Swollen Funky

Today’s strip is a bit weird for multiple reasons. It’s odd that Batiuk is highlighting that there’s a pandemic going on, and yet neither character is wearing a mask. And the whole punchline of the pandemic making meetings more crowded seems to be the exact opposite of what the pandemic actually did. Unfunny, uninteresting, and baffling-it’s the Batiuk Way!



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

38 responses to “Swollen Funky

  1. William Thompson

    “Funky, shouldn’t you wear a mask?”

    “Why? There’s enough alcohol in me to kill any number of COVID viruses!”

  2. Charles

    I’ve always found it a little puzzling how freely Funky tells random people about how he goes to AA meetings, as well as how often he mentions people he knows from there. Does Batiuk not understand what the second A in AA stands for?

    • Epicus Doomus

      “Hey, that’s my AA pal, Phil Errup! He’s a surgeon, you know. Lots of problems at home, mostly the wife, kids are a real handful too. Got the disease from his mom and his dad was quite the enabler. Let me go over and say hi”.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    “Hole Foods”…Westview’s very first and thus far only erotic bakery. Yes, of course the BIG NEWS here is that we are indeed smack dab in the middle of 2020 again and the pandemic is indeed a thing. And in classic Westviewian fashion MORE people are attending Funky’s AA meetings, because in Westview COVID-19 is like a hangnail. Plus you can skip the line at the hospital.

    I would figure that the guy who draws this thing would prefer drawing the characters with masks, as I’d assume it’d be way easier. Then again, given how they’re all pretty much the same face nowadays anyway, what’s the difference.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Face masks can’t last long in COVID-era Westview. With all the sideways smirking and wide-angle jaw unhinging taking place on a daily basis, even the hardiest of cloth face coverings would be stretched, rent, and torn to pieces. Dinkleberg himself must go through masks on an hourly basis.

      I can’t say that I’m an expert on the topic, but why does it seem as though support groups would have switched to online meetings during the heights of the pandemic and not be packed into school and church assembly rooms where everyone manhandles the donut boxes? Let’s add “Support Group Etiquette” to the list of things Battyuk knows nothing about.

      Also, at what point will Hole Foods get a cease and desist order from Jeff Bezos?

      • Jimmy

        My first thought when reading that was “I hope he gets a C&D from Amzaon.”

        • Jimmy

          Apparently, my fat fingers want to avoid any kind of legal action by changing the name of that giant company ever so slightly.

  4. Mela

    It could be a roundabout reference to reports that the pandemic and quarantining have been particularly difficult for those dealing with addiction. However, since this is now a pandemic story line, it is odd that they aren’t wearing masks in a public business, isn’t it?

  5. Banana Jr. 6000

    So, basically, in a nutshell, I think what Funky is trying to say, in a manner of speaking, if you think about it, is that word balloons are sort of, you know, hard to fill.

  6. Jeff M

    If TB had done one tiny one-second bit of low-temp research he would have known that AA meetings have been almost exclusively on Zoom since March 2020 – there are literally thousands of them every day, any hour of the day or night. And yes, numbers have increased…online! So no donuts for anyone. And this was the case a year ago too, so no excuse. Again, taking a serious subject like AA and just screwing it up. There are plenty of ways to make jokes about this that aren’t insulting – but that would require some thought and insight. None of that in Westview. Argh!

  7. Jeff M

    One other thing I’ll add – it’s actually fine for Funky to talk about being in AA himself – the big thing about AA anonymity is NEVER talking about anyone ELSE you see there – and of course your anonymity is your own choice – but there’s nothing wrong with telling other people about it if you so choose. It helps de-stigmatize recovery by just being open about it. Sorry if I’m being soapbox-y about this. (And I assure you there are lots of donut places and coffee shops that are well aware who’s picking up all those donuts and why. We are very good customers! I know of a few coffee places that are missing their AA business this year) …sorry if this is inappropriately soapbox-y… I’m done…!

