It’s incredible to think that it’s been five years since SoSF rose from the ashes of stuckfunky.wordpress.com. I’ve taken this occasion to rewind and review some milestones…
The first post at Son of Stuck Funky. Funky and Les were in New York to close up the last of the Montoni’s Pizza franchise locations.
WordPress.com pulls the plug on SoSF (and the dormant, original Stuck Funky) after receiving a Cease and Desist order from Batom, Inc’s legal team. Within 24 hours, the content was recovered, domain name and hosting secured, and SoSF is relaunched (minus the daily reproducing of the comic).
Batiuk retcons Bull Bushka’s high school bullying of Les as an elaborate scheme to protect Les from the “real” bullies.
The second anniversary happened to coincide with another bullying arc: this time Wedgeman picks on Cody (until Summer comes to the rescue).
Les learns that Lisa’s Story has been optioned for a movie. Which will never see the light of day.
Around the time of the fourth anniversary, Jessica Darling finally starts working on her ill-fated Dadumentary about John Darling, her father who was…oh, you know who.
Right up to the present day….
As increasingly wack as those aforementioned story arcs were, they only hint at the level of insipidity that has become the hallmark of Batiuk’s flagship comic in its fifth decade. The dialogue has become ever more stilted…the draughtsmanship increasingly inconsistent (save for the times when Batiuk straight up appropriates the artwork of others)…the gaping plot holes are enough to induce vertigo. Characters’ ages and even their surnames change on a whim or through sheer lack of attentiveness by the author. Comic books, and the people who hold them in proper reverence, are what makes the Westviewvian world go ’round. And the author’s defensiveness in the face of totally valid criticism has become ever more thinly veiled and has displaced most of the humor that once abounded within these panels.
So why do you read Funky Winkerbean and pick it apart. Every. Damn. Day?
Like a great many of you readers, I’ve grown up with Funky Winkerbean…we were in high school together, so to speak. As a band geek, I especially enjoyed the strips about the Marching Scapegoats. My memories of Act II are less fond, but I continued to read. Somewhere between acts II and III though, mortality and fatalism seeped in and overwhelmed the gags.
The interent, which was a gleam in Al Gore’s eye when Funky Winkerbean made its print debut, makes it possible, for better of for worse (ha!), for individuals to share common interests. Through a comment I saw on the awesome Comics Curmudgeon site some years back, I found such a niche community, whose interest was making fun of a comic strip. When that community petered out, I moved the party to another tent and was lucky enough to have some folks follow me.
Five years is a long time to be doing one single thing every day. The upside is being allowed to preside over the most civil, intelligent, and funniest online community I’ve ever experienced. There are plenty of places to critique comics, but here at SoSF, you don’t have to pick through off-topic or noxious comments. The downside, of course, is letting Tom Batiuk and his hackmanship dwell rent-free inside my head.
It’s been said that “Hatred corrodes the vessel in which it is stored.” I do not hate Funky Winkerbean, and even admit to sort of admiring Batiuk as someone who’s made a very good living doing something which, I guess, he loves. I do feel that it’s time for Tom to consider retirement, and free up some valuable newsprint space for someone else’s fresh comic vision.
I thought of quitting, baby, but my heart just ain’t gonna buy it
This fifth anniversary would never happen without the support and contribution of some kindered spirits, so please join me in raising a Montoni’s slice to my fellow authors who have helped keep this thing going:
David was the very first commenter at Son of Stuck Funky, as well as the first guest author. He has provided moral as well as material support to this blog for a number of years.
The most prolific author of posts here after yours truly, Epicus has become the de facto office manager here at SoSF, scheduling the rotation of guest authors and taking a ton of work off my hands.
Knowledgeable not just when it comes to things Funky but across a broad swath of the cultural spectrum. Like Epicus, he’s pretty good at remixing FW strips in Photoshop.
Another erudite, well-read and witty snarker; his references have sent me to Wikipedia and Grandpa Google more than once.
In my estimation, posessed of the most encyclopaedic knowledge of forty-plus years of Funky Winkerbean; excels at crafting Funky haiku.
And of course, thanks to you, the readers and commenters of this blog.
On behalf of Team SoSF, stay Funky!