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Tag and Bink Live! For at least one blog post. Patreon reward for A.P.O.N.I. · 9:06am Dec 23rd, 2017

Heya readers!

I wanted to get this out this past weekend but hit a snag when I hit a buncha stairs… by falling down them… This made writing difficult on account of me mostly breaking the many falls with my face apparently. Feeling better now and I got this slick “get well soon” pic from Firimil!

Awww… She looks so sad and FLUFFY!

The good news is after a taking it easy for a bit, I’m starting to feel better and finally ready to get out my Patreon Reward for A.P.O.N.I.

A.P.O.N.I. asked me to blog about Tag & Bink. Usually, I do all things Star Wars at the $5 level, but oddly enough, I have never read Tag & Bink so I accepted it at the $10 price blog level.

For those who don’t know, Tag & Bink are a pair of mostly hapless members of the Rebel Alliance introduced by Dark Horse comics to do, the rarely attempted, Star Wars comedy stories. They’re also one of the handful of Star Wars stories that’s not even considered EU canon (though maybe technically “Legends” canon maybe? You’d think Disney rebranding the EU would simplify things, but not so much…)

I decided specifically to tackle “TAG & BINK ARE DEAD”. Note that this will have spoilers, so if you’re interested, maybe track down issues of Tag & Bink are Dead or at least the first issue and read it before reading this one.

A little background story to the pair, the opening chapter is presented with a meta page “crawl” detailing the fact Dark Horse comics is desperate for new Star Wars stories as it waits for SW Episode II to come out and that in their desperation they turned to Kevin Rubio who I mostly appreciate for this gem back when dial-up was still the way to connect to the internet.

The title is also designed as a nod to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a play about two minor characters from Hamlet whose story happens “in the wings” of the main play. Tag and Bink’s stuff is pretty well known amongst Star Wars fans who have been in the fandom for a while, just something I hadn’t gotten around to, until now…

Just to step in line with my Vader Comic blog, let’s start with the art.

And THEN I can use this page to talk about the jokes!

While certainly not the beautiful, full detailed work of some Star Wars comics or the artsy, somewhat avant-garde, style of say, the Dark Empire series, I think this works well enough for comedy, which is what this piece mostly is supposed to be. It’s detailed enough I can tell what’s going on, but I’m still mostly focused on the dialogue and expressions. Basically, it works well for what the comic sets out to do.

Now as for the humor, the above demonstrates some of the core jokes from the comic. Banter between Tag and Bink, and meta humor that incorporates aspects of the Star Wars universe. Banter is kinda the bread and butter of humor in the Star Wars stories, serious or otherwise. The banter here is mostly passable. There’s nothing wrong with it, but it’s nothing we haven’t seen nearly constantly out of Star Wars films, books, comics, video games, etc… Bink’s detailed breakdown of a Star Destroyers complement Vs. the Rebel forces is great though and I think is a good example of where this comic excels, meta humor that incorporates or pokes a little fun at Star Wars and the films themselves.

The other aspects are not all-that-subtle shout-outs to other franchises (often sci-fi) and some self-indulgence visual gags.

Very self-indulgent.

I found these occasionally amusing, but in the above panel, really it was the quips about “signage” and Stormtrooper armor I found most humorous.

As you may have pieced together, Tag & Bink find themselves on the Tantive IV just in time for it to be captured by the Devastator but manage to swap places with a couple of Storm Troopers and end up on the Death Star. Their goal is basically just to get off the Death Star and get away from the Imperials. They swap between Stormtrooper and TIE Fighter Pilot armor a couple times, each time crossing paths with the heroes and major events and accidentally ending up in scenes through sheer circumstance.

Even in a galaxy a long, long time ago and far away You can FEEL the tragicomedy from here!

