And then came the last days of December. I’m really going to miss this. As most of you probably already know, we’re going to keep SoSF alive on some sort of limited basis (at least for now), and we have a world-class, outrageously obsessive MAJOR EVENT coming up in early 2023 that might rate as the greatest thing in SoSF history (I don’t want to oversell it here, no pressure, but it’s gonna be BIG), but the days of hilarious, scathing and insightful daily FW content are over for me. Within a few months, words and phrases like “pinned-up sleeve”, “band box”, “green pitcher”, “Boy Lisa”, and “Dick Facey” will disappear from my lexicon, and I’ll be poorer for it. 10:30PM eastern time will never be the same.
Our commenters were superlative, and our guest hosts were second to none, but one man deserves the lion’s share of gratitude here…TF Hackett. He’s the engine that powered SoSF for all these years. He did work behind the scenes that no one even knows about, and he covered all the costs, and he did it because he wanted to. It was all a labor of love for all involved, but Tom put the most into it. Without the work he did, putting together daily SoSF posts would have been a major pain in the ass. Everyone who contributed deserves a round of applause, but don’t stand up until the end, when TF Hackett takes the podium. Thanks, Chief, it’s been an honor and a real pleasure.
So, my last-ever strip. Sigh. It figures that it’s a complete piece of low-effort shit, featuring a robot and a character that didn’t even exist until Monday. “Can we get both of these books?”…uh, it’s a bookstore, you dolt. “Writing runs in my family”…the entire family, combined, lifetime, over four generations, has written a total of three books. Five, if you count graphic novels, which I do not. This is the penultimate FW strip, and he’s STILL mindlessly killing time.
I never did really figure Batiuk out. At times, I believed he was genuine and sincere, but incredibly inept and misguided. And other times, I took a more cynical view of FW, and often wondered if cruising under the radar, drawing as little attention to himself as possible, and putting nothing into the strip was the plan all along. Like with his regular prestige arcs. He’d mention them in the puff pieces, he’d make them seem much more significant than they really were, but he never really actively promoted them in any sort of meaningful way. And the stories themselves were always as trite and safe as possible, too. How couldn’t that be anything but deliberate?
But then I always go back the other way and think nah, he’s just a boob is all. He really is trying, it’s just that this is the best he can do. It’s a conundrum, and you could find evidence to support either hypothesis. Then again, perhaps it’s both. Maybe he’s totally sincere AND trying to bilk the Syndicate WHILE being an inept boob. He’s a real enigma, all right, and I’m going to miss trying (and failing) to figure that nut out.
And with that…
…it’s been a source of much laughter, much pride, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My finest online accomplishment. It’s been a blast, guys, and Happy New Year and best wishes to all!