Today’s strip was shot in Kodachrome… despite being set even further back in time than this past week’s sepia-toned historical revision. Really sets the mood for imagined fiery death, doesn’t it?
You would (not) be surprised at how often TB goes to the well for Holly’s Act I flaming baton trick. It wouldn’t shock me if it has appeared as a gag in Act III more often than it ever actually did in Act I. But hey, after this past week, I’ll take some Sunday Funky-Holly filler, even if it involves flaming batons.
And with that, I cede the podium to Comic Book Harriet, a master of both Batiukverse history and the entertaining anecdote. I expect we will enjoy a good bit of both from her in the coming weeks.
Yup. Batiuk doesn’t even have the decency to end this on a Sunday Strip. And has instead given us six panels of pointless nonsense. It’s like ending a contentious divorce arbitration with a pie in the face.
So let’s ignore it, and move on down memory lane.
Just a reminder, as we continue the saga of Jefferson Jacks.
I already have a retraction to print!
Cuban League professional baseball was definitely a thing. Up through the abolition of professional sports in Cuba in 1961. Since it was played in the winter, American players, black and white, often participated. It was one of the first baseball leagues to be completely integrated. There were usually four or five teams, including, Almendares Alacranes ‘Scorpions’, Petroleros de Cienfuegos ‘Oilers’, Habana Leones ‘Red Lions‘, Tigres de Marianao ‘Tigers‘, and the Havana Sugar Kings.
I wasn’t able to find any evidence that Fidel Castro and Che Guevara paid the Havana Reds to play against them in a sugar cane field in the early 50’s though. Maybe I was searching the wrong sources.
Following the Jefferson vs the communists story, we next see Jefferson Jacks in June 2010. Crankshaft and various other former Toledo Mud Hens are invited to play an exhibition game at a Mud Hens reunion.
Cute right? Or Schmaltzy? Depends on how jaded you’re feeling or how manipulative vs genuine you feel the writer’s intentions were. While it seems Jacks decided to help Bushka around the bases after seeing how frail his old tormenter had become, a few months later, in August 2010, we’re given a little more depth into their détente.
I’ll just re-repeat my comment from the last two threads: “Cayla’s whole presence in this arc seems to be adding up to, ‘Yeah kids, but whaddaya gonna do, right?’” (This time with better punctuation.)
Cayla says, earlier this week, “Frankly, I don’t know how we’re going to change things.” She says this to two young kids who had baited a confrontation with a woman they didn’t know because they didn’t like how they were treated different for looking different.
And I just want to slap Cayla.
Because there are dozens of avenues to change. Some less contentious than others.
And one of those roads is the road of forgiveness. Not silent forgiveness, but an open hand presented. Offering a human connection to someone on ‘the other side’ and hoping that the relationship can be the key that releases them from their cage of prejudice.
It’s a more contentious road than you’d think. There are so many who see the weight of ignorance and hate as a burden that people deserve to be crushed by, because they willingly chose to carry that hate. They want to shut those spiteful people away in the dark prison of their own malice, and throw away the key. Because hateful people have not earned our efforts. Because they have not yet received back the pain they’ve inflicted.
And to withhold forgiveness is their right. No one should force the wronged to reach out.
But I feel that pure, healing change comes from batting away the fingers that pry into scars and want to hold open wounds. The past is prologue, but it is also a mirage we can’t visit, and revenge is an illusion because it destroys to pay for something already gone. What matters is now, and the future, and what will make things better there, whether it be punishment or mercy.
Sometimes change can’t be so kind. But when we can, isn’t better to convince people that the change we want makes things better for everyone? To convince people that the world you’d like to see has a place for them too?
And someone at their back to protect them, who will help push them home.
I mean, sure, why not? Why not, apropos of nothing, have a Atomik Komix cover on a random Sunday. No lead in. No follow up (spoiler warning.) Just a one-off cover.
I can’t help but wonder if this was supposed to be part of an Atomik Komix storyline that Batiuk cancelled or moved in order to squeeze in some of the pandemic arcs we’ve gotten this year. He first teased these covers more than two years ago, back in April 2019.
“Here’s a rather deep dive into the pipeline for a premature peek at a preliminary sketch for a Rip Tide comic book cover done by Bob Wiacek. Let me caution that this will eventually appear in Funky, but it’s going to be awhile.”
“I know I already showed these cover sketches once, but the actual cover/Sunday kept getting pushed back further and further on the schedule. It’s a beautiful Bob Wiacek cover, and I wanted to reconnect with what led up to it as the actual piece is about to see print on Sunday October 24th.”
October 12, 2021
So, after putting off this commissioned cover for months, all we get from it is a fairly obtuse and hard to spot Transformers joke. Transformers, an IP that peaked around 2010, and has been gradually on the way down ever since. Bumblebee Tuna is a name brand, so if used, he might have been sued by a fishmonger. And the ‘Octopus Prime’ joke is going to go over people’s heads because the villain name is in a bland looking text box, and the aquatic robot is a uniform grey. Make him look like this, then there would be no mistake!