This was another part of the issue I found particularly great, to see our protagonists constantly yo-yoing in and out of the main story at different points completely unaware that they were taking part in a much bigger story, and hell…  even if convoluted, I enjoyed the creativity of seeing the two pulled constantly into this story of intrigue and drama like some sort of horrible, invisible Rube Goldberg machine of fate they didn’t know they were part of.

But all things must come to an end, so of course Tag and Bink accidentally end up as Vader’s co-pilots during the big Death Star scene and die.

Or not… Also, that's WAY too many fighters to survice the Death Star attack! Someone at Dark Horse should know better!

So we get more “fun!” Fun is in quotations because, sadly, this is where the story falls apart pretty much completely for me. The next issue retcons that last one to suggest those TIE Fighter pilots were never Tag and Bink at all!

Think of it this way—I’m not smashing in your smug-prick face in with a baseball bat, I’m teaching you a valuable lesson on not gas-lighting your readers and to actually put effort into writing yourself out of a corner!

As egregious as what just happened was, even from a comedy writing point of view, I was willing to still give the story a fair shake. I mean, issue one was good… SURE this sort of established that the author is perhaps a bit too enamored with the idea he can do anything in this setting, but I’m sure we’ll get more antics regarding these two accidentally following the main story and funny shenanigans out of it!!

Except we pretty much don’t and that’s terrible!

So, instead of hooking up as Vader’s co-pilots, Tag and Bink steal a shuttle, barely escape the Death Star as it explodes, and have their hyperdrive knocked out so they have to limp to Yavin VI, a journey that’ll take two to three months now that the hyperdrive has been knocked out of commission. Still, Bink is confident the Rebels will still be there.

Okay, I know this is a comedy, but there is so much about the above paragraph that doesn’t make sense. First off, The Death Star seemed to be in orbit around the gas giant Yavin and attempting to get a clear shot at the moon. Even at sub-light speeds, if they’re going to a moon around a planet they’re in orbit around that should take… _maybe_ hours if their ship is barely functional… Less than that if they still have full sublight.  How far where they blasted away? Also, why would the Rebels stick around? Certainly, the Empire is DOUBLY invested in their destruction NOW. Plus they probably have an invested interest in seeing what they can recover from the Death Star… I mean… that’s A LOT of scrap metal now just floating in space that’s gotta be some use and maybe there are survivors?

You wouldn’t think it, but somehow the story goes even more downhill for me. Months later, the pair finally makes it to Yavin VI where we’re treated to a Space Odyssey 2001 reference and at least the second Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reference before they find themselves in a fight with… Boba Fett because he just so happened to be on Yavin Vi to find Han?

Whatever… Tag and Bink are now physics-defying bad-asses now.

Blasters do not work that way!

So, to recap, the story went from a light-hearted meta-comedy revolving around two characters who kept on getting pulled into the main story in outlandish, but funny ways to a “don’t think about this too hard, or rather… don’t think about things at all” action comedy. Tag and Bink are now the heroes of their own story and the whole thing is worse off for it. Maybe it works if you wanted to see these two as action heroes, but this is a huge departure from what we’re presented, plus, as I mentioned, the artworks better for a comedy than it does for an action so now the art is less working with everything happening and often a distraction.

It also feels to me like Fett is getting picked on a bit. I do wonder if this is somewhat on purpose as he’s sort of the “Wolverine” of the Star Wars Dark Horse comics, just constantly showing up to do cool Fett things, but to see him taken out by two characters who more or less blunder their way through every situation is a not an easy pitch.

To quickly cover the rest, Tag just so happens to know Lando as Lando dated his sisters and Lando owes him many favors. So they fly over to Cloud City, a journey that should take years, perhaps hundreds, or thousands, or millions considering we know they don’t have a working hyperdrive but they show up before Han, Chewie, Leia, and 3PO and… you know what? This story has stopped caring so I don’t know why I should.

There are a few noteworthy scenes where Tag and Bink interact with the events as we know but mostly they seem to run around and annoy Lando while establishing Lando takes credit for some big battle Tag was in but Lando was absent because, hey, let’s just continue to make major supporting characters look bad in favor of our new awesome OCs.

