Tag Archives: Taj Moore-hal

…that the Play is the Tragedy “Les,” and Its Hero–

Link to today’s strip.

…is the Enabler Cayla.

You know, Les and Lisa are horrible, horrible people.  But today’s entry makes a strong case that their infection has spread beyond the immediate Moore family, and has made its way into the outer world.  Soon, entire cities, entire nations will fall as the Lisa-Worship pandemic spreads to every corner of the globe.

Because here’s Cayla, Les’ current wife, asking Les to make sure that Lisa, Les’ dead wife–dead at least twenty years now, mind–is protected from the machinations of the cruel, uncaring world of entertainment–you know, the slugs who push awful contrived entertainments on the (shudder) masses so they can sell toilet paper and cheap auto loans.

And this is something Cayla cannot stand.  Because Lisa’s reputation, Lisa’s legacy, is the only thought she has.

Not a thought for herself remains.  Not a thought for herself, her own child, her marriage, her future.  It’s all Lisa now.  It will never be anything other than Lisa.  Lisa.

I thought I was being clever the other day when I referenced “Colossus: The Forbin Project.”   (And c’mon, I kinda was.  And if you haven’t seen that film, then you should.)  But the real reference film here is far more chilling.  From 1956.

Well, it started, for me it started last Thursday. In response to an urgent message from my nurse I’d hurried home from a medical convention I’d been attending. At first glance, everything looked the same. It wasn’t. Something evil had taken possession of the town.

The “Colossus” movie ended with Dr. Forbin’s defiant “Never!”   The book ended similarly, but included a final paragraph:

Never?

Anyway, that’s all from me for now.  Thank you all for your indulgence, your creativity and your knowledge.  It always makes hosting this place a treasure, when the actual strips make it a chore.   I learn nothing from the strip, but learn a lot from you all.  Kudos!

Tune in Monday, when your snarker extraordinaire Epicus Doomus takes the center seat in the Funkyverse’s most-watched game show, “How Bad Can It Get?”

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Best Fiends Forever!

Link to today’s strip.

Lots of good speculation this week about what Mason might do, now that he’s learned of the Lisa Tapes, but as always there’s more creativity in the comments here than in Batiuk’s entire studio.   Mason just makes his excuses and leaves, and from the looks of it, he’s not doing anything interesting like hiding a couple of the tapes under his shirt.   Just another extraordinarily lame “joke” and we’re done.

Think about that for a moment.  The Lisa Tapes were mentioned, Les was extremely snotty about them, and the subject was dropped.  Mason didn’t even ask what was on them.  Long-time readers such as we (and probably only we) know all about the Tapes, but any casual reader is going to be baffled by their mention.   “Well, gosh, what are these tapes?  I didn’t learn anything about them!”  Batiuk probably thinks that since the Tapes are Known to Him, they’re Known to Everyone–something that happens a lot to folks who work on a project for a long time.  The details are so ingrained in his mind that he thinks everyone is similarly familiar with them. “Everyone knows Dinkle hates vanilla ice cream, no need to address that at all, the joke works fine as is.”

But the casual reader has to be brought up to speed for a situation to make sense.  As Stan Lee famously said, “Every comic book is someone’s first comic book.”  Without the background, this mythical casual reader will soon become an ex-reader.   Here’s the problem, though–Batiuk can’t talk about the tapes themselves.   Batiuk thinks the tapes are cute and endearing and evidence of the great love that Lisa generated.*  But any casual reader–and, realistically, anyone else–would find them horrifying, evidence of deep mental problems in Lisa, Les, Cayla, and anyone else caught in Lisa’s web.   A casual reader would be repelled–the characters, Les especially, would be revealed in the full glory of their loathsomeness.

The cynic in me has another answer, though–Batiuk hopes this will intrigue a casual viewer into taking the next step–“Since I must learn what those tapes are about, I guess I’ll have to buy the books to find out more!”

It’s right there, between the second and third panels.

*PS: I agree with Comic Book Harriet that a tape left for a child by a dying parent can be a touching display of parental love.  But that’s not what Lisa is doing here.  She’s never told Les or Summer that she loves them.  Every tape is designed to run every aspect of their lives according to her will.

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“B” as in “Boring”

Link to today’s strip.

Odd, isn’t it, how much Mason and Dullard resemble each other.   Almost as if, on that night when Lisa was “assaulted,” both she and Frankie succumbed to the alcohol and passed out, and a passing student saw an opportunity…nah, Mason was probably five years old then, and besides, it’s too interesting for this strip.  Wouldn’t it be intriguing to find out that Mason was a completely terrible person, and this was some complicated revenge scheme?  Again, too interesting.

Better to make Mason pretty much clueless about the character he wants to portray, almost as if he’s never read Les’ book or spent any time with him.  Nine hours in a sweltering parking lot, that’s enough research for Mason!

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How to Make “Alien” More Terrifying

Link to today’s strip.

Seriously, can you imagine John Hurt going through all that agony, and out pops a little Les Moore?  Which screams “Endings have to be earned!” before scooting off to hide in the ductwork?   And it then confronts Harry Dean Stanton and says “I am the lord of language, and you are my acolytes!”   The crew of the Nostromo would be screaming, “Please!  Tear our brains out instead!”

I guess some children were left behind!

I mean, I get shivers just thinking about it!  I’m going to leave the lights on tonight, but I don’t think I’ll ever go to sleep again!

