Tag Archives: Mason Jarre

Life’s a Beach.

Link to today’s strip

Lisa’s Legacy Fund must really be running on empty if Jess is about to burst into tears over… (checking the actual auction prices,) seven hundred dollars. Though I suppose since there’s a couple days left, the Busty Beauties ‘Jupiter Moon’ cover by Neal Adams could go for more.

Oh Lisa, that look she’s giving Darrin isn’t exactly a doting mother. I’ve seen people give that look to their pets when they start hacking up something inedible on the rug. We know why Jess and Darrin are sitting in the back now, because they planned on shouting vapid observations at each other the entire auction.

Poor Phil. He can hardly keep his jaw from dropping to the floor like Jacob Marley’s ghost in ‘A Christmas Carol.’ All those hours and hours of scribbling out caricatures with increasingly arthritic hands for snot nosed Hollywood brats to cover the rent on a one room studio in LA, his entire penurious old age that could have been spent in comfort and accolades, all of it will haunt his ghost for eternity. His purgatory has just become Hell.

His only recourse is to pop over to Rex Morgan MD, where he can haunt Horrible Hank, who not only had a successful career after comic books that included marriage and children, but later DID get discovered again, DIDN’T immediately die, and now gets to cruise around comic conventions soaking up admiration and sweet sweet commission money. Haunt him Phil Holt, terrify him with your misshapen jowls and droopy uneven eyes! You’ve earned it.

Masone and Cindy sure care a lot about this auction; seeing as they couldn’t be bothered to get up off their beach chairs and drive a couple blocks down the street to go bid in person. How much time do they spend on the beach anyway? They’re always there! Did Masone lose their house after he blew the paychecks from his two movies on private jet rides to Westview, and now they’re living in a tent on Venice Beach?

And who wears sunglasses AND baseball caps while sunbathing?

Nice to see Cindy is enjoying her book though, “A Single Shade of Grey.” It’s what passes for kinky in Funkyverse.

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Can the Living Marry the Dead?

Link to today’s strip.

Apologies first off–I don’t know how Fearless Leader embeds these sideways things into normalcy, so you’ll have to suffer with strained necks for the nonce.  Unless I reach beyond myself, and give it a try–

–hey, that worked!  I think!

And check out that cast.  Isaac The Robot (defaming Dr. Asimov’s memory), Moon Mile Meek (or whatever that bowel movement was named), the Space Cadets, the Black Ghost, the Amazing Mister Sp0nge and the (*Cough* undead) Absorbing Junior, and the latest ass-pull, the Blue Astra.  I’d love to see a follow-up strip showing what gifts they brought (“a gift certificate for $10 at Best Buy?  Who the hell–“) but follow-ups are definitely not this strip’s strong suit.

–Case in point.  So, the Starbuck Jones movie world premier has come and gone, and we are no wiser as to how it fell on the world.  Was it a hit?  Did people enjoy it?  Were the fanboys irate over how it changed canon?   Did it rescue the Valentine Theater from foreclosure, and did it spring the careers of Mason, Marianne, Cindy, Cliff, Vera, Pete and Dullard into the stratosphere?  Did it circle the drain on the way through the toilet?   Is Cable Movie Entertainment now on the level of Marvel Studios, or are they instead competing with The Asylum for most horrible crap ever?

As the Residents once sang on their album Not Available, these are “Never Known Questions.”   Because the only answer here is another question, “Who cares?”  And the answer to that is, “Not Tom Batiuk.”

My theory on this is actually quite simple, and obvious once you hear it.   The success or failure of the Starbuck Jones movie was something that–had nothing to do with Les Moore.

Think on that for a moment.  Has this strip ever featured a creative, successful idea that didn’t involve Les Moore?  I certainly can’t think of any.  For the most part, it’s been “I need help, oh thank you for helping, [blink] oh it’s the next day and everything worked.”  (I’m thinking of Pete Movement and his battles with the…sigh…Lord of the Late.)

