The Unknown Comic

Is today’s strip so bad that it broke Comics Kingdom? It has certainly thwarted every attempt I’ve made to view it, I’m sorry to say/glad to report. I have mixed emotions about this, obviously.

Feel free to discuss when Comics Kingdom gets its act together, or when you receive your print edition in the morning. Hoping for no Les, knock on wood.

Update: CK is still on the fritz, as far as I can tell. My Sunday paper, however, had no such issues. You can read here the photo I took of today’s strip, minus the throwaway title panel.

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Saturday, May 20

Today’s strip was not available for preview. I assume we are still at Westview High School, getting poorly acquainted with the strip’s newest generation of students (the 6th by my count, though that is not canon). We know that Bernie and Maris like to skip class, that Logan has more Facebook friends than Bernie, that New Monroe/Thatsnot Hewmore rightfully finds Les unfunny and Bernie mildly creepy, and that Emily and Amelia are twins but also, like, their own people. What will we learn today?

On that note, I thought we would take a quick look at TB’s first attempt to create a new generation of students back in the fall of 1992, mere months after the first time jump. The first two students introduced were Wally Winkerbean and Mercedes “Sadie” Summers, both relatives of prominent Act I students.

Here is Sadie pulling the same stuck-up popular girl routine that older sister Cindy did, while everyman Wally breaks the fourth wall with a sideways glance just like cousin uncle Funky:

FW9-11-92

Wally first appeared at band camp, where he was bullied mercilessly by a mullet-sporting senior trombone player, interviewed by a TV news crew about being bullied, and then tied to his bunk with Saran Wrap.

Sadie’s first appearance was also the very first strip in which Les taught English Language Arts. She dealt with living in the shadow of her legendarily popular sister by wearing her hair in the exact same strange way. Back in 1992, the Westview economy was not buoyed by pizza and comic books, it was built entirely on hair spray

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Extra Haiukucular Activities

Today’s strip pivots
Away from Bernie’s forehead
Thank goodness for that

Nate’s the principal
Now he’s the school counselor?
Levies keep failing

Maris Rogers’ name
Silly, but could have been worse
Mason Jarr, for one

Maris is clearly
Trying to avoid Les’ class
I say “good for her”

She went a whole year
Not taking a single class
Not noticed ’til now?

Maris, Mallory,
Jessica, Sadie, Cindy
This path is well worn

Not much to write on
Word word word word word word word
Still better than Les

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How about a Fresco?

If I had told you a year ago that today’s strip was going to be the second in as many days to revolve around Bernie Silver’s forehead acne, you probably would have said “yeah, that sounds like something Tom Batiuk would write about.”

What a pompous and verbose response to a reasonable question. Does Bernie look at Les a role model? Because strips like this make it seem that he does. It almost makes you forget that Bernie is trying to use a pimple to justify an absence from school, a trope that became trite decades ago when the 7 billionth fictional teenager got a pimple on school picture day or prom night and sulked about it.

The traveling green shirt, meanwhile, lives up to its name and finds itself being worn by a third different student in as many days.

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Everybody wants prosthetic foreheads on their real heads

Today’s strip gives us a good indication of why Bernie has been a freshman for two years, he apparently plays hooky when the slightest blemish appears on his face.

Bernie might not be learning much of the three Rs in high school, but he’s getting Westview’s trademark tone-deafness down pat. Griping about your “bad forehead day” in front of a 15-year-old cursed with Peyton Manning’s forehead and a 15-year-old cursed with Ron Howard’s hairline while wearing bangs that cover 95% of your own forehead… that is cold-blooded, Bernie. Les would be proud if he didn’t despise you and every other student who walks the halls of Westview High.

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Immobile, Fragile, Docile!

Today’s strip is a dramatic improvement over yesterday’s, for obvious reasons.

It is not, of course, without its issues:

– First and foremost, what does Not-Monroe expect the school to do about his lunch complaint? Bus kids out for lunch? They’re freshman, they couldn’t leave campus for lunch even if they had a car. They’re 14-15 years old and don’t have drivers licenses. Unless, of course, they were held back, which is certainly possible. Bernie was a freshman last year too

– Second, the only place that the seniors with cars could go out for lunch and get back in time for class is Montoni’s. The freshmen stuck eating cafeteria food are undoubtedly coming out ahead from that angle.

– Third, who is this “they” that Bernie speaks of? The seniors? The faculty? Wall Street? I enjoy a good conspiracy as much as the next guy, Bernie, but it is not interesting if you are not specific about who is trying to keep you down.

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Les Quizérables

Hello SOSFers, billytheskink here to ponder the ponderous ponderings of this comic strip with you all for the next couple weeks.

Why does Garfield hate Mondays? He’s a cat, he doesn’t have a job. His owner doesn’t have a job that keeps him from making lasagna on Mondays (or a job at all, even… is Jon still supposed to be a cartoonist?). I guess Mondays are when Nermal shows up, but that happens on rare occasions and Nermal always sticks around for at least a week anyways, making whole weeks terrible.

I have just now realized that Garfield hates Mondays because he read today’s strip, and it is hard to blame him. I think I hate Mondays now too.

We have seen Les berate his students before (including just under a month ago, in fact), but this time he has decided to leave the classroom door wide open so passers by can hear him humiliate every single student he has been charged with teaching. You know, maybe this is TB’s attempt to bring a balanced perspective to this strip. He’s done an anti-bullying story arc, why not a pro-bullying one?

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