So Les is overnighting at Columbus because of course he is. And I bet the museum is footing his hotel bill, although it doesn’t quite look like what Les is accustomed to when it comes to his Lisa travels. No wonder he’s miserable all the damn time.
And there’s Cayla, who spent her Les-free time constantly searching and watching YouTube updates so she could catch yesterday’s lady putting up that video of Les, because of course that woman looked exactly like someone with an active YouTube channel, and Cayla has nothing else to do. Watch as it goes viral, because of course it will, getting more views than any YouTube segment of any network and cable channel in America.
Today’s strip really isn’t anything we haven’t seen before. A woman (who is dressed in lavender shaded clothing- ever notice just how often Batiuk has a middle aged woman dressed in that color?) asks Les if she can record him signing her book for some damn reason. Les being Les screws it up, and when his screw up is pointed out, gets all pissy with the person who pointed it out.
It’s dumb. It’s banal. Why is she recording Les signing her book? Is she going to watch this video again? Post it to Facebook to have her friends watch it? “Oh look, it’s that guy who writes about his dead wife! I’m going to watch him sign his name again and AGAIN.”
And Les, naturally, gets all pissy-faced with her, as if she’s done something irritating to him. Hey man, it’s your screw up. Own it.
Anyway, I was thinking that this book signing can’t possibly last beyond this week, but I’ve underestimated Batiuk before. This guy can stretch a guy signing books out to four weeks easily. That’s a god damn story to him.
And today Batiuk goes back to the tired well of Les running into a former teacher who can’t believe that Les is a successful published author. It’s an odd thing, because while I haven’t read much Act 1, I was given the impression that while Les was hapless (usually due to others’ shortcomings), he wasn’t portrayed as an idiot. It’s just Batiuk’s standard “every high school kid’s an idiot who will never amount to anything” trope. It’s so powerful that it applies even to The Delicate Genius of Westview.
Although I can amuse myself my imagining that instead of the obvious meaning of the punchline, Rita can’t believe that Les wrote a sequel to a book that was about a woman dying of cancer. There can’t ever be a sequel less essential than this one.
Plus, “back in Ohio”? You’re in Ohio now, you damn ninny!
So now Les is back signing books, since nothing more than his crass comparison of himself to a biblical figure is worth showing of his talk.
I guess the idea is that someone’s selling Les’s personally signed books on eBay, because after all, the signature of such an immense failure would be so valuable. One of the oddest things about these Lisa’s Trilogy of Books strips, and Lisa’s Story in general, is how divergent Les’s success is within the strip itself. Is he really an author whose signature would be worth reselling his books on eBay? Or one who’s worth sending all over the country on a book tour? Apparently so from the strips, even though there’s nothing in the way that Les is portrayed otherwise that convincingly shows he’s a successful writer.
Anyway, looking at the motley bunch in line for Les’s signature, I’m puzzled by who exactly is supposed to be the audience of this new trilogy. I can’t imagine any of the people shown being interested in all three of the books as they were presented, and for some of them, I can’t see how they’d be interested in any of them. That counts as a quarter inch, I guess.
Link to today’s strip
There’s not much to say here as Les is about as punchably smug as he’s ever been, comparing himself to Moses and his audience, presumably, to the slaves he leads out of Egypt with his stupid books about his dead wife.
And I was initially baffled by what circumstance could have led the most punchable man in the world to say this awkward line, but I think it’s supposed to be about why he decided to write the third book, “Lisa After She Died”. If so, it merely confirms that this endeavor was a monument to his own solipsism. He stole what should have been the story of his wife’s fight with cancer and made it all about him and his circumstances.
Anyway, Les’s expression in today’s strip made me think of another book that’s much more fulfilling than his.
Boy, all you guys who said last week that this looks nothing like a museum and more like a library were more right than I suspect you knew. This disparity makes me wonder if, for all Batiuk’s reverence for “art”, he has even been to a museum, or a museum bookstore, at that.
Apparently this week we have to look forward to Les jabbering some more about Lisa to a rapt audience of no-one-we-know’s, although I do have to wonder who that odd person in panel one with the lanyard and the laptop is. Does Les have someone helping him out with this event who he hasn’t mentioned? Highly likely.
Anyway, anyone want to bet that we’re going to see some new revelation about Les’s relationship with Lisa this week? I’ll set the line at one revelation and take the under, but I know no one will go for it.
As for the punchline – meh. It is amusing imagining that Cayla’s speaking literally here, however. “Go get your voicebox crushed, you douche, so I don’t have to listen to you whine anymore.”
Link to today’s strip
So today breaks with the week’s continuity by showing a lot of people waiting in line behind Lillian as she asks Les to sign the books she’s purchased. I have to admit, having Lillian be the only person who actually came to the book signing, mostly to reminisce with Les about her bookstore, was satisfying, but now that’s been shattered by today’s strip.
So Les gets more material for his pity party as Lillian upstages him, with every single person in line much more interested in seeing her than him. In an unexpected twist, Batiuk uses some subtlety in bringing up his standard “the masses prefer twaddle to true art” statement, revealing that Lillian’s books have two cats in them and that that’s what people love. I actually prefer this to his usual less subtle fashion, which would feature that semi-corpulent woman (although she lost a TON of weight between the penultimate and the final panels) raving about how Lillian’s books don’t force her to think about the human condition or some such crap. Thank goodness for small favors.
Let’s all find out if this travesty continues next week!