Sitting Bleh

So… um… uh… OK, I had a point to make about today’s strip, but I keep getting distracted by Skyler’s unnervingly tiny hands. In the first panel they look like Lyman from Garfield‘s mustache and the one in the second panel looks like Donald Trump in profile. Look, I get it, hands are hard to draw. I draw hands especially poorly, to be honest, but I really try not to make them creepy and distracting.

OK… OK, now I remember where I was going on today’s strip. Skyler might want to get his senses checked. In addition appearing clearly baffled by who this “Santa Claus” character is, Crazy surely reeks of the timelessly off-putting combination of musty newsprint and salad dressing. And yet… Skyler happily agrees to play ventriloquist dummy. Well, at least that third panel image has me thinking about something other than Skyler’s hands.

33 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

33 responses to “Sitting Bleh

  1. Jeebus, that last panel drawing of Sklyer looks nothing at all like a human being. Ventriloquist dummies are saying “Okay, that’s creepy. We apologize. Just to be clear, we apologize for Skyler. We’re not apologizing for appearing in your house tonight. When you weren’t expecting us. Are we good here?”

  2. William Thompson

    I just imagined something I never would have thought possible: Brooke McElclowney throwing up in disgust.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Meh, this one doesn’t bother me so much, as it does contain an actual gag. While it’s not especially hilarious or anything, I have to admit it did elicit a brief, fleeting moment of bemused ambivalence, which is as high as expectations usually go around here. So there is that. The bar may be set really low, but managing to clear it should count for something, I guess.

    • Y. Knott

      As a relative newbie, I’m finding it interesting (well, “interesting”) that most individual FW strips are merely dull and uninvolving, but maybe not terrible. This means that the level of snark displayed here often doesn’t seem to match the individual strip — at least based on the one strip in isolation. It’s only when one reads the strips sequentially that the author’s storytelling ambitions become apparent — as well as his utter failure even come close to meeting those ambitions.

      Or to even realize to what massive extent he’s failed.

      Those “Complete Funky Winkerbean” volumes must be painful to read.

      • Epicus Doomus

        I’m sure the gag itself was lifted from Abbott and Costello or something, but standalone gags that anyone can “get” are kind of rare in FW. Normally the “jokes” all center around the premise or the characters’ histories, it’s almost always situational. Like with last week’s arc. Someone with no knowledge of FW at all who happened upon those strips would be baffled (at best), as there were no jokes to be had there. The “humor” (as it were) was all centered around the dumb situation and if you didn’t know that Mindy was a comic book inker engaged to a hotshot comic book writer and they worked together at a hot new comic book company, none of it would make any sense at all.

        So based on that observation, one could conclude that BatYam was writing FW with long-term readers in mind, as it doesn’t make any sense unless you’ve been following along. But, as we’ve seen with little baby Skyler this week, he frequently just blithely ignores the strip’s timeline, thereby disregarding those longtime readers, the very same ones he’s presumably writing the strip for. It’s another one of those nutty Batiukian Möbius strip conundrums that makes this strip so fascinating and strange.

    • Gerard Plourde

      As Y. Knott points out, it’s the context that makes a relatively innocuous strip awful. TomBa is retconning a character whose history and age we know and who we’ve seen at a higher maturity level for the sake of a gag a day routine.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Which is the challenge of explaining why Funky Winkerbean is so entertaining to hate-read. Individual strips live somewhere between innocuous and incoherent. And some of seem like they could be part of a good story, like when Holly was in conflict with her mother. But you have to read it religiously to know that anything with potential is going to be dropped like a hot potato, in favor of “hot dogs and peas” and “medical sugar daddy” garbage.

  4. Sourbelly

    Wee Baby Skylab’s shrinkage has become alarming. Did he just get out of a swimming pool?

  5. billytheskink

    Only 13 different words used in todays strip, very economical. It is like how Dr. Seuss produced The Cat In The Hat in an attempt to tell a story using only words from a short list that children Skyler’s apparent current age would know, except the opposite because there is no attempt at all to tell a story.

  6. J.J. O'Malley

    “Santa,” “Santa,” “North Pole,” and “Sitting”; seriously, was little Sky Chief traumatized by Mind-dull’s verbal jousting with Atomik Komix’s Only Paying Reader?

    Judging from the way this week’s storyline is progressing…er, regressing, I am assuming that Saturday’s strip will feature Mindy and Mopey meeting up with Darwin and Jessica and returning to their care Fetus Skyler, sleeping peacefully in a glass jar while wearing the world’s smallest Browns cap.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      was little Sky Chief traumatized by Mind-dull’s verbal jousting with Atomik Komix’s Only Paying Reader?

      It’s a valid question. The child has clearly regressed, into the speech patterns of a 2-year-old. Witnessing a hostile argument could be upsetting to a small child. He’s been abandoned by his parents, dragged places he doesn’t want to be, and forced to stand around and not touch anything while these adults drone on about comic book minutiae. Pete and Mindy might as well have taken him to watch them apply for a car loan.

