Chair Man Of The Bored

Link To This One

And suddenly the strip is TEEMING with new characters, one after the other! I wonder if they’ll ever be named? So the seldom-seen Halle Dinkle is back, which is weird, as it always is when one of those Act II/early Act III characters suddenly re-emerges. Otherwise, this one is so uninteresting it’s tough to really find much to complain about and or mock here. Halle’s husband sort of looks like a cut-rate Paulie Walnuts, except for that orange sweater that Paulie wouldn’t be caught dead in. But otherwise, this barely rates a “meh”.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

38 responses to “Chair Man Of The Bored

  1. Banana Jr. 6000

    Hey, remember last Thanksgiving, when Halle and her husband didn’t have any kids with them?

    • billytheskink

      They did somehow have the kids 14 years ago, though, when they appeared to be slightly younger.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        I like how in Westview they drink their coffee with a giant hair sticking out of it. Bleh.

        • billytheskink

          I always called those weird coffee steam lines that TB liked to draw “tiny lassos” and even made a tag for them here on SOSF, though they pretty much disappeared when Ayers started drawing the strip.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Pretty much everything in Westview has pubes on it. Furniture, hot drinks, people’s shirts…

      • Gerard Plourde

        I can’t help comparing the artwork. The rendering of Dinkle’s face in panel 2 from 2007 is so much better. Is that from the time that John Byrne was filling in?

        • billytheskink

          Byrne isn’t credited, but that does look a lot like his art style, especially the wide, flat mouths. That said, much of early Act III looked like this, and I believe TB had Byrne help him with his Act III model sheets (seen on the now defunct “meet the cast” section of the FW website from 2007-2013), so TB may have simply been trying to imitate Byrne’s style at the time. This seems the likely explanation given how long the artwork in FW looked like this.

          Of course, Byrne was also not credited in the strip when he officially filled in for TB back in 2003 (though TB announced that Byrne would be filling in for him), bringing us the rejected soap opera story where a then-single Lefty led on a creepily smitten DSH only for MIA Wally to be found alive in Afghanistan, loudly announced and paraded around on the TV news just before DSH planned to propose to Lefty. So there is precedent for Byrne filling in for TB without in-strip credit.

          On an old old message board I found, Byrne himself (or so the poster claims to be, at least) did take credit for penciling several Sunday strips for TB in 2007, which he said TB then inked. So Byrne was involved with TB around the time of this strip and could conceivably have penciled it, though internet Byrne of 2007 does not take credit for anything but a few comic book character-focused Sunday strips.

        • J.J. O'Malley

          Is it just me, or does Harry resemble a somewhat heftier Adam West circa 2007 in that shot? Now that I think about it, West would have made a good Dinkle in a–has vehalila–live-action FW project.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      If we want to be charitable, (Why would we? But we could.) the way the panel is framed last year doesn’t preclude more people sitting at the other end of the table.

      That old comic BTS posted makes it seem like Halle’s whole family died in some kind of tragic accident.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        There’s still time for that. The 2021 Pulitzer nomination cycle isn’t over yet.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I can’t give Batiuk the benefit of the doubt, because his depictions are so wildly inconsistent. Just last week, the strip spent a whole day introducing us to characters we see constantly. Last year’s Thanksgiving was a very rare appearance of the Halle family, and wasn’t enough room in the frame for all of them? In a one-panel “Happy Thanksgiving” strip that was ostensibly about family?

        And as BillyTheSkink said, these kids were depicted at almost the same age in 2007. Based on that, it’s reasonable to assume they weren’t present last year, because they grew up and moved out. Now they’re 10 and 8 again? To say nothing of all the other continuity errors we’ve seen this week.

        • William Thompson

          Said third-tier character Halle to fourth-tier character Halle’s Husband, “Dear, I loved the 2007 version of our children! Let’s rent that model again!”

