With another one of his “tell, don’t show” story arcs, Rubin has squandered a perfectly good opportunity to show us the lengths college football programs will go to entice high school kids to come play for them.
I don’t know what kind of gifts or attention have been showered on True. Maybe he was able to have the gap in Boo’s front teeth fixed? Some school could’ve offered them a package deal and given Boo a softball scholarship. Or maybe they could’ve sent True some hostess pies (not the fruit kind).
So much missing this summer. No cars with bows on top of them have mysteriously shown up in the Standish driveway. No shady bag men. No awkwardly drawn golfers. No Gil feet. Oh, wait…
Instead we just get two kids on a couch watching some talking head (seated in front of heaven knows what – a crystal football? Trump’s head?) and eating popcorn. Gotta shake my head at how they go from sitting side by side to having Boo behind True and over his shoulder. She’s become the Cayla to True’s Les Moore.
I have to give Whigham a little bit of credit for drawing an actual building on the TCU campus – the University Recreation Center with its distinctive glass front. (Yesterday we were treated to UCLA’s Royce Hall but I gotta tell ya that fountain’s not so impressive in real life.) Then I have to take some of that credit away for drawing True staring at his dad and the reader simultaneously.
As timbuys pointed out yesterday, the True/Art dynamic doesn’t break any new ground in this strip. Maybe that’s one reason we’re getting introduced to all these non-Milfordians all of a sudden? Naw, I’m sure it’s just more name-dropping by Rubin. There was a Sedrick Roy in Chicago at the turn of the last century but the only Sedrick Joy I could find wasn’t a candy bar but the names of a married couple. So never mind.
So what some of the TCU student body, who have become accustomed to winning football these past few years, recognize a potential recruit for their football team? They weren’t invited to the campus by the football staff so what’s the problem? It may be all those kids with backpacks; you can’t be too careful around them these days.
Beyond Rodney showing off his capacity for rounding decimals, what else in this cozy scene is advancing the plot? I’m focused on the symbolism in these three panels.
Panel 1: Dandy Don had this one called years ago. High school stardom for these guys is coming to an end no matter what.
Panel 2: If True doesn’t make a decision before long, he’s gonna end up being a bottom bunk guy for the next four years if not longer.
Panel 3: Look at that night sky. I think it’s beckoning True to follow Mr. Bakst to South Carolina. Can you imagine the Ol’ Ball Coach making a cameo in Gil Thorp? Love him or loathe him (and I freely admit I’m in the latter camp) you gotta admit he’d liven things up a bit.
Look at all these sweaty mens! I hope that sweaty young man with the long hair is True; doesn’t look like him though. Otherwise this strip has completely spun away from Milford and spent a week on characters who aren’t central to the plot. What’s that? There’s no plot? Pshaw! This summer has been all about exposing the college football recruiting mill for what it is and… well… uh… oh yeah! Branding!
Rubin tries to build on all this dynamic tension by trying to make us care about the self-deprecating Rey. Listen, I took a quick look at the Kokomo Herald and let me tell you, some kid announcing his college commitment would be headline news there – a baby step toward the Howard County Sports Hall of Fame.
August 4, 2015
Not even going to guess what model of phone Rodney’s supposed to be talking into there in Panel One, but I do like the dumbbell illustration with copious annotations over his right shoulder.
Panel Two is easy to get lost in if you’ve been up for long enough and/or are under the influence of over the counter cold medications. Between the bent car with the wavy C-pillar that True isn’t quite leaning up against and the shadowy figures in the background doing…. doing…. some sort of football thing but it sure doesn’t look like a football, I can’t be sure what we’re supposed to get from that illustration.
Panel Three fails to clear things up by inexplicably taking us to Fort Worth for the very important task of illustrating for the superannuated amongst us how the kids are destroying the language these days. Were I feeling more generous, I’d award a bonus point for the carefully drawn emoji.
July 28, 2015
Panel One: Nope, not gonna google it, you can’t make me. Probably Not Safe For Sanity (NSFS) anyway.
Panel Two: No, that’s an orange. Try to keep up, True. I think you may have knocked the State Championship trophy into the tapioca.
Panel Three: Yep, just the usual chatter you’d hear around the lunch table at Potentially Past Pro football throwing camp.
July 21, 2015
Panel One: Gil distracts Brady Syndrome Patient Zero with inane puffery while deftly swiping the tip that True left for diner waitress.
Panel Two: The melange of metaphors gets kinda abstract as the silhouettes push through the closed door of opportunity that is Milford High School athletics.
Panel Three: Tom Brady won the Super Bowl? Four times you say? Huh, I guess I must have missed that. I pretty much stopped following the Patriots after Tony Eason washed out and I just never imagined there would ever be any news out of what has always been one of the sleepier NFL teams out there. Goes to show you learn something new every day I suppose.
Back on the shores of
Hubbell Pond Lake Milford and now the Mudlark footballers have migrated to a picnic table. One of them is even randomly waving/fist pumping at the random personal watercraft rider jetting by. But hey, where the women at? And are those kids drinking a six-pack of Billy Beer?
Speaking of women: I’m assuming (at least for today) that the voice of the talking house is being provided by Art Standish. After all he’s the only person in the last year and a half of this strip who has nagged someone about practicing their sport. Has he finally had enough makeup sex with True’s mom to notice what True’s been doing with himself? Given Art’s character development last year, his total passivity toward True’s baseball activities (that is, beyond “benching” True after making his late-night Boo call) was one of the more bothersome aspects of the spring sports arc.