Friday, September 12, 2008

Magic, Inc

*Yawn* is pretty much all I have to say about today's strip

Well, that and the fact that it doesn't make sense that our Ersatz Zeus is still inhabiting Robbie's statue for some reason.

And the shadowing of the two fingers in the last panel is unnecessary and just odd.

While it's nice to have an actual story-arc again, I think Kurtz might be out of practice on the pacing of these things. I feel like there's a whole lot of potential that was left on the cutting room floor and we got some executively meddled version of what should have been an entertaining story.

35 comments:

Anonymous said...

You'd expect Scratch to come up with something more sophisticated in getting Skull back than just 'threaten people until you get what you want' - after all, he does fancy himself the genius.

But this arc just shows a rather huge fumble of what could have been a rather interesting and creative story. Scratch begins a quest to reclaim his missing friend from a hidden world of mythical creatures! So far we've had a bar scene, an alleyway (in theory) and an office. What's in store for next week? A multi-level carpark?

vaultkeeper said...

Any writer will tell you that trying to create a story for a character that is smarter than you is one of the hardest things to do.

So expecting Scott Kurtz to write a genius level plan is asking a bit too much.

Need I remind you fo the Jayde Fontaine mysteries?

Anonymous said...

Three strips in a row plagarizing movies. The giant disappearing due to science(Flight of Dragons)the magic key that opens any door (Matrix 2) the office for imaginary creatures (Beatlejuice, Drop Dead Fred)

Maybe it's subliminal, sometimes I tell a joke that I inadvertently remembered from years ago not knowing it wasn't original. Then again I'm not trying to be a creative artist either.

Jai said...

I would be shocked if he were ripping any of those things off, even subconsciously. They're just elements he needs for the story he's set up.

He is, of course, clearly referencing Monsters, Inc. today - that's probably what influenced him to make up the magic key (Which turns all doors into magic portal doors), too. That's not really plagiarism.

heigle5050 said...

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the blatant Harry Potter reference with the "Ministry of Magic" line.

Is it possible that he's deliberately laying a trail of references? Creating a world in which all fantasy worlds are true?

Esoteric Scribe said...

There was a strip way back where Skull effectively let slip that the Harry Potter books weren't really fiction.

matt said...

Scratches gun looks like some sorta weird double-areoled teat thinger.

Doesn't help that Zeus is about to take a big ole' suckle in the third panel.

Maybe it's just me...

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

Hey ES,
Do you mean the time Skull told Jason that Lord of the Rings was real or another time?

Captain Awesome said...

Sage,

I have a fairly decent memory, and I seem to recall a Halloween strip where Skull was wearing the Hogwarts scarf-and-glasses set and one of the characters made a remark about a great Halloween costume, and Skull let slip that it wasn't a costume.

I could be way off, but that's my memory and I don't have the time nor inclination to check the archives.

Captain Awesome said...

My memory isn't that good, because upon further thought I think the strip happened during one of the premieres for a Potter movie. The characters thought Skull's costume was simply to celebrate the premiere.

Jai said...

It's not just you, Matt. I mentioned it in the previous day's comments. Oh, and also on the day when we first saw the nipple gun in all its "glory".

J said...

Several things in the shoulda/woulda/coulda list of better ways to plot.

-Scott is falling into the newpaper-drama hole, where an entire week is wasted hammering a single point home only to drop a cliffhanger on the final day to try to hold your interest for the next week. And then the next week is more of the same.

-If Scratch now has a key that can take him anywhere, why doesn't he just go to where Skull is? Why go through the motions? You could argue that he doesn't know where Skull is, and needs StatZeus to tell him, but he doens't know where Magic Inc. is either. He still got there. Screw this, go find Skull.

-I (like many) am over Scratch trying to be Vin Diesel. I'd get more out of the classic Bond-style, "Reveal from the spinning chair". Roger did it to Steve in American Dad if that helps with a visual.

- Any writer will tell you that trying to create a story for a character that is smarter than you is one of the hardest things to do.
True, Batman TAS had the same problem with the Riddler. But that doesn't explain Scratch acting like a thug. The smartest thing he's done, at all, is make the giant disappear; then right back to waving his nippleraygun around.

