Pete on The First Try

Link to today’s strip.

Pete sure looks pleased with himself, as well he should; he has answered correctly.  Dullard, on the other hand, looks around worriedly.   I said a man’s wife is his best friend.  Just like mine is my best friend, always there, always by my side.  Wait a minute, where’s my wife?  If she’s my best friend, why isn’t she here instead of Pete?  How come I don’t have any cookies?  Yes, Dullard has answered incorrectly, as the wives, mothers and daughters of Westview have no place in a man’s life, unless there are cookies to be served unto him during the sacred reading of the Book of Comic.

On the wall behind them is a collection of boomerangs, presumably those used by Captain Boomerang, a member of The Flash’s rogues gallery.  All I know about Captain Boomerang is that he uses boomerangs to commit crimes, and his original costume looked as if it–how can I put this?–would not be out of place on an off-Broadway stage in the mid 1990’s, or a hairdresser’s salon in the late 1960’s.

I assume the Captain didn’t just buy his boomerangs at any available sporting goods store; they were probably custom made to be, uh, deadly, yeah, that’s the word. (Yes, I know boomerangs are technically deadly weapons, but they’re generally not designed to be deadly to people.  Except in The Road Warrior, the “Fun and Games” episode of The Outer Limits, and…Flash comics.)

So while an exhibit of boomerangs on the wall is perhaps slightly less stupid than Jay Garrick’s hat, it still makes The Flash Museum in Central City kind of clueless as to how an actual museum is supposed to work.  I thought about saying, “I’d love to listen in on the planning sessions for this museum,” but I have this ghastly premonition that we do not have long to wait before we will witness just that.

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Crisis on Infinite Earths

Link to today’s strip.

The written content of today’s strip makes “trivia” look like Tolstoy, so I’m going to ignore it.  Despite Dexter Myles constant pointing.  What the hell is that guy’s deal?  “The fingah!  The fingah!”

No, what I want to draw your attention to is the object in the glass case in panel one.

It’s not a flying saucer.  It’s not a hubcap.  It’s Jay Garrick’s hat.

I hate myself for knowing this and typing it out at you, but the original golden age Flash was a guy named Jay Garrick.  He safeguarded his secret identity by…putting on a hat.  Seriously, no mask, no hood, just a hat.  “Jay, are you secretly the Flash?”  “Of course not, that’s silly!” (puts on hat)  “Oh my gosh, Flash, how did you get here?  And where’s Jay?”  Finally, we have someone who makes Superman’s glasses look like a James Bond disguise.

But that’s not what worries me.

If someone was going to build a comic strip museum, you couldn’t put a baseball cap and glove, or a yellow porkpie hat, into a glass case and claim they belonged to Charlie Brown and Dick Tracy respectively.  Because neither of those folks exist, so it’s not possible to possess items that they used.

So, then, someone made a replica of Jay Garrick’s hat for the museum.  “So what?” you’re probably asking me.  But why would they do that?  What does the hat by itself do, when you could get a more complete impression by making a statue of Jay Garrick wearing his hat?  Both are equally fake, but the second makes more sense.  Unless…

–unless The Flash is a real person in Funky Winkerbean, and that’s Jay Garrick’s actual hat.  And he donated it to the museum.  Suddenly, all of this makes sense.  No.  No, no.  No, it doesn’t.  But it seems logically consistent, given the contents of The Flash Museum in Central City.  But if there are actual superheroes in the Funkyverse, why are there comic books?  Why does Pete struggle to write them, when he can just read the newspaper and copy what actually happened?  How come these heroes never save anyone–yet get gigantic museums in their honor?  Could you hire Superman to destroy Westview, because evil?  Why hasn’t he done so already?

AAAARRRRRGGGHHH

MIND

BLOWN

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The Terrible Tues

Link to today’s strip.

Commentor Erdmann mentioned the Superman museum last week, and based on images on the web, it looks like a fun place to visit (if a bit overstuffed with things).  It’s also a much more modest endeavor than The Flash Museum in Central City, which, as we discovered yesterday, is a friggin’ skyscraper.

Someone built a skyscraper to celebrate a fictional character.   I just cannot wrap my brain around that–the Funkyverse is utterly insane if this is considered not to be cause for a trip to the asylum but beneficial behavior to be celebrated.  I think Funky Winkerbean has moved beyond criticism with this arc, because in order to criticize, one must have a common frame of reference with that being criticized.  And I really don’t think I have anything in common with the people who created this, um, story.  Sheesh.  A skyscraper for a fictional character!  What must Tom Batiuk have been thinking–

–oh.

Anyway, I would like to point out something clever in this episode.  By using a single word, “guide,” Tom Batiuk told me that this Dexter Myles guy is the guide for the Flash Museum that exists in the comic book.  No need to do a web search or anything, which is good, because I didn’t care enough to find out who he was.  So, kudos for that.  Honestly, I appreciate his willingness to impart information so succinctly.

Of course, it’s for a character from a Flash comic book, so it’s half expected; it would be churlish for me to point out that a great number of his own characters (Thatsnought Humore for example) don’t even have proper names, so I won’t!

As for the rest of the content here, I think, “Therapy would be a really good idea.”

Alternate Les Museum:

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Munday Mundane

Link to today’s strip.

