Nope, this is NOT a parody strip. Once again, BatYam takes one of his demented little stories in a direction no one could have predicted. If you had told me last week that Boy Lisa would be handling the very gun used to murder John (Jessica’s father) Darling, I would have said “LOL yeah, sure, like the talking chimp could ever fire a gun”.
Whoops, got my FW handgun-centric story arcs all crossed up there. But anyway, yeah, Mitchell owns the ACTUAL MURDER WEAPON, which he keeps in a drawer in John Darling’s old TV desk. And, while rummaging around in that desk without asking for permission first, Boy Lisa (of all people) finds the gun and gets all queasy, which is to be expected, given his lineage and all. By God, man. This is twisted beyond belief, even by BatYam’s lofty standards. Every time you think you’ve seen it all with this guy, he just digs down deeper and blows your freaking mind.
And as much as we like to goof on the artwork and all, that look on Boy Lisa’s face in panel three is PERFECT. I made the EXACT SAME FACE when I first read this one. THAT is some flawless comic strip art right there.
64 responses to “Die, Die, John Darling”
Y. Knott said this yesterday:
“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.”
Well, how you like DEM apples Y. Knott?!?
I mean, it’s stupid. But yet, I am not disappointed…
It’s stupid, gloriously stupid, stupid beyond my wildest dreams!
I love it.
It is *impossibly* stupid. And I am more disappointed than I thought I could be in Batiuk as a writer, and as a human being.
But I will agree that it has an awful carwreck-jackknifing-into-a-trainwreck-going-over-a-cliff fascination to it!
In order for me to be disappointed in Batiuk as a writer, I would have to mentally be holding him to some standard.
As far as what this says about him as a human being…
I somehow like him more. I’ll take this over preachy and maudlin Batty any day.
Fair enough! As someone who is still relatively new to this strip, I didn’t think he could get this bad. More fool me!
You goofballs fooled me a couple of years ago with an April Fool’s joke, but c’mon. I know it’s not April 1st, but there’s no way this is for real. You’ve had your fun – now link to the real strip.
It’s been rumored that Batiuk’s original plan was to reveal that Crankshaft and John Darling are in fact the same person, and have been all along. But his editor thought it was just too “out there”, so he went with the gun idea instead.
You know what, ED? I believe you. And I think that says more about Batdick than any of us.
So Mitchell somehow obtained the gun used to murder his hero, John Darling. Then, after deciding he didn’t want to “display” it, he cavalierly tossed it into one of JD’s old desk drawers, at which point he promptly forgot about it. Mitchell, by his own admission, forgot that he owned the gun used to kill his hero until now, when a nosy Boy Lisa just happened across it while he was rummaging through a stranger’s belongings. The obsessive, defensive and possibly agoraphobic weirdo, who was angrily questioning Jessica yesterday, doesn’t seem to mind too much when his uninvited, unwanted guest roots through his prized, treasured memorabilia and stumbles across the gun he forgot about.
Just ponder for a moment how deeply warped and completely impossible that scenario is. No one else who’s ever lived could have put this sequence of events together in this order. It’s just not possible for anyone else to think this way. The characters interact in these totally inexplicable ways, doing and saying things that no human would ever do or say.
There’s a moment in Grant Morrison’s run on *Doom Patrol* in which Crazy Jane is with Cliff Steele (try not to call him “Robotman,” okay?) and she picks up an urn. She asks what’s in it and Cliff says it’s his ashes. You see, as he’s a robot with a human brain, his body was cremated after his fatal accident.
Crazy Jane looks decidedly discomfited after Cliff said it made a nice keepsake.
Morrison generally depicted Cliff as a bewildered layman amongst the World’s Strangest Heroes; here, he basically implied that this was the only team to which Cliff could plausibly belong.
I don’t think we know Mitchell Knox well enough to make such a judgment. Or that we want to know him well enough to make such a judgment. (And I was a big fan of Jim Shooter’s *Legion* stories.)