The message of the strip has been pretty constant in Act III–Les Moore is the only person who can be allowed a creative success in the world.  Everyone else succeeds only because they betrayed their ideals and settled for hackery.   No one else has lost a wife…no one else wrote a best-selling book detailing how he suffered when losing his wife…no one else wrote about how he just damn kept on, after losing his wife…and found a woman willing to be doormat.  That last bit is a little troubling, but, you know…Les Moore was once married to a woman, who…died.

It makes me fear what comes next week.

 

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Scenes from a Mirage

Link to today’s strip.

Now, I want an honest counting of hands, here.  How many of you thought we’d see something/anything of the Starbuck Jones movie during this, the arc in which the long gestating film finally had its premier?  Think of all the things riding on this film’s success–not just careers for Mason Jarre, Pete Robots, Darrin Undesireable and Cliff Anger, but the culmination of desire for a million fan-boys, the affirmation of belief for thousands of cellar-dwellars, and the salvation of the Valentine Theater (and a poorly-performing comic strip associated with same).   Surely such an expanse would provide proof of its benevolent effect.  Right?

Don’t be ashamed; after all, this was something that was fed to us for several years now as the event of the decade, as the measure by which this strip would ensure its place in the pantheon.

So, hands?  Well, there’s one.  Two.  Oh…oh…oh, dear.  That’s far too many hands than I thought I would see.

In my host duties here, I have tried to focus on the content of the strip and NOT on Tom Batiuk, the person.  I’ve never met, and don’t know Tom Batiuk; from all reports, he’s a genuinely nice guy, open and friendly, and I try to keep that foremost when I write here.  And to be honest, I wish him well.

But I’m going to violate that rule here.  Because Tom Batiuk cannot tell a story.

He must know this–aside from Les Moore, the characters he truly cares about (Starbuck Jones and The Amazing Mister Sponge) have never had a single panel dedicated to showcasing their, cough, awesomeness.  Sure, we’ve had lots and lots of covers, but nothing in the way of story.   Story being the key to why a character makes an impression.  Comic book cover?  Anyone who ever read a comic book ever knows that comic book covers are designed to lie you into buying them.  So they don’t count.

It’s much, much easier to ease back down off that plane, and shift the focus to a bunch of has-beens getting married.  Everyone likes marriages, right?  And that’s way more, like, focused than some movie thing that’ll be, like, forgotten in two years.  But marriage, man, that’s like eternal!  Until the next reboot.  But I’ve heard Les Moore has a new book!  Gotta be worth it all, man, gotta be worth it all.

And, just to be that guy,  I’ll be damned if I look it up, but I’m pretty sure Mason made this exact same joke some months back.

To paraphrase Charlie Brown, I weep for the newspaper comic-strip fans.

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Of Course He’s Cos

Link to today’s strip.

As mentioned, I found yesterday’s strip kind of cute and a bit of a relief from the usual fare.  However, it appears I’ve picked up a terrible habit from reading this strip:  I didn’t think things through. 

I figured the guy would take off his costume to perform the ceremony, you know, the way a normal person would.  (Indeed, I thought that’s what had happened in the second panel, with the minister the bearded guy in the back.)  Instead, this turned to the Dumb Side, really, really fast.  So, what kind of church does this guy lead?  Can he perform marriages that will hold up in court?  I think if he’s an ordained minister for the Church of St. Leeloo Dallas Multipass, Cindy, Vera, Cliff and Mason might find themselves in something of a pickle down the road.

What’s probably most irksome here is John.  His nonchalance from yesterday has cooled into a deep boredom–as if he searched all over for a priest of the Holy Order of Batman, Batman, the one he really wanted, but damn it couldn’t find one and had to settle for one who wouldn’t be able to give him first communion.   Screw you, Mason, you wanted a damned minister and I got you a damned minister.  Can I go home now?

I do like how the Xaxian is posing in panel two, in that James Dean in “East of Eden” symbolism pose, though I kind of think it’s a bit inappropriate here.   I remember doing that pose as a kid, and usually the spear would be going behind the neck–it looks here like it’s piercing his chest.   Maybe that’s why Mason looks so distraught–he watched someone commit hara-kiri right in front of him!  He couldn’t be hiding his face in shame because of comic books, because Mason sure strikes me as the kind of guy who’d leap at the chance for a comic-book themed wedding.

