I’ve had so much fun doing this. It’s like being a little comic book company…I’m going back and I’m going to dip into some of the other characters I created in the fifth grade…I’m going to resurrect them and put them to good use in the strip. I’ll tell you about one. I have a character, The Amazing Mister Sponge…
Tom Batiuk, 2014
A superhero with a name like “The Amazing Mister Sponge” gives us a good idea why the “big” comic book companies gave the air to young Thomas Martin Batiuk. I do like the name “Killjoy” for a villainous evil clown; but I wouldn’t need “porifera vision” to discern a frowning clown with a gangsta teardrop tattoo, toting a huge rifle, to be a criminal.
Speaking of superheroes, the only person I’ve ever heard use “chum” as a form of address is Adam West’s Batman, may he rest in peace. The superhero theme allows Rick Burchett to work a little more in his element in the first two panels. But he’s taken some liberties with the bricks in panel 3–they’re not consistent at all–and he’s drawn Bernie to resemble a bespectacled 8-year-old.
So much for my two-week turn in the barrel! Tune in tomorrow when beckoningchasm takes over for a spell.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Link to today’s strip.
Oh my God, we’re still doing food jokes? And not just any food jokes, but jokes that are so old, I remember being bored by them way back in grade school. Hey, Tom Batiuk, right back at ya:
What really wrings the neck of this attempt at humor is the bizarre…well, “continuity” for lack of a better word. For the past two days, Bernie and Thatsnaught have been standing in front of the vendos. Now, they’re still standing there, wearing the same clothes, as if only a few moments have passed between strip-days. So far so dull, but suddenly, there’s a professionally-taped notice on the vendos that was not there before. It’s like a low-budget movie where the script girl was out sick one day. “Okay, that’s a wrap, loves; gotta get this stinker in the can!”
I could imagine someone like Philip K. Dick could take this “off” situation and create something out of it…Eye In The Sky comes to mind; there’s actually a scene with a vending machine! Philip K. Dick could be quite irritating at times, but his imagination was never in doubt.
Unlike some people I could name.
Link to today’s strip.
Comic Book Harriet asked a relevant question yesterday–is this vendo in the school, or the Komix Korner? We were, after all, dealing with two characters shown in the Korner in the previous day’s strip.
Well, today’s professionally taped sign gives us the answer. Although Bernie’s still wearing the same shirt as yesterday–does that mean he only has one shirt? Shades of Les Moore! (Spoilers: he seems to have two, this one and another just like it in red. I guess he alternates them seasonally.)
Other than that, it’s just another sad episode of how badly Tom Batiuk’s sense of humor has atrophied. School food, that’s always timely–but, I should shake it up somehow. He’s obviously trying, he’s even abandoned the safe, tried-and-true cafeteria in an attempt to recast the joke–but it’s the same old cafeteria fare, just drenched in a different bland sauce.
Neither one is edible.