Tough luck, SOSFers. Not just because you’ve read today’s strip, but also because today’s strip is particularly rant-worthy and I may well be the weakest ranter on this site. I am sorry, I just cannot do it justice. I’ll lean on our commenters to give this strip what it deserves.
I do have an editorial comment, though, and it doesn’t involve Funky in a coma this time. Among the few printable things that have been said about this whole unending Starbuck Jones movie arc is that it is “wish fulfillment”. It is an apt description, of course, as nearly everything about Starbuck Jones comes across as what TB wishes would have happened to his own creations. However, there is no reason that wish fulfillment can’t be entertaining.
Sally Forth just spent a whole month at a (very) fictional Japanese movie monster theme park, something I’m sure unabashedly nerdy SF writer Francesco Marciuliano very much wishes was real. However, Marciuliano uses his fantasy to tell a story and crack jokes that are relatable to readers whether they are kaiju-obsessed or not. You may not know what a Gamera is, but you probably get jokes about taking family vacations and waiting in line at theme parks.
TB’s Starbuck Jones business, meanwhile, requires a tome of Batiuk blog posts and a glossary of Hollywood terms to understand, and a miracle to find entertaining. It seems to be perpetually patting itself on the back for being such a big deal in its own allegedly realistic universe, thrusting long-standing characters into Hollywood’s orbit for seemingly no reason other than to show that they are great enough to be involved in Starbuck Jones things.
I would say that my wish would be that we could leave Starbuck Jones, Hollywood, and the Valentine Theater behind… but that undoubtedly means more of Les. I can’t win. None of us can.
Everyone is severely intoxicated in today’s strip, right? Those glasses everybody has been carrying around have surely been filled and emptied many times by now, yes?
Because I don’t really know how else to explain this. The exaggerated hand gestures, the jumping on tables, the applause, the addressing of a group of full-grown adults as “kids”… Heck, alcohol may not really be enough to explain this. Not even something as dumb as Funky still dreaming in a coma back in 2010 effectively covers this ridiculousness.
Today’s strip is a sobering reminder of just how tantalizingly close we came to completely avoiding the foul, intrusive neighbor that is the Starbuck Jones movie. If only Mason had never come to Ohio, none of this would have happened.
– Mason only came to Ohio, of course, because he met Les on the set of Lust For Lisa.
– Tempting as it is to pin this all on Les, he was only able to lure Mason to Ohio with Holly’s collection of “Starbuck Jones” comics.
– Holly’s “Starbuck Jones” collection only existed because Cory started it.
– Cory only started the collection because… well, Tom only knows that. Maybe something to do with his stepfather reading it when he was a kid…
– And Ohio is only a state because the British ceded it to the United States in the Treaty of Paris, which was only possible because the French ceded the Ohio Valley to the British after losing the French and Indian War.
“Fan” theory time:
Funky is still in a coma from that 2010 car wreck and everything that has happened since then has been a dream. It was immediately before the wreck when Starbuck Jones was first mentioned (Funky had to sell SJ issue #1 to cover Komix Korner’s overdue rent), everything else involving Starbuck Jones has occurred after the wreck. Also, think of all of the other outlandish things in this strip that have happened since that wreck, things that would have been unlikely before: the successful publication of Lisa’s Story and its national book tour and “Hollywood” chapters, Cayla’s appearance changes, Les’ love life, Cory becoming a soldier and a well-adjusted individual, Cindy comes crawling back to Ohio, Wally snags Rache and Buddy, Dick Tracy…
This theory is, of course, disgustingly unoriginal and incredibly stupid. But is it really worse than the alternative?
Today’s strip simply confirms what we’ve all known since Monday, that this movie premiere is going to take place at “that damn Crankshaft theater”.
And we can all blame Jeff Murdoch, a passive-aggressive sad-sack who has never managed to elicit sympathy from readers despite constantly suffering under his mother and father-in-law, two of the nastiest and most despicable characters to have ever graced the comics page. We can also blame Batiukverse Twitter, which waived its character limit to allow Jeff to convey the following information in a single tweet (maybe he typed this all up in Notes and tweeted a photo, which is still contemptible):
– His first and last name
– His location
– The fact that he was a member of the Starbuck Jones Junior Spaceman Fan Club when he was a kid
– That he saw the original Starbuck Jones serial at the then-new Valentine Theater
– That his son now owns the Valentine Theater
– And that he thinks it would be a good place to hold the premiere of the new Starbuck Jones movies.
Given all of that, I’m surprised he didn’t mention how movie tickets only cost $0.10 when he first saw the Starbuck Jones serial, or how much he misses voting for Robert Taft Sr., or how great his old LaSalle ran.
While Jeff Murdoch apparently violates Twitter’s character limit in today’s strip, Director Martin Johns violates general decorum by thinking Jeff’s tweet is worth reading out loud to these Hollywood types lounging about in wicker chairs.
Prescient SOSFer erdmann hypothesized yesterday that this would lead to the premiere of Starbuck Jones at “that damn Crankshaft theater”. Today’s strip all but confirms that, and I can tell you that the next several strips will not dispel the idea. If you consider this to be a spoiler then you haven’t read Funky Winkerbean for very long.