      And again, this is a storytelling world that’s packed to the brim with cancer and illness and disease. So childhood regression seems like something we should be concerned about. But we also know it’s an attempt to play for laughs, because Batiuk gonna Batiuk. He constantly tries to make jokes and tragedy out of the same material. It doesn’t work, at least not without clarifty of tone.

  7. The hands are creepy alright, but what’s worse is Skycap’s resemblance in panel 1 to a blobfish. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, BatAyers is incapable of drawing appealing children.

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    Good Lord, could this be any more overwrought and strange? It’s a simple story! How do you screw up “kid visits Santa Claus”? Have his parents ditch him for unexplained reasons, make him witness a scary and pointless argument, regress him from age 8 to a barely-verbal two-year-old, and make him look like Linus if he were played by Verne Troyer. My God, this is depressing. It’s like Act I of A Very Child Services Christmas.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      “Linus if he were played by Verne Troyer”

      I was just about to post a comment along the lines of, “The part of Skylar in Panel 3 is being played by Verne Troyer.” but you beat me to it.

      Great minds and all that.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        And commenter “Dood” also said he looks like a mini-Me. What’s weird is that Skyler was drawn adequately in the historical strips we saw on Monday. He has the family backpfeifengesicht, but at least he was proportioned like a child, and had a child’s face. So it’s not that they’re incapable of doing it. It’s just another awkward, baffling, off-putting storytelling choice in a world that runs on them.

        • Gerard Plourde

          „Backpfeifengesicht“ – “punchable face”

          The Germans really do have a word for everything.

  9. The Duck of Death

    A barely-verbal child is never gonna say “sitting” if he wants you to sit. He might say “chair,” or “sit,” while pointing at the chair. He might even say “there,” while pointing at the chair. He’s never gonna say “sitting.”

    [Source: Am a parent. Also, have lived among humans on Planet Earth for many years.]

    What’s puzzling is: Isn’t Skycap the only grandchild of the Most Holy, the Most Exalted Dead Saint Lisa? Why has he gotten such short shrift story-wise, character-wise, and charm/intelligence-wise? Why is the grandchild of Our Lady Of the Closed Playground depicted as a slow-witted, monosyllabic blobfish?

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      I was thinking that too. The kid carries the sacred DNA of Lisa; I figured he’d be soliloquizing like that brat from “Frazz” at this point.
      I never liked Skyler but it’s kind of uncomfortable seeing him this regressed. And for what? A “visit Santa” gag? You couldn’t invent a new age-appropriate character for this? Or better yet just skip it altogether?

    • Charles

      A child might say sit you say?

  10. Hannibal’s Lectern

    When I first read little Skylab’s line, my brain (having been exposed to too much Batiuk) added an extra letter. As in, what he’s asking for is not a lap but directions to the toilet. Which leads to both amusement at the thought of Crazy getting a pantload in his lap, and disgust at the thought of a toddler (or brain damaged eight-year-old) having to use the Komix Korner rest room. Or worse, the Montoni’s facility. Shudder!

    • The Duck of Death

      It’s not himself he’s talking about. He’s pointing at Crazy’s rear, trying to warn everyone that Crazy’s meal of greasebomb pizza washed down with a half-gallon of coffee has worked its violent way through his guts and is now starting to blast its way out.

  11. Dood

    Does anyone else think Skymaster looks like a Funky or Holly Mini-Me?

  12. The Duck of Death

    Is this a quarter-inch pinch we see Harry doing?

  13. I think this demonstrates what we’ve suspected for a while: unless the strip involves TB’s hero characters (Les or Dinkle), neither he nor Ayers puts in any effort at all.

  14. Charles

    I love Crazy in panel 2. His stance suggests that he’s trying to escape from this weird little person. Kid thinks he’s Santa and he’s all excited so in response, Crazy just walks away. He’s done a great job maintaining Batiuk’s
    “Inadvertent Asshole” quotient.

  15. Hitorque

    1. This is some straight up sick shit… I honestly don’t know what’s the most creepy — A toddler with such an extremely limited but oddly specific vocabulary, the fact that said kid wants to sit on some stranger’s knee, or the fact that Mindy is forcing him to play along…

    1a. Seriously, what if this guy was a complete stranger instead of a beloved local weirdo with a history of mental instability and drug use? What if he was a drifter or fugitive or ex-con? All of a sudden this becomes a lot less adorable, does it not?

    1b. Sorry, this really unnerves me because I personally don’t care for toddlers or tiny children (give me puppies and kittens any day) and if some strange-assed woman in public asked me to play along because her hellspawn thought I looked like Santa, my reaction would be very very ugly…

    2. What Harry should have said was: “Sorry, but in accordance with federal law I’m forbidden from all physical contact with children under the age of 14… In fact, I’m technically not even allowed to be within 100 feet of any child which was why I thought Komixxx Korner and their senior citizen customer base was the safest place for me to work!”

    3. Tomorrow’s strip:

    “OKAY BRAT, WHADDYA WANT FOR CHRISTMAS?”

    “STUFF!!”