Tag Archives: Cody and Owen

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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And Then Along Came Jones

Link to today’s strip.

Yesterday, I posited that we wouldn’t see any of the strip’s promised action.  Well, I guess Tom Batiuk sure showed me!  Though I, in turn, would like him to explain Chullo’s remark.  How many graduations has he been to, exactly?

I sure hope Mr. Director Man–whose name I do not believe we’ve been given–is prepared to shoot this scene over and over again.  If you want a crowd of people running in terror, you don’t want your extras looking like they’re having a fun time.  Kinda undercuts what you’re trying to achieve.  So for take two, Mr. Director Man, you should tell the crowd to look frightened.

Technically, though, you’re not allowed to talk to the extras, Mr. Director Man.  That’s the job of the assistant director; in fact, if a director “directs” an extra–even something like “Hey, you!  Get off the set!”–that extra now moves up to become a paid player.  Yet another thing to add to the “Tom Batiuk knows nothing about how movies are made” column.

This 24/7/365 Starbuck Jones obsession clearly shows that Tom Batiuk has lost all interest in both of his comic strips.   I don’t know why he continues with Funky Winkerbean or Crankshaft–the paycheck, I guess, and the chance to win an award for longevity.  There certainly have not been any stories that engaged him that don’t involve Starbuck Jones.  The “senior trip” thing recently was an embarrassment, something he felt he had to get out of the way so he could get back to Starbuck Jones.   Before that, it was a week of Wedgeman’s class ring.  Obviously stuff that a “high school strip” needs, but interesting to no one.

The problem is, as I’ve mentioned before, Tom Batiuk is self-aware enough to know that he doesn’t have the talent to do Starbuck Jones.  This is why we’ve never seen Starbuck Jones doing anything in the strip, other than “appearing.”  When he had the vintage serial arc, we saw practically nothing of the film but we sure had a lot of people jabbering over it.  When a comic book cover is required, someone else draws it.  Tom Batiuk has written or drawn nothing of significance regarding Starbuck Jones.

So, aware that if he tried it, he would ruin it, I imagine Tom Batiuk would hire people to write and draw Starbuck Jones.  Oh, he would be the editorial supervisor, and make suggestions and create new characters and so forth.  In other words–

He would be Brady Wentworth.

Given Mr. Batiuk’s record on wrapping things up quickly, well…I haven’t seen tomorrow’s entry, but it would not surprise me one bit if it’s something like this–

Bear in mind, this is one day after filming in a high school auditorium.  Yes, it’s unlikely, but…can you prove that it won’t happen?

That’s it from me, folks!  Tune in tomorrow when the fantastic Epicus Doomus takes the center seat.  Back to the funway, which is already in progress!

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“Remember, You’re All Going to Die”

Link to today’s strip.

So here we are on graduation day, and Mason’s speech is…really something.  You could paste Les’ head in panel one and it would sound perfect coming from him.  No wonder Mason was frightened.  He certainly looks miserable now…I can kind of see the scene:

Mason (dour):  I don’t know why I agreed to give the speech.  I only have a few hours to prepare/I don’t see any bent nails anywhere/What can I say that will make them care?/I’ll be out in front of everyone, bare. [Sorry about that–BC] This is going to be a disaster.  I have no idea what I should say.

Les (smirking):  I have just the thing.  (hands over a sheaf of paper)

Mason (greatly relieved):  Great!  (reads)

Mason (In a very, very small voice): Oh.

Welcome to Westview, Mason.  You are now officially part of the Great Circle of Death.  Hakuna Matata!

On a much happier note, Chullo and Glasses are graduating!  That means we’ll never have to see them again!  Can I get a “Hell yeah!”?  Oh and Alex too!  (Didn’t recognize her in all that white.)

Does Tom Batiuk realize he has no more student characters?  Oh sure, there was…uh, Bernie?  And…Paige?  It was Paige wasn’t it?  Yeah, those characters were sure fleshed out and ready to take center stage.  Oh, and the Color-Change twins!  Who could forget them?  Other than me, I mean.

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And Now, Part Two: The End

Link to today’s strip.

WOW.

