Author Archives: beckoningchasm

Watch Out, The World’s Behind You

Link to today’s strip (eventually).

As usual, Sunday’s strip was not available for preview.   It’s impossible to know what we’ll “get,” except that pneumonia would be better.  But me, I’ll go on and on for paragraph after paragraph!

I’m thinking we’re going to get more Les-Linda commiseration.

It’s an interesting compare-and-contrast with the characters Batiuk likes and those he’s, at best, indifferent to.

Les, Dinkle, Dullard and Pete have fortune rain from the skies on them. They’re handed good luck, wealth, perfect jobs (in the case of P&D), and (in the case of Dinkle) awards with no effort at all.  Heck, Dinkle’s deafness and Mort’s dementia have been completely reversed (though the latter was only to bedevil Funky).

Linda, on the other hand, just can’t catch a break. Of course, Batiuk is using her to Prove A Point, so she’s doomed.

If only she’d thought to start writing comic books.

I’m also thinking that the commentators here are correct, that Linda is going to ask Les to write a book about Bull.  “After all,” she’ll lie, “you were his friend.  You knew him best.”  Of course, the resultant book  won’t be about Bull, it’ll be all about Les.    He could call it “Bully Pulped–How a man discovered he was a monster, and got what he deserved.”

It also might be, as others have guessed, that Les will encourage Linda to write her own book.   That seems to be Batiuk’s gateway to redemption; if a horrible character like Lillian can write a book, why now she’s a lovable old coot like Crankshaft.

The only thing certain is that it will be done completely ineptly.  As the whole arc has been.  If this story had focused on Bull’s perspective, on his anxieties over his condition and his fears about what he might do, and his worries about Linda’s future, well, then the story could have been an interesting one.  But Batiuk being Batiuk, Bull is barely in his own story and it’s all about how Linda Feels Bad.  Say, that’s a great title for her book!

Well, that’s it for my turn in the chamber of torpor.  Tune in tomorrow, as Comic Book Harriet takes the reins and educates us, as the Batiuk Zone rotates trivially around us.

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Same Brain, Different Damage

Link to today’s strip.

The expressions in today’s strip are really something.  Panel one’s Les looks like he’s ready to burst into a whine.  “I’ve been listening to you talk forehhhhhhhver.  It’s miiiiiiiiiiii turn!”

Panel two’s Linda counters with “Gad.  Why am I talking to this excrement stain.  I could be watching TV, or eating toast.”

I’ve no opinion on the NFL-as-monster issue, though it’s pretty clear Batiuk is saying they have blood on their hands because they won’t fund Linda’s post-marriage lifestyle.  “It’s not fair.”  Well, Linda, I’d say that if Bull never played in a game, his brain damage can’t be ascribed to the NFL.  Some players have a career in the NFL that lasts years, and I’m sure their brain damage would be far worse that someone who (apparently) got his CTE while in high school or college.   The NFL can reasonably say “We don’t know who this guy is.”

Fair?  Maybe not, but life isn’t fair.  Never has been, never will be.  The NFL is not, repeat not in the business of providing health care for its players.  It exists to make money through entertainment.  That’s an argument that ought to be applied to comic strips, but somehow never is.

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1962 Called….

Link to today’s strip.

“And I mean I literally made sure to preserve his brain for study.  If you look inside this closet, you can see that I severed Bull’s head and put it in this photo-developer tray.  I attached some tubes to his head so it would look cool, but they’re just for show.  Oh, and you can see he’s got plumber’s tape over his mouth; that’s because he kept yelling at the big mutant in the other closet to break out and smash the place up, and I’d just vacuumed.”

So, is Linda’s dialogue (in panel two, blimp one) supposition, or did she find a note explaining Bull’s plan?  Because he could have been wearing his helmet because dementia.  Or because he forgot he had it on, or simply wanted to wear it.  The longer this arc goes on, the more apparent it is that there was no plan at all here, just another pathetic stab at getting attention.  A phishing attempt that somehow managed to snare the New York Times.

