This year’s Lisa’s Legacy event is taking place rather early. When the Act III curtain rose twelve years ago, Bull Bushka presided over the Lisa’s Legacy Walk while Les and Summer took part in the Making Strides walk in Central Park. Let’s recap events of the years since.
2008: Cory steals the cigar box containing over a grand in registration fees; Funky writes a check to keep his delinquent son out of trouble.
2009: Cayla and Keisha get roped in to volunteering; Cayla’s reward is to get schooled by Les on exactly how Lisa made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
2010: Even ten years ago, Funky was complaining of his physical ailments.
2011: It rains.
2012: Instead of a week-long arc, the Run occupies a Sunday strip in fiery autumn hues.
2013: This time Funky needs to be attended to by an EMT.
2014: The 15th annual LLR is noteworthy for the black, not primarily pink, tee shirts worn by the participants, and the black comic border and muted palette; not TB’s usual fall riot o’ color.
The Run wasn’t featured in 2015, and again was a Sunday-only in 2016. The Mentor (Ohio) Rotary took over the event in 2017, in order to allow Les more time for his book tour.
In 2018 and 2019, The Run was apparently pre-empted by prestige arcs: Wally and Adeela and the Death of Bull, respectively. This year’s real-life event doesn’t appear to be happening, no doubt on account of Covid.
Hope everyone’s enjoying a nice Labor Day Weekend!
So Les is back in Westview for the Lisa’s Legacy Run. And Mason, Cindy, and Marianne surprise him by showing up. And “Cindy is shooting footage of us running the race today…” For use in the movie? Will Marianne and Mason be running in character as Lisa and Les? Cindy’s a cinematographer now? Wouldn’t they need permission to shoot? And two movie stars and a former network news anchor are just hanging out, not attracting attention from anyone beside Les. Such disorienting plot “developments” have been Funky Winkerbean‘s stock in trade since mid-Act II. Let’s talk instead about the deteriorating draftsmanship in this comic strip.
The only modification I’ve made to this panel was to remove the dialogue balloons, or “word zeppelins,” in order to allow us to better appreciate this Mount Rushmore of melting faces. Les suffers the least, as his goatee in profile always looks like shit. Mason sports an even goofier than usual expression. Cindy is droopy-eyed, and Marianne’s head is on a stalk.
Tom Batiuk writes and “inks” FW, but for the last two years the strips have been penciled by Batiuk’s ol’ Kent State pal Chuck Ayers. Ayers has partnered with TB in this way since the mid 1990’s, in addition to drawing Crankshaft for 30 years. In March 2017 Ayers gave up both jobs to pursue other interests, but returned following the tenure of Rick Burchett, who turned out some of the most horrendous, slapdash, off-model draughtsmanship since another noted comics artist, John Byrne, was at the drawing board.
Ayer’s Crankshaft strips always seemed to me to be much better and more naturally drawn than Funky Winkerbean. And the aforementioned Messrs. Burchett and Byrne were renowned, more-than-capable comic book artists. I’m bringing all this up because I wonder if a requirement of working as Tom Batiuk’s penciller is having to “dumb down” one’s ability closer to Batiuk’s level. In this way, the guy who got laughed out of New York by Marvel and DC gets to hire real artists, and then
pin clip their wings.
It’s back to the WABAC machine in today’s strip. No, I’m not talking about the flashback to “five years ago…”, I’m talking about Bull’s funeral, which has itself moved two-and-a-half years backward in time in order to accommodate a five years ago flashback featuring players Bull last coached in the spring of 2012. Well, at least we are getting something that is actually about Bull in this one… that’s so damning with faint praise that it could keep an ocean at bay. (“Billy was a special blogger”, they said at his funeral.)
Also, I tagged both Keisha and Linda in this, because I’m not sure which one of them is standing next to Summer in panel 3.
Linda takes a break from baking a meatloaf? a potato grown under the power lines? you know, let’s go with a small boulder in today’s strip to… call Bull on his cell phone. Is… is that really what is happening here? What the everwhating what?!
