Robed in travesty

I thought maybe we were getting an extended break from Dinkle during the last week, TB does love pontificating on comic books after all, but I should have known better. The Dinkle-St. Spires choir story had yet to play all of the beats a Dinkle story plays. We’ve covered his arrogance, his ego, his megalomania, his ludicrously demanding practices, the one thing we were missing from the complete Harry Dinkle experience finally shows up in today’s stripfundraising. I should have seen it coming, no excuses.

I’m not sure these robes appear to be “tired and worn” so much as they appear to be rain ponchos purchased at a Cleveland Browns game. Maybe add some patches or stains or loose threads next time to sell the effect, Chuck.

Now it is only a question of how many weeks will TB spend showing Dinkle pushing these old ladies to sell “choir mattresses” or his autobiography or whatever. Unfortunately, it won’t be a negative number.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

40 responses to “Robed in travesty

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Oh no. How did we not see this coming? It’s all so clear to me now…Funkyversially speaking. First you get the organ playing gig, then you get the choir, then you sell the candy. He’s going to do all of his old band candy gags…again…but this time with OLD PEOPLE doing the selling! Aching bunions, arthritic hips, aphasia, sudden blood pressure spikes, it’s a comedy gold mine that practically writes itself, even though it doesn’t have to because it’s already written! Bet you he was victory lapping all over that studio of his after he dreamed this scheme up.

  2. William Thompson

    Looking at the banner, it seems that the pandemic has finally reached Westview. Surely this is a sign that the coronavirus is no longer relevant to our world!

    • J.J. O'Malley

      No, no, Funky’s been wearing face masks whenever he loads a delivery order for years. Can you imagine what a load of Montoni’s pizzas smells like inside a car with the windows up?

      On an unrelated note, how exactly does DInkleberg’s skull not fall backwards and awkwardly hang down the back of his neck when he unhinges his lower jaw and smirks like that?

      • billytheskink

        That special ability to unhinge his jaw is probably the only thing Dinkle has in common with Charles Nelson Reilly.

    • Mr. A

      Funnily enough, today’s Crankshaft seems to imply that the pandemic hit Westview a year ago (er…a year ago, ten years ago), and now it’s over. Though it doesn’t actually say “COVID” or “coronavirus”, so it still has plausible deniability.

  3. billytheskink

    I do see something tired and worn, but it sure isn’t those robes.

  4. Banana Jr. 6000

    This is like the beginning of a 90s late-night TV commercial. “Oh no! I have a aimple but very specific problem! I also have $19.99 in my pocket and profound brain damage!” Then the inventor steps in, and starts pitching the OxyBulletThighBaconWowMaster2000.

  5. Gerard Plourde

    Thi week is going to be a slog.

  6. Mela

    Sigh. First of all, go to Grandpa Google or the Funky version of EBay and see what kind of reasonable deals you can find BEFORE you agree to any Dinkle fundraising schemes. Or put the word out to sister congregations to see if any of them are looking to get new robes and might be willing to donate their old ones before agreeing to sell choir turkeys.

    • Westview Radiology

      Choir Turkeys? I think they’re finally going to get around to making that porno tape “Hairy Dinkle’s BIG Organ”, recording it on VHS and peddling it to the oldsters of Westview.

  7. Wanda Pesce

    I honestly don’t know how this team manages to present the most annoying, punchable people in the universe.

  8. The Dreamer

    FW has taken a strange twist in the current version. The younger characters are being buried or ignored in favor of the oldest characters. Cory Winkerbean, Summer Moore. Crazy Harry’s kids, Jinx Bushka .etc have all but disappeared in favor of Harry Dinkle and the choir, old Funky and Holly, even older Funkys dad and Holly’s mom last weeks old comic book collector
    etc. It is easy to see that TomBat doesn’t relate to the younger characters anymore, but the syndicate can’t be happy to have a strip that focuses on all the over 60 characters. Comic strips are supposed to appeal to young readers!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Ideally, yes. But newspaper readership skews very, very old nowadays. And the comic pages reflect that: it’s all Boomer nostalgia and Millennial-bashing, even though Millennials themselves are starting to turn 40. The Funkyverse and its priorities fit in perfectly with Pluggers, Dustin, Mary Worth, and all the generic strips that haven’t changed since at least 1950. I think even Dilbert is starting to tell the kids to get off its lawn.

      • Gerard Plourde

        You’re right about readership of newspapers changing. But even the way we use newspapers has changed. I’m in the Boomer demographic and do subscribe to two dailies, the local paper (not to be confused with The Local Paper that Funky and Jfff read) and the not The New York TImes national paper of record. Both of these I read though the tablet app and I haven’t looked at the comics page in forever (I don’t even read Doonesbury).

