Tag Archives: Pete

Murderball most Foul.

Link to today’s strip

At first I thought panel two of today’s strip was incredibly implausible. Why would this game have a hard backdrop behind the bottles that a ball could ricochet off of? Isn’t a game involving throwing hard projectiles at fragile glass bottles while people stand watching dangerous enough already? So I actually looked up a couple pictures and videos of how this carnival game is played. I didn’t see any balls ricochet right back like this, but most of the games I looked at had a hard metal sheet behind the bottles.

And you know what? This game is actually easier than a lot of carnie games. As long as the bottles are standard beer bottles, and the balls used aren’t completely nerfed, this game is less likely to be rigged than the milk bottle toss, the ring toss, or the free throw game.

What I’m saying is, unless Pete is completely inept, he should be able to do this at least once out of ten or so tries.

Which will probably win him a cheap stuffed animal roughly the size of his fist, worth about 10 cents.

Mindy could definitely do better. At both the carnie game and the dating game.

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Got ‘Em By the Ball!

Link to today’s strip

Pete is aware that Mindy’s Gramps was a minor league pitcher right? More importantly Mindy definitely knows this. So either she is under the false notion that this carnie game is easy because Gramps was good at it, or she really gets off on the idea of humiliating Pete.

Because the look that she’s giving Pete in the last panel lets us know in no uncertain terms that she finds something about this situation arousing. Does she imagine that the pasty, spaghetti-armed lifelong desk drone Pete has the potential to ever live up to the coarse masculinity of her baseball playing, war veteran, deathless Gramps?

She’s got Pete by the ball. The unnaturally tiny, pure white, vibrating ball.

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A Veritable Smorgasbord…of Horror.

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Comic Book Harriet back again. And I want to thank Beckoning Chasm for taking one for the team. The last slot was an absolute void of material, even when the strips were available, and he filled it up with snark like only an inviting ravine extending into nothingness knows how.

And what a treat for me! We have Mopey and Mindy! A sad sack of a man only defined by comic books, and a carbon copy of every other blonde in the strip, only defined by the men around her.

I mean, seriously, can you be more of a non-character? Not to get nerdy, but we are dealing with some serious replicative fading. Each Cindy clone gets less and less viable. Cindy at least has a detailed history of independent action. And she used to have an actual personality before the Westview blandification virus infected her and turned her into the same neurotic depressive as everyone else, like an insidious hive-mind of wryness.

Jessica is less interesting, has never had a personality, and also is partially defined by her father, John Darling, who was murdered. But at least she attempted a career for a while separate from her husband. She also occasionally has conversations with other women that pass the Bechdel test.

But Mindy is like a box of expired No-Doz. Perky, yes. But completely flavorless and kind of nauseating. She wandered into her boyfriend’s office one day and he gave her a job because she was good at coloring in the lines. What did she do before other than work at the Valentine? What does she like? Did she ever have any kind of dream that wasn’t being handed a job by a man she knew? The only things we know about her inner life is that Cranky is her grandpa. Pete is literally dating the memory of an elderly man.

Still we’ve got a real buffet of monsters in the background here! From left to right. We have man presumably unironically wearing a Cincinnati Reds shirt. With a projected 7.9% chance to make the playoffs this year, and an average home game attendance of 20,000, nearly filling up half their ballpark, their future is definitely so bright they’re gonna need shades. His landwhale wife in her pointy sunglasses looks like she could have walked to the fair straight from the Far Side. And her terrifying tiny wig may have been stolen from a pediatric cancer patient.

Between Pete and Mindy is either an escaped convict in a hat or a construction worker on break. Right of Mindy’s head is the reincarnation of King Tut, complete with sloping forehead, elongated skull, slim body, and slight gut. Mindy’s arm is blocking his feet, so we can’t tell if he was cursed with a club foot in this life too. Next to him is a poor shoulderless woman who either has prominent rounded ears or a horrifyingly unfortunate nose.

Then we have the return of the dickhead! He even has a nice little coronal line where the shaft of his neck meets his glans, I mean face. He is drinking a refreshing beverage from a reusable cloth cup and straw he has fashioned from leftover fabric from his shirt and hat.

His wife looks like an extra from Planet of the Apes trying to pass. Lucky for them two of their three children look relatively normal. The poor kid in the stoller though. Pull that sunshade down! No one needs to see that! And it’s child abuse to let your lumpy potato child roast in the sun until he’s nice and crispy brown.

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You Don’t Know Jack

Link to today’s strip.

