Welp, anyone who guessed Cory Winkerbean over the last few days, I’m sorry but we have to cross him off our list. He’s appeared in the same panel as the Pizza Monster, so now has a better alibi than dead characters, like Bull. We’ve had inexplicable resurrections numerous times, but only one instance of quantum superposition.
Not that I thought Cory was a likely candidate. Though he might have strong means and motive, we can rule him out for the simple reason that Cory Winkerbean is the smallest adult in this strip (ever since that actual dwarf stopped hanging around with John circa 2011.) Cory may be a former military man in his mid twenties, but he has the appearance and build of an old-timey malnourished newspaper boy.
And while yesterday we confirmed that the Pizza Monster could not be someone fat, he also cannot be someone short. Even given the artistic license of comic body proportions, the dramatic angles used in the framing, and the fact that the pizza box head could be taller than the wearer, if we use the shoulders as a measuring stick the Pizza Monster Person has to be as tall, if not taller than Funky.
We can also tell from their ankles and footwear, that the Pizza Monster never wears shoes that would significantly increase their height.
In the often sloppy art of this sloppy strip, it is hard to gague how tall people are by measuring them against objects, but in my exhaustive research I’ve discovered that there does tend to be consistency on which characters are drawn taller than others when multiple characters are standing in a panel.
The comparison seems to be: Tony < All Other Women < Summer < Les </= Wally </= Funky < Mason < Darin.
Funky is portrayed as a tall guy. Wally is usually drawn about equal if not a hair shorter, with Les another notch lower. Mason and Darin are taller. I would feel safe crossing off our list of suspects any character shorter than Les Moore. So, Pizza Monster’s gender mindscrew last year notwithstanding, I am confidently crossing off the list all women. Though the idea of Cindy borrowing Traffic Helicopter 1 to prank her X-man has it’s allure, let’s be real, she wouldn’t be caught dead in pure white sneakers, even if her face was obscured.
So, we’ve narrowed Pizza Monster down to a tall, slim, limber, lighter skinned man. We’ve got several suspects left, and as commenter Suicide Squirrel pointed out yesterday believable motives for this prank are varied enough to make it hard to narrow down based on the crime itself.
1). Funky’s increasing agitation. It’s fun messing with the fat man’s head.
3.) Montoni’s staff getting revenge on Funky for unfair working conditions and/or low pay.
4). Revenge on Montoni’s for their rancid cardboard pizza.
5.) Revenge for the Great Westview Salmonella Outbreak of 2018.
6.) It’s Halloween.
But I’m sure we’ve got more clues to find if we just look closely enough. The dossiers and profiles in the comments yesterday were creative, thoughtful, fun, and wacky….everything Funky Winkerbean isn’t. If you’re not reading the comments of Son of Stuck Funky you’re doing this wrong.
A few commenters yesterday quipped that this dumb, lazy, illogical storyline doesn’t deserve this level of analysis. And they’re completely right. This material probably doesn’t deserve the consideration we’re giving to it. But there are only so many times you can write a blog post saying: “This just isn’t funny. Boy, Tom sure is lazy and self-absorbed.”
So, I try to limit criticism like that to the strips where it is most effective; not more than a couple times a shift. I would get tired of writing it, you would get tired of reading it, and this wonderful little place would die. It’s why the rotation of writers is so gosh darn important.
Every couple weeks, one of us poor saps gets locked in a room with a big stack of whatever wisps of brittle, old barnyard bedding Batiuk saw fit to rake together and shovel out. And we’re told, ‘make something of it.’ And while no one would really blame us if we just flopped down a took a nap, we all set to spinning anyway. We spin poems and jokes, analysis and observations, vitriol and sarcasm. And I usually end up selling out to the twisted little man named Grandpa Google, hoping he’ll give me some gold.
The straw does not deserve to be spun into anything. It’s straw. It’s a filthy mass of tangled and broken stems, something that hasn’t been alive in years, all puffed up with air. But this blog is all about digging through that to find the kernel of something maybe interesting hiding underneath, and growing that seed into the madness you’re now witnessing. It’s exhausting. Sometimes you fail. It’s why we all take the burden in shifts. But it’s worth it. Because when it works, it is a wonder to behold: straw into gold.
I saw so much gold in the comments yesterday. Beautiful, glorious, shining nuggets of hilarity. And it makes all the spinning worthwhile. Spin on, you crazy diamonds….spin on.