Tag Archives: Summer

Coffin Corner Kick-ed The Bucket

Fortunately, today’s strip stays in one time line. It also quotes one of Bob Dylan’s best-reviewed songs. Well, that’s two positives to the… end-ish? of this very maudlin special story arc. FYI: A donation has been made to the Boston University CTE center, presumably so readers will remember what this story arc was about last month.

So was Bull a member of the local Dylanist congregation or is that the only house of worship in Westview anymore? Both?

And with that, I am relieved… both to be done with my posting stint and, come tomorrow, by the incomparable Spacemanspiff85.

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Memories… Summer good, Summer not

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.

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Spring Swingers.

Link to today’s strip

I gleaned a few interesting tidbits from the dialogue today. Les’ statements about having to sell more books and the school being happy with a perpetual super-senior indicates that he is currently paying for some or all of her college. Summer’s scholarship must have run out and/or it was not a full ride. Kent State is a NCAA school and only allows students to compete in four seasons of a sport. Maybe she was a redshirt freshman and wasn’t on the team her first year? But it indicates that this will be her fifth, sixth, or even seventh year of college.

If Les’ is paying for Summer’s graduation, maybe from Lisa’s life insurance, then is Keisha’s college also being paid for? Wouldn’t that be super awkward if Keisha was having to take on a bunch of student loan debt while Summer gets to start clean? But, then again, Keisha seemed like a smart girl. She probably made sure she finished her degree before her athletic scholarship was gone.

Actually going to commend the artwork today, relatively speaking. The ruler did a lot of the work, but there is good attention to detail for once. In the background at least. Les is drawn as a sightless abomination talking out of his ass, but I’m guessing that’s Ayers subtle caricature of him. And putting up the porch swing in spring not only sets the season, it’s a subtle callback to the strips way back in June 2011 when Cayla and Les confessed their love on it. Batiuk may forget how many kids his characters have, but he seems to always remember that Les has a front porch swing.

Of course…it was TAN not BLUE. But then again, maybe it’s been painted.

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F.U. Frankly Unbearable.

Link to today’s strip

No Cayla. Just no. She’s not going to graduate totally unemployable. Totally unemployable is the 45 year old grandmother who comes into the gas station sometimes, dentures out, in the same shirt as yesterday, still tweaking, and complaining about getting fired from her part time waitress gig at the local greasy spoon because of her nasal fistula.

Summer is going to graduate having wasted either a ton of money, or a scholarship, on a price-inflated liberal arts degree, in a field already supersaturated with competent degree holders. In her most likely job prospects, some kind of office drone, her degree will entitle her to marginally better starting pay and position that in no way recoups the time and money spent teaching her how to read Finnegan’s Wake.

Basically her new degree choice marks her forever as a dreamer, taking what seems like the most obvious, immediate path to satisfying self-actualization. But in reality making her pay through the nose for the kind of deductive reasoning and knowledge she could just as easily pick up from You-Tube videos and $5 Amazon used books. All so she can write navel-gazing, passionless, modern novels filled with listless protagonists with SJW-edgelord identity labels going through a pointless bildungsroman only to reach some kind of epiphany of vaguely positive, yet nihilistic, existentialism. No one but other literary intelligentsia will ever read her books. She’ll be forever outsold by hacks like Stephanie Meyers, and hacks of hacks like E.L. James; people who make up for terrible writing and characters with things like escapism, wish-fulfillment, simple conflicts and emotional arcs, and palpable passion for their creation. You know. The things the masses want and like to read.

I told my best friend Creative Writing English Major about what was happening in Funky Winkerbean yesterday. The second I mentioned Creative Writing English Major she shouted through the phone, “No, it’s a trap!”

But Les sits there smirking, because his daughter is about to fall into the trap he’s in. Finally company. A little LisaLes Jr., both himself and his favorite emotional prop combined. They’ll be able to commiserate and complain about frustrated artistic ambition for the rest of his life.

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Patrimonial Penury

Link to today’s strip

“Dad, be serious, if I wanted a job that would pay me money I would have taken two months of Industrial Welding at Centerview Community College.”

