This Year in the Funkiverse

Hello, snarkers, your genial host TFH here to ring out the same old same old. I could never have gotten through this past year without our staff of volunteers: SoSFDavidO, BeckoningChasm, BillytheSkink, Charles, ComicBookHarriet, and most especially my aidedecamp EpicusDoomus.

2017 saw many developments in the Funkiverse. Sadly, in the real world, this was also the year the syndicate stopped posting new strips online before midnight Eastern time. So while we wait for Sunday’s strip to drop at midnight, let us recap some “highlights” of the Funky Year just ending.

So much for depicting “contemporary issues affecting young adults.”

Story arcs this year included: the engagement and wedding of ostensible nonagenarians Cliff Anger and Vera Nash; Funky and Holly flying to a clinic in Dallas (!) for their annual physicals; Darin crossing paths with an elderly comics legend (who’d be dead a couple months later); Crankshaft crone Lillian McKenzie pestering Les at a book signing; Phil the Forecaster unceremoniously being put out to pasture; and an orchestra comprised of senior citizens traveling to Memphis to cut a record, led by crusty Harry Dinkle.

Dinkle Raisin the Bar

Speaking of Dinkle, though he mainly was just along for the ride during the Memphis caper, Batiuk’s favorite “breakout character” figured prominently in other arcs, even flying to Belgium to be feted by the company who makes all that band candy.

In other “funds raising” news:

Band candy (and turkeys) have been supplanted by mattresses, which are improbably hawked door to door. Ha! Ha!

More old people stuff

Funky’s dad Mort Winkerbean, depicted as helplessly senile five years ago, has inexplicably become livelier and more engaging than his son, while Bull Bushka continues his decline, and Ed Crankshaft is the very picture of decrepitude.

Promotional consideration

As he’s done for years, TB used his strip once again to publicize the real-life Lisa’s Legacy Run. This year, Batiuk introduced us to Batom Comics artist Phil Holt, before killing him off and auctioning off his work, as a weak tie-in to the real-life auction of faux comics art created by other artists and featured in the strip. At least this, like the Lisa Run, was for charity. Less altruistic was having Les blowing off his teaching job to flog his latest literary offering: a three-volume boxed set identical to the one Batiuk was offering for sale IRL!

Starbuck Jonesin’

After considerable buildup, we never did get to see a single frame of the Starbuck Jones movie blockbuster. The epic franchise exists only to serve as a plot engine, providing jobs for Darin and Pete, rescuing the Valentine Theater, sending the gang to Comic Con, and occasioning a guest appearance by Conan O’Brien.

Rick rolled

Batiuk must’ve figured he’d need a little help dragging Funky out another four plus years to get to that Gold T-Square award. In May of this year, he introduced comic book artist Rick Burchett as his “penciller” on Funky (and Dan Davis performing similar duties for Crankshaft), somehow leading to an even more poorly drawn product.

Friends, on behalf of Team SoSF and myself, I wish you a peaceful, prosperous, safe and happy New Year! Thanks as always for reading and commenting.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

16 responses to “This Year in the Funkiverse

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Thanks TFH, couldn’t do any of it without you. I’ll be goofing on FW until the final-ever silent panel runs, whenever that may be. Eleven years of Act III, each one shittier than the one preceding it…quite an accomplishment. And there’s no bottom in sight, either. If he’s not even bothering with stories and continuity anymore there’s no reason he can’t trudge along until he hits sixty years, let alone fifty.

    So he’s still trying to retcon this backwards gag into existence, eh? It’s somewhat remarkable how he broke this old footage out right after Holly mentioned it, as he wasn’t even there, but I suppose it’s at least in character. So there is that.

  2. comicbookharriet


    If the recording is backwards there wouldn’t be announcers speaking intelligible English.

    Unless they were speaking backwards…in the original broadcast.

    tihs llub si siht.

  3. All of this so he could live in a fantasy world where he is the only competent person ever. This isn’t whimsical, it’s just overcomplicated mean-spiritedness…..just like the strip.

  4. Rusty Shackleford

    Looks like Holly moved in with Dinkle. Oh wait, that is Dinkle’s senior citizen wife. But who can tell?