My understanding of the slang word “jack” is that it means “nothing,” or perhaps “a small amount.”  Like the title of this entry, for example.  “You don’t know jack” means “You know nothing about this subject.”  “You get jack” means “You get nothing.”

Now, it’s been established that Batiuk has created his own world with its own idiots idioms.  The thing is, your own private slang only really works when there isn’t a real-world version.  He’s usually safe in this regard, as no human being has ever uttered things like “solo car date,” “vendo,” or “bio-dad,” but people use “jack” in the context I mentioned all the time.

Here, it seems to mean “money,” at least as far as I can fathom Pete’s meaning.  “Jack,” used here, is such a square-peg forced into a round-hole (forced with a hammer, while the peg is screaming) that I’m thinking it might get added to the Batiukionary.

Normally, in most strips with a *cough* joke like this, the drawing in panel three would be a slight variation of panel two, with the two halves of the *cough* joke implying a character’s single bit of dialogue in a single moment.  But I like to think that Pete said his dumb first line, then silently struggled to shoe-horn “jack” into his next sentence while everyone else ordered, paid, picked up their coffees and headed toward a table.

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C Minus

Link to today’s strip.

I’m not a comics fan, but I looked at today’s deposit and thought “That can’t be right.”   Two seconds of dreaded research confirmed my suspicion.

                

Tom Batiuk claims to hold comics creators in high regard, but you know, when he can’t even spell Joe Shuster’s name correctly….

No doubt Batiuk will call his syndicate and post a corrected version, but jeez louise–this is the kind of error that should have leapt from the page and smacked him.

Of course, given the evidence of “Bantom,” and Pete’s Wandering Last Name, and, well, the strip itself, maybe he just doesn’t care.

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On This August Occasion

Link to today’s strip (eventually).

The occasion being, of course, the first of August…and the strip thus unavailable for preview.

Of course, we know how it’s going to go.   Kitch Swoon’s going to talk more about using Dullard’s work in her gallery.  This will probably lead to collectors bidding for his work, and a wealthy life for Dullard.  Batiuk has used this strip to construct his ideal fantasy world, where the real world has no presence at all.  A world where the terrible comics that AK publishes are somehow wildly successful.

That’s one aspect of this strip that truly puzzles me.  He’s got his own invented world, and his own invented comic book publishing house.  He could do literally any titles he wished (providing he doesn’t violate copyright law) and he comes up with stuff that just looks terrible and dull.*  I cannot imagine a comic-book reader, in any era, doing anything with these titles other than turning up his nose.  Back when I was reading comics, the only one of these I would have looked at would be The Scorch, and that would only be after I’d already read everything else that month.

Where are the AK versions of Superman, Batman, or the Flash?  Isn’t that the sort of book that Batiuk wanted to work on back in the day?  So why doesn’t he create his own versions now (other than fears that his knock-offs would be mocked without mercy)?  Wasn’t that Chester’s vision–creating stalwart and true heroes, like the ones he loved as a child?  Why is it that the two dullest sounding AK titles–Rip Tide and the Inedible Pulp–are the only ones with more than one cover showcased in the strip?

Why does Batiuk’s imagination seem so small?

*The Inedible Pulp, Rip Tide-Scuba Cop, Atomic Ape, The Scorch…these are the ones I remember, am I forgetting any?  And if I am forgetting, well, guess why.

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The Man in the Mirror

Link to today’s strip.

I believe commentor Charles had it right a few days ago–Dullard is the new Les, ie, the author’s new avatar.   Today’s strip makes that pretty plain, I think, as suddenly his works are considered “professional” enough to be displayed in an art gallery.   To the point where Swoon feels she has to seek him out personally, rather than make a phone call or put up a “call for submissions” notice.

See, the world failed to appreciate the depth of Les’ suffering, his broad perception of life, and the height of his intellect.   I have a feeling the Westview world is going to appreciate the POOP out of Dullard.  He’ll be not just appreciated, but honored and touted and given first chair to impart his wisdom.

But while Tom Batiuk, the artist, feels he should be honored, praised and lionized, Tom Batiuk, the writer, falls completely down on the job.  The “you had me at” joke works when the “at” refers to something pretty early in a bit of dialogue–“You had me at ‘Hello'” being the original (I think).  Pete’s, on the other hand, occurs when there’s only one word still to go in Swoon’s sentence.  That’s not how it works.  The fact that it isn’t funny or clever is besides the point.

But then, given the ideas that Pete has used to populate (almost wrote “pollute”) Atomik Komix, I don’t expect anything from him to be witty, imaginative or well-formed.

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