Who Was the First New Participant?

Haha, Funky couldn’t possibly be a real name, this definitely isn’t a well that Batiuk has gone to way, way too many times. Yes, Tom, we know you hate the name Funky Winkerbean. You’ve made that point clear. The first “person can’t believe Funky is a real name” strip wasn’t particularly funny, and none of the subsequent ones have been any funnier.  I wonder if he thinks that the sole thing holding him back from Pulitzers and Academy Awards is just the name of the strip. I mean, if he really wanted to, he could do a storyline where Funky decides to change his name, but that would take too much effort.
Two more observations:
1. Nothing says “old out of touch man writing young person dialogue” like “character with backwards cap saying ‘gamer handle”.
2. Is Alcoholics Anonymous really the kind of place where people criticize the names other people give? Because it is supposed to be anonymous, after all.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

31 responses to “Who Was the First New Participant?

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Fun FW history fact: Funky’s “real” name, Groovig Zwinkerndebohne, was revealed only once, during mid-Act II. In a series of sepia-toned flashback strips lasting several months, Funky’s dad Morton (real name Demenz) told Funky the story of how his German immigrant parents were forced to change the family name at Ellis Island due to lingering anti-war sentiment following the USA’s entry into World War I.

    At least this one is sort of realistic, as anyone named “Funky” is going to raise a few skeptical eyebrows, especially when he’s a fat balding dying middle-aged schlepp. I mean if I heard that “Funky” was coming by and Funky showed up I’d be pretty disappointed and confused too.

    • hitorque

      Batiuk never seemed to figure out that there is an INCREDIBLE amount of weight that comes with the name of Funkmeister… I’m not saying that he HAS to be a party animal or a hip-hop DJ or kickass bass guitarist or hardcore pothead, but he damn well had better be someone fun to be around, have a million funny anecdotes or one-liners, and has the be the type of guy who can have a good time no matter where he is or what he’s doing…

      And by that criteria, Dr. Funkenstein and his creator Mr. Batiuk have failed horribly.

      • A lot of that describes Act I Funky, and it’s the reason he has to be ground down under Les’ heel in recent years.

      • Epicus Doomus

        If I’m at a party and someone tells me “my pal Funky is coming by” I’m expecting George Clinton, not “our” Funky. Perhaps that’s a tad judgemental of me but still.

  2. billytheskink

    Even with Mr. Backwards Hat’s insolence, these folks are treating Funky much better than his friends or family do. If he wasn’t really an alcoholic, I wouldn’t blame him for faking it.

  3. Foster Booking.com

    I need a drink.

  4. Sourbelly

    Oh, boy. Members of real life AA, get ready to be offended, This one is going to be rough.

  5. Gerard Plourde

    Is it just me or is the artwork even worse than usual? Also are we in for a weeklong AA meeting?

  6. Gary Cahall

    And is it just me, or do most of Funky’s AA peers look like they should be in Less Moore’s high school English class? This is what happens when you draw your teens to look like thirtysomethings. And while I know it’s pointless to ask, since this is now known to be set in “pandemic time,” where are everyone’s masks? And if it’s over, what was the point of bringing it up yesterday?

    Oh, well, at least–judging from the wall poster–the group are fans of either Bonnie Franklin or Rita Moreno.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I think it’d be hilarious of one of Les’ high school kids was depicted in the AA meeting, with no further explanation. Imagine Bernie Silver just silently listening to him talk.

      Even better, have an arc where Cayla decides to go to AA, only to find it entirely populated with people who regularly have to deal with Les. Funky, Mason Jarre, Marianne Winters, his book publisher in New York, his entire class, Crazy Harry, Linda, and so on. And the group would be like “oh, good, we wondered when you’d join us. Please tell us how you lasted so long. You want to be the new group leader?”

      I know that’s not the right tone, and we shouldn’t make jokes out of people who are seeking recovery. But this week’s arc has already wiped its ass with the concepts of anonymity and respect, and it’s only Tuesday. So I daresay I’m being more respectful of AA than Tom Batiuk is.

