Shape of the Past

IF YOU HAVEN’T VOTED FOR THE FUNKY AWARDS THEN YOU HATE DEMOCRACY AND JUSTICE.

How appropriate in today’s strip that Funky is reaching for some leftovers. Because we seem to have reached the end of the leftover strips that Batiuk’s been serving up to us all week, without even having the decency to warm them over to make them fit.

True, today is just another stolen joke told better a million times before. But Holly is back on her crutches, and we’ve nary an out-of-season fall leaf in sight. And ruining a promised New Year’s Resolution diet is a time honored January tradition.

Whatever congealed horrors await Funky’s appetite in that teal Tupperware aren’t the only relics pulled from the deep past today. In panel three Holly is giving us some vintage Winkerbean final-panel side-eye.

The final-panel side-eye was a staple in the old glory days of Funky Winkerbean. Back when my parents were wearing brown leisure suits and paisley patterned bell sleeves to the senior prom.

It used to be that every third or fourth Funky Winkerbean strip would end with some character staring glumly out at the audience, letting you know that THEY were playing the suffering straight man to whatever dumb thing the other character had just said or done. But there was usually a weird resignation to the stare. Like the staring character also acknowledged that by engaging with the zany character earlier, they had brought this upon themselves.

Batiuk hardly ever does this any more. And in one of his interminable Match to Flame digressions posted to his blog he lets us know his reasoning.

You can use time to more fully resonate with your readers on a real and believable level while you begin to discard the gimmicks that threaten that bond. For example, from the git-go in Funky, I would break the fourth wall on a day-to-day basis by having a character do a side-glance to the reader (a device I unashamedly “borrowed” from Tom K. Ryan’s masterful strip Tumbleweeds . . . I’m done with it now and have since returned it). I stopped doing that because, while it’s funny, you lose the investment and involvement of the audience. They know the characters are going to be just fine, and they don’t really care about their fate. By breaking the fourth wall, I inject myself into the story to wink at the reader as we share the joke. Now, however, I began telling stories where my presence was less intrusive and less needed. 

From the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 10

So for the TL:DR summary: He chose to stop breaking the fourth wall because it breaks the immersion and thus lowers the stakes when the story gets serious.

But what I don’t know if Batiuk realizes is that he never has completely gotten away from the gags and zany antics/beleaguered straightman humor that he’d spent decades hammering away at. The rhythms of that humor were beaten into him as a child and he is compelled to continue.

Whenever my mom was doing something and would ask for a hand, my dad would break into applause. My mom never thought that was funny. I, on the other hand, found it endlessly amusing. At other times around the dinner table, my dad, my sister, and I would conduct a conversation consisting of nothing but non sequiturs, with my mom being the odd person out. We all found this to be great fun—again, my mom not so much.

From the introduction to The Complete Funky Winkerbean Vol. One

The very foundation of his humor is that someone doesn’t find it funny. The ‘joke’ isn’t the joke. The ‘joke’ is the set up. And the punchline is annoyance. Someone has to be exasperated. Someone has to be his mom in the scenario. What this meant for the long term tenor of the strip, is that when he took away the side eye, all he had left for the final beat of his punchline was either allowing the annoyed person to speak. Which can lead to strangely aggressive strips like this.

Or leaving the baffled or annoyed person(s) staring into the scene in awkward silence, with nothing to defuse the tension.

I’ve seen comments in the past about how mean spirited Funky Winkerbean characters seem to each other. How easy it is to hate these people, because they are always snipping and needling one another. And I think this is the main reason why.

In the context of a real family or friendship habituated to this kind of teasing, there is the unspoken agreement that everything is in jest. It’s playfighting, like puppies or LARPers. Everyone is in on the joke.

In the context of a gag-a-day strip it can be mean spirited because it never seeks to be realistic or uplifting or educational. Everyone is exaggerated because it’s supposed to be funny. No one is being hurt. Everyone reading is in on the joke.

In the context of a strip that’s dealt with cancer death, suicide death, addictions, terrorism, PTSD, gun violence, divorce, mental illness, and comic books, he’s made it too real. And yet, not given us enough information on these relationships to believe that these ‘jokes’ are all in jest.

So, you know, if he wants to give us some more side eye. Wants to poke a few holes in the fourth wall to let the air in. Release the tension. I’d say we let him.

46 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

46 responses to “Shape of the Past

  1. Y. Knott

    The “air guitar case” strip is genuinely funny. I don’t know if the gag is original to Batiuk, but it’s well-executed.