    Still can’t believe newspapers pay the syndicate for this crap.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I thought the exact same thing…”why is Holly there?”. Even more alarming is the fact that Harriet has to be at least thirty years older than Holly yet they look nearly identical.

  5. Gerard Plourde

    Leaving aside the fact that the process he describes wouldn’t produce the Westview Band playing recognizable music, I have no idea why any sane person would do this.That question goes not only for the character’s actions but also for what the author is trying to get across.

  6. Eldon of Galt

    Batiuk continues to plumb the depths of the bizarre and incoherent.
    So here’s Dinkle trying to bend reality to fit his perceptions. What he’s trying to achieve is a total mystery.
    I used to handle incoming mail for a large newspaper. Some of the frequent “Letters to the Editor” writers were fascinating in their elaborate fantasies, totally deranged but operating with some sort of warped internal “logic”. Their all-encompassing delusions were a wonder to behold. But we didn’t make them the stars of the editorial page.
    Dinkle is just like those people. Just as creepy. Just as disturbed. And he gets to be the star of this comic strip.

  7. Gerard Plourde

    “Some of the frequent ‘Letters to the Editor’ writers were fascinating in their elaborate fantasies, totally deranged but operating with some sort of warped internal ‘logic’. Their all-encompassing delusions were a wonder to behold.”

    Your description covers both Dinkle and the author of the strip.

  8. bobanero

    So, the last week of the year in the Funkyverse starts off innocently – Mort presents a copy of the finished CD to Funky as a Christmas gift, debunking his claim that Mort’s Memphis story was a dementia fueled hallucination. The next day brings the “revelation” that Harry L Dinkle was the band director for the Bedside Manorisms, and the NEXT FIVE DAYS are spent retelling the same lame joke about a Rose Bowl Parade appearance that has nothing to do with anything that is really happening in the strip. Well, I guess it beats a continuation of the Les Death Book Tour.

    Happy New Year, Everybody!

  9. Don

    Technically, the “backwards marching band” isn’t a retcon. Some of us actually shell out for the hardcover reprints (“back when the strip was good”), and there is no mention of how the band performed at the 1983 parade; the only strip that takes place at the parade is the 1/1/83 strip, where Dinkle is about to be interviewed by Willard Scott.

    The band was also invited to the 100th Anniversary parade in 1989, but the band ended up at Disneyland somehow, so Dinkle ran onto the Elks float and started singing, as a tribute to the 100th anniversary, “100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.”

    • billytheskink

      No, this is a retcon. Dinkle says in this strip that he is watching the specific parade where he made the band march backwards, and both the throwaway title panel and the television in panel 4 depict Dinkle riding the Elks float (which, in real life, did depict a red-clad marching band as seen in strip) that appeared in the 1989 parade story arc where the band explicitly missed the parade.

  10. This then raises a boiling question: If TB retcons a strip in the forest, but there was nothing to retcon in the first place, does the retcon make a sound? Happy new year, snarkers, may da Funk be wit’ ya in ’18!

  11. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    “Tom, please stay with the ‘backward marching, backward music’ theme long enough to have Harry L. Dinkle, director of the Bedside Manor instrumental music ensemble, explain to us in detail why he had everyone march and play backwards,” said absolutely nobody anywhere for any reason.

    Well, here it is anyway. Long story short, it was so HIS band could look like the ONLY band capable of getting the whole marching band thing right, and all the other bands would look like IDIOTS — doing everything (snik snik guffaw!) BACKWARDS! In reality, when everyone else saw the parade, his band was the only one that looked like idiots doing everything backwards.

    But I’m sure the 2 or 3 people (if that many) who saw his backwards “video CD” (huh?) thought, “Wow, Harry L. Dinkle! How did all those backwards idiots manage to get into the same parade as you, the only one who got it right?”

  12. Max Power

    Westviewians certainly love watching tapes of their dead wives, football glory days, and old parades.

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    Dumb dumb dumb dum dum…

    Happy New Year fellow snarkers.

  14. Happy New Year, folks!
    Here’s hoping Tom Batiuk got a sense of humor for Christmas. And maybe a book, “How to Draw People Doing Things, Rather Than Talking About Doing Things.”