Tag Archives: Bernie Silver

The Case of the Case of Scotch

Link to today’s strip.

You know, if I saw a couple of teenagers hauling a mattress toward my house, I’m not sure I would deduce that they are 1) high school students and that 2) they are selling mattresses to raise funds.   (I’m not sure what I would make of it, to be honest.)  That this guy has correctly deduced all this makes him much more of a detective than either Bernie or Thatsnought; thus, he has every right to ignore the “wit” offered, pivot on his heel, and slam the door in the faces of these inept salesmen.  Something I’d honestly like to see happen more often to the regular cast, followed of course by dumping vats of boiling oil over them.  I’ll stop there, because I could probably go on for page after page of Funky Winkerbean cast humiliation, and I’d never get any work done.

Is it my eyes, or is that mattress getting smaller and smaller?  They should just sell them as pet beds, because no human being over the age of six is going to spend a comfortable night on one of those.  That is, if “comfortable night” is a possibility in this strip.

I…I’ve got nothin’

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Hope Springs Eternal

Link to today’s strip.

Serving the turkey.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!   May you look fondly upon the year to date, and may fortune smile on you in the coming months.  And yes, that includes you, Tom Batiuk.

Have you ever watched a comedian start a bit, and it just sits there and dies?  And instead of moving on to something else, the comedian just keeps going on with this bit, determined to persevere, and it just never gets funny, but more and more desperate?  And the audience goes from unamused to slightly hostile, and then gradually starts feeling embarrassed for the guy, and finally goes straight into concern for his well-being?

Yeah, that’s what I’m seeing this week.  None of this has been funny by even the most generous measurement, and throwing in terrible semi-puns just makes it more and more cringe-worthy.

I can kind of see the process here–“What would be funny for band members to sell?”  And Tom Batiuk thought “Mattresses, of course.”  And I’m sure someone–possibly–could make that into a funny week or so.  But there’s that problematic word again–“funny.”  Coming up with a funny premise is just step one–step two is to turn that premise into a funny joke.  Otherwise you’re stuck with a bit that never gets funny and makes your audience feel embarrassed for you.

That might, might get that comedian some sympathy the first time around.  But if he persists with that bit, thinking that sympathy is enough, he’s going to find his second audience consists of a few sleeping drunks, an irate bartender, and a scowling janitor anxious to start cleaning up.

There won’t be a third audience.

PS: If the “springs” bit is supposed to be a pun, I don’t think it works.  I may be mistaken, but mattresses don’t have springs, it’s the box springs beneath the mattress that are loaded with springs.  But I’ll admit I’ve taken a leaf from the Batiuk Book and not researched the Hell out of this.

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Careering and Caroming

Link to today’s strip.

I guess the joke, if that is the correct term, is that Thatsnought never thought being a musician would entail heavy lifting.

It’s quite possible that, in the myriad of universes parallel to our own, this joke is considered quite a knee-slapper.

In this universe…not so much.

It strikes me that there’s someone who might start to rethink a career in cartooning.

 

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Everybody Had Matching Towels

Link to today’s strip.

Wow, it looks like Bernie and Thatsnought are determined to make this sale!  In the second panel, it appears they are physically forcing the mattress against that lady, shoving her back into her own home!  “Buy this mattress or we will kill you with it!”  Wow, that eleven dollars is as good as theirs!

Many folks have pointed out the idiocy of this arc–you don’t lug the damned mattresses around, the same way you don’t carry around turkeys that are becoming dangerous by the minute as they thaw and incubate.  No, you show pictures to folks and take orders, then you order the stock, and then you deliver the orders.  But that’s not the way things work in the Batiukverse.

Okay, fine, comic strip rules are not the same as real-world rules.  But here’s my question, specifically about what we’re seeing here, with Bernie and Thatsnought shilling a mattress.

What happens if they sell it?  Are they done for the day, or do they have to go back and get another mattress, come back and start again at the next house on this street?  Is there a flatbed truck just out of sight that has a dozen or so more mattresses for them?  Has this arc been poorly thought out?

Uh, I mean um *cough*

Well, I’m sure there are at least half a dozen people saying, “Hey, you wanted him to do more funny strips and he’s doing them!  There are jokes!  You people are ungrateful and should be thanking him!”   Well, okay, but honestly, this strip doesn’t give me much to be thankful for.  The problem is, as far as “funny,” that ship has sailed many years ago.  Tom Batiuk has no idea how to be funny.

And if you’re not going to be funny, at least get the logistics right.

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November 20, 2017

Link to today’s strip.

Greetings, all, BChasm back again for a spin on the Devil’s Tricycle.  First of all, shout out to Comic Book Harriet, whose hosting last week was outstanding.  Great insight and great humor–two things Tom Batiuk wishes he still had.

Today’s strip was not available for preview, but if I’ve learned anything, it’s that Tom Batiuk’s ability to generate boring and uninvolving content easily beats my ability to predict what will appear.  What will we get?  More Lisa auction?  Les on his book tour?  Bull reliving his high school football career?  Funky’s failing health?  Why, it’s like some kind of monstrous game show, where the only prizes are terrible!   IT’S A TORTURE DEVICE FOR THE MODERN AGE!

(Felt tip to Red Letter Media, from which much of the above was stolen.)

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Pluto-idiocracy

Here’s the one Westview teacher who makes Les look like Mr. Chips, getting his first spoken lines in a year. Burchett’s Jim Kablichnick still resembles Mark Twain, though he’s lost his suspenders (and he used to favor colorful dress shirts). Today’s gag, of course, is lifted from Sunday’s “Name the Canadian Provinces” strip (and from every comic strip that’s featured a kid sitting at a school desk), right down to name-checking another Golden Age Disney character. Smirk it up, Bernie: there can be no incorrect answer (“Write down what you think…”). On the other hand, Kablichnick’s enough of a douchebag to find a rationale to mark every student’s answer incorrect anyway.

Given Rick Burchett’s animation background, it’s weird how statically he’s rendered Jim here: propped up in front of the classroom, pointing his finger at the ceiling. Like Batiuk, Burchett uses some unusual “camera angles.” But unlike TB, RB (let’s just start using that abbreviation) puts his characters in actual, defined space, and not silhouetted in a crosshatched, encroaching black void. Three of his four strips so far have been set in a classroom, the angular walls and neatly tiled ceilings of which loom claustrophobically on all sides. I recognize the books atop the cabinet in the corner of Jim’s class, but am still trying to figure out what those diagonal planes in the left foreground of yesterday’s panel one. All the crazy angles lend some sort of tension to the settings. Kind of like how in the old Batman TV series, the camera shots inside the villians’ hideouts were all tilted askew.

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Quiz Bowel

It is comics like today’s strip that remind me how good I have it. I’m not taking high school English from Les Moore. I never had to take high school English from Les Moore. It is as if he is intentionally trying to be the opposite of the teacher that successful people so often cite as the inspiration that got them to make something of their life. What a miserable experience in every single way this strip is.

Les’ senior students did poorly on their quiz last Monday and now his freshman students have done poorly on theirs… I see a common denominator here. I bet these students would too if Westview High had a math teacher.

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