Medal of Horror

Today’s strip marks the third straight day that Dinkle is doing his eyes-closed, head tilted back, mouth-agape, peacocking thing… which I think we can all agree is seven days too many. Hopefully we can also all agree that the poetic tire fire that is “I believe this is the first time a man’s crew-neck undershirt has been seen in the choir loft!” is a sentence that is just too perfectly execrable to exist. Yet it does exist.

Yes, we have here a call back here to Dinkle’s May 2017 trip to Belgium, where he was showered with unearned praise, given this unbearably punny-named medal, and stood in front of TB’s uncredited tracing of the legendary Hergé’s work. I’m not wordly enough to know if the Belgians hate us, but I can’t blame them if they do…

31 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

31 responses to “Medal of Horror

  1. William Thompson

    By exposing himself to the ladies, er, exposing his medal by ripping open his shirt, is Dinkle trying to steal the Clark Kent/Superman transformation gesture?

    • ComicBookHarriet

      And who says that Batiuk doesn’t consider the viewpoint of women? We’ve got him pandering to the female gaze front and center today!

    • J.J. O'Malley

      I think he got it from Batton Thomas, who was clearly visible from the Komix Korner windows a few months ago. BattThom was demonstrating to Skunkhead John how Superman and Batman were changing into their costumes on board an ocean liner and accidentally learned each other’s secret identities in Superman #76 from 1952. The story had a profound effect on a teenage Thomas when he read its reprinting in 1968’s World’s Finest #179 80-Page Giant and he loves talking about it. Clearly Dinkle saw all this while driving by on his way to Westview High to tell Skunky’s wife what she was doing wrong.

      Merciful Minerva, when will this second-hand self-praise end? Barry Horowitz didn’t pat himself on the back this much.

  2. Mela

    Oh. Dear. God. So Dinkle just comes in to do his choir thing and there’s no way he could have known ahead of time that they were going to mention needing new robes. Which means he must wear that medal every day just waiting for his chance to flash it (and his undershirt) to everyone. Those ladies don’t look impressed-they look frightened and he’s just totally oblivious to it.

    • Mr. A

      Maybe something is wrong with me, but those looks of horror are the funniest thing I’ve seen in this strip in months. Dinkle works much better as an antagonist than he does as a protagonist.

      Before this, I wanted the church ladies to fire Dinkle. Now I want them to fire Dinkle, and for him to ignore the firing. I want him to violate all the unwritten social rules, like a character on a Larry David sitcom. I want the church ladies trying everything short of calling the police to get rid of him. I want chaos.

      • RudimentaryLathe?

        I had the same reaction. Lillian(?)’s dismayed stance is especially good; that’s exactly the response Dinkle SHOULD be getting, all the time. If Batiuk had even a sliver of self-awareness this arc could be halfway fun, but nope.

  3. none

    Welp, OK. I allude to this yesterday, here it is today. Maybe next time I can predict something useful.

  4. Gerard Plourde

    We’re just lucky that Belgium is a NATO ally. Wars have been fought over lesser insults than this.

    And, again, why is it that this fact isn’t common knowledge all over Northeast Ahia? According to the FW canon, Dinkle’s skill at fundraising rescued a European economy. Surely this “legendary local band director saves Belgium” story would be worthy of front-page and even tv news treatment.

  5. Banana Jr. 6000

    So did he win the noble prize from Van Houten chocolates, or the Nobel prize from Van Houton chocolates? Both of these words are spelled differently in the original strips and today’s.

    I bet you the Funkyblog won’t have a lengthy mea culpa about this embarrassing mistake. Because even Tom Batiuk himself doesn’t give a shit about Dinkle’s backstory.

    • billytheskink

      Shifting letters are a recurring thing in the Batiukverse. Like how Khan also spelled his name Kahn sometimes or how Pete’s last name went from Roberts to something that is not at all a slight anagram of Roberts.

    • hitorque

      More importantly, why isn’t the official name of the top prize from a Belgian corporation in native French or Dutch?

