Tag Archives: comic books

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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Hai-Code

Today’s strip contains
A couple of near-haiku
Shall we take a look?

“This text may be the
Answer you are looking for
It’s just gibberish”

“That is because it’s
Written in the Starbuck Jones
Junior Spaceman’s code”
_________________________

Jeff has just put on
That stupid decoder ring
Why does he have it?

Came from his pocket?
Does he carry it around
Annoying others?

He just got a text?
But it was a Tweet he sent
To Director Guy

I guess that Durwood
Has uncle Jeff’s phone number
As if he’s used it

Nice car on the curb
Puts Batiukmobile® to shame
Who would park it here?

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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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O-H! I-ugh…

Today’s strip simply confirms what we’ve all known since Monday, that this movie premiere is going to take place at “that damn Crankshaft theater”.

And we can all blame Jeff Murdoch, a passive-aggressive sad-sack who has never managed to elicit sympathy from readers despite constantly suffering under his mother and father-in-law, two of the nastiest and most despicable characters to have ever graced the comics page. We can also blame Batiukverse Twitter, which waived its character limit to allow Jeff to convey the following information in a single tweet (maybe he typed this all up in Notes and tweeted a photo, which is still contemptible):

– His first and last name
– His location
– The fact that he was a member of the Starbuck Jones Junior Spaceman Fan Club when he was a kid
– That he saw the original Starbuck Jones serial at the then-new Valentine Theater
– That his son now owns the Valentine Theater
– And that he thinks it would be a good place to hold the premiere of the new Starbuck Jones movies.

Given all of that, I’m surprised he didn’t mention how movie tickets only cost $0.10 when he first saw the Starbuck Jones serial, or how much he misses voting for Robert Taft Sr., or how great his old LaSalle ran.

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Valium-tine

While Jeff Murdoch apparently violates Twitter’s character limit in today’s strip, Director Martin Johns violates general decorum by thinking Jeff’s tweet is worth reading out loud to these Hollywood types lounging about in wicker chairs.

Prescient SOSFer erdmann hypothesized yesterday that this would lead to the premiere of Starbuck Jones at “that damn Crankshaft theater”. Today’s strip all but confirms that, and I can tell you that the next several strips will not dispel the idea. If you consider this to be a spoiler then you haven’t read Funky Winkerbean for very long.

In other news, Cindy has lost her right foot. Oh, and Jeff Murdoch is apparently both old enough to have seen and remember original-run Starbuck Jones movie serials (before Cliff was blacklisted sometime in the early 1950s) and young enough to have also been attending Kent State in 1970 (on a John Sebastian impersonator scholarship, apparently). To be fair, there is a window of time in which that works, but it is narrower than Crankshaft’s mind.

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