Tag Archives: author avatar

Batton Down The Hatches

Link To This One

It’s nice to see that good ol’ Batton survived the local “KOVID” scare unscathed. KOVID was a purely Westviewian viral strain, transmitted only through old comic book paper. It left many survivors with a complete inability to properly appreciate Silver Age comic books, which obviously led to rampant binge drinking and countless suicides. Some experts have speculated that the milk and cookies trade in Westview may never fully recover. The vaccine has some unfortunate side effects, for example an inability to properly grip pizza slices and a precipitous drop in overall wryness, leading many Westviewians to question whether the cure is actually worse than the disease.

But yeah, anyhow, this Batton guy just might be the single most obnoxious “new” Act III character of them all, for obvious reasons. It’s all just so shameless. The wry, self-deprecating banter about how obscure he is, that overly sincere smirk, the way John had to mention the character by his full name just so confused readers would know who the hell he is, it all just makes me sick and quite frankly totally ruined my whole f*cking Monday. It’s a pain my fellow SoSF hosts (and everyone else really but especially them) know all too well. You’re waiting to see what the next arc will be, then you discover it’s a f*cking Batton Thomas arc and you just groan in disgust. Happens with a lot of characters, now that I think about it.

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The Taking Of Boredom 123

Today’s strip goes beyond TB’s regular “tell, don’t show” philosophy into, well, “tell, don’t tell” territory I guess. We get a couple of 35 cent metaphors and learn NOTHING. Not a thing. In fact, you could swap the order of yesterday’s and today’s strips and it would make exactly as much sense as the present order. The Flash #123 made this big impact on this author avatar who went on to become a cartoonist… yeah, we knew that yesterday (or, 12 years ago, if you’ve ever read TB’s blog). Shouldn’t we be on to the why? The how? No, don’t bother with that, we need to hear a few more flowery words that restate what has already been restated ad nauseam.

This is beyond Herb and Jamaal‘s dopey non-specificity, which muddied the gags but didn’t keep the reader from recognizing that they existed. This glacial garbage muddies a complete lack of any substance to begin with. There is nothing here. Nothing. At all. No conflict, no suspense, no character development, no dispensation of information real or fictional. We’re waiting for a man to pay for a comic book. WE ARE WAITING FOR A MAN TO PAY FOR A COMIC BOOK. I’ll put up the $5.99 or whatever the #123 reprint costs just to get Batton the heck out of there.

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Flash has reached end of life status

Today’s strip gives us our first glimpse at a young Batton Thomas… back when he had the hair of a newscaster, the jaw of Rob Riggle, and the neck of something that doesn’t have a neck. Quite a contrast to today’s sad-sack Batton, who looks like he could be Pete’s dad (he’s not, John Darling program director Reed Roberts is). Trading that plaid seersucker jacket for a blue Members Only was a good call, though.

So The Flash #123 inspired Batton Thomas (and, most definitely, one Thomas Batiuk as well) to become a cartoonist, eh? How, exactly did it do that? If we are lucky we’ll get that answer in 6-10 business days. Or just visit the official Funky Winkerbean blog, where TB writes more about The Flash than he does about his own creations… Haha, yeah, you all go do that. I’ll wait.

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And he just can’t hide it…

Let’s all bid a hopeful farewell to Batton and, especially, Les in today’s strip. Les will sadly and undoubtedly return (please not for a good long while!), but what of Batton? This week’s story arc served to make him even les relevant than he seemed when he first appeared, and that’s saying something.

Not that doing interesting and relevant things is really a requirement to appear in Funky Winkerbean these days, but unless Batton gets cancer or (a year from now) the COVID-19 it is hard to see what else TB has for him to do. He’s appeared at Free Comic Book Day and he’s stood in front of Les’ class. What else is there? Well, if Batton ever does return, it’s a sure bet it will be during one of my stints writing this blog. I’m two for two so far, lucky me.

Now if Tom Batiuk himself is excited about writing this strip, he sure can hide it. He lost control years ago, and he probably likes it…

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Welcome To The Jumble

If today’s strip is any indication, TB really wants to get on Jeff Knurek’s Christmas card list. Can’t blame him for that, Knurek’s work on Jumble is excellent and his Christmas cards are surely top-notch.

Cayla is now the latest in a long line of women in the Batiukverse who aren’t initially familiar with the comic interests of their significant others, or comics at all. That will change, though, just as it did with Lisa, Holly, Jess, Mindy, Cindy, even Donna… well, everybody but Lefty, really. It’s weird that DSH never indoctrinated Lefty being that he has owned a comic book store since long before they even met. That’s probably why she is always hanging around with Dinkle, in a desperate bid to avoid comics. Anyways, Cayla doesn’t read Three O’Clock High and she’ll be lucky to not be burned at the stake.

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Autographic content

The space-time continuum is threatened with destruction by today’s strip, in which one of TB’s author avatars heaps unsolicited praise on another of TB’s author avatars. Not that comic strips cannot involve journalism, but wouldn’t a comic strip creator be a more apt guest speaker in an art class? Oh that’s right, Westview High cut art class in 2013 after failing to pass a school levy in 2012 despite the best efforts of the hairless man we all know and love as Arthur “Art” Teacher. Maybe Rache can bring it back when she gets her teaching certificate

I guess I’ll take a week of TB patting himself on the back for being born over a week of Buck and Linda, but only because no one offered me a week of stepping on Legos with my bare feet.

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