If Linda thought Bull was inside the house, why did she not walk 17 feet to try to find him instead of calling him on the telephone? If she knew he was out, where did she think he was and who did she think he was with (Buck?)? Was she really letting him go out on his own? This is her behavior as a caregiver? Even murderers after life insurance money would say she’s trying too hard.
While Bull didn’t survive his trip off Nobottom Road, his cell phone sure did. Much as how folks in our universe wonder why airplanes aren’t made out of the material used to make black boxes, one would think there are folks in the Batiukverse wondering why they don’t make cars out of the material used to make cell phones…
Hey, so we get a microcosm of this whole story arc in today’s strip, jumping back an hour prior to the wreck that we’ve already seen… much as TB has already spoiled how this important story arc ends.
The worst thing, though, is that poor, lonesome, neglected potted plant 8-and-a-half feet up on top of the kitchen cabinets… or maybe its that Linda’s oh-so-clever hiding place for the car keys was the top of the unlocked junk drawer? The dadgum JUNK DRAWER, Linda?! The place EVERY sentient being knows that EVERY key-sized thing winds up in at one time or another? Were you even trying?
Hello folks, I’m billytheskink… but you don’t care about that. You’re here for the grisly details about the award-winning (pending) suicide of one Bull Bushka. So here you are: Today’s strip in all its g(l)ory!
Here comes the state police to 10-50 PI (code for accident/personal injury) the smoldering remains of Bull’s subcompact. This’ll undoubtedly take all week, so pack some snacks. Even so, one day in and it’s better paced than Linda and the letter at least. High praise, I know.
Also, big kudos to @tauycreek on Twitter, who pointed out Bull’s TB’s inspiration for this vehicular mayhem…
Yep, back in the summer of 1998, an intoxicated Wally drove himself and Becky right through a guardrail and off a ledge. Not sure why those two only lost Lefty’s arm and Bull lost his life, but that’s the Batiukverse for ya.
Link to today’s strip.
I was kind of hoping (as I’m sure most of you were) that Sunday’s Dinkle was a one-off, but all hopes come to Funky Winkerbean to die. I’d be happy to have a week of John and Harry talking about an event that they’ve never been to, but when the chance to shovel in Dinkle rears its ugly head, Batiuk jumps in with both feet.
I hate characters like Les and Darrin, but it’s Dinkle that really pushes the loathing lever to FULL. Both Les and Darrin are obnoxious, untalented dullards who whine when the universe rewards them richly, but neither one is treated like a sage wise oracle the way Dinkle is. And he is utterly undeserving of such worship, but he’s based on a beloved teacher of Batiuk so he gets lionized.
Gah. I say Gah again, sir.
The folks who bring you SoSF rely on Grandpa Google too: mainly to confirm a suspicion that ol’ TB has once again drawn inspiration from his tiny Ohio Universe. The black squirrel on the poster in panel 5 is another tipoff that we’re at Kent State. But KSU’s “Cultural Café” IRL isn’t a permanent dining facility: it’s a monthly series of events “that seeks to educate and familiarize [students, faculty and staff] about the home countries of our international students.” There’s one this Tuesday. With the exception of Adeela and possibly that swarthy guy with the glasses in panel 1, this “café” doesn’t seem any more or less “cultural” than any other spot on campus. But wait! Who’s the gal with the light blue hijab wrapped around her elongated head? Well, since TB teased it in his blog (and Gerald Plourde reminded us in a comment yesterday) it’s not really spoiling the surprise to tell you it’s Wally and Becky’s adopted daughter Rana, who, like Wally, has been missing in action for years.
Veterans’ Day greetings to our readers, and respect and gratitude to our vets. Tune in tomorrow when newly minted guest author SpacemanSpiff85 takes over the helm!
So sorry for the late post today. Finally went to go see Infinity War, which despite juggling dozens of characters and plotlines, and having plotholes big enough to drive a Hulk truck through, was infinitely better than this because the emotions of individual characters were both believable and dynamic.
This is going for dynamic, since it can’t manage believable, but it falls right on its face at the climax. The worst comic character name since Matter Eater Lad.
My cat sometimes presents me with an inedible pulp on the rug…and it usually takes hours of elbow work to get the stink out.