    • Charles

      My response was how freely Funky seems to talk about how he goes to AA meetings. If he’s telling “Hole Foods Cashier Who We’ve Never Seen Before”, who else is he telling about it? I recognize that not hiding it can destigmatize the condition, but he’s moving more toward oversharing. Plus, if he’s taking donuts to a meeting, that would suggest everyone going to the same place as him is also going to the meeting.

      Anyway, that said, there’s been more than one strip where Funky just casually indicates that another character is “from AA”.

      • Jeff M.

        Yeah, that casually pointing out someone else as “from AA” is really s****y behavior. And yeah, point well taken; he is pretty flip about the whole thing. It’s almost as if the person writing this strip hadn’t actually looked into a complex issue before writing about it. I mean, the organization’s URL literally has two characters in it – how lazy can you get?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      My cousin of blessed memory was mentally disabled and lived in a group home. One day he is talking to his mother and mentions that he found a place that has free donuts and coffee and that he stops there after work.

      My aunt was worried he was inadvertently stealing from some store so she asked him to take her there. It was an AA meeting. She offered to buy a box of donuts. They said don’t worry about it they liked having him around. He was an inspiration to them because, despite his condition, he was always so happy and so positive about life.

      • Gerard Plourde

        Thanks for sharing this. Your cousin may have had intellectual challenges, but it appears he was light years ahead of many in the joy and acceptance department. Would that more of us were gifted in that way.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Yes, he was a kind person who had a positive influence on many, especially his pals in the group home.

          A big source of pride was work. He worked for the city, and although he was limited to simple tasks, he did those tasks well and was one of their best employees. In his spare time he sketched and did some painting. One of his drawings was used on his gravestone.

  8. billytheskink

    The casual comics reader is going to be so confused now that TB is tackling COVID, because all they remember about FW is death this and cancer that. They’re expecting bodies, but they’re to going to get them… and only us die hards know why.

    For one thing, TB hasn’t popped up in any newspaper interviews to preview an “important” COVID story arc and spoil who is going to die. For another, we all know he works a year (or more) ahead of the present, so this will be entirely informed by whatever TB thought he knew about COVID a year ago. And beyond that, of course, we all know he doesn’t do research that he cannot take a photo of, so there is no reason to believe that any of this would make sense a year ago, much less now.

  9. none

    What’s worse?

    FW acknowledging the pandemic 13+ months after it started in earnest and having the first strip which breaches the subject not even bother to depict anything which would indicate that the pandemic is ongoing (no masks, no plexiglass cover for the cashier, no signs dictating what customers must do to enter, etc.)


    Crankshaft waiting 13+ months after the pandemic started only to refer to it in the past tense, thereby never having to make any kind of adjustment to the strip’s pacing and visual content.

    Both strips want to say something about the pandemic without going through the trouble to really change anything about how the strips are made. In other words, both are copouts which are equally lazy as they are insultingly glib.

    Did he really have to go out of his way to formulate two different ways to address the pandemic in which both methods make him look completely inept and tone deaf? Did anyone ever suggest to him to just simply not bother ever mentioning it at all? Doing nothing wouldn’t have been as bad of a choice as what he has done across these strips.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      More importantly what is happening in Crankshaft, Covid 29?

      • Mr. A

        Both strips are affected by Schrödinger’s disease: a pandemic that both is and is not COVID-19, simultaneously. I predict that no character in either strip will ever utter the words “COVID” or “coronavirus”.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      You said it perfectly. Tom Batiuk wants to say something about the pandemic without actually saying anything about the pandemic. He wants to twist it into one of the same old stories he always tells, just like he did with the idea of DInkle becoming a church organist. But he also wants to pat himself on the back for his courageousness in daring to address such an important social issue. When other comic strips did it better more than a year ago.

    • LTPFTR

      Let’s not forget the flashback where Les practically invented the concept of quarantine when St. Lisa was participating in a clinical trial. The waves of smug insufferability coming off that were almost as deadly as the flu that year.

