Tag Archives: contempt for comic book nerds

For the Love of the Game

YOUR MOM.

Westview. Where the ancient battle for the top slot on an arcade video game is a community epic, gradually passing into legend, recited to the younger generation as a solemn verbal patrimony.

But, it wasn’t always that way.

Four years into Vintage Funky Winkerbean, and what has shocked me more than the politics is the almost complete lack of comic book references. There’s been maybe four, and in every case comic books haven’t been heralded as the sacred texts imparting lifelong wisdom for the darkest days. They’ve been the punchline.

Shun the Non-Believer…Shuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun.

This seems weird, doesn’t it? Batiuk hasn’t been the least bit shy over the last couple decades squealing about how much he loves comic books, and science fiction in general. Gushing about how formative comics were to his young mind. He gives old Flash comics the same kind of reverential, tender feelings the lifelong faithful reserve for their Sunday School songs.

I will always love you singing donut puppet that taught me to fear hell.

You know what there IS a lot of in Act I so far? Sports.

Is this some kind of feigned smokescreen to hide his geekery behind?

Naw. Dude likes sports.

I’ve seen comments over the years about Batiuk using Les’ success in adulthood as a way to get back at the ‘sportos’ that made fun of him when he was in school. But I think this is drawing a false equivalency between Les and Tom. While Tom might see himself in Les more than any other character, I don’t think it means Tom was similarly hapless in school. And there’s a difference between being a bullied weakling, and being uninterested in sports. Plenty of bullied weaklings are interested in sports. That’s why The Orioles exist.

Have you guys even SEEN The Sandlot?

And while he may not have played on a high school football team, in one of his Flash Fridays, Batiuk talks about playing football with friends.

At one point in the story, KF runs past some kids playing sandlot football which hit a soft spot for me since I loved playing backyard football, at least until I broke my ankle and dislocated my shoulder. As risky as my comic book writer/artist stratagem was, it was a lot less risky than playing football.

Flash Fridays – The Flash #122

He goes into more details in the foreword to one of his volumes.

It happened on a snowy night in 1969 during my senior year at Kent State. I was riding home with a fellow student teacher named Ronnie from Kent. She was driving because I had my arm bandaged to my chest following surgery for several shoulder dislocations from playing football (the lawless backyard variety as opposed to the sanctioned school activity). 

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Four

And as nebbish as Les is, and as pathetic as he is climbing that rope, Batiuk has consistently shown him playing backyard football and tennis.

He always makes the school bully a football player, whether it be Bull or an endless series of Wedgemans. But at least in Act I so far, it isn’t like the football team is a cabal of sneering jocks. Funky and Derek are on the team. It’s Westview. Even the football players are bullied.

And I like Coach Stropp. The juxtaposition between him and Dinkle is interesting. Dinkle, Act I, is ramrod straight shouting all the time. Stropp is much more human. He’s got a softer side. And I love the subtlest hint that he’s got cauliflower ear, like an old wrestler or boxer. Batiuk’s jokes show an understanding of deeper sports vocabulary.

Coach Stropp has a Funky Winkerbean strip that makes me laugh out loud every time I see it.

Harsher in hindsight? Yes. Still laughing? Yes.

So, for the first four years, Batiuk found ways to work his interest in sports into the strip, but hardly ever his love of comics. Was it out of embarrassment? Did he figure the sports strips had a wider appeal? Did he just not know how to integrate trademarked geekdom into his universe yet? I don’t know….but Star Wars is right around the corner, and I can already feel the walls starting to crumble.

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Who was that masked shmuck?

Today’s strip is so dense, every single panel has so many things going on…

My last day of the shift and I wind up with Batton Thomas, again (it could be Jff, actually, but nah)?! I know I am no longer the only one who runs into him, as he’s inexplicably turned into a semi-regular, but I still draw his appearances all too often. What a terrible coincidence.

Worse, though, is that it is like these characters know that they just followed a week of Les and are trying to match his insufferableness. They can’t, of course, but what an effort! Hope next week finds us somewhere else, though I can never be too optimistic that a change of scenery will improve things in this strip. The good news is that we’ll have the legendary Comic Book Harriett taking us through it… and through the 50th birthday (!!!) of this comic strip.

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Landing at Bore-mandy

Blah blah blah today’s strip… blah blah blah Phil Holt… blah blah blah comic books… blah blah blah The Subterranean… blah blah blah yackity smackity…

Meanwhile… *stupid cloud bubble panel border that TB inexplicably thinks should indicate an in-strip shift from one place to another*

Everyone’s 5th favorite Stooge, “Curly-Joe” DeRita, and Darth Vader himself are hanging out at Ye Olde Comic Shoppe. What’s that all about? Spacemanspiff85 is going to be our guide as we find out (provided we do in the next two weeks). Thoughts and prayers, man, thoughts and prayers.

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I actually already named a post on here “Bored on the 4th of July” but I’m using it again, OK

Well there is nothing that says “Happy 4th of July!” like today’s strip, where Crazy and DSH take turns playing one of Scott Adams’ most/least beloved tertiary Dilbert characters. It’s got everything you would want to celebrate America’s birthday: a close up of DSH’s gaping maw and blackhead-pocked nose, bricks, people not working, Domo, people complaining about having to get out of bed at a reasonable hour, a store with not a single customer shopping… Like I said, everything!

Have a safe and happy 4th everyone.

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Encyclopedia Brown And The Case Of The Disembodied Nerd Voice

I’m less curious about the identity of the unseen mystery nerd in today’s strip than I am about how they intend to “make it” to Comic-Con, which even in the Batiukverse is occurring “@HOME”.

Hey waitjustagoshdarnminute! This webpage is the same thing Pete was looking at on Monday, isn’t it?! Pete wasn’t even contacted directly by the Comic-Con or Eisner Award folks? He learned the news by reading a press release on the Comic-Con website? I don’t know if that is hilarious, sad, or hilariously sad…

(Some of our loyal SOSF commenters actually noted that Pete seemed to learn of Flash and Ruby’s induction via such indirect communication as a webpage earlier this week. It would appear that J.J. O’Malley was the first commenter to mention it, so please come up to receive your “Beady-Eyed Nitpicker” award, J.J.)

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Deere, John

Link To This One

Wow, what a miserable pratfall of a gag. “Comic book store owners are shitty businessmen and total imbeciles”…that’s what I got out of this peculiar little arc. BatYam’s real-life comic book store must love it when he meanders by for a visit. Maybe they’ll tape this strip to the wall behind the cash register. You know, ironically. Get it?

Coming next week: Les’ annual cancer screening ends with Les sneering “even I could have gotten into oncology school” as his doctor inexplicably smirks.

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