Tag Archives: complaining

The More Things Change, The More Les Annoys The Hell Out Of Me

Link To Another One

“The more things change…the more you’re going to find to worry about”. Uh, sure Cayla, whatever you awkwardly say. If she’d said “the more YOU’LL find to worry about” it’d sort of be a gag directed at Les and his endless complaining, but “you’re” kind of turns it into a totally meaningless platitude, which sounds about right.

Coming tomorrow: the latest very timely FW prestige arc begins as an enraged Bernie arrives at WHS with his COVID-19 gun in his backpack. Tragedy is averted, however, when Principal Nate cites the WHS handbook, which forbids “virus, germ and chemical dispersant devices” of any kind. Bernie receives some much-needed counseling.

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And You Can’t Fax Pepperoni Either

Link To The Strip

“While our takeouts from Montoni’s had been good”…nice sentence there, Pulitzer (nominee) Boy. That sentence is the literary equivalent of stubbing your pinkie toe on the bed frame on a 4AM bathroom trip. BatWrite’s insanely fractured syntax is definitely impossible to “replicate”, as it’s just impossible to force yourself to think that way, unless you’ve suffered a lot of head injuries or use a lot of LSD or something.

Of course the possibility exists that the “ambience” Funky is speaking of only exists in HIS head, given his deep lifelong ties to Montoni’s and all. I mean aside from the staff and Crazy Harry you almost NEVER see any other FW regulars hanging around in the background. It was never Westview’s answer to “Cheers”, where characters stream in and out all the time, exchanging wry smirks and wordplay-based banter as Funky and Company crank out the pies. Thus one could conclude that Westviewians don’t really give a shit about being inside Montoni’s, as so few of them are. They just want the pizza. Your coke dealer might have you drop by his stylish condo or he might meet you in the parking lot at the Sizzler but either way you’re just interested in getting the blow.

This arc could have been about how Funky missed his customers-slash-pals during the pandemic, which might have made sense. Or it could have been about how he found himself with all kinds of unwanted free time all of a sudden, which would have sort of tied in a little with the last one. But instead it’s about how the pandemic affected the actual building itself, which is certainly a “different” sort of take. And he’s the only one with nostalgic feelings for the place (even Tony is never there), so essentially this is just more childhood fetishization, a common FW theme (see: comic books).

But mostly it’s just stupid. Funky is usually one of the more sympathetic FW characters (by FW standards) but the urge to hit him with a cinder block is just overwhelming right now. Why is everyone just sitting there letting this idiot babble?

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Eye Do Not Care Anymore

Is Funky telling the truth in today’s strip? Last time we saw him get a physical was in early 2017, when he and Holly flew to Dallas (sure…) to visit a so-called “superclinic” (sure… again) for physicals. Well, Holly claimed it was an annual physical back then, so maybe the Winkerbeans’ annual January Dallas superclinic physical trip just recently happened. Not sure when that would have been, we’ve seen Funky and/or Holly every single week so far this month…

Oh wait, none of that matters. Nurse Scrunchie doesn’t care about Funky’s physical health, she just needs to know if he can afford to pay for his cataract surgery. What a scathing and original commentary on the American healthcare system! Groundbreaking stuff!

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Eye vey iz mir!

Oh, so we’re back to the jokez! in today’s strip. If we’ve learned anything in the last week and a half, it is that Dr. Droopy and Funky both are willing to dish out this cornpone but neither is willing to take it (in fact, I would argue that this is quite literally the only thing we have learned in the last week and a half).

Well, as they say, “write what you know”… Certainly no one can claim that TB doesn’t know hypocrisy.

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Eye Cannot Believe It

If today’s post title didn’t tip you off already, I will warn you here and now that we are NOT done with Funky’s visit to the eye doctor in today’s strip. You don’t need to read it. You don’t want to read it. As much as I generally hope to see lots of comments on this site, I won’t be remotely offended if there isn’t a single comment posted today.

What is there even to say? That this whole strip could have been avoided had Funky just answered the doctor’s question in last Friday’s strip? There, I said it. Tune in tomorrow for more warnings, probably.

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Putting the “die” in dilate

Let us all sincerely hope that today’s strip is the end of “Funky terrorizes the optometrist’s office with his shmuckery.” Oh please please please! I ran out of things to say about it on Tuesday and since then I’ve been filling space with a Droopy photoshop done in Microsoft Paint, obscure 90s punk rock references, and my own experiences at the ophthalmologist. Today, I very nearly wrote 3-4 sentences in this post about what my cat was doing right now, but I’ve taken up too much of you all’s valuable time already. Well, at least I finally thought of something to say about this strip…

Speaking of drops, I’m thinking this country’s newspapers should do just that to a couple of comic strips.

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I Like My Coffee Like I Like My Women. Bitter. Tainted. Washed Up.

