Well look who’s referenced today, Lillian McKenzie. That’s a pretty obscure character to be pulling from there Tom, we only saw her 50 times last year in Funky Winkerbean, and 72 times in Crankshaft, for a total number of 122 Lillian strips for 2021, causing commenter ‘erdmann’ to wonder:
Loathsome Lillian appeared in 50 FW strips? That’s on top of her “Crankshaft” appearances? Lord, is it possible that wretched old bat could have appeared in more strips than any other Batiuk character last year?
(For those of you wondering, Crankshaft appeared in 266 of his eponymous strips, so he wins.)
A quick review of Crankshaft‘s year brought into focus once again how much better Crankshaft is. It has its terrible Batiukian moments, of course, but it also had several strips that gave me an out and out chuckle. Because Ed Crankshaft is a sort of horrible person it’s funny when dumb things happen to him. Which is why Funky can pun and complain as much as he wants, he can’t ever be anything more than a pale imitation.
While I’m a little gentler on Batiuk’s humor than some here, it was still difficult to pick out strips that genuinely rose to the top. There were plenty of strips I found inoffensive, or mildly amusing, but those tended to mush together into indistinct blob of almost-humor. Still, with the help of a panel of my personal friends we were able to put together the following nominees for…
The Best Funky Winkerbean Strip 0f 2021
1.) Expensive Equipment
3.) The Joys of Reading Over 50
4.) Interdisciplinary Thinking
5.) Funkyverse in a Cookieshell
6.) I’ve Seen Things You People Wouldn’t Believe
And the winner for The Best Funky Winkerbean Strip of 2021 is….
I’VE SEEN THINGS YOU PEOPLE WOULDN’T BELIEVE.
Though it didn’t win, it was extremely gratifying for me to see ‘The Joys of Reading Over 50’ make such a strong showing. My panel of friends didn’t really get it, and I worried that I was just sentimental for the days I still lived at home. Remembering all the times coming in late from my gas station shift, seeing my dad passed out on the couch with a fat book splayed out across his chest; creeping over, taking his book, sliding in the edge of dust jacket to mark his place, slipping off his glasses to fold them on the side table, turning off the lamp and tucking him in.
When Batiuk isn’t stroking his ego with prestige arcs, or indulging his comic book fetishes, or pandering for attention from organizations, he still…very rarely…has the power to touch.
But if it was hard to find strips this year that were genuinely ‘the best’, it was even harder to narrow down all the potential nominees for our last catagory.
Join us tomorrow for the final award: The Worst Funky Winkerbean Strip of 2021.