I thought we’d already seen enough evidence to conclude that Batiuk’s editor doesn’t read the strip, much less suggest changes.
Technically, there may be a legal route by which Knox could get the murder weapon. In at least some states, if a gun is used in a crime and it is not the property of the criminal, then the gun may (eventually) be returned to its proper owner. The proper owner may then do with it as seen fit, which would include selling it to a morbid man-child like Knox.
But Knox just happened to leave it on the set? Did he forget to not load it, too? Would a trigger lock have spoiled its authenticity? Will Batiuk make this story even more demented, or will he have forgot about this by tomorrow?
Man! This strip makes me so happy! I couldn’t be happier if bwoeh gave me text control suggestions. (f**k me!) [I will never think of Phil and Marlo the same way again!]
I give it 70/30 that the gun plot gets stupider. I say even money on Jessica blaming Mitchell and not Darrin? And a possible 30/70 that the gun is never mentioned again.
I wish CBH would post her CS/FW family tree again or the date she originally posted it. With the blonde couple here, and 2 blonde couples in CS, I can’t keep track of who is who.
I couldn’t be happier if bwoeh gave me text control suggestions. (f**k me!) [I will never think of Phil and Marlo the same way again!]
What ye be jabberin’ ’bout, Cap’n? 🤨🤔
Phil and Marlo come from Perfect Tommy’s post from yesterday.
The use of “the French f**k” I believe is traced back to you from yesterday.
Your expressions change my life for the better.
J’ai dit, “excusez-moi le f ** k hors de moi”. D’où vient la partie française ?
Qu’est-ce que le “F**k <b<français“ ? Pas de moi ! 🤷♀️
Well the French have a way with words. Ask your husband. They can curse you, and you would thank them.
I picture you and Mr. bwoeh string in a café at Auvers-sur-Oise just outside Paris and you saying to him, “Pourquoi est-ce que je donne à cet idiot SP, l’heure de la journée ? Mangeons du gâteau!”
Ç La Vie!
Qu’est-ce que le “F**k français“ ? Pas de moi ! 🤷♀️
Je suis fatigué. Balises stupides !
How could HE have the murder weapon? Its material to a murder investigation. Even if the case was closed the police wouldn’t have sold it to a collector. The only way he could have that gun is if…HE was the murderer!
Well Jessica, be careful what you wish for…
Oh, please, please, PLEASE tell me we’ve now seen what “physical memento” Jessica Darling Daughter Of John Darling Who Was Murdered is gonna get. Please, Tom Batiuk, it’s the only way this thing can get any more demented. You MUST lean into the crazy on this one, Tom.
(Seriously, I think this one strip might even beat Zanzibar the Talking Murder Chimp for the all-time WTF Award in this comic. Because… WTF???)
Once your average FW reader exorcises from their mind the most basic knowledge about handguns, police matters, rules of evidence, and other legal facts that watching a few “Dragnet” or “Law and Order” viewings would impart, said reader must be impressed at how today’s strip builds into a veritable poop mountain of incredulity and asininity: First Durwood just reaches into a drawer and picks up a gun that for all he knows is loaded, then Comic Book G…er, Mitchell calmly tells them it’s the actual JD murder weapon, and panel three offers a trio of expressions that are nowhere close to conveying actual human emotions or reactions. It’s like a Matterhorn of mediocrity, all courtesy of the auteur who gave you Zanzibar the Homicidal Hominid.
“Oh, that. It’s just some of the radioactive cobalt isotope used during Lisa’s cancer treatments.
“Oh, that. It’s just a hunk of Bull’s femur the accident investigators missed at the scene.”
“Oh, that. That’s just Becky’s middle and ring fingers.”
“Oh, that. It’s just a jar full of shrapnel from Summer’s exploded knee.”
