Tag Archives: Jessica

Critical Mess

Link To Today’s Strip

Pete meeting up with a girl seems “serious” to Jessica? Again, it’s difficult to imagine how her standards could be much lower, unless she started dating Les or something. Boy Lisa didn’t even remotely indicate that anything “serious” was happening but doormats are gonna doormat, I suppose.

“Critical mass” normally means something entirely different in the Funkyverse. Don’t take my word for it, just go ask Lisa, as she’s due to pop up again at pretty much any time now. So this marks the end of week six (correction: seven) and we STILL have no idea whether they accepted the offer or not. Excluding Sundays there have been 78 FW strips so far this year and this arc has accounted for 42 of them. That’s right, he’s spent more than half of 2018 thus far on a job interview and we still don’t know how it turned out. Unbelievable. The last non Atomic Comics week was that Claude Barlow Dinkle nonsense back in early February, which seems like many lifetimes ago.

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Nuke It From Orbit

…It’s the only way to be sure.

Link to today’s strip.

I’m having a hard time grasping the fact that Tom Batiuk, the most depressing comic strip author of all time, thinks that there are some things that are depressing that shouldn’t be*.  Seems to me he’d be okay with children’s books getting darker and darker, as that’s his own game plan searching for respectability (i.e., award nominations).  Shouldn’t children’s books be reality-based and reflect contemporary problems of young people?

Perhaps he’s ticked off that children’s books would follow along his chosen path.  Perhaps he thinks I’ve earned this…stupid children’s books haven’t.  Stop poaching my territory.  Seems like a case of wanting it both ways, but perhaps there’s an alternate explanation in that last panel.

In his offscreen presentation, Tom Batiuk loves him some comic books.  But what he loves most is old comic books, the ones he grew up with.  Whenever he mentions anything positive about contemporary comic books, I don’t think he ever goes past what a “striking” cover this or that issue has.  But he can go on for hours about silver age Flash comics.

So what more natural than, when he wants entertainment, he wants the entertainment he enjoyed as a kid.  Absolutely nothing wrong with that.  But he should be self-aware enough–at least I hope he is–that while he can say Things are terrible and dreary now, they were so much better years ago, that others can say the same about his own work.

*Though what seems to be distressing Ann here is actually just a description of the Sun.

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The March of Mediocrity

Link to today’s strip (presumably).

Thursday’s strip was not available for preview, but I’m betting March will begin with a titanic explosion, followed by millions of multi-tentacled aliens descending on the town, their hearts twisted with evil and their minds bent on enslaving the world.

But first, we have to guess whether yesterday’s episode exhausted Tom Batiuk’s observations about grandparents and toddlers, and he’ll thus quickly pivot to his real interest (hint: it has to do with comic books), or if he figures he ought to squeeze out a few more pearls before getting to the good stuff (which has to do with comic books).

I guess we’ll all have to wait!

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The Postman Always Rings Twice

Link to today’s strip.

Isn’t it amazing how every time these characters hear a joke that they did not concoct, the reaction is always anger, weariness, or in the case of Dullard here, utter befuddlement?  And yet when they tell a joke, the entire earth should fall off its axis from everyone laughing.

Look at Dullard’s utterly doltish face in panel 3.  There’s a clod who knows he’s just been insulted, he just can’t figure out in what way.   Is…is someone else Skyler’s dad? 

That’s the face of someone without the slightest hint of a sense of humor (or intelligence), who does not know a joke when he comes across one.

It’s kind of the opposite of Tom Batiuk, who finds jokes all the time, when they actually aren’t anywhere in the area.  Or at least that’s what I see happen.

One thing here that begs a look at the continuity is the fact that the Fairgoods live in Westview.  Skyler was (presumably) conceived and born in Westview.  And yet…the US Postal Service closed the Westview PO some years back.   Remember how Harry had to scramble to find a job?

Westview has no mailman.  Think about that for a moment.

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Taking Sides

Link to today’s strip.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your reading pleasure enjoyment fun made easier, we present today’s strip vertically.  Neckstrain begone!

Why Tom Batiuk feels he has to create strips like this is something completely beyond my comprehension.  It’s not like this is witty or insightful dialogue that deserves a special presentation.  It can easily fit into a regularly oriented strip.  But then, it wouldn’t stand out on the comics page!  And once standing out, the reader reads and either shrugs or gets mad.  Today’s episode can basically be reworded thus:  “How’s Mindy?”  “Eh.  [pause] You were pretty snooty in high school.”  “Was not.”

You could make the argument that the dialogue I wrote above isn’t funny.  And I’d agree with you.  Then I’d ask you if you thought Tom Batiuk’s dialogue was funny, and there’d be this awkward silence until I said something like “Say, how about those sports teams!” and we could go on with our lives.

The main point here seems to be that Peeved is half-assing his relationship with Mindy…who lives in Centerville.  Ohio.  And apparently he goes out to see her enough that she hasn’t completely forgotten about him, like I wish I could.  So maybe he does jet out to Ohio all the time?  And yet this trip is some big deal?  I guess maybe he just uses Skype to, uh, “court” her, the way he did when he and Dullard were in separate cities.   What a fun thing for her, eh?  Lucky thing for Peeved that Mindy has no standards and decided on him.  She obviously has no expectations out of life whatsoever, other than it will, at some point, mercifully end.

