Hope everyone’s enjoying a nice Labor Day Weekend!
So Les is back in Westview for the Lisa’s Legacy Run. And Mason, Cindy, and Marianne surprise him by showing up. And “Cindy is shooting footage of us running the race today…” For use in the movie? Will Marianne and Mason be running in character as Lisa and Les? Cindy’s a cinematographer now? Wouldn’t they need permission to shoot? And two movie stars and a former network news anchor are just hanging out, not attracting attention from anyone beside Les. Such disorienting plot “developments” have been Funky Winkerbean‘s stock in trade since mid-Act II. Let’s talk instead about the deteriorating draftsmanship in this comic strip.
The only modification I’ve made to this panel was to remove the dialogue balloons, or “word zeppelins,” in order to allow us to better appreciate this Mount Rushmore of melting faces. Les suffers the least, as his goatee in profile always looks like shit. Mason sports an even goofier than usual expression. Cindy is droopy-eyed, and Marianne’s head is on a stalk.
Tom Batiuk writes and “inks” FW, but for the last two years the strips have been penciled by Batiuk’s ol’ Kent State pal Chuck Ayers. Ayers has partnered with TB in this way since the mid 1990’s, in addition to drawing Crankshaft for 30 years. In March 2017 Ayers gave up both jobs to pursue other interests, but returned following the tenure of Rick Burchett, who turned out some of the most horrendous, slapdash, off-model draughtsmanship since another noted comics artist, John Byrne, was at the drawing board.
Ayer’s Crankshaft strips always seemed to me to be much better and more naturally drawn than Funky Winkerbean. And the aforementioned Messrs. Burchett and Byrne were renowned, more-than-capable comic book artists. I’m bringing all this up because I wonder if a requirement of working as Tom Batiuk’s penciller is having to “dumb down” one’s ability closer to Batiuk’s level. In this way, the guy who got laughed out of New York by Marvel and DC gets to hire real artists, and then
pin clip their wings.
Link to today’s strip whenever it drops.
Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview. So instead enjoy my favorite comment from yesterday.
Link to today’s strip
Les, I am going to explain this using short unequivocal statements, that way there is no way for your spotty memory and outsized ego to twist my words.
You. Did. Not. Save. Lisa.
All you did was let her out the door first. That’s not a rescue, that is chivalry so lazy it’s a 50-50 shot if it was intentional.
Wally. Saved. Lisa. And. You.
Wally Winkerbean, that poor sad, pizza baking man has had his wife, his dignity, the childhood of his son, his sanity, and his agency as a character taken from him by Batiuk. Don’t you take one more damn thing from this strip’s number one whipping boy, who took all of that abuse, and survived, without a single legacy foundation to his name.
Les, I don’t know if you could ever lay claim to ‘saving Lisa’. Unlike some, I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the Act II drama. But you can’t even really take much credit for saving Marianne. You drove shotgun through a fire, and then carried a woman out the door who really should have been able to walk.
Why did I have to be given a Les arc? I would rather have a week of Dinkle.
Link to today’s strip
As luxurious as Masone’s sailboat looks with just two people standing in it, I doubt its going to be so posh when he crams another five people on the darn thing. Judging by the artwork it couldn’t be more than twelve feet across. Where are they all going to sleep?
They better hope that Jeff asphyxiates in that cave, or they’re going to have to put up with the old guy staggering over the prone bodies on the floor to the tiny cabin toilet every 30 minutes all night long. My advice, put him on the deck and tell him to take a leak over the railing.
Les is giving Marianne some serious side eye in panel three. In a more ambitious strip, or maybe Act II, I would agree with the commenters that suggest we’re about to rock that yacht with a little post rescue adultery. But remember this is Les, in Act III, and the deepest form of intimacy he can show another person is to reminisce about Lisa with them. It’s how he bonded with Masone. It’s how he proposed to his purported second wife on his cancer bench, confirming to Cayla and everyone watching that he sees Cayla as a appendix to the beautiful story of his relationship with Lisa.
And she still married him. Sometimes I think we pity CauCayla too much. She worked at Westview high for years with him. She knew what she was getting into marrying the sad sack. I’m going to give her the agency that Batiuk doesn’t, she married Les for his house and money because their daughters got along. She got money for her daughter’s college, and when Les dies of mopey artist syndrome she gets it all. She’s not sad he’s emotionally distant, she’s relieved.
You go girl!
Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview. I’m guessing it’ll be a Human Torch inspired comic cover. And knowing Batiuk it’ll be the first one that nobody remembers.
Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview. I’m guessing it’ll show Jeff either showing off his decoder ring to Hallucination Young Jeff or awkwardly/creepily hugging him.
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.
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.
Cameras are FINALLY rolling in today’s strip, which is take 3 (why?) of the contents of this Sunday strip from January 31, 1999.
Yep, even when it was actually happening, Lisa’s story was pretty much all about Les.
Les didn’t write the script for this movie, and yet, this scene is almost verbatim what was actually said back in 1999. I guess he had nothing to fear after all as the script writer must have been clairvoyant… or perhaps just too lazy to even try to punch up a bland passage lifted wholesale from the Lisa’s Story book.
If Les cannot live through seeing actors recite his own words, he knows where the door is. Even if he somehow didn’t walk through it to get in the soundstage, maybe he parachuted in or was brought in bound and gagged inside of a trunk (my favorite theory), he saw Marianne do so.