Gesturing for Help

Link to today’s strip.

It sure looks to me as if Bull is trying to communicate entirely with gestures in panel one–if his mouth is open at all, it’s sure not open enough to let any words escape.  Not that words are a specialty of Bull–or of Tom Batiuk–but I’m hoping his webcam can capture all that expansive waving.

Whatever his hands are saying, his face in both panels says it all:  please give me a reason, any reason, to turn down the offer.  I’m depending on you to save me.

However, both virtual women seem to hate Bull as much as Linda does, and gleefully tell him that he needs to put his neck on the block.  Bull’s expression in panel two is an excellent example of the Oh…crap face.  I am doomed!

Speaking of the virtual women, the one on the right is Mickey (whom I had never heard of before her reappearance earlier this month–and she sure added a lot, didn’t she).  Is the one on the left Jinx?  I don’t think I’ve ever seen her before, but she sure has aged a lot since high school.  Did we miss a time jump–or is one on the way, and Jinx was first in its path.  Those things are like tornadoes, never know when one’s going to hit, to touch down, to pass over and change everything.

If we do jump forward another decade, I’m betting tomorrow’s episode will show Bull returning to Westview High.  “Boy, I sure am glad that I finally quit that job I had, of athletic director, over at Diversity University Ironton!  It was a hard job, and it made me tired!  Now I am back where I started, at Westview High School, having returned from Diversity University Ironton, where I was working–and living!  But I wasn’t really living…(panel ellipsis)

(panel ellipsis) (smirk) …until I came back here.”


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

29 responses to “Gesturing for Help

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Once again we see the women in Bull’s life dismissing everything but the money. I mean think about it: Bull has been employed by WHS for what, thirty years? He’s the “athletic director” and the football coach, he has full autonomy to walk around being an idiot and no matter what he does he never gets fired. He’s giving that up to coach some obscure college football program in the middle of nowhere? Let’s fact facts, the guy is a little old to suddenly start climbing the coaching ladder. AND he has a long record of ineptitude proven by the fact that his two championship teams only won those titles thanks to some incredibly contrived luck.

    Yet in spite of those facts Linda and the kids just incessantly hammer away at him about money. I mean how much more could they possibly be offering this moron? Are they going to allow him twenty years to turn the program around? But none of that even enters the mind of the Bushka ladies, oh no, they’re just all about the mad stacks, yo. Just sickening. And I won’t forget it the next time Linda is cackling to Les about how fat and dumb her husband is either.

    Have Mickey AND Jinx ever appeared together in an Act III strip? How come everyone in Westview rejects all technology EXCEPT for video chatting? Why can’t a FW character just DO something instead of waffling about it for months on end?

  2. SpacemanSpiff85

    Not all college coaches make huge salaries. Someone at a “Diversity University” is not making Nick Saban money, I can guarantee.
    I’d be shocked if the clincher for Bull isn’t sage advice from Les. Accompanied by a photo album panel or two.

  3. Guess DUI will just be a stepping stone to coaching the Kent State women’s basketball team (as seen on the KSU mural.

  4. Gyre

    Hey, it’s two minor characters! That’s a new thing with Funky Winkerbean. After all that time without them existing, suddenly once every few months BAM! A minor character or two from way back shows up. It’s a drive-by MCing.

    Sort of like the writer trying to say that the story is getting better, but he needs to get more into exactly why people are criticizing it in the first place. Okay besides that some people just like to complain. If you just have a minor character show up that no one remembers, say a few lines and then just leave with barely any explanation for them, it unfortunately isn’t an improvement. It’s effort, which is more than I would have said about some of the others, but you still need to do more for it.
    But good work trying.

  5. Rusty

    Why would your adult children care about how much money you make?

  6. Nathan Obral

    So what’s next for Joe Don Bushka? Communicating with Saint Lisa the Cancer Lady via seance if Saint Les the Smirkful will allow it?

