Tag Archives: Pete

Pete’s Green Thumb

Link to today’s strip.

Oh, yeah, Pete you really got played! She wrapped you around her little finger, Pete, and twisted you into agreeing to do something you were reluctant to do! And she did this using her feminine wiles of…asking nicely.

Good grief.

I’m sure this is another one where Tom Batiuk thought up the witty remark in panel three and thought, “That’s too good to waste” and so into the trash compactor, I mean, comic strip it goes.

The artwork, never a strong point with this strip, is especially bad today. In addition to the coloring gaff which gives this post its title, look at Dullard’s face in panel two. He looks like Mr. Potato Head, if he was a large banana instead of a potato.

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Big Sack of Something, All Right

Link to today’s strip.

Pete was a guest at Comic Con? When was that? Because my failing memory tells me that the Starbuck Jones panel was the actors, the director, and…Holtron. Along with a moronic Conan O’Brien, who was probably persuaded not to bring a lawsuit because “he’s just doing it so you’ll give him some free publicity. Calm down, Conan.”

I’m not saying he couldn’t have been a guest, rather than an attendee like everyone else, but I’d think that would be memorable. Even for this remarkably unmemorable comic strip. What would he talk about at his panel? How to get ideas from other people’s random conversations? That seems to be his special talent, after all. And I guess there was a time he wrote for Superman comics. BillytheSkink, please let us know what fantastical adventures the Man of Steel suffered under Pete’s hands.

But anyway, what does Mindy think Pete can do? Does Comic Con give out awards? That’s certainly a Batiukian goal. I don’t know myself but I kind of doubt Comic Con does this.

Or maybe he could set up a panel for them? “Old comic book creators who never got any attention.” One that would be attended by ancient fans who would gush, “You did what superheroes do–you saved me.” He’d better arrange to have barf bags provided.

A panel that will end with the two of them announcing their engagement. I’m almost willing to put money on it. My reasoning is this:

Mindy just spent a week listening to Ruby tell about how she felt harassed and unappreciated. It would be a natural thing for Mindy to suggest to Pete that something be done for Ruby. Instead, she chose to highlight both of them, saying that both were unappreciated. But it seems to me that Flash Freeman has definitely been given lots of recognition in this strip–examples escape me, but in the comic book industry here he’s regarded as a legend. So why would she include both in her plan, unless there’s something that happens when couples get together?

I probably have put more thought into this than I should have, but there’s so little to work with…

Note: Banana Jr 6000 made a similar observation–“Why does Mindy care about Flash?”– in yesterday’s comments. I’d already written the above, but I want to acknowledge the synchronicity.

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Flap Goes the Yap

Link to today’s strip.

Well, the perspective shifts in today’s strip seem noteworthy as an example of terrible artwork, as Dullard’s desk seems to scoot across space so he can…uh, weakly comment on dull things. I’m surprised the force of his motion didn’t knock Flash and Ruby, happily reminiscing, into the next building. That would have tied up their stories nearly, and they wouldn’t have to stand there smiling at each other.

–Wait–

Oh God. I think I foresee what’s in the wings.

Flash and Ruby are going to get married.

Tell me I’m wrong.

Please, tell me I’m wrong.

For the love of God, Montresor, please tell me I’m wrong!

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The Fewer the Better

Link to today’s strip.

“Wordy? Yeah, I do a rough sketch of what it should look like, including the word balloons, a year before it has to go live. Then I send it to the art guy to do the final drawing–making sure he draws the word balloons just the way I like ’em. I like to draw ’em big, because there’s important stuff to go in there. Heh, who’s he going to complain to?

“Then it goes into a drawer until about two weeks before it goes live, and then I have to remember what I was going to say in those word balloons. And here’s where it gets difficult, because I look, and a lot of times it’s a bunch of space I have to fill, and it’s hard to remember it all, especially when I can’t even remember a character’s last name. Heh, Pete Rigamarole. So there tends to be a lot more words than needed, just so it doesn’t have a lot of blank white space. I hate blank white space, it reminds me of clam chowder.

