Claude Barlow’s “tectonic scale” could probably be applied to today’s strip, and this week in general, which feels like it has been going on for eons.

What really throws me in these Dinkle-Barlow strips is that they come across simply as vehicles to deliver TB’s puns. That concept struggles when Dinkle is a character who otherwise isn’t at all disposed to being a mirthful pun-maker. It struggles further when Barlow, as an unseen character, seems to slide from being an unwitting pun set up to an unwitting pun-maker to a “humorously” terrible composer just to suit Dinkle’s TB’s mood. I get that the Barlow shtick was supposed to add to Dinkle’s over-the-top nature, and that kid of worked back in Acts I and II when he was an over-the-top character. Now, though, he’s a character that used to be over-the-top, like a guy who still wants his nickname to be “Animal” even though the only time he really got crazy was at a couple of parties in college. Now, this is just listless and out of whatever character Dinkle has remaining.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

15 responses to “Argh-peggio

  1. You know, it would be way more humorous (and honest) and would probably attract more readers if the strip was renamed to “Lazy Unfunny Wordplay Placeholder.”

  2. DOlz

    “What really throws me in these Dinkle-Barlow strips is that they come across simply as vehicles to deliver TB’s puns.”

    Excuse me sir! To call these lame failed attempts at wordplay puns is an insult of the highest order. Jay Ward wouldn’t have used them to wipe his butt.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Batiuk never even comes close to wordplay anymore. Even in Crankshaft, which is supposed to be mostly Ed’s “malapropisms”, usually what Batiuk passes off as humor is just switching one word with another that sounds similar, but doesn’t really make any sense at all.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    This arc is certainly moving along like a tectonic plate all right. I mean geez, I NEVER thought anything could move slower than a “Funky at the gym” arc but once again BatNom has proven me wrong. If this arc was a physical thing it’d be one of those fat-bergs that clog up big city sewage systems. Reading these puns is like being slowly crushed beneath heavy stones. Heavy boring stones.

  4. Jimmy

    You just know Animal’s softball jersey number is always 69.

  5. If you really wanted to explain what was wrong with this strip, you could hardly do better than using this bland filler as an example. Just as Dinkle thinks that the world is waiting with bated breath to have the misadventures of that deluded whacko Barlow revealed, Batiuk thinks that people actually care about his stable of gloomy ciphers glumly marching to the crematorium so that indignities might be heaped on their mortal remains.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      So true. Batty made such a big deal about the time jump, yet he was unable to do anything with any of the characters. One would think he could do something with the new characters, I mean there are tons of new situations and scenarios to explore, but no, he doesn’t go there.

  6. Gerard Plourde

    Surprisingly, but for a misspelling, this could be a decent, if obscure, joke. “Tecktonic” refers to a style of dance performed to electro house music (a form of electronic music that’s descended from disco).

    • DOlz

      For an author (it hurt to write that) with his in-depth knowledge of young people it is truly surprising he missed that.

      • comicbookharriet

        Because quite a few scales have -tonic at the end: with pentatonic being the best known, (meaning five tones/notes). There is a germ of decent wordplay encased in a lump of leaden framing.

        Tectonic also derives from the greek root ‘Tekt’ which means ‘to build or make’ so a tectonic scale probably means, “Making the notes up.”

  7. bobanero

    So, is this Claude Barlow a real person in the Funkyverse, or some fictional character that Dinkle made up to use as a vehicle for his horrible puns? If he’s real, then the tectonic scale is a real thing in the Funkyverse, and this isn’t a pun. If he’s not real, Dinkle’s just basically cranking out 7 volumes of gibberish. Either way it’s not funny.

    • comicbookharriet

      Quotes from a random google search:
      “Claude Barlow was an abductor and attempted murderer, and the accomplice of serial killer Antonia Slade. He appeared in Devil’s Backbone. … He did so, abducting Adam Morrissey and Jimmy Bennett and holding them captive in a shed at his property.”

      “Looking for a book by Claude Barlow? Claude Barlow wrote Fathers of the Church: Iberian Fathers : Writings of Braulio of Saragossa (Fathers of the Church (Hardcover)), which can be purchased at a lower price at”

      “In 1944, Dr. Claude H. Barlow infected himself with schistosomiasis in order to bring viable eggs to Johns Hopkins University for study. He reported the consequences of his voluntary infection with S. haematobium in 1949. His intense suffering is well described.”

  8. batgirl

    When I read FW back in the day, I assumed Claude Barlow was made up. If he is… TB has two major modes of naming – some sort of pun (Les Moore) or ‘sounds funny’ (Harry Dinkle). Claude Barlow doesn’t really sound funny. Is it a pun on ‘low bar’?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      That’s what I always thought. Groan…at least the old computer in the office had a few funny bits. Wait did I just copy Batty?

  9. I have a feeling that if someone came up to Tom Batiuk and offered these very same puns, Batiuk would reject them as being “too terrible.”