Link to today’s strip.
You see that, sportos? If you start out in sports and athletic endeavors, your life will end in crushing failure after a career of setback after setback. Any chance for happiness will be snatched back at the last moment, leaving your suffering ever more exquisite. Serves you right for bullying certain people we could name. Those people practice the only pure sport known to man, running!
You just wasted your entire life. You could have done things differently–you could have followed the smart people, and become a big comic book fan. Those people never ever fail at anything, and are always living fulfilling lives. People smile and wave at them, and offer them rewarding jobs just because they’re comic book fans. Just think, right now, Linda could be bringing you milk and cookies as you sat in the attic reading about the Flash. But no, in the strip, you’ve never even mentioned whether you even like comic books. Loser!
I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a naked expression of hatred from a creator to his creation as today’s strip. This goes way beyond harsh into rabid, frothing vendetta-land. This is a person deciding his child’s kindergarten painting wasn’t very good–so it needed to be shredded in front of said child’s eyes as a lesson. This is “vindictive” with a capital “murder,” to the point where I honestly can’t believe what I’m seeing.
And it would have been so easy to turn it around, to make it something positive. Get rid of Bull’s dialogue in panels 4 through 6, and replace it with Linda: “Bull, it’s okay. That’s the last act of your old life. The life where you were always worried and angry and things kept going wrong. That life’s over, and we’re starting your new life tonight. The one where we face life together. You and me.” Then the lights go out, but there’s the hopeful tinge that Bull actually has something to look forward to. But no, we get an ever descending chorus of bleakness, then the lights go out. I’m surprised there wasn’t a “BANG!” sound effect in that last panel.
It seems weird, because it sure looked like Bull was being rehabilitated. As HeyItsDave pointed out on the 24th, Bull has a long list of favors that he’s done for Les. I mean, if you can’t get absolution doing favors for Les Moore, than your star really is about to shatter. But there’s always been a rather blatant contempt for sports in the strip. Yeah, Wedgeman and the other team members were stupidly evil, but that’s typical for a lot of comic strips. The real “sports is nothing and requires no talent” bit came when a star quarterback emerged from smoking loser Jared. No practice, no hard work, no talent, anyone could do it.
Today’s strip, though. I mean, like a nine-car pileup, it’s hard to look away. This strip really looks like a revenge fantasy that Tom Batiuk drew without ever intending to publish (a sort of voodoo-strip, if you will). But then there was this deadline, see, and time got short–
Makes me wonder if he has Sunday revenge-strips all drawn, inked and colored about all of us. Somehow, I would not be surprised.