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Can the Living Marry the Dead?

Link to today’s strip.

Apologies first off–I don’t know how Fearless Leader embeds these sideways things into normalcy, so you’ll have to suffer with strained necks for the nonce.  Unless I reach beyond myself, and give it a try–

–hey, that worked!  I think!

And check out that cast.  Isaac The Robot (defaming Dr. Asimov’s memory), Moon Mile Meek (or whatever that bowel movement was named), the Space Cadets, the Black Ghost, the Amazing Mister Sp0nge and the (*Cough* undead) Absorbing Junior, and the latest ass-pull, the Blue Astra.  I’d love to see a follow-up strip showing what gifts they brought (“a gift certificate for $10 at Best Buy?  Who the hell–“) but follow-ups are definitely not this strip’s strong suit.

–Case in point.  So, the Starbuck Jones movie world premier has come and gone, and we are no wiser as to how it fell on the world.  Was it a hit?  Did people enjoy it?  Were the fanboys irate over how it changed canon?   Did it rescue the Valentine Theater from foreclosure, and did it spring the careers of Mason, Marianne, Cindy, Cliff, Vera, Pete and Dullard into the stratosphere?  Did it circle the drain on the way through the toilet?   Is Cable Movie Entertainment now on the level of Marvel Studios, or are they instead competing with The Asylum for most horrible crap ever?

As the Residents once sang on their album Not Available, these are “Never Known Questions.”   Because the only answer here is another question, “Who cares?”  And the answer to that is, “Not Tom Batiuk.”

My theory on this is actually quite simple, and obvious once you hear it.   The success or failure of the Starbuck Jones movie was something that–had nothing to do with Les Moore.

Think on that for a moment.  Has this strip ever featured a creative, successful idea that didn’t involve Les Moore?  I certainly can’t think of any.  For the most part, it’s been “I need help, oh thank you for helping, [blink] oh it’s the next day and everything worked.”  (I’m thinking of Pete Movement and his battles with the…sigh…Lord of the Late.)

The message of the strip has been pretty constant in Act III–Les Moore is the only person who can be allowed a creative success in the world.  Everyone else succeeds only because they betrayed their ideals and settled for hackery.   No one else has lost a wife…no one else wrote a best-selling book detailing how he suffered when losing his wife…no one else wrote about how he just damn kept on, after losing his wife…and found a woman willing to be doormat.  That last bit is a little troubling, but, you know…Les Moore was once married to a woman, who…died.

It makes me fear what comes next week.

 

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All the King’s Horsesh!t

Link to today’s strip.

I’d like to think that scream of terror in the last panel is someone snapping from the sheer disregard of continuity.  “This theater” was responsible for none of what you claim for it, Mason.  You, Pete and Cindy were the ones who brought Cliff out of his self-imposed hermitage.  Vera just happened to show up at the Silver Grille.  (I guess she had one of those decoder rings before she was engaged with one.)  And I know it galls you to admit it, but you met Cindy because of Les Moore.

Once again, Tom Batiuk seems to be making it up as he goes along, disregarding his own history while he expects his readers to have an encyclopedic knowledge of every minor character who appeared for a panel or two.   It’s amazing how those two contradictions don’t collide and annihilate the whole strip.

Speaking of a panel or two, it’s sure unfortunate that Cindy had to run off between panels one and two.  Because I don’t know who the Hell that’s supposed to be in the second panel; it looks very little like Cindy.  I mean, she’s not even wearing the same dress.  I guess, maybe Cindy tripped and looked foolish doing so, so the people in charge said, “Quick, we need a hot blonde who doesn’t look anything at all like she’s fifty years old!”

Either that, or the new artist is definitely getting Funkyfied–“Hey, whatever fills the panel, man.”   Gotta wonder if, when he told his fellow artists that he’d landed the Funky Winkerbean gig, there was this long, uncomfortable silence, followed by expressions of sympathy, pity, and many hands on the shoulder with the words, “We’re there for you, man,” and “You’ll get through this.”