So we get most of a week of Les spitting weak jokes at a bunch of parents, and then we…cut to the grand finale.   No scenes of boarding the bus, no hijinks along the way, nothing with the hotel, or anything having to do with Washington DC.  (Yeah, sure, the White House is mentioned.  Mentioned.)  All we get is two panels of a miserable looking bunch of people (Owen aside) staring dead-eyed into the distance.

And…that’s it.  Yes, that’s all of it.  That’s the entire senior trip.  This way to the egress.  That’s all she wrote.  Th-th-th-th-that’s all folks!  Finito Binito (sic).

This is pretty unprecedented for this strip.  Hell, the simplest, most mundane tasks typically require several days of strips.  Wedgeman’s ring comes to mind.  Here, Tom Batiuk has willingly skipped over a potential couple of weeks.  Not that I’m complaining, exactly–I imagine that a fortnight trapped on a bus with Les Moore would be sheer torture.  Worse than stabbing a coloring book.

No, it is a relief to be spared all this.  It just begs the question.  How is he going to reach the 50th anniversary by passing up material?

There’s only one plausible answer, and we all know what that is.

He had to wrap this up so he could get back to Starbuck Jones.   I mean, it’s increasingly clear that Starbuck Jones is all he cares about in this strip (and it’s creeping up in Crankshaft, too).   He must know by now that Les Moore as “beloved character” is never going to happen.  That seems to be why he’s pushing Starbuck Jones so relentlessly, even to the point of cutting off a Les arc.

So, next week I’m guessing we’ll get more people talking about Starbuck Jones.  Not really doing anything–I think the bus scene exhausted his “show” abilities–but talking about how things might happen.  His “tell” abilities are always at the ready.

Next week we’ll see if I’m right.

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The Batiuk-Signal, Robin!

Link to today’s strip.

Greetings fellow snarkers, BChasm back for another stint in the chair.  Congratulations to HeyItsDave for giving us an exemplary two weeks on his first time out.  Well done indeed!

As for today’s offering, there’s one thing worth noting:

Wedgeman’s back!  There he is, near the center of panel one, burnt orange t-shirt, arms angrily crossed as if he’s been assigned to read Funky Winkerbean.    What tales he could tell us!  Like maybe, what the heck is Alex doing with her hand?  Stifling a yawn?  I’m with ya there, Alex.  Note that Glasses seems to’ve lost a lot of weight, and behind him is some kind of creature I think I saw in a scary YouTube video.  And right under the dialog there’s a girl who is fading out of existence!  Wow, someone could use that if there was a space movie filming nearby!

Other than that, ho-hum.  When I was in high school, any excursions off the school grounds did not require a face-to-face meeting with the parents.  Usually, a permission slip had all the information my parents needed (itinerary, what to bring, etc), so I brought it to them, they read and signed it, and I turned it in.  Are there now actual after-hours meetings for this sort of thing?  If so, my next question is “Why?”

I’m going to pass over the comic book stuff and point out the awful overly-spun dialog we’ve got today.  Always a problem when you draw your word balloons a year before you know what to fill them with.  Wouldn’t panel one read better like this:

On the other hand, maybe we should just go with our inner Batiuk:

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Lost in Cleveland

Link to the Strip Du Jour

Whoops! Field trip’s over already! Don’t worry, you didn’t miss any gripping Westview High drama…because there wasn’t any. We went from yesterday’s permission slips to today’s return-trip headcount entirely off screen.

Y’know…Owen really has an unhealthy obsession with Wedgeman, doesn’t he? I bet if Jim Kaboosechiak sent Owen back into the Science Center to find him, ol Chullo’d make a beeline right for Wedgie. Someone ought to ship those two into some R34. (On second thought, never mind.)

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Going Unsteady

Aw, check it out, a sight-gag! Much like a exploding vacuum cleaner or face full of chimney soot, at least this is a comic I understand. Today’s comic still has those rascals obsessing over Wedgeman’s ring. It’s unhealthy. And hopefully Wedgeman’s main squeeze finds a better way to support that massive chunk of metal or coach is going to have to come over to rehab her back.

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