Carousel of Dull

Other than the fact I was able to enjoy a small side-line cottage industry in collecting option checks, Funky and my other work have always managed to avoid being exploited or stained by Hollywood as if the strips had been Scotchgarded against the very possibility.

Tom Batiuk, from The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Six

“Butter” Brinkel had his own carousel and a pet chimpanzee?  He’s coming off less like Fatty Arbuckle and more like Michael Jackson. Brinkel’s also got the world’s largest gun collection.  Could this be foreshadowing? Does that collection include Chekhov’s gun? Does “the starlet Valerie Pond” meet her demise by gunfire?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

26 responses to “Carousel of Dull

  1. Epicus Doomus

    I saw that blog post today and it sure does explain a lot. It’s so disingenuous too, as he would have KILLED to get FW made into an after school special.

    I think it’s pretty obvious what’s going to happen here: Zanzibar did it. It’s going to take all summer to get there but IMO there’s no doubt about it. A drunken chimpanzee, accidental carousel-related gunplay, a dead actress…it practically writes itself.

  2. It’s amazing how he can put all these elements into his strip and still make it incredibly dull. That’s got to be talent of some kind.

  3. billytheskink

    Carousel, guns, and a smoking chimp? This guy is way too fun to be in a Funky Winkerbean strip.

    • spacemanspiff85

      A little kid fan of Butter broke his neck on the carousel (but lived for another 90 years, paralyzed), Butter later sold the gun collection to the Nazis to pay his legal fees, and the chimp died slowly and painfully of lung cancer. This is Funky Winkerbean, never foregt.

  4. spacemanspiff85

    I just love how Batiuk acts like he got so lucky never having his strips adapted, even though he took Hollywood’s money. Because obviously his work is pure genius and could only be sullied by those Hollywood fatcats. Also, if any of his strips had ever actually been adapted it might mean more people became aware of his work and would be paying attention to it, which is the absolute last thing Mr. Run Out the Clock to Fifty Years wants.

    • I suspect a lot of those scripts were never produced because the producers had to deal with Batiuk all the time. And based on what he’s presented here, he has no idea how movie studios or television productions work.

      So, they threw their hands up and said, “Guys, I think we’re lucky to get out of this with an option check. You might call it a ‘kill fee.'”

      • Epicus Doomus

        There’s that, then there’s also the fact that his stories were and are unbearably trite, predictable and lame. His vaunted “Lisa pregnancy arc” was a massive snore punctuated with every single cheesy old pregnancy trope imaginable. Even a production as lame as “The After School Special” would want to punch things up a tad, as no kid would want to sit through ninety minutes of ancient “the baby is coming!” gags. Even back in those days his “youth of today” arcs read like they were written with seventy-five year old church ladies in mind. The idea that he insisted on keeping that idiotic story “pure” is laughable as well as being total bullshit.

        • spacemanspiff85

          I mean literally the only remarkable thing about that story is that Lisa was pregnant. The only bit Batiuk ever shows now is that silly part where Lisa says the baby is coming and Les yells “Now?!”. Which might not actually be this strip, it might just be me confusing it with every sitcom that’s ever had a character give birth, ever.

          • Epicus Doomus

            The whole thing consisted of tired old tropes that were done to death long before television even existed, but according to BatYak it revolutionized the art of storytelling itself and forever shifted our national comic strip paradigms in ways that influenced writers forevermore. But fortunately for him, “Hollywood” never got the opportunity to soil and taint his story by adding jokes and making it entertaining.

          • Charles

            (For some reason I couldn’t reply to this directly)

            according to BatYak it revolutionized the art of storytelling itself and forever shifted our national comic strip paradigms in ways that influenced writers forevermore.

            Well, you know, it was the strip that led to someone getting so angry about our depraved society that he bombed a post office!

            In Batiuk’s mind and in his strip, of course. I’d be willing to bet that if you asked major fans of comic strips “Which strip was the first to feature a sequence about teen pregnancy?” they would pause for a bit before asking right back, uncertainly “Uh, For Better or Worse?” Others would troll and say “Garfield” or “Motley’s Crew”, but I doubt Funky Winkerbean would be mentioned.

          • billytheskink

            That’s not what happened verbatim, but it is pretty much what happened.

            Original 1986 strip:

            2001 rehash:

  5. Guys, Paul McCartney warned us about this Butt Brick guy in the song “Looking For Changes”:

    “I saw a monkey that was learning to choke
    A guy beside him gave him cigarettes to smoke
    And every time that monkey started to cough
    The bastard laughed his head off!
    Do you know what I mean?”

  6. Jimmy

    The gun collection prefaces the fact that Butter shot out his TV in the Jungle Room circa 1973. I’m actually enjoying the fluid nature of this timeline.

  7. Paul Jones

    It amazes me that a man that ignorant and confused is so pompous and unlikeable. This whole stupid, poorly-researched, ineptly executed and boring arc is all so a tiny little man can kick people in the shins for daring to tell him “What is actually funny about a man backing into a mailbox because he’s too stupid to check his mirrors?”

  8. Rusty Shackleford

    “I won’t ever know how Funky landing on the big or small screen would have changed things, but I do know that it left me totally free to follow my idiosyncratic urges as to what the work could aspire to be.”

    Really wish they would have made that after school special…they all sucked anyways..and maybe Batty would have dropped the strip or made it a gag a day type.

  9. Buckeye Feculence

    Yes, poor writing will Scotchguard anything from Hollywood’s evil tentacles.

  10. spacemanspiff85

    “So, Lisa gets pregnant, and then the next 29 minutes is the band playing-in the rain!”
    “. . .”
    “Okay, try this-a bus driver backs over someone’s mailbox-over and over, for thirty minutes!”
    “. . .”
    “Well, it looks like some children were left behind. This one’s a gem-what if a tv anchorman was totally unlikeable?”
    “Get out.”

    • Professor Fate

      “A pizza place with a comic book shop above it’

      • Charles

        “A guy wanders around a park talking incessantly to the silent woman with him about his dead wife… At the end of his monologue, he proposes marriage to the silent woman, and she accepts! Silently! And she’s black!”

        Make sure to bang his head on the door frame multiple times as you force him into the car, officer.

  11. Professor Fate

    1) Butter seems to be able function perfectly well despite his life long painful neck injury.
    2) I’m sure that BB having his own private indoor merry go round was a real hit with the ladies.
    3) The Author really really hates Hollywood doesn’t he? He’s letting that sour anger get in the way of telling the story (such as it is).
    4) Again – he’s setting this during World War 2.
    5) Gonna make a guess as to how the story turns out: The chimp shot what’s her name and BB took the fall to keep the Monkey from being put down, nobly sacrificing everything to save the ape.

    • See, now that would make for an entertaining comic strip, and surely it’s more plausible than whatever Batiuk’s got “in the pipeline.”

  12. Eldon of Galt

    I try to avoid personal commentary about Batiuk, other than criticizing his writing, because I really don’t know what sort of person he is. That snotty comment about Hollywood at the top of today’s posting, though, that seems like something a real jerk would do.

  13. bayoustu

    If only someone would teach a chimp to write this strip.

  14. Gerard Plourde

    Would having the world’s largest gun collection even have been a thing in the 40s?

    And carousels were in every amusement park (which were also commonplace in those days).