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Raisin The Bar…Lowering The Standards

Link to today’s strip

For what seems like the thousandth day in a row I have no idea what the gag here is supposed to be. Are the background anon-o-characters supposed to be characters I’d recognize? “Immaculate metro stations”…huh? There’s no “joke” here, again. And not only that, there’s no “story” either. Color me totally baffled. I even visited the official FW blog just to see if maybe something there would shed a little light on whatever the hell is going on here but (of course) there’s no help there unless you’re looking for way, way too much information on fictional comic book covers. All in all one of the most pointless FW arcs ever and that includes the band box arc AND the Food Film scam.

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DeCompse Already

So we lost Harry Chapin but this insufferable prick is still with us!? I know he’s helping with fundraisers but man, Harry, move the hell on. Just because you drive your wife crazy doesn’t mean you can’t play music at a retirement village or something. You’d think the higher ups would be more concerned; he’s not paid faculty. Does he have to get a visitor pass every time?

I’m less thinking he’s creepy and more thinking if I were a kid he’d be the kind of adult that annoyed the living shit out of me.

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Wrappin’ Around

Link to today’s strip.

Well, now that we’ve enjoyed a week of nothing at all, it looks like we’re seeing some actual hazing!  But no, just turns out to be a glimpse of something that happened to that Ol’ Punching Bag Himself, Wally Winkerbean, many years ago.

Odd, isn’t it, that Becky’s example has to be something that happened twenty or thirty-odd years ago, and she’s only just this year put a stop to it.  I mean, we couldn’t have used someone slightly more contemporary, like Owen, to make Becky look a little less uncaring and incompetent.  But one suspects that when Owen graduated, his model sheets were thrown into the fire so that Tom Batiuk wouldn’t be tempted to take the focus away from Dinkle and Les.

The last panel does, on the face of it, constitute a “punchline” and it would ordinarily be a pretty good one.  But given the slant of this strip, my first thought was “This store is going to go out of business.”  Odd again that the store seems to sell nothing but plastic wrap (and lottery tickets) again indicating that this prank has been going on so long local merchants are dependent on it for economic survival–but only now is Becky addressing it.  The town will probably dry up and become abandoned, and the band camp will be relocated to Camp Crystal Lake (at least Jason would be easy to draw).  An interesting view of Chesterton’s Fence.  I guess I’m defending hazing!  Funky Winkerbean has made me a terrible person now.

I guess also that this tosses a glitch into the Batiukian Theory that men are the only ones who can act; that the sole function of a woman is to supply cookies and milk to a comic-book reading session.  Turns out women can utterly destroy things.  Here’s to equality!

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Reporting For Doody, Sir!

Link to today’s strip

How very touching. See Cliff, they never forgot about you…except for that brief sixty year period between your final Starbuck Jones film and right now, that is. Just a few months ago these crappy old Starbuck Jones films were so obscure that even Pete, the nerdiest nerd who ever nerded, didn’t know about them (and he whined about having to see it in the first place). Yet now throngs of weirdos (all male, coincidentally enough) are pouring out of their hovels (and the WHS faculty lounge) to chant banal old catchphrases at a ninety year old guy in a spaceman suit. Did the films suddenly become popular again or did dozens of people suddenly remember they were the cornerstones of their childhoods or what? It’s all so typically Batiukian, something is, then suddenly it isn’t, then it’s both and sometimes neither.

What a weirdly specific-looking big-headed crowd, I (sort of) wonder who they’re all based upon? Those creepy big heads are just way too detailed to be accidental. Friends and associates is my best guess. Lucky them.

Boy, the Batiukverse is really in chaos now, particularly the timelines. FW is featuring an arc about an old 1950s B-movie star, which means these dorks are all agog over a guy whose “heyday” was over sixty or (if we’re still pretending it’s ten years from now) seventy years ago, long before the majority of them were even born. And nothing that’s happened in the strip would indicate why this is so.

Meanwhile “Fallen Star”-era Les Moore is talking about old books in Crankshaft, which I assumed was happening in the present day. So if it’s 2016 in the Crankverse and it’s 2026 in FW, the CS Les should be Les from ten years ago, when the strip was rolling along with its very special all-cancer format as we slowly waited and waited for Lisa to finally die. Even if it’s “now” in FW and ten years ago in CS it doesn’t add up correctly.

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i h8 u ┌∩┐(◣_◢)┌∩┐

In today’s strip, T-Bats reveals the underlying dynamic of Westview: Everyone hates each other.

Seriously, an entire cast of people who think their own families suck! What a joy it must be to know Tom in real life.

 

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