Link to today’s strip

That must be one of those ultra hipster coffee shops that adds CBD oil to the ‘special’ brew, because Mindy in panel 3 is baked out of her skull. And the sapphic undertones come back in full force as Ruby leers at Mindy and confesses she wishes that she were young again, and Mindy, grinning, labels her a ‘girl’, promising to make her fantasy reality.

And it is Batiukian in the extreme that Ruby’s protest of her ‘coffee girl’ duties was passive aggressive and petty. If he wanted Ruby to be a real crusader, she would have flat out refused to fulfill the chauvinistic expectations of the men around her. But no, she was miserable, remained miserable, and now wishes she had been born in a different decade because her own was unabated misery.

I’ve read so many compelling interviews this week, interviews with Lily Renee, Valerie (Violet) Barclay, Ramona Fradon, and Marie Severin. You know what these women wanted to talk about? What they got passionate talking about? Art. Writing. Their Work.

They didn’t want to spend hours complaining about how every man in their life was a miserable bastard. We’ve seen one picture of one character Ruby Lith drew. We know more about all the men who ruined her life than the art that was supposedly her passion.

An interesting interview with Fradon started this way.

Bradley: I suppose one of the first questions you get hit with is: Was it hard to be a woman in the comic industry? Did the guys treat you poorly, etc.? But I also know you haven’t had a negative thing to say about that aspect, and that’s awesome, so let’s skip that part, and talk about the work.

You like mysteries. So do we. Please tell us about working on House of Mystery with Joe Orlando. Is there a standout story for you from that period? Also, what other mystery-type books did you get to work with?

Ramona:

    Thanks for not asking me that.

As for the mysteries, I enjoyed working with Joe Orlando. He was a great editor. He was more interested in the art work than other editors I had and he taught me a lot, especially about inking. The mysteries were written very melodramatically and I preferred working on them more than the superheroes.

She enjoyed working with a man. A man who was a ‘great editor’ who pushed her to do even better work. Please stop asking her the same tired questions about her presumed persecution. Ask her about her ART. Ask her about her CHARACTERS. Let her know that you care about her contribution because she is a great comics artist in her own right, not because her sex makes her a curiosity.

Bradley: As cool as Metamorpho is himself, I’m a big Sapphire fan. I really think Sapphire Stagg is one of the hottest chicks in comics. Is there some Ramona in Sapphire?

Ramona: Of course Sapphire was me.

Bradley: Just fun to hear you say it.
Another goofy character you worked on was Plastic Man. Was there any key difference, enjoyment, or advantage between working on Metamorpho vs. Plastic Man?

Ramona: Plastic Man was fun in a different way. His stories were satirical and he was a total goof, while Metamorpho was sexy and involved a lot of interaction among the characters. I enjoyed them both but in different ways.

Bradley: Metamorpho sexy? You really are Sapphire!

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Bullpen Bullsh*t

Today’s strip.

Don’t know why I bothered updating this, it’s just a boring restatement of same boring theme of the entire week. I really wish I could pin Batiuk down and demand his sources for this storyline. I want the biographies, the interviews, heck the Wikipedia articles, he’s read. Because if he’s basing this on Lily Renee, fine, she was a teenage immigrant stuck in an office with strange men who made things uncomfortable for her. But telling this narrative as the prototypical experience does a disservice to the careers of Marie Severin, Toni Blum, and all the other women who managed pleasant working relationships with their editors and coworkers.

Here’s a little view into a sexist, patriarchal, art-jail of EC Comics where Marie Severin was an invisible colorist: harassed, underpaid, and unappreciated.

Was [artist] Al Williamson pretty demanding?

No. I didn’t want him to commit suicide because … You know what we did to him one time? Because I’m bad like that, I had this disappearing ink. You know in those days we did dopy things. You wore glasses with eyes. And Al Williamson would come in with his artwork like it was his child. I mean he killed himself on it. He was young and enthusiastic. It was wonderful. Great stuff. He brought it in and I was out to get him. So, Al Feldstein said something to me. We had it all planned and I threw it on his shirt and I said, “Don’t you talk to me like that!”

He said, “Are you crazy?!” Everybody wore white shirts in those days, everybody. And I walked out of the room.

And Bill is going, “Ah hahahah.” [Laughter.]

And Al is saying, “She’s crazy, she’s lost her mind.” As he’s talking it’s disappearing. And Bill is going, “Ah ha ha ha ha,” and it was still wet. When he looked down it was gone.

So when Williamson came in, they got his work and Al went, “Oops, oh my God!”

And Williamson went “Oh! Oh! [Laughter] You’ve killed my child!”

Did Al laugh when he realized that his art wasn’t hurt?

