TB goes full on meta in today’s strip… could this be a preview of what we’ll see over the next few weeks? Is everything else from here on going to be bizarrely (and blandly) self-referential? Are we in for even more unnecessary acknowledgements that these characters all of a sudden know they are in a comic strip? I suppose we will have to wait and see, though the wait won’t be too long now.
Meta references can certainly work, but are not inherently interesting or funny, nor are they funny in the context of this strip and story arc, or in the context of TB’s real life partial retirement for that matter. What is funny, however, is that Ruby joined Atomik Komix over 3 years ago to much fanfare, specifically to draw Wayback Wendy I might add, and she’s peacing out after drawing the cover of issue #4! And we all thought Phil Holt was a slow worker…
And that’s a wrap for my latest and possibly last time blogging here at Son Of Stuck Funky. No goodbyes here, but I do want to thank some folks. Thank you to TFH and Epicus for running this place for the past 12 and a half years and for trusting me as a guest writer here over the past 8 years. Thanks to my fellow guest writers for keeping this site reliably humming for years and much thanks to all of you SOSFers for coming back and reading day after day in spite of my silly wonderings and regular typos. I’ve written over 500 of these things, believe it or not! But for me these posts are mostly a glorified header, the best content generally comes from you all in the comments. I can only hope that you have enjoyed reading some of my words even 1/100th as much as I have enjoyed being a part of this community.
Here is today’s strip. You all go ahead and tear into it. Not sure I could do much better than the post title anyways.
Sorry, two days to go on my stint and I’m already running on fumes. Even WordPress knows this, somehow. It’s kind of creepy, to be honest… I’ll press on these next two days, but I’m going to set a spell today and see you in the comments.
Speaking of running on empty (and burying the lede, for that matter), Tom Batiuk dropped some news late yesterday that may or may not be relevant to this story arc, the last several months of speculation in the comments, and the future of this website. Some of you all commented on it yesterday. I have plenty of thoughts on this, as I am sure many of you all do. As with today’s strip, I’ll see you in the comments to discuss.
I’m guessing this will get more ink than the strip…
Pete should leave the snark to us. For one thing, baked potatoes are delicious and this strip suffers greatly in comparison to them. For another, all this damate climage comic business was Pete’s idea in the first place. And above all, Ruby’s given him some prime snark ammunition by drawing some planet that does not appear in almost any way to be earth and he just completely misses it. Leave the wisecracks to the professionals in our comment section next time, Pete.
More word zeppelins in today’s strip… Not as bad as yesterday, but still, get your bookmarks out, folks!
You know, this is actually one of TB’s tidiest retcons, probably because it is one of the very few intentional ones he’s ever undertaken. It takes the original scene and changes its context (slightly) by depicting a previously unseen scene. Tidy. The pieces actually fit together. There are no loose ends, deleted original context, or unresolved conflict with the originals scene. See? That’s not so hard.
Heck, as a bonus it even (unnecessarily but adeptly) explains a silly detail from the original scene, why Les has a camcorder and this Hari Seldon story readily at hand as if he was waiting for Lisa to lament about all the things Summer she will never get to experience. Turns out, he pretty much was just waiting on the chance to whip that camera on out.
Tidy as it is, this retcon was no more entertaining or less irritating because of it. In fact, it makes the origin story of the Lisa tapes tremendously off-putting. The focus shifts away from the impending reality of Summer growing up without a mother seen in the original scene to the needs of Summer’s nogoodnik parents… First, Lisa wants to record the tapes so she can live vicariously through Summer’s adolescence in her imagination. Then, Crazy and Lisa hatch this cockamamie plan to let Les take credit for the idea to record the infamous tapes, which only soothes his ego and bolsters his hero complex. These people are awful and I hope I never wind up sitting next to any of them on an airplane.
Oh yay, comic books, it’s been so long since they’ve been mentioned in this strip that I really missed it. And of course Rocky is a massive comic nerd, since that’s the other personality trait she has other than “was in the army”. If someone told Batiuk he had to write a character, story or even just a strip or just a single wedding that didn’t have anything to do with comics, I’m pretty sure you’d hear the sound of several fuses in his head blow and smoke would start pouring out his ears, because I do not think he’s capable of even considering that anymore.
I just Googled “‘unification display’+wedding” because I’d never heard of them before and wondered if this was something common that I just hadn’t heard of, but I really don’t think so. It only returned three results and none are remotely like what’s being portrayed here. Even less restrictive searches returned nothing close, so I really don’t think this is a thing. What I think happened is Batiuk thought it was hilarious/touching to have two people merge their comic collections and made up the concept of a “unification display” because I guess he couldn’t just have someone point and say “hey look, they combined their comic books!”. (And have them sitting out in the open in the sun where anyone can swipe one).
Is that supposed to be Summer on the right? I can’t really imagine who else it would be, even though it doesn’t look at all like Summer, and she’s not wearing a hoodie.
This is also yet another example of Batiuk’s need to have an extra line after the “punchline” of the strip. Nothing is added by having maybe-Summer tell us it’s cool and sweet. It’s like Batiuk doesn’t think the readers will be able to tell how they’re supposed to react to or feel about a joke without literally being told.
Ah, the classic tug-of-war between privacy-invading exuberance and false modesty… who wins that race to the bottom in today’s strip?
Les’ false modesty does, of course. For one thing, it’s coming from Les, which makes it an additionally off-putting version of an already off-putting behavior. The biggest reason, though, is that Cayla’s desire to “let people know” is essentially moot, everyone already knows. Anyone who cares saw Marianne tell the television cameras that she was coming to give her Oscar away to Les this week. Yeah, if she’s trying to organize a mob to meet Marianne then that might not work if by “on the way” Marianne means that she’ll be there within the hour… but with Marianne’s very public announcement of her planned visit and the relatively specific time frame she gave, the Taj Moore-hal should have been descended upon by pushy celebrity obsessives and Starbuck Jones fans days ago. Where are they? Where’s Lenny and Frankie and (ugh) DMZ? Why am I asking you?
Here is today's strip
Is it worse than we all feared
Or simply as bad
If I was popcorn
I would be quite offended
By this portrayal
Les hated this film
Why would he even watch this
Was happy it failed
In this case, "writer"
Would not describe Les as he
Did not write the script
This deserves more scorn
I'm a skink, I can't rant, so
I'm counting on you
Rip this thing to shreds
Kill it with all of the fire
Or just acetone
But wait, BC, there’s a third option: reprint that eco-sermon from 1972 in every ish of their new comic. That wouldn’t be too preachy, would it? Many of you have pointed out that the Stan Lee “quote” was addressing pollution, not climate change. While both topics are of course related, climate change has only more recently been regarded as a threat. By characterizing it as “climate damage,” Pete’s making Flash and Stan sound like they were ahead of their time.
Don’t you remember, Tom…? The comic book column that Flash wrote was called “Bullpen Boasts.” Like “Bullpen Bulletins,” which was what Stan Lee called the page that he created in Marvel Comics. I suppose the title could have changed over time, the way “Bullpen Bulletins” would become “Stan’s Soapbox” (hat tip Uncle Wikipedia).