Harry New Year!

I’m not a huge believer in New Year’s resolutions, but I’ll make one here: in 2012 (well, after today) I will cease to snark about Becky’s Pinned-Up Sleeve. Back in November, snarker Charlene made this comment:

Charlene
November 29, 2011 at 4:24 am
…The lack of a prosthetic arm is one of the few realistic features of this entire strip. Her amputation is too high up for a prosthetic to be of any use.

Take it from me: not every amputation can magically be replaced with a prosthetic. You need a certain amount of bone and muscle left, and her stump is just too short.

So we will allow that Becky (and some real-life amputees) are not unwilling but rather unable to use a prosthesis.

But HOO BOY, does TB beat us over the head with that empty sleeve today! Do you suppose, when Becky puts on her winter coat, that the rolled up sweater sleeve tucks neatly inside the rolled-up coat sleeve?

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0 responses to “Harry New Year!

  1. Flummoxicated

    Her sleeve today reminds me of Dilbert’s perpetually curved tie: [img]http://engineering.linkedin.com/sites/default/files/dilbert.png[/img]

  2. Jeffcoat Wayne

    Yeah, I guess if Batiuk were to draw an empty sleeve hanging limp at Becky’s side, most casual readers would have no idea that she’s missing an arm in the first place. Which I’m not sure totally makes sense because, if you don’t know about it, then you won’t be plagued with wonder of how it happened… and if you DO know how it happened, then you really don’t need to be hit over the head with the reminder on a daily basis. So I’m afraid I WILL have to snark on the ridiculous nature of that reminder in today’s strip:

    Pinned-up sweater sleeve — check.
    Pinned-up coat sleeve — check.
    There’s so much pinned-up clothing on that side of Becky, there must be times when John mistakenly thinks he’s squeezing a third breast.

    Ring-a-ding-ding!

  3. Jeffcoat Wayne

    Oh, wait — one more:

    “Go in and warm yourselves by the fire”? I can just picture Becky leaning up to the fire: “It must be chillier outside than I thought — I can’t feel a thing on this side of my body!” Smirk, baby, smirk!

  4. All those pins must light up airport scanners like a Christmas tree!

    Happy new year, snarkers!

  5. $$$Westville Oncologist$$$$$

    Why is Harry Dinkle dressed as a 1980’s South American dictator?

  6. sourbelly

    No Les, no Lisa Headroom, no Summer, no Derwood, no Cayla (morose white version), no Funky.

    While today’s strip is neither interesting nor funny, I think it’s the best we can hope for. A positive omen for 2012’s strips? I doubt it.

  7. billytheskink

    Classic TB, picking a Sunday January 1 of all January 1s to dress Dinkle up to watch the Tournament of Roses Parade. When the 1st falls on a Sunday, the parade is always held on the 2nd.

  8. John

    John: “Throwback uniform? That’s a very unusual way to describe it. It makes it sound like the uniform was a relic or outdated even when Harry wore it as part of his job.”

    Harriet: “Oh, my mistake. I meant he’s in his throw-up uniform, in case he gets ill during the New Year festivities!”

    John: “….ewwwwww!”

    Harriet: “It’s surprisingly easy to launder, once you know the trick to washing epaulets!”

  9. Epicus Doomus

    Man, it’s a pinned-up-sleeve-a-ganza in here today. Pin-A-Palooza. StumpStock. I think I’m finished now. There must be a mandatory yearly quota with that or something.

    He wears the suit to watch the parade on TV? Boy, is this town boring.

  10. O.B. Dan

    No Les, no Lisa Headroom, no Summer, no Derwood, no Cayla (morose white version), no Funky. While today’s strip is neither interesting nor funny, I think it’s the best we can hope for.

    Oh, no, there’s more. Kill off that douchebag in uniform.

    Hey, Batshit, there’s one for you in the New Year – kill off somebody with old age! I know everybody thinks that’s why Dad Wrinklebean was given more of a role in the strip, but really, when he dies, where’s the impact? Who’s going to remember him?

