Saturday, August 16, 2008

One More Comics Observation: Batuik, Where Are Your Flying Cars?

If Lynn Johnston's comic strip shows life at it's permanent "For Better," Tom Batuik's Funky Winkerbean shows life at its perpetual "For Worse."

Becky Blackburn gets accepted to Juilliard and then gets in a car accident and loses her violin-playing arm; lovable band director Harry L. Dingle goes deaf; and the strip's "heroine," Lisa Moore, begins the story as a knocked-up teenager and (after suffering many dismal life events in between) ended her arc last year when she died of breast cancer.

And then there was the whole "Wally Winkerbean in Iraq" subplot, which, while it was prescient and important, did not end happily for Wally.

Anyway. So right after Batuik killed off Wally and Lisa, he decided to "time-jump" the strip ahead by ten years. He said that he didn't want his strip to get stuck in "extended grieving," and he wanted to start writing about the lives of the original cast's children.

Great. So now he's writing about Summer and Rana (whose parents, before the time jump, were killed by land mines in Afghanistan) and Cory instead of Becky and Lisa and Wally (smart choice, since two of the three are no longer living).

But now his comic strip is set in a future ten years ahead of where we are now. And, aside from character ages, he does not reference this in any way.

And so I ask you this, Mr. Batuik: What happened with the Iraq War? Did Obama just finish his second term as president? What's the must-have technology that took the place of the iPhone? What about the recession and the energy crisis?

And where are the flying cars?????

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