If You Encyst

Link to today’s strip.

Good ol’ Tom Batiuk; you think he’s going to sock you with drama, then he pulls the rug out from under you and says, “Just kidding!”  It’s just like Lucy and the football!

Except I doubt anyone is fooled by this anymore.  We’ve come to expect that nothing will ever change in this strip.  Oh, Wally and Rachel will get married, Cindy will go to Los Angeles, Darrin will, alas, reproduce, but they’ll all come back to Westview because they’re moths, and Westview is the flame.  It’s only the children who disappear.*

And Funky will get older, more out-of-shape, more decrepit…but the sweet release of death will always elude him.  After all, he’s inferior in every way to Les Moore, and that’s an important function in Westview.

It has been speculated that Mr. Batiuk’s resentment toward Funky comes from the fact that his strip has been saddled with Funky’s amazingly dumb name.  It must be especially galling since he re-tooled the strip to be “serious.”   How could anyone take a strip called Funky Winkerbean “seriously”?   That’s not the kind of title that draws award nominations!

My own theory is that the real-life Funky and Les Tom Batiuk had some kind of major falling out.   And Tom Batiuk is the guy who has a syndicated comic strip that he can use as a vehicle for revenge.  Funky is the one person perennially dumped on, and he gets no sympathy from any of the other characters.  At least people feel sorry for Wally.   I’ve never seen this kind of anger from a creator to his creation.

Well, actually I have, now that I think about it.  Hollywood is full of people who achieved fame for one thing, then almost immediately became resentful of that thing and declared that said thing was keeping them from reaching their true potential.  Think of all the comic actors who decided that, damn it, they were serious artists and, by God, they were going to make a movie about a crippled person dying in the gutter if it killed them!    And they end up making a movie like Simple Jack.   (NB:  Not high quality.)

The thing is, I really can’t think of anyone like that who not only failed to achieve the goal of Serious Ac-Tor, but also tainted their earlier, funnier work with the failures of their later seriousness.

Apart from the obvious, I mean.

*If they ever make a Funky Winkerbean movie, this would be perfect for the tagline on the poster.   Great for the trailer, too–imagine that read in some ghostly-whisper voice. *Shudder*

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15 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

15 responses to “If You Encyst

  1. spacemanspiff85

    If you’re going to have a storyline that resolves with zero drama or tension, or humor, for that matter, why even bother in the first place?

  2. Epicus Doomus

    The strip’s title certainly hasn’t helped its popularity, but the real reason no one reads FW is because it features strips like today’s. It’s not funny, it’s not even slightly amusing in some faint way, it isn’t “poignant”, it isn’t anything but the ponderous meanderings of a guy who just cannot resist actively repelling readers with boring, pointless and morose little “stories” about people waiting around to die. No one wants to read about that, which makes the strip’s incredible lengthy run all the more mysterious, baffling and inexplicable.

    One measly panel of relief and happiness and then it’s back to waiting on Batiuk’s infamous other shoe, the one that’s always hovering overhead and reducing everyone’s lives to a plodding series of weary smirks and dreary bits of terrible wordplay. Yep, one day you’re gonna die, Funky. So why not just pack it in now and spend the next forty years complaining until you hit ninety and become a daffy zany old horndog with tons of sepia-toned stories to bore everyone with? I mean seriously, TomBan went “serious” decades ago, does he really need to remind everyone about it all the time all these year later?

  3. Bill Thompson

    If Buttiuk wants the strip taken seriously, he should give it an appropriately serious name, something that rings of Shakespeare. How about “All’s Well That Ends?”

  4. billytheskink

    I actually think the name is one of the few things Funky Winkerbean has going for it. TB probably hates it, and I’ve heard better, but it is a name that stands out fairly well on a comics page full of names trying to stand out. It’s certainly not holding the strip back in its attempt to tackle serious issues. Does TB believe the average comic reader thinks Doonesbury is fluff because of the title?

    So, is that a computer mouse or a quarter-sized water-filled cyst on the desk underneath Dr. Chekov Hair’s name tag?

  5. Mr. B.Lumpkin

    Please tell me that this will go the same way Lisa’s tests went, and in a month or so the doctor will be apologizing for missing a massive tumor that’s inoperable and rapidly metastasizing.

    Is that too much to ask?

  6. spacemanspiff85

    Honestly, this strip is really a parody of itself now. I don’t think there’s a better example of that than today.
    Panel 1-“You’re not going to die, yet.”
    Panel 2-“I’m relieved that I’m not going to die, yet.”
    Panel 3-“I am going to die soon.”

  7. Gerard Plourde

    Is Funky being treated for depression? His reaction to good news makes me wonder.

  8. The galling thing is that we just had to endure another irritating tease like this just last December with the Marianne Winters mess. It was a stupid waste of time too.

  9. Rusty Shackleford

    @spaceman
    Why does Batty bother? His ego. He is running out the clock so he can get a participation trophy. He is still mad that he didn’t get the fame he deserved from Lisa’s story and so he punishes his readers by writing go nowhere stories and indulging in his own interests.

  10. paypahclip

    You won the lottery!
    Someday I’ll have spent all the money.

    You paid off your mortgage!
    Someday this house will be bulldozed and replaced with a bigger house.

    You got promoted!
    One day closer to retirement and death.

  11. Rusty

    Scenes in the Life of the Artist. I hope everyone enjoys what Batiuk is going through, it’s fascinating stuff.

  12. sgtsaunders

    This strip captures perfectly the Funky Winkerbean zeitgeist. For every silver lining, an even darker cloud looms in the horizon.

  13. It’s just like Lucy and the football!

    Charles Schulz occupies a niche in TB’s pantheon just below that of whover created The Flash; he’s tipped the ol’ felt tip to Sparky more than once:

  14. $$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$

    Just mentioning Charles Schulz in a Batiuk strips seems like blasphemy,

  15. count of tower grove

    Today’s strip was great because in panel three the doctor looked like James Brown!