        This is a long way to say that the time when newspapers were the sole source of information and entertainment has passed (although they are vital in communities to report on many important local issues that don’t receive notice from other sources). The daily two or three panel comic strip, either the gag-a-day, the adventure strip, or the melodramatic soap, has so many competitors that it’s difficult to see how it survives (although the gag-a-day probably has the best chance.)

        That said, I do follow FW compulsively due to the work put into this site. A huge shout out to TFH, BTS, ED, CBH (forgive me if I’ve left out one of the helmspeople of the site) and the contributors here for creating and maintaining a community that, using TomBa’s strip as a springboard, invariably sparks lively, informative discussion. You embody the old adage of making a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          You touch on another important aspect of how we consume media nowadays: meta-content. My interest in Funky Winkerbean is largely because I can talk about it with like-minded enthusiasts, instead of having to be silently confused by it. Newspapers alone can’t provide that experience.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            This is true for me as well—for this strip and Mary Worth.

            Scott Adams was probably the first to utilize new technology when he put his email address in his strip. He mentions wanting to create a feedback loop so he can connect with his readers. Batty only wants to lecture, not listen. Awards chasing was his first priority.

            In the introduction to one of his books, Watterson talked about how he was inspired by the early strips and their beautiful artwork and said he always strived to provide that level of quality in his work—which is why he always fought for more space in the newspaper. Contrast this with Batty’s clumsy story about how he was inspired. I’m not a comic book reader so a lot was lost on me by default, but still, I think a better writer could have provided an interesting story that would have caused me to learn something new. Instead, all I got was a crappy story topped off by a stupid smirk.

        • billytheskink

          The daily multi-panel comic strip will probably survive on some level as nostalgia and also because of how familiar even the youngest generation of comic strip creators is with it. It is not uncommon for webcomic creators to use the format even though they do not have to limit themselves to it. But you are right, the sun is definitely about set on the daily comic strip as a piece of the national consciousness and young readers are not replacing older ones. If your nearest bookstore still has a section devoted to comic strip collections, most of the books there will be for one of five strips: Garfield, Peanuts, Calvin and Hobbes, The Far Side, and Pearls Before Swine. Three of those haven’t produced new content in over two decades and only Pearls was created in this century. I’ve often pondered whether Pearls will be the last genuine hit the newspaper comics page will ever produce, and I’m increasingly convinced that it will be.

          Frankly, it is remarkable that a format as limiting as a daily 2-4 panel comic strip has produced such tremendous work over the years, even back in the days of limited entertainment options. That is a big part of its appeal to me, how the medium’s best creators can rise to the challenge of crafting engrossing stories and great humor into something that can only be consumed a few sentences at a time and viewed only a few square inches at a time. That some comic strips were able to become bona fide national pop culture icons even into the television era, despite the tremendous limits the format requires, is something that never ceases to amaze me.

          • Gerard Plourde

            “Frankly, it is remarkable that a format as limiting as a daily 2-4 panel comic strip has produced such tremendous work over the years, even back in the days of limited entertainment options.”

            I think that the creators of the truly successful strips of the format were both incredibly talented, diligent, and painstaking. What they produced is on the level of other strict forms like the sonnet or Haiku.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Calvin and Hobbes showed what could be done in a newspaper comic… and nobody else could come close to doing it.

  9. J.J. O'Malley

    But, but…how did the Silver Age Flash get back to his own Earth?

  10. Mr. A

    I’d like to live in a world where Dinkle has to be smart and creative to solve this problem, instead of bludgeoning his new set of underlings into using the same methods he’s used for decades.

    Alternatively, I’d like to live in a world where these choir ladies get fed up with this heavy-handed treatment, and threaten to fire Dinkle if he doesn’t cut it out.

    I have a feeling that I don’t live in either of those worlds.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      No, this world is carefully arranged so the main characters can do exactly the same thing they’ve always done.

  11. Mr. A

    I’d also like to point out that these choir robes must be less than ten years old, because the robes we saw in Crankshaft (March 1st-6th) differed in both color and design.

  12. These women are so old, it takes three of them to speak one sentence.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    A church of this size would have a financial director who is in charge of fundraising and purchasing. Or, if the choir did it themselves, they would have some clue how to do it beyond “bake sale.” Dinkle’s 2 a.m. rehearsal stunt would have gotten him at least a written reprimand, if not fired on the spot. And the entire choir would hate his guts for it. But you don’t exist in a realistic world, Harry, so go ahead and tell them your brilliant idea. Which I’m sure it choir turkeys or Van Houten’s chocolate.

