Knitty Gritty

I’m guessing this is a gag about her torn muscle or broken bone knitting together? I totally didn’t get it at all the first time I read this, but that’s the only thing I can think would make any kind of sense. I’ve never been a fan of Batiuk’s tradition where he has someone make a joke in the second panel and in the third panel someone sneers at them and acts like it wasn’t funny. I don’t really get why Batiuk thinks it’s funny or worthwhile, and usually the jokes aren’t any worse than the ones Batiuk actually presents as his actual punchlines.
How long do you think it will be before Holly murders Funky with one of those needles?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

47 responses to “Knitty Gritty

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Same here, spaceman, I don’t get the gag here at all. I guess it’s possible that he’s using “knitting” in a broken bone context, but that’s a really weak reference, to say the least. But nothing else would make any sense.

  2. William Thompson

    “Don’t you have something else to do?”
    Panel 1: Funky stands up and smirks. “Yes, watch me walk and chew gum at the same time!”
    Panel 2: Funky pops some gum in his mouth as he stands up.
    Panel 3: Funky slips and falls, with one leg twisting so badly he gets his own shoe jammed in his posterior.
    Panel 4: Holly on the phone: “9-1-1? My husband just ran out of chewing gum and kicked his own ass.”

  3. Sourbelly

    Talk about filler. Yeah, Holly’s bones are knitting as she needlepoints. Wry banter is wry.

    That’s fine, but what bothers me is the prodigious amounts of pubic hair on Holly’s Barcalounger, and even in her yarn basket. And is the frowny face on her cast intentional?
    Anyway, Ayers continues his revolt against drawing backgrounds for this drivel.

  4. none

    10/7/21 blog post. He cites the strip Tumbleweeds (to which he refers to as “masterful” and I can’t say that I’ve ever seen until that point, and after having seen it, I don’t quite agree it reaches that kind of level in quality, but anyway) as his inspiration for having the characters do 4th-wall camera mugging in Act 1.

    He says he’s “done with it now”, but having so many Act 2 and 3 strips with panel 3 showing a character to quip about a dumb joke in panel 2 is really not much different or better.

    In fact, it’s pretty much worse than 4th-wall camera mugging and a gigantic middle finger to everyone reading the strip, isn’t it?
    P1: I’m doing a thing.
    P2: Here’s a dumb joke about it.
    P3: That was a dumb joke.

    Sunday throwaway panels are one thing, but he’s able to consistently put throwaway panels into daily strips.

    And yes, count me as another person who hasn’t the slightest idea what the hell the pun is even supposed to logically mean.

    • billytheskink

      I rather like what I have seen of Tumbleweeds (which was never regularly printed where I lived), but I do know that the strip is known less for being “masterful” and much more for the fact that Jim Davis was TK Ryan’s assistant on the strip for nearly a decade before creating Garfield.

      • none

        I had no idea! Good response.

        • billytheskink

          The influence of TK Ryan’s Tumbleweeds artwork is even apparent in Garfield, especially the early strips, though nothing like it was in the lightly-distrusted strip that Jim Davis worked on late in his time as Ryan’s assistant, Gnorm Gnat. Gnorm Gnat‘s characters, all of whom were bugs, could probably have shown up in Tumbleweeds and no one would have blinked.

    • I have a friend who’s a big fan of Tumbleweeds, to the point they got a little cross with me when I mistakenly pointed to them how Comics Kingdom was running vintage Redeye, which is somehow a different humorous western comic strip that started in the 1960s and ran into the 21st century. (They’ve since dropped it.)

      But I couldn’t get into Tumbleweeds; when I first encountered it in the 90s the art was static, and the word balloons were not just computer-lettered (which many strips are these days), but they were typed in using … I want to say Chicago, like you didn’t know how to switch MacWrite 1.0 to a different typeface. Something not good, anyway, and I don’t think it ever changed away from that.

      • Sorry to follow up my own post but I got to looking at Tumbleweeds’s entry on Wikipedia and this is good enough you have to see it:

        “Tumbleweeds was to be one of the strips animated in Filmation’s 1978 series Fabulous Funnies (along with Broom-Hilda, Nancy, Alley Oop and others) and was included in the series’ premiere episode with Alan Oppenheimer doing the voice of the title character. However, after the first episode aired, it was learned that Filmation lacked the rights to use the property, and the segment was removed from future episodes.”

