Reqiuem for Methuselah

Link to today’s strip.

And so we come to Saturday, after a week of watching a fat man struggle with exercise equipment while a young woman smirks.

Tell me that description is what keeps Funky Winkerbean in hundreds of newspapers.   “See, there’s this fat, sweaty guy who owns a pizza place, and he’s at the gym!  Isn’t that hilarious?”  Actually, no, it’s not–in fact, it’s not even interesting.   Watching Funky fill Snowball’s gas tank would be just as compelling.  And, it would have the added bonus of bringing back a character we don’t hate–Snowball.

I don’t know about you, but this week has been a difficult one–it’s hard to critique peanut-butter sandwiches.  There’s no level digging, no uncovering of insights, no finding a universal truth, or a moral path, or even an interesting story in a peanut-butter sandwich.  Trust me, this week has been as boring to write about as it has been for you folks to read.

And I’ll be charitable and say that it was probably just as boring, work-a-day, no-satisfaction as it was to create these strips in the first place.  Sometime during the Act III years, I’m sure this set of drawings was tossed off in a day or two and then filed away in the “filler” drawer, to be published any time–just like the “Snowball” arc, no doubt.  I cannot imagine anyone tossing this stuff off with any level of enthusiasm–in a sense, I feel sorry for Tom Batiuk here.  Writing comics that have nothing to do with Les Moore is obviously hard work for him.

One thing that’s really easy, though, is hating these characters.  Just ask Tom Batiuk.  The unabated contempt that radiates from the strip when Funky’s on the screen (like now) can’t be accidental.

If Tom Batiuk can’t treat his characters with anything other than loathing, why should anyone else have a different reaction?  If the puppeteer hates the puppets, the audience isn’t going to like them either.   Which makes me, for the millionth time, wonder why Tom Batiuk goes on with this thing.  Is there a way these characters can be redeemed in the eyes of their creator?

You know, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle once threw Sherlock Holmes over a waterfall.   Doyle was tired of the spotlight Holmes cast on him, and he wanted to write about other things.  After several years, public pressure led Doyle to bring Holmes back–in what was probably the best Holmes story of them all, The Hound of the Baskervilles.  Maybe something like that is needed so that Funky will once again interest Tom Batiuk.  I wonder if eight years will be sufficient.  (I also wonder if there’ll be any public pressure, but never mind that.)

Are there any waterfalls in Westview?  Just askin.’

8 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

8 responses to “Reqiuem for Methuselah

  1. I thought “lost cause” was the standard living condition in Westview.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    The only thing that really stands out today is the exceedingly rare, miniscule glimmer of (gasp!) hope there at the end. You don’t see a lot of that in the Funkyverse. In fact, at first I thought I must have been reading it wrong or something.

    As hard as it is to believe, IMO the strip has become even more boring, lifeless and listless over the last two or three years than it was before. I mean there’s no need to speculate regarding TB’s lack of interest: it’s right there on the page for all to see. This is as generic as FW gets, it’s one of those arcs that makes you wonder how this entire comic strip thing can even turn a profit, much less garner enough interest to run for forty plus years. I’m still not convinced that it’s all not just some sort of scam, there’s just no way he’s cranking out drivel like this with a straight face, as it were.

  3. gleeb

    Batiuk seems to have lost his taste for the Big Important Story. The last one was the Blackmailing Biodad, and that fizzled through lack of focus. Was it about coercive behavior? Reality teevee? A Crankshaft crossover?
    It’s a shame he can’t bang a really Big Issue out anymore. Not that he’s any good at them but because his writing is so sincerely inept that it’s hilarious.

  4. Merry Pookster

    FW has gone from bad to boring….I can’t even snark.

  5. “You’re not a lost cause – after all, I see you jogging with that irritating guy all the time. I’m afraid you’re going to have to stop eating greasy pizza all the time if you want to lose weight. Wait, Mr. Wankerbean, where are you going?”

  6. Note from TFH to my stellar guest authors: Sunday’s strip has been scanned and posted to the library. That is all!

  7. bobanero

    Thus ends the tenure of anonymous smirking surly personal trainer girl, who’s sole purpose was to stand stoically as Funky rattled off a sequence of depressing, self-defeating drivel. What will it be next week? I think we’re due for another Les/Cayla writer’s block arc, or maybe something with the band? Continuation of the Starbuck Jones search?

  8. Chaos Clockwork

    Hey, who says we don’t hate Snowball?