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.
Today’s strip was not available for preview. If this week’s trend holds true, we’ll be seeing another Les-Lisa milestone. The most likely possibilities:
– Les’ European adventure from 1995 – Where he chased Lisa across Europe to propose to her after Susan sabotaged his original audiocassette proposal.
– The post office bombing that injured Lisa in August 1996 – You can read the whole thing right here on SOSF.
– The Halloween 1996 wedding – With Funky Winkerbean as Spider-Man in the DC-Marvel crossover no one asked for!
– The strip that launched TB’s opus – You know the one…
In case my guesses are totally off, and so no one visiting SOSF today leaves empty-handed, here is Lisa’s very first appearance in Funky Winkerbean:
And as an added bonus, I regret to inform you that you will be able to own your very own hard copy of the strip above (and many others) come October with the release of Prelude: Lisa’s Story Begins, available for pre-order NOW on Amazon!
Our old friend the park bench returns from a long absence in today’s strip. A pity that these two are disturbing its peace. Or were disturbing its peace, rather, as Les and Durwood are STILL flipping through old photographs.
You could probably argue that they are flipping through new photographs staged to look like old photographs, as TB redraws all of these flashback panels, but then you’d be debating the semantics of Funky Winkerbean, which (speaking from experience) won’t get you invited to many parties.
Anyways, today’s flashback panels pretty accurately replicate the original strip from August 1993 (The Westview High School class of 1992 1988 had a 5 year reunion? Weird.)
TB has, of course, recapped Les punching out Bull at the five year reunion before, though not with these same panels. It was part of Les’ reminiscence of his time with then-fiancé Lisa after she was injured in the 1996 Westview post office bombing. This was less than three years after the famous punch, by the way. Again, it was a fairly faithful reproduction of the original strip except that Lisa gets a snarkier 3rd panel line in the flashback.
Oh, and if you are wondering what awful thing Bull said about Lisa to deserve being punched… Uh, I’m not sure, honestly. At the most, he was being patronizing to Les while making a mildly unwelcome but factual statement about Lisa. Anyways, Bull was remarkably cool about the whole thing, in an early example of the common Act II trope where Les’ haplessness was played to make others look bad instead of for humor.
More photo album corners and sepia in today’s strip, as Les and Durwood continue to show off their unparalleled procrastination abilities.
So, in a game we are surely going to play all week, did this actually happen this way in Act I? More or less, yes.
The strip from TB’s 2001 rehashing of Lisa’s teen pregnancy is pretty much the same as well, only name-checking Lamaze this time. And let us all be glad that TB is, thus far, not revisiting Lisa the way he did during that 2001 rehash, where he re-drew at least two panels of nearly every single one of strips from the original 1986 story arcs.
While I can’t say this for Act II, I kind of enjoy diving back into the Act I strips, mostly because Les is an idiot and the strip regards him as such. That attitude, sadly, died loooooooong before Lisa did, early in Act II.
I will give Tom Batiuk this, he rarely reuses artwork. Story arcs, dialogue, themes, comic book references, potentially fatal diseases, and whatnot, sure… but not artwork. No, he loves redrawing Act I scenes in his current “realistic” style.
Which we see in today’s strip, where he has redrawn a pair of panels to almost exactly match the strip from May 10, 1985.
Lisa appears less desperate in the 2017 panel than she did in 1985, though one could say she appeared Les desperate in 1985… On the Funky Winkerbean retcon scale this is RETCON NINETY-FIVE. Today’s strip hits RETCON ONE in panel 3, though.
Les, who alleges that he was so in love with Lisa back when this happened, actually asked three other girls to prom before he asked her: Cindy, who Les files a sex discrimination suit against after she turns him down; Allison, who Les asks via world’s worst wingman Crazy Harry; and Tracy, who Les openly insults before asking.
Oh, and he doesn’t appear to know or remember Lisa’s name until after they dance, (in some pre-prom dance in the gym that they are both attending? I can’t quite figure out what is going on.) referring to her as “that girl” in his thoughts before asking her to dance.
Hello loyal SOSFers, noted Betamax enthusiast billytheskink here for another couple weeks at the helm. My goal today is simple, to see if I can get more writing done than Les did over the last couple months. Let’s dive in:
Here’s the link to today’s strip.
Let’s see; 1, 2, 3… 6. I wrote six words! “Once upon a time” is; 1, 2… 4. Four words. Mission accomplished!
Also, major newspapers across the country are now printing and delivering today’s strip, in which an adult son ogles a photograph of his late mother from when she was in high school while telling her widower about how attractive she became after high school. And we all called Pete the creepy one…
For reference, Lisa looked like this for much of Act II:
Durwood, meanwhile, looked like this before his nose went all Pinocchio/Jughead/Doonesbury in the early 2000s:
Separated at birth? Why yes, actually, they were.
Link to today’s strip. I’m not sure, but I think today’s strip is supposed to be a “joke.” You might remember jokes, they’re stories with a humorous climax (as Mr. Spock observed in Star Trek IV–a moment of silence for Mr. Nimoy, please). They’re also things that this strip abandoned because it wanted to say serious things about serious issues. And if this is supposed to be a joke, you can tell that Tom Batiuk has kind of lost his ability to tell them. For one thing, he should have made Cindy’s narwhal horn blonde, so it looks like her hair and not simply a printer’s error. Unless her narwhal horn is supposed to be pure white? Which begs another question–if you don’t know anything about Cindy’s old hairstyle, if you haven’t read this strip obsessively for 40 years, this joke will make no sense. It’s a joke for Tom Batiuk and no one else. If this strip had a lighter tone, something like this could work. There are strips out there that have a regular cast and use story arcs, but manage to remember that what readers want are jokes, or at least sincere attempts at jokes. Those strips could have a well known actor, let’s call him Leonard Nimoy the Movie Actor, fly across the country to watch old videocassettes in preparation for his role as
Lisa Moore Mr. Spock, and the story could work without calling attention to how moronic and unrealistic the situation is, and we could all have a good laugh. Since this strip has made a fetish of being serious, such similar episodes call attention to themselves in ways that Tom Batiuk really resents. And his joke-telling ability has, as noted, atrophied. Who knows, though? Perhaps he’s great at parties and really livens things up. In his day job, though…. Finally, Cindy looks much younger in panel one than she does in panel two. Dear Mr. Batiuk, a 45th anniversary still indicates a pretty good run, and it’s only a couple of years from now. You might consider it.