In other news, Cindy has lost her right foot. Oh, and Jeff Murdoch is apparently both old enough to have seen and remember original-run Starbuck Jones movie serials (before Cliff was blacklisted sometime in the early 1950s) and young enough to have also been attending Kent State in 1970 (on a John Sebastian impersonator scholarship, apparently). To be fair, there is a window of time in which that works, but it is narrower than Crankshaft’s mind.
Greetings, SOSFers! It’s billytheskink here – your favorite lizard-named, Martin Mull-referencing, pointless trivia-posting, guest author.
I was wishing (and hoping, and thinking, and praying) that yesterday’s strip was the coda to this Comic-Con arc. It certainly looked like it could be. Unfortunately, it was a tease, and today’s strip takes us right back to yesterday’s ocean-side confab to discuss… the Starbuck Jones movie premiere. Goody, another week of this. That’s four straight weeks now.
A relative of mine had a baby back in June. That baby will be 8 weeks old at the end of this week. FW strips involving Starbuck Jones will have appeared during 65% of her life. This makes me incredibly sad.
Link To Today’s Demoralizing Developments
Working that goddamned f*cking decoder ring in there was like dropping a cherry-shaped wad of maggots onto a garbage sundae, it’s the kind of sickening overkill BanTom does better than any other sub-mediocre comic strip author in the business. It’s finally official, after five days of absolutely painful dilly-dallying these two horrible old snores are engaged (as are Cindy and Mason…(shudder)) and a more pathetic spectacle I cannot recall.
“Waiting a lifetime”, yeah, sixty years is indeed nearly a “lifetime” but not necessarily in the Funkyverse, where middle-aged men creak, groan and collapse regularly and couples in their nineties eat solid foods and get frisky in restaurants. Still though, it seems kind of incredible that they just completely lost touch for sixty years. No phone calls, no letters, no emails, no Classmates or HotBot or Google searches, just nothing at all until two comic book-obsessed weirdos took it upon themselves to do everything for them.
In fact when you look at them that way you realize that there’s nothing “happy” about these two imbeciles getting back together, as they’re both awful, stupid, lazy people who literally wasted their entire lives for no reason whatsoever aside from sheer sloth. They’re only together now because of outside meddling, completely happenstance impulsive meddling, by the way. What kind of human being wouldn’t be utterly destroyed by the realization that the great lost love of your life who you feebly pined over for sixty freaking years was likewise just sitting there like an idiot wondering and waiting to hear from you while you sat there doing literally nothing? It’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard, yet in the Funkyverse it passes for lite, cute and breezy.
Hopefully this is the last of these two until Frankie crashes the big Starbuck Jones-themed double wedding ceremony and forces Marianne to attempt suicide again. You know that when he finally gets around to re-visiting this in August or whatever he’ll spend five full days on the characters talking about that f*cking decoder ring, just to refresh everyone’s decoder ring memory.
Link To Today’s Dismal Experience
I’ll take a stab at decoding Cliff’s “secret message” using nothing but my extensive knowledge of the Funkyverse and nothing more. OK, here goes nothing…
THIS STORY IS GARBAGE AUTHORED BY AN UNIMAGINATIVE AND POSSIBLY DELUSIONAL HACK WITH NO DESIRE TO ENTERTAIN ANYONE BUT HIMSELF AND NO ABILITY TO DO SO EVEN IF HE WANTED TO
That’s what I came up with. I’m estimating it’s at least 125% accurate, more or less. How many times will he go back to THIS well? It was a movie prop, Tom. The guy is ninety f*cking years old, that goddamned f*cking decoder ring isn’t his whole…oh, wait. My bad, I forgot who and what I’m dealing with here. Of course that f*cking stupid decoder ring is Cliff’s whole life, as he’s a woefully one-dimensional and contrived character with all the depth of a pizza box who was conceived by a lazy shameless hack who must have been absent when they covered “plausibility” in vocabulary class. It’s only natural that Cliff’s entire life centers around some moronic old toy. Like they say, write what you know.
Link To Today’s Atrocity
And now my disgust, rage and nausea gives way to resigned acceptance and a sad admission of defeat, as my worst fears are seemingly about to be realized. Cliff is going to ask Vera to marry him and he’s going to use that goddamned f*cking old decoder ring to do it. Not that long ago Cliff was hawking the thing on Ebay, today it’s an enduring symbol of the eternal love he feels for the woman he apparently forgot about for sixty years. Perhaps digging it out from under the bed in his sordid hovel of an apartment jogged his memory or something.
I have to admit it, while I dreaded the possibility of an unholy union between these two I never saw the f*cking decoder ring angle coming. The bastard out-hacked me yet again. Just when you thought it’d be impossible for this trash heap of a story to become any more sickening and repugnant bam, the f*cking SJ decoder ring hits you right in the face. I suppose I should have expected this but for some reason I always underestimate his ability to plumb the depths.