    • Hate to inform TB, but “breaking the fourth wall” has been around for a few centuries…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Speaking of Funkyblog posts that are a middle finger to everyone who reads the strip: Guess what today’s entry is about? The upcoming Sunday comic book cover, featuring Rip Tide: Scuba Cop! That’s right, he’s not even waiting for them to run anymore, before he shows off every preliminary drawing like they’re pictures of his children.

      And this one really shows how little of a shit Tom Batiuk gives about anyone but himself. He actually says he “wanted to reconnect with what led up to it, as the actual piece is about to see print on Sunday October 24th.” (He’s concise enough to quote for once, I’ll give him that.)

      But how the hell does that benefit the readers? “What led up to it” hasn’t been seen by anybody but you, Tom. Even though it’s pretty easy to guess that October 18-23 is going to be yet another week of the Atomik Komix bozos mugging and smirking at each other, as they DaVinci Code themselves into yet another half-assed premise for yet another quarter-assed Sunday comic book cover.

      You know what Batiuk has to say on his blog about the current Holly arc? Absolutely nothing. What did he have to say about the apparent conclusion of the years-long Lisa’s Story: The Movie arc? Not a word. The “hedge fund” newspaper story? One post, which was just a sales pitch for a Crankshaft book. And another post awhile back, which complained about “hedge funds” impact on the printed medium of… comic books. Because even his self-righteous, award-courting, real-world stories are ultimately about comic books.

  5. DickJohnson

    Glad someone said it even if its Holly

  6. billytheskink

    You’re really using your vacation for THIS, Funky? Tony flies down to Florida, at least.

  7. erdmann

    I rather liked “Tumbleweeds” back in the day. Ryan had a distinctive art style and the strip could be amusing. I still have few Fawcett paperbacks of the strip somewhere, but haven’t looked at them in years. I fear that some of the humor, especially that involving indigenous persons, has probably not aged well.
    Coincidentally, after all these years I finally found out what pemmican (frequently mentioned in the strip) is about two months ago when one of my co-workers mentioned it.

  8. newagepalimpsest

    Panel 3 is great, and it’ll be even better photoshopped onto the end of every “Les Protects Lisa” and “Dinkle starts a new project” arc from now on.

  9. Gerard Plourde

    The injury depicted almost two weeks ago had all the appearances of a broken ankle. Now Holly says she has a broken leg. Well, I suppose I shouldn’t question. After all, as Emerson stated, consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

    • Mr. A

      Maybe she broke the end of her leg bone, at the ankle joint? The ankle isn’t a bone itself.

      • J.J. O'Malley

        Sure the ankle is a bone. And it’s connected to the shin bone, which is connected to the knee bone, which is connected to the thigh bone, which is…

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    So NOW what’s the timeline? Yesterday Holly was all excited to get up and move around, now she’s going to sit in the chair and needlepoint while she’s “out of commission”?

    And if that is supposed to be a frowny face signature on her cast, when did she have an opportunity to have someone sign it? And how, when it’s clearly not even a plaster cast?

    This is reaching the level of “so stupid it’s funny.” What’s tomorrow’s strip, Funky sells the house renovations to pay Holly’s medical bills?

  11. Hitorque

    1. So Holly’s life is just as dull and pedestrian as it was before her injury… Nothing has changed?

    2. This strip was absolutely crying for a 4th panel with Funkensteiger dumping eight shoeboxes of Holly’s unsorted high school photos on her lap since, you know, she never actually finished that task and has all this “free” time on her hands… Not only would it have been a legit honest-to-god punchline, it would have been a nice callback to the beginning of this storyline…

  12. Hitorque

    Krankenschaaften: Please tell me the year in this comic is 2009 or 2010 because these idiots are a good 10-15 years late to start pretending they give a shit now…

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Skip thinks the world revolves around him, doesn’t he? “All the institutional memory is in my head.” “I quit, so the Sentinel has bought the farm.” Skip, you’re a goddam employee and nothing more. Why do you expect to be missed by people who you’ve just established they don’t care if you’re here or what you do? And why do you think it’s your place to save the newpaper after you quit? Geez, these small-town Ohio people are so arrogant.

