Comic Book Harriet here with a posting schedule announcement.
Going forward I’m going to try to have a fresh post up for you guys Mondays and Thursdays. (The posts will go live at our traditional time of 10:30 New Jooisey time the night before.) Other esteemed hosts and guest posters may also crop up any day of the week!
I have several character retrospectives in mind, but am also open to suggestions. Any particular person, place, arc, or theme you’d like to see, comment below.
Current Crankybean grousing will be included, and is welcome in the comments.
Come back tomorrow night for the exciting conclusion of THE FRANKIE SAGA.
In the meantime. Enjoy this bit of obsessive nonsense.
42 responses to “DATELINE UPDATE TODATE”
This sounds like a great plan.
Also, the deep dive into the source of the strip’s artwork is very interesting.
I may try to wreak some images here and there.
By the way, irrespective of nothing in particular (a la Tom Batiuk) today is the first anniversary of my adoption of Robert the Cat (TM). Just thought I’d toss that in there.
What are you feeding him?https://beckoningchasm.files.wordpress.com/2022/12/robert-car-sm2.png
Anybody see today’s CS?
But…6 weeks ago 2 towns went to a tiny concert in a blizzard, when told by Phil—not Phyllis—the Forecaster to go there? Who’s she, telling them not to? And the joke is…go to a thing when you’re told not to? Does Bats in the Attic read his own stuff? (No. No, he does not)
But it was only SIX WEEKS AGO. Is it a tribute to FW, from himself?
And some people thought CS wouldn’t offer anything.
Phil transitioned since we last saw them.
Yes, this is, in isolation, a moderately amusing joke. The kind that makes you smile, inwardly, a little.
But remembering how the weatherman urged the townspeople to depart early for the Jazz Messiah in the middle of a cataclysmic blizzard kinda lets the air out of its balloon.
Another example of oddly inappropriate emotional reactions. Put it in there with Les having no interest in how the Lisa movie does, Funky’s jolly attitude as he abruptly closes Montoni’s vs his horror at dropping his Discman, etc. People struggling through a blizzard in their cars, hitchhiking in the pelting snow, all happy about it? I know Batiuk has seen blizzards. Getting around in one is incredibly stressful and miserable, not to mention dangerous. Visibility is nearly zero.
And all this for a “Claude Barlow’s Jazz Messiah.” I don’t think we discussed this little detail at the time — what the hell was that supposed to mean? I guess Claude Barlow wrote an oratorio based on the same themes/verses as Handel? And someone arranged it for old lady vocals/random instruments? Based on what we know about Barlow from Dinkle’s 4,538-volume biography, you wouldn’t think people would cross the street to hear his work, let alone struggle mightily to get there like Admiral Peary forging toward the North Pole.
There’s just no believability in this world. Nothing is consistent, permanent, or realistic. Anything can be thrown out and re-written the next day. Which would be fine if Batiuk embraced that, but the opposite is true. He thinks his strip is superior because it’s so realistic, but it runs on Negative Continuity.
Roger Ebert: “When anything can happen, who cares what happens?”
I thought it was a decent joke. My wife and I laugh about how the news tells everyone to stay home but they have 5 reporters driving all around the city to show how bad the snow is.
I agree. Decent enough joke, hampered by a really really weird looking ‘Phyllis’. I am 90% sure she’s just Pam with awful hair.
Uh… Timemop did it?
That’s gonna be the all-purpose excuse for massive discrepancies in the continuity. Timemop did it. It’s called elegant writing!
I was hoping CBH would find where Davis had cribbed a bunch of old Dik Browne Lois Flagston art.
Oh man, trying to find which Lois was cribbed would be like trying to find the straw in the haystack.
It’s the same reason why I didn’t go looking for the Crankies, even though I knew they were all stolen too. Too wide an area to search.
Yay! Wonderful news! The Snark Must Flow, The Snark Will Flow!
Three cheers for CBH!
We stan in line!
CBH, your forensic examination of the Valentine series is freakin’ MIND. BOGGLING.
