My Dinkle-ing, My Dinkle-ing…

Twenty Twenty One may be just getting blessedly underway, but Our Winter Band Banquet is drawing to a close. I’m praying for Covid to finally reach Westview, Ohio soon, so that all those dopey, knowing smirks will be obscured by masks. This Golden Dinkle “Award” appears to be a silly bit of Scapegoat Band tradition, not a genuine award such as might have been given out earlier in the banquet. This least coveted prize is not a miniature statuette of Dr. Harry Dinkle, but rather a large wall plaque, to which has been mounted a gilded, actual size, band shoe. I guess the product placement check arrived from Up Front Footwear, LLC. They’re the makers of DINKLES® full line of (very reasonably priced!) marching shoes, boots and band essentials. When yours truly was in high school band, shoes were the only uniform item we had to buy. So to me it seems odd that the trophy should resemble a shoe. And an untied shoe at that.


Hey, readers: I hope everyone’s enjoyed a happy and healthy holiday after the insane year of 2020. If coming to SoSF to hate on FW has in any way helped you get through These Challenging Times, know that the web’s premiere source of Funky Winkerbean snark will continue for at least the next 449 days: Funky‘s fiftieth anniversary will be Sunday, March 27, 2022. Will Medina’s own Storyteller accept his Gold T-Square*, walk away, and free up some newsprint at last for some comics talent from this century? The declining quality of the strip over recent years would point to yes. But while I consider all of us here to be some of FW‘s most devout…well, if not fans, then followers…somebody out there must be buying those Complete Funky Winkerbean books (he’s now up to Vol. 9). King Features Syndicate seems happy enough to keep paying him, and it’s enough for his kooky editorial director that “Tom is seriously one of the most earnest people alive.”

In any event, SoSF is here for the duration. Also, today (Sunday) is my birthday. We turn it back over to Epicus tomorrow, and on his behalf and on behalf of everyone at Team SoSF, thank you for reading and being part of the conversation. Into the new year we go. Excelsior! –TFH

*I knew that the “Gold T-Square” is awarded for 50 years as professional cartoonist, but was surprised to learn that so far, only three have been presented: Rube Goldberg (1955), Mort Walker (1999), and Arnold Roth (2018). “Sparky” Schulz was active for less than fifty years (if you don’t count the last 20 years that Peanuts has run posthumously). This opportunity to surpass one of his idols ensures that the awards-happy Batiuk, God willing, will stick it out.

21 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

21 responses to “My Dinkle-ing, My Dinkle-ing…

  1. Happy birthday, TFH, and thank you!

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Happy birthday TFH! Like I’ve said all along, I’m in for the duration. I will (ideally) be here when that last strip drops, otherwise he wins. If the last two weeks haven’t run me off, nothing will!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Happy Birthday TFH. Thanks for linking us to your epic photo of the majestic brass hunter leaning on his sousaphone trophy!

  3. Gerard Plourde

    A Sunday product placement for Dinkles! (By strange coincidence, Up Font Footwear is headquartered only about an hour west of me in Mount Joy, Pennsylvania)

    And I’m here for the duration. I may not leave a comment every day but I do check in. The comments are always entertaining.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I have to admire Batiuk’s efficiency here. He manages to shill his flagship character, one of his core brands, and his band director constituency all in one strip.

  4. Banana Jr. 6000

    I too extend my birthday wishes to TFHackett, and my great thanks for maintaining this great little corner of the Internet.

  5. billytheskink

    A hearty happy birthday from me too TFH! Thank you for your commitment to keeping this site running for the duration, and I certainly plan to stick around as long as this site does.

    I just now connected the ever-growing number of volumes of Dinkle’s autobiography with the number of Complete Funky Winkerbean books. See this strip from the summer of this year:

    Both book series have mysteriously willing publishers and elusive, but apparently existing, customers. Perhaps they also parallel in number of volumes? Dinkle is 9 volumes in, just like TB, and has 8 more to go. With Complete Funky Winkerbean volumes covering about 3 years per book, adding 8 more volumes would cover the years out to… 2022.

    Coincidence? Probably. Personally, I think TB is going to write this strip as long as someone will print it just to spite us, and the world in general.

    • Epicus Doomus

      “Elusive”…you got that right. I’ve still yet to meet a single other soul who even knows what FW is, much less an actual FW fan. Having one of those hypothetical souls showing up here and posting would be nothing short of monumental. I vaguely recall a few “you people are so mean” posts from way, way back and we’ve had a few facetious posts from people pretending to be FW fans but when I say “a few” I mean maybe two or three at most. I’d personally welcome them with open arms, as I would have so, so many questions.

