My Heroes Have Always Been Band Directors

Big ups to Epicus Doomus for the last two weeks of posts. In addition to crafting great posts and post titles, Epicus manages the guest author rotation and is my right hand man around here. Without him, there would be no SoSF.

In a rare bit of Funky fortuitousness, today’s strip involves alfresco dining, an activity that’s more popular right now than it’s ever been.  What at first appears to be an old married couple in panel 1’s aerial perspective turns out to be Harry Dinkle and a friend. Judging from how non-generically the other gent is rendered here, he must also be a real-life friend of Batiuk and/or Ayers.

I donned my PPE and took a deep dive into the Act II archives for a refresher about the circumstances surrounding Dinkle’s “retirement.” Near the end of Act II, Becky Winkerbean, as she was known then, took over as band director  when Dinkle was promoted to WHS’ music supervisor. His actual retirement happened “offscreen,” during the second 10 year time jump. Shortly thereafter, his beleaguered wife Harriet pleaded with, and possibly bribed, the school board president to install Harry as director of the performing arts center that bore his name, just to get him out of the house. It’s doubtful whether that director role entails hanging around the high school and basically serving as Becky’s co-band director. Look at him smirk in panel 3 at his friend’s quip. Harry Dinkle doesn’t know the meaning of retirement. No, seriously…he doesn’t know the meaning of retirement.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

22 responses to “My Heroes Have Always Been Band Directors

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Thanks for the shout out TFH! It’s a labor of, uh, love, I suppose. Best damn collection of FW critics on the web right here.

    Yeah, I assume this guy is based on one of his real life band director friends, which is swell for him and his band director friend, but not so much for everyone else. Gags about band directors who refuse to retire…that’s a real niche interest right there. As usual, it’s funny to exactly one person, plus maybe the guy it’s based upon, I guess. I keep waiting for him to do an arc about comic strip snark blogs where I’m Epic Doofus, but it never seems to happen.

    • comicbookharriet

      You guys both deserve massive props for providing the internet a safe space to hate Les Moore.

      • LTPFTR

        If there’s a space where it’s not safe to hate Les (aside from the BattyBlog) I most certainly do not want to go to there.

  2. William Thompson

    “Eating Montoni’s pizza” is a form of social isolation, but these two need more isolation. Is there any hope we can land them on the moon before Labor Day?

  3. erdmann

    The old man stared at the ringing cell phone in his hand and felt his soul shrivel in horror. If only he could just cast it into the nearby trash bin and walk away. If only that would solve the problem.
    If only.
    “You missed the deadline, ‘old friend,'” the icy voice on the other end hissed. “I was expected a rather sizable contribution this morning and was most disappointed when I received nothing.” The voice became noticeably harsher when speaking the word “nothing.”
    “P-please,” the old man sputtered. “I couldn’t get that much together that quickly. God, I’m just a teacher. I don’t make that much and I’ve not been well lately…”
    “Spare me your excuses. You know what happens now. You’re going in the strip…”
    The speaker ignored the protest. “…perhaps as an old comic book artist who drops by the Atomik offices and… No.” The speaker paused briefly, then started talking again, this time with a hint of malicious joy in his dark, rasping voice.
    “No, I think instead you will be an old associate of Dinkle’s, discussing retirement with him over lunch at Montoni’s.”
    “Please, God, no! Anything but that!” the man gasped, his heart pounding fit to burst. “Please, I have a wife and children! Grandchildren! You can’t…”
    “You should have thought about them when you decided not to pay up. I’m going to make an example of you to the next old friend I turn to for assistance. He will understand I am not to be ignored. Good bye.”
    The line went dead. The old man dropped the phone and sank to his knees. He buried his face in his hands and wept.
    How had it come to this?

    • comicbookharriet


      • Y. Knott

        “At least,” he thought, “at least I have a year. For a whole year, no one will know. And in that year, while knowing the inevitable fate that awaits me — in that year, I will LIVE!”

        True to his word, he set out to live a lifetime in the year left to him. And in that year — a marvelous, fantastical, glorious year in which a fortune was made, then lost on the single spin of a roulette wheel, and then regained; a year which stretched across five continents; a year which saw family ties strengthened, and abiding new friendships made — as the appointed time loomed closer and closer, he came to realize something. Something *profound*. Something that changed everything…

        “Who the hell reads Funky Winkerbean anyway?”

  4. Epicus Doomus

    Oh yeah, Harriet, another strong FW Act III female character. Dinkle’s spousal neglect was mined for laughs during the unforgettable second honeymoon arc of 2013, as the idea that the Dinkles hadn’t gone anywhere in fifty years was supposed to be a hilarious and humorous premise and not a sad story of a squandered life. Good times.

  5. billytheskink

    There is probably a reason folks are asking if this guy if he’s going to retire… Same reason people probably ask TB if he is going to retire.

  6. Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

    Truly, old band directors never die, they just creepily hang around schools and harangue their dumb ol’ gurll successors who wouldn’t be able to march in their much more able and scholarly male predecessors’ shoes and couldn’t out-conduct them with one arm tied behind their backs…oops, sorry, Becky.

  7. Jimmy

    Nothing says comic strip for young people than another Dinkle installment.

  8. Paul Jones

    Batomic Comic Obsessive is not cool enough a dude to mention Willie Nelson. It’s like Lynnuck invoking the name of David Bowie…just plain pure D wrong.

  9. Banana Jr. 6000

    And Willie Nelson said “retire from what? No, seriously, what exactly do I do?”

  10. Maxine of Arc

    Dear gord, he’s stealing other people’s punchlines. How tired and lazy can you get? *sigh* at least it’s not Les. I guess.

  11. I think TB just told us that he’s not retiring the comic like Terri Libenson or Jan Eliot did/is doing with theirs. He’s going to die at his desk like Johnny Hart. (deep sigh)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This is the “I’m under a rest” guy from the music educator’s convention, 40 years later. And in that time, not one person has ever told him he’s not funny.

  12. Count of Tower Grove

    I grandpa’d “Willie Nelson ‘retire from what?'” and got an attribution from Paul McCartney. Do some fucking grandpaing, Todd.

  13. Perfect Tommy

    Well, now we know what Gunther from “Luann” is up to.

  14. Hitorque

    I work at a state university and the concept of some ancient fossils who do nothing but show up and sit in a hidden office somewhere counting paperclips and playing WGT golf online for a few hours while drawing a full paycheck hits home for me…

  15. Westview Radiology

    Whenever I see someone dining at Montoni’s in this strip they usually seem to be just sipping hot coffee. Question, who the heck goes to a pizzeria for coffee? Seldom if ever is any one holding a slice of pizza to their mouth. This either says a lot about Montoni’s coffee and/or their pizzas.