Whodunnit? Who could have colored Durwood’s Rip Tide cover in today’s strip? Lessee, these three are the only people in the Eaton Building (a whole building that Chester bought to employ two people, as we now know), and, given its location in Cleveland, probably the only people in a 2-3 mile radius. Hmmmmm, this is a puzzler…
One thing we do know is that Mindy didn’t have a summer job or friends that one summer as she pored over her father’s musty comic book collection. And we KNOW for a fact that Jeff Murdock was an obsessive comic book collector.
Today’s strip finally gets to the point. Whatever.
All I see is a kid in a Davy Crockett coon-skin cap…
Today’s strip is about that dadgum decoder ring. Your mileage won’t vary, it WILL be low.
Jeff, quit teasing your wife and son with this appallingly uninteresting Starbuck Jones nostalgia trip and just tell your family what all of us readers already know the message on your phone says. You told two very interested parties that The Valentine may have gotten the miracle it needed to keep its doors open, and follow that up by leering creepily gazing at 60 year old toy that you got for free from a chocolate milk mix company.
Max, you gotta do better than this, man. If your dad knew the gibberish on his phone was the Starbuck Jones Junior Spaceman’s code then he’s a big enough nerd to know how to decipher it. He’s been waiting decades to show this stupid ring off and you are the one who had to go and give him the satisfaction.
Pam, you’re an enabler. Can’t really blame you for that, since every other woman in this universe apparently is as well.
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
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?
Today’s strip severely undersells the concept of miracles.
“Hmmm… we may have just gotten one.” For serious, Jeff, that’s your reaction to information that may well have just saved your son’s livelihood and your nostalgic obsession? Let’s try that line out in some other scenarios.
Al Michaels calling the 1980 Olympic hockey semi-final, USA vs. USSR:
“Eleven seconds. You’ve got 10 seconds. The countdown going on right now. Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?
Hmmm… we may have just gotten one.
“You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate:
I believe in miracles
Where you from
Hmmm… we may have just gotten one
That old Xerox commercial:
Brother Dominic: Here are your sets, Father. The 500 sets you asked for.
Father: A miracle? Hmmm… we may have just gotten one.
Today’s strip was not available for preview. It will, almost assuredly, be about Max Murdoch’s imperiled Valentine Theater though.
But before The Valentine was Max’s imperiled theater, it was Ralph Meckler’s imperiled theater. For those of you fortunate enough to not follow Crankshaft, bespectacled and mustachioed Ralph is Crankshaft’s
best only friend. Poor Ralph is a decent enough character, and is (sadly) a definite contender for the Batiukverse’s ultimate “chew toy” award.
Not only did he struggle for years to keep The Valentine afloat before unloading it on Max and his I-guess-girlfriend Hannah, he also failed in a recent bid to unseat Centerville’s corrupt, do-nothing mayor. In fact, he lost the mayoral race on a coin flip because the election was tied. The election was tied, of course, because his good “friend” Crankshaft forgot to vote. Oh, and he let Crankshaft make that fateful coin-flip call…
Also, his wife has Alzheimer’s (revisited in two different books) and his son was killed in the Vietnam War.
Sheesh. No wonder he says stuff like this…
Welcome, everyone, to that damn Crankshaft theater. Today’s strip finds us back in the middling maudlin morass that came to define this strip during Act II. It certainly says something about the relentlessly positive Comic-Con arc that it failed to provide much refreshment in its departure from this strip’s trademark tone.
“Valentine’s Day may be over.” Heh, cute. Doesn’t explain how you’ve been making your loan payments for 10 years and are only now in danger of default… maybe you’ve been driving customers away by needlessly questioning them instead of taking their money.
Meanwhile, Ann Fairgood Pm nd Jff play the “Incredible Hulk” TV show’s closing credits music in their heads as their son walks out the door with his oversize copy of yesterday’s strip.
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.
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.
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.