  7. Just take the job, Bull! If you don’t like it, you can just quit and they’ll pay you even more money to leave!

    …Oh wait, you’re not Les. Never mind, then, you’re pretty much screwed no matter what you do.

  8. Epicus Doomus

    His own family isn’t even remotely concerned that he might be throwing away a three decade long career in order to do something he isn’t even good at! And BatWrite is so completely out of touch that he plays it with that perfect touch of 1960s sitcom wryness, like it’s adorable how his kids are only interested in the money end of the question. It’s amazing but Bull is the only character who ISN’T acting like a complete jerk here and I don’t know if that’s ever happened before.

  9. ComicTrek

    Please go away, Creepy Linda.

  10. Jimmy

    Why is Funky talking to those two anonymous ladies in panel 2?

  11. What weirds me out is why he needs saving: the sudden realization that if the team screws up, he’ll be the one held accountable.

  12. Charles

    Because of course he led this discussion with his two daughters with all the reasons why he shouldn’t be taking the job.

  13. Saturnino

    No mention of the logical thing, which would be that if he really wanted the job at DUI, he would RETIRE from Westview.

    Then he really would see an increase in income with the pension and he would have something on which to fall back if he didn’t like the job or they didn’t like him.

    But is there such as thing as FU money in Westview?

  14. bad wolf

    Holy cow, a big write up on Funky in Variety, courtesy your twitter feed:

  15. MJ

    Bull will be working longer hours AND making more money. That’s what Linda calls a win-win!

  16. billytheskink

    The grim Dick Locher era Dick Tracy was probably more appropriate in tone (and artwork inconsistency) for a FW crossover than Stanton and Curtis’ current version of the strip is. The whole crossover deal is a strange idea, much stranger than this summer’s Tracy-Little Orphan Annie crossover, but I can’t say I’m not looking forward to seeing just what the heck happens. Dick Tracy has been one of the best comics in the paper since Stanton and Curtis took the reins, so hopefully their work will rub off on TB… and not the other way around. Likely? Ha, no.

    I don’t fully know what’s going on in today’s FW strip. I am at least pretty sure that Bull’s laptop is running a really annoying HyperCard stack, but beyond that…

  17. Epicus Doomus

    bad wolf: Holy cow, that article is so puffy you need to put a brick on it lest it blows away under the slightest breeze. What a pile.

  18. One thing that they were careful not to mention is something they did mention when For Better Or For Worse was wrapping up: people like us. The knowledge that people invoke Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy is not one they want made known.

  19. Epicus Doomus

    It’s always so obvious that the people who author those puff-piece articles about FW have never actually followed the strip for any length of time. They’re proffering opinions based on what they’ve HEARD about FW, not the strip’s actual content. “Oh yeah, that’s the one that tackles real life issues and isn’t afraid to not be “funny” and etc.”…but you never read about how absolutely nothing happens in the strip for literally hundreds of days in a row. If they’d actually follow the thing or read a few years worth of archived strips they’d quickly realize the whole thing is a big fat scam. It’s such a tiresome take on the whole thing IMO.

  20. spacemanspiff85

    When I read that article I was a little confused about how it says the strip has tackled racism. The only thing I can think of in that ballpark is Les marrying Cayla, but race was never really mentioned or discussed in that storyline, or any other that I can remember in the past 20-odd years.

  21. Apauled

    The Variety article likens TB’s oeuvre to that of Sherwood Anderson, William Saroyan, & Charles Schulz. Surely this piece was scheduled for publication on April Fool’s Day?

  22. Epicus Doomus

    The part of the article pertaining to Batiuk’s “time jumps” were a real riot, considering that TB himself totally ignores that as it suits him. He even managed to mention his “teen pregnancy” arc AGAIN even though the f*cking thing is thirty years old now.

    Folks, this is why I’m here. If we give up, he wins and all you’ll find online regarding this piece of shit comic strip will be his inane babbling. IMO SoSF is pretty much the only truly accurate accounting of FW you’ll find anywhere (aside from a handful of other less-specific snark sites). Otherwise it’s just Batiuk’s candy-coated revisionist horseshit about the millions of “real life” topics his awful comic strip has supposedly addressed. It’s all a huge pile of crap and anyone who’s put even a week or two into reading it knows it.