    • Gerard Plourde

      I also have a serious issue with the assumption he makes about the composition of a church choir, or more appropriately, a church’s music ministry, as it’s now regularly called. My experience is from the Catholic tradition and I would appreciate input from others to see if this is more broadly the case.

      Because there are multiple services, more than one mucin group exists. There is the traditional choir, which skews, but is not exclusively older. Then there is the contemporary music group (“the guitar group”) that is populated mostly by teens and young adults, Boomers, and Gen Xers.

      As you’ve pointed out, Banana Jr. 6000, over all of these is a music director who, in a Catholic church, is hired by and subject to the pastor. (I assume that in other denominations the vestry, church board, elders, etc. serve this function).

      All of this just shows how once again reality can’t get in the way of the construct TomBa perceives for his narrative. And, as we saw yesterday, the reason underlying that circumstance is a springboard for speculation.

      • Gerard Plourde


      • Maxine of Arc

        I’ve only ever experienced church music in the context of one choir for all your choir needs. My church had an 8 am service and a 10 am service; the 8 am one was shorter because they cut out the hymns to streamline things, so the choir members were only expected to attend the weekly 10 am.

        • Gerard Plourde

          Thanks for adding that. You must come from a tradition where congregational participation in singing is also the norm, something that we’re still getting back to, with more success in some parishes than others. We also have services that employ just a keyboardist (piano or organ) and a song leader (also termed a cantor) who encourages the congregation to join in and does some solo work.

          • Maxine of Arc

            Episcopalian. Congregational singing is indeed the norm in every church I’ve been in. I have had some professional singer friends who were paid choir members at large city churches of various denominations, with the expectation that they would lead sections, sing soli, maybe do small group pieces during communion or the like instead of or in addition to organ music, but I’ve never belonged to a church that had a budget for paid singers. There’s a dissertation somewhere in there about participatory vs. performative church music.

            I do see the kind of “guitar group” you mention turn up on church billboards occasionally though I admit I associate it with failed attempts to be more hip. If it worked at your church, I admire everyone involved.

        • Gerard Plourde

          Maxine of Arc,

          Following up on your post below. Guitar (AKA “Folk”) Groups for us grew out of the liturgical changes following Vatican II, which ushered in services in the local language instead of Latin and somewhat restructured them. They were an attempt (partially successful) to bring more contemporary music into the service. We also began to use music from Protestant sources, although some choices were pieces that even those sources were jettisoning. We’re still having fallout from the liturgical changes, not to mention our other issues.

  14. batgirl

    When does Harry start preaching the sermons as well? Or will they skip that step and move straight to the worship of Dinkle?

    • Gerard Plourde

      I can just imagine that. “I base today’s sermon on a text from my biography of Claude Barlow.”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I would love to see a schism between the Church of Lisa and the Church of Dinkle. Les would settle it by declaring himself the only true god, which everyone in Westview would go along with. There’s also a Church of John Darling My Father Who Was Murdered, but it’s small and inconsequential.

  15. Sourbelly

    Gosh, Harry, it’s almost like some higher power has lined everything up so that you can keep doing the same crap you’ve always done. What fun!

  16. Hitorque

    1. Wow… If only there was some kind of pastor or reverend or someone in charge of procurement at this oversized church that these ladies could go to…

    2. Look, I know all female characters in the Funkyverse are required by Ohio state law to be helpless and inept in the face of basic obstacles, but it beggars belief that they made it to an advanced age without literally knowing how to do *anything*… Oh! We need a new organist! Oh! Our new organist also has to direct the choir! Oh! Our new organist also has to serve as music director for the church! Oh! We need to raise some money, what on earth can we do?! How much more absurd can this storyline get?

    3. Okay you clucking hens, you asked for the Big Dink’s help and you’re gonna get it… I don’t want to hear the first fuckin’ complaint when you throw your back out selling 65-pound frozen sacks of Omaha steaks door to door.

    • Hitorque

      4. So what happens next? Some big time record producer’s car breaks down next to the church during Sunday service? Or do the old ladies suddenly realize they forgot to name a representative to attend the National Conference of Church Music Directors in Oklahoma City?

      • Gerard Plourde

        Sadly, your speculation shows that the possibilities are endless. I don’t even want to think what kind of mess TomBa could think up if he sent Dinkle to Oklahoma City.

  17. Charles

    You know, when I said a couple weeks ago that we only had another five weeks of Dinkle, I thought I was joking for Christ’s sake.