Oh hello Mr. Stock Male Nerd Cartoon #27 from 10,000 Clip Art Images ’98 CD-ROM (OS/2 Edition), glad you could make it to today’s strip. If you hadn’t shown up, Pete and Durwood might have had to twiddle their thumbs, and we all know how much they hate slacking off…
Y’know what’s really nerdy? Math! Let’s do some math. Lessee, it’s early May, so we’ll say Atomik Komix most recent issues were published in April. Here’s their titles that we know of and when we first see them “published”.
The Inedible Pulp – May 2018
Rip Tide: Scuba Cop – July 2018
Atomic Ape – September 2018
The Scorch – January 2019
Assuming one issue per month for each title, there would be 33 issues. Assuming a once every two months schedule there would be 17 issues.
The Inedible Pulp – 12 issues/6 issues
Rip Tide: Scuba Cop – 10 issues/5 issues
Atomic Ape – 8 issues/4 issues
The Scorch – 3 issues/2 issues
No math involving this strip or story arc equals entertainment.
Oh no, Les is back in today’s strip. And along with ol’ smirk n’ shirk we get three would-be nominees for This Week In Milford’s pantheon of hair. Let’s see… we’ve got a phone camera operator sporting a Dave Coulier mullet, a proud Lisa book-buyer wearing the Luke Skywalker, and someone so enthralled with the many justifications for John Darling’s murder in Fallen Star that they are morphing into Albert Einstein. Fantastic.
Well, that took my mind off of yet another strip where Les shows contempt for the people who want to give him money for his work, for a few minutes at least.
Thanks, SOSFers, for putting up with me and TB (mostly TB… I hope) for another two weeks. The unenviable task of covering a crazed bald man palming two imaginary grapefruits (and whatever else next week brings) falls to someone significantly more well-known to the average comic strip reader than Phil the Forecaster, our own Comic Book Harriet. Good luck.
Les finally remembers his creepy Centerville contemporary in today’s strip, something he lied about just two strips ago.
While this comic would like you to believe that Les’ memory was jogged by this girl’s foolish belief that she was going to meet George Clinton and Co. on a school-arranged trip to Washington DC, let’s be honest here. Les really remembers her because she looked like a proto-Lisa back then.
Still talking in today’s strip
Took a creepy turn
So, what is the deal
Les leaves his writing around
Women pick it up
And just like before
The woman who picked it up
Keeps it for decades
Why was this two arcs
Really, a baffling story
Why even one arc
Still, creepy woman
Has not purchased Lisa book
Holding up the line
She kept a high school essay
I just can’t even
Today’s strip finds yet another person who has waited in line to not purchase Les’ book. Slightly more reasonable than waiting in line to actually purchase Les’ book, I suppose.
Les won something when he was in high school? I’m sure the circumstances surrounding that were more convoluted than the making of the Starbuck Jones movie. Les being Les, of course, doesn’t remember someone whose writing was better than his… which I think is a safe assumption given that Les was Westview High’s substitute valedictorian with a C average and that Ms. Nebbish here lived in Centerville before Crankshaft drove its collective IQ down 40 points (he was a Westview bus driver in Act I).
Today’s strip was not available for preview. It is, almost certainly, more of the same book signing shtick. Will today’s customer be totally or only partially clueless as to why they are waiting in line? We’ll have to find out together.
But while we are on the subject of Les’ books, let’s take a brief look back at the promotion for his first book Fallen Star, the John Darling bio and murder-solver that may or may not have actually been released in 1997 or 1998.
Les gets booked on “The Today Show”.
Has a publicity photo taken by Crankshaft’s non-Pam daughter Chris (Barry Balderman cameo in the photo-corner flashback!).
Gets bumped from “The Today Show” because his agent is terrible.
Gets interviewed by some giraffe children for their high school newspaper because his agent is terrible.
Sulks in the park and is found by Apple Annie, a homeless media maven and part-time stalker who would become Les’ publishing agent in early Act III before TB forgot she existed.
Post-script: Chris Crankshaft would later help Apple Annie out of homelessness. They met because Annie helped a lost Crankshaft find Chris during one of his infrequent visits to New York. I think the Batiukverse is shrinking to a singularity…
Well, at least the customer in today’s strip seems to have an idea as to why he has been waiting in line. In fact, he has just become Les’ number one fan and, for the first time in recorded history, Les seems genuinely pleased to be at one of his book signings.
