Author Archives: comicbookharriet

Note: Masone Jarre died on the way back to his boat.

Link to Strip When It Drops.

Sundays get no preview. Too bad. Maybe it’s seven panels of Les and Marianne sipping coffee on a sailboat while the world burns. Or maybe it’s a loving homage to the poster of ‘The Phantom Empire’.

You guys ever seen it? I found it on YouTube, and it’s…um…different. I mean, I guess I can see the charm if you like singing cowboys and 30’s cheese. But it’s such a weird thing for a 65-70 year old man to fetishize having seen as a child, a movie serial that would have been past 30 years old then. I guess I grew up in the 90’s watching Star Wars, but modern movie sensibilities are there in Star Wars. It’s still pacey and exciting. There is no point in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker stops the action to sing an entire song about the animals on Noah’s Ark.

I can see a teen or young adult developing an appreciation, ironic or genuine, for something like ‘The Phantom Empire.’ But the movie is borderline unwatchable for modern kids, and I don’t think it would be that much more palatable for kids growing up in the 60’s.

Whelp, I’m pretty much burned out on all this nonstop Lesplotation action. Our glorious leader TFHackett is taking over tomorrow to lead the charge of the Thunder Riders. “To The Rescue!”

ComicBookHarriet powering down now.

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Passive Patricide

Link to today’s strip

Is there any character in this strip as thick-skulled as Mindy? She’s been standing outside the Bedbug Hotel with Pete long enough for Masone to drive from the Channel Island Harbor Marina (The nearest marina north along the coast from Malibu) to, judging by the view, the Hollywood foothills.

I know Comics Curmudgeon has been going nuts trying to parse out the geography of this arc, but here’s my take on it:

So, of course, given this map, it was entirely reasonable for Mindy and Pete to stand and wait for the minimum of two hours it would take Masone’s Starbuckmobile to drive BACK THROUGH THE FIRE to pick them up after dropping off Marianne and Les.

Only for Mindy to then remind her friends that her dad was hiking in Griffith Park.

Pete is smiling in relief in panel one, and suddenly worried in panel two. So unless he has the attention span of a goldfish, Mindy is only bringing this up now. And she seems at a complete loss as to what to do next.  So she’s going to let her fiancee and his pal decide if and how they should alert emergency personnel.  Or is she expecting them to go charging through the brushfire themselves?

Truly, dumb as a box of sponges. Because a box of rocks at least has some weight.

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Fuel for Thought.

Link to today’s strip

And here it is. We’ve had to suffer through an entire week of Les whining to Marianne about one woman who died at least 15 years ago in strip time (Edit: twenty-three, ED), while the world is literally burning around them. As day turns to night with nary a word from Cindy, Masone, Pete, or Mindy.

You people have been saying it all week: Marianne has been blandly listening to Les whinge about his manpain, instead of worrying about friends, family, coworkers, or her own property. The girl had more going on for herself when she almost threw herself off the top of the Hollywood sign.

And all so Marianne can watch some video tapes that Batiuk will, no doubt, forget were transferred to digital years ago. So many problems with this. But two stick out in my mind.

One, why didn’t he let her or Masone watch some of the tapes to begin with? It’s implied that some tapes are very private and others are meant for more public consumption, as seen in this strip from Darin’s birthday. Why did you ever think of this as an all or nothing thing?

Two, are you now going to let her watch all of the tapes? Even the tapes that weren’t meant for you? Have you seen the tapes addressed to Summer directly? Or the tape specifically for CauCayla? Are you prepared to override the rights of Lisa, Cayla, and Summer, to have their own private messages remain private?

Who are we kidding? Of course you are. The sum total of everything Lisa ever was or wished is now yours to use, abuse, and change however you see fit. You can tell yourself that you think Lisa would have wanted you to share material that SHE SPECIFICALLY TOLD YOU IN PERSON was private. Anything so Marianne can have important moments like this inform how she plays Dead St. Lisa.

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You say it best (when you say nothing at all.)

Link to today’s strip

Baituk is really desperate to sell some books, eh? First he tells all his Beady Eyed Nitpickers on his blog that in order to truly understand the difference between a ‘retcon’ and ‘direct flashback’ we need to buy and read The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 9. Now he’s referencing some obscure bit of titillation, as if to bait us into buying and scouring Lisa’s Story for the infamous ‘Snow Angel’ incident.

I’ve only got the vaguest recollection of Les spilling this sordid tale to someone else before, and I couldn’t find the moment in the archives. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping our Skinkmeister can give some context to the readers who’ve only been able to religiously follow this strip since the end of the Bush administration.

It’s weird that, whatever the dirty little something was, Marianne is flat out refusing to say it on screen. A slice of life drama like this movie, which seems to be going for, ‘A Marriage Story, but ending with cancer and not divorce’ lives and dies on the simulacrum of realism, and if we’re getting the horrible ‘playground closed for repairs’ bit, then this must be something next level nasty.

Batiuk is probably imagining that we’re picturing kinky, like what Pepper Potts whispers into Tony Stark’s ear in the first Avengers movie. But cute and kinky would make it into an adult movie, as an important establishing moment of vivaciousness and young love. There is nothing a Hollywood starlet wouldn’t say or do if she thought it would increase awards potential.

Except something like:

But what do you guys think? I’d love to see some of your takes on Lisa’s forbidden dialogue.

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No Preview Review

Link to today’s strip whenever it drops.

Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview. So instead enjoy my favorite comment from yesterday.

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For a given value of save.

Link to today’s strip

Les, I am going to explain this using short unequivocal statements, that way there is no way for your spotty memory and outsized ego to twist my words.