  23. bad wolf

    Epicus, i think you’re on track there. I don’t expect modern journalists to do much original research, so i can only guess that this is the story of how Batiuk himself describes his own work. I considered that maybe reading months at a time of it might read better (in the way comic books are now ‘written for the trade’) but no, this whole thing reads as simply Batiuk’s view of Batiuk’s work…. how successful it was, how groundbreaking, how coherent, how prize-worthy, how consistent the narrative is, how relaxed the storytelling is when he’s so far ahead of his deadlines… when all the evidence on the page is another story entirely.

    Admittedly, the one he describes is one i would probably enjoy, and you can sometimes see pieces of it seeping through… but as always it’s the disconnect between what is intended and what is actually said that brings us where we are today.

  24. bad wolf

    So, today’s a good example. Jinx (who maybe doesn’t even have a tag here?), once a promising member of the Gen 3 “Fresh start” cohort, hasn’t been mentioned since May 2013 (“derailed by some other projects“) or seen since Graduation (she sold the prom tickets to Anon-o-Gay #1). Mickey (who far preceded my time), even more mysteriously showed up a couple of weeks ago for what seemed like a one-off joke in a locker room. That was so bizarre that i waited for some other ‘shoe to drop’, some actual narrative reason for her to be there, and maybe… this is it? So she could throw in her 2cents (didn’t a cent key used to be on the keyboard? nevermind) on Bull’s job offer? Neither is identified by name in the strip. Neither’s advice is anything we wouldn’t have gotten from Funky and Les (god help us).


  25. Epicus Doomus

    bad wolf: Every single one of those write-ups is exactly the same. “Then I did my Lisa pregnancy arc and the world of comic strips was forever radically altered and blah blah blah” and it’s total horseshit. It’s Batiuk’s standard PR narrative and it’s always swallowed whole by whoever is writing the piece. That stupid “teen pregnancy” arc was greeted by nothing but annoyed groans because a) it sucked and b) it couldn’t possibly have been more predictable. Yet he still carries on about it like he stunned the world or something. It’s all so disingenuous and fake.

    The gay prom arc is a beautiful example. The actual same-sex couple appeared in something like two strips, then the other five weeks of the thing centered around Roberta and her henpecked husband. He didn’t “address” a damned thing there, in fact he took the absolute safest, weakest and lamest path possible.

  26. Nathan Obral

    The writer of that Variety piece also has obviously never read anything from Sherwood Anderson. I have. And Sherwood was an actual competent writer, and a contemporary/close friend of Carl Sandburg. The only thing Sherwood and Batiuk have in common is the town of Elyria, Ohio.

    As for the Dick Tracy crossover, I cringe at the thought of Batiuk drawing Rikki Mortis in his trademark hatchet face style. Or anyone else in the Tracyverse.

  27. Nathan Obral

    PS.: I made major updates and contributions to the Funky page at AllTheTropes (the forked version of TVTropes). The intro is my synopsis of the strip in total.

  28. ComicTrek

    @Nathan Obral: Excellent work!! I’ll have to add even more links and info myself someday.

  29. I’m the writer of the Variety article and I find all your comments very interesting. By the way folks, I DO read the strip regularly. I make no judgments about the quality of the comic, but my take was that it is very different from what the rest of the 60-year old comics try do do and has held on to what few newspapers are publishing it and so warrants an examination.

    Here’s what puzzles me: If the comic is so egregiously bad, why oh why do you folks gather EVERY DAY to write more paragaphs about it? Usually things that aren’t worth people’s interest are ignored. Yet you folks analyze it ad infinitum day in and day out. When I don’t like a comic, I STOP READING IT. Maybe you folks should do the same and save yourselves umpteen dollars in blood pressure medication.

    Brian Steinberg