Go to college? What made him such an obsessive douche? We don’t know and I doubt we ever will. I’d be surprised if Batty’s given it a moment’s thought.
    There is no depth to the character because he’s not a character, he’s a prop, no less than John Darling’s coffee mug. But I suppose it’s asking a bit much to expect him to be a fully-realized person when Dullwad and Jess are scarcely better developed.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Us not getting a window in to Knox’s life between then and now wouldn’t normally be a problem. This should be Jess’ story, so we only see Knox as and when Jess sees him, and Jess probably isn’t going to know or care about what he did for his whole life.

      But it stands out in the way it mirrors characters like Flash Freeman, Phil Holt, and Cliff Anger. Those were more than just prop characters for someone else’s story. Those are characters appearing in multiple arcs where the story was actually ABOUT them, but they had empty connectionless existences.

      • gleeb

        There is some extremely dull, pointless metafiction waiting to be written about the gray, nebulous existence of a proto-character waiting to be brought in to supply/refuse to supply komix to an already existing character.

  9. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    What’s going to happen next is about as likely as this:

  10. KMD

    So did TB just see Seven? This “plot” will be a lot more interesting if the decapitated head of John Darling is in there.

  11. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    This should be the third panel today:

  12. Perfect Tommy

    I find it puzzling that Fort Knox is being such a Richard Cranium to Jess. Wouldn’t an ultra-fan be a bit thrilled to meet the daughter of his obsession? It would be like a fan of Phil Donahue eating Marlo Thomas. “Hey lady! Don’t be getting into my drawers now”!

  13. Perfect Tommy

    Meeting! Meeting! OK I’m done posting until I can fix this word box. Sorry.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Yesterday you wrote:
      Grrr! Only the tippy-top of the characters appear in my comment box. I’ve deleted and re-installed but no joy. Any suggestions?

      Sorry, didn’t read your comment from yesterday until this morning. I’ve never heard of an issue like that. Seems like the line spacing is out of whack somehow.

      What did you delete and re-install?

      Have you tried using a different browser? Can you change the font in your browser settings? Have you tried clearing the web browser cache? Can you reset the browser to the default settings? If you are using a phone, can you change the input keyboard?

      Have you tried turning it off and on again? (Sorry, couldn’t resist) I hope one of the suggestions works.

      Cheers

      • sorialpromise

        “Have you tried using a different browser? Can you change the font in your browser settings? Have you tried clearing the web browser cache? Can you reset the browser to the default settings? Have your cured Cancer? Can you solve world hunger? What are your plans for international peace? Can you fix the clock on my DVD player? If you are using a phone, can you change the input keyboard?
        Have you tried turning it off and on again?”

        Gosh! No pressure on Perfect Tommy, be ware of eve hill!
        @Perfect Tommy: in regards to Marlo Thomas…Siri has a intense urge to post on SOSF.

  14. Dood

    Physical memento. What the hell do the syndicate editors do all day?

  15. Gerard Plourde

    So Mitchell is basically asking the same question he did last week.

    Given how long it takes characters in this strip to open letters, how many days does everyone think it will take for us to find out what’s in the drawer?

    • The Duck of Death

      … Anyone taking odds that Mitchell Knoxxe was unaware that whatever-it-is was in the drawer? Despite having painstakingly transported and “reassembled” the set?

  16. As I said last week, Mitchell should have never let them in his home once they told him who they were. Now they will find some personal item of John Darling (who was murdered) that clearly (or at least sentimentally) should go to Jessica. I hope that TB doesn’t think we’re dumb enough to believe that in all the time Mitchell has owned the props, that he doesn’t know what is in those drawers. That said, whatever happens to Mitchell is self-inflicted.

  17. be ware of eve hill

    I figured that weird looking little end table would end up being part of the story. False bottom? Secret compartment? Long-lost documentation?

    • J.J. O'Malley

      I always assumed that Durrin was Mopey Pete’s “false bottom,” if you know what I mean and I think you do.

  18. be ware of eve hill

    We’ve witnessed Darrin and Jess making out in his childhood bedroom (in the presence of his parents and Skyler). They also made out in front of Mopey Pete at the Atomik Komix office. I wouldn’t be surprised if they started making out directly on the John Darling set.

    Jessica: Are you as turned on as I am?
    Darrin: More!
    Mitchell: What are you doing? Get off the chair! You’re not supposed to sit on it that way!
    Jessica: Go redraw your eyebrows, Mitchie Poo! They’re crooked!

    • be ware of eve hill

      Speaking of Skyler, where is the little scamp?

      Is he waiting in the car? In all the excitement, did they forget about Skyler and leave him behind? Did they foist him off on an unsuspecting Unca Phil and Unca Flash?

    • Green Luthor

      “But you’ll own the place where a grandchild of John Darling Who Was Murdered was conceived!”

      (Also +1 like for the Cheers reference.)

    • sorialpromise

      I snorted my Dr. Pepper reading this!

  19. The Duck of Death

    Some have defended Chuck Ayers as a talented artist who has fallen to the very low level of the writing he’s illustrating. It’s a matter of personal taste, of course, but I find his art amateurish, slapdash, frequently incoherent, and often generally visually repulsive.

    But I really have to give a golf clap today for the lovingly rendered (and coherent) detail of Mitchell Knoxxe’s XXL grey sweatpants, complete with cinch tied in a little bow, just hangin’ out there.

    “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” — Karl Lagerfeld

    “You know the message you’re sending out to the world with these sweatpants? You’re telling the world, ‘I give up. I can’t compete in normal society. I’m miserable, so I might as well be comfortable.” — Jerry Seinfeld

  20. Banana Jr. 6000

    The TomBa blog says about one of the Dinkle books “Chuck Ayers taking on the penciling would see many more stories told with my most iconic character to that point.” Does he really think Dinkle still isn’t his most iconic character? Oh god, he thinks it’s Lisa, doesn’t he?

    • The Duck of Death

      Jiminy Christmas, can that man write one sentence without strangling the poor English language to death?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The Batom Komix backstory isn’t awful. He’s trying to convey infomation and not “be writery”, so it’s actually pretty readable.

        • Y. Knott

          Just a warning to anybody tempted to check it out — it’s only readable in comparison to Batiuk’s other writing. I mean, it’s not anything you’d read and think “Wow, there was a worthwhile saga, masterfully told!” More like, “Huh, okay, that was … a recounting of some fictional events, told in language pretty much adequate to the task of getting the basic info across.”

          Granted, for Batiuk, this is a Herculean achievement…

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      He did write in one of his introductions that Lisa was good at opening doors. (Once she stopped running from SAT prep books, that is.)