    Today’s strip is not funny, not original to Batiuk, and not well-executed. But Holly’s side-eye at least allows us to commiserate with her … we can’t believe you’re stuck with this doofus either, Holly.

    (And by “doofus”, I’m referring, of course, to Batiuk. Holly is stuck with being in a universe created by Tom Batiuk.)

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      I agree, those older strips made me chuckle. It’s a shame the strip is so cringe now, and doubly a shame so many cartoonists deteriorate like this.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I’ve mentioned before how much I liked his earlier strips. It’s when he got all serious and preachy that he lost me. Until I found this website, I wondered if I was the only one who thought this way.

    • Maxine of Arc

      I don’t know if the air guitar joke was original, but the execution actually got a laugh out of me. I wonder if TomBa is trying to hold on to the spirit of those ol’ gag-a-day strips with these “Funky is a slob” three-panelers, but he’s lost sight of actual humor somewhere in the slog to 50.

  2. The “spit-wads” strip with Fred Fairgood made me laugh out loud. If only Mr. Moore’s students treated Les with such incivility!

    • be ware of eve hill

      There’s some real humor in the old Funky Winkerbean comic strips. I follow the Vintage Funky Winkerbean strips on Comics Kingdom. The comic in your comment ran just this week. One of a series of Fred Fairgood vs. the kids in the back.

      One vintage strip that recently made me laugh out loud featured Coach Stropp attending ‘Schedule Drop/Add Day’ to drop Big Walnut Tech from the football schedule. Nice try, coach.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    He almost appears to believe he’d have to do zany deadpan “fourth wall” gags DURING his very serious stories, which would indeed be pretty weird. It’s pretty funny when he pretends to care about the “investment and involvement of the audience”, then has characters suddenly become Alzheimer’s-free and/or come back from the dead with little or no explanation. And let’s not even get started on the timeline, as that’s way too deep of a rabbit hole to explore right now.

    I mean, suddenly turning Funky’s dad into a randy old jazz trombone-playing horndog ten years after Funky grappled with placing him in an elder care facility is somewhat more disorienting than Holly shooting the reader a side-eye as Funky raids the fridge is, at least in my opinion. It isn’t like he has to do wacky gags and be serious at the same time, thus his “point” is just more portentous yammering, which is probably the thing he’s best at right now.

  4. Hitorque

    Wow… This is like one of the “jokes” I’d read in that miniature comic book they put in a box of Cracker Jacks, or something I’d read off of a Bazooka Joe bubble gum wrapper while I was chain chewing 20 pieces back when I was riding the bench in Little League in those hazy spring Saturdays of 1980-something Virginia Beach… AND EVEN AS A LITTLE KID THAT JOKE STILL MADE ME ROLL MY EYES!!

    If you’re going to go with something THIS predictable and cliché, at least find a way to go **outrageously** over-the-top with it! Mel Brooks could have spun this joke into comedic gold dust! So could Family Guy or Futurama or the Simpsons or SpongeBob SquarePants or the Animaniacs, or Robot Chicken or Aqua Teen Hunger Force, the list goes on…

  5. billytheskink

    I think it was about a decade ago that some Youtuber made some small but notable waves across the internet by posting clips of then-contemporary three camera sitcoms with the laugh track removed. Such clips highlighted how many jokes in these shows were simply mean-spirited and distasteful, with the brief and quiet void left by the laugh track’s removal ramping up the unpleasantness of each scene and driving the point home.

    That’s pretty much how Act III Funky Winkerbean gags work, except they’re probably worse. Even when they lean on their “laugh track”, the classic side-eye, they’re only slightly less terrible.

  6. RudimentaryLathe?

    Oof, that’s a moldy chestnut.
    The true value of a joke like this is if you somehow happen to witness a person who’s never heard it before. For example: the old “Why do women wear perfume and makeup? Because they smell bad and they’re ugly”. I knew that joke when I was about 7 but I saw a male friend hear it for the first time at age 30 and his “Wait WHUT” reaction was absolutely priceless.
    I’m not sure there’s anyone out there who couldn’t see this punchline coming but if there is, I want to meet them. I genuinely envy the innocence.

  7. Sourbelly

    The Beach Boys theme continues: “Round round get around, I’m nice and round, yeah. Round round get around, I’m nice and round…”

    (Yesterday’s CBH pep talk inspired me to keep on snarkin’, regardless of any lack of good ideas.)

