Tag Archives: Les’ yellow shirt

Neither can we, Marian… uh, I mean, Lisa

And we’re back to Les’s cameo in today’s strip. I dunno what that golf thing yesterday was about, but it will probably be awful and unsatisfying if it is ever revealed at all.

Having seen more of this scene, I really hope Les’ fear that his cameo will elicit knee-buckling laughter from his friends, family, and assorted other acquaintances comes true. What better time in Lisa’s Story to bust a gut than this maudlin bit where Les recaps a phone conversation Lisa had with her insensitive doctor? That’s the first and only thing about this Lisa’s Story flick that makes me want to watch it.

This strip is a nice reminder that Lisa’s second battle with cancer was full of bumbling and insensitive doctors: always mixing up important cancer charts and exhibiting awful bedside manner. What timing TB has… I cannot think of a time in my life when fewer Americans would be interested in fictional depictions of incompetent and unpleasant doctors.

And that’s it for me. I cannot say I envy spacemanspiff85, who takes over tomorrow. Good luck to you. You won’t have it, but it seems the right sentiment to express.

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Cut It On The Bias

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?! After a week of setup for this cameo and its single, six word line, Les flubs it in today’s strip? Who could have possibly seen this coming?

At least the narrative has inched along despite wasting 14 panels on reusing the most cliche gag about acting in history. Mr. Director himself, Martin Johns, confirms what we all suspected since we first saw that laughable park bench set being put together… this film has next to no budget. Unless he’s just being dramatic about the tire fire that Les has turned this scene into, in which case we’ve gone no where on this story arc in a week and a half.

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And he just can’t hide it…

Let’s all bid a hopeful farewell to Batton and, especially, Les in today’s strip. Les will sadly and undoubtedly return (please not for a good long while!), but what of Batton? This week’s story arc served to make him even les relevant than he seemed when he first appeared, and that’s saying something.

Not that doing interesting and relevant things is really a requirement to appear in Funky Winkerbean these days, but unless Batton gets cancer or (a year from now) the COVID-19 it is hard to see what else TB has for him to do. He’s appeared at Free Comic Book Day and he’s stood in front of Les’ class. What else is there? Well, if Batton ever does return, it’s a sure bet it will be during one of my stints writing this blog. I’m two for two so far, lucky me.

Now if Tom Batiuk himself is excited about writing this strip, he sure can hide it. He lost control years ago, and he probably likes it…

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Meeting the Four Hundred

Les just continues to mock Batton in today’s strip. Sheesh, whadda jerk! Apparently newspaper cartoonists were the original social distancing champions, which you probably would be seeing memes about if you were Facebook friends with one. Unfortunately, gags this terrible are not a rare sight in Funky Winkerbean

Emily or, uh Amelia… whichever one wears pink and doesn’t act like what TB imagines a Hot Topic shopper to be, asks a perfectly reasonable question for a “kids these days” kid. Seriously, it is a good question and it demonstrates a knowledge of what a comic strip is, how it is distributed, and its primary measure of success. Batton, of course spins this perfectly fine question into a self-pitying humblebrag so deftly that even Les seems impressed. Newspapers may be dying, but his comic strip is in EVERY SINGLE ONE of the ones that remain! What’re you gonna accomplish in your life, Blondie?

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The Thousand Panel Stare

Kids don’t read newspapers or newspaper comics these days… Boo hoo, so sad, this generation is killing the papers and the cartoonists, blah blah blah yackity smackity… Sorry, don’t care. I’ve heard it all before, and in better comic strips to boot.

Today’s strip is bland, rote filler in a dumb, overplayed story arc, but… that second panel. Chuck Ayers artwork since taking over duties in Funky a couple years ago has taken a good step back from the solid work he did for many years in Crankshaft I would argue, but the second panel in today’s strip is a genuinely excellent piece of cartooning. The beady eyes, the nonplussed expressions, the unrealistic density of students packed into every millimeter of the panel… you can practically hear the crickets chirping in background of this non-reaction. It is an extremely rare and truly good thing to see in Funky Winkerbean. What a pity it isn’t in the service of a better joke.

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TB does it, why not you, Batton?