      Meanwhile in today’s Crankshaft there is a complete absence of a punchline. Not a malaprop, no strained pun, not even a mildly ironic happening. It’s three panels of perfectly intelligible, uninteresting conversation.

    • Hitorque

      Since there aren’t any masks and the pandemic is still a laughing matter to these pinheads, are we to assume it’s still March 2020 in the Funkyverse?

  10. Gerard Plourde

    So today’s strip confirms that, rather than a time jump, Westview and Centerville residents underwent an accelerated aging process, although for Centerville there also appears to be a timeline split involved which created alternate realities. Who knew that the radiation-induced rapid aging effect that the crew of the Enterprise encountered in “The Deadly Years” (Season 2 of TOS) actually first appeared in Westview and that such a complex untold backstory lies beneath the surface of the strip?

  11. Cruller DeVille

    Way to catch up, Batiuk. We’re finally at 1918.

  12. Sourbelly

    Suddenly, out of nowhere, there’s a pandemic in Westview World! And the way Funky is talking, it sounds like the pandemic has been around for awhile. There wasn’t one last week, when elderly ladies were going door to door selling choir candy for choir robes for the gospel choir. And no signs of anything amiss yesterday at the furniture store. I guess the only logical explanation is another time jump.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      And in Crankshaftthere isn’t a pandemic this week, because it’s yet another goddam book signing. With nobody distancing or wearing masks. But Lillian is pre-planning her bathroom trips, because she’s going to be sooooooo busy signing copies of Murder In The Who Gives A Shit.

  13. Gerard Plourde

    So, now that a pandemic has been introduced to the strip will we see any masks? Will the adherents of the Church of St. Lisa the Cancer Chew Toy be forbidden to wear masks because it inhibits their ability to smirk knowingly?

    Since it’s been shown that singing in enclosed spaces fosters transmission, will the St. Spires choir be decimated? What will that do to the format of the Dinkle Tournament of Roses Parade Float?

  14. Jimmy

    I know I’m not alone in discovering I was drinking MUCH TOO MUCH when I got locked inside my home for weeks at a time. I wasn’t exactly laughing about it.

    But alcoholism is funny, I guess?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yes, it has been almost every night for my wife and I. But on the other hand, I like to cook and have expanded my repertoire considerably.

      We went out this past weekend with friends and while we had a nice time, we found that we don’t miss restaurants all that much.

  15. Perfect Tommy

    Yep. That’s how I spent my 2020. Drinking like a fish until my liver begged for mercy,

  16. newagepalimpsest

    I’m going to guess that this was originally going to be a generic “Funky goes to an AA meeting” strip, until the editors pasted the pandemic reference in there. Hence the complete lack of any sort of PPE.

    That being said, AA and other substance support group attendance is up these days so… I guess an accidental bit of accuracy is still worth points.

    • newagepalimpsest

      I guess the original reason that Funky was off to a meeting was because KITCHEN RENO WOMEN BE SHOPPING

    • Mr. A

      Where the syndicate doesn’t own the IP, I assume that a typical comic editor’s job is to A) check for typos, and B) occasionally tell the artist “we can’t print a strip with this much violence/sexual innuendo/mild swearing, we’ll get letters.” I certainly can’t imagine Batiuk allowing an outside writer to push him around.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        If an editor for Funky Winkerbean is going to exist, then, yeah, that person should do some actual editing. And if Batiuk doesn’t like it, he can go pound sand. Gary Larson, Scott Adams, Berke Breathed, Bill Watterson, and other much better cartoonists than Tom Batiuk have written in their books about having to answer to syndicate and editor input. I don’t know why Batiuk gets free rein, considering the self-indulgent, repetitive crap he puts out. Funky Winkerbean is like a bad webcomic at this point.

        • WheresFather

          This amazes me too. I’ve been reading the full collection of Cul de Sac comics by the late Richard Thompson, a wonderful illustrator and cartoonist. He often mentions his respectful relationship with his editors, and how he made changes based on their feedback.