  8. gleeb

    Wow, that blog excerpt makes it plain when the seed of Batiuk’s treatment of his women characters occurred. He grew up in a household where “Mother” was the butt of the joke. That’s an eye-opener.

    It’s not enough to make me ever read the Batiukblog, but I’m glad someone got off the boat and looked in my stead.

    • The Duck of Death

      Exactly, Gleeb. You knew it already, didn’t you? We all did. And you know he treats his wife the same way. (I try not to get personal here with regard to TB’s actual life, but it is impossible for a sentient person not to draw this conclusion based solely on his published work.)

      Imagine having this kind of mental model of the world: That women are just appendages of men without any real spirit of their own. That they are there to admire men, to cheer them on, to be the butt of jokes, and occasionally to fulfill hackneyed “Women Be…” cliches. Oh, and to die horribly so that their husband can be the “real hero” of the story (per Masonne Jarre).

      Imagine how grey, how one-dimensional your world would be if you thought of women in this way. It’s sad. And it accounts, IMO, for a lot of the emotional stuntedness that we see in this strip.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        DOD! Glad to see you back in the trenches, soldier! And some premium snark the last few days coming out of you too!

        I will take the role of defender on one issue. I don’t think Batiuk is conscious, or malicious, in the way he generally portrays women. I think he views women as human beings with the same capacity as himself. One of his first editors was a woman he speaks about very fondly. He’s been married to the same woman, Cathy, since 1971, and speaks of regularly asking her advice. I’m sure, in real life, he’s fine.

        I think the issue with the women in the strip boils down to two of his hangups.

        1.) He’s a complete dork nerd, has always been a complete dork nerd, and has gendered this in his mind. I guess neither his wife nor his mother were dork nerds. He has never been able to consistently write a woman as a dork nerd, that I’ve seen. Even though he’s tried, he always slips back into a woman-as-antinerd in his brain. And this ties into his second hang up.

        2.) He quickly loses interest in any character that isn’t ‘himself’. Les, Funky, Pete, Darin, Jeff Murdoch, even Crazy Harry. If you don’t have dork-nerd qualities, he’s much less interested in putting you in center stage for long spans of time. Leaving the women related to his dork-nerd avatars in necessarily supporting roles, relegated to the straight-man ‘other’ reacting to the dork-nerd antics.

        See, for example, Crankshaft. He gave Lillian McKenzie a trait he strongly identifies with, being an author, and now he can’t write enough dumb book strips with her in it. And in those strips, she has her own non-man oriented goals and dreams and problems. And it’s grumpy old Crankshaft who is the dumb-dumb other unable to appreciate her hard work.

        • The Duck of Death

          You make an excellent point about Lillian. He tried something similar with Ruby Lith. He seems drawn to the “feisty old woman” trope.

          I may be misinterpreting this entirely, but the way the Lisa saga was handled reminds me of the way Hollywood movies used to handle gay characters, or female characters that were a little too “liberated” (read: slutty or not “respectable.”) They would always come to tragic ends. The moral of the story was: You can be a homosexual/a sexually liberated woman, or you can live happily ever after. But not both.

          Lisa could be a woman who was neither old nor an inert cheering section for her man. She could start as an unattractive reject dumped by the guy who got her pregnant and grow into a successful, independent lawyer whose livelihood didn’t depend on her husband, comic books, or pizza. But she couldn’t live happily ever after. Happily ever after is for Pete, or Crazy Harry, or anyone whose life revolves around the WHS/Montoni’s/Komix axis.

          (Being a sporto is also severely dangerous to your health. You can be a jock, Big Man on Campus, or you can live happily ever after. But not both.)

          • The Duck of Death

            Adding: I just thought of an almost-exception: Cindy Sommerse-Winkerbeane-Jarre. She was popular, then successful, and then, interestingly, faced a realistic problem that affects women far more than men: Getting “too old” to be a talking head on camera. So far, so good, drama-wise. She could have become a producer, or a Barbara Walters-style interviewer, or a regular panelist on a “View” type show, or a writer, or an NPR host, or a mentor for younger talent, or a crusader against ageism, or pretty much anything. Instead, she became: An appendage to a man. Another example of the slow, depressing decline between the ambition of Act II and the bone-laziness of Act III.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            I think Lisa is just Lost Lenore. With the “died during the story but was more relevant dead than alive” caveat. She’s a plot device, not an actual character. Her only importance is how much her death affected Les. It doesn’t matter what traits she had, since she was only given traits to make her death look more tragic. And most of that was done off-panel or via tell-don’t-show.