      Here’s something I’ve often pondered re: those books (actually they’re just hardbound collections of previously published comic strips in book form, but I digress) of his. Let’s say you had the complete Act III to date, every FW strip from 2007 on. Given the, uh, paucity of actual content, the repetition and filler and etc., how long would it take the “average person” to read the whole thing? I just can’t imagine it’d take more than an hour, tops. I believe I could easily breeze through entire months in forty-five, maybe sixty seconds. Like, for example, the Bull CTE arc. If you had it all right there in front of you in chronological order it’d be like a minute and a half of actual reading and that arc took YEARS to play out.

      That’s why I sometimes think the whole comic strip thing is pretty much a huge scam, but I’ve never been able to actually prove it. I mean I suppose it’s totally possible that this really is the best he can do and he’s sincerely trying to be “entertaining” here, but again, I can’t really prove it. Either way it just fascinates and baffles me to no end.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        I read volumes 1 and 2 as our local public library had them. I may continue on if they have more. It was an easy read. There were some funny bits here and there.

        The quality has definitely degraded since Batty decided to ruin the comics page with his awards chasing prestige arcs. I’m ok with serious stories in the comics ( and sorry Batty you were not the first to do serious stuff) but it needs to be interesting. FW is full of despicable and fake characters so nobody cares what happens to them.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I looked in some online Amazon sales estimators, which are based on the “#X in Books” rankings that every Amazon page has. The forthcoming Volume 10, complete with smiling Dead Lisa on the cover, checks in at 115 copies a month. The rest of them are basically zero. The paucity of reviews further underscores this point.

      On a side note, why are there only hardcover versions? Does the unironic Funky Winkerbean fandom insist on the permanence and solemnity of hard cover for their retired high school band director humor?

  6. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Panel #6:
    Dinkle grabs the trophy as he elbows a bewildered sophmore and Becky away from rhe microphone.

    “Yo, kid, I’m really happy for you. I’mma let you finish, but I had one of the best candy sales of all time. One of the best candy sales of all time!”

    HBD, TFH!

  7. Count of Tower Grove

    HBD, TFH!

  8. Rusty Shackleford

    Ah, must be getting closer to the Ohio Music Educators conference. Gotta have some pander strips ready for the band directors.

    Westview is one odd place. They start practicing for the winter concert a few days before the winter break but then they hold the marching band banquet in January, long after marching band season has ended.

    I was a band geek too. Our banquet was held in November.

  9. Margaret

    Happy Birthday TFHackett! Thanks for giving us your intelligent and often hilarious take on this bizarre thing that is FW!

  10. Don

    I, er, um, (looks nervously left and right) (lowers his voice) I own the first 7 FW volumes – the “back when it was reasonably funny” era (although #7 does include the first six months of the Turn to the Dark Side at the end). Then again, I own the complete hardcover sets of Peanuts (26 volumes, plus the eight large color Sundays volumes so far) and Bloom County/Outland/Opus as well.

  11. Happy birthday, TFH! Thanks to you and the rest of the SoSF staff for carrying the torch for us. I read this blog every day, though I haven’t been commenting much recently, as I have not found the strip content worth commenting on, really. I have great admiration for your ability to find some humor in even the most humorless strips.

  12. Perfect Tommy

    This awards banquet is the best! I can’t stop grinning like an idiot!
    I know right? I’m sure glad we live in a place where small town values are treasured and appreciated! I heard the band is going to perform an impromptu concert afterward at the town square gazebo. You in?
    Well, there’s like twelve feet of snow out there, but sure!
    And then it’s off to a Montonis for a slice! Awesome! I can’t wait!
    Ha Ha! My face is starting to cramp from all this smirking! Ha Ha!

  13. Happy Birthday, TFH!

    I hope that Westview’s rambling gangs of band-uniform-destroying punks don’t ruin your day!

  14. Banana Jr. 6000

    Good Lord, don’t these poor kids get enough of Harry Dinkle? Or band, at least? For all the jokes about pre-pre-summer band pre-camps and the like, these kids – and their parents – sure are happy to be at yet another vainglorious band function. It looks like a cult meeting.

    And it might as well be. Dinkle and Becky check off a lot of items on the cult checklist: excessive demands on members’ time; belittling of members (“my students are so bad” is a common joke, even though we never see them fail an actual show); social pressure (implied; most new freshmen go straight to the band room); excessive praise of leaders who are seen as infallible and have no accountability; and the organization is primarily concerned with raising money. Don’t drink any Flavor-Ade, kids.