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!
Link to today’s strip
Look at that douche in panel 1, visible strain on his face as he forces himself to listen to Lillian’s blathering. Les does however hit paydirt as Lillian acknowledges that she’s here to buy “the new Lisa’s Trilogy books”. This is not how a real person would describe what she’s doing, but at least Les made one sale. I suppose that’s the part that drives this book signing sequence forward, since the punchline is nothing more than a continuation of yesterday’s punchline. I do like how Les in the last panel, looking puzzled, holds Lillian’s book right up to his face as if he’s never seen such a thing before in his life, deciding to smell it. He looks confused and disoriented. Oh, Lillian, your delightful smile is wasted on this man. He’s never going to read your book. Don’t kid yourself.
I have to admit that I’m more intrigued by the subtitle in panel 2 for The Last Leaf, which is “Lisa’s Story Concludes”, which with that awful stylized lettering I’ve read more than once as “lisa’s story omelettes.” How could this possibly be a conclusion to Lisa’s Story? She DIED in the last one! If it’s about Les’s ability to become a functional member of society again after his loss (which not only has a debatable premise, but is also the most reasonable direction for the book to take), that’s not about Lisa. That’s about Les. It’s as if Fitzgerald wrote “Gatsby’s Story Concludes” about how Nick Carraway got on with his life.
But that’s not really a surprise. After all, I bet if you took all the strips in the new “Lisa’s Trilogy books” of Batiuk’s and counted the strips where Lisa appears and the strips where Les appears, Les would have more by a substantial margin. Hell, dump the book where his purported protagonist is dead and I’d bet Les still has a wide margin in the other two. It’s never been about Lisa. It’s always been about Les. For every strip of Lisa reflecting on her own about her life’s circumstances in a way that doesn’t focus on Les, there are probably ten of Les moping about some damn thing.
Whew, what a tangent. Anyway, your main character, ladies and gentlemen.
Link to today’s strip, oriented correctly since you might actually want to read it
Today’s strip features one of the few things Batiuk does that actually amuses me. He owns himself.
Lillian tells Les that he inspired her to become a writer simply due to his appearance at her bookstore a quarter of a century ago, then promptly lists all the books she’s written, all of them filthy genre fiction. Batiuk links all of her novels’ titles together with the presumed joke being that they’re all derivative, insipid and absurd. He then mocks the prolific Sue Grafton out of nowhere by suggesting that that’s where Lillian got the idea.
But the fact is, Lillian’s asinine Murder-by-places-you-buy-books conceit could have been directly inspired by Les. After all, here’s Les, who’s supposed to be a respectable writer revered by his peers and his creator for his great artistry and vision, yet over the course of the last two decades, here are all the books he’s written:
- Lisa Before She Died
- Lisa Dying
- Lisa After She Died
That’s an own goal.
I’m also curious about Les’s omnibus Lisa edition. I’m going to assume that “Lisa Before She Died” was the same standard non-fiction prose of “Lisa’s Story”, but “Lisa After She Died” was clearly portrayed as a graphic novel. So are we supposed to think that there are two staid non-fiction stories, followed up by a story told through pictures? How would you even format such a monstrosity?
I’ve got to hand it to Batiuk. I thought when he was going to plug Les’s (and his own, as it were) latest book flogging the Death of Lisa, that he would focus on how brave and unflinching an artist Les was for writing it.
Instead, he unflinchingly examines the inane inanity of inaneness by having this week’s focus be about how Les did a book signing at Lillian’s converted attic a couple decades ago that no one attended. Way to stretch the limits of the medium, Batiuk. Let’s just try to forget that he spent a week in Crankshaft covering this book signing, so this week has been nothing more than “remember when in my other strip Crankshaft….?”
Anyway, I’m pleased that Les has gone from seemingly being charmed by Lillian’s appearance to bored indifference bordering on irritation in the last panel. That’s right, douche, right where you belong.