Well, good for Ruby Lith. Like cracked actor Cliff Anger, Ruby’s another living Twentieth Century relic who held on into the Twenty-First long enough to finally garner some long overdue recognition. I hope her excitement over this check doesn’t trigger a coronary, which would look something like this:
I also hope Ruby’s allowing for inflation here, since her “original pay date” dates to around the Truman Era. Meanwhile, the expressions of escalating dismay on the faces of Darin and Jessica are the most satisfying thing we’ll see all week.
As if none of us saw this coming. Kitch Swoon and that nice-sized check of hers are not destined to fill Skyler’s college coffers. Y’know, why not have Monday’s strip showing the gallery owner arriving at Atomik Komix and laying the check on Ruby? Then Batiuk would have another five or six days to tell an actual story. But I understand her delivering the check in person, given what we know about the Postal Service in Westview. This is the story, folks: let’s take this week to set up those starry-eyed fortysomething Fairgood “kids” for a little disappointment and humiliation. Darin has to lean back so hard against Jessica’s pushing that it looks like she’s got him on a handtruck.
Why the hell must Haystack Hair “sidebar” with Darin when the dude was standing right there?!? Check out Jessica’s narrowed-eyed, conspiratorial posture in panel one: with her left hand hooking the crook of dopey Darin’s arm, and her right palm downward, fingers spread in the “keep this on the low” gesture. Always with the dollar signs in her eyes, this Jessica: recall her (short-lived) giddiness over the dough that Darin would make off auctioning those Phil Holt Batom covers. At least Jessica is looking out for their child’s future…unlike Darin, who without so much as consulting Jessica decreed that all that Phil Holt money should go to the Lisa’s Legacy fund (which I’m only hyperlinking here because they finally fixed it so the URL doesn’t redirect and give you a dire-sounding certificate error).
Last week’s running gag had Dinkle and Becky walking around reading signs. This week is shaping up to be a series of people letting themselves into the Atomik Komix office and being greeted with “Hey!” Superb draftsmanship today in panel 1: Kitch Swoon appears to be standing in the doorway of an airplane in flight, and Pete is so excited he’s morphed into Shemp Howard. Our colorist gives even less of a damn, leaving Ms. Swoon with white hair rather than the blonde hair she had when we met her last summer. At least Batiuk hasn’t altered or forgotten her name.
Silly monikers have been Funky Winkerbean‘s stock in trade for nearly a half century, from the title character and his friend “Less More,” to the late Coach “Jack Stropp” and forgotten teacher “Rita Wrighton.” These names were semi-witty, facile wordplay. But I’m at a loss to tease sense out of “Kitch [sic] Swoon.” She’s an artsy type for sure (she’s wearing a beret). Does she specialize in “tacky,” lowbrow, populist art? Does the sight of kitsch make her feel like she’s going to faint?
More like National Sneak Up Behind Your Favorite Guy and Startle the Shit out of Him While He’s Working Day, according to the motion lines alongside Darin’s elongated head.
“This is a Cintiq, a 3D drawing board. I’m actually more comfortable working at my old drawing board, which I bought in junior high school for $25. At the time, it seemed like a lot of money. It’s where I do most of my work.”
Tom Batiuk, February 2016
Good enough for Tom Batiuk, good enough for Darin, who sits at a rather small, inclined drawing table under a vintage “floating” draughtsman’s lamp. Very old school and analog, and it makes me wonder how Mindy is able to do her coloring (remember, she thinks Dr. Martins is a brand of footwear).
Being late/running late is a very common theme in dreams…Being late in a dream as an image of finding it difficult living up to your own demands or the demands of others…When we dream that we are late or that we are about to be late, it is often because we are fighting a battle to achieve more than we can actually handle.
It’s a pretty common dream, all right, so give Batiuk points for being relatable for once. I know I’ve had dreams of this type. The naked-in-public kind of dreams, too. Batiuk and Ayers do a pretty good job at giving this scenario a dreamlike feeling. The hallway appears infinite, and eerily empty. And while this is almost a universal dream premise, I bet Tom Batiuk hasn’t had this dream in ages. At this stage of his career, the only demands he probably has to meet are to submit one comic strip per day. It doesn’t have to be especially well drawn, or funny, or make sense, or follow a narrative. Just a piece of content, to fill space on a newspaper comics page or on a website.
Well, my two week long nightmare of having to deconstruct FW every day is ended, and on deck is guest emcee Epicus Doomus! Take it away!
December 1, 2019 at 11:34 pm
The sad thing about this is how [Batiuk] seems to think a story about a comic book artist who’s always behind schedule is an interesting and relatable premise.
We get it. “Turtle Thompson” was a real pain in the ass to work with. Luckily for him, he was surrounded by enablers who let him get away with being lazy and unreliable. Maybe his artwork (which we’ll never see, unless tomorrow’s strip is a sideways Sunday comics cover) was so good, he was worth the aggravation. Maybe capable comics illustrators were hard to come by in those days (doubtful). At any rate, years later they are reminiscing fondly about ol’ Turtle. He, and Flash and Phil Holt and all those comics legends created entire worlds, and their work was consumed by legions of devoted fans. Though Darin and Pete imagine themselves to be in their same league, their work will never have that kind of impact. It’s no wonder that Darin’s quip, referencing a supervillian who exists nowhere outside of his and Pete’s imaginations, falls a little flat: