September 2, 2014
I hope everyone enjoyed their Labor Day holiday. If you’re like me, today is a day to slowly ease back into the work routine as we slog through the long holiday-less slog until Thanksgiving (unless you’re one of those lucky bastards who gets Columbus day off).
Speaking of slogging, quite a bit of exposition going on today and almost all of it is painfully obvious in panels one and two. There is quite a bit of attention given to the details of the Standish ‘dos’ though. Ya figure folks in the office give Art a hard time about his wildly mismatched sideburn lengths? If they do, it’s probably not to his face. I mean, look at the degree of menace in his gaze as he tries to stare down Gil in panel three.
Unfortunately for Art and the few things he and Gil have to discuss, generally speaking, once the person you’re negotiating with has what he wants from you (i.e., the services of True) and especially if he didn’t even really want that very much, you have none of what we in the Root Beer Sales and Distribution industry call ‘Beverage Leverage’. OK, no one calls it that: they just say leverage, but the point still stands. Nevertheless, this does set up an entertaining beat as we will have to wait until tomorrow to find out just what kind of power play Art is going to (hopefully hilariously) make. Gil has a long history of bringing his A game whenever anyone tries to make him take his job seriously, so hopefully the action is about to pick up!
Bonus points: Occluded background details galore in panel two. There are those windows of course, but for today I’d like to call out the fine squiggle art that Gil has hanging about a foot below his ceiling, the perfect height for hanging serious office artwork.
August 27, 2014
Hey, remember the other day in the comments when I couldn’t be bothered to remember Tipp’s name? You do? Good, because if there’s one area where this strip has you covered, it is making sure you know the names of all the goofy characters. Why, we even get somewhat reacquainted with that lovable mute, John Pascoe. Not letting his PSTD induced silence keep him down, it turns out that he and Tipp aren’t just about punking bullies, but now have some sort of workout/bodybuilding thing going on now. I guess that makes about as much sense as anything. I wonder if dedicated gymnast/occasional cheerleader and even less occasional vaulting tailback Tipp has seen the light and is now full time on the football team… Regardless, I’ll be interested to see where they go with this plot about Saad’s rapid muscle gain combined with his inability to grow proper facial hair.
Sorry for the paucity of links but, as I mentioned, I got very little time for this today.
August 26, 2014
As promised, today’s no-frills commentary:
Panel one – That is a well drawn hand. Nope, nothing freaky about it at all. Gil’s dialogue is even kind of OK. Note, he says ‘gentlemen’ instead of the Milfordian ‘gents’.
Panel two – Hey, it’s the return of Steve Boone, who I guess is still slumming around the MCC and hitting on the caddies? I guess? Maybe? Who cares… he is introducing us to this strip’s new and exciting character, Saad Shamoun!
Panel three – Things had been pretty normal up until this point, but now we get Steve bringing the weird. The ‘in my office’ joke in panel two was played out twenty years before Steve was born so I’ll let that slide. I won’t let the freak-hand-inappropriate-touch go by nor the weird turn of phrase. Of course, that is perhaps the most salient feature of Steve: He’s missing one pronoun.
August 21, 2014
The sexual innuendo in today’s strip is so chunky you can eat it with a fork, but you’ll want to use a spoon to catch every… wait a minute, we’re not at the Copyright Cantina!
“I’ll see you at the end of the season.” What does Gil know that we don’t? That the Mudlarks and VT will meet in the season finale? That True will transfer to Milford after football season? I don’t even want to waste time speculating.
I just feel for poor Kaz. His daydreams probably didn’t even focus on the unspeakable filth he’d do with True but on his fading hopes of career advancement and a shot at coaching glory. The maelstroms of emotion he’s going through! Anger to the point of inflicting a razor cut on Gil. Self-loathing to the point of cutting himself with that same razor. Weary resignation that being an assistant for Gil means never being able to compete on level ground. Humiliation that True could choose Valley Tech – that trade school! – over Milford.
In P3 Gil suffers from what Daffy Duck famously referred to as “Pronoun trouble.”
“It’s not ‘Maybe we’re not cut out to be quite so big-time.’ It’s ‘Maybe you’re not cut out to be quite so big-time.'”
“That’s true, Kaz, maybe you’re not cut out to be quite so big-time.”
“No, no Gil, it’s not ‘Maybe you’re not cut out to be quite so big-time,’ it’s ‘Maybe I’m not cut out to be quite so big-time.'”
“That’s what I said. Maybe you’re not cut out to be quite so big-time.”
“SO SHOOT ME NOW!'”
*Apologies to Ronnie Milsap. Maybe induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame will make up for it.
August 20, 2014
I figure we’ve got at least a few more days to go on this plot. Even if we do allow for it to bleed into the Fall football story, this can’t be all there is. Yes, today we get the big reveal. But, do we really? What I’m trying to say is, what are the odds that we are going to see a surprise twist in the next few days – or, at the pacing of this story, possibly next week?
After all, you don’t hobble down to the level ground to break bad news to the coach who showed some mild interest in you unless something about the way his eyes glinted when you mentioned the mighty Redhawks as one of the places you might hypothetically play college ball.* I think the contrast between Gil and Kaz’s comlete indifference to the prospect of True coming on board stands in sharp contrast to VT’s coach who enthusiastically discussed ways in which True could explore his potential with plays designed around his stellar Coast football skills.**
I think I’ll lay off the plot and focus on the artwork for now. I don’t have a complete Gil Thorp taxonomy of strip layouts developed because, seriously, I’m sure Billy already has them categorized and indexed in the Milford.xls workbook. However, if I did, today’s strip would fall into the category characterized by an uncomfortably close closeup of a wide eyed teen in the center panel bookended by just flat out wrong artwork. Rowdyman can correct me, but I’ve seen enough of those boots to know they go much higher up the shin than shown in panel one. And, in panel three, Gil has terribly aimed his handshake as he appears to be clasping True’s entire hand within his while simultaneously pulling the kid hard to his side. Awkward!
* True Fact: I don’t believe we’ve ever been shown any indication of this guy actually getting recruited by anyone at the college level.
** True Fact: We’ve never seen True do squat except trip and sprain his ankle stepping over a curb.
It’s been a long weekend, or rather, it’s been a long time since Saturday. Folks have immersed themselves in their Sundays and forgotten all about the thrilling cliffhanger from Saturday where Sam Malone and Diane Chambers shared that passionate, somewhat angry kiss in Sam’s office at Cheers….wait I’m confused. See how long it’s been? Even long suffering Gil Thorp bloggers are lost and confused, so a recap strip is definitely in order! After all, it’s Monday and none of us are operating at peak efficiency and furthering this strip’s plot at this point would be dangerous to readers mainlining coffee, preoccupied with the mental strain of stealing themselves for another week in the salt mines. Many of us couldn’t handle new information about our favorite high school coach and the tank town over which he casts his spells. Besides, there are hidden subtleties to this work, delicately structured themes spun like gossamer that must be presenting in an organic form which can to the casual observer appear to be simple repetition, but to the trained observer of this most intricate form of storytelling reveal, um…something. See? Clearly we just need to get caught up so we don’t spiral down a wormhole of weird hands and the chunky accoutrement that adorn them.
So True returns to the hotel across the street from the Hilton to check in with his father, Art. True alerts Art that he ran into Gil Thorp but reveals that he didn’t glean any new information about Gil Thorp’s team. We will presume that the football team is the team in question, but we haven’t got space to delve into that so we smash cut over to a couple of Milford’s young ladies revealing that the Milford rumor mill has been running at peak capacity, spreading misinformation about True Standish and his family’s decision about where True will go to school in the valley.
Wow. I’m going to need a nap. Tell my boss I’ll be in Tuesday, probably.
August 2, 2014
Three stars doesn’t seem like a big deal when the star system goes up to
11 5 but it places you among the top 750 prospects and the top 10% of players in the country. A three-star high school player is deemed among the best players in his region. In True’s case, that would be the Coast, of course. (BTW prepscoop.com is not yet a real thing but 901prepscoop.com is, though it’s a Memphis-area basketball recruiting site, as is prepscoopmedia.com.)
And while 3-star guys have a fraction of the likelihood of being drafted by an NFL team as 4- and 5-star guys it’s not out of the question and many factors can dramatically raise a 2- or 3-star guy’s value after he’s in college. The immediately linked article summarizes them as a major growth spurt in college, playing high school ball in an under-scouted area (or having little or no game film to promote himself), or a lack of experience.
Anyway Mongo there seems pretty impressed. Shuford, who couldn’t remember True’s last name yesterday, can remember that he wasn’t committed to Milford.
Meanwhile over at the Center City Hilt, the seeds of The Truman Show coming to Milford may be getting planted. True supposedly has experience given his game film on prepscoop.com and growth spurts can’t really be predicted (or can they?), but how can he expect to get showcased in a program where the players know more about national high school football prospects than their blissfully ignorant coach?