      And is it me, or does the phrase “Sentinel bought the farm” really not work here? The whole problem is that the “farm” bought the Sentinel.

      • The Duck of Death

        Nothing’s keeping the whiny old hippie from setting up a local news website of his own. If there really was a need for local reporting, and if he really was good at it, he’d have a large readership in no time and could start selling ads or operating on a subscription basis. This is not rocket science. There are plenty of services that will set the whole thing up for you. Or you could ask a local teen or college student to help you with it (if there are any, which I doubt, since everyone in the town is old enough to have voted for Ike — make that Adlai Stevenson, since I’m sure all Centervillians are FDR Democrats).

        In other words, put up or shut up, you Depends-filling old fart.

        • He wouldn’t set up a news web site of his own. He would get a used linotype machine and print his own paper the old fashioned way.

          • The Duck of Death

            Hey, didn’t Lex Hagglemore Fisk, evil bald tycoon, say he’d see Skip “in jail”? Leaving aside the fact that that would mean Lex would be in jail too — didn’t it seem as if he were going to sic a phalanx of lawyers on Skip? I would hate to get into a legal tangle with a hedge fund bigwig.

            Yet something tells me we’ll never hear from, or about, L.H. Fisk again.

      • The whole reason he used the phrase “bought the farm” was so he could shoehorn in the “bot farm” joke.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I’m sure you’re right. But Skip compounds the problem by not knowing what a “bot farm” is either. From the context, I think he means “dynamic content”, as if he’s afraid of the Sentinel turning into BuzzFeed. It could also mean something as harmless in 2021 as a national news API, or an RSS feed. He could even be rejecting the very concept of a news wire service, which has been around for decades. And if Skip is really publishing an entire newspaper by himself, there’s no way he isn’t already using these things.

    • billytheskink

      The time jumps work in mysterious ways…

  13. Suicide Squirrel

    In panel #2, Holly appears to be holding Funky prisoner at hair-fweep point. Funky raises his hands in submission as Holly’s hair-fweep is ready to strike like a cobra. Holly, didn’t your mother teach you it’s not polite to point?

    Speaking of which, Melinda, we don’t really miss you, but we are curious about what happened to you. Are you lying dead in a ditch somewhere? Did you hitchhike back to Florida? Are you menacing a majorette at another school? Will we see your face on a milk carton? Have you boarded the plane back to the Isle of Forgotten Characters?

    Seriously, what is up with Funky’s jazz hands pose? That pose is more common with people who are shrugging, not making unfunny “I am so witty” jokes. The smirk doesn’t fit with the hand gesture. Funky is trying to make a point. Shouldn’t he have one finger raised?

    I know this is nitpicking, but I’m always shocked at how abruptly Batiuk changes the seasons. Just because it’s October, it doesn’t mean that the leaves are falling en masse and everybody is wearing heavier clothing indoors. It was 80 degrees in my suburb of Akron yesterday afternoon. I wore a t-shirt and shorts yesterday with sandals. I had my windows open in the evening. The forecast predicts 76 degrees today and 81 degrees tomorrow.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Your ‘Isle of Forgotten Characters’ analogy is cute, but I prefer to think that once a character has served their purpose, they enter a walk-in freezer in Montoni’s basement to go into cold storage until needed at a later date.

      Some characters have been in cold storage for so long they have freezer burn.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Like Bobby Martin on “All My Children,” Melinda has gone to the attic to polish her skis and will never be seen again.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Westview has three seasons. Monsoon, blizzard and fall.

  14. Professor Fate

    Oh I understand now. Everybody in FW loathes everybody else.
    By the by did they send Holly’s mom somewhere?
    But really I can’t even begin to grasp the process here – most of time when one has an idea one takes a bit of time and fleshes it out a bit – things through details and the like – but here we have we have a continual parade of what feel like brain farts. I can understand why the artist doesn’t do backgrounds – what’s the point with no thought nonsense like this.

