Oh, good. Logan, got my advice. Despite presumably having the entire summer to continue seeing each other, Logan is drawing a line under this date. Never again! After this is over, she’s never going to go to the mall with Malcolm, never going to eat ice cream with Malcom, and never going to watch a Marvel movie ever again. Good for her.
I do find the meta-joke funny here. (Not the strip itself, it’s pretty clumsy.) They went to see ‘the latest Marvel movie.’ Batiuk’s writes everything a year in advance, but he knew there would be ‘a latest Marvel movie’, no matter when this arc ran. There is always a latest Marvel Movie. There will always be latest Marvel Movie. The virtual reality computer chips Elon Musk will get us all to implant in our heads 20 years from now will come with Disney+ preinstalled and undeletable, and our decaying brain matter will be eternally wirelessly downloading the latest Marvel Movie as we lay dead and rotting in our Disney Corporate caskets in the Magic Kingdom to Come.
Weird that Logan is saying this is the first time they’ve ever eaten ice cream together. I mean, they’ve been friends, at least casually, for years. We saw them hanging out at Komix Korner together after school. But they’ve never eaten ice cream in proximity? Or just gone to the mall to kill time with Bernie and Connor?
Wait, what mall is this?
Thanks to strips the glorious Batiukstorian, Billy The Skink, dug up last week, we know at some point there was a Westview Mall. At least at the time of Les and Cindy’s graduation. Which surprises me because Westview doesn’t seem like a big enough town to support a thriving mall. Especially now that malls everywhere are dying a slow agonizing death.
When Cayla farmed her daughters out as labor for Christmas break in 2020, they certainly weren’t working at the Westview Mall.
‘TH’ Mall is probably supposed to be Mammoth Mall; the mall in Centerview where Crankshaft used to traumatize children as a photo op Santa.
Mammoth Mall is also where a very late Act II Darin and Pete went in 2006 for Senior Skip Day.
And at the time Mammoth Mall is referred to, by both Linda and Pete as THE Mall. So I think we can safely assume that Mammoth Mall in Centerview is ‘the mall’ for both towns.
But, that doesn’t make any sense. Because Crankshaft learns in 2019, (and ten years in the past?) that the mall was supposed to be closing.
Indeed, in 2017 the Mammoth Mall was already as empty as the mall from Silent Hill 3, and full of similar haunting horrors.
Of course, in August 2019 there was still enough of a crowd for Crankshaft to taunt multiple groups of innocent children about the inevitability of summer’s end.
And for the 2020 Christmas season, either a year or eleven years after Cranky got fired from his Santa gig, there wasn’t a shortage of traffic.
So Mammoth Mall is Schrodinger’s Shopping Complex. When unseen it is both dying and fine simultaneously. But when observed in strip it is always either dying or fine, based on Batiukian forces beyond our understanding.
In a way, it stands for the dual fates of malls in modern society. Many are sad, desperate shells, full of broken dreams, and dentist offices. Some are still doing fine, still a hub for women to shop, teens to hang, and men to wait on benches staring blandly at their phones. And I’m guessing that everyone is within day-trip distance of one of each kind.
When my mom calls me up and asks if I want to go to the mall, I always wonder which one she means: The living, or the dead?