Link to today’s strip.
I’d like to think that scream of terror in the last panel is someone snapping from the sheer disregard of continuity. “This theater” was responsible for none of what you claim for it, Mason. You, Pete and Cindy were the ones who brought Cliff out of his self-imposed hermitage. Vera just happened to show up at the Silver Grille. (I guess she had one of those decoder rings before she was engaged with one.) And I know it galls you to admit it, but you met Cindy because of Les Moore.
Once again, Tom Batiuk seems to be making it up as he goes along, disregarding his own history while he expects his readers to have an encyclopedic knowledge of every minor character who appeared for a panel or two. It’s amazing how those two contradictions don’t collide and annihilate the whole strip.
Speaking of a panel or two, it’s sure unfortunate that Cindy had to run off between panels one and two. Because I don’t know who the Hell that’s supposed to be in the second panel; it looks very little like Cindy. I mean, she’s not even wearing the same dress. I guess, maybe Cindy tripped and looked foolish doing so, so the people in charge said, “Quick, we need a hot blonde who doesn’t look anything at all like she’s fifty years old!”
Either that, or the new artist is definitely getting Funkyfied–“Hey, whatever fills the panel, man.” Gotta wonder if, when he told his fellow artists that he’d landed the Funky Winkerbean gig, there was this long, uncomfortable silence, followed by expressions of sympathy, pity, and many hands on the shoulder with the words, “We’re there for you, man,” and “You’ll get through this.”
Tough luck, SOSFers. Not just because you’ve read today’s strip, but also because today’s strip is particularly rant-worthy and I may well be the weakest ranter on this site. I am sorry, I just cannot do it justice. I’ll lean on our commenters to give this strip what it deserves.
I do have an editorial comment, though, and it doesn’t involve Funky in a coma this time. Among the few printable things that have been said about this whole unending Starbuck Jones movie arc is that it is “wish fulfillment”. It is an apt description, of course, as nearly everything about Starbuck Jones comes across as what TB wishes would have happened to his own creations. However, there is no reason that wish fulfillment can’t be entertaining.
Sally Forth just spent a whole month at a (very) fictional Japanese movie monster theme park, something I’m sure unabashedly nerdy SF writer Francesco Marciuliano very much wishes was real. However, Marciuliano uses his fantasy to tell a story and crack jokes that are relatable to readers whether they are kaiju-obsessed or not. You may not know what a Gamera is, but you probably get jokes about taking family vacations and waiting in line at theme parks.
TB’s Starbuck Jones business, meanwhile, requires a tome of Batiuk blog posts and a glossary of Hollywood terms to understand, and a miracle to find entertaining. It seems to be perpetually patting itself on the back for being such a big deal in its own allegedly realistic universe, thrusting long-standing characters into Hollywood’s orbit for seemingly no reason other than to show that they are great enough to be involved in Starbuck Jones things.
I would say that my wish would be that we could leave Starbuck Jones, Hollywood, and the Valentine Theater behind… but that undoubtedly means more of Les. I can’t win. None of us can.
Everyone is severely intoxicated in today’s strip, right? Those glasses everybody has been carrying around have surely been filled and emptied many times by now, yes?
Because I don’t really know how else to explain this. The exaggerated hand gestures, the jumping on tables, the applause, the addressing of a group of full-grown adults as “kids”… Heck, alcohol may not really be enough to explain this. Not even something as dumb as Funky still dreaming in a coma back in 2010 effectively covers this ridiculousness.
Today’s strip is a sobering reminder of just how tantalizingly close we came to completely avoiding the foul, intrusive neighbor that is the Starbuck Jones movie. If only Mason had never come to Ohio, none of this would have happened.
– Mason only came to Ohio, of course, because he met Les on the set of Lust For Lisa.
– Tempting as it is to pin this all on Les, he was only able to lure Mason to Ohio with Holly’s collection of “Starbuck Jones” comics.
– Holly’s “Starbuck Jones” collection only existed because Cory started it.
– Cory only started the collection because… well, Tom only knows that. Maybe something to do with his stepfather reading it when he was a kid…
– And Ohio is only a state because the British ceded it to the United States in the Treaty of Paris, which was only possible because the French ceded the Ohio Valley to the British after losing the French and Indian War.