      • The Duck of Death

        I don’t want to be charitable either. That’s not how comic books, or any kind of graphic art, work. People and things that aren’t established, mentioned, or shown are not just assumed to be there.

        Otherwise we would make a hash of every piece of art on Earth. Is Satan putting the finishing touches on the Apostles’ food just off canvas in The Last Supper? Is there hot illegal-in-49-states Loweezy-on-Sparkplug action going on in the invisible 4th panel in the latest Snuffy Smith installment? Does every strip set in Montoni’s have doubled-over, vomiting patrons just outside the square edges of the panel?

        We should assume not, except in the 3rd example.

        But my general point stands.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Looking for patterns is how the human mind works. It’s not something we can choose to do or not do. If we see A ,B, a blank, and D, we’re all going to assume a C fits in there.

          Batiuk’s work is so scattershot that it fails to create patterns. We’re trying to find a pattern in today’s strip, a strip from a year ago, and one from 2007. They’re too distant to create a pattern, and they contradict each other anyway. So we are unable to understand.

          The same goes for storytelling and characterization. We expect patterns to be respected, because they’re fundamental to how we understand stories. The “Holly’s broken ankle” arc is a good example of this principle being violated. The story had Melinda push Holly into completing, and Holly broke her ankle as a result. We expect the conflict to continue or be resolved, but it just disappeared! Then the story became about other random things, which themselves violated other patterns, like Funky not knowing how to cook when he owns a restaurant.

          It’s the sign of a writer who’s trying way too hard to be clever.

  2. William Thompson

    “Surprise! None of us are wearing masks! Is that still a thing, or is it yet to be a thing in Westview? With all these time-slips I’m beside myself–which explains why tomorrow my future self will show up yesterday in your memories of last year’s Thanksgiving! Convoluted enough for you?”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy mentions a book called Time Traveler’s Handbook of 1001 Tense Formations, for what verb tenses to use when discussing time travel. The Funkyverse could use something similar.

      To answer your question, masks are not no longer will yet going to were a thing in Westview.

  3. The Duck of Death

    What the ever-lovin’ blue-eyed f%#k happened to Harry’s face in P1?

    And why are they getting more chairs? Are they meant to go around the table? Because it’s not Thanksgiving for two more days. Did the Mr & Mrs Reed Richards family just drop in for a casual two-days-before-Thanksgiving meal, you know, as one does, to announce that they adopted 2 kids this year in Italy?

    • The Duck of Death

      Small correction. It’s not 2 days before Thanksgiving, but the day before. I was commenting last night.

      Do you think Bats forgot what calendar day Thanksgiving 2021 is when he was writing this a year ago? Because in Crankshaft, Pmmm is waking up in a cold sweat at dawn wondering whether Hannah has put the turkey in the oven at the right temperature.

      Of course, it’s possible that in Centerville and Westview, the turkeys cook for at least 36 hours. Presumably that is the minimum time required to kill the Salmonella, E. coli, Listeria, etc, that proliferate and colonize the poultry after decades of freeze/thaw cycles in Dinkle’s ancient freezer, before he sells the toxic turkeys door-to-door.

  4. Sourbelly

    Yesterstrip, Harriett informed us (and Harry) that Halle lived in Italy. And now Halle is here! Um, OK. Well, Harry lost his neck, and it would seem that Halle’s husband is quite short, her son is prematurely balding, and her daughter has a robust Quaker beard. So that’s something. I guess. Any clues as to why I should care about any of this would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Sure. I mean why not fly unannounced from overseas to be home for the holidays.

      It’s not like international airfare is expensive for a family of 4. Not to mention the Covid testing requirements.

  5. none

    Surprised the P3 balloon doesn’t read “My daughter, Halle!”


    • William Thompson

      “My daughter, Halle, who has not been murdered. Yet.”

    • spacemanspiff85

      “Halle, the daughter of me, Harry Dinkle, the World’s Greatest Band Director!” would be more fitting, I think.

