Don’t Worry, One of You Will Surely Die Soon

Dinkle’s garage door is like bricks, falling leaves, and Becky’s pinned-up sleeve-they all have to be featured as prominently and as often as possible. “This guy has a treble clef painted on his door, isn’t that wacky?”.
I find it really, really hard to believe anyone from Westview could ever receive that many awards.
This strip is just another example of how Batiuk can’t seem to decide if Dinkle is supposed to be an egotistical maniac or actually great. And I wonder if Dinkle’s name legally includes “World’s Greatest Band Director”, or if that’s the award he won (which you think someone would have mentioned it at some point). I guess all those other band directors were wrong when they referred to themselves that way. If Dinkle calling himself WGBD is supposed to be humorous, you shouldn’t have him literally receiving awards referring to himself that way.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

43 responses to “Don’t Worry, One of You Will Surely Die Soon

  1. Y. Knott

    I think we can assume all the awards are for things like having successfully paid money to march in a parade. And the ‘award certificate’ is just part of the package promised to you once you’ve forked over the fee. (“Okay, so your credit card transaction has been approved! What would you like the commemorative certificate to read….’World’s Greatest Band Director’…yeah, sure, no problem! Now listen, the deluxe frame package is only an extra $40…”)

    I think we can also assume the Batiuk residence is cluttered with similar ‘awards’.

    • billytheskink

      I assume Dinkle commissioned that Claude Barlow bust the same way TB commissioned all those Starbuck Jones covers.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      It is. He occasionally shows little clips of his studio on his blog and it is packed with stuff like awards, old credentials from past events like Comic Con, etc.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        In fact, there’s a new one today. It seems the band directors all signed one of the Dinkle parade banners, and mailed it to TB. It’s a nice gesture, and TB is genuinely grateful. And he does finally congratulate and thank them.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Way, way back in the day, he might have had Dinkle prove he was the world’s greatest band director by having him somehow saving the day with some brilliant band directing tactic he invented or something. But instead, during the biggest moment of Dinkle’s band directing life, BatHam inexplicably opted to downplay the whole thing by revealing that every other stupid band director was thinking the exact same thing.

    But now, after doing absolutely nothing of note, Dinkle has an award declaring him the World’s Greatest Band Director. I have to assume they just gave everyone a copy and it’s just a meaningless souvenir. The way he exerts as little effort as possible on these alleged passions of his continues to amaze and baffle me.

  3. Sourbelly

    Wouldja just look at all those awards!!! To paraphrase Lola Heatherton, “Oh, Harry Dinkle, you’re so special it’s scary! I wanna bear your children!!! Hahahahaha!!!”

    That’s the reaction Batdick is looking for, right?

  4. Gerard Plourde

    What Dinkle is hanging up is a participation trophy. The band he was part of was recruited (and which required no audition or selection process to participate) by the Michael D. Sewell Foundation which has a direct connection to the parade. Dinkle’s certificate is not like a participating band receiving the annual award the Foundation bestows. Below is more information about the Foundation and the Service Through Music award.

    “The Foundation is the sponsor of The Tournament of Roses® Michael D. Sewell Service Through Music Award. This award was organized by the Sewell family and the Foundation as a way to honor Mike’s dedication to using music with his students and groups to encourage service in their schools, the community, and across the country. The award was implemented for the 2018 Rose Parade bands… The award is presented each year at the annual Band Director’s Recognition Breakfast and is awarded to a participating Rose Parade band that exhibits excellence in service both on and off the field.”

    If TomBa were still interested in writing about Westview High, he could have crafted creative story arc involving Becky and the band doing some service activity which would have made them eligible for consideration for the award.

    Instead, we unsurprisingly got another extended round of Dinkle-worship.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The Sewell Foundation website explicitly said that selection for the real-life band directors’ hand was not merit-based, but so they could have a proper mix of instruments, home states, and demographics. The strip tried to act like it was the opposite, with Dinkle congratulating himself for being chosen, as if this were some kind of prestigious award.

      But you’re right: it’s a participation trophy. For an 80-year-old man who didn’t accomplish anything. And who just yesterday made a special trip to the school to brag about it, while trying to act all humble.

      • Gerard Plourde

        Exactly. The point of the band was to showcase geographic diversity and recognize and honor the important teaching role of music educators, a goal it appears to have achieved.

        Of course, TomBa had no interest in promoting that.

      • Hannibal's Lectern

        Given that the band had 270 or 289 members (depending upon who you believe), and was (according to the entry website) capped at 300, I question whether any “selection” took place.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      He also could have kept Bull alive and done stories about high school athletics, etc. But he has no interest in anything besides boomer nostalgia.

      • Hannibal's Lectern

        Beg to differ–I’m a card-carrying Boomer (just turned 68 this week) and I find nothing whatsoever “nostalgic” in this drivel. If Battocks wants me to feel nostalgic, he’s gonna have to hire an artist who can draw a ’69 Chevelle SS, not an old man in an ill-fitting high school band uniform.