And cleared up so many mysteries. Why was Masonne throwing himself bodily onto the projector and popcorn machine, with an almost sēxual lust? Why does he look young in one panel, old in another, and stoned off his damn head in the third?
As much as I do defend Davis for taking shortcuts when the writing is this boring, I can’t defend the incoherent results. If he can’t make a coherent strip with shortcuts, then he shouldn’t take them.
Having said that — the insane shifts in tone and bizarre physicality actually add the only spice to this boring, BORING storyline that would have been more suited to bulleted Powerpoint slides. (And the Lois Flagston subplot was WTF with extra emphasis on the F!!)
Of course, a better writer would have given the characters some “business” to do — in other words, some physical movement or task. Imagine what a cartoonist like Berke Breathed would have done. There’d be popcorn popping all over, or being collected and distributed in popcorn buckets as people talk, or the character would have reached into the popcorn machine, or there’d be some action going on with the fake-butter pump, or SOMETHING. In the table scenes, someone would be eating, or summoning the waiter, or examining the menu.
These constantly repeated, identical static scenes would sück the life out of even great writing. When the writing is boring and the scenes are static talking heads or people standing around, the result is pure sh!t.
Replying to myself to add:
Some of you pointed out that Summer’s walk in December was probably supposed to be “cinematic.” Perhaps you’re right. But ask yourselves:
Imagine a scene in a screenplay, in which a world-famous Hollywood actor wants to buy an old movie theater in his wife’s Ohio hometown. He goes with the realtor and some weird old local guy to inspect the premises and shows particular interest in the film projector and popcorn machine.
How would Kubrick have directed this scene? How about Scorsese? What would Hitchcock have done with it? Or Spielberg? Lynch? Tarantino?
Can you imagine any of those directors, or any good director, just focusing on long and medium shots of people standing around talking?
And consider the physical constraints they had to work with. They had to deal with lighting, crews, physical cameras and lenses. In a drawing, the “camera” can be anywhere, showing anything.
Since Davis seems to adhere to Wally Wood’s famous “never draw what you can copy (etc)” maxim, maybe he could take a look at his equally famous “22 Panels That Always Work”?
That looks like typical Rex Morgan fare, but with added details.
Oh, this is too delicious. Found this on the OMEA Facebook page.
Tom, surrounded by mobs of adoring fans, signing his Complete FW Vol 12. Note that Funky, not Dinkle, is on the cover.
It seems an odd choice, given that anyone at OMEA who knows or remembers Dinkle certainly would prefer the old strips set at the high school. I guess the Dinkle trade paperbacks, which TB said sold very well, are out of print, and maybe he now thinks trade paperbacks are beneath him?
I’d estimate the average age of attendees as 17 for students, maybe 35 for teachers. He’s lucky if any of these people have the slightest clue who Dinkle is, let alone FW. I doubt they want to pay 35 or 40 bucks (with the OMEA discount) for a hardback of altekackers complaining.
I also want to point out that I scrolled through dozens & dozens of OMEA photos, posed and candid, of groups, sessions, booths, concerts, and hangouts. Everyone looked to be having a great time. Not one single mask on one single face. Not one. Even in group shots with a hundred or so people visible. Not one.
Tom Batiuk was the only person at OMEA wearing a mask.
Make of that what you wish.
Facebook post and closeup of placards:
I find it funny that he couldn’t be bothered to write a new text for the introduction plackard, but just copied the text verbatim from his FW retirement blog post.
At least the links are not colored blue in the plackard text.
And the text basically says: Expect a lot more Funky in your Crankshaft. Eventually, expect ever more infrequent cameos of Crankshaft in your “Les & the Centerville Codgers (formerly Crankshaft).”
Wow. He DID just rent a booth. I was joking about that.
LEROY! TORSO CHUTE! Bring the mop!
Leroy, you wonderful man(?), thank you, but there’s still a comment awaiting moderation. It includes photos of TB signing books at OMEA.
