December 1, 2019 at 11:34 pm
The sad thing about this is how [Batiuk] seems to think a story about a comic book artist who’s always behind schedule is an interesting and relatable premise.
We get it. “Turtle Thompson” was a real pain in the ass to work with. Luckily for him, he was surrounded by enablers who let him get away with being lazy and unreliable. Maybe his artwork (which we’ll never see, unless tomorrow’s strip is a sideways Sunday comics cover) was so good, he was worth the aggravation. Maybe capable comics illustrators were hard to come by in those days (doubtful). At any rate, years later they are reminiscing fondly about ol’ Turtle. He, and Flash and Phil Holt and all those comics legends created entire worlds, and their work was consumed by legions of devoted fans. Though Darin and Pete imagine themselves to be in their same league, their work will never have that kind of impact. It’s no wonder that Darin’s quip, referencing a supervillian who exists nowhere outside of his and Pete’s imaginations, falls a little flat:
December 3, 2019 at 12:55 am
…[I]f he ever wanted to vacation at Easter Island, the locals would probably worship (Flash Freeman) as a god.
Lest we forget which “Turtle Thompson” we are speaking of: it’s “The artist.” Props to commenter Scott J Lovrine, who yesterday cited Silver Age comics inker Frank Giacoia as a likely inspiration for “Turtle Thompson.” A number of readers have suggested that this arc might be a dig at the mysteriously departed Rick Burchett; I’ll give Batty a little credit here and say that he wouldn’t throw a former partner under the bus like this. We don’t know how about Burchett’s ability to meet deadlines, but his work on Funky was just terrible, and I for one was happy to see him go. But his replacement, the formerly reliable Chuck Ayers, has rendered a grotesquely misshapen head on ol’ Flash here, making him look in rear view like a Q-Tip with ears.
Like pulling teeth without any anesthetic” how, exactly? For the one pulling teeth, or for the one whose teeth are being pulled? If they’re your teeth being pulled, well, that’s literal torture. It can’t be a picnic for the tooth puller either: extracting teeth takes a fair amount of strength, especially from a flailing, un-anesthetized subject. Anyway, yesterday Flash said that “Turtle” had “gone to the well once too often,” implying that he pushed things too far and was finally let go, yet the cajoling continues.
In what line of work, particularly in a publishing company, would a contributor get away with repeatedly pushing back deadlines? Especially without an explanation or excuse aside from “Well…” And what’s the reason that Flash has to speak to him by phone? Why is “Turtle” Thompson not chained to a desk like everyone else we’ve seen in the Batom salt mines? Why does the “sepiatone” flashback image have hints of yellow and green? Well? WELL???
Batiuk doesn’t bother to remind readers who this character is whom we haven’t seen since April…but he does have Pete exposit the setup he delivered just yesterday. These two nerds have got a lot of nerve, smirking about somebody else’s work ethic. Pete’s procrastination, particularly when under deadline, has been extensively documented, while Darin, when he’s not hanging around the post office, dreams at his desk of pirating drawing pens from cargo ships.
Casual readers won’t recognize the skinny old geezer looming over Darin, but we all know that it’s Flash Freeman. He’s kind of the Harry Dinkle of the comics industry: though he’s long since retired, he still likes to randomly “drop by” and interfere with people who are trying to do actual work. Of course, Darin and Pete need no excuse to goof off, and they literally worship the comics legend. Pete especially, whose grin stretches all the way to the bags under his eyes in panel 1.
Devoid of context, today’s strip is aimless and boring. With context, though, it’s… ummmm… I don’t really know. What is the context of this strip anyways?
We have no idea how this exchange began, unless it began like this, which means “Batton Thomas” just started spouting off trivial comic book history once Bernie and Thatsnought where within earshot. Is this what TB does at book signings and conventions?
And today’s strip is on from insulting Flash Freeman to… this… whatever this is is supposed to be.
I get the self-referential bit, of course, but what is its purpose? Is this lamenting the declining popularity of newspaper comics in the most confusing way possible? (maybe) Is this based on TB’s experience being ignored at real life comic convention functions? (definitely) What is Thatsnought’s reference to “the original guy who did that strip” all about? (probably nothing)
And Three O’Clock High? Is that supposed to be a stand in for Funky Winkerbean? Just Act I Funky Winkerbean? TB’s first published comic strip (the anti-Archie) Rapping Around?
Is it an intentional reference to the lightly-remembered 80s teen comedy of the same name that starred the guy who played the 3D glasses-wearing guy from Biff Tannen’s gang in Back To The Future? (unclear)
Whatever it is… it stinks. (apologies to Jay Sherman)