    Take out Dingleberry. Make me happy this year.

  11. sourbelly

    O.B. Dan: “Dad Wrinklebean.” Well played, sir! I predict 2012 will be a banner year for FW Snarkery!

  12. Jeffcoat Wayne

    I like that Batiuk is starting the new year with a hint that this will be the year Harry and Becky finally consummate their relationship. Hell, that final panel is just oozing with Wife Swap potential.

  13. TFHackett

    Uh, is it me, or does Becky seem a little…turned on by the sight of Harry in his old uniform? 

  14. Sgt. Saunders

    Becky looks ready to run her hand into that uniform. Plus, is it really a uniform if Dinkle has the only one? How can he establish uniformity?
    As for the prostetic or lack thereof, I think that glosses over the issue of being beat silly by TB with pinned-up sleeve after pinned-up sleeve, each looking painstakingly formed – pressed, neatly folded and pinned, and always… there… It almost seems to imply that she thinks her arm will grow back, like a lizard tail, and that she will one day get to unroll all those sleeves. I mean, she could cut the arm material and stitch up the opening, but that might be just too subtle. And there is no “subtle” in the Westviewian dialect.

  15. Beanie Wanker

    Love to see our favorite Pin-Up Girl, Becky, featured. I’m also puzzled about how you remove the pinned up overcoat to reveal the pinned up sweater, then remove that to reveal a pinned up shirt. If she wears a tee shirt, does she pin up just that little bit of sleeve? Probably don’t have to pin up a bra.

    All of this reminds me of those Russian Nesting Dolls. Open it and a smaller doll is inside. Open that and another smaller doll is inside. And so on.

    But all this elaborate, painstaking pinning up looks like a pain in the ass. Can I suggest an alternative? And Tommeh, I know you are lurking out there, feel free to use this idea free of charge. You know those foam noodles kids use to float with in the pool? How about stuffing the sleeves with one of those? It’s easy, it’s cheap, and a lot less trouble than all that complicated pinning. And it even looks just a little like there’s an arm in there!

    I had forgotten that Seaweed Head is married to Becky. He looks so uneasy surrounded by adults. Looks like he’d rather be back in his comic book shop, where a young boy might POSSIBLY walk in at any moment. And really, just what the Hell IS that on top of his head? I’m serious. What is that? Whatever it is, it’s pretty goddam creepy for someone his age to be doing that with his hair. Just sayin’.

  16. Jeffcoat Wayne

    Is Becky concerned that if she leaves her empty sleeve unfurled and dangling, it might lead to an accidental Isadora Duncan-style death sequence? I wouldn’t worry too much about that, personally, because I don’t think Batiuk could handle the artwork.

  17. Charles

    That is a huge, tacky and frightening treble clef on the garage door.

    Also, a pinned-up sleeve on a heavy winter coat seems to me to be more of a hassle than it’s worth. Must be some industrial safety pins keeping that thing in place.

    Also, while I appreciate that snark may not necessarily be appropriate for the mere existence of the pinned-up sleeve, I will continue to snark Batiuk’s fetishistic need to jam it into almost every panel featuring Becky.

  18. Merry Pookster

    New Years Eve adult party and now a New Years Day adult only visitation.
    Oh those teenagers are having their own fun time… question is where?

  19. TheDiva

    Most people use the new year to look to the future, but in Funkytown the wallow in the past. Although given their grim prospects, that makes a certain sort of sense.

  20. Riff Chick

    Here’s an idea. Instead of pinning up the sleeve of the winter coat, tuck it inside.

    btw, I don’t care that she doesn’t use a prosthesis (charlene explained a possible reason why). Really, I don’t.