-Lastly, a more simple "I'd cancel that 11:30" seems to work better. For me.

TheOriginalJes said...

-"Anonymous said...

You'd expect Scratch to come up with something more sophisticated in getting Skull back than just 'threaten people until you get what you want' - after all, he does fancy himself the genius."-


Actually, Scratch is staying true to character. He seems to always threaten first, and think later. After all, how can he have a plan to defeat something he hasn't really seen yet?

My only really thoughtless complaint for the week is that Shecky (even though I hate him) rolled over too easily. He may not be the most intimidating character, but doesn't he always have a "Plan B"? I'm surprised he didn't have some hired/duped muscle around, or try to escape. Instead he just gives away an artifact he knows to be quite valuable.

And that really robbed us of an opportunity to see how resourceful Scratch can be when a plan doesn't go "by the numbers". Especially after the let-down of Kringus vs. the fake Santa.

Although I would like to point out that Scratch, due to his own science, must believe in gods. Or else he couldn't really confront one personally, could he? What does that do to his science?

Anonymous said...

why is the 'buh?' so small in the bubble?

why he saying 'buh?'

matt said...

I personally would have said "Ruh Roh!"

Anonymous said...

"Any writer will tell you that trying to create a story for a character that is smarter than you is one of the hardest things to do.

So expecting Scott Kurtz to write a genius level plan is asking a bit too much."


There's 'smart' and then there is 'smart within the context of a comic strip universe'. No-one is expecting Scott to come up with a exceptionally intricate plan that would feasibly work in the real world, just something a little more in character with Scratch than storming in, playing the half-pint thug.

The nice thing about outlandish and convoluted plans set within your own created universe - they tend to work. Basically, Scratch's tactic is a pure and simple imagination failure on the part of the writer.

Brett Schiller (Sage) said...

Ok cool, I know the LOTR comment to jason from Foxtrot was recent, I didn't know about the Harry Potter one
Thanks

Esoteric Scribe said...

@theoriginaljes:

Maybe that giant that Scratch science'd away was Shecky's muscle.

Anonymous said...

That would have been good, ES. It would have changed that oversized discussion from a tangenital exposition to an elegant one that tied neatly into the plot at hand. The idea wasn't written into the comic, but I bet Kurtz would claim it to be his intention if he saw the idea from one of his readers.

Anonymous said...

Why do you people keep acting so friggin' surprised all the time at Kurtz's slacking?

He can't come up with original material, so he steals it from movies and books and cartoons by more creative people. He can't tell an interesting story, so he tosses in, wholesale, pop culture references to fill space. He can't make what could be an interesting story entertaining by showing Scratch encountering magic critters in magicworld...no, he just shows up instantly in the big boss's chair waving his gun around like an asshole.

Kurtz is a hack who produces crap.

J said...

We (or at least I) are surprised - or better yet, dismayed - all the time because I remember back when Scott combined LARPing, battling a rival Star Trek LARP, and a pie-fight all in one story pretty seamlessly. When a magic genie who grants General Lee's, time travel, or a garage collection of '70s-'80s automobiles wasn't outside of what was considered normal, or sense jarring.

Compare that too the wedding story-chain, were you have the wedding, teen sex, Robbie's outbrust, Skull leaving and nothing felt organic. Now every story feels like it's trying way to hard.

We (ie, I) wonder why Scott treats his strip like it's 8 Simple Rules after John Ritter died.

Anonymous said...

Kurtz is a hack who produces crap. that's why I have to come here and read this blog so I can feel better about it.

False Prophet said...

Well, that and the fact that it doesn't make sense that our Ersatz Zeus is still inhabiting Robbie's statue for some reason.

Probably so we know it's the same character. That's the problem with introducing a new character in some form of disguise.

But, if is supposed to be some kind of Ersatz Zeus, it is kind of appropriate, since the mythological Zeus disguised himself all the time.

Reis said...

To TheOriginalJes...

Complaining that Shecky "rolled over too easily" is I think missing the point. Shecky is a morally gray character, but he's always had a soft spot for Skull, even though his mistreats him sometimes. And he's hardly a "follow the rules" sort of fellow. I don't think he would have to persuaded very hard to help "rescue" Skull, particularly with no more personal investment of his than was needed.