        • The Duck of Death

          Your comment about women not fitting Batty’s idea of what a dork/nerd is, and therefore being uninteresting to him over the long term: That is GOLD. Absolute gold. Cut straight to the heart of the matter.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        But Batty sees himself as the ultimate white knight, and he expressed this through Lisa—who is portrayed as being annoyingly perfect at everything.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Certainly you are not surprised by this.

    • be ware of eve hill

      I occasionally read the Batty blog, but most of the time it’s a real slog. Batty just doesn’t pull me in as a writer. After a paragraph or two, my mind will drift off into lunch/dinner plans, work issues, shopping on the way home from work, etc. To me, there is something severely lacking in his writing. Reading Batty’s blog is more of a chore than a joy.

      I never have trouble reading a blog post on this site.

      TL;DR, ComicBookHarriet? I say thee, nay.

    • Suicide Squirrel

      Reading the Funky Winkerbean blog is about as entertaining as reading a ‘terms & conditions’ document or a license agreement. 😴

  9. The Duck of Death

    Boy, those “Match to Flame” entries really burn me up. Once again, he makes up a “rule” out of whole cloth and is smug about being so faithful to it. The history of drama and film is positively littered with doomed characters who break the fourth wall at times. It’s hardly a “gimmick,” any more than injecting comedy into drama is a “gimmick.” I don’t know where he gets this stuff, but it’s maddening reading his grandstanding about rigid rules that only erode the quality of his work.

    Meanwhile, he merrily ignores rules like: Get yoru characters in trouble and raise the stakes. Don’t change characters’ names or physical looks without an explanation. Don’t add unnecessary characters or other elements that you’re never gonna follow up on. Let your stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Etc.

  10. The Duck of Death

    CBH, thanks once again for spinning gold from dross. I especially appreciate the deep dives into the archives, which I know are both time-consuming and wearying. You have lifted this weary soldier’s spirits like a hot coffee and a warm meal after a long stint in the cold, muddy trenches.

    Anyway, it’s exactly as we all suspected. The true, real author avatar in this strip is not Les, not Pete, not Batton Thomas, but Funky. Funky alternates between self-pitying whining and impotent sniping — and that’s a perfectly fine set of traits for a character, as long as you don’t expect the character to be sympathetic. The fact that Funky’s meant to be a sympathetic protagonist says it all about Tom. And we can see that he acts this way IRL, and that he learned it at his father’s knee.

    Wife and mother, struggling with a hot roasting pan: “Can I have a hand?”
    Tom and his father, watching TV on the couch: [token applause, followed by gales of laughter at their own ‘joke.’]

    I’m all on board with Dad jokes. But this type of humor, Snappy Answers to Perfectly Normal Requests, is just assholery. How does TB not see that passive-aggressive sniping is not an attractive character trait?

    • Professor Fate

      Yes this- having been in my younger days the one these sort of ‘jokes’ were directed too I can vouch for how unfunny and uncomfortable being on the receiving end can be. And when I objected I was told to lighten up and that they were only teasing. It wasn’t much fun – it felt mean spirited and a substitute for confronting the deeper conflicts that nobody wanted to face.
      And oh yes his dad sounds a self impressed jerk. One can see where the Author comes by it.

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    This is a great breakdown of this tired Funky Winkerbean trope, and why it doesn’t work. And I’ll add another problem to it. This never happens:

    Wouldn’t you like to see someone bounce a dog dish off of Les Moore’s skull after he makes some snotty, passive-aggressive remark? But the characters are never seen pushing back against this rude behavior. All they can do is smirk and take it. Or look at the reader helplessly, like an abused puppy that wants to fight back but knows he doesn’t have thumbs.

    What’s worse, FW makes no distinction between groan-inducing but harmless dad jokes, and hurtful remarks poorly disguised as humor. I’m sure you’ve known people whose idea of a “joke” is really just backhanded, passive-aggressive insults about people. Then when you don’t like it, they accuse you of having no sense of humor. Westview is full of that guy,

    • The Duck of Death

      Your comment made me think about what’s so great about Peanuts. Growing up in the 70s, there seemed at times to be a total commercial saturation of Peanuts. Lunch boxes, bed sheets, TV specials, tablecloths, pretty much literally everything that could have branding on it had an image of Snoopy. Yet despite all that, the allure of the strip itself is soulful and subtle.