And if Linda did find a note, how many weeks will it take her to read it?  At one word per day….gee, are you sure ten weeks are enough?

Special Movie Bonus:  has anyone here seen…this?

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Disabled Airbags

Link to today’s strip.

Yeah, I see a couple of airbags here that would benefit from being disabled.

Another example of how Batiuk’s method of drawing a year ahead of time (including the word blimps), but waiting until the last minute to write the dialogue results in a clunky product.  Why bother mentioning that the cop was a former player?  What does that have to do with anything–unless Linda is implying that this officer’s loyalty to Bull made him fudge the police report, so that A) Linda could be spared the “embarrassment” of her husband being a suicide or B) to help her with some insurance fraud.  Neither one sounds terribly noble.  In fact, they sound kind of criminal.  It also means there’s a possibility this could become interesting–RED ALERT, TAMP DOWN ALL EXPECTATIONS.

If it’s just there to take up blimp space, well, that’s okay then.  Another example, as if another was needed, that the author just doesn’t give a damn about any of this, puff pieces in the New York Times notwithstanding.

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The Bland Leading the Blind

Link to today’s strip.

Yeah, yeah, cue the dramatic chord for panel three.  Whatever.

What I’d like to point out is panel one.  Les says he could “see what was coming.”  He’s implying that Linda couldn’t.

But Linda should have.  Like Lisa, Bull had an incurable condition that could not be paused or reversed.  He was going to die, after deteriorating mentally {“a pretty short trip”–Les Moore).  There was no other possible ending.  That he might decide to end it all before wasting away was a definite possibility.

So why couldn’t she see what was going on?  Why did she think working on the car was “therapeutic” and to be encouraged?   Why did she have no idea where he was on the night he died?

I think there’s only one good answer:  because she couldn’t be bothered.  Many here have a visceral hatred of Linda, and it’s easy to see why–she’s basically the distaff Les Moore.  Check out how I’m smirking through my woes.  Oh, I am so beset by the fates, each day a stay in torment.  Oh, and also my spouse has this terrible condition, which has caused me to suffer so.   The entire CTE arc has been nothing but her complaining, first to Les, then to Buck, about all the problems she was going through.  There may have been one or two occasions when she actually sympathized with Bull, but they were so few and far-between that I’m not sure I can say they existed.

Everyone in this strip is a terrible, terrible person.

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“Why, yes! Yes you can!”

Link to today’s strip.

“It just so happens, Linda, that I have some copies of my Lisa’s Story trilogy out in the car!  Since you’re a grieving widow, I can give you a discount of twen…uh, twelve percent, and I’ll be more than pleased to autograph them!”

You know, hot coffee tends to heat up a coffee mug.  That’s why they have handles, so you don’t have to grab a hot coffee mug and burn your hand.  So what is Linda doing in panel three?  Is she trying to burn Les’ hand?  If so, she’s my new favorite character.

It’s also cool if she’s saying, “I’m going to drink both of these coffees.  I hope you got something from the drive-through.”  Even cooler would be if she’s going to throw both cups in Les’ face.  I’m going to stop now because reality will be too disappointing.

ADDENDUM:  I just now noticed…Batiuk has finally corrected the spelling on his webzone!  It no longer says “Bantom.”

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She Describes the Strip Perfectly

Link to today’s strip.

And of course, it’s always a “worse” day when Les shows up.  Doesn’t stop Linda’s smirking, though!

Last week was annoying, like a mosquito you can hear humming but can’t find; this week promises to be a whole horde of roaches appearing when the kitchen light goes on.  But instead of scattering, they stand right there and stare at you.

But why is Les here?  Linda has always been shown commiserating with Buck, Bull’s “friend,” whereas Les isn’t any kind of a friend, airquotes or not.  Why would she text Les, instead of Buck?  Buck knows what’s going on, Les has no idea.

I suspect the author’s reasoning is something like, I’m not going to waste my New York Times audience on a clod like Buck.  If they read the New York Times, they obviously can appreciate the sheer wonders of Les Moore.

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