Well, at least the math is correct in today’s strip. Atomik Komix does indeed have only four titles (The Inedible Pulp, Rip Tide: Scuba Cop, Atomic Ape, and The Girl Scorch), all of which TB has lovingly rendered in big splashy Sunday strips… via guest artists.
What doesn’t add up is this need for more than four titles to do a crossover. TB does it with three comic strips, one of which hasn’t been printed in nearly 30 years. Even a non-crossover strip like this one has crossover elements – Pete is the child of John Darling character Reed Roberts. I suppose none of this is “Mega-Mind-Blowing-Everything-Will-Change”, but nothing that Pete and Durwood could come up with would be either.
Today’s strip was not available for preview, so we’re diving into the archives. What was going on in the Batiukverse on May 1, say, 40 years ago? I’ll bet it was some relatable high school stuff: dopey students, stuffy teachers, Billy Carter, M*A*S*H, Galaxian, disco, the second oil crisis… something, anything far removed from this ridiculous multi-week Free Comic Book Day arc.
Yes, the computer later known as “Holtron” temporarily replaced Les as Westview High School’s hall monitor, (retroactively cardboard) machine gun and all, because Les was so bad at the job. It mused about keeping Klingons from sneaking off to the restroom to smoke (Holtron was into Star Trek and, apparently, Brownsville Station) and threatened a hall pass-less Funky with the desk-mounted machine gun. What a time to be alive.
It is only at today’s strip where I finally realize the true meaning of Free Comic Book Day. I get it now. It’s not a day where free comic books are given out. No, it’s a rallying cry. A desperate plea. Comic Book Day must be freed from the clutches of these unbearable shmucks! Free Comic Book Day! And Free Holtron while we’re at it!
Also, Logan Church is here now. Such a sad turn for the once-accomplished business blogger. You could drive a semi-truck through her earrings.
Free Comic Book Day Decade continues in today’s strip. That Mason Jarre appearance that was teased… *checks watch* 16 days ago finally happens. Yay!
What is DSH on about with this “hopelessly optimistic” business? I guess Crazy told him nothing about Cindy and Mason being in town and her goading him in to showing up. Mason is in Westview, which is 98% of getting him to show up at Komix Korner, because every previous time he has ever been to Ohio he has been involved with either comic books or comic book movies.
Now what’s hopelessly optimistic is Free Comic Book Day ending before September.
I know what you’re thinking, “How can today’s strip be any worse than this past week?”
Les. The most dreaded name in the newspaper. The name that even alone evokes the most dire of thoughts. “Les” is the sound that a rattlesnake makes before it dies in a brush fire. It’s the Florida State Police code word for a sinkhole. It was the name of Francisco Franco’s pet canary. It is far and away the worst part of the title of Les Miserables.
I don’t know what possessed this poor poor child to wander near Les’ table, but I do know that if he winds up reading Lisa’s Story he is not going put it down disappointed that only one person dies. No, he’s just going to think that the wrong person dies. And he would, of course, be right.
So I can’t really tell what’s going on here. It seems like an attempted retcon, since Funky’s talking about all the stuff they used to pretend the computer would do, which high schoolers pretending this kind of stuff about a computer seems weird. But then you just have Funky mentioning the computer making claims about his existence. So was it sentient, or not? If it ever was then it’s basically a slave, which is troubling.
If Holtron was a sentient computer in the seventies, how is reprogramming it to respond to voice commands any kind of improvement. I can picture Batiuk asking his wife “Wouldn’t it be funny if Holtron was an Echo?”, his wife responding “Who or what is Holtron?” and him calling her a macaque and storming off to the garage.
What is Harry expecting to happen? You can’t really ask Echo or Siri to find a living person for you. The best part about this strip is that you could’ve changed the last panel so it heard him perfectly clear, and it would work even better.
“There’s nothing on the web about Funky Winkerbean.” Basically true.
Um, is Atomik Komix publishing a comic book about Funky? That seems insane for a lot of reasons. And really like something that should’ve come up in the strip. But it’s just Batiuk pushing his own products again, so whatever.
Coming up tomorrow-Billytheskink!