      I think it’s that the author avatar is Charlie Brown. The author himself is the perpetual loser, always anxious and uncertain of himself, always on the wrong end of every transaction. He never gets an unearned victory; he seldom gets any kind of victory at all. Totally unlike the author avatars in FW. We feel for Charlie Brown. Of course, we feel for Les, too: We feel like smacking him in his smug chops.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I’ll tell you the allure of Peanuts. I was born in 1972. My earliest memory is of drawing pictures of Charlie Brown for my mom, just before I was wheeled in to surgery to have my tonsils removed. Which must have happened before I was 28 months old, because my younger brother wasn’t born yet.

        I met Charlie Brown long before even then. My parents had Bantam paperbacks of Peanuts, which toddler me found and thumbed through. He was the first abstract concept I encountered in life. Peanuts is how I learned to read, and why I wanted to. The earliest toy I remember having is an inflatable Charlie Brown. With a red shirt, instead of his usual yellow one. And band-aids on it, because it got punctures over the years and I had to try and keep it together somehow. It persisted until I was 6 or 7 years old.

        But the ol’ blockhead himself stuck around in my life a lot longer than that. Charlie Brown was my first model of how to live well, and it served me into adulthood. When I was applying for jobs and colleges, I had a reputation for being persistent, determined, and unflappable. I just didn’t know any other way to do things. I had inadvertently adopted Charlie Brown’s best traits (though my parents helped instill it in me).

        Which is why Les and Lisa can fuck straight off to hell. Just so I’m being clear: that’s spelled F-U-C-K, fuck. There’s nothing noble or admirable about Lisa. She gave up on life the first chance she got, and didn’t care who else suffered as a result, including her own 8-year-old daughter. Now, I understand that letting nature take its course is a valid choice sometimes, and I’ve had family members who made it. But they had advanced, untreatable illnesses, and didn’t give up on life at age 37 because they were butthurt. And they sure as shit didn’t spend their last days making endless VHS tapes to micromanage their loved ones from beyond the grave.

        I could go on, but you get the idea. I turn 50 this year, and Charlie Brown is still pretty close to my north star in life. So I get why Peanuts resonates with people. And why it always will.

  12. The Duck of Death

    In the interest of fairness, I’ll defend that last Dinkle strip shown where his student is on his phone, facing away from the piano. It ticks the boxes:
    1. A “kids these days” observational gag that is actually truly accurate about a) kids and b) these days.
    2. It doesn’t “insist upon itself,” in the words of Peter Griffin. It lets the joke breathe a little.
    3. It doesn’t step on its own punchline, which is what the strip above it wastes a panel doing. You end on the punchline, dammit. The “hey, I know that was a crappy joke, LOL” routine worked when Johnny Carson did it live. It does not work in a comic, especially one written a year in advance. You had a year to write a punchline you didn’t have to apologize for, Batty. A year.

  13. hitorque

    Here — Stephen Pastis beautifully illustrates how you can have a weak setup, an eyeroll punchline, and even telegraph to the audience from the first panel what he’s building up to, while still making it original and humorous: https://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2021/07/18

    • ComicBookHarriet

      It’s funny, because in this interview I watched Batiuk mentions Stephen Pastis by name as a cartoonist that he really enjoys/admires. So at least the guy can recognize talent in others….

    • The Duck of Death

      Yes, that is an excellent strip. Part of it is because the author, not the author avatar, “regretfully” claims full responsibility for the thing. And part of it is because it heightens the bad pun into a catastrophically terrible one, a shaggy-dog pun of sorts. Shaggy-dog puns are an art form of their own, and far more entertaining than one lousy, half-assed pun.

      Examples follow:

      An Indian chief was feeling very sick, so he summoned the medicine man. After a brief examination, the medicine man took out a long, thin strip of elk rawhide and gave it to the chief, telling him to bite off, chew, and swallow one inch of the leather every day. After a month, the medicine man returned to see how the chief was feeling. The chief shrugged and said, “The thong is ended, but the malady lingers on.”

      A skeptical anthropologist was cataloguing South American folk remedies with the assistance of a tribal pujo who indicated that the leaves of a particular fern were a sure cure for any case of constipation. When the anthropologist expressed his doubts, the pujo looked him in the eye and said, “Let me tell you, with fronds like these, you don’t need enemas.”