Basically, the take on Episode 4 was clever and very entertaining. The take on 5 was not as the narrative got sloppy, lazy, less funny, and kinda forgot the whole point of this exercise. Instead of being side-characters unable to escape the main plot, Tag and Bink are having their own adventures that sometimes intersect with the bigger, more important story and it just feels poorly executed.

I know hindsight is 20/20, but I think it would have worked better to keep Tag & Bink as Vader’s co-pilots. Have them survive in their air-tight TIE Fighter pilot suits until the Empire rescues them, and then they have to continue to scheme to get back to and help the Rebellion, “Hey, let’s send these probe droids to the middle of nowhere where the Rebels can’t POSSIBLY be! Hoth?! Who in their right mind would set up a base on that ice cube of a world?” There could have been Snowtrooper quips, a hilarious scene where they reinsert the deleted scene of 3PO releasing Wampa’s on Stormtroopers… So much material that could have been played with.

Just… instead, we got a bunch of silly stuff that’s sort of deformation of popular characters’ character that also makes no sense. Sure, what I suggested would have been ‘more of the same’, but I certainly wasn’t sick of those types of gags by the end of the first issue and kind of thought that was the whole point.

Speaking of which, the take on episode 6 is, unfortunately, more of what we got in 5. Major supporting characters mostly looking like incompetent idiots, timeframes that don’t make a lot of sense, and more Tag and Bink having their OWN adventures that are often separate from the plot of the movies. There are scenes where they’re, once again, in masks and participating in major events, but these tend to strain suspension of disbelief much more than the instances in the first issue and often somewhat rely on other beloved Star Wars characters being lame-shadows of how we usually think of them.

As mentioned, there’s also a side story that’s sort of tangentially related the plot of the main film, except we the readers know how the main story goes, so ultimately, we know Tag & Bink can’t really do anything that makes a difference and… There’s just a ton of missed potential here as more random OCs are added, including a kick-ass red-headed female in armor because… I don’t know… The story wasn’t cliché enough at this point? Lando gets picked on some more, Fett gets picked on A LOT more (though there is one good gag about Fett not being able to get a date because now there are millions of guys in the galaxy who all look like him messing up his chances with the ladies), and the story even finds time to make Mon Mothma look like a grade A bitch.

Honestly, the whole thing works best with the meta-humor where Tag and Bink just find themselves in ridiculous situation after ridiculous situation and somehow the stories get away from that. I will grant that the episode six story had probably two of the greatest gags in the entire three story offering.

Second gag makes fun of the special edition with regards to Anakin Skywalk… Eh, who am I kidding? I’m not going to make anyone slog through the issue to find it.

In short, I highly recommend Tag and Bink are Dead issue 1 and suggest you save yourself the time and skip the other two. Basically, it starts out as funny, perhaps even clever meta-commentary then quickly devolves into simple “LOL RANDOM!” humor that mostly forgets that it’s basically stuck orbiting a much larger story and THAT’S where it should draw its entertainment from. The second two stories also freely introduce plot holes based on its own storytelling and seemingly embraces that, telling you to do the same. Eff that, I said.

Anyhow, that’s it for this installment! Perhaps someone will get me to look at the other two Tag & Bink stories, perhaps not! nuclearcore’s Patreon request of The Cornetto trilogy is what’s next!

And if you want to see me blog on the topic of your choice or even just want a sneak peek at my upcoming fics and the chance to influence what gets written (and get credit), feel free to become a Patreon sponsor!

Comments ( 13 )

"My train was in the station, I was rushing full of care;
But I stepped on her cat and stumbled, and fell headlong down the stairs.
Missus Crandall came up to me, "Did ya miss a step, 'me son?"
"No," I says,"My dear landlady, I hit every bloomin' one!"

