We can only hope that today’s strip marks the end of this story arc and the depiction of this unhealthy and unsettling Melinda-Holly relationship for some time (infinity is a time, right?).
With that, I will focus my commentary on Holly’s use of term “EMS Vehicle”. So, did TB just not like the way “ambulance” fit in the word balloon or does he have a thing for using awkwardly bland language? I mean, its not an incorrect term of course, but if Holly calls an ambulance an “EMS Vehicle” then Melinda ought to have said “medical facility” or something like that yesterday instead of “hospital“… y’know, to maintain this strip’s reputation for exceeding consistency.
As someone who has ridden in an ambulance with a parent after breaking a bone while competing in a sport, I found there to be nothing at all redeeming about today’s strip. At least yesterday we had some America’s Funniest Home Videos visuals, solid work from Chuck Ayers for once, but today… today… just get out of here with this tripe!
No one wants to see Holly apologize to her mother for, um, for breaking her ankle?! What?! No one wants to see this whole cruel and miserable experience turned into a nostalgia trip. No one wants to know what kind of hairspray Holly uses that has kept her terrifying hair claw intact despite spending extended periods in a driving rainstorm.
Hope you all enjoyed yesterday’s respite from the boringly toxic (or rather, toxically boring) Melinda-Holly relationship, because we’re back for (checks calendar) WEEK 3?! of it in today’s strip. Things between these two are so bad that Holly will ignore good advice that is widely known by nearly every adult who has ever engaged in athletic behavior just to spite her nagging mother.
This strip has everything! Needless exposition! Falling leaves! Absolutely nothing likable! References that would have been topical 3 decades ago! References to death! And more word and thought bubbles than you can shake a baton at!
The department store nostalgia in today’s strip is pretty innocuous as Funky Winkerbean goes. I am enough of a retail enthusiast to know that department store nostalgia is totally a thing, by the way… but I’m not sure it manifests itself in wistful disappointment when receiving an Amazon package.
But since Amazon’s logo is clearly visible on present day Holly’s package, let’s talk about THIS:
Nope, we get Holly’s memory of shopping at DS, which by all indications stands for… Department Store. DS. Department. Store. This is Herb & Jamaal-level non-specificity. Look TB, if you can reference Amazon specifically, you can reference an actual department store specifically. The strip loses nothing if you get Ayers to write “Higbee’s” on a couple of shopping bags instead of DS.
Apologies for today’s short post, but this story arc has gone about as well as my week at work has… And today’s strip doesn’t do much to improve matters. It doesn’t do much period.
The insurance companies Dinkle may have put a stop to the flaming baton trick, but don’t you dare think he is losing his touch. He has happily proposed maiming senior citizens with fire in recent years.
Oh sweet Sousa, it’s HIM! I guess we all knew his appearance was inevitable after Holly brought up band alumni yesterday, but I think we were all hoping he wouldn’t show up as soon as today’s strip. But now he is involved AND he is tossing around comic book/video game terminology like he‘s DSH or the other guy in this strip named Harry, making this story arc go from insufferably bland to straight up insufferable in three panels flat. And now we know Holly wasn’t the only majorette he routinely maimed…
Holly really shouldn’t be surprised he remembers her, though. After all, he named his shoe brand’s majorette marching boots after her. I guess that means he is being sincere then telling her she was the best majorette he ever had, though I’ll also bet he‘s been keeping her royalty checks from the sale of those boots for the past 29 years too.
Oh, so Melinda wasn’t thinking of entering Holly in a pageant! No, as we learn in today’s strip, she was thinking about hijacking Westview High School’s homecoming and subjecting the crowd to Holly’s flaming baton trick and its subsequent collateral damage. Duh. I don’t know where Holly got the idea that her mother was trying to get her to enter a pageant, it’s not like Melinda led into this homecoming performance idea by talking about pageants or anything…
It was smart of Holly to suggest inviting a bunch of band alumni into this scheme. Not because making this an actual alumni event rather than a single woman’s vainglorious showcase means the school would likely be more accommodating. Not because it will place anyone not related to her who might be interested in seeing her performance out on the field instead of up in the grandstands. Not because it will give Wally a chance to break out his trombone again. Not even because it seems to deflate her conniving mother.
No, it was smart because Holly knows as well as anyone that misery loves company.
Oh, so we have another week of this… How, exactly, can Melinda Budd tell when the photo in today’s strip was taken? It looks like every other old photo/Act I flashback/actual Act I appearance of Holly.
I guess Holly figures her pageant days are over now that she’s looking more like Gloria Daze… but we all know that’s not going stop Melinda or TB from stretching this story concept so thin you could toss an Oldsmobile Bravada through it.
I used to know a guy who claimed to have been on the outer fringes of the music business back in the day and he had a million and a half stories just like Batton’s.
“Yeah, Jerry and Bob sure threw some fun parties. They asked me if I wanted to join their new band, but I’d just gotten into the drill press operator’s union so I passed. So yeah, I coulda been in the Grateful Dead, but you know.”
He was pretty annoying but he was no Batton Thomas, that’s for sure. Then again, who is? Wait…do NOT answer that. Anyway, yeah, BatYam obviously saw a news story about that stupid comic book being auctioned and right after he settled down and took a brief nap he got right to work on this timely arc so he could mention it in that annoying “if only we’d known then what we know now” kind of way of his where he conveniently ignores the fact that if everyone had saved those old comic books they wouldn’t be rare or especially valuable, like with those poor souls with closets full of worthless Beanie Babies. It would have been a funnier story if Batton’s mom had thrown it out, but in BatWurst’s zeal to re-tell the story that thought must not have occurred to him. That’s why the editor’s role is (guffaw) so crucial. Hypothetically speaking, of course.
Well, the week’s comic book reminiscence is, of course, followed in today’s strip by the requisite comic book cover tribute, printed sideways in newspapers across the country to ease the task of deciding not to read it. If you are just now showing up to to read this story arc (for which I envy, but somehow also pity, you), let’s catch you up:
Sad-sack author avatar and comic strip creator Batton Thomas has based his entire post-12-year-old life around reading and re-reading The Flash #123. He has bought a reprint of the issue since his original is worn out, and he is re-reading it again. His 12 year old self has also materialized to re-read The Flash #123 reprint along with him… on the very same porch glider he read the original #123 when his 12 year old self was his only self.
If you, the hypothetical person just walking into this story arc today, is still thinking of going back and re-reading this week’s strips after that recap, save some time and read TB’s veneration of the issue on his blog (and also, previously, in Funky Winkerbean itself). Or save even more time and don’t do that. That’s your best bet, actually.