Tag Archives: Cindy

Can the Living Marry the Dead?

Link to today’s strip.

Apologies first off–I don’t know how Fearless Leader embeds these sideways things into normalcy, so you’ll have to suffer with strained necks for the nonce.  Unless I reach beyond myself, and give it a try–

–hey, that worked!  I think!

And check out that cast.  Isaac The Robot (defaming Dr. Asimov’s memory), Moon Mile Meek (or whatever that bowel movement was named), the Space Cadets, the Black Ghost, the Amazing Mister Sp0nge and the (*Cough* undead) Absorbing Junior, and the latest ass-pull, the Blue Astra.  I’d love to see a follow-up strip showing what gifts they brought (“a gift certificate for $10 at Best Buy?  Who the hell–“) but follow-ups are definitely not this strip’s strong suit.

–Case in point.  So, the Starbuck Jones movie world premier has come and gone, and we are no wiser as to how it fell on the world.  Was it a hit?  Did people enjoy it?  Were the fanboys irate over how it changed canon?   Did it rescue the Valentine Theater from foreclosure, and did it spring the careers of Mason, Marianne, Cindy, Cliff, Vera, Pete and Dullard into the stratosphere?  Did it circle the drain on the way through the toilet?   Is Cable Movie Entertainment now on the level of Marvel Studios, or are they instead competing with The Asylum for most horrible crap ever?

As the Residents once sang on their album Not Available, these are “Never Known Questions.”   Because the only answer here is another question, “Who cares?”  And the answer to that is, “Not Tom Batiuk.”

My theory on this is actually quite simple, and obvious once you hear it.   The success or failure of the Starbuck Jones movie was something that–had nothing to do with Les Moore.

Think on that for a moment.  Has this strip ever featured a creative, successful idea that didn’t involve Les Moore?  I certainly can’t think of any.  For the most part, it’s been “I need help, oh thank you for helping, [blink] oh it’s the next day and everything worked.”  (I’m thinking of Pete Movement and his battles with the…sigh…Lord of the Late.)

The message of the strip has been pretty constant in Act III–Les Moore is the only person who can be allowed a creative success in the world.  Everyone else succeeds only because they betrayed their ideals and settled for hackery.   No one else has lost a wife…no one else wrote a best-selling book detailing how he suffered when losing his wife…no one else wrote about how he just damn kept on, after losing his wife…and found a woman willing to be doormat.  That last bit is a little troubling, but, you know…Les Moore was once married to a woman, who…died.

It makes me fear what comes next week.

 

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Scenes from a Mirage

Link to today’s strip.

Now, I want an honest counting of hands, here.  How many of you thought we’d see something/anything of the Starbuck Jones movie during this, the arc in which the long gestating film finally had its premier?  Think of all the things riding on this film’s success–not just careers for Mason Jarre, Pete Robots, Darrin Undesireable and Cliff Anger, but the culmination of desire for a million fan-boys, the affirmation of belief for thousands of cellar-dwellars, and the salvation of the Valentine Theater (and a poorly-performing comic strip associated with same).   Surely such an expanse would provide proof of its benevolent effect.  Right?

Don’t be ashamed; after all, this was something that was fed to us for several years now as the event of the decade, as the measure by which this strip would ensure its place in the pantheon.

So, hands?  Well, there’s one.  Two.  Oh…oh…oh, dear.  That’s far too many hands than I thought I would see.

In my host duties here, I have tried to focus on the content of the strip and NOT on Tom Batiuk, the person.  I’ve never met, and don’t know Tom Batiuk; from all reports, he’s a genuinely nice guy, open and friendly, and I try to keep that foremost when I write here.  And to be honest, I wish him well.

But I’m going to violate that rule here.  Because Tom Batiuk cannot tell a story.

He must know this–aside from Les Moore, the characters he truly cares about (Starbuck Jones and The Amazing Mister Sponge) have never had a single panel dedicated to showcasing their, cough, awesomeness.  Sure, we’ve had lots and lots of covers, but nothing in the way of story.   Story being the key to why a character makes an impression.  Comic book cover?  Anyone who ever read a comic book ever knows that comic book covers are designed to lie you into buying them.  So they don’t count.

It’s much, much easier to ease back down off that plane, and shift the focus to a bunch of has-beens getting married.  Everyone likes marriages, right?  And that’s way more, like, focused than some movie thing that’ll be, like, forgotten in two years.  But marriage, man, that’s like eternal!  Until the next reboot.  But I’ve heard Les Moore has a new book!  Gotta be worth it all, man, gotta be worth it all.

And, just to be that guy,  I’ll be damned if I look it up, but I’m pretty sure Mason made this exact same joke some months back.

To paraphrase Charlie Brown, I weep for the newspaper comic-strip fans.

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Minister of the Inferior

Link to today’s strip.

I have to admit, this one was just startling enough that I enjoyed it.  The strange situation, and the nonchalant way in which it is presented, made for a strip that was actually entertaining.  So, kudos to Tom Batiuk; I’d like to see more like today’s offering, and less of what he typically deposits here.