      • The Duck of Death

        Followed with a rapturous, “That’s why I love you — you’re The World’s Greatest Band Director!” from Fright Wig Bullfrog Harriet.

  6. J.J. O'Malley

    That deceased St. Spires congregant who wanted a New Orleans-Style Jazz Funeral must be lying in his grave, quietly moldering away and blissfully unaware of what’s going on above ground, right about now.

    How I envy him.

  7. So, we’re to believe that Halle packed up her family in Italy, put them on a plane, flew to Cleveland (I guess), rented a car, and just showed up on her elderly parents’ doorstep on the day before Thanksgiving with no warning, even though such a trip would take months to plan? No problem, I’m sure Harry and Harriet have enough food to feed four extra people. He’ll just pull another turkey out of the freezer.

    • I also like that this family showed up completely empty handed. Not even a crappy Panettone.

    • firedmyass

      “You came all the way from Italy, unannounced?”

      “We actually moved back three years ago. Live about 20-minutes away. We were hoping you’d maybe died so we could rent out your house for some passive income.”

  8. I know you can say this about Funky Winkerbean every day, but I have to wonder what the point of this is. It’s not funny, it’s not informative, it’s not poignant, it’s not even slightly interesting. It’s incredibly boring.

    And it’s certainly not going to be earmarked for any award nominations. I mean, I guess the guy he based Dinkle around was still alive when he “wrote” these strips, so maybe he was thinking this was flattering to the guy, in some unfathomable way.

    It can’t possibly be interesting to anyone, even to Batiuk himself.

    • The Duck of Death

      Some part of me thinks that this overlong intro to every scrap of story is “building tension.” But another part of me thinks that no one could possibly think that, under any circumstances.

      Still: How else do you explain the super-lengthy and boring exposition for something that could have, and should have gone like this:

      Thursday, Nov 25, 2021 strip:

      Harry and Harriet are sitting at a large table with many empty chairs.
      Harry: “As much as I enjoy Thanksgiving with just us, sometimes I miss Halle and our grandkids.”
      Harriet: “I hope she’ll call us today from Italy –”
      Doorbell rings.

      Harry and Harriet open the door. It’s Halle and family!
      Halle: “Is there room at the table for a few more?”
      Harriet: “Harry, bring up another band turkey. Bring two!”

      Norman Rockwell-esque tableau of the 3 generations enjoying Thanksgiving dinner. Banner: “Happy Thanksgiving from Funky Winkerbean!”

      But then Tom would have to come up with, you know, ideas or gags or some kind of content for Monday thru Wednesday. So we creep along at the pace of a snail ODing on heroin.

      • I understand that those strips have a function, that if you are a cartoonist with a daily strip, you have to have something every single day. You can’t present three empty panels with “Sorry folks, no idea today!” written in them (though that would be better than what we get now, honestly).

        It’s the sheer lack of content, the dragging out of trivia for days at a time, that makes me think the reader is the last thing on Batiuk’s mind.

        • The Duck of Death

          I get it. But a cartoonist’s job is not per se to present panels to the syndicate; it is to present good-quality work to the syndicate. Any cartoonist — indeed, anyone with access to Adobe Illustrator or similar — could present panels to the syndicate every day without fail if quality is not necessary.

          In fact, AI could do what Batiuk does. And it almost certainly would be more interesting, and equally coherent.

          The human brain is a sense-making machine. If I saw a strip where P1 was an old lady in a rocking chair, P2 was a soldier apparently fighting in Vietnam, and P3 was a vase with flowers, I would automatically try to connect those things in some kind of story. AI could easily put together a strip of nonsequiturs like this, and I could enjoy reading it.

          But Batiuk’s strips have the uniquely annoying quality of being in the uncanny valley of stories; not coherent enough to be a real story, but not incoherent enough to allow you to create your own story with what he gives you.

          Anyway, my point is: I understand that he needs to create content every day. This is barely content. It’s crap.