Anonymous said...

Maybe the statue is his real form, and he just watches over the mansion for shits and giggles?

Anonymous said...

Maybe he doesn't even have a true form. He could be a purely metaphysical being that manifests itself on this world by possessing inanimate objects. He then stays in whatever object he happens to be in until he sees some reason to change into a new one. Like an ethereal hermit crab.

Anonymous said...

Scott simply has no patience for long story-lines.
Never has.
Probably never will.

Coa the serpent said...

Why should scratch be the one who rescue Skull.
Cole and Brent besides
"we´ll bring him back"
they havent bothered to do a thing
they dont deserve skull.

Anonymous said...

"they havent bothered to do a thing"

What are you talking about? They've taken part in Panda mating, hung out with Robbie and Jase, even found time for a little D&D. Oh, you mean they haven't bothered doing a damn thing in order to locate their beloved friend, someone who has been by Brent's side since he was a child? Yeah, that is pretty dumb.

Anonymous said...

Because Brent and Cole getting involved in the mythical side of PvP would totally work. It wasn't jarring at all having Brent interact with a talking Zeus statue at the wedding and having the PvP gang generally take this in its stride and never talk again about the weird thing they saw(sarcasm).

No, bringing back Skull can't be done by any of the "serious" cast/

Besides, part of the problem of the strip in the past year has been 24/7 Brent, so using Scratch for this makes sense.

I also don't get where people are like "Shecky should have resisted!". Shecky likes Skull. Why is Shecky going resist finding Skull anyway, let alone if resistance involves being shot by a psychotic cat?

And seriously, do we not remember the dog in the junkyard? Scratch fancies himself a genius, but he's a bloodythirsty cat like any other when the chips are down.

This run of strips isn't really that funny, but complaints about the characterisation are weird. The characters are completely, even boringly, consistent.

Anonymous said...

"Because Brent and Cole getting involved in the mythical side of PvP would totally work. /snip/ (sarcasm)"

Because Brent & friends haven't been living/working with a mythical creature for decades now? (rolleyes)

"Besides, part of the problem of the strip in the past year has been 24/7 Brent, so using Scratch for this makes sense."

If you're the writer, perhaps. But from the standpoint of the story and characters, your main protagonists - the ones so very moved and making promises to "get him back", the ones actually present when he left, seem to have forgotten all about their friend... to the point that they're happy to go about other things, play table-top games, etc.

THAT is out of character. THAT doesn't make sense.

Anonymous said...

I bet Scratch is going to fail. This is just a precursor to next year's true Skull Returns storyline, twice as long with about the same level of excitement.

TheOriginalJes said...

-"Esoteric Scribe said...

@theoriginaljes:

Maybe that giant that Scratch science'd away was Shecky's muscle."-

That's a point I didn't consider. But then, wouldn't/shouldn't Shecky have reacted stronger?

-"Anonymous said...

Why do you people keep acting so friggin' surprised all the time at Kurtz's slacking?

He can't come up with original material, so he steals it from movies and books and cartoons by more creative people."-

Show me a pop-culture medium that doesn't... That still doesn't mean we can't discuss alternatives.

to Reis - I do see what you mean. And, that is backed by Shecky's planning another visit to PVP. However, all he does when he visits is borrow from or manipulate Skull, and steal Brent's wallet. With the key he just handed to Scratch, he doesn't need Skull at PVP to do either. So, it represents a more-than-likely loss on Shecky's part to help Scratch like this.

-"they haven't bothered to do a thing"-

This is more of a suggestion: They could go back to the gaming shop where they found the Knuckle of Kap-whatever- (you know, the one that led them to see Skull in the past, and to the Delorean).

Or would that have been too simple?

Anonymous said...

I like how Scratch looks with the key and the goggles. He looks like a gangsta.

I didn't really like the strip, since jokes that have to be explained (action, then the character explains what the action is) always felt bland to me.

Anonymous said...

"I like how Scratch looks with the key and the goggles. He looks like a gangsta."

You'd expect nothing less from a 'destoryer' of worlds.

(Holy fuck, Kurtz! Fire up the old spell-checker, you lazy dumbass!)

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