Meh-Moore-ial Day

Big hat tip to billytheskink for a great fortnight of Funky analysis and haiku. And my eternal gratitude to the generations who’ve fought and died so that we might enjoy our liberty. We honor them today and every day.

From the FW blog:
As I discussed in a previous post, Batman animated artist Rick Burchett is coming on board at the end of this month to work with me on Funky.

So the Batiuk & Burchett era is underway, and if not for the tandem signatures on today’s strip, you’d be hard pressed to notice the transition. But let us, with our beady eyes, nitpick this panel by panel:

Les and Cayla celebrate the holiday at their wedding venue (outside the Taj Moore-hal). Les’ smug expression refuses to so much as wilt, even over a hot grill. Speaking of which, don’t those, um…burgers? look tasty?

Looks like Burchett got the memo about drawing bricks, although it’s a 2-D view and not a perspective rendering…but look how many he gets into that little space! ++++

Burchett’s depiction of outside corners on wooden siding, however, displays none of the verisimilitude of his bricks. Les retains his Paulie Walnuts hair color scheme, and is smirking hard enough to give himself dimples to rival those of TV’s Pioneer Woman.

I actually like this panel 3 tableau of the Moores looking into the distance; though if the perspective is true, Les’ giant wheelbarrow is leaning against his two-story garage. Apparently Westview and Centerville are separated by a lush, wooded shire (and of course, “ten or so years”). Notice Cayla, though: while she’s her usual, bland gingerbread cookie self in panel one, here Burchett has given her a perceptible backside and the appearance of hips. This gives me such hope.

While we can expect the draughtsmanship to marginally improve, Batiuk will still be the one “writing” the strip. So don’t get your hopes up over plotline hygiene, more humor, and less gloom: this is still Funky Winkerbean in the 21st Century. But even a little visual polish couldn’t hurt. Welcome aboard, Rick.

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21 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

21 responses to “Meh-Moore-ial Day

  1. As the Rick Burchett era unfolds, we’ll be paying attention to how well Batiuk’s Batty Wingman renders those little touches we’ve learned to look for. First in a series:

  2. billytheskink

    I am not sure yet whether or not I support Burchett’s efforts to turn Les into The Great Gazoo.

  3. Jimmy

    Is this some deal where we are supposed to read Crankshaft to understand what is going on? I just can’t do that.

  4. Hey, Tom Batiuk–stop trying to get people to like Crankshaft. If you wanted people to like Crankshaft, you’d have made Crankshaft likeable.

    Also, stop pretending there was a Time Jump. There was never a Time Jump. There was an Age Jump, wherein every character aged ten years, because they all got cancer and (except for Les) can die at any time.

  5. @beckoningchasm An Age Jump makes much more sense!

    @Jimmy Is this some deal where we are supposed to read Crankshaft to understand what is going on? I just can’t do that.

    Oh, go ahead! I’m not sure how many smalltown Ohio FD’s were using drones TEN YEARS AGO.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    I hate how the FW characters talk about Crankshaft in mythical terms, like he’s some mysterious local legend and not just a crabby bus driver they remember from back in high school. This strip doesn’t even make sense unless you’re aware of Ed’s propensity toward blowing things up. Only a regular FW and Crankshaft reader would know this and how many of THOSE could there possibly be?

  7. billytheskink

    Yes, “Age Jump” is a much, much more apt term. I’ll be using it going forward. Many thanks, BC.

    Is this some deal where we are supposed to read Crankshaft to understand what is going on?

    Yep. Crankshaft blowing up his grill is a running gag in that strip. It happens every Memorial Day. I wonder if Les ever ran toward Centerville shouting “USA!” like he did when there was an explosion in Westview…

  8. spacemanspiff85

    @epicusdoomus:
    The most hilarious/annoying thing about it is how, despite referencing him way too often, they always refer to him as “that cranky bus driver” or something like that. Because it’s totally normal quoting your bus driver thirty-odd years later, but too unrealistic to think anyone would remember his name. Especially when it’s a really common, forgettable name like Crankshaft.

  9. It would have made more sense to have Les tell Cayla that it just isn’t Memorial Day without Old Man Crankshaft blowing up his barbecue.

  10. Chyron HR

    New artist, same forced attempts to establish a Funky Cinematic Universe.

  11. Rusty Shackleford

    Cayla is looking black again. Must be the new artist.

  12. DOlz

    So how much of the Golden T-Square (assuming the strip makes it to 50) should be removed to acknowledged that TB is being dragged across the finish line?

  13. Classic presumption by TB that a random reader automatically gets the clever cross-strip reference. But it’s not anywhere near an Easter egg. I mean, I didn’t get it myself because I don’t read Crankshaft – i stopped after a brief dalliance because the characters were totally unlikeable and not even borderline humorous. Happy Memorial Day, Tom. You’ve succeeded in trivializing life once again.

  14. Rusty Shackleford

    @fred.

    I happened to read Crankshaft today so I got the reference, but my first thought is that Batty is putting out even less effort. He got two strips for the price of one, and he has another assistant. I guess this gives him more time to kick back and read comic books.

  15. Gerard Plourde

    To make this even more inexplicable- I think that as part of act 2 Les and St. Lisa bought Taj Moore-Hal from Crankshaft.

  16. Epicus Doomus

    It’s ridiculous. They remember literally everything Dinkle, Bull, Coach Stropp, Lisa, Les Funky and Harry did in high school, but when it’s about Crankshaft the memories become all hazy and he’s reduced to “hey, do you vaguely remember there being a demented old bus driver who….?”. It’s that phony faux-cleverness, a totally unnecessary wink to the readers who JUST DON’T CARE.

  17. Charles

    Since Les is cooking 6 charred hockey pucks on that grill, would it have killed Batiuk and his new artist to show the rest of the family?

    New art Les has some kind of preying mantis head thing going on.

  18. Put me down as someone who likes his burgers burnt to a crisp… I’m totally serious.

  19. Madcougar92

    Did we just learn that Crankshaft is going to die soon?! If the alleged time jump was 10 years into the future, and Les says that 10 years ago the explosions in the neighboring town ended – doesn’t that mean that Crankshaft is going to die!?

  20. Saturnino

    “Looks like Burchett got the memo about drawing bricks, although it’s a 2-D view and not a perspective rendering…but look how many he gets into that little space! ++++”

    Well he completely screwed up the corner trim on the siding.

  21. Saturnino

    “Looks like Burchett got the memo about drawing bricks, although it’s a 2-D view and not a perspective rendering…but look how many he gets into that little space! ++++”

    Well, he completely screwed up the corner trim on the siding…………