Yeah, th’ hell with having written for Marvel and DC, and having screenwritten a presumably successful Hollywood sci-fi epic and its sequel, and having been personally sought out to launch a new comics startup: what Pete really yearns for are those good old high school days.
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Wow! Bob Weber of Slylock Fox would be proud of today’s offering.
At first I thought there was something wrong, and they simply hadn’t updated the strips. Because today is a reprint of yesterday’s strip. But upon further inspection there do seem to be tiny, subtle differences between yesterday and today. See if you can find all six!
It took me hours and hours, but I finally found one: The cosmic treadmill that Pete and Darin bought on their second honeymoon is in the background of panel two! How many can you find?
What a fun and interactive game Batiuk has given us. It may not progress the plot, deepen the characters, or be even in the least bit interesting or funny, but at least it fills a Friday shaped hole in our week. One more box checked off as we all coast inevitably to an obscure retirement, and an unlauded death.
Today’s strip shows two new characters to the strip talking over…
Oh, it’s Summer, with her first dialogue since 2015! And she’s talking to Cayla, and of course, they’re talking about Les, since that’s the only thing these two are ever shown doing anymore.
As it turns out, this is one of Batiuk’s annoying introductions. I suppose it’s no spoiler to reveal that this week’s going to be about Les at a book signing, which also means that today’s strip is a useless one to introduce the subject. He could have easily introduced this sequence by actually starting with Les at his book signing, but that would mean that he couldn’t repeat the premise and effectively skip a day.
But I guess the larger point that this strip makes is that it establishes that Les’s signing is taking place at the Columbus Museum of Art for some damn reason. This only reminds me of how Batiuk has insisted that true art such as his belongs in a museum, rather than being in a more commercial venue. We can only hope that’s this is the last time he flogs that particular conceit in this sequence.
But hey! Marvel at Batiuk remembering that Summer exists and giving her a line. It might be Fall, 2019 before we see this again! Admire her awkwardly angled dorm mirror and try not to think too hard about what exactly that odd bottle of I-don’t-know-what is on her dresser, which Burchett decided to include for some reason.
Every time a character says something exceptionally stupid–and Mason here is a shining example–I have to remind myself that, despite Tom Batiuk’s repeated assertions, this strip has nothing to do with the real world. There’s no quarter-inch between there and here.
What this strip is, is a Wish Fulfillment World. This world is how Tom Batiuk believes the world should work. Here, the highest form of art, and the most valuable commodity, is the comic book. Second most valuable is the comic book’s consort, the movie based on a comic book. Here, Mason’s idiocy makes perfect sense.
Now, there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with a Wish Fulfillment World. Some of them can be quite entertaining. At the risk of ticking people off, I’d put JRR Tolkien’s works in this category. But Tolkien made sure that his world was consistent, and that there were rules that governed his world, and those rules were not to be ignored or bypassed for convenience. Consistency is PRIMARY if you’re going to go down this path. Because of you ignore consistency, you end up with Funky Crankshaft Island.
To wit: Here, the greatest comic book of them all, Starbuck Jones, is both extraordinary evocative to its hordes of fans, who treasure every moment it gave them, and yet it sold so poorly that it put its creators out of business. Here, a peck on the cheek drives the internet into a frenzy, and drives a young actress toward suicide. Here, said actress is simultaneously a naif making her first film and a hot property that can boost a film’s stature into white heat. Here, an actor whose main credit is “Dino Deer” lives like royalty, bathed in luxury. Here, a loathsome prick can make his mark on the entire world by writing about his dead wife, yet he toils in obscurity in a small Ohio town. I could go on; there are thousands of such…Funky Crankshaft Island rides.
And movies are an art form, not a commercial product.
Now don’t get me wrong–movies can be art, and as such can be very enlightening. I have thoroughly enjoyed every Ingmar Bergman movie I’ve ever seen. And most of those made by David Lynch. But every movie ever made by a film studio has one primary goal: to make money. To pretend otherwise is to ignore the real world.
Which this strip does splendidly.
PS: I’d agree that most awards are stupid and entirely ignorable. Did you know that Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Cary Grant never won Oscars? I’m thinking, though, that Pulitzer nomination letter must really burn right now.
SonofSFDavidO here and… aw, shit, this again!? Today’s strip kicks off yet another Batom Comic’s storied history/imagined timeline/dunno what I’m the hell I’m even looking at arc.
Aside from realizing we’re in for the literary equivalent of a week-long root canal, I’m scratching my head over what Pete’s goddamn complaint is. They’re putting “more things” into the new movie? Boo hoo! Unless it’s going to be an Andy Warholesque film that shows StarBucks Jones sleeping for 8 straight hours then yeah, scripts change. I know this complaint is just to shoehorn in a sepia mess but still, complaining about doing the job you’re getting paid for is pretty lame, Mr. Hollywood.
TFH, you are a tough act to follow, I stand in line… and apparently it is my turn. Hello folks, billytheskink here to do my level best as I take you through Christmas. Remember, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, no matter what Funky Winkerbean has in store for us.
The world’s gone grayscale in today’s strip. What could this mean?
Tonal shift? Dream sequence? Reference to comic book or film that no one under the age of 83 remembers? That the syndicate colorist up and quit, their conscience finally getting the best of them? So many possibilities, but we will probably never know the true story.
Meanwhile, things are happening:
– Mason has psychoanalyzed the internet.
– Cindy thinks a movie set is the perfect place to break out her little black dress.
– The tablet that Mr. Director was thrusting at Mason last week has morphed into a laptop.
– The Starbuck Jones crew has made sure to properly light today’s trio as they crowd around their Pineapple Abacaxibook.
– We learn that Marianne owns a 1991 Mercury Capri convertible.
December 10, 2016 at 6:04 am
Well, I thought it before, but this makes it abundantly clear. Marianne, the beautiful, successful and deeply desired actress was intentionally drawn to look like Summer Moore. Put a hoodie on her and no one would be able to tell the difference.
Your wish has been granted! Anyone lucky enough to have not read FW since late January, when we last saw Summer, would look at yesterday’s and today’s strip and suppose that dark haired gal to be Summer Moore (and “Mom” to be Cayla, having at last turned completely Caucasian).
Batiuk attempts another punny headline, either unaware of or ignoring the more common usage of the slang term “mooning.” Unless we’re to believe that it’s Summer, I mean, Ms. Winters, who misunderstands the context and thinks she’s been accused of flashing her ass at Mason.