Maybe We Could Do the Twirl

Try saying “Twirling Tots” five times fast, I dare ya! Holly has settled into her ponderous pandemic picture project and is actually enjoying a little quality mother-daughter time. I don’t think I noticed until just this week that Melinda is drawn with the same weird, wide cartoony eyes that Holly had in her majorette days, and even when she was still a “Tot.”

Holly has been pictured in this outfit before. She’s wearing this uniform and boonie hat in her picture that hangs on  Montoni’s Wall of Fame. I started searching the archives to find the strip that shows this, but quickly became flustered, and I soon found myself sitting cross legged on the living room floor, being comforted by my mother. I’m going to need another pandemic to find it, har! har! har!

31 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

31 responses to “Maybe We Could Do the Twirl

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Yep, the ol’ flaming baton gag…Holly’s main defining characteristic. She used to get blown up all the time (blown up real good), which was funny in the old Act I context, much like how the machine gun was. Not necessarily “ha-ha” funny, but more in a sarcastic understated wry kind of way. You know what I mean.

    • Sourbelly

      I do know what you mean. I’m smirking just thinking about it.

    • hitorque

      Act I had heart in that relatable Charlie Brownish, “keep trying even though you’re only inventing new ways to fail in the most humiliating way possible”

      Holly didn’t just put herself in the hospital burn ward, she’d burn down the bleachers, burn her bandmates, start forest fires, and she even burned Dinkle iirc… I’m surprised nobody called her “Little Miss Napalm”!

      And did Holly ever give up? Hell no… Did Dinkle ever once consider that maybe some other girl would be better suited for the job? Hell no!

    • Margaret

      Yes, that joke was funny in Act I when it was a cartoon, and about as serious as Tom and Jerry. With non human characters that pop back up when an anvil flattens them. But in a strip that’s “a quarter inch from reality”, it’s horror when someone sets themselves on fire. How is Batiuk going to retcon that? “What a good idea it was that you always wore that asbestos suit under your uniform”?

  2. William Thompson

    “Training Baton?” Did anyone ever attempt to train Baton Thomas? (Sorry that this joke is as weak as the strip.)

  3. billytheskink

    Speaking from personal experience, baton twirling competitions are a circle of hell on par with Funky Winkerbean.

  4. J.J. O'Malley

    Funny how a half-century-plus of living in Westview can turn the wide-open, hope-filled eyes of a child into perpetually half-closed windows offering only the slightest glimpse at a soul long since inured to its empty existence, isn’t it?

    By the by, is that a pile of photos on the sawdust-covered floor or Dexter Morgan’s blood slide collection?

  5. Tom Batiuk has the ability to make the destruction of Los Angeles boring. I don’t hold out any hope that “looking at old photographs” will be interesting at all.

  6. Sourbelly

    When I saw Monday’s strip, I thought, “This might be a nice respite from the Montoni’s/Dinkle/Lesturbation/Comix cycle of suckery.” We’ll see. At this point, I’ll settle for benign boredom. It’s all about lowered expectations, folks.

  7. spacemanspiff85

    I think these strips are some of the most distasteful kind of strips Batiuk does. He’s been doing it more and more lately where he just wastes strips referring to a “classic” gag from back when the strip tries to be funny. Like just “Hey, remember, a flaming baton? That was funny, right?” is enough. If he wanted to bring it up again, he could easily actually do something with it more than just mentioning it, like having Holly perform it again to drum up business for Montoni’s or for Cory’s wedding.
    It’s also kind of weird because last week I went to a college football game and at the end of the marching band routine during halftime there were two performers in the end zone twirling what I can only really describe as flaming batons. (They might have been smaller sticks or something but it was the same basic thing). Just referring to something that happens in real life isn’t automatically funny.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It reminds me of George Carlin’s “Love and Regards” bit, where he says being remembered to someone is the lowest form of social acknowledgement.

      “Remember me to Dave.”
      “Okay. Dave, do you remember Susan?”
      “Yes.”
      “Well, that’s it.”

  8. Baton Rouge

    This is so…. Zzzzzzzzz

  9. Gerard Plourde

    Are the only family pictures they ever took ones of Holly as a majorette? No pictures of family gatherings, birthday parties, family vacations, graduations, weddings? I’m always amazed at the number of ways that TomBa demonstrates how one dimensional these characters are.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    And while the comic strip continues to remind us of Holly’s only trait – what activity she did in high school 35 years ago – guess what’s on the Funky Winkerbean blog today? More pictures of Doctor Atmos!

    And there isn’t anything the tiniest bit interesting about them. They’re just preliminary sketches, as would normally be produced in a commission job. Hardly anything changes over the series of them. And there’s certainly no explanation of how the character changed from the “air” member of a team based on the four elemental powers, into a standalone human character with anti-electric defenses. But he complains that an early drawing was “a little too Magneto”, and then gives a later version that’s almost identical to that one.

    I don’t even know what to say. Tom Batiuk isn’t just pointless, it’s aggressively pointless. He has absolutely nothing to say about the life of Holly – one of his core characters for the entire life of the strip – or Doctor Atmos, his brand new comic book creation. And yet he won’t stop talking about either. Unbelievable.

