Meeting the Four Hundred

Les just continues to mock Batton in today’s strip. Sheesh, whadda jerk! Apparently newspaper cartoonists were the original social distancing champions, which you probably would be seeing memes about if you were Facebook friends with one. Unfortunately, gags this terrible are not a rare sight in Funky Winkerbean

Emily or, uh Amelia… whichever one wears pink and doesn’t act like what TB imagines a Hot Topic shopper to be, asks a perfectly reasonable question for a “kids these days” kid. Seriously, it is a good question and it demonstrates a knowledge of what a comic strip is, how it is distributed, and its primary measure of success. Batton, of course spins this perfectly fine question into a self-pitying humblebrag so deftly that even Les seems impressed. Newspapers may be dying, but his comic strip is in EVERY SINGLE ONE of the ones that remain! What’re you gonna accomplish in your life, Blondie?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

21 responses to “Meeting the Four Hundred

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Newspapers have been becoming more and more obsolete over the years…har, har and har. Perhaps tomorrow one of Les’ students will ask Batton why his comic strip sucks so much and he’ll admit it’s because he puts no effort into it at all. Then this arc will REALLY reflect “reality”.

    • That would be the perfect wrap-up. “Oh, I haven’t bothered with the content for years, now. Ever since my prestige arc about how the school mascot died of dysentery failed to win a Swulitzer Prize, I just can’t care anymore so I just cough on a piece of paper and doodle it into something I submit about five minutes later. Does anyone want to ask me how great and thoughtful I am?”

  2. Cabbage Jack

    I like that he keeps stressing “Battom” is a “Newspaper Cartoonist.” Pure and noble, not like those filthy animals who post their comics on the Internet.

    • Doghouse Reilly

      Or, not like those hacks who can’t handle the workload of a daily strip and settle into cushy gigs on monthly comic books, with muscular spandex-clad Adonises fighting bizarre criminals and daring outer space adventurers flying to distant worlds and teaching alien beauties what kissing is. Oh, comic books, why do you consistently continue to overlook my obvious greatness!

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Haven’t you realized that it is not good enough to like what Batty likes, you have to like it in the way that he likes it. And the way he likes it is the way that it was done in the past.

      I can think of a lot of ways things are better today, but Batty will have none of that.

  3. William Thompson

    “How much longer before your strip kills off those last four hundred papers?”

  4. William Thompson

    “Can we read your strip on-line? Because I’ve never seen a newspaper comic strip that was worth killing trees and generating waste paper that was worth it.”

  5. Gerard Plourde

    Wow, Batton Thomas and Les make Marvin the Robot from Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy seem like a raving optimist.

    Oddly enough, the decline in daily newspapers between.1970 and 2018.(the most recent data I could find) shows that the attrition rate is less than commonly thought. In 1970 there were 1,748 daily papers. In 2018 there were 1,279 still publishing (actually an increase of 2 from 2017).

    • Cabbage Jack

      Well, you know Batiuk…there has to be a reason that isn’t him for his strip’s decline.

      Kind of like how he blames the syndicate for John Darling, who was murdered, slowly losing papers and not the fact that the comic itself is pure trash.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The whole “decline of newspapers” argument omits some important facts. Mainly, that people are just getting their news online instead. According to total newspaper circulation has dropped from 60 million in 1990 to about 40 million in 2015, and is headed sharply further down. But, newspaper website traffic and revenue are going up. They’re probably losing some market share to new media, but this is mostly just a change in consumer delivery preference. And even that wouldn’t be as bad, if newspapers weren’t so resistant to change. Like not spending money on shitty legacy content like Funky Winkerbean.

      People still need daily local news. This COVID business has illustrated what a valuable service it is. Tell me you didn’t start paying more attention to the neighborhood fishwrap when it all started. I think newspapers will ultimately gain subscribers from it all, though again, many of those will be web subscriptions.

  6. billytheskink

    Les brought Batton here for an aimless Q&A and nothing else? No presentation or lecture? No topics for a guided discussion? No point at all?

    Les acts like he hates Hollywood and his book signings, but his most passionate hate is clearly teaching high school kids.

  7. Charles

    As if that would be the first question a kid would ask. Not “what is your comic strip about?” Or, ” how did you get into comic strip writing?” or more biting, “if you’re such a big shot, why haven’t we heard of you?”

    And Battom could boast instead of feeling sorry for himself by indicating that he’s in ALL OF THEM, kid! I’m in every single newspaper in the country!

    But feeling sorry for oneself is much more of a default setting for these losers.

    And good point Billy about what a terrible teacher Les is. He brings this oldster loser into the class, and then demands that his students start the discussion. Hey kids, here are some questions to get you started?

    “How much time did you spend thinking about *that* outfit when you got dressed this morning?”
    “Did you really think those glasses are flattering?”
    “Do you find that Mr. Moore wearing his slob-ass tie loose like that or his inability to roll his shirt sleeves down for a special guest to be as big an insult to you as it is?”

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    This is like a feedback loop of smug. “A newspaper cartoonist outside his studio is a rare sight, gang! Because I’m so hard-working! I mean, ‘they’re’ so hard-working, because ‘Batton Thomas’ totally isn’t me, and I’m not him! We’re so hard-working, even though neither of us bothered to prepare five minutes of material for this class, and clearly have nothing to say anyway! But we’re in all of the remaining newspapers! All 400 of them! And who brought you this amazing experience, which you didn’t ask for and isn’t relevant to the class you signed up for? MEEEEEEEEEEEE, Les Moore! You’re welcome!”

  9. William Thompson

    “What offends me is that Mr. Moore obviously made no effort to prepare you for this session. He clearly assumed that an event organizes itself and accomplishes something without any work. I tell you plainly, a man that lazy would never make it as a professional cartoonist.”

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    I’ll give Les credit for one thing: he hasn’t mentioned Lisa in ten, possibly fifteen whole minutes.

  11. Paul Jones

    The irritating thing is not that they don’t learn anything that might make them want to read the strip. The irritating thing is that Batiuk never saw that as an option.

  12. Perfect Tommy

    I’m wondering if this arc mirrors a real life TB experience. “What do you mean you’ve never heard of FW?” I’ll admit, I can’t decide if Tom is grudgingly accepting the slow demise of the medium of his life’s work, or if he is just ranting at the unfairness of it all.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It doesn’t reflect well on “Batton” either way. For all his whining about kids these days, they’ve been perfectly courteous to him. Especially since Les ambushed them with his presence, and neither Les nor Batton could be bothered to prepare any subject matter. And did you notice they all put their phones away? Kinda undermines that joke.

  13. Chester the Dog

    Chester the Dog here. Today’s strip is not funny, it is sad and depressing. Westview must have a very active mental health clinnic.

    • Father Shellnut: Well, they never know they’re ill, do they? I mean, you can’t diagnose yourself with the same organ that has the disease, just like you can’t see your own eyeball. I suppose you just feel regular, and the rest of the world seems to go crazy around you.