In today’s strip Les, appropriately, puts all of his stolen Hollywood paraphernalia in same place.
Marianne doesn’t appear to understand the concepts of opacity and walls.
Cayla plans to monetize this display even though presently no one seems willing to visit the Moore house for free (and peoplearewilling tovisitDinkle!).
Why am I blandly narrating this strip in lieu of hard-hitting commentary and rapier wit? Because I know my limits. Why is Les blandly narrating his actions in the first panel? Because there is no limit to his disdain for even those that worship him.
Here is today's strip
Is it worse than we all feared
Or simply as bad
If I was popcorn
I would be quite offended
By this portrayal
Les hated this film
Why would he even watch this
Was happy it failed
In this case, "writer"
Would not describe Les as he
Did not write the script
This deserves more scorn
I'm a skink, I can't rant, so
I'm counting on you
Rip this thing to shreds
Kill it with all of the fire
Or just acetone
Uh, points for brevity, I guess, though in this case it is most certainly not the soul of wit… or any other word positively associated with writing. In the absence of anticipation as to whether or not Marianne will win the little golden man statuette, we have the ridiculousness of professional actress Marianne (and no stranger to public speaking and media attention) not having any remarks prepared despite having an apparent one-in-three chance of winning. This is compounded by the ridiculousness of her asking advice on accepting an award from a guy whose work outside of Lisa’s Story and Starbuck Jones consisted of Dino Deer, My Dog Pookie, and being incredibly nervous about simply doing a table read (!!!) for the unfinished masterpiece that was Lust For Lisa.
I thought Phil said he needed someone to ‘write it to life’, but apparently he already has dialogue written for this story. So he’s not really looking for a writer but an editor.
And whooo boy, that is some old timey sexism there. It’s so bad that all the background men have disappeared. Mindy looks grumpy! Which is nice to see, because she’s done nothing else but smile blandly for an entire month.
Let’s give him the benefit of the doubt though. Maybe Phil meant that line as a really weird homage to the Rankin-Bass Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer special.
I can think of plenty of contexts where that line would still be acceptable. Maybe the speaker is an anviliciously sexist villain or otherwise flawed character that needs to be punished and educated. I mean, comics today seem to be nothing but virtue signaling and navel gazing. The twelve people that still read modern superhero stuff would love to see puff-pieces on The Mary Sue about how brave Phil Holt is for burning his past self in effigy. The Subterranean is obviously a monstrous stand-in for the basement dwelling creatures, fueled by misogyny, destroying comics by complaining online about ‘the feminist agenda’.
To be sure, the old Marvel comics Kirby and Lee created back in the day were laughably sexist. But you know who was writing the dialogue? Stan Lee. So why is the Stan Lee stand in correcting Kirby?
And you know who Jack Kirby created? Big Barda, the wife of Mr. Miracle. A character where literally the gimmick is she is stronger, more prone to violence, and more physically imposing than her husband. Apparently the interplay between them was inspired by his relationship with his wife, Roz.
Maybe if Phil Holt wasn’t a cantankerous hermit with only a single friend he would be better at writing women. It’s funny how that works, knowing other people helps you understand other people. And understanding other people helps you understand yourself. Cutting yourself off from engaging with other perspectives, even ones you fundamentally disagree with, can take you to some pretty strange places.
I said yesterday that I thought Phil Holt was too antisocial and reclusive to be pure Jack Kirby cariacature. If I wanted to give Batiuk credit, I would say that he intentionally infused his Kirby Clone with a bit of essence of Steve Ditko. (Like 90’s Superboy having a bit of Lex Luthor DNA in him, gahIamsuchanerdgah.)
Ditko was the artist and co-creator of, among others, Spider Man, Dr. Strange, The Question, and The Creeper. Like Jack Kirby he had a falling out with Stan Lee over author credits and creative direction, and left Marvel to freelance for Charlton and DC. But unlike Jack Kirby, Ditko was an intensely private man, who didn’t give interviews, or go to conventions, or converse with fans.
Some of you more comics savy may be thinking, “Oooh, The Question! That’s who Alan Moore based Rorschach on!” And you would be mostly right, except that The Question was really a watered down version of another character that Ditko created. While Ditko made his living doing freelance work, he also created superhero comics with smaller indie publishers. Like Mr. A.
