While it's true that Batiuk had enough honesty at one point to make of Les a bad writer of fiction, he compensated by making him a serviceable author of non-fiction books. His first effort was a sort of crime novel about the otherwise baffling murder of local failed talk show host John Darling. While it seems to not have been published because of some idiotic coincidence, it's held to be a fairly well-written attempt to inform the masses about the mental peculiarities of a TV clown who thinks that a man who didn't actually care that he was cosplaying as a ficus was actually mocking him.
The second book (and the first to be actually published) serves the purpose of showing us that neither Les nor his creator understand the publishing industry all that well. As he moans about having the damned thing adapted and whines about having to flog the thing, Les only seems to display his ignorance of the real world. One would think that he'd know going in that the hard-hitting story about how he stood around like a shivering pillar of shit while his wife died of breast cancer would be a tough sell (especially when it contained the element of his dickweed father in law waiting until after his daughter passed on to postulate that his not talking to her because she brought shame to the family might have been a misstep) and that he should be grateful for the attention given him. If so, one would be ignorant of who moaning idiot and pompous pun-spewing tonedeaf insensitive asshole Les is.
This brings us to his current stupid project: his making a graphic novel about a long-term story arc from the spin-off strip Crankshaft. As nearly as I can recall, the particulars are as follows:
- Back in the year 1950, there were two sisters named Lillian and Lucy McKenzie.
- The older sister Lillian was angered by the fact that her younger sister had a fiancee named Eugene because she was a childish nitwit propelled by the idea that she was supposed to get married first because she was older.
- Eugene got called up to serve in Korea and sent Lucy a letter that said if she didn't get in touch with him at such and such a date, he'd know that she'd moved on.
- Lucy wrote him a letter arranging to meet at a favourite place of theirs only to have Lillian intercept and destroy it out of pea-brained jealousy.
- Lucy's response to his being a no-show when his tour of duty (and Lillian's bullshit story as to how HE was the one who'd moved on) was over was to have a nervous breakdown.
- Since this was the fifties, it's sort of obvious that the doctors dealt with her grief by using what we might call "muscular aggression."
- Years passed by with Lillian taking care of what used to be Lucy out of a remorse and shame that she refused to share with the outside world because of her legitimate fear that she'd be burned at the stake.
- After Lucy's death of Alzheimer's, it was revealed that Eugene had, instead of moving on with his life, mutated into a gloomy wraith that had spent the intervening fifty years haunting the shadows mourning the loss of his love because he was too spineless to actually confront her.
- This, and a health scare, got Lillian to tell Crankshaft's daughter Pam what she did and why.
- Lillian's clever plan was to leave a letter explaining things to Eugene at the favourite place before they tore it down.
- The demolition crew tossed it in a recycling bin because they thought it was garbage or something thereby guaranteeing that Eugene would never get closure (by wringing Lillian's scrawny neck for ruining three lives because of imbecile pettiness.)
- Everyone involved in this mess who isn't Pam Murdoch died miserably ever after.
While it's true that appalling calamities like the one described happen all the damned time and will keep on happening as long as humanity has tenure upon the Earth, what seems obvious is that we're in for a poorly-written and mindlessly melodramatic tsunami of rancid porridge that turns this depressing story of childish vindictiveness, nausea-inducing passivity and horrible timing into a Grand Moral Lesson for the Ages by presenting us with the mawkish image of Eugene and Lucy dancing forever in the same Great White Void Saint Dead Lisa inhabits. What seems even more likely is that unlike in real life, this celebration of interdomestic polecattery, lachrymose stupidity and sadistic coincidences will result in a terrible author being praised with great praise for his alleged skill. Also, the wretched mess will be praised by all as a wonderful gift for his caretaker second wife. It's like how Mike's mangled take on his old landlady's horrible life story is The Great Canadian Novel and how that makes a man who wrote drivel like "The living buried the dead" the Greatest Author EVER.