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Minister of the Inferior

Link to today’s strip.

I have to admit, this one was just startling enough that I enjoyed it.  The strange situation, and the nonchalant way in which it is presented, made for a strip that was actually entertaining.  So, kudos to Tom Batiuk; I’d like to see more like today’s offering, and less of what he typically deposits here.

Of course, today’s strip doesn’t really bear any close looking, because the premise is kind of stupid.  I mean, I guess the local minister could see a flyer, “Wanted, People to Portray Movie Characters for Film Premier, Costume Provided” and stop darning his socks in the night when there’s nobody there and think, “Say, that sounds like fun!  And I’ll bring my Bible along, just in case someone wants to get married!”  I mean, that sounds really, really contrived, even for this strip…though certainly not beyond the realm of possibility, given this strip’s history…

Okay, I’ve talked myself into it:  Tom Batiuk will take something cute like today’s strip and ruin it with tomorrow’s.

 

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Just Say No

Link to today’s strip.

Well, Jff, I guess your tongue-tied nature might be explained by the fact that this is a huge surprise to you, unaccustomed as you are to public speaking…except that all of this was your idea in the first place.  As Mason points out, the whole reason everyone is here because of you.  Given the fact that this strip goes out of its way to praise its characters for the slightest reason, did you really think you’d sit in the back and be ignored?  Sure, sure, that’s what we wished would happen, but that never counts.

I have to hand it to Tom Batiuk for his optimism–every time he brings in characters from Crankshaft, I imagine a mythical Funky Winkerbean reader saying, “Wait, there’s a whole other comic strip full of characters like theseWhere can I find this magical realm!”  And, since Mr. Batiuk never names “Crankshaft” in these cross-overs, said mythical reader is left saddened by the fact that he will never find this other strip.  Why, it’s a two-for-one!

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Shooting Gallery

Today’s strip

Greetings, folks, BChasm temporarily in the captain’s chair for the next little while.  What’s this?!  The viewscreen shows a sea of hostiles–ready photon torpedoes!   We must annihilate this threat before it spreads across the galaxy!

I’m going to skip over Mason’s “movie we filmed here,” comment, because while I don’t think any of the film was shot in Centerville, I honestly don’t remember the “school bus drives into shot” bit well enough, and–Tales to Astonish–I have no desire to look and see.  So I’ll give him that.

What else?  Well, we’ve got a crowd shot of almost everyone, including Les–which sets our Les Watch back to zero, damn it.  At least he’s not saying anything, and is both poorly drawn and partly covered by a word balloon.  Funny, though, I’d have expected both Comic Book John and Imbecilic Harry to be there, but I guess they got their exposure in at Comic Con, so no need to feature them any longer.  But who is that between Jim KibblesNBits and Marianne?  It looks like they flew Marianne’s mother out there after all!  I guess?

The fact that so many of the cast and crew are in the audience–and sitting right up front, too–makes me wonder if Tom Batiuk believes that the first time anyone involved with a movie actually gets to see the finished film is at the premier.  In the real world, the director would have seen the film dozens of times by now, and there’s almost always a screening for the cast and crew.  So all these people would be backstage, or at the back of the hall, gauging audience reaction–pacing, room for laughs, people getting bored at certain parts, and so on–and looking for “oohs” and “aahs” for the cast members.

But not in the fantasy land that is the Funkyverse.  Here, everything happens the way a five year old imagines that it happens–it’s all just magic, and friendship, and comic books and pizza, and it works every time!  In a way, that sounds like an attractive world…for a few minutes.  But after those few minutes, I’d want something of substance, something that would stir the imagination rather than just “be” everything forever.

Poorly thought-out as the Lisa stuff is, it’s at least an attempt to address adult concerns–something that a comic strip aimed at “contemporary problems of young people” should attempt more often.  Because I’m pretty sure the contemporary problems of young people aren’t that they wish there were more comic-book movies.

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