Other than that, my God is Les being a little sh!t.  Yes, I know he’s a douchebag deluxe (indeed, a douchebag supreme), but Mason is supposedly a friend.   If someone were to treat me the way Les is treating Mason, I’d make my excuses and avoid that person.  And of course, avoiding Les Moore is always a great strategy to employ.

On a serious note, Mr. Batiuk–when you’re offering a decidedly inferior product to your audience, it’s very unwise to remind them that there are superior entertainments out there that are much more worthy of their time.

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Dreaming of Sleazebags

Link to today’s strip.

Well, I guess the dream is over, as Les pivots from a dream that kept him tossing to now note how he’s “thinking” about Frankie.    Maybe Batiuk doesn’t know the difference between dreaming and idle musing, but I’m pretty sure the latter is how he gets all his “ideas.”  But look at Cayla in panel one!  That’s the face of someone who is soaked in regret.  I’ve never seen weariness, God-am-I-sorry-I-asked, Please-Stop-Talking so well portrayed, so kudos to Ayers again.

And of course that’s Frankie in panel three.  What exactly is he going to do?  Demand that he be in the movie, or get money from the movie, because…reasons?  He has no relation to anyone still alive other than Dullard.  He certainly won’t have anything he can use as leverage over Les.   If the movie was “Dullard’s Story” he could, perhaps, claim to be an integral part but it isn’t so he can’t.  I am genuinely curious as to what kind of scheme he’s going to launch, despite the fact that Batiuk always disappoints.

I guess since the movie version seems to be moving along nicely, Batiuk needed a villain and, well, why not Frankie.  More Hollywood types whining that “Lisa’s Story” won’t play in China might have been too much repetition, even for Batiuk (hard as that is to believe).

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China Hates Lisa

today’s strip

Man, that Les face in the first panel is priceless.  Poor, poor Les.  Being forced to have a movie made of Lisa’s Story.  If only he could say no.  Which he could, of course, but won’t, because he’s a whiny child.  A whiny child who called his wife up to whine about the travesty being done to the memory of his dead wife.  Which, if it’s not the world’s story, then why did he publish it in a book as “Lisa’s Story”, exactly?  

This really is Les at his most insufferable.  I have an extremely hard time believing that even Batiuk thinks Les is sympathetic or at all likeable, but apparently he does.

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Pigging Out.

Today’s strip, when it drops.

As usual Sunday wasn’t available for preview. And I’m too worn out to wait for it to drop.

Ironically, I spent the afternoon and evening at my very first college football game. Iowa vs. Minnesota. It was an absolutely awesome time. Iowa fans were so excited when they won they rushed the field, as the ecstatic team held aloft Floyd of Rosedale, still safe in Iowa’s care.

Floyd of Rosedale is an 80 year old bronze pig the winning team gets to keep for the year. It references the time when the governors of Iowa and Minnesota bet an actual live hog on the outcome of the 1935 game.

What I’m saying is football is a, weird, exciting sport, with rich history and traditions. If enjoying the game today was also spiting Tom Batiuk’s horrible CTE arc, then I enjoyed it twice as much.

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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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Two is Agony so Three’s a Clown.

Link to Today’s Comic.

Cayla seems to think that during their trip to Sandy Eggo they will actually get to ‘see the sights.’ Eat sushi in Little Tokyo, dance to mariachi music in Old Town, maybe go to the zoo to make interracial jokes about the pandas. (All things I made time to do during my Botcon San Diego trip.)

Obviously Les is planning the vacation will take place entirely within the confines of the San Diego Convention Center. Cayla will be lucky to drag him across Harbor Drive for a single sitdown meal that isn’t convention concessions food.

I’m guessing that she’ll spend most of the convention pressed against the glass in the Sails Pavilion, staring out the window wistfully at the Gaslamp Quarter; surrounded by things she neither understands nor cares for.

No wonder Les wants to bring Crazy Harry along. He wants a solid tie breaking vote in favor of skipping supper again to wait in the endless Hall H line for another seven hours.

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Eisnerian Gothic

Link to Today’s Comic.

I would make some kind of comment on Caucayla not knowing the location of the awards because Wimmin Amirite? But apparently Les previously didn’t even know the award existed.

I’ve been to San Diego for a Botcon once in the summer. It was really nice coastal climate, and not any hotter or muggier than Midwestern summer can get. And since when has CauCayla been heat intolerant?

The second panel is pretty great though, with Darin fleeing from a conversation still taking place while Les and Cayla do their best impersonations of Queen Elizabeth, with a wave goodbye more wooden than Cigar Store Indians. Cayla has a halo around her head…perhaps a first miracle on her own path to sainthood?

This art is really starting to annoy me though. Everyone’s face has become interchangeable. You remember when Cayla had a broad nose and Darin had a beak? The artist sure doesn’t. He has two noses to use, C-shaped or L shaped, and he barely remembers which character gets which. Batiuk can’t be bothered to push Burchett for consistency of character design in a strip worshiping comics as an art form next to opera in importance.

Compare with yesterday’s Crankshaft with art by Davis. Look at that detail! He carefully drew the wedding picture on the wall as a totem of the romantic creature in Ralph that the drive-in waitress has reawakened in him.

All Les and Cayla get on their wall is the avant garde, “Grey Rectangle Against Grey Background.”

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