Tag Archives: Summer

On Wednesdays I Go Shopping

Link to today’s strip (eventually).

Wednesday’s strip was not available for preview.  THANK GOD.

There’ve been many times lately when criticizing this strip feels like criticizing a preschooler’s finger-painting.   When presented with such a work, you don’t want to say, “Well, Tommy, arms don’t really come out of the sides like that, and shoes aren’t big and round like wheels.  And is that a dog?”  That just seems kind of mean-spirited.

Tom Batiuk doesn’t write well.  To put it mildly.  He cannot plot out a proper story, his ear for dialogue is deaf, and his points are buried beneath the ineptitude of his execution. Occasionally, he has a sort of ham-handed way with a phrase that has a certain off-putting charm, but that’s about it.

But what if that’s the best he can do?  His “stories” over the last couple of years have started out like they might be going somewhere but always–always–end up like a balloon that’s just been unknotted.  Falling to the earth with a farting noise.  The Butter Brinkle thing–seriously, what an embarrassment that would have been to a professional, published writer.  Here?  In it goes.  And once it was done, it was gone.  Nothing to tie it together, nothing to indicate it meant anything…no impact at all.

Lately, the strip has been all been wish-fulfillment.  Les gets showered with praise.  Funky gets stepped on.  Everyone talks about how awesome Les is.  Bull gets an off-hand death that is largely used to push “Lisa’s Story” again.  That really seems like the work of someone who doesn’t care.

But he seems to be losing his grip on the elements he’s always deemed important, like Les and “Lisa’s Story.”  How many times has Mason told Les he wants to option the book?  He flew out to Ohio to do it, then flew Les in to California to do it.  That doesn’t seem like someone who can separate the wheat from the chaff.  Both are treated with equal carelessness.

So I wonder if I’m pointing out the shortcomings in the work of someone who should do better…but can’t.

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Link to today’s strip.

Charles basically nailed it–and did my job for me, thanks!–in yesterday’s comments, in which he basically laid out the next month’s worth of strips.  I’d link his comment here, but I don’t know how to do that. (Here ya go. —TFH)

So, what we have here is what we had yesterday–two characters talking about Les.   Not a single step forward, but hey, if people are talking about Les, it has to be award-winning, right?

I don’t dare wish for anything different, because it’s certain to be worse.

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Return of the LisaVirus

Link to today’s barf.

Well, I should have known.  Batiuk’s revisiting of his “prestige arc” was so poorly performed that it should have been obvious he was going to spin up Lisa’s Story again.  The world’s worst book, written by the world’s worst writer, about the world’s worst person.

Of course Summer has no idea what’s going on.  Les is far too important to himself to waste valuable preening time on informing his family about anything.   “Hello, Summer!  How’s school?  We just spent a week in California with Mason Jarre!”  No, even that takes too much effort, effort that could be put to better use stroking his ego.

I would like to say something nice about the artwork.  The shift in perspective from panel one to panel two is nicely handled; it looks like Cayla went toward Summer to help her with her bags.  A rare instance of interesting art in this strip.

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I Know What You Ate Last, Summer

Link To Today’s Strip

Did Thomas T. BatBore just suddenly forget that Summer is twenty-five years old? If he wanted to do childish Summer gags he shouldn’t have skipped over her childhood. But he did and it’s way too f*cking late now. Whether it’s intentional (ha) or not, Summer is suddenly the biggest loser in the strip. Totally rudderless, sleeping til noon, shoveling candy into her face like some sort of dimwitted feral cave-dweller…Bull Bushka donated tens of thousands of dollars worth of physical therapy for THIS? He really DID die in vain.

Consider this: at one time Summer and Cory were at the forefront of the (then) new Act III generation. Summer was the twee goody-two-shoes with a side of grit and a hell of a jump shot, while Cory was the slacker sleazebag with the bad attitude and the haircut to match. Summer was going places, Cory was going to prison. But now, only (sigh) seven short years later, Cory is a ramrod-straight soon-to-be-wed decorated Army veteran with strong ties to both the comic book and pizza industries, while Summer is an immature lazy slob with immense student loan debt and a dad who keeps writing the same book about her dead mom over and over. It just goes to show you how little high school really matters, even in a comic strip where it means absolutely everything.

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Aaugh!

Link To Today’s Strip

Wow, it’s an EXTREMELY RARE and wildly abrupt mid-week arc shift, as suddenly the seldom-seen Women Of Les make an EXTREMELY RARE guest holiday appearance. Good ol’ Summer hasn’t changed a bit, still slobbing around in her trademark hoodie like it’s 2011 all over again. For those both of you keeping score at home, Summer and Keisha are in their EIGHTH year of college. I don’t know what they’re majoring in but it must be pretty grueling stuff.

Once again, Summer left for college eight years ago so Les needs to get the f*ck over it already. Don’t they have DVRs in Ohio? Les is one of the few FW characters who’s annoying even when the other characters are just talking about him. What a dick.

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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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