Tag Archives: Pam

The Sorrows of Young Chester

Link to today’s strip.

So, he stole them!  He’s a terrible thief.  But he saved them from destruction–he’s a saint!

Surely, in Tom Batiuk’s world, Chester’s scheme makes him an awesome hero.  I seem to recall reading something in Batiuk’s blog where he talked about taking comics from somewhere–I think it was a barber shop?–because they weren’t appreciated there anyway.  Chester’s going a step further–he’s saving these books from destruction, not just neglect.

Now, I’m not going to condone Chester’s petty thefts, but the strip is sending mixed messages here.  I know, I know, Chester has to be the bad guy, because he’s not noble, pure (and poor).  He looks down on the people who collect and preserve comics aren’t like him.  He comic book obsession hasn’t caused him to suffer in any way we’ve seen, not like John or Harry, so he’s just gotta be bad.

But he’s saving Bantom comic books from the flames.  Something no other character here (other than the creator-hated Funky) has ever doneNot even Les.

He’s using his resources to preserve beloved comic books.  Meaning, it’s actually people like Chester who keep John’s store in business.  It’s certainly not idiots like Chullo and Glasses, who show up to read comics and play video games, but never buy anything.  You’d think John would do his best to woo Chester as a customer, but no, the purity of fandom is never tainted by the coin of commerce.

I’m also thinking that ties into my next comment.  We’ve seen that the drug store has stacks of comics that it can’t sell–meaning, in my world, that these comics aren’t popular.   Yet it is implied that Chester was able to sell these same comics to amass a fortune.

Look.  These comics can’t be simultaneously obscure, neglected masterpieces as well as the storied beacon of a generation.  I strongly suspect Tom Batiuk has a variant of the anti-popular syndrome–if it’s well-known, it’s shunned, while the more obscure something is, the more obviously superior it is (as well as its appreciator…well, that’s only natural, right?).  After all if everyone liked it, you wouldn’t be special for liking it too.  It’s a pretty despicable kind of fandom, but it definitely exists.

Things I Like Dept:  panel one’s a nice perspective shot, and the figures are well-posed.   Good chair drawing too.  Pity this good stuff is wasted on such awful characters.

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Manos: The Hands Of Grate

Today’s strip finally gets to the point. Whatever.

All I see is a kid in a Davy Crockett coon-skin cap…
FWSmif

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Bored of the Rings

Today’s strip is about that dadgum decoder ring. Your mileage won’t vary, it WILL be low.

Jeff, quit teasing your wife and son with this appallingly uninteresting Starbuck Jones nostalgia trip and just tell your family what all of us readers already know the message on your phone says. You told two very interested parties that The Valentine may have gotten the miracle it needed to keep its doors open, and follow that up by leering creepily gazing at 60 year old toy that you got for free from a chocolate milk mix company.

Max, you gotta do better than this, man. If your dad knew the gibberish on his phone was the Starbuck Jones Junior Spaceman’s code then he’s a big enough nerd to know how to decipher it. He’s been waiting decades to show this stupid ring off and you are the one who had to go and give him the satisfaction.

Pam, you’re an enabler. Can’t really blame you for that, since every other woman in this universe apparently is as well.

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Hai-Code

Today’s strip contains
A couple of near-haiku
Shall we take a look?

“This text may be the
Answer you are looking for
It’s just gibberish”

“That is because it’s
Written in the Starbuck Jones
Junior Spaceman’s code”
_________________________

Jeff has just put on
That stupid decoder ring
Why does he have it?

Came from his pocket?
Does he carry it around
Annoying others?

He just got a text?
But it was a Tweet he sent
To Director Guy

I guess that Durwood
Has uncle Jeff’s phone number
As if he’s used it

Nice car on the curb
Puts Batiukmobile® to shame
Who would park it here?

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Miracu-lousy

Today’s strip severely undersells the concept of miracles.

“Hmmm… we may have just gotten one.” For serious, Jeff, that’s your reaction to information that may well have just saved your son’s livelihood and your nostalgic obsession? Let’s try that line out in some other scenarios.

Al Michaels calling the 1980 Olympic hockey semi-final, USA vs. USSR:

“Eleven seconds. You’ve got 10 seconds. The countdown going on right now. Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?

Hmmm… we may have just gotten one.

“You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate:

I believe in miracles
Where you from
Hmmm… we may have just gotten one

That old Xerox commercial:

Brother Dominic: Here are your sets, Father. The 500 sets you asked for.

Father: A miracle? Hmmm… we may have just gotten one.

Inspiring.

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Valentine’s Day, August 1

Today’s strip was not available for preview. It will, almost assuredly, be about Max Murdoch’s imperiled Valentine Theater though.

But before The Valentine was Max’s imperiled theater, it was Ralph Meckler’s imperiled theater. For those of you fortunate enough to not follow Crankshaft, bespectacled and mustachioed Ralph is Crankshaft’s best only friend. Poor Ralph is a decent enough character, and is (sadly) a definite contender for the Batiukverse’s ultimate “chew toy” award.

Not only did he struggle for years to keep The Valentine afloat before unloading it on Max and his I-guess-girlfriend Hannah, he also failed in a recent bid to unseat Centerville’s corrupt, do-nothing mayor. In fact, he lost the mayoral race on a coin flip because the election was tied. The election was tied, of course, because his good “friend” Crankshaft forgot to vote. Oh, and he let Crankshaft make that fateful coin-flip call…
Also, his wife has Alzheimer’s (revisited in two different books) and his son was killed in the Vietnam War.

Sheesh. No wonder he says stuff like this

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The Loan Punman

Welcome, everyone, to that damn Crankshaft theater. Today’s strip finds us back in the middling maudlin morass that came to define this strip during Act II. It certainly says something about the relentlessly positive Comic-Con arc that it failed to provide much refreshment in its departure from this strip’s trademark tone.

“Valentine’s Day may be over.” Heh, cute. Doesn’t explain how you’ve been making your loan payments for 10 years and are only now in danger of default… maybe you’ve been driving customers away by needlessly questioning them instead of taking their money.

Meanwhile, Ann Fairgood Pm nd Jff play the “Incredible Hulk” TV show’s closing credits music in their heads as their son walks out the door with his oversize copy of yesterday’s strip.

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