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Installing a Hard Drive

Link to today’s strip.

Hiya folks, BChasm back manning the tower.  Thanks to Comic Book Harriet for her excellent stint last week; that she was more entertaining than the strip itself goes without saying, if I do say so myself.

As for today’s entry, well those of you speculating that Dullard, Jess, Skyler and Peeved were going to drive to Ohio were indeed on the right track.  The fact that this trip is going to take nearly forty hours of non-stop driving to cover nearly 2300 miles makes this plan an idiot’s delight.   If this was a week-long vacation trip to see the country and visit some landmarks, that would work fine, but Dullard said the purpose was to visit “the grandparents” so this just becomes a stupid waste of time.  (Hey!  Just like some comic strips!)  Oh well, I bet Skyler’s been ret-conned into a teenager, so he can probably help with the driving.

And it’s not as if these people are afraid of air travel–I seem to recall Peeved beaming dopily at some Ohio landmark (Les’ house?).  I’m sure in Tom Batiuk’s mind, a trip like this is mebbe a leetle bit longer than going from Dayton to Columbus, so gasoline, restaurants, hotels and a screaming toddler wouldn’t be issues at all.

And yes–it is possible that they’re just driving to the airport.  And all this garbage about  backpacks is just as meaningless as every other episode of this strip.  But, you know, telling the readers things (“I’ll be happy to give you a lift to the airport”) is so much more effective than simply attempting some “wry” “banter” that implies an arduous journey.

But doing things the simple, logical, understandable way, so that readers know what’s going on…why, that never leads to award nominations.

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Darrin has two moms. Sort of.

Link to today’s strip

Everyone else can bring the funny in the comments. I’m going to be talking Srs Bidness.

I wanted to take Saturday to comment on the often noticed elephant in the room: Darrin replacing Ann Fairgood with Dead St. Lisa as ‘Mom’. Because we all know Jess in today’s strip is referring to the Dead St. Lisa looming in the background and not poor Ann Fairgood.

First things first, I don’t think it’s entirely unheard of for adopted people who reconnected in a positive way with birth-parents to go on to call them ‘Mom’ or ‘Dad’, even while they also still call their adoptive parents ‘Mom’ and ‘Dad’. I know Darrin only knew Lisa as his birth-mother for a few weeks or months, but perhaps the ticking clock intensified their re-connection relationship, like some kind of summer camp ending in death. I can buy that they loved each other, and as mother and son. And I don’t think Batiuk really intended to indicate that he loved the Fairgoods less because of it.

So the problem really isn’t that Darrin calls Lisa ‘Mom.’ The problem is that the elder Fairgoods have disappeared into the very background of Funkyverse over the last couple years, while Darrin, Ghost Lisa, and Les have remained center stage. The last mention of the Fairgoods was all the way back in March, when Darrin calls Les up telling him that he’s coming out to visit, “mom and dad.” But we don’t get to see that visit. Instead we get to see Darrin visit his bio-mom’s husband and reminisce about his dead bio-mom, all to set up for the Lisa Trilogy Boxset Special Extended Edition product placement.

Mr. Fred Fairgood had his stroke in January of 2013, and at the time I thought they were setting up for a copy of a FOOB storyline. Anyone remember when Grandpa Jim had a stroke? It was handled with pathos and humor, and his long, incomplete, recovery was shown in detail, and affected the rest of the strip. And when I am comparing a strip negatively to late-run For Better Or For Worse, you know it done messed up.

Batiuk failed to follow through.  A close perusal of the archives here and on Comics Curmudgeon sees the Fairgoods taking a very active part in the investigation of Scumbag Bio-Dad in 2013, and being there for some Baby Skyler stuff, and that’s about it. He petered out involving the Fairgoods in anything by 2014. And you know what else happened around 2014? Holly Winkerbean’s Starbuck Jones Collecting Mania.

Now the strip more or less revolves around six or seven characters. Les, Bull, Funky, Dead St. Lisa, Darrin, Pete, Masone, Cindy, and Mutha Fukkin Starbuck Jones. Darrin is important because Starbuck Jones, and Lisa is important because Lisa’s Legacy is Batiuk’s Legacy, and his cash cow. And for Tom pointing out the biological connection between the two characters is easy and obvious. Probably compulsive at this point too. Lisa consumes all.

And it’s why Frankie the evil Bio-Dad showed up, twice, once even in reference to Starbuck Jones. And, most importantly, why he had to be evil in the first place. Making Lisa’s pregnancy the result of date-rape not only allows her to maintain her moral purity, (making Darrin an emotionally ‘virgin’ birth,) but makes it almost obligatory that Darrin and everyone else reject Frankie. There is no simpler way to negate his fatherhood. As a bonus it gives Batty an easy total monster in a strip rather devoid of them. But above all it tosses Frankie out of the equation, keeping the Darrin and Lisa and Breast Cancer connection strong.

If Batty simply wanted Lisa to live on in her children, then he would involve Summer more. But the last few years even Summer has been very intermittent, because she has nothing to do with Starbuck Jones and is stuck in college, which Batiuk couldn’t care less about. He likes Darrin. Darrin is a bland, generally happy, everyman who could hypothetically do anything Tom Batiuk would want story-wise, comicsfanboy-wise. There’s a reason we call him Boy Lisa after all.

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