I suspect, however that is less because WASP-y Tony Montoni just bought three copies of The Last Leaf and more because Les likes the way this guy thinks. Giving one’s ex a book about a happy re-marriage is pretty low. Giving one’s ex a book about a happy re-marriage whose subject also implies that you wish said ex had died of cancer is the kind of thing judges issue restraining orders over.
How about a round of applause for Epicus Doomus, who went the extra-extra mile in covering three consecutive weeks of Funky madness? That’s four weeks more than doctors recommend. Your friend billytheskink here, hopefully (but probably not) prepared to tread water for two weeks right along with this strip as it tries to stay afloat until March 2022.
Alas, Sunday’s comic was an omen and Les Moore’s tour of contempt continues in today’s strip. Yet another person (one of Pete’s relatives, perhaps?) has been standing in line to meet the author of a book that they know nothing about? Skinny McBrowncoat has never heard of Les or the previously released Lisa’s Story book? I mean, that is believable, sure, but did he just see a line at the bookstore and decided to stand in it?
Panel two’s look over our dazed customer’s shoulder seems to confirm that this book is all text, not a graphic novel like it originally was going to be. I wonder if it was Les or his publisher that decided to stick all of Durwood’s artwork in the circular file.
Link to today’s strip
Look at that douche in panel 1, visible strain on his face as he forces himself to listen to Lillian’s blathering. Les does however hit paydirt as Lillian acknowledges that she’s here to buy “the new Lisa’s Trilogy books”. This is not how a real person would describe what she’s doing, but at least Les made one sale. I suppose that’s the part that drives this book signing sequence forward, since the punchline is nothing more than a continuation of yesterday’s punchline. I do like how Les in the last panel, looking puzzled, holds Lillian’s book right up to his face as if he’s never seen such a thing before in his life, deciding to smell it. He looks confused and disoriented. Oh, Lillian, your delightful smile is wasted on this man. He’s never going to read your book. Don’t kid yourself.
I have to admit that I’m more intrigued by the subtitle in panel 2 for The Last Leaf, which is “Lisa’s Story Concludes”, which with that awful stylized lettering I’ve read more than once as “lisa’s story omelettes.” How could this possibly be a conclusion to Lisa’s Story? She DIED in the last one! If it’s about Les’s ability to become a functional member of society again after his loss (which not only has a debatable premise, but is also the most reasonable direction for the book to take), that’s not about Lisa. That’s about Les. It’s as if Fitzgerald wrote “Gatsby’s Story Concludes” about how Nick Carraway got on with his life.
But that’s not really a surprise. After all, I bet if you took all the strips in the new “Lisa’s Trilogy books” of Batiuk’s and counted the strips where Lisa appears and the strips where Les appears, Les would have more by a substantial margin. Hell, dump the book where his purported protagonist is dead and I’d bet Les still has a wide margin in the other two. It’s never been about Lisa. It’s always been about Les. For every strip of Lisa reflecting on her own about her life’s circumstances in a way that doesn’t focus on Les, there are probably ten of Les moping about some damn thing.
Whew, what a tangent. Anyway, your main character, ladies and gentlemen.
Had I known TB was going to gratuitously shill for his next collection of strips in today’s strip, I wouldn’t have plugged his Amazon pre-order page yesterday. Click the link above to the previous day’s post if you want to see it, I’m not linking it again.
So… Durwood first floated this whole “Prelude” idea to Les over a year-and-a-half ago. Les allegedly began working on it shortly thereafter, with his publisher delaying release of The Last Leaf until he could finish it so that they could be released together. In fact, just last week Darin explicitly tells Les he wants to see what he has written so that he can start on the “illos” for the book.
But in today’s strip, Les is just NOW given the idea for the Prequel/Prelude book that he claimed to have started in mid-2015, a book it was definitely implied he was procrastinating on just LAST WEEK?!
I… I mean… Just… Just move on to the next story arc, please.
The Last Leaf, by the way, is going to be an actual thing. That means that, combined with Prelude and the already-published The Other Shoe, this trilogy of books that Durwood has proposed is going to be a real (expensive) thing too.
And to think I said I wasn’t gonna plug TB’s books today…