Today’s strip was not available for preview, but I think we can safely guess that it will feature Pete extolling the many wonders of the Flash Museum in Central City.

One of the many wonders probably won’t be “I wonder who would be so obsessed and sense-bereft to build a museum celebrating The Flash?”

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La Vida Patetico

Link to today’s strip.  (It’ll be there soon, trust me.) (FINALLY)

That sentence, “Same old same, old man” sure is jarring, but the saddest part here is Pete Rugose…and not because he looks like he’s ten years old.

He’s a far more successful writer than Les Moore–he’s written for Marvel, he’s written Superman stories, and he’s a screenwriter on a highly anticipated upcoming film.   Yet visiting the Flash Museum is the one act that he thinks will define his life.   Of course, those other things I mentioned involve writing, and whenever he has to write, he bitches about how hard it is and how everyone should stop making him do it.  So maybe being able to write comics isn’t something he celebrates, he sees it as just one big burden.

Harry’s expression in panel three is similarly sad.  I’m going to guess that the Flash Museum is not located atop an inaccessible mountain peak, nor is it anchored in the benthic depths of the ocean.  It’s probably right here in America somewhere, so if visiting it drives Harry to high levels of ecstasy, then why haven’t you gone, Harry?  I seriously doubt that the entry fee is too high–remember, we’re talking about a museum devoted to The Flash.  Many museums are supported by visitor donations, while for others the fee is pretty nominal.   They want people to come and see what they have, although I suppose in the Funkyverse maybe it’s the opposite, and they’d rather not have anyone visit unless they happen to be the “right” sort of folks.

The only way any of this makes sense is if the Flash museum only opens once every fifteen years, and only stays open for one hour.  Then, all this talk of how awesome it is to go to the Flash Museum might make sense.  It could be the basis of a great story, too, how Dullard and Pete Ratchet thought they had plenty of time, but got stuck in traffic and got to the museum only to see the “CLOSED” sign be hung in the window by a swift hand.  What an opportunity for misery that would be!

But then, Tom Batiuk couldn’t show drawings of the Flash.  So of course Dullard and Pete Radish will get to see the museum, and so will we.  Sigh.

When they’re at the museum, I hope the staff can sell them razor blades and cyanide capsules at the exit, because if their lives are all downhill from here, why shouldn’t they end it all on a high note?

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Today’s Reading is From the Book of Comic

Link to today’s strip.

Sunday’s episode was not available for preview.  Typically, though, Sunday’s offering doesn’t interfere with (for lack of a better term) “continuity” of any of the (for lack of a better term) “stories.”  After all, we’re promised a visit to the !!!FLASH MUSEUM!!! in !!!CENTRAL CITY!!! and what could Sunday possibly offer that could compete with that?

So, we’ll probably get Funky and Les jogging, Bernie and Pals at the Komix Korner, Les talking about how hard writing is (but Lisa is so worth it), or Funky being made miserable by the universe.

Some things we can count on–there will be smirks, terrible word-play, and of the six panels on display, three of them will be unneeded.  And the content will be uninteresting, but in a uniquely disappointing way.

UPDATE:  Les is angry that Funky’s imagination is far more interesting than his own.  I’m wondering if the new artists are contributing to the writing as well; in olden days, Les would be venting his imagination (in a far more boring fashion), and Funky would be the one bringing everything back to earth.  Today, Les is the stodgy, unimaginative one.

This is a nice development.

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Flash in the Brain Pan

Link to today’s strip.

LOOK, EVERYONE!

YES!!  Dullard has had enough of Blondie, and is shoving her out the window!  I hope he immediately regrets this and throws himself out as well!

I was looking over the previous strips this week and thinking, You know, if these characters were likeable, this wouldn’t be so bad.  It’s not funny but it could be tolerable.  Maybe I’ve been too hard on Tom Batiuk.

And then, Tom Batiuk ends the week like this.

Jesus wept.

I understand there are people who really like comic books, and are excited when a new issue comes out, or there’s a comic book convention they can attend.  But the idea of a grown man being thrilled beyond measure to go to a museum celebrating the Flash…that’s just one of the saddest things I can imagine.  What the heck can they possibly have there?

In comics, I know the Flash Museum in Central City is a thing that exists, because it was the basis of a very entertaining episode of the animated Justice League Unlimited series.  There’s a huge difference, though, between the worlds of Justice League Unlimited and Funky Winkerbean.  I know I don’t have to point this out, but in JLU, the Flash is a real person who accomplishes real things, his rogue’s gallery are real people (and a gorilla) who commit real crimes, and superheroes in the real world is something people take for granted.   So, going to a museum devoted to the Flash and his exploits could be quite interesting.

In Funky Winkerbean, the Flash is not, repeat not, a real person.   Despite how hard some people wish that he was.  I can’t imagine how they could make a Flash museum interesting.  A museum of comic books, or of superheroes in general, sure, that might work.   If a friend told me, “Hey, let’s go to the Flash Museum,” the first thing that would come to mind would be a cement-brick basement with a single naked bulb in the center.  A constant sound of water drops.  A fat surly guy would wave me over to a corner to start the “tour.”   And I would think, So this is how I die.

“Let’s not,” I’d say.  “Let’s go bowling, or get a pizza, or – better yet – I hear the local high school is having a graduation ceremony.  That would be more fun.”

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