  5. I have the feeling this is the exact opposite problem Tom Batiuk has.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I’ll paper the house with these! I’ll never DIE! TFH will be photoshopping my raisin candy ass from the depths of HELL while I’m still raking in half hearted accolades from every two bit band organization in the Midwest!

  6. I’ve been thinking about this regarding the current Mary Worth story about Wilbur Whatever.

    A storyteller has a need to tell stories. And that storyteller has to have a story in mind that interests and engages the storyteller. That’s part one.

    But the storyteller has–HAS–to acknowledge that to tell a story, he has to understand that there is an audience. And he has to tailor that story to strike something in the audience in order to appeal to that audience. Because, otherwise, there is no point in telling the story. If you are not going to try to appeal to an audience, then don’t offer them your story.

    If the story only appeals to you, then it’s not really a story. It’s a fantasy. And there’s nothing wrong with fantasies. But having one doesn’t make it universal unless there’s a story in it. Stories require characters, development, courses of action…all things that are frequently difficult to craft. But they make the fantasy worth reading by others.

    Clearly Tom Batiuk is writing solely for himself, and the syndicate has said “Yeah, that’s fine.” I don’t imagine them following up by saying “It brings in the money” but what do I know, I been drinking way too much tonight anyway.

    But I bet I could come up with better stories even now.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I bet you could too. This Dinkle “story” wasn’t even really a story at all. It was just a premise. He went to Pasadena, he marched, he came back home. Nothing happened while he was there, nor did it lead to anything when he returned. No one, Dinkle included, even seemed to care. It was all very uneventful, joyless, and mundane.

      “After the marching band directors’ marching band director sprains his ankle, Dinkle takes over and steals the show”…there, it’s already infinitely more interesting. “Dinkle nearly misses the parade when his flight is delayed”…there’s another one. “Dinkle blows out a marching shoe, but Harriet is carrying a backup pair”…again, one second worth of thought. Instead, though, Batiuk opted to do nothing, as usual.

      • Y. Knott

        But…and this is where the strip really excels…if he had done any of those things, I have every confidence he’d find a way to make them incredibly uninteresting.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Despite all his talk about getting away from the ‘gag a day’ format and getting into SERIOUS BUSINESS, he really has never been able to escape the gag-a-day plotting. He doesn’t write STORIES, with a beginning middle and end, conflict and rising action, and a satisfactory climax and conclusion. He writes a series of gags about a single premise. That’s why so often you can reorder the strips from an arc completely. And it’s why he’s all lead up and then denouement, because those are the parts of a story easiest to shove into a three panel ‘people-talking-sardonically’ framework.

          Mary Worth has not been good across the board this year, ‘Dogs are Great’ was MONTHS of drivel. But do you know Mary Worth only had THREE story arcs this year? Three. The longest I’ve ever seen Batiuk hammer on the same arc was a little more than a month when he was setting up Atomik Comiks.

          • The Duck of Death

            I agree Mary Worth drags out story arcs way too long, and the periodic philosophical wrap-ups by Mary are excruciatingly long-winded. But apart from that, the strip is self-aware and often does fan-service plots. Estelle’s crazy suitors; the Zerro subplot; trailer trash chicks catfighting over Drew; and most especially, the continued self-debasement of Wilbur. These are all clearly designed to delight and engage the fans, and on some level it actually works, even though the plots overall move as slowly as molasses in January. We also get to see the denouement of the plot lines: We actually see the catfights, the breakups and makeups, and Wilbur’s drunken karaoke. TB would just allude to them before or after the fact, or suggest that they were coming and then never mention them again.

            Moy is definitely aware of how fans see the characters and it shows in her writing. She knows Wilbur is pathetic and annoying, for example, and doubles down on those traits instead of trying to make him seem sympathetic and even heroic, the way Batiuk does with Les, and Dinkle, and Pete, and DSH, etc.

          • The Duck of Death

            I also recall TB stating that some editor told him early in his career that an arc should never last longer than 3 weeks. This rule was violated by pretty much every great comic strip in history, but for some reason TB thinks it’s the 11th commandment, carved in stone.

            Didn’t that same editor ever give him advice like: “Show, don’t tell! Comics are a visual medium. And always proofread your work, m’boy! Nothing more pathetic than glaring typos you lettered yourself!”

          • Rusty Shackleford

            Yeah MW has been dull this year. The arc with Drew and the white trash girls had a lot of potential, but instead we got a lot pet stories and lots of Wilbur and Estelle. Was hoping to see more of Arthur and Vin, but still, MW was much more entertaining than Funky Winkerbean.

            Plus Moy/Brigman don’t blab on and on about their creative process, nor are they chasing awards. I think they do a good job managing a legacy strip. If Batty had to manage this strip, he’d probably kill off Mary and then have Wilbur get into comic books.

          • Hannibal's Lectern

            Karen Moy knows how to create characters and write a story. You may despise her characters and you may hate where she’s taking the story, but she hooks you anyway. Read the comments (over 300 one day this week) and see how many of the readers write as if Estelle and Wilbur were real people they know and care about. Meanwhile, nobody would ever confuse a Batiuk character with an actual human being; most of the comments focus on how real people DON’T say or do these things.