          • Yeah, I don’t disagree with any of that.

            There seem to be several schools of thought when it comes to presenting something to an audience. “Stretch it out” and “tighten it up” would be two branches on that road. Sometimes the first can be good, as when a jazz musician is improvising and the audience is digging what he’s doing. In that case you want to give them more.

            The other example would be a typical rock drum solo. I’m not opposed to them, but most seem to go on forever and it’s as good a time as any to refresh your drink or use the bathroom. Batiuk is definitely behind the drum kit.

        • Y. Knott

          ….if you are a cartoonist with a daily strip, you have to have something every single day. You can’t present three empty panels with “Sorry folks, no idea today!” written in them…

          You clearly haven’t read the work of Tuesday’s Six Chix cartoonist Bianca Xunise, who at one point early this year essentially did pretty much exactly that … for about six straight weeks.

          And she only had to fill one strip a week!

  9. be ware of eve hill

    Arriving unannounced from Italy for a surprise visit. Yeah, right.

    What if Harry and Harriet were out of town? Hope there’s a vacancy at one of the local hotels. Sure would suck living out of your car or the airport until the flight home. I hope you find something to do in Westview. Perhaps visit the Westview High Sports Hall of Fame. That ought to kill 15 minutes.

    I’m visiting my son’s family for the Thanksgiving holiday. I haven’t seen them in person for almost two years. That’s a lot of time to miss with young grandchildren. We’ve had video chats, but it’s not the same. It’s nice to have a conversation, but it’s miserable not being able to give them a big hug,

    It’s an 800-mile 12-hour drive to where my son’s family lives. I wouldn’t even think about “surprising” them. It sure would suck if they were out of town visiting the DIL’s family. Surprise! Hello? Is there anybody home? Oh, fudge.

    Not only that, but it’s common courtesy. Your hosts need time to make adjustments like sleeping arrangements etc. What about the food? Oh, you were planning Thanksgiving dinner for a family of four? Oops! I hope you have enough. If not, we can get some carryout from a restaurant. I hope you’re not offended if we eat it at the table. Did you have some family events planned? Is it awkward if we tag along? If so, we’ll just sit in your home all alone until you come back. Don’t mind us. We’ll be fine.

    Why does Batty like having people show up unannounced? What is so difficult about using the phone? How about sending a text or an email? Is he a technophobe? Join the 21st century, Tom.

    • The Duck of Death

      Why does he like having people show up unannounced? Because it’s so…zzz… drama t i c… zzzzz….zzzzzzzz…..

      But seriously — this is one of the most overused tropes in FW. The flying thousands of miles to have a conversation that could easily have been conducted over email, or the showing up at someone’s door that causes no consternation or inconvenience.

      It could actually be fuel for an interesting week of strips if he went with the premise. What if the octogenarian TWGBL and Mrs TWGBL had to scramble frantically to get the house set up for five unexpected guests, and then had to spend the week cramped in a small house dealing with a son-in-law they barely know and two boisterous preadolescents? Entire movies have been made on flimsier premises.

      But he won’t. Every premise has the same arc: Get about two inches off the ground and then flop down permanently like a dead flounder and lie there inert for several days, stinking more by the day.

    • be ware of eve hill

      There’s very little strife or conflict in act III Funky Winkerbean. Everything always works out just peachy. Especially for Harry, he’s the luckiest man on earth.

      There’s no crisis. The TWGBD and wife have no plans. They were just sitting around mentioning how much they missed Halle. Magically, she appears with her family in the next strip. Just grab some chairs from the basement and another turkey from the freezer. Whew, crisis averted. Smirks everywhere.

      There will be no conflict whatsoever between Dinkle and his SIL. Halle will perfectly assist Harriet with the Thanksgiving dinner. There will be no arguments about recipes etc. The children will be perfect little angels.

      Storing dining room chairs in the basement? Is that a thing? Makes about as much sense as decades worth of turkeys in a freezer.