Yup. Ditko was a Randian Objectivist that would make Andrew Ryan blush. His principles, combined with his anxious and shy nature, made it easy for him to alienate everyone around him. In many cases it seemed he wanted to. He never married. He broke off friendships. He surrounded himself with the few he thought he could trust not to betray or challenge his ideals. To quote Flash Freeman, “He spent most of his time at war with the world and everyone in it.”
I read two informative articles, and watched one fascinating documentary about this weird, weird, strangely admirable and slightly pitiable guy.
This Vulture article was the most negative, but also the most psychologically insightful. Vulture writers are a bunch of liberal pantywaist hippies who hear the word ‘objectivist’ and rear back like Dracula at a Crucifix, (sorry, channeling the spirit of poor Steve for a moment) but lots of good facts there.
This article was a little more even-handed, very focused on his work output, and covered the characters he continued to create for Marvel and DC into the 90’s.
And finally, this charming BBC4 documentary was probably the most sympathetic to Steve Ditko. Several comics creators, including Alan Moore, weigh in on his art, philosophy, and legacy.
I think a considerable amount of time has passed between yesterday’s strip and today’s strip, because I’m pretty sure everyone today is three sheets to the wind and that Chester is holding the group’s 17th bottle of color-changing champagne (Also, Durwood changed his shirt). The only other explanation for “hobnailing” is that Flash is going full Crankshaft-mode here, and I refuse to believe that because the mere thought makes me physically ill. There is no explanation for everything Pete is doing regardless of the circumstances.
Today’s strip marks the third straight day that Dinkle is doing his eyes-closed, head tilted back, mouth-agape, peacocking thing… which I think we can all agree is seven days too many. Hopefully we can also all agree that the poetic tire fire that is “I believe this is the first time a man’s crew-neck undershirt has been seen in the choir loft!” is a sentence that is just too perfectly execrable to exist. Yet it does exist.
No, there is no respite from this week’s misery in today’s strip. Yep, Funky continues to make life miserable for the very medical professionals whose job it is to make his life suck a little less… medical professionals who are properly doing their job, I might add. This is the kind of shtick Les pulled back in Act I when we weren’t supposed to like him, thus further cementing Funky’s status in TB’s mind as Act III’s version of Act I Les, the dim and unlikable sap who all but deserves the awful life he leads. Of course, this is also the kind of shtick Les continues to pull, to be honest, but now he’s written as if we’re supposed to like him.
This line question is weird, though. I’ve been going to the ophthalmologist since I was a 10 year old who refused, to my mother’s certain exasperation, to wear any glasses that weren’t neon lime green and I’ve never once been asked which line is clearer. My ophthalmologist will regularly switch between lenses of different (high, in my case) powers and ask me which lens offered me a clearer view of the lines on a backlit chart, but I’ve never had to choose between lines. I’m not even sure how lines could be different clarities. Nevertheless, if my eye doctor did ask me to pick which line of two was clearer, I would answer “one” or “two”… y’know, like a human being who isn’t a miserable putz.
Just two strips ago, Funky was being a pill to the office’s receptionist for a joke he completely walked into… and yet here he is in today’s strip indignant that Dr. Droopy won’t sanction his buffoonery. Stay in your lane, Funky. Les is supposed to be the guy who gets huffy when other people make jokes but then expects everyone to laugh at his pathetic stabs at humor.
I was going to suggest that Dr. Droopy here was being presumptuous here bringing up Captain Kirk, not that it would make Funky any less insufferable. I thought perhaps Funky was referencing the legend of Admiral David Farragut or perhaps he is actually a big fan of the band Pain, regionally-popular purveyors of late-90s pop punk (from whom I pilfered, purloined, and repurposed today’s post-title). But nope… a brief search of the SOSF archives reveals that, in a rare bit of Batiukverse continuity, Dr. Droopy is correctly referencing when Funky previously pulled this miserable excuse for a joke back in August 2019.
Callback or not, Funky ought to be tossed out of the doctor’s office window.
In today’s strip, Wally and his tube of toothpaste (he apparently waits until he’s at work to brush his teeth) walk by a construction worker. I wonder if it was Batiuk or Ayers who got really excited at the thought of being able to draw a jackhammer, because clearly someone put a lot of effort into that, and overlooked other things, like how the paint from Wally’s sign is somehow bleeding off the sign onto the curtains of the restaurant. I have a feeling that sign is now going to be shoehorned into every strip possible. It’s the new Becky’s Pinned-Up Sleeve.