Of course, today’s strip doesn’t really bear any close looking, because the premise is kind of stupid.  I mean, I guess the local minister could see a flyer, “Wanted, People to Portray Movie Characters for Film Premier, Costume Provided” and stop darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there and think, “Say, that sounds like fun!  And I’ll bring my Bible along, just in case someone wants to get married!”  I mean, that sounds really, really contrived, even for this strip…though certainly not beyond the realm of possibility, given this strip’s history…

Okay, I’ve talked myself into it:  Tom Batiuk will take something cute like today’s strip and ruin it with tomorrow’s.

 

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All the King’s Horsesh!t

Link to today’s strip.

I’d like to think that scream of terror in the last panel is someone snapping from the sheer disregard of continuity.  “This theater” was responsible for none of what you claim for it, Mason.  You, Pete and Cindy were the ones who brought Cliff out of his self-imposed hermitage.  Vera just happened to show up at the Silver Grille.  (I guess she had one of those decoder rings before she was engaged with one.)  And I know it galls you to admit it, but you met Cindy because of Les Moore.

Once again, Tom Batiuk seems to be making it up as he goes along, disregarding his own history while he expects his readers to have an encyclopedic knowledge of every minor character who appeared for a panel or two.   It’s amazing how those two contradictions don’t collide and annihilate the whole strip.

Speaking of a panel or two, it’s sure unfortunate that Cindy had to run off between panels one and two.  Because I don’t know who the Hell that’s supposed to be in the second panel; it looks very little like Cindy.  I mean, she’s not even wearing the same dress.  I guess, maybe Cindy tripped and looked foolish doing so, so the people in charge said, “Quick, we need a hot blonde who doesn’t look anything at all like she’s fifty years old!”

Either that, or the new artist is definitely getting Funkyfied–“Hey, whatever fills the panel, man.”   Gotta wonder if, when he told his fellow artists that he’d landed the Funky Winkerbean gig, there was this long, uncomfortable silence, followed by expressions of sympathy, pity, and many hands on the shoulder with the words, “We’re there for you, man,” and “You’ll get through this.”

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Red Carpet Bombing

So, clearly the courthouse encounter we saw yesterday takes place before, or who the hell knows, maybe after the Starbuck Jones gala premiere. We don’t know the name of the wasp-waisted blonde with the mic, or what media outlet she represents, but she’s obviously done zero preparation for this assignment. Yesterday she was taken aback to find that one of the “cast members” was the sentient (and now apparently ambulatory) computer Holtron. Today she either forgets or doesn’t know that Mason Jarre is the star of this thing. In panel two, Cindy’s sporting an odd neck bulge behind her ear, while Mason resembles a young Danny Kaye. I can’t wait for tomorrow’s strip where washed up minor celeb Cindy fumes over being ignored by the reporterette.

 

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Court and Snark

Snifit
August 21, 2017 at 12:26 am
I like how Batiuk doesn’t bother actually showing where they are. The theater? Marriage License office? Swinger hotel? They’re here, guys. Just here.

“Here” turns out to be the courthouse, and there are so many questions. Are they picking up marriage licences, or are they going to be married by a judge, or maybe by Centerville’s mayor, Bill Clinton? Why then did the prospective grooms (separately!) reach out to Pete to find a minister?  Why all the secrecy about the wedding? And while it’s true that Starbuck Jones is what brought them together, does that somehow mandate that they must marry as soon as the movie comes out? Has the movie come out, and have we not been shown the gala Ohio premiere? What happened to the pink boutonniere that Cliff wore yesterday?

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Decoder? I barely know her…

Tough luck, SOSFers. Not just because you’ve read today’s strip, but also because today’s strip is particularly rant-worthy and I may well be the weakest ranter on this site. I am sorry, I just cannot do it justice. I’ll lean on our commenters to give this strip what it deserves.

I do have an editorial comment, though, and it doesn’t involve Funky in a coma this time. Among the few printable things that have been said about this whole unending Starbuck Jones movie arc is that it is “wish fulfillment”. It is an apt description, of course, as nearly everything about Starbuck Jones comes across as what TB wishes would have happened to his own creations. However, there is no reason that wish fulfillment can’t be entertaining.

Sally Forth just spent a whole month at a (very) fictional Japanese movie monster theme park, something I’m sure unabashedly nerdy SF writer Francesco Marciuliano very much wishes was real. However, Marciuliano uses his fantasy to tell a story and crack jokes that are relatable to readers whether they are kaiju-obsessed or not. You may not know what a Gamera is, but you probably get jokes about taking family vacations and waiting in line at theme parks.

TB’s Starbuck Jones business, meanwhile, requires a tome of Batiuk blog posts and a glossary of Hollywood terms to understand, and a miracle to find entertaining. It seems to be perpetually patting itself on the back for being such a big deal in its own allegedly realistic universe, thrusting long-standing characters into Hollywood’s orbit for seemingly no reason other than to show that they are great enough to be involved in Starbuck Jones things.

I would say that my wish would be that we could leave Starbuck Jones, Hollywood, and the Valentine Theater behind… but that undoubtedly means more of Les. I can’t win. None of us can.

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