Tag Archives: photo album corners

Quote Unquote

Link to today’s strip.

So, question for the group:  Why the quotes around “save” in panel one?  Let’s not beat around the bush, here…had this been a young John, or Pete, we’d be told how these comics were saved, no quotes, from destruction.  Chester, however, has his actions quoted, implying that they weren’t saved at all.  But we see him carefully putting them away in boxes.

Again, I’m not condoning petty thievery, but this seems remarkably harmless.  I’m shocked that Batiuk didn’t have Chester’s actions bankrupt Danford’s store.

It’s exactly what a commentor pointed out here a couple of weeks ago–all of Tom Batiuk’s good characters are impossibly good, and all of his bad characters are impossibly bad, so even though they do the same things, those things must be judged “good” or “bad” on the actor, and not the act.   Chester could save orphans from a burning building, and we’d be told how “naturally, after Chester ‘saved’ the orphans…” he was still a bad guy.

I don’t know what this is called, but “writing” it ain’t.

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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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Repeating the Repetition

Link to today’s strip.

Look, it’s bad enough that Tom Batiuk said “back in the day” two days in a row, but now he’s repeating himself twice in the same strip!  It makes me want to tear the covers off!  Tear the covers off, I say!  That’s right, I want to tear the covers off!  What do we want?

COVERS

That’s right, and why do we want them?

TO TEAR THEM

Tear them where?

OFF

I can’t hear you!

OFF

That’s right!  Tear the covers off!

And now we know what happened to Cody.  He invented a time machine and went back to a simpler, less stressful, more enjoyable time.  You might say he went “back in the day.”  Let’s hope that as he gets older, he remembers to drive fast enough to hit and kill a teenage Les Moore, who was crossing against the light.

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Secret Origins: Chester the Chiseler!

Link to today’s strip.

“Once, back in the day, mild-mannered Blonde Bernie Silver, secretly known as Chester the Chiseler, was carefully sweeping the floor.  Suddenly–!

So, I suppose we’re about to find out why Chester’s such a terrible, terrible person.  Well, so far, he’s actually working at an honest job, which is better than 90% of the cast here, so…ball one, in favor of Chester.

I’m really starting to hate Tom Batiuk’s endless self-promotion, which seems to be getting worse and worse, to the point where it’s getting nauseating–case in point, Bernie’s Chester’s Batom Comics t-shirt.  Completely unneeded, except as a “look at me!” moment.  Good grief, man, try entertaining someone other than yourself for a change.

The art in panel one is pretty dismal, with what look like two of the dreariest Muppets ever trying to deflate themselves.  I do like the statue of Robin in the back, reaching for Superman’s crotch, though I have to wonder–does Batman know about this?!

I suppose he does…after all, he’s standing right there, moaning about “back in the day…”

Speaking of which, anyone remember this?

In other words, he was lying through his teeth.  Yet another wonderful character to root for!

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The Men Who Swear At Goats

Today’s strip is what passes for levity in Funky Winkerbean these days, I guess. Buck was apparently disturbed by a commonly-milked farm animal when he really should have been disturbed by the complete lack of almost everything at this football game. There appears to be no crowd, no officials, almost no players (look at that empty bench behind Stropp), and apparently no one else but Bull around to wrangle a loose mascot. Was Westview’s football stadium nicknamed “Uncanny Valley”?

Oh, and did you know that the Scapegoat mascot had a name back in Act I? It’s Billy, much to my chagrin… He once appeared on a book cover with Erma Bombeck’s name.

You know you've got trouble when you have an animal sacrifice at every pep rally

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Doomsday, January 30

Today’s strip was not available for preview, but it is easy to speculate on what it will involve based on yesterday’s “hat”-focused anti-humor. Bull will be there, Buck will be there, and a retcon may well show up too…

Bull’s football career has been one of the most heavily-retconned aspects of this strip in recent years, with much of this re-written continuity in the service of the super-serious CTE story arc. Bull went from simply being contacted by a St. Louis Football Cardinals scout before he hurt his knee to actually trying out for the team (presumably during the 1982 strike) after suffering a major knee injury in college. The recently and incessantly-discussed goal line officiating screw up game was originally said to have been Coach Stropp’s final game against Big Walnut Tech, not Bull’s. This goal line play situation’s only actual roots in Act I are a 1980 “Casey At The Bat” parody arc called “Westview At The Goal” (much thanks to SOSFer Don for pointing this out a few weeks back) which was nobody’s final game against Big Walnut Tech. Heck, even the backward-facing emu seen on Bull’s college helmet in yesterday’s strip was originally forward-facing.

Frankly, I wouldn’t comment that much on these retcons if they weren’t being used to try to punch up the maudlin nature of a story that doesn’t need any re-written history to be maudlin. Are we supposed to take everything in this strip seriously except its continuity? Please.

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Riddell Me This

Happy Monday SOSFers (well, happy until you read today’s strip…), billytheskink here to take us all into February. February is typically Funky Winkerbean‘s best month, by the way, as no month sees fewer FW strips published… Much thanks to Charles, who endured the last two weeks stalking the halls of Westview High School to set our daily snark tone. Your efforts are much appreciated.

Speaking of two weeks… Two weeks back, when TFH handed the reigns over to Charles, he implored us all to wear a helmet. Alas, that wouldn’t have done us any good. Not in this universe.

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