Oh yeah, but it took him 10 minutes, ’cause he was ready for an ambulance. ’Cause any of these guys, they really worked. Everybody worked hard on their stuff but Al especially. He was the baby and he brought in his stuff late. Very late. [Laughs.]

Below is a picture Marie drew and colored in 2004 of the EC Comics staff as they were in the 50’s. Look how she drew those chauvisinstic boors who either ignored her or made her life hell.

a poor invisible woman, maligned by her peers

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Your Cheatin’ Heart

Link to today’s strip

No, sorry Baby Ruthie and Tommy Batiuk. Sad, yes, but not ‘true.’ And having a character say, “Sad, but true.” to add truthiness to this dubious story of sexism in early comics is worse than disingenuous. You are willfully furthering a narrative that seems plausible without any real facts behind it because you like the message. You’re Mason Locke Weems, making up the story of George Washington and the cherry tree, and sticking it in a biography.

That last panel is really a hoot though. Batiuk’s bumbling dialogue makes it sound like Ruth’s hubby was really into polyamory, with three wives and two mistresses simultaneously. Hey, Ruthie, you know who else had two wives and two mistresses? Jacob the patriarch! Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it.

Mindy meanwhile looks like she’s about to bolt. She’s leaning waaaay away from Ruth now, like bitterness is a disease and she’s afraid to catch it.

The ‘truthiness’ of Ruth’s statement in panel two is partially contingent on when she started working. During WWII there was an uptick on women working comic books to make up for the men who were at war. So that might have been when the editor was ‘in a pinch.’

The unrealistic statement is that Ruth would be expected to stop working when she got married. All the women I looked at didn’t stop working when they got married, some started working married, but many stopped working when they had kids. Women like Dorothy Woolfolk and Ramona Fradon returned to comics once their kids were older. Other women found different careers in illustration, like children’s books, magazines. You know, Batiuk, not every comic creator is a massively passionate fan of the genre, some just did it for the money for a while and then moved on.

Ramona Fradon did love working on comics though, and went back to it when her daughter was in school. I found a great interview with her from the 2016 issue of the Comic Book Creator Magazine. This might be a long quote, but I think it speaks volumes about what it was actually like being a married mother in comics.

CBC: So “Aquaman” was just boring?
Ramona: Well, yes. I hate to say it.
CBC: Did you hate it so much that you used raising a daughter as an excuse to quit or you really had to?
Ramona: Well, she was two then, hanging on my knee, and I’d be trying to meet deadlines. It was ridiculous. I couldn’t continue to do that.
CBC: Did you have to stay up late often? What did you do?
Ramona: I would, of course, wait ’til the deadline was looming. What did
I do? I went crazy. And the poor little thing. We used to drop pencils and
crayons—Dana [her husband], too—on the floor and she’d be down there coloring, you
know? [laughs]
CBC: That’s what mommy’s doing, right?
Ramona: She has told me she liked that! But it wasn’t fair to her. I
couldn’t keep doing it. If I had been faster it would have been one thing, but
I wasn’t.
CBC: Did you really need the money?
Ramona: No, but my mother used to say, “Don’t do what I did.” She gave
up her work. She wanted to be an artist, too. So I had it stuck in my mind
that because we got left high and dry I figured somehow I had to keep
working no matter what, even though I wasn’t making any real money. But it
was something, you know.
CBC: So did your husband have a studio in the house?
Ramona: Yes.
CBC: So you were both there during weekdays? Did you interact with
each other at all?

Ramona: Oh, sure. We weren’t in the same space—I had a little studio
and he was up in the attic studio—but, yes, we were both there and we’d
eat lunch together and we’d work around the place.
CBC: Were you friends?
Ramona: Yes, we were.
CBC: It’s probably about a year, year-and-a-half that you just worked
raising Amy, right?

Ramona: No, it was seven years! I waited ’til she was in school. I hadn’t
planned to go back, but I was getting a little restless just being a housewife.
And then one day Roy Thomas called me and asked me if I wanted to do a
story.
CBC: So the Metamorpho thing was just an anomaly?
Ramona: Yes. I just did that to help George out, to get it started.
CBC: Right. So then you went back to child-rearing. Were you just planning, “That was the last thing I will do in comics”? Was that the thought?
Ramona: I didn’t have any plan. I never do.
CBC: Just day by day?
Ramona: [Laughs] So this wave came along and I got on it when Roy
called me.

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Sunday, August 25

Today’s strip was not available for preview.

As usual Sunday’s strip wasn’t available for preview. Should’ve had a betting pool going on if it’s going to be a sideways comic book cover.

I’m going to a minor league baseball game Saturday night. Unfortunately/fortunately it’s not the Toledo Mudhens, but one thing Batiuk gets right is that minor league baseball is a fun way to spend an evening.

Horrors await us on Monday. I’m gearing myself up to beat them back with cold hard facts and wacky observations.

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