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.
Take a gander at today’s strip. Truly fowl, it swan of the worst yet. Remarkably, it manages to come across more dated than the similarly-themed 43 year-old strip seen below:
Dinkle can’t write despite making an honest(ly awful) effort, Les couldn’t-can’t-won’t write unless it is about someone who died a decade prior, the late Livinia wouldn’t write… I’m starting to see a pattern here.
Claude Barlow’s “tectonic scale” could probably be applied to today’s strip, and this week in general, which feels like it has been going on for eons.
What really throws me in these Dinkle-Barlow strips is that they come across simply as vehicles to deliver TB’s puns. That concept struggles when Dinkle is a character who otherwise isn’t at all disposed to being a mirthful pun-maker. It struggles further when Barlow, as an unseen character, seems to slide from being an unwitting pun set up to an unwitting pun-maker to a “humorously” terrible composer just to suit Dinkle’s TB’s mood. I get that the Barlow shtick was supposed to add to Dinkle’s over-the-top nature, and that kid of worked back in Acts I and II when he was an over-the-top character. Now, though, he’s a character that used to be over-the-top, like a guy who still wants his nickname to be “Animal” even though the only time he really got crazy was at a couple of parties in college. Now, this is just listless and out of whatever character Dinkle has remaining.
Today’s strip was, again, not available for preview.
So, let’s look back at the 1983 introduction of the goat that so disturbed Buck back in the day, Billy the Scapegoat. Or was his name actually Billy? The answer may surprise you… but probably won’t interest you.
First, the whole thing was Dinkle’s idea, including the name “Billy”. Unfortunately for the Westview football team, the goat did not possess divine power.
“Billy” was under the impression that Westview had the only terrible high school football team in existence. Though this might explain why he ran onto the field hitting players.
He also didn’t care for the uninspired name Dinkle gave him, preferring his own uninspired name. No ever called him Paul, of course, because he couldn’t talk.
While called a “scapegoat”, Billy-Paul was more like an oracle, his heavy-lidded ennui a prophesy of things to come for this strip.
Happy Monday SOSFers (well, happy until you read today’s strip…), billytheskink here to take us all into February. February is typically Funky Winkerbean‘s best month, by the way, as no month sees fewer FW strips published… Much thanks to Charles, who endured the last two weeks stalking the halls of Westview High School to set our daily snark tone. Your efforts are much appreciated.
Speaking of two weeks… Two weeks back, when TFH handed the reigns over to Charles, he implored us all to wear a helmet. Alas, that wouldn’t have done us any good. Not in this universe.
Oh no, Les is back in today’s strip. And along with ol’ smirk n’ shirk we get three would-be nominees for This Week In Milford’s pantheon of hair. Let’s see… we’ve got a phone camera operator sporting a Dave Coulier mullet, a proud Lisa book-buyer wearing the Luke Skywalker, and someone so enthralled with the many justifications for John Darling’s murder in Fallen Star that they are morphing into Albert Einstein. Fantastic.
Well, that took my mind off of yet another strip where Les shows contempt for the people who want to give him money for his work, for a few minutes at least.
Thanks, SOSFers, for putting up with me and TB (mostly TB… I hope) for another two weeks. The unenviable task of covering a crazed bald man palming two imaginary grapefruits (and whatever else next week brings) falls to someone significantly more well-known to the average comic strip reader than Phil the Forecaster, our own Comic Book Harriet. Good luck.