“Fan” theory time:
Funky is still in a coma from that 2010 car wreck and everything that has happened since then has been a dream. It was immediately before the wreck when Starbuck Jones was first mentioned (Funky had to sell SJ issue #1 to cover Komix Korner’s overdue rent), everything else involving Starbuck Jones has occurred after the wreck. Also, think of all of the other outlandish things in this strip that have happened since that wreck, things that would have been unlikely before: the successful publication of Lisa’s Story and its national book tour and “Hollywood” chapters, Cayla’s appearance changes, Les’ love life, Cory becoming a soldier and a well-adjusted individual, Cindy comes crawling back to Ohio, Wally snags Rache and Buddy, Dick Tracy…
This theory is, of course, disgustingly unoriginal and incredibly stupid. But is it really worse than the alternative?
While Jeff Murdoch apparently violates Twitter’s character limit in today’s strip, Director Martin Johns violates general decorum by thinking Jeff’s tweet is worth reading out loud to these Hollywood types lounging about in wicker chairs.
Prescient SOSFer erdmann hypothesized yesterday that this would lead to the premiere of Starbuck Jones at “that damn Crankshaft theater”. Today’s strip all but confirms that, and I can tell you that the next several strips will not dispel the idea. If you consider this to be a spoiler then you haven’t read Funky Winkerbean for very long.
In other news, Cindy has lost her right foot. Oh, and Jeff Murdoch is apparently both old enough to have seen and remember original-run Starbuck Jones movie serials (before Cliff was blacklisted sometime in the early 1950s) and young enough to have also been attending Kent State in 1970 (on a John Sebastian impersonator scholarship, apparently). To be fair, there is a window of time in which that works, but it is narrower than Crankshaft’s mind.
Greetings, SOSFers! It’s billytheskink here – your favorite lizard-named, Martin Mull-referencing, pointless trivia-posting, guest author.
I was wishing (and hoping, and thinking, and praying) that yesterday’s strip was the coda to this Comic-Con arc. It certainly looked like it could be. Unfortunately, it was a tease, and today’s strip takes us right back to yesterday’s ocean-side confab to discuss… the Starbuck Jones movie premiere. Goody, another week of this. That’s four straight weeks now.
A relative of mine had a baby back in June. That baby will be 8 weeks old at the end of this week. FW strips involving Starbuck Jones will have appeared during 65% of her life. This makes me incredibly sad.
Link to today’s strip.
I rate today’s episode two “Meh”s. It’s a good example of “Batiuking it.” It’s not terrible enough to be irksome, nor is it insensitive enough to provoke anger. It’s like something the dog left on the kitchen floor–he didn’t really mean to do it, it just happened by accidental instinct. Though at least the dog has enough self-awareness to look guilty about what he produced. Luckily, I have some paper towels.
Nice freeze-frame on that “Starbuck Jones” image. I assume someone hit the “pause” button, so that Mason and Cindy could chatter on brainlessly, but it’s entirely possible the scene is still running and consists of characters just chattering. That seems entirely Batiukian.
I wonder if that’s a workprint of the new film, or just Cliff and Vera again? I find I don’t really care about the answer. But, isn’t it funny that the characters here went out of their way to find the cast of the Starbuck Jones serial, but anyone who worked on the original comic book has been completely ignored. Who knows, they might still be alive, too! But then, artists and writers might want to do something creative (“This is not my vision!”); actors, on the other hand will just read the lines given to them. Whew! Dodged a bullet there.
As far as today’s “content” goes, let’s not forget that Cindy’s “going out on a limb” was not, repeat not, because she had great faith in BuddyBlog or because she believed in her own abilities to deliver stories. It was so she could seize Mason in her mandibles. That’s all. Mason’s either fine with that, unaware of it, or worse, pleased with how his personal magnetism snared his new paramour.
So, we’re not talking about someone striving for excellence in a new frontier. We’re talking about someone indulging her urges to keep her insecurities at bay.
Still, she did manage to find a nice piece of fruit.