I would have expected Durwood to be more excited to be holding an object that his bio-mom once picked up…
Well that makes it the perfect family heirloom for both of them now, doesn’t it? The gun that killed Jess’ father AND might still contain Darin’s mother’s prints. Put it on display on the fireplace mantel!
Of COURSE Lisa had to get involved. Lisa is the character that drove me away from Act II for years at a time. It’s all been so long ago that it’s easy to forget that before she became a martyr, Lisa was sort of like a dorky, beatific Fonzie-like character, always saving the day somehow with her special Lisa powers. It was awful, too.
God, she was so unlikeable. And everything was just handed to her. “Oh look at me, I can win a law suit and a fight now! Even though I was a complete emotional train wreck of a human being before, which I did nothing to improve about myself. Don’t you just love me?”
Remember, kids, you can’t “special” without L-I-S-A!
Gads and I thought I was being dismal and sick for thinking of John Darling’s bloodstains in the carpet and was relieved by people finding the original strips to confirm that he was not shot on the set that Yet Another Comic Book Guy has lovingly restored. And then this.
No. You’re not dismal and sick for wondering about the bloodstains on the John Darling set carpet. I wondered the same thing. It’s possible I confused the John Darling murder with the Howard Beale assassination in the movie ‘Network’.
If you’re dismal and sick, so am I.
My older brother’s curiosity is much more morbid. When our family visited the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan, we saw the Lincoln Limousine convertible that JFK rode the day he was assassinated. My brother wanted to know what happened to the bloodstains. The tour guide explained that the leather was replaced when attempts to remove the bloodstains were unsuccessful. My brother also inquired what happened to the bloodstained leather after that. The tour guide said he didn’t know. He was probably thinking to himself, “Stop asking me questions, you little sicko.”
On another trip, the family toured the FBI headquarters in Washington, D.C., back when it was in the Department of Justice Building. My older brother inquired why the FBI no longer used Thompson submachine guns in apprehending criminals. The agent’s reply was classic and is one I will never forget.
FBI agent: Well, son, we just want to stop them, not shoot them to pieces.
The less said about my family’s visit to the Tower of London when he was a teenager, the better. (Ex. How long does a person live after their head is chopped off?)
There are some articles on the web that mention the fate of bloodstained leather from the Lincoln. A few articles mention swatches going up for auction. 😲😮😧😬
That’s sick. Sometimes it doesn’t pay to be curious.
I know better than to expect anything realistic from the art, but, WTF? The muzzle on that pistol looks big enough to fire the sort of 30 mm cannon shell used by the A-10 Warthog. And the barrel lines up with the center of the cylinder, which defeats the entire purposes of the revolver design. Are we sure Skylark didn’t sneak in there, steal the real pistol and leave one of his toy guns in its place?
Batiuk needed John Darling dead, and he needed him to stay dead, so he hauled out the heavy artillery to make sure the job was done correctly. His first draft had John Darling being set on fire and shoved through a wood chipper, but The Syndicate gave it an NC-17 rating (the Sunday strip was seven blood red panels) and the local papers refused to run it, so Batom threw the whole Plantman thing together at the last second.
I do give credit to TB for making sure that silly looking gun is depicted more-or-less the same way in each appearance even though it has been drawn by (now) three different artists. If only he cared about other details 1/20th as much…
Les needs to have a gun in his face a lot more often.
Whoah, it’s time for another round of “Spot The Idiocy!”
1: Police investigators aren’t going to rely on a polygraph to rule out a suspect, not when they have other reasons to suspect that person. The “lie detector test” isn’t that reliable. The cops would have kept looking at Peat Moss as a suspect.
2: Peter Mossman has Dissociative Identity Disorder? And one of his alters is the cold-blooded killer Plantman? It’s hard to believe that anyone can have DID that bad and still function in the real world.
3: Oh, fuck, can we be done with this bullshit about mental illness and violence? Fertilizer Name would have been far more likely to harm himself than John Darling.