  6. hitorque

    Well fuck me… I mention it yesterday in as a stupid joke, and today it is reality

  7. billytheskink

    Dinkle has had an enormous mouth is never funny, TB. Even I couldn’t really do anything with it…

    • J.J. O'Malley

      How on Earth does Dinkleberg get his mouth to form a right triangle that that in panel three? I look at his (chocolate) pie hole and the first thing that comes to mind is “Pythagorean Theorem.”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This is a quality pun. Bonus points for Dinkle insulting his hosts’ cultural identity.

  8. BigDickJohnson

    “eyes-closed, head tilted back, mouth-agape, peacocking thing” so basically his O-face then

    (Theres a mental image for you)

  9. sgtsaunders

    V-neck, sure. Wife beater? Oh, yeah. But crew neck!?!? Getthefarkouttahere.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    There is so much wrong with today’s strip.

    1. It’s identical to Wednesday’s strip, with only the name of the award-giver changed.

    2. It tells the audience things they already know. The choir ladies don’t know of Dinkle’s selling experience, but the audience does, and doesn’t need to be told yet again. Sometimes you have to reiterate things for any theoretical new readers, but this should have taken no more than one day. Tom Batiuk doesn’t seem to understand that the audience and the characters can know different things about the story.

    3. “All of the candy I’ve sold over the years…” No, Harry, your band members sold most of it. You go door-to-door yourself, I’ll give you that, but this was never an individual accomplishment. You sure accepted the free trip and the award like it was, though.

    4. Variant spellings of noble/Nobel and van Houten/van Houton. It’s sloppy, and the former changes how the name of the award is pronounced, which in turn changes how the pun works. When you rely so heavily on puns, you have to get these details right.

    5. “This is the first time a man’s crew neck undershirt has been seen in the choir loft”? Well, of course it is. The story made a huge stink out of the fact the choir hasn’t had any men in years, so this isn’t remarkable.

    6. Why the hell does Dinkle wear his medal under his shirt? As Mela said, he didn’t know the topic of fundraising was going to come up today. Does he wear it around town, waiting for the topic to come up so he can pull it out dramatically?

    7. It’s not an Olympic gold medal, Harry. No one will be impressed by this. All you needed to say was “yes, I have experience conducting fundraisers.” Your behavior is offensive, tacky, and rude.

    8. In real life, fundraising companies like this don’t give awards for selling their products. They give awards for BUYING their products. All we ever see Dinkle do is fail, overreach, and end up with tons of unsold product in his garage. So him getting an award from the chocolate company is actually kind of an insult.

    9. This whole choir arc is a textbook example of why Dinkle doesn’t work in Act III. “Kept everyone at practice until 2 AM” and “sold enough chocolate to prop up Belgium” are jokes you can do in Act I, where everything is zany and extreme. And the victims are children who can’t do anything about it. You can’t do this stuff in a “realistic” world, to adults who don’t have to put up with it. You can’t treat ridiculous statements like “propped up the economy of Belgium” with complete seriousness, as this does.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Well that is a fine analysis, but I just wonder why someone who supposedly loves to read and write could possibly think this is an interesting story.

      If he loves comics so much, then why does he constantly put so little effort into making them?

    • 6a. Why does Dinkle find it necessary to rip his shirt off to show his medal when all he has to do is pull it up from inside his dress shirt?

      • Hitorque

        It’s his way of flexing his metaphorical peener in front of all these swooning women, pro wrasslin style…

  11. This would have been funnier without dialogue in the third panel.

    And also if the author were aware that most Christian churches allow male choristers in the 21st century.

    And also if that medal was actually made out of chocolate, and had just melted into a mushy old slab over the years.

    • Hitorque

      Nope, the medal is 100% real…

      And painfully awkward nonsensical sentences no real life person would ever utter is a TomBa trademark

  12. Professor Fate

    As others have noted – we, the reader, already know he got this silly award, so how is this a story?
    And dear lord the joke wasn’t funny the first time – what’s the point of doing a callback other than wasting time- oh that is the point. Well okay carry on.

  13. Sourbelly

    I guess I skipped the original “Someone in Belgium gives Dinkle a Nobel/Noble prize for re-selling candy” arc, so this is all new to me. New, but not remotely interesting.