Tag Archives: Jinx

Up Yours, Dumb Sportos

I’m sure Batiuk was running the imaginary bases after the five seconds it took him to write out this strip. Which is ironic considering how he’s crapping all over athletes and sports itself here.  I guess sports are cool when you do them in your head after writing incredibly trite dialogue.
“Sports isn’t real life, it’s just playing” does not seem like a good thing to be saying when you’re honoring a guy for his sports accomplishments. Like, I get his point, but when this is the focus of Bull’s induction speech it really makes you wonder, again, why the hell he’s even being inducted. “All that silly stuff Bull did to get into your silly Hall of Fame, that’s just playing. Sitting around his basement now, that’s real life”.
For not the first time this week I’m totally baffled as to what Bull has done that’s supposed to be damn inspiring. Also, the strip that more often than not is just a vehicle for Batiuk’s comic daydreams really shouldn’t be criticizing anything anyone else does as “just playing”.

By far the best part of the strip is the hilarious handwritten “Bushka Family” sign.  Not nearly as good is how Jinx looks.  I really don’t think it’s a good idea to draw Asian characters with their eyes slanted and closed, especially when they’re wearing glasses.

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Wow, Summer and Maddie Got Married

Today’s strip

“When I told Bull I was going to introduce him, it really showed what a crappy friend I am, just making major decisions for Bull and not even giving him any input.  I mean, I am his friend, right?  That’s the word for a guy who just starts showing up at your house after you get CTE and spends a lot of one-on-one time with your wife?  Where’s that dweeby English teacher whose annoying wife died, maybe he can tell his what the right word for that is.  Oh, right, he didn’t show up, because apparently I’m the only one in Bull’s life who gives a crap about him.  Like when I lied to him to make him think he won a game he actually lost.  Gosh, good thing that never came up in any awkward situation later on.”

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Shut Up, Donny

Link to today’s trip.

“Flag on the field.  How did it get there?” 

Well, you knew this was coming, right?  Given the choice between a sentimental gesture and a comedic pratfall, which one would he go with?  Well, there really wasn’t a choice, was there–sentiment only rears its head when Les Moore is involved, and he’s nowhere in sight (thank goodness).  Too bad the pratfall lacks the “comedic” bit.  In all seriousness, though, how utterly uncoordinated does Bull have to be to trip by stepping on a tiny banner?  Oh, I get the symbolism–Big Walnut Tech has once again prevented Bull from scoring–but couldn’t it be done in a subtler way?

“Touch a pennant.  Things happen.  A coach becomes a buffoon.”

As you know, there was a similar moment in the Coen Brothers film “The Big Lebowski.”   I won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t seen the film, but there it was funny, appalling, in character, and worked.  Here, it is none of those things, and it doesn’t work.  It just seems like another kick from Tom Batiuk against his old high school nemesis.   The one task that Bull promised Coach Stropp he would do, and he fails at it.  Hardy har har.

“Bull Bushka, noted coach.  Now clown.  Stumble.  Stumble, just to be stumbling.”

Again, the whole premise just seems stupid.  The idea that Coach Stropp would want his remains treated in such a cavalier way, the idea that the school apparently knows nothing of his arrangement with Bull…I mean, surely when Stropp died, the school would have assembled to watch Bull amble toward the goal line, as a gesture of respect toward his career?  No?  There’s just an urn in the locker room with no identification, no one other than Bull knows how it got there (or even that it is there), and the school is perfectly okay with all of this.   (The idea that anyone would want their mortal remains placed in the high school shows just how much said high school has shaped Tom Batiuk’s thinking.)

“Nothing bothers some people, not even funeral urns in the locker room.”

The strangest thing is this:  Everyone, even Coach Stropp, is fine with the idea that Coach Stropp will be honored by the school when Bull retires, and not one moment before.

I keep re-reading the last sentence I just typed, hoping I’ll glean some insight, but it just keeps getting dumber and dumber.

“Bull Bushka.  Caught in the wheels of cartooning.”

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Remind Me of My Failures, Bull, For Eternity

Link to today’s strip.

It’s hard to tell because of Tom Batiuk’s typically tin-earred dialogue, but it sounds to me as if Coach Stropp told Bull, “Look, if you can’t get into the end zone while I’m coaching you, can you at least carry my ashes across the goal line, so I can have some sense of what if feels like?  By the way, ‘ashes’ implies that I am dead and cremated, so it’s nothing you have to do today.”

I think the real focus of Mr. Batiuk’s energy is in panel two.  Bull pushes the switch, there’s a satisfying “THUNK” sound, and Linda looks pleased that Bull was able to accomplish something on his own.  The reader can see exactly what happened without it being spelled out.  The transition between panel one’s silhouette and panel two’s illumination is handled well, with the characters in the same position from the same angle.  This tells me that when he cares, Tom Batiuk can draw something that works.  Too bad he doesn’t care more often.

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The Last Detail

Link to today’s strip.

I don’t know what Tom Batiuk is reaching for here, but it is clear it exceeds his grasp.

Supposedly, Bull is suffering from memory loss, yet he seems to recall clearly what Coach Stropp’s last instructions to him were.  I guess it’s a good thing Bull never got fired, or crushed in a car accident when he stormed off a while ago.  The urn would have just sat there atop the lockers until someone just happened to spot it.  “Say, what’s that up there?”  “Dunno, looks like garbage.”  “I guess we should throw it away.”  Again, Tom Batiuk wants Bull to have a debilitating condition, but has no idea how to portray that.  It comes and goes when it’s convenient, when it can be used for pity.  Then it disappears until its next cue.

As for why we are now focusing on someone unseen in the strip for years (aside from a very brief appearance last September–of course, as a Les flashback), I have no idea.  It’s not like anyone really cares about the characters abandoned when Act I became Act II.  Tom Batiuk doesn’t seem to care about them.  Boy howdy, does he not care about them:  as BillyTheSkink noted yesterday, this seems to say quite openly that Coach Stropp had no family, or a family that hated him.  There isn’t an another interpretation that looks good for ol’ Stropp.

My assumption is that this is supposed to be a poignant moment here.  It fails.

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You’ve urned it

Link to today’s strip.

So, Bull has “one last thing” to do, in order to honor Coach Stropp.  I’m guessing that’s an urn of Stropp’s ashes, and Bull is supposed to spread them on the field, now that…uh…now that…hm.

“Bull, when you retire, I’ll be long dead, but an urn of my ashes will be on top of the lockers.  Not in a case or anything, just sitting there, a banquet for spiders and a favorite spit-ball target.  I want you to spread those ashes out on the field.  Since I died of cancer, my ashes will give all the players on all the teams cancer.  Remember, the most important thing in the world is for Les Moore to write more books, and he can’t write those books if people are healthy.  Now, go in peace, my son.”

Amazing how we’ve gone from celebrating Bull’s career to Coach Jack Stropp, who hasn’t even been mentioned in the strip for many, many years.  This strip lacks many, many things but focus seems to be one of the big ones.

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Con"Grads"ulations, Class of 2022–err, 2012?

Guest blogger DavidO here, reporting for duty for my last entry before passing the reins back to someone with much more talent than I, TFHackett!

Confusing, impossible to decipher time-jumps aside, Summer and Company (Aka, the nameless, faceless rest of her class) has finally graduated from high school!

Call me an ol’ softy but I can’t find too many faults with Sunday’s strip, aside from the smirk on Summer’s P1 baby picture. It’s actually rather well done and paced at a level that lends itself well to a one-shot Sunday strip.

Enjoy it, Snarkers. Dailies like this are far and few inbetween.

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