Make it a flame thrower. There’s something about the phrase “burned beyond recognition” that seems so right when discussing Les’s face.
To rewrite Flannery O’Connor’s Misfit, Les would be a better man if he had someone ready to shoot him every day.
“Mr. Batiuk, have you heard of Chekhov’s Gun?”
“Actually, he used a phaser like everyone else in Star Trek. Heh. You should know better.”
Batiuk’s Gun: a prop that will figure prominently in the story, but not even close to how you think it will.
I know what happens! Jessica buys the Darling murder gun. Then she gifts to Les Les can display the murder weapon from his first book alongside the Best Actress Oscar he has from his second book
I hope she gifts it to Les one bullet at a time
I mean, Les was held at gunpoint by this exact gun… which was then used to save him after it wound up in Lisa’s hands. Yes, Les has a much stronger connection with this firearm than he does with the Oscar that was given to him.
So Darin’s one of those inappropriate house guests who rifles through his hosts’ closets and drawers just looking for stuff. I’d say that Batiuk is oblivious to how he’s portraying Darin here, but I’m sure it’s as much that he decided he had no other way of introducing the murder weapon that this ridiculous development.
And Mitchell Knox sure is blase about this guy he met less than 15 minutes ago going through this special drawer and pulling out an actual gun. He’s not angry. He’s not asking Darin what the hell he’s doing. It’s just “Oh my!” It’s not loaded, is it?
That would be a hilarious and morbid development tomorrow. “In a pitiful coincidence, Jessica was also shot and killed by the same gun who shot and killed her father, John Darling, who was murdered, who she spent her life fascinated with.”
Good thing Fred and Fishstick never kept guns around their house, because with the way Darin’s cavalierly handling the thing, he’d have certainly shot himself or one of his friends when he was growing up.
Which also strikes me, what kind of person, who has never handled a gun before, when he finds one, immediately picks it up? Someone as feckless and stupid as Darin, naturally.
The real horror here is this shocking development means we have another week of this plot—-and possibly more. The horror, the horror.
“Choose Your Own Adventure: Fallen Star II” By Les Moore
Horrified, Darrin thrust the gun toward Knox. “Take it!” He shouted.
Knox stumbled backward. “Careful with that, you idiot! It —”
Darrin wasn’t listening. He took a step toward the older man and again shoved the gun at him. This time, however, the weapon tumbled from his trembling hands and Darrin, Knox and Jess watched in mute dismay as it plunged downward, struck the floor and fired.
If Knox is shot, turn to page 97.
If Darrin is shot, turn to page 68.
If Jess is shot, turn to page 81.
If no one is shot, turn to page 102.
Knox’s eyes widened and his jaws went slack. He tried to speak, but as blood began to pour over his lower lip, the only sound he made was “Utt!” His knees buckled and he fell to the floor in a motionless heap.
Darrin knelt beside the body and checked for a pulse. Jess was crying hysterically. “Oh, god! Oh, god! Darrin? Darrin is he — ? Is he — ?”
Slowly, Darrin turned to look at his wife. Jess recoiled as she immediately realized something had changed, something had broken deep inside him.
“You wanted a memento,” he said absently in a voice that seemed to somehow come from far off in the cold distance. “Now, you can have your pick of the lot…”
Darrin’s eyes widened and his jaws went slack. As blood began to pour over his lower lip, he gasped “Oh, shit!” Then, his knees buckled and he fell to the floor in a motionless heap.
Crying hysterically, Jess dove to her husband and grasped at him, pulling him into a clumsy embrace. “Oh, god! Oh, god, Darrin!” she wailed. “Please, no! No!”
“Miss Darling,” Knox said calmly.
“Call 911, Mr. Knox! Please!” she sobbed. “Hurry!”
“It’s too late, Miss Darling. He’s gone.”
