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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
“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.”
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?
I want to thank everyone in the comments yesterday for completely ruining what I was going to post today. I was going to go on and on about how Dinkle has learned all about online fundraising multiple times over the past few years, and pull up the strips to prove it. But our crack commenters Billy the Skink and Banana Jr. already discussed it in depth. Jerks.
I mean, what am I supposed to talk about today? The fact that Dinkle couldn’t wait to call his wife over his viral cat video epiphany, and is postponing practice to do it? The fact that he apparently called his wife on a Playstation Vita? The fact that Lillian is now carrying the pineapple laptop around one handed, and it made me question if she’s been doing that all week?
While going mad trying to scrape together something passing for an amusing thought, my eyes were drawn to the wedding rings Dinkle and Harriet are wearing. It’s an interesting detail to include when the art so often seems quarter-assed. Scrolling through the strips this arc, the ring is inconsistent. It showed up Sunday, but the art on the Sunday strips is always higher effort. It showed up on Monday April, 12. But after that, it was nowhere to be seen, even when the hands were in focus.
And scrolling through archives, there are more disappearing wedding rings than last call at a dive bar. Wedding rings tend to appear when the person’s marriage is either being discussed, or the spouse is in the strip, and be absent otherwise. It’s like the rings exist in some kind of phantom zone and magically phase into being when contacted with an unseen magical matrimonial energy field.
This is best exemplified from Funky’s AA exercise rant from last month. Remembering his wife causes Funky to magically manifest his wedding ring mid-speech.
I don’t even know what I’m trying to say with this, just something weird I noticed.
Even weirder, did you know that Lillian magically manifested a ring yesterday in service of a crappy joke?
This has been your daily dose of Nitpicking News! Finding something to say about nothing since 2010.
Join us tomorrow as we veer off on oblique tangents to keep from going mad with boredom and frustration, and watch with baited breath as we wait to see if the downvote fairy will visit again tonight and slip us all a little present under our comments while we sleep.
Many many apologies for the late post tonight. I was working late on the farm, trying to get a field of mown hay chopped before forecasted rain. I was out there till 10, well after dark.
As I was driving the tractor back and forth across the field stubble, watching the windrows emerge from the inky black and enter the pool of tractor light. As I jogged from machine to machine in the chilly night air, a golden Cheshire moon sinking into the horizon, the Big Dipper above me at the very apex of the sky…I had a lot of time to think over this week. And I came to one conclusion.
It is dumber than dumb that dumb Tom thought that we all were too dumb to remember the dumb name of the dumb crowdfunding site, so he had to list it by it’s dumb name three dumb days in a row, and then he expects that we’re all smart enough to remember that dumb Dinkle wears a dumb medal under his dumb shirt because he showed us a month ago.
At this point Lillian is a popular mystery author, with a writing career 110% more successful, meaningful, and productive than Les Moore’s. Due the self-promoting nature of her job, she is probably more tech savvy and better equipped to navigate a crowdfunding site, than say…literally anyone I know over the age of 75.
But I don’t know if I would trust her cinematography and video editing skills.
I’m picturing a blurry image, in portrait mode. Seven elderly women in a poorly lit choir loft. The video begins halfway through the first words of the song. The audio is muffled by Lillian’s finger over the mic, as the whitebread midwestern ladies mumble their way through ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’.
The phone is obviously trembling in Lillian’s weak hands, jarring the autofocus every few seconds. Blurry, then sharp, then blurry; background then foreground. She awkwardly zooms in and out from each choir member, and when the camera zooms, the shaking is magnified, so each woman looks like she’s having her own personal earthquake. Lillian’s arms dip in exhaustion, abruptly cutting the entire choir off at the head, before she corrects herself.
Before the song even ends, she tries to shut the phone off, but fails. The last minute of the video, (Which Lillian uploads in its entirety, unsure of how to edit.) is the interior of her purse in the dark. You can distantly hear the muffled voices of the choir members gossiping viciously about the parson’s granddaughter. Six months along they say. With twins. She’s even moved in with the cad, and you know that he smokes in the house. And they say the divorce from her first husband isn’t even finalized.
“It makes you wonder…” Minty Pete says, “I mean, I’ve seen it on Maury once.”
Banana Jr. 6000 December 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm
…The joke is so mild and so botched, and the reaction is so ridiculously oversold, that the strip should be funny for how misguided it is.
Does anyone else think that Darin in the last panel looks like he was drawn by MAD’s Maddest Artist, Don Martin?
Tom Batiuk has frequently expressed, in his work and in interviews, that even though we call them “comics,” they don’t necessarily have to be “funny.” “I don’t see why a comic strip can’t carry the weight of substantial ideas,” he once said. But even a storyteller like Batiuk must cleanse the palate with the occasional standalone gag, or even a week’s worth of them. Everything about Pete’s “holiday joke” is lame, and the smugness with which he delivers it is just off the charts. Of course, the response is a hearty HA! HA! HA! from all but one of the Atomik staff. At first, it looked to me as if Chester was the one admonishing Pete to “stick to writing drama,” which would make sense as he’s Pete’s boss. Naturally, as his fiancé, Mindy must come to Pete’s defense. But nobody knows better that his real soulmate, Darin, that flighty, distractible Pete needs help with focus. And anyway, his jokes suck.
Something that does not suck is the way Beckoning Chasm goes to work on Funky Winkerbean with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch, and his authoring stint begins with Monday’s comic. Stay safe and well and happy, people. –TFH
As silly and lame as this story has been, I do like the second panel, where Pete’s girlfriend (fiancee?) is genuinely worried he’s not going to ask her to attend the red carpet premiere with him. Because of course she’s concerned he’d ask Darrin instead of her. I still think at least part of the reason she exists in this strip is because Batiuk finally realized how weird it looked having Pete and Darrin take trips together to buy dollies, and Darrin spending all of his time with Pete when his wife was staying in California for some unknown reason. I do not understand Pete’s expression in the last panel. Is it smugness, like “I’m a heck of a guy, inviting my girlfriend on a trip for two someone else is paying for”? Or is he just closing his eyes and imagining fighting Zeton warriors?