As one of the Transformer collecting masses of Hasbro devotees, I can inform you that we have yet to see a Transformer with an octopus alternative mode. But we’ve had our share of cephalopods. Many of were even released under multiple colors and names.
Last week faithful and valued commenters William Thompson and Maxine of Arc got on the subject of church mice, specifically questioning why they would be quiet or poor. I promised them an explanation, so today here it is.
Why are church mice quiet?
Church mice are quiet because in the 20th century two idioms got smashed together. “Quiet as a mouse.” Which has been around since the 16th century, and “Poor/hungry as a church mouse.” which has been around since the 17th century.
The quietness of rodents is pretty self explanatory. But why are church mice poorer and hungrier than other mice?
For any of you who didn’t have to sit through three years of confirmation or multiple years of religious history in college, transubstantiation is the Catholic belief that communion bread and wine become, in reality, the actual body and blood of Christ. Not a remembrance or a symbol or even just inhabited by the the spirit or essence of the body, (Lutheran consubstantiation.) The substance has been transformed into actual Godflesh.
So Catholics take a lot of care that any excess communion bread left over after a Mass is protected; and the place they put the extra, either a tabernacle or an ambry, often has kneeling rails for private devotions or eucharistic adoration.
Even before transubstantiation became a set idea, early Christians didn’t want little mice gnawing on communion wafers.
“Let all take care that no unbaptized person taste of the Eucharist nor a mouse or other animal, and that none of it at all fall and be lost. For it is the Body of Christ to be eaten by them that believe and not to be thought of lightly.”(Hippolytus, Apostolic Tradition III:32:2 235 AD.)
But what would happen if a mouse DID eat communion bread? Medieval theologians were fascinated with the idea, and used the question ‘Quid Mus Sumit?‘ ‘What does the mouse eat?’ as a thought experiment to explore the idea of The Eucharist. What is it? What does it do? What would it do to someone who ate it without knowing what it was? At what point does it stop being body and blood?
“Even though a mouse or a dog were to eat the consecrated host, the substance of Christ’s body would not cease to be under the species, so long as those species remain, and that is, so long as the substance of bread would have remained; just as if it were to be cast into the mire. Nor does this turn to any indignity regarding Christ’s body, since He willed to be crucified by sinners without detracting from His dignity; especially since the mouse or dog does not touch Christ’s body in its proper species, but only as to its sacramental species. Some, however, have said that Christ’s body would cease to be there, directly it were touched by a mouse or a dog; but this again detracts from the truth of the sacrament, as stated above. None the less it must not be said that the irrational animal eats the body of Christ sacramentally; since it is incapable of using it as a sacrament. Hence it eats Christ’s body “accidentally,” and not sacramentally, just as if anyone not knowing a host to be consecrated were to consume it. And since no genus is divided by an accidental difference, therefore this manner of eating Christ’s body is not set down as a third way besides sacramental and spiritual eating.”
Of course all this Catholic rodent obsession was eventually used by Protestants during the Reformation as a big old ‘gotcha’ when lambasting Catholic ‘idolatry’ of the communion. Some of it got downright vicious and definitely disingenuous. And it’s from about this time that ‘hungry as a church mouse’ became an idiom.
So there you have it. Church mice are poor because they can’t get any communion bread, and we joke about it because of leftover anti-Catholic sentiment.
Many apologies to anyone who came to this blog today expecting comics criticism instead of a theological deep dive, but I wanted to end my shift talking about something I actually find compelling, rather than dance the Dinklepolka.
It’s been an interesting couple weeks. I mean in terms of the straws I grasped at to try and find something to say. Those straws were kinda fun to braid together. The strip was boring as mud. Actually, I take that back. Mud is much more interesting. I think I’ll research that next.
Join me again in a couple months as I regale you all about INTERESTING MUD. For example. Did you know all baseballs used in MLB are rubbed with special mud harvested, prepped, and packaged by a single man from New Jersey who gathers it in a secret location every year along the Delaware River?
Until next time then. TF Hackett is taking over tomorrow. Good luck good sir. You have my sympathies.
To celebrate the holiday of love and romance, Batiuk has graced us with a touching strip of an ommetaphobic man who has completely lost his mind after days of being forced to self-apply eye drops.
Remember this is a guy who had to be physically restrained a month ago by multiple people to have drops put in.
That explains his increasingly erratic behavior since the surgery. And the slow decline of his joy since Monday. Every single day, hour after hour, forced to pry his squinting eyes open with trembling fingers. Forced to carefully drip chemicals into the waiting lids, staring up at the nozzle of the dropper, the fear and nausea triggering a flight or fight response that he can’t let his body obey.
Our drip torture is about to end though. As I’ve peeked into the future and it seems the cataract saga is finally drawing to a close. At least, I hope it’s ending. I suppose we could be up for a repeat in a month, when Funky goes in to have his other eye done. I wouldn’t put that past this strip.
So relax, everyone, tomorrow is a brand new day! A day filled with Dinkle.