You. Did. Not. Save. Lisa.

All you did was let her out the door first. That’s not a rescue, that is chivalry so lazy it’s a 50-50 shot if it was intentional.

Wally. Saved. Lisa. And. You.

Wally Winkerbean, that poor sad, pizza baking man has had his wife, his dignity, the childhood of his son, his sanity, and his agency as a character taken from him by Batiuk. Don’t you take one more damn thing from this strip’s number one whipping boy, who took all of that abuse, and survived, without a single legacy foundation to his name.

Les, I don’t know if you could ever lay claim to ‘saving Lisa’. Unlike some, I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the Act II drama. But you can’t even really take much credit for saving Marianne. You drove shotgun through a fire, and then carried a woman out the door who really should have been able to walk.

Why did I have to be given a Les arc? I would rather have a week of Dinkle.

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Not a Yacht of Space.

Link to today’s strip

As luxurious as Masone’s sailboat looks with just two people standing in it, I doubt its going to be so posh when he crams another five people on the darn thing. Judging by the artwork it couldn’t be more than twelve feet across. Where are they all going to sleep?

They better hope that Jeff asphyxiates in that cave, or they’re going to have to put up with the old guy staggering over the prone bodies on the floor to the tiny cabin toilet every 30 minutes all night long. My advice, put him on the deck and tell him to take a leak over the railing.

Les is giving Marianne some serious side eye in panel three. In a more ambitious strip, or maybe Act II, I would agree with the commenters that suggest we’re about to rock that yacht with a little post rescue adultery. But remember this is Les, in Act III, and the deepest form of intimacy he can show another person is to reminisce about Lisa with them. It’s how he bonded with Masone. It’s how he proposed to his purported second wife on his cancer bench, confirming to Cayla and everyone watching that he sees Cayla as a appendix to the beautiful story of his relationship with Lisa.

And she still married him. Sometimes I think we pity CauCayla too much. She worked at Westview high for years with him. She knew what she was getting into marrying the sad sack. I’m going to give her the agency that Batiuk doesn’t, she married Les for his house and money because their daughters got along. She got money for her daughter’s college, and when Les dies of mopey artist syndrome she gets it all. She’s not sad he’s emotionally distant, she’s relieved.

You go girl!

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Radio For Help Ranch.

Link to today’s strip

Decided to wait until tonight strip dropped, and holy cow is this strip going to be confusing to all but the most informed and astute Winkerbean readers.

Most of the readership are going to wonder who this little kid is, and why he knows anything about The Phantom Empire, and why he’s wandering through Bronson canyon with an elderly unrelated man.

And how long has Jeff been standing outside the cave muttering to himself about Murania? When he first approached the cave last Thursday there was no fire in sight. That fire has snuck up on him faster than The Thunder Riders. I wonder if the old coot has a cell phone?

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All is Vanity

Link to today’s strip

Yes. Please Mason. Go back to clogging up traffic, making things more difficult for fire and rescue, just so you can have all your friends together for your fun bonfire boat party. Mindy and Pete presumably know about the fire, call them to let them know they’re welcome to your BYOB yacht club and let them evacuate themselves.

Of course, this is Pete, he’s probably been evacuating all over himself for the last couple hours.

Nice vanity plate on Masone’s circa 2004 SUV. I guess it really would be the best way to go incognito around LA if you’re a mega famous Hollywood heartthrob. No one would believe that the star of the mega blockbuster Rise of the Zeton Warriors would be both that cheap AND that egotistical.

Who do you guys figure might die in this arc? Cindy? Jff? Masone? Or will Marianne attempt to drown herself after being stuck for hours alone on a boat with Les? Even if she tries, I’m sure a life affirming quote from Kurt Cobain or Sylvia Plath could put her back on track.

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How the Other Half Burns.

Link to today’s strip

First of all, YOU CRAZY COMMENTERS! I haven’t seen our comments section this lively since Bull pulled an Aldo Kelrast off Nobottom Road. You make it incredibly difficult for me to find something to say that hasn’t been said, but I bear that cross gladly.

Second, when I saw yesterday’s strip I knew that our personal Winkerpedia, BillyTheSkink, would be able to provide the deets, and he did. Thanks Billy! He gave a great breakdown of The Great Montoni’s fire of ’97 yesterday, so if you didn’t read his comments, go back and take a look. The most important details seem to be:

1.) Wally Winkerbean saved both Lisa and Les from the fire when he crawled through the smoke to wake them up.

2.) The fire was arson and was probably started by a guy called Plantman who was attempting to destroy evidence of the murder of Jess’ father, John Darling, who was murdered.

3.)Les ran back into the apartment to retrieve a floppy disk containing his research and draft for ‘Fallen Star,’ a book about Jess’ father, John Darling, who was murdered.

4.) Les did not save Lisa.

5.) Crazy Harry committed mail fraud for insurance purposes.

6.) Les is a selfish prick who has forgotten that he didn’t save Lisa.

Yesterday’s juxtaposition of past and present made sense; young Les ‘saving’ Lisa versus old Les extra bonus saving pretend Lisa. Today’s series of panels make it a little more difficult to parse out the symbolism.

But today seems to show that while Les and Lisa were poor newlyweds devastated by losing their crappy apartment along with nearly everything except each other, Masone and Cindy are rich and so don’t really care about one of their houses getting torched. They’re gonna go to their fancy boat, sail out into the bay, and sit on the deck sipping wine. It’ll be a fun date night to watch the plebs flailing and drowning in the shallows, trapped between waves and flames, like the peasants of Pompeii.

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