Well, good for Ruby Lith. Like cracked actor Cliff Anger, Ruby’s another living Twentieth Century relic who held on into the Twenty-First long enough to finally garner some long overdue recognition. I hope her excitement over this check doesn’t trigger a coronary, which would look something like this:
I also hope Ruby’s allowing for inflation here, since her “original pay date” dates to around the Truman Era. Meanwhile, the expressions of escalating dismay on the faces of Darin and Jessica are the most satisfying thing we’ll see all week.
As if none of us saw this coming. Kitch Swoon and that nice-sized check of hers are not destined to fill Skyler’s college coffers. Y’know, why not have Monday’s strip showing the gallery owner arriving at Atomik Komix and laying the check on Ruby? Then Batiuk would have another five or six days to tell an actual story. But I understand her delivering the check in person, given what we know about the Postal Service in Westview. This is the story, folks: let’s take this week to set up those starry-eyed fortysomething Fairgood “kids” for a little disappointment and humiliation. Darin has to lean back so hard against Jessica’s pushing that it looks like she’s got him on a handtruck.
Why the hell must Haystack Hair “sidebar” with Darin when the dude was standing right there?!? Check out Jessica’s narrowed-eyed, conspiratorial posture in panel one: with her left hand hooking the crook of dopey Darin’s arm, and her right palm downward, fingers spread in the “keep this on the low” gesture. Always with the dollar signs in her eyes, this Jessica: recall her (short-lived) giddiness over the dough that Darin would make off auctioning those Phil Holt Batom covers. At least Jessica is looking out for their child’s future…unlike Darin, who without so much as consulting Jessica decreed that all that Phil Holt money should go to the Lisa’s Legacy fund (which I’m only hyperlinking here because they finally fixed it so the URL doesn’t redirect and give you a dire-sounding certificate error).
Last week’s running gag had Dinkle and Becky walking around reading signs. This week is shaping up to be a series of people letting themselves into the Atomik Komix office and being greeted with “Hey!” Superb draftsmanship today in panel 1: Kitch Swoon appears to be standing in the doorway of an airplane in flight, and Pete is so excited he’s morphed into Shemp Howard. Our colorist gives even less of a damn, leaving Ms. Swoon with white hair rather than the blonde hair she had when we met her last summer. At least Batiuk hasn’t altered or forgotten her name.
Silly monikers have been Funky Winkerbean‘s stock in trade for nearly a half century, from the title character and his friend “Less More,” to the late Coach “Jack Stropp” and forgotten teacher “Rita Wrighton.” These names were semi-witty, facile wordplay. But I’m at a loss to tease sense out of “Kitch [sic] Swoon.” She’s an artsy type for sure (she’s wearing a beret). Does she specialize in “tacky,” lowbrow, populist art? Does the sight of kitsch make her feel like she’s going to faint?
More like National Sneak Up Behind Your Favorite Guy and Startle the Shit out of Him While He’s Working Day, according to the motion lines alongside Darin’s elongated head.
“This is a Cintiq, a 3D drawing board. I’m actually more comfortable working at my old drawing board, which I bought in junior high school for $25. At the time, it seemed like a lot of money. It’s where I do most of my work.”
Tom Batiuk, February 2016
Good enough for Tom Batiuk, good enough for Darin, who sits at a rather small, inclined drawing table under a vintage “floating” draughtsman’s lamp. Very old school and analog, and it makes me wonder how Mindy is able to do her coloring (remember, she thinks Dr. Martins is a brand of footwear).
Link To Today’s StripAnd my super-sized guest host stint finally comes to a merciful end. What a garbage dump THAT was. There’s a good reason why we typically do two weeks at a time…simple human endurance. Stay tuned as billytheskink takes over for the first brand new story arc of 2020!
Link To Today’s Strip
Uh yeah, Boy Lisa, whatever you say. Another fascinating “inside” look at the comic book craft, as imagined by Pulitzer (nominee) Boy. I can practically smell tomorrow’s Sunday sidewards comic book cover from here. Fortunately for everyone involved this should mark the end of his 2018 output and we’ll finally move on to whatever he cranked out last (sigh) year. If it’s anything like this arc we’re gonna be in for a long, long 2020.