Tag Archives: batons

Batteredday, September 1

Today’s strip was not available for preview. I would apologize, but I’m not sure I’m sorry I did not have to see it in advance.

Is it simply more of Dinkle’s megalomania? Yeah, probably. Dinkle, of course, has always been a megalomaniac, but his megalomania has gone from cartoonish and over-the-top to appalling and monstrous. Some of that is due to the fact that this strip’s tone has become so self-serious that attempts at humor seem either discordant or simply illustratitive of terrible behavior.

As much as that, though, Dinkle has changed too. In Acts I and II, his constant appearance in full dress uniform with his eyes always hidden under the bill of his cap gave him a cartoonish appearance to match his portrayal as obsessive perfectionist for whom marching bands are the pinnacle of human existence. Since his “retirement”, however, he has taken on the appearance of post-2010 Chevy Chase, and has come to behave much like Chase is said to off-camera.

To visualize, he went from this:

To this:

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Killing Ed Softly With Baton

Link To Today’s Strip

Few people remember how this legendary Act II arc ended up playing out. Dinkle did indeed stab Crankshaft, causing the bus to plunge into one of Ohio’s many ravines. A guilt stricken Dinkle rendered first aid to Crankshaft who managed to survive, but the entire band died of exposure while awaiting rescue. In one of the strip’s most harrowing twenty-two week sequences, Harry and Crankshaft resorted to cannibalism to survive long enough for Les and Lisa to rescue them.  Some of TB’s most chilling (pun intended) work.

The fact that Dinkle is the one reciting this retconned story makes it pretty creepy if you ask me. He’s flat-out admitting that he once threatened to kill a school bus driver for refusing to drive children through unsafe conditions. While that sort of thing was considered hilarious back in 1976, now it’d probably result in that weirdo Dinkle being banned from the school for life, at least. And he’s telling this story to a woman who lost her arm in a car crash, no less. Surprisingly tone-deaf stuff from a guy so in tune with the issues facing young people today and (zzzzzzzz).

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