“No! No, he —” Jess suddenly became aware of the name Knox had used when he addressed her. Turning to face him, she realized he had scooped up the gun.
The weapon that had killed her father and her husband was in the old man’s hand, pointed at her. And as he appraised her, a cruel smirk formed on his flabby lips.
“Seems like I have a new memento to add to my collection, Miss Darling…”
Jess gasped. Her eyes widened and her jaws went slack. Glancing down at the blood stain rapidly spreading across her blouse, she realized bitterly she had achieved her goal.
“W-wasn’t quite the memento I wanted…” Jess gulped. Then her eyes lost focus and blood began to pour over her lower lip. She gasped what sounded like “Daddy” as her knees buckled and she fell to the floor in a motionless heap.
“Oh, god! Jess!” Darrin cried as he dropped beside his wife. “Jess, no! Christ, Knox, call 911!”
Without a word, Knox picked up the fallen gun and fired a single shot. Darrin spasmed as the bullet passed through him, then he collapsed onto the body of his wife.
Knox stepped forward and kicked Darrin’s body off of Jess’. The man meant nothing to him and would have to be disposed of in the usual fashion, he knew. The woman was a different matter.
Mitchell Knox smiled. With a little cleanup, she would make an excellent addition to the collection, the perfect item for the case next to the one that contained her father’s body.
Jess screamed. The bullet shattered her father’s old coffee cup, spraying broken pieces of ceramic across the room.
Knox glared angrily at Darrin.
“You’re gonna pay for that! It was $4.99 at Dollar General!”
I’m going with Page 102. The others are all too exciting for Batty.
Dude!!!! You win the internet today! Well done!
I love it! This story just got good.
I’ll admit this is simultaneously totally unexpected while totally predictable for this strip. We have a couple of possibilities. First is the usual “nothing happens, story arc peters out. But I do wonder if, given the high profile gun violence has had for the past year or so, we’re in for one of TomBa’s Very Special Social Issue/AKA “Hey, Awards Committee!” arcs. Could we see an accidental gun discharge or accidental shooting? I wouldn’t rule it out.
I think you are right, but I hope erdmann writes it instead of Mr. Batiuk.
Seconded! erdmann has been especially choice throughout this entire arc!
Only if he can also work in handwringing about racism, and a token trans person. And a lecture about climate change.
Don’t forget an anti-gun message!
I think you mean “climate DAMAGE”.
Well, this just got a violent shove from nothing into extremely awkward nothing.
The first thought in my demented mind:
Saturday strip — Jessica handles gun, gun accidentally goes off and kills her, final block is completely black.
At this point, anything is possible with this steaming pile of crap arch.
PS: I should add a “trigger” warning to this reply.
well, I have to admit BatHack, Kramer never found a gun amongst the set furniture from the Merv Griffin show.
Jerry, better have the legal team stand down on the Cease and Desist letter.
Well, this is vile on about twenty different levels.
Five days? But I’m angry now!
I like how shocked Darin is in the first panel, when he asks “What’s this!?”. It’s clearly a gun. I would’ve liked if Mitchell’s response was “Oh, that’s the gun I use to shoot anyone who tries to take part of my collection”.
I also do love how the drawstring to Mitchell’s sweatpants are drawn so prominently. I really wonder if Batiuk’s instructions were to draw him as fat and slovenly as possible, or if that was just the artist’s interpretation.
The Batiukverse: Come for the local Ohio celebrity trivia, stay for the WHAT IN THE HELL?!
I bet Jessica wishes that she’d just gone to the flea market now.
1. Don’t look at me, I told those idiot assholes over a week ago that this was a really stupid idea and they needed to get out ASAFP…
2. Seriously — Was anybody **NOT** expecting Mitch to have the murder weapon somewhere, given his reputation and all we’ve learned about him so far??
2a. So why wouldn’t Mitch have the murder weapon on display when it’s obviously the jewel in the crown of his ‘collection’??