Really rich coming from worthless English major magnate, Mr. Les ‘those who can’t, teach.’ Moore.

Also, if she’s interested in going into law, then majoring in sociology would have been fine. You can major in anything you want, as long as you keep your GPA up and pass you LSAT.

And don’t you dare disparage sociology! It’s a useless major alone but paired with a Master’s Degree she could become like my older sister, working at her state’s only inpatient mental health hospital for barely more than what an average desk drone makes. But she’s fulfilled.

Sociology made sense as Summer’s old major, what with her activism in high school. But I guess Batiuk has forgotten that, and decided to make her a tiny female clone of her father. I can’t wait for her first book about someone she knew who died.

Also, my best friend forever majored in English lit with a focus on creative writing, and her fanfictions of obscure video games have been very well reviewed! She leads the genre in likes!

She is also a desk drone. Not really using her degree to get paid. But still. Getting paid.

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The Very Model of A Modern Major Millennial.

Link to today’s strip

At least we now have some kind of in universe excuse for why Summer has been at Kent State for so long. Apparently she calls her father every year at the same time to change her major. And he seems smug as a snake about the whole thing. Is he paying for her college, or has she taken on student loan debt?

I decided to do an archive deep dive and found that Summer and Keisha last showed up on October 7 for a one-off Sunday strip.

If I could ask Tom Batiuk one question, honestly, it would be why he doesn’t write people interacting with their kids. The children of main characters are an afterthought if they are remembered at all, and parenting and concern for offspring are rare topics. It sometimes shows up. Rarely. Holly was worried about Corey being in the military, and had a snit fit when he wouldn’t text her back about things.

But if we were to compare the number of strips involving couples and their relationships to the number of strips about parents and kids, there would be no contest. Despite the bond between a parent and a child being the more inalienable, demanding relationship. You can’t amicably divorce your kids, and see them socially on occasion.

It makes me want to sit down with Tom and a shrink and ask him about his relationship with his parents, and then his own kids, to see if those relationships were as bland and benignly distant as the ones he portrays. I would like to see if he resents the idea that his kids should affect his life and dreams, or have a claim on him for time or emotional support.

I don’t have kids, but I have parents, aunts, uncles, coworkers…and it doesn’t matter how old you or your children become, your bond with your children is primal. It will take up a chunk of your emotional and relationship capital. You can’t have casual children. But Tom has never wanted to present children as obstacles in that way. People just show up together, without their kids, and no mention of babysitters.

Darrin apparently has dumped Skyler off at his parents’ and forgot about him and Jess is content to live in California forever. Wally didn’t know Rana had gone back to college, and we haven’t seen him interact with Wally Jr in years. Jinx didn’t show up to her father’s retirement. We never get to see how Bull’s CTE affected his kids. Jinx could still be in college, but that didn’t come up when Linda was talking about finances. Crazy Harry’s Maddie has slipped into the memory hole, along with her other two siblings.

Maybe Batiuk would fob this off by saying there are already so many comic strips about parents and kids, so he chooses not to show the moments of parenting. They take place off panel. But in a strip that’s become about less than nothing, maybe some parent-child dynamic could bring a bit of heart. Shoving hordes of kids into the attic like an army of Chuck Cunninghams only makes your characters seem shallow and self-centered. Every couple a codependent, un-nurturing, dead end.

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Pointless precognition.

Link to today’s strip

You didn’t sit down before answering! You sat down after answering! At most you sat down WHILE answering. And do you always narrate everything you plan to do? And then do you immediately fail to do the thing you plan?

Cayla is confirmed as baked out of her mind, only able to repeat what she heard last. No judgement here, whatever gets her through the day.

Epicus pointed out yesterday that Summer has been in college for seven years of real time. Even if we accept a ‘comic book time’ that allows for a year of Funkyverse to take more time than a calendar year in the real world…It’s baffling that Tom Batiuk would drop her character like that.

What do you figure Summer’s big bombshell is? I still have a longstanding bet that she the secret student from behind the Big Gay Castle. But maybe I’m unfairly stereotyping female basketball players with pixie cuts. It was probably Chullo head.

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