  15. The Duck of Death

    I’m sorry if I seem to be harping on the medical aspects of this, but Tom has made the arc revolve around them, so they should make at least a little bit of sense. I’ve already pondered the conundrum of Rushed Into Surgery vs Total Lack of Cast and Elevating the Limb. Now I’m trying to figure out how she broke her LEG with that “crack.” I thought for sure it was one of the bones (or tendons, or ligaments, but would they “crack”?) in her ankle or foot. Now we find it was her tibia or fibula. How….? Are her bones that fragile at her tender age of fiftysixty-onethroughnine that her leg bones would break before she even hits the ground?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      No worries, I’m as confused by it as you are. This whole arc is an obvious case of Tom Batiuk writing the gags first and the story second. The story is disjointed. rambling and makes no sense, because it only exists to prop up these sidesplitters. Then Batiuk goes to his blog and says how writing gags is beneath him because he’s a storyteller.

      • The Duck of Death

        You know, I get it. It’s just that you could write the gags first and then flesh out the story in a coherent way using one of two methods.
        1. Stick to extreme vagueness. Don’t show specific details like Holly being hustled into the operating room. Then there’s no chance of details contradicting each other.
        2. Do about 5 minutes of research. Either talk to someone who’s had orthopedic surgery OR search Grandpa Google for a string like “recovery from broken ankle” or whatever specific bone is the focus. Then get basic details right.

        Time and again, I’m shocked that it’s the people here who say, “Wait — did she break her ankle or foot or leg,” while Tom hasn’t given it a femtosecond of thought.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Or, 3. Tom Batiuk could stop telling the world how realistic his storytelling is!

          As much as he complains about “beady eyed nitpickers”, he invites it on himself with his obnoxious boasting and self-congratulations. He’s only being held to the standards he sets for his own work!

          • The Duck of Death

            Agree, of course, that the bragging about being “1/4 inch from reality” really makes the unrealism even worse.

            But even in the least realistic comics, there shouldn’t be contradictions this huge. It’s unnecessary and distracting. If Beetle Bailey’s camp were suddenly called “Camp Swampwater,” wouldn’t you wonder whether he’d moved away from Camp Swampy? Or if Dennis the Menace’s neighbor were suddenly called “Mr. Willison,” wouldn’t you be confused and annoyed? No comic should be this squishy on what’s already been established. Either change it with an in-universe narrative, keep it consistent, or definitively retcon it in a way that clarifies the new continuity to your audience. To do otherwise is a huge middle finger to your readers.

          • Professor Fate

            Yes, this.
            I am constantly amazed at the vast gap between the comic strip that the Author describes in his blog and in interviews and the comic strip that we are commenting on.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          It’s like Watson’s Wandering Wound Syndrome! Sometimes the Jezail bullet hit him in the shoulder and sometimes in the leg.

          “Elementary,” said he…

          • Y. Knott

            The only very slight difference is, of course, that the stories Watson told were gripping; the characters were fascinating; and — on those occasions where the situations or lines of dialogue were meant to elicit laughter — they were actually quotably amusing.

            In 50 years, and across three comic strips, has Batiuk come up with even one truly great line?

    • hitorque

      And I just want to remind folks once again that while Funkman and Hollyberry look more haggard and beaten up by life than the later years of Archie and Edith Bunker, Cindye-Sommerse-Winkerbeane-Jarre still has the 100% sag/wrinkle-free physique of a lingerie model and is almost certainly doing some kind of extreme adventure sport with her husband somewhere in Southern California…

    • be ware of eve hill

      I like to think that the “crack” was from a sniper rifle. A disgruntled band director hidden atop light tower ‘A’ successfully put a bullet through Harry K. Dinkle’s colossal head.

      Upon arrest, the disgruntled band director, Becky Howard, reportedly said, “I couldn’t take it anymore. Harry retired years ago, but he wouldn’t let me teach the class by myself. He was always meddling. The constant looking over my shoulder. The endless fundraising advice. He’d commandeer my band practices and lead them past midnight. The stupid 8th note on his coffee mug. The treble clef on his garage. I couldn’t take it anymore! I’m glad I did it. Glad I tell you!”

      (Takes a sip of coffee, then stares dreamily off into space with a satisfied grin on my face)