    • Gerard Plourde

      And this revealing gem. “This sketch nailed the uniforms. Doc and Killerwatt basically swap outfits.” No wonder there was so much confusion on Sunday as to who was who. If I’m reading this right, the guy on the right was Dr. Atmos. He doesn’t have a helmet and in no way exhibits the original concept – a hero who has to live in a containment suit. Instead we seem to have ended up with a knock off of Ororo Munroe, Storm of the X-Men.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The costume seems to switch back and forth between the two characters! The “model sheet” is the more Tron-looking outfit. The “early Doctor A sketch” has him in the blue and gold suit. Then the character on the left is wearing it. And then I think the character on the right is wearing it, but the drawing goes from color to black/white and the details also change. So who knows?

        • Mr. A

          To give a short version of my long comment that the filter ate, here’s how I think it goes:

          1. Dr. A is lightning-man.
          2. Ditch the lightning, Dr. A is faceless gas-man.
          3. Recycle lightning design for Killerwatt, have Dr. A punch him.
          4. Swap positions/silhouettes of characters. Now Killerwatt is doing the punching.

          • J.J. O'Malley

            Faceless Gas Man! Now THAT’S a name for a superhero!

          • The Duck of Death

            When I was living in an old tenement walk-up apartment in NYC in the 80s, I would be awakened at about 6 AM once a month by loud, violent knocking and hoarse shouts of “GAS MAN! GAS MAN!” I’d go stand behind the door in my pajamas, half asleep, and let the gas man read the meter right inside the door. I never did see the gas man’s face. He was a Faceless Gas-Man. True story.

      • Mr. A

        I still say the guy on the left was Doctor Atmos, because he had no face. When Batiuk said that the characters “swap[ped] outfits”, he seems to be referring to their general silhouettes (more bulky/heavy vs. slimmer/lighter) and particularly their helmet shapes (the domed/Magneto shape vs. the more “form-fitting” one.).

        Reading the two blog posts [one, two], here are the stages of work as I interpret them:
        1. Early Concept. At this stage, Dr. A is a normal dude with lightning/weather powers (which, as I pointed out on Sunday, is exactly what his name suggests).
        2. Later Concept. The idea of Dr. A as a living gas-cloud has been introduced, and the character has been redesigned accordingly. Note the lack of a face. It is no longer clear what Dr. A’s powers are, if any.
        3. First Cover Sketch. Doctor Atmos tries to punch Killerwatt. Dr. A is using his design from Stage 2. The artist has recycled elements from Dr. A’s Stage 1 design for the villain, Killerwatt.
        4. Final Cover Sketch. Doctor Atmos awaits a punch from Killerwatt. The characters have swapped positions from Stage 3. Elements of Dr. A’s costume from previous stages (the facelessness, the circles with thick lines coming out of them, etc.) have been transplanted onto Killerwatt’s Stage-3 silhouette, and vice versa.

        • Professor Fate

          That really seems an awful lot of work for a one off cover that everybody looked at and went ‘huh?’.
          Well in some ways it sums up almost all of FW third act. So there’s that.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          How is it this confusing after it had so little effort put into it?

        • Cabbage Jack

          Congratulations! You have officially put more work into Dr. Atmos and Killerwatt than Batiuk did! The award is not getting a Pulitzer.

  11. louder

    This is actually a nice comic, as for once, a real, human reaction is taking place. It is a normal and healthy thing to have family looking at old pictures and just talk to each other. I’m on board with today’s strip. Good job to BatHack today. More please!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yes, this would be fine for a day or two. But it’s not driving any narrative. Looking at these pictures isn’t a starting point for exploring Holly’s relationship with her mother, a character we haven’t even seen in a long time. They don’t reveal any new information about Holly’s past. They don’t depict any important moments in her life. They don’t remind her of something that was once important, but isn’t anymore. They don’t contribute to characterization. They don’t inspire Holly to reflect on her life. There’s no picture that’s now jarring, like if they found an old picture of Funky’s marriage to Cindy Summers. There’s not even the cheap laugh of an embarrassing naked baby photo. “Holly was a majorette who frequently started fires” is all you’re ever going to see here. She might as well be going through her old tax returns.

    • The Duck of Death

      I can’t agree. Yes, it is a nice, human moment. Yesterday, I watched an episode of Pokémon XYZ with my son. He wanted some comfort viewing after his first day back to school. It was a nice, human moment but BORING for anyone else to hear about, let alone to illustrate and publish to an audience of thous — er, hundreds.

      Comics should have something interesting going on at all times. Whether that’s plot, or art, or mystery, or humor, whatever — they are not designed to capture pleasant and unremarkable moments of everyday life.

      Is FW conceptual art? Like Andy Warhol’s Sleep, an 8-hour film of a man sleeping? Or Marcel Duchamp’s “Fountain,” an ordinary urinal signed with a pseudonym and entered in an art exhibition? Are we meant to be asking ourselves, “What is art? And why is, or why isn’t, this piece art?”

      Somehow I don’t think so. I think Batty’s just a hack.

  12. be ware of eve hill

    Welcome to Funky Winkerbean’s tales of the mundane.

    A baton with glowing ends was supposed to train Holly for the flaming baton trick?

    Ya’ surrr! The same way a rope laid out on the ground would train you how to walk a tightrope. No wonder Holly burned down the stadium.

    …or is that the joke? 😴