            Karen Moy is like, say, Robert Aldrich (“Hush Hush Sweet Charlotte” and “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane”); she creates well-crafted trashy soap opera. Tom Batiuk is more like Ed Wood (“Plan Nine From Outer Space”); he aims to create High Art and Make A Statement, but lacks the basic story-telling ability.

          • I disagree about Ed Wood. There are actual stories in his films. Tom Batiuk is more like James Nguyen. “Birdemic” is just random things happening that Nguyen thinks make him look smart. It’s basically unwatchable.

          • The Duck of Death

            As I was mentioning earlier this week, characters work when they are driven by needs, wants, and beliefs, not when they are conduits for whatever the author thinks is funny. Wilbur Weston is a nice solid comic character because he wants to be respected, and he believes he’s a great catch for some lucky woman. And he acts accordingly. And that’s funny because the audience can see the chasm between the stud he thinks he is and the pathetic manchild we know he is. Reminds me of a certain comic creator who believes he takes after Wally Wood and Marvel should have hired him….

          • ComicBookHarriet

            I agree, even when stuck in the Dogs Are Great mire, Mary Worth is head and shoulders above Funky Winkerbean. Brigman has so much fun with the art. There is occasional art weirdness…but so often the details are just glorious. Biker Brony eating at a dive bar is pop art genius.

  7. Hitorque

    Since when was the Rose Bowl parade committee the global authority on who was the greatest at anything?

  8. erdmann

    When everyone is The World’s Greatest Band Director no one is.

  9. Wait a minute. I thought Dinkle carried all his awards with him, at all times.

  10. Gerard Plourde

    I just found this nugget in his December 15, 2021 blog post – the “great comic book artist Wally Wood’s dictum on drawing—‘Never draw anything you can copy, never copy anything you can trace, never trace anything you can cut out and paste up’”

    If this is his guiding principle, it explains a lot. Never mind that Woods’ advice was geared toward the high-pressure production line of the comics publishing industry, not a cartoonist only required to turn in three panels a day at the most.

    • The Duck of Death

      Too bad he didn’t adopt some of Wood’s other guiding principles, such as “Be an excellent draftsman” and “Do high-quality work, no matter what you’re working on” and “Don’t suck.”

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Tracing, pasting, copying ect, especially background details has always been a staple of the comics world. And still is. One of my friends is currently working on a web comic. The comic itself uses very detailed backgrounds, especially in the splash pages. She sets up reference photos for what she wants the backgrounds to be and traces them. She drew a selection of appropriate trees and foliage that she can drop in, move and paste around, edit to fit, ect.

        If she had to hand draw every tree and flower every time, she’d get burnt out. It saves her a ton of time to do what comics is really all about, creating a good and visually appealing story. Wally Wood was right on the money.

        • The Duck of Death

          Of course he was. But it’s a far cry from Wally Wood, one of the medium’s greatest artists, taking “shortcuts,” and Tom Batiuk, a living shortcut, shortcutting his already shortcutted shortcuts to produce work so shoddy that most of us can’t believe the syndicate pays for it.

          Wood’s worst work far surpasses Batiuk’s best, and I’ll leave it at that.

          And no comics professional would suggest that an artist under deadline to produce a war comic should do a study of B-52s. It’s understood that you will use references in the most efficient way possible, including cutting and pasting if that produces a quality product.

          But where has Batiuk traced anything in any case? He’s used reference photos — usually found on the first page of a Google images search, his tax-deductible “research” trips notwithstanding. But it’s not like he’s aiming for versimilitude.

          The shortcuts he takes are not in art, which he doesn’t create any more in any case. They’re thinking shortcuts. Something Wood and collaborators like Harvey Kurtzman would NEVER have accepted.

          • Charles

            But where has Batiuk traced anything in any case? He’s used reference photos — usually found on the first page of a Google images search, his tax-deductible “research” trips notwithstanding. But it’s not like he’s aiming for versimilitude.

            I still can’t get over how he drew an apartment doorbell on Mason and Cindy JarrE’s doomed mansion.

  11. be ware of eve hill

    Harriet is shown in astonishment with her hand over her mouth. Why?

    Hasn’t she ever seen this room before? Has Dinkle made this part of the house “off limits” to Harriet until now? Is there a sign on the door that reads “KEEP OUT World’s Greatest Band Director Only.”

    • be ware of eve hill

      Reminds me of a friend’s house when I was a little girl. Her family had a room that was always off limits. Upon entering their house, you could see their living room through a locked pair of French doors. The couch and chairs had plastic covers. The tables, lamps and fireplace had a linen sheet draped over them.

      I guess her parents didn’t have many guests because my friend remarked “That’s the living room. Nobody is allowed in there.”

    • Gerard Plourde

      The sign probably says “No creepy Gurl’s allowed.”

    • Y. Knott

      I interpreted it more as puzzlement then astonishment. Either she’s thinking, “Hmmmmm…where COULD this latest wondrous plaque actually fit?” or “Hmmmmm…how do I tell this guy that his lifetime of ‘awards’ is actually a meaningless sham that’s respected by no-one?”

      (Harriet being a woman in the Funkyverse, it’s of course actually the first one.)