Kidz these daze and their cellular doohickeys! Always on ’em. Amirite? Amirite? Eh? Today’s strip knows what I’m talking’ about! Leave ’em alone in a classroom with no direction and they just start tap-tap-tapping away on their smartyphones. It’s nothing like it wuz back in my day when we’d get in fistfights and beat lunch money out of the weird kids.

By the way, Les’ opinion on the value of comics sure has changed over the years…

FW5-27-72

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Welcome To The Jumble

If today’s strip is any indication, TB really wants to get on Jeff Knurek’s Christmas card list. Can’t blame him for that, Knurek’s work on Jumble is excellent and his Christmas cards are surely top-notch.

Cayla is now the latest in a long line of women in the Batiukverse who aren’t initially familiar with the comic interests of their significant others, or comics at all. That will change, though, just as it did with Lisa, Holly, Jess, Mindy, Cindy, even Donna… well, everybody but Lefty, really. It’s weird that DSH never indoctrinated Lefty being that he has owned a comic book store since long before they even met. That’s probably why she is always hanging around with Dinkle, in a desperate bid to avoid comics. Anyways, Cayla doesn’t read Three O’Clock High and she’ll be lucky to not be burned at the stake.

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Autographic content

The space-time continuum is threatened with destruction by today’s strip, in which one of TB’s author avatars heaps unsolicited praise on another of TB’s author avatars. Not that comic strips cannot involve journalism, but wouldn’t a comic strip creator be a more apt guest speaker in an art class? Oh that’s right, Westview High cut art class in 2013 after failing to pass a school levy in 2012 despite the best efforts of the hairless man we all know and love as Arthur “Art” Teacher. Maybe Rache can bring it back when she gets her teaching certificate

I guess I’ll take a week of TB patting himself on the back for being born over a week of Buck and Linda, but only because no one offered me a week of stepping on Legos with my bare feet.

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Bench+Leaves=Double Symbolism

There are so many times I’d love to have an honest talk with Batiuk about this strip. Like this week’s story. Are we honestly supposed to feel bad for Les here? “Aw, poor Les, he got peer pressured into doing something he doesn’t want to do.”, or something? I mean, he’s an adult, if he’s already regretting it, he can say “Actually Mason, I don’t want to do this.”. Or he could, once again, act like an adult and accept it and make the best of it. Batiuk so often goes for “deep and conflicted” but hits “in need of intensive therapy” instead. I wonder how soon Les is going to hallucinate a talking blue cat?

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Aw, Poor Les. And Poor Mason, He Clearly Developed Face Cancer Between Panels 1 and 2.

Ugh, this is one of my least favorite parts of this strip. Something ostensibly good happens to someone (Les is getting paid money to make a movie out of their book, meaning there’s at least a chance a story he cares about will speak to people in a new medium, and at the very least more people will read the book, also MONEY, how does that not mean anything to a public school teacher with two daughters in their seventh year of college), and he reacts to it like he just sat on a turd and he’s too crushed with despair to do anything about it but moan.
Even if you want to look at it Les’s way, where he’s worried his beautiful story will be ruined (How exactly do you glamorize “woman dies of cancer”?), he has to just sit around like a wimp about the whole thing, like he’s still the nerd who had his lunch money robbed by Bull (since Batiuk is so clearly still obsessed with high school). Grow a spine and say no if it’s so painful, Les. Especially since you’ve been down this exact road before.  “Gosh, I guess three people who have no real role in my life thing I should do something I’m dreading, well okay, what can you do.”
I know Campbell’s idea of the Hero’s Journey can be cliché often, but it’s worlds better than the Batiuk Method. Here’s some famous tales, as redone by Tom Batiuk;
The Aeneid-Aeneas loses his home of Troy, then sits in the ashes of his home until he dies from lung cancer.
Paradise Lost-Lucifer is cast from heaven, then spends eternity laying where he fell moaning “Why me?”.
Star Wars-Luke whines about the droid he bought blowing up, shrugs and just figures that’s how life is and goes home without doing anything about it.
The Lord of the Rings-Frodo hands over the One Ring to the first Ringwraith because clearly he wants it, and it’s a long walk, and he tried his best, but sometimes things just don’t work out, but he does plan to go home and write a bestseller about it.

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