Tag Archives: Cliff Anger

Shooting Gallery

Today’s strip

Greetings, folks, BChasm temporarily in the captain’s chair for the next little while.  What’s this?!  The viewscreen shows a sea of hostiles–ready photon torpedoes!   We must annihilate this threat before it spreads across the galaxy!

I’m going to skip over Mason’s “movie we filmed here,” comment, because while I don’t think any of the film was shot in Centerville, I honestly don’t remember the “school bus drives into shot” bit well enough, and–Tales to Astonish–I have no desire to look and see.  So I’ll give him that.

What else?  Well, we’ve got a crowd shot of almost everyone, including Les–which sets our Les Watch back to zero, damn it.  At least he’s not saying anything, and is both poorly drawn and partly covered by a word balloon.  Funny, though, I’d have expected both Comic Book John and Imbecilic Harry to be there, but I guess they got their exposure in at Comic Con, so no need to feature them any longer.  But who is that between Jim KibblesNBits and Marianne?  It looks like they flew Marianne’s mother out there after all!  I guess?

The fact that so many of the cast and crew are in the audience–and sitting right up front, too–makes me wonder if Tom Batiuk believes that the first time anyone involved with a movie actually gets to see the finished film is at the premier.  In the real world, the director would have seen the film dozens of times by now, and there’s almost always a screening for the cast and crew.  So all these people would be backstage, or at the back of the hall, gauging audience reaction–pacing, room for laughs, people getting bored at certain parts, and so on–and looking for “oohs” and “aahs” for the cast members.

But not in the fantasy land that is the Funkyverse.  Here, everything happens the way a five year old imagines that it happens–it’s all just magic, and friendship, and comic books and pizza, and it works every time!  In a way, that sounds like an attractive world…for a few minutes.  But after those few minutes, I’d want something of substance, something that would stir the imagination rather than just “be” everything forever.

Poorly thought-out as the Lisa stuff is, it’s at least an attempt to address adult concerns–something that a comic strip aimed at “contemporary problems of young people” should attempt more often.  Because I’m pretty sure the contemporary problems of young people aren’t that they wish there were more comic-book movies.

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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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DOUBLE STARBUCK WEDDING

Both Mason Jarre and Cliff Anger have separately asked me to find a minister for just after the premiere.” If you’re gonna “tell, not show,” Mr. Batiuk, couldn’t you at least do it using less unwieldy sentences? So assuming that Mason and Cliff don’t intend to marry each other, each man holds matrimony in enough esteem to require a minister to perform the ceremony. But neither man has a problem with delegating the task of finding a clergyman to Pete. Guess this falls under Pete’s “advance work” duties. But that’s not the gag here, folks: the gag is that John is shitting eggrolls over the news that the film’s male leads have (separately!) decided to wed their betrothed after the premiere.

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Xanaxian Peril

170730I think today’s strip is something new, I don’t recall seeing a movie poster homage before. It looks like TB doesn’t know any movie poster artists, as he conscripted old pal (and Cliff Anger expy) Chuck Ayers to draw this one up. I guess that Crankshaft story arc where Crankshaft sold a bunch of vintage movie posters so he could pay for the “Roughriders” on his bus route to go to college was a good enough qualification.

I am not sure why present-day Vera is morphing into Holly, but Cliff appears to have found out about the rerelease of the old Starbuck Jones serial in Reader’s Digest. He is certainly the right age for a Reader’s Digest reader. I’ll bet the announcement was written in Junior Spaceman decoder ring code…

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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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Dead Putz Society

Everyone is severely intoxicated in today’s strip, right? Those glasses everybody has been carrying around have surely been filled and emptied many times by now, yes?

Because I don’t really know how else to explain this. The exaggerated hand gestures, the jumping on tables, the applause, the addressing of a group of full-grown adults as “kids”… Heck, alcohol may not really be enough to explain this. Not even something as dumb as Funky still dreaming in a coma back in 2010 effectively covers this ridiculousness.

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Butterfl-hio Effect

Today’s strip is a sobering reminder of just how tantalizingly close we came to completely avoiding the foul, intrusive neighbor that is the Starbuck Jones movie. If only Mason had never come to Ohio, none of this would have happened.

– Mason only came to Ohio, of course, because he met Les on the set of Lust For Lisa.
– Tempting as it is to pin this all on Les, he was only able to lure Mason to Ohio with Holly’s collection of “Starbuck Jones” comics.
– Holly’s “Starbuck Jones” collection only existed because Cory started it.
– Cory only started the collection because… well, Tom only knows that. Maybe something to do with his stepfather reading it when he was a kid
– And Ohio is only a state because the British ceded it to the United States in the Treaty of Paris, which was only possible because the French ceded the Ohio Valley to the British after losing the French and Indian War.

“Fan” theory time:
Funky is still in a coma from that 2010 car wreck and everything that has happened since then has been a dream. It was immediately before the wreck when Starbuck Jones was first mentioned (Funky had to sell SJ issue #1 to cover Komix Korner’s overdue rent), everything else involving Starbuck Jones has occurred after the wreck. Also, think of all of the other outlandish things in this strip that have happened since that wreck, things that would have been unlikely before: the successful publication of Lisa’s Story and its national book tour and “Hollywood” chapters, Cayla’s appearance changes, Les’ love life, Cory becoming a soldier and a well-adjusted individual, Cindy comes crawling back to Ohio, Wally snags Rache and Buddy, Dick Tracy…

This theory is, of course, disgustingly unoriginal and incredibly stupid. But is it really worse than the alternative?

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