    • Maxine of Arc

      The art hit my eyes before the text did, and I truly wondered for an instant why Funky was talking to a room full of kids.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      This is a typical bit in FW. A newcomer asks a question, or a student makes a comment that reflects their ignorance of the subject, and they are always met with a snarky answer. Who does this?

      Batty is lucky he got hired to be a cartoonist because he must have been a horrible educator.

  7. hitorque

    1. No asshole, if it was a gamer tag it would sound like “Funky420_Da_Trim_Chaser6969” or something….

    2. But the kid does have a point… Any grown-assed dude named “Funky” had damn well better be a musician or some kind of hedonistic party animal…

    2a. And does Funkmeister even have a christian name? You’d think he’d start using it at this point in his life.

    3. God damnit, I’ve seen orgies that had better social distancing during a pandemic than this AA meeting…

    • I think his Christian name is “Perfunctory.”

    • Margaret

      Wasn’t there a strip way back, maybe in Act II, where Funky was at Motor Vehicles office getting an argument from a bureaucrat about his name and trying to prove that it was really what was on his birth certificate? I seem to remember someone talking about that on this site once. If that’s true, it would be really interesting to have a short arc where Morton explains why he and his wife decided to name their baby boy Funky!

  8. Charles

    Well, so now we know what happened to Summer. She’s been in and out of rehab for all the years we’ve missed.

    And looking at panel two, Ayers really needs to slow down and do a little better when he draws throwaway characters. Summer’s got a Hitler stache and someone took a puzzle-piece shaped chunk out of that poor asymmetrical guy’s head. All their eyebrows are mere suggestions at this point.

    • Gerard Plourde

      I think you’re right. And in order to conceal her identity, she’s wearing a sleeveless top or a dress instead of her sweatshirt. No one would recognize her.

  9. The Nelson Puppet


  10. Everything about this strip continues to deteriorate. The writing is gone and the artwork just looks like scribbles that took, maybe, ten minutes from start to finish.

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    Excuse me, Funky, but are you such a goddam rock star that no one should ever question your strange name? The kid asked a reasonable question and you insulted him in front of the group. Way to make a newcomer to an AA meeting feel unwelcome, you arrogant asshole.

  12. Speaking of small dead animals, what is that thing that’s down a bit from the donut with a bite out of it? Because it looks like a small dead animal.

    • Gerard Plourde

      I think it’s supposed to be an ash tray with cigarette butts. Is there any public space in America where indoor smoking is allowed?

      And what happened to the pandemic?

  13. Dood

    Goddamn, that second panel: “He said, ‘Funky!’ Everyone drink!”

  14. Banana Jr. 6000

    This could have been a decent Mythology Gag. As far as I know, Funky’s real first name, or if it’s actually “Funky”, has never been revealed. Today’s strip flirts with the idea, with Funky implying that anyone familiar with him would know the truth. But his behavior doesn’t fit an AA meeting, where you want to be welcoming and non-judgmental towards new people.

    Funky should have said “well, as everyone knows…” or “I get asked that a lot…” and then not explain it on-panel. Batiuk loves using ellipses in lieu of punchlines anyway. All the other Winkerbeans have regular male names (Mort, Wally, Cory). And we know he acquired the name well before going into high school. It might actually be fun to explore how Funky ended up with the name he did.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Batty’s not up to that kind of writing.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        He’s really not. And it’s such a simple, almost cliche, thing to do. It’s probably the sort of thing Batiuk thinks he’s being clever by not doing.

  15. newagepalimpsest

    There are fewer alcoholics in Westview than I would have thought.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Maybe, but you should see the weekly meetings of the Westview chapter of Silver Age Comics Anonymous. The high school assembly hall is packed to the rafters with middle-aged man children eating donuts and trying not to argue over whether Spider-Man should date Mary Jane or Gwen and who would win in a mascot fight between Rick Jones and “Snapper” Carr.