    I DO care that TomBat uses an amputee as a cheap prop for sympathy and drama “cred” for his stupid little comic strip. He wants his creations – buddy the dog, lefty, our lady of perpetual visitation, flunky the al-kie – to be characters of depth that stand for Very Important Human Experiences. Instead they are just tools he uses to curry his own sense of self satisfaction. Becky is in the comic to be an amputee. Lisa is in the comic to be a woman who died from cancer. Wally is kept in the comic to be a PTSD victim. They’re not characters who happen to have these things, they’re tokens drawn FOR these Very Important Issues. Flunky isn’t in the strip solely to be a recovering alcoholic, but probably the only reason for this is because it started out as a strip ABOUT HIM (as in, the name of the comic itself).

    Cancer is terrifying. Losing a limb is tragic. Alcoholism can be a great struggle to live with. Having an amputee, an alcoholic, and a woman slowly and painfully die of cancer in your comic strip does not a deep and meaningful comic strip make. Nor does it necessarily bring attention to these issues in a positive way.

    So keep trying for those awards, recognitions, and Pulitzers, Tommy. Keep trying. Sooner or later he’s got to realize he’s not gonna get ’em with these methods.

  21. John

    I’m with Riff Chick. Most of the snarking I’ve seen here in regards to Becky’s arm is that Tom goes OUT OF HIS WAY to make that sleeve the focal point of any panel Becky appears in, whether or not she’s actually an important character in the strip of the day.

    There’s a big difference between trying to improve the representation of diversity in entertainment and what he’s doing here, which is (as usual) trying to garner awards and accolades for his “sensitive portrayal of _____.”

    It’s despicable, really.

  22. Epicus Doomus

    I second Riff Chick: post of the year so far. I am not mocking amputees at all. I’m mocking the way this strip’s token amputee is constantly trotted out simply to remind us that she lost her arm. She didn’t HAVE to lose her arm, the strip wouldn’t be any different if she hadn’t, but that’s how FW rolls. Lisa didn’t have to die, Wally didn’t have to be a P.O.W., Funky didn’t need to be an alcoholic, Harry didn’t need to go deaf, Les doesn’t need to be so insufferably whiny but without those tropes there wouldn’t be any “very special” prestige arcs, or at least ones that didn’t require any clever or inventive writing and relied on gimmicks instead.

  23. Lesser Whark

    In the final panel, we see that the right sleeve of the sweater is quite short. Meanwhile, if you unrolled the left sleeve it would fit an orangutang. How long did Becky spend shopping for an asymmetric sweater with a maximally unsubtle left sleeve?

    I fourth Riff Chick. The worst part is, as long as these people stay in Westview doing their old jobs, they’re surrounded by reminders of their shattered lives and crushed dreams.

    At least Susan did escape. I like to think that she has joined Captain Savarna (who far overshadowed the regular cast of the strip she appeared in) and is hunting pirates from a smartphone-controlled camouflaged warship. Not awesome enough? What about if the ship transforms into a giant robot?

    (We’ll probably be told that something dreadful happened while she pined for the wonderful Les, but that will just be her faking her death to protect her new identity.)

  24. Cherokee Jack

    Anyone see this interview?

    http://www.cleveland.com/mycleveland/index.ssf/2011/12/famous_comic-strip_artist_tom.html

    Apologies if it’s already been posted here.

  25. S.P. Charles

    Well yes, Epicus, Lisa DID have to die: her dying meant tremendous publicity for the strip (at the expense of the strip’s readers, unfortunately, because Batiuk announced her death about a year ahead), and two fairly profitable collections of strips.

  26. Epicus Doomus

    True, S.P., true. And knowing that somehow makes me even more cynical re: FW, unbelievably enough.

  27. Sean D,

    If it’s Harry’s “throwback” uniform, why can we see his eyes?

    Oh God! His head’s growing….TUMOR!!! Westview is the new Love Canal.

  28. O.B. Dan

    Thank you, Sourbelly. I got a big laugh out of that myself.

  29. Beanie Wanker

    Was struggling with why the old bandleader would wear a band uniform to watch a parade on TV. Then I remembered that the husband (John) in For Better or Worse wears a choo-choo engineer’s costume to play with his toy trains.

    Great. Now I’m back to wondering if Tombat and Lynn Johnston are really the same person.