Huh... I'm not sure how to feel about Tag and Blink, it's simultaneously meta humour and a bit too indulgent. But meh, thank you for the read!

The first issue, which can be tracked down online for free easily enough like pretty much all comics, amused me. I just can't really recommend the next two unless you find yourself REALLY enjoying their antics and think they deserve their own series. It's silly, but it the first issue almost works as canon in the EU... the next two are a bit too lackadaisical with story structure and the rules of Star Wars to capture that same feel.

Fair enough, I'll probably at the very least give it a gander at some point here.

I remember having copies of the these. Don't remember the second one though.

Also, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead is one of my favorite plays. The film version with Richard Dreyfuss is amazing.

It's silly, but it the first issue almost works as canon in the EU... the next two are a bit too lackadaisical with story structure and the rules of Star Wars to capture that same feel.

I think therein lies the issue. I saw this from the beginning as a farcical comedy/parody not to be taken too seriously, if at all, like a robot chicken skit, or spaceballs, or the family guy specials. Though I did hear of all the other stuff that took place so that might've been why. But from what I've seen, people love all of Tag and Bink for it's outlandish events. I would highly recommend for fans who wouldn't mind just reading something for laughs at something ridiculous.

If you approach it with that mindset, I think you could enjoy the rest. There's an instance where they're trying to help Anakin in his....."courtship" of Padme, and after their first kiss they're like "Sand?! What the hell was that?!"

As I said I might read the other two and even enjoy them if asked to blog, but two and three weren't even consistent with their own plot points, let alone the rules of the Star Wars universe. Even in comedy, I generally expect stories to have internal consistency unless they really are so off-the-wall bonkers it seems expecting that would be silly.

And therein lies part of the problem, the first issue, while silly, at least attempts some degree of focus and consistency. The second one (despite the retcon) starts out this way then abandons this with no warning or indication to the reader it's going to happen. It feels disconnected if nothing else.

Thanks for the review! :raritywink:

Thanks for the review. :raritywink: I'm sorry that you didn't enjoy it as much as I did. I'm coming to realize that I don't take Star Wars canon as seriously as some do.

No worries. I didn't mind it not being canon so much as the first installment felt like it was written with a bit more care and thought than the rest of it. I mean... The shuttle taking months to get them to Yavin while in system then being able to get them to Bespin immediately is just the sort of plot hole I can't overlook regardless of genre.

Please take this in the gently teasing manner in which it is intended, but is that anything like that time in Empire when Luke trains with Yoda for months during the gang's adventure in cloud city, senses that they're in trouble, and flies to their rescue, all during the day or so that they're there? :duck:

Heh. As someone who just watched the movie a week ago and a die-hard fan of the classics, I can attest that Luke had his vision and left for Bespin before they were captured, and they spent months getting to Cloud City using the Falcon's faulty backup hyperdrive. I think the time they spend on Cloud city was pretty short as the Imperials arrived first. That certainly is a problem with the originals in that they don't convey the passage of time very well, and it's one of the most irritating things about Empire.

My main beef here is a problem that necessitated an INCREDIBLY long trip for what should have been a short journey with a damaged hyperdrive took months and was explicitly called out as being the case while a trip that should have basically been impossible under those conditions suddenly took place with no explanation. I mean, if they had said Fett magically fixed the hyperdrive with those predator claws of his, I'd have rolled my eyes pretty hard, but it at least would have been an explanation perhaps befitting the random comedy genre.

While I have nothing more to add to the discussion, it feels somehow wrong of me to simply ignore such a well-phrased and thought-out argument. So, I will simply say... potato. :moustache:

I suppose that I could also have gone with Merry Christmas. :derpytongue2:

The thought has just occurred to me that I should be more grateful that you have higher standards than I. This means that anything that you like, I will almost certainly like. :pinkiehappy: (I believe that I will go order those hardbound copies of the Marvel Darth Vader comics, for example.) Please continue the reviews to your existing standards! :twilightsmile:

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