      • Hitorque

        And from what I know from memory, it’s not even in the Top 10 of PBS’s “take a bad pun and stretch it as far as possible” Sunday strips; it’s just the one I stumbled on first… Pastis has been outrageously complicated with some buildups before coming back full circle, which is a talent in and of itself… Because he knows it’s about the journey and not the destination (punchline)

  14. Perfect Tommy

    Came for the snark.
    Stayed for the dissertation on social mores vis-a-vis family dynamics.

  15. I’ve seen today’s punchline as a caption on a photograph of a cat that is, apparently, very fond of food. I thought it was amusing then. But the proper phrasing is “Round is a shape,” not “Round’s a shape.” The latter, when spoken out loud, sounds like you’re speaking French.

  16. be ware of eve hill

    My snarker has had vapor lock this week, but it seems to have cleared up today. Here goes nothing.
    ———————————————————

    Nice joke in today’s strip. /s

    I remember a similar joke from when I was in the first grade. Batty, please feel free to use it.
    Q: What happens when you pour milk into a hat?
    A: It gets wet.
    ———————————————————–

    Baby Blues felt so embarrassed about being in the same comics syndicate as Funky Winkerbean, they bailed Comics Kingdom for GoComics.
    ———————————————————-

    When other comic strip creators see output like Funky Winkerbean this week, do they make fun of Batty like a bunch of middle school kids?

    Artist #1: Have you been reading ‘Funky Winkerbean’ this week?
    *snicker*
    Artist #2: OMG, talk about mailing it in. It’s okay to throw out a bad idea once in a while. Ha ha. It’s so sad and pathetic.

    Other comic creators don’t want to sit at the same lunch table as Batty.
    ———————————————————–

    I’m sure several struggling comic artists would love to have the Funky Winkerbean contract. They must be apoplectic this week.

    Struggling comic artist: YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! YOU’RE PASSING ME UP FOR THIS?! ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MINDS?!
    ———————————————————–

    Many comic strip creators run repeats over the holidays. When the replacement strips are good enough, some readers don’t even notice. Sometimes comics creators can get away with it for extended periods.

    Example: Dog Eat Doug has been running repeats since late last March. Yet almost daily, a reader will ask, “Where’s Annie?” The strips currently being run are from 2017, Annie hasn’t made her appearance yet. I hope the strip’s creator, Brian Anderson, is okay healthwise.
    ———————————————————–

    If Batty wanted to take a couple of weeks off for the holidays, couldn’t he just run some of his greatest hits strips? Oh, what am I saying? Greatest strips? C’mon, Eve, pull it together.
    ———————————————————–

    I always thought the way Batty drew Funky Winkerbean was odd. The character’s eyes are way too close together. When a character gives the reader the side-eye, it’s a real “side-eye.” Both of the character’s eyes appear to be on the same side of their face.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      “Baby Blues felt so embarrassed about being in the same comics syndicate as Funky Winkerbean, they bailed Comics Kingdom for GoComics.”

      That is BRUTAL, and gave me a genuine laugh out loud.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Of course, Baby Blues may have left due to issues with the Comics Kingdom website. The Comics Kingdom website appears to be down. Again.

        I’m currently on a free trial with Comics Kingdom. They are not passing the audition.

        • The Duck of Death

          I’ve subscribed to CK for a few years. Good Lord, do they suck. Constantly slapping up nagware asking me to subscribe (which they shouldn’t do if you are signed in as a paid subscriber). And constantly, constantly going offline. Old Man Hearst would fire them all in a heartbeat.

        • Suicide Squirrel

          Sometimes these deals are nearly the equivalent of back-alley knife-fights, but none of that flavor comes through in the Andrews McMeel Syndicate press release as reported at Daily Cartoonist:

          http://www.dailycartoonist.com/index.php/2022/01/13/baby-blues-signs-with-andrews-mcmeel-syndication/

          I suspect ComicsKingdom’s silence on the subject is to avoid drawing attention to a major competitor. Their response to my support ticket amounted to “Comics come and comics go”.

          FYI: the Comics Kingdom is finally back up.

  17. Hitorque

    And from what I know from memory, it’s not even in the Top 10 of PBS’s “take a bad pun and stretch it as far as possible” Sunday strips; it’s just the one I stumbled on first… Pastis has been outrageously complicated with some buildups before coming back full circle, which is a talent in and of itself… Because he knows it’s about the journey and not the destination (punchline)

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