“I think using a lot of words makes me look smart, what do you think? And only answer that if you think I’ll like your answer.”

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The Zeppelin’s Graveyard

Link to today’s strip.

Good grief, look at the size of that folder, is Pete writing a novel or a comic book?

I admit I have no idea how comic books are written, other than what is known as “Marvel Style.” This is where the writer gives the artist an outline of what should happen in the issue, the artist goes off and draws the pages, and the writer then fills in the dialogue and needed descriptions. I don’t think “Suddenly he turned and saw” would be anywhere in that outline.

It also occurs to me that unless you’re a beady-eyed nitpicker, you have no idea who these people are or what they’re doing. That could be an actual movie script, for all the casual reader knows. And who’s the old guy? All it would take is Pete saying, “Flash! Good to see you!” And then, “I’d be honored if the great Flash Freeman read my script!” Done and done.

If there are any people out there who “enjoy” this strip, they’d have to have an encyclopedic knowledge of characters, places and occupations for it to make any sense. It would help if they also had a fanatical devotion to continuity–something Tom Batiuk has demonstratively been shown to lack.

One thing that he definitely has, though, is a bristling reaction to any criticism, and he’s certainly imbued Pete with that characteristic. Ouch.

By the way, a quick web search for “dangling subject” brings up lots and lots of entries for dangling modifier, but nothing at all for “dangling subject.” But I suppose the Lord of Language knows what he’s talking about. And quite honestly, I don’t know what Freeman is talking about.

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In Space, No One Can Hear You Repeat Yourself

Link to today’s strip.

Hi folks, BeckoningChasm back in the center seat. First of all, many thanks to TFH, Comic Book Harriet, Epicus Doomus and the others who are willing and able to try and rip some sense out of this…thing. Hat tip: it’s never an easy job. Tom Batiuk seems to be obstinate about refusing to put actual content into his strip, so the hard work must be done by others.

And for the next two weeks–that’s me. And when we look at today’s thing, we can see that once again Tom Batiuk has dredged out one of his golden floaters, Flatus Freeman, to appear in the strip and advise the young striplings. Although, as always, this episode makes the case that Pete Retardo has never, ever, come up with an idea on his own. Everything crucial has come about because someone else has made an off-hand remark, and today, the tradition continues.

Despite the fact that, you know, Pete mentioned nothing at all about space. But who cares, right?

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People Who Are Unalert and Afraid

Link to today’s strip.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but Jessica comes across as emotionally unstable, and Dullard comes across as a clueless clod. The fact that she’s ready to fly off the handle without knowing what’s actually going on, and then immediately turn lovey-dovey would be worrisome to a normal person.

But of course, Dullard isn’t normal. He thought he could hide his glasses from his wife, apparently forever; and he thought sharing his medical condition with his wife (again) was something one simply does not do.

Now, in the hands of a nominally clever writer, this could work, with a lot of details nudged here and there. You could get some good comic mileage out of this kind of a relationship. “Seinfeld,” “Friends” and dozens of other shows managed to make neurotic relationships amusing.

Of course, we are not in the hands of a nominally clever writer. What occurs to me is that this week’s “story” would have worked better with Pete and Mindy as the leads. Pete is already obsessed with his loser nature, and since they’re not married it might be a genuine worry for him that Mindy would say “Ugh! Glasses? No thanks!” Maybe. None of these characters are developed enough so we can reasonably guess what kind of reactions they would have. This week offers proof of this.

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People Like You (Dullard) and You (Jessica)

Link to today’s strip.

So Dullard was afraid that Jessica would think he was a nerd, because he was wearing glasses.

And then what? Divorce him? “Your honor, this man wears glasses. No wife wants a man who wears glasses.”

Seriously? I mean, sure there was a time when wearing glasses was considered “uncool” and perhaps a bit of a stigma…among school children, on television sitcoms. In the 1960‘s (at the latest). And I’m betting on each of those sitcoms the resolution was that it was “okay” to wear glasses.

Today, I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t wear glasses. It’s not a trait that really stands out anymore.