I just realized: Perhaps my comment fell into perma-mod because part of it was construed as political? I hate when politics rears its head on this site. If that’s how it was read, it certainly wasn’t my intention. Mods, if that’s the problem, feel free to delete any offensive content (or feel free to not post the post at all, of course).
Naw. Not sure why that one got stuck. Pointing out that Bats is wearing a mask when no one else is isn’t political. It is interesting, not sure if it’s lingering covid fears long after everyone else. Or if Batiuk has some immunocompromised state that would warrant a mask during cold/flu season.
Yeah, I just thought it was interesting that he was the odd man out. The reason? I have no idea but your two theories are plausible, or maybe there’s some totally different reason we have no clue about.
I still wear a mask. I’ve got a weakened immune system (Sjogren’s syndrome and Mixed Connective Tissue Disease) and I’m 67. Even with recent immunizations I’m still vulnerable to influenza and COVID. Three of my relatives managed to catch COVID recently; the two who were immunized are recovering much more quickly than the one who wouldn’t get the jabs. Maybe Batiuk is showing the same level of concern for infection as he does for good writing: avoid it like the plague.
Am I remembering correctly that he’s a prostrate cancer survivor? He could be immunocompromised. Or maybe he knew he’d been exposed to covid or flu or non-specified crud. Who knows?
Thank you for continuing to bring the fun! It’s a nice end to the day, even for those of us who mostly lurk and rarely comment.
And of course I meant “prostate”not “prostrate” 😳
I still wear a mask consistently and it isn’t uncommon to see a handful of people wearing them, especially in large event settings, where I live. When I play pinball tournaments there are usually two or three of us. I haven’t had so much as a cold since 2019 and I’m certainly liking that benefit.
In today’s Crankshaft I see that Max and Hannah are at their jobs at Channel 1. So who’s minding The Valentine for Mason? Continuity? What’s that? Chalk another one up to TomBa’s “crank ‘em out” work philosophy.
And how did everyone at the studio get to work despite the apocalyptic blizzard?
Wow! Yesterday, I asked if maybe a semi-daily posting schedule could be worked out … today, it’s announced! Spooky.
I’m looking around for a timemop to see if somehow I nudged your minds into this….
But in any event, I’m looking forward to this site continuing on its weird, merry way!
This is most excellent news! Thank you for your devotion to the cause (especially in finding all those art swipes; can’t even imagine how much time it took to find all of that).
Not sure who would make for a future retrospective, although Cory would seem to be a good candidate. Fairly minor character in the grand scheme, but had some rather big stories going on, and significant connections to the main cast. Would have to think about who else might be good.
(I mean, a Zanzibar The Talking Murder Chimp retrospective would be awesome, but he was (sadly) only in that one story, so… not enough there to cover. And your posts “theorizing” on the identity of the Pizza Monster remain classics, but there’s probably not much more to say there.)
All day… I could read these art swipe comparisons all day.
I decided The Valentine arc was a good one to go stupid in depth on, since Masone has a relatively limited span of time/strips to match up against, and they were all ones I could get at pretty easy.
What it taught me is that FACES are the most referenced thing. There is a huge aversion to drawing a face from scratch. The artist (and I’m not convinced that it’s not a team of interns) can extend bodies, lower arms, change clothes, adjust hair. But they DON’T want to try to draw a face.
If the room serving as a background has any sense of depth at or space all, I also presume it stolen.
For example the projector room is a horrific non-Euclidian void. I was able to find Ayers art of The Valentine projector room, but it wasn’t used.
What’s the really annoying thing about all of the word salad is that Batiuk is laughing off something distressing. We have an old guy who either can’t hear very well and gets things wrong or who’s slowly sliding into dementia. Sure, he can cry havoc and let slip the dogs of huffing and puffing about gallows humor but it ain’t funny.
I’d be interested where one could go with a Holtron retrospective arc. See if there’s a narrative to its story to gleam from Act 1 breadcrumbs (though of course that is an archive struggle), or if nothing else attempt to judge what it’s “really” thinking through the “return” story through the Starbucks Johnson movie onwards.