In a better comic strip, this could be the start of a “bit” that could be hilarious, as over the coming days Dullard tries increasingly bizarre ways to hide his glasses from Jessica. Because what else could his plan be?

Let me restate this: Dullard didn’t want Jessica to know he needs glasses. Since they are a married couple, and not casual acquaintances, this would be a very difficult achievement. “What are those?” “These? Nothing! Funky asked me to keep his glasses, just in case.” Later: “While we’re driving in the car, can you tell me when you see the signs for the exit for HorribleDemise Lane?” “Uh, I’ve got a better idea! Why don’t we ask Skyler, to test his reading ability?” “Oh, that’s such an awesome idea from a father! My father was murdered by the way.”

Skyler: “M-U-R-D-E-R-E-D. Murdered. Shot to death while on the air.”

This scenario, though, would require the creativity of 1950’s sitcom writer, which Batiuk can’t give, can’t even buy, and just doesn’t get.

Skyler: “A-E-O-N space F-L-U-X. Something unfathomably better than this horrible existence could ever be.”

(Sorry, I love that intro and wish I could do something half as cool.)

It’s another example of Tom Batiuk deciding that the first thing he thinks of would make a good story. “What if…Dullard had to wear glasses?” Well, what if? That’s just boring. “What if he wanted to hide this from Jessica?” What? That doesn’t make any sense! And it’s still boring!

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And Who’s Watching?

Link to today’s strip.

I’m not sure I understand you fully, Dullard. Could you state that as a question?

Seriously, why does Dullard’s statement end with a question mark? This is the sort of response when you’ve been found out, and are hurriedly trying to think of an answer that will defuse the situation. “My–eye doctor? Ha ha, no, of course it isn’t my eye doctor! That would be silly! I meant I might…try…a new…locker! Yeah, that’s it!”

While it is almost certainly his eye doctor he’s seeing (boy are we getting a theme in 2021 or what?), it’s interesting that his reaction to an angry Jessica is to shrink in terror. Again, boy, is this a healthy relationship. (Answer: no, it isn’t.) Most husbands or wives would probably be amused by the anger and say, “Oh hi honey. I’ve been seeing an eye doctor. I just didn’t want you to worry. Sorry, I didn’t mean to keep you in the dark. Where do you want to go for lunch?”

Because, again in a healthy relationship, Dullard would know that Jessica was coming to visit. She’d have told him. She wouldn’t have just popped by…although that seems to be exactly how Atomik Komix (spit) headquarters seems to work. In a healthy relationship, she wouldn’t have wanted to keep him in the dark. In a healthy relationship.

Speaking of the dark, wow, that’s some cloud there descending in panel three to envelope (and hopefully digest) the three idiots.

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Wound Up As Tight As It Is

Link to today’s strip.

And Jessica’s fears grow deeper and wider. Perhaps, as I suggested yesterday, Dullard’s beginning to wonder why he married her.

Ha, just kidding. We all know it’s not going to be anything that threatens their relationship (such as it is).

A man having an affair wouldn’t say he “hasn’t said a thing” to his wife. Of course he hasn’t told his wife he’s cheating on her!

Banana Jr. 6000 on March 8, 2021.

Not to mention that a man having an affair probably wouldn’t talk about it with anyone, much less his co-worker. Seems like the kind of thing you’d want to keep private. Especially since Pete is well-known to just blurt things out if he thinks it makes him look clever. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t, Pete.)

Also as mentioned yesterday (hey, if Batiuk can do it, so can I) this seems to be the only scenario he can come up with featuring Dullard and Jessica. Person A overhears conversation involving Person B, and immediately takes the worst possible interpretation.

Again it begs the question: why are these two together? What kind of relationship do they have if, on overhearing any dialogue (not between themselves), they immediately assume they’re on the outs with each other? I seriously wonder why they haven’t murdered each other until–SNAP!–I remember that this is Funky Winkerbean, where interesting developments are NOT allowed.

Batiuk has to keep it all stable so the Pulitzer committee can re-think their mistake.

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