Link to today’s strip.

Oh…great. More “Permanent Hatchet Face” Dinkle dispensing “witticisms” at the OMEA. Strap yourselves in for a week of terrible word-play…wait, that’s no different from any other week.

Strap yourself in for another week of Dinkle being where he has no business being. Seriously, why does he come here every year? He’s not a band director anymore. What he is (other than loathsome) is Tom Batiuk’s most recognizable character (especially in band director circles). And by shoving him to the OMEA meetings, Batiuk is guaranteed a table to hawk his wares.

Nice to see the drummer from the Bedside Manor group there in panel two. Those old coots are really getting around these days, huh?



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

42 responses to “OMEA, Oh My

  1. Bill Thompson

    If only this column had been headed by Rutger Hauer’s final “Blade Runner” line, “Time To Die.” Then we could talk about Dinkle being properly retired.

    • gleeb

      “Quite an experience to live in self-loathing, isn’t it? That’s what it is to be a band director. I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe, The same shitty Ohio band in the Rose Parade more than once. A performance of The Magic Flutophone that no one walked out of. All those…moments will be lost in time like grease on Montoni’s pizza. Time to die.”

  2. billytheskink

    Harry might not regret “retiring”, but the guy who writes him sure seems to.

  3. Sourbelly

    If he’s enjoying what he does in retirement so much, why does he want to retire from that?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Tom Batiuk loves his quips that sound witty but are completely meaningless. He is the living embodiment of “colorless green ideas sleep furiously.”

  4. be ware of eve hill

    Becky’s face in the last panel seems to be of absolute resignation (pun intended).

    Becky: (thinking to herself) I’ll never be rid of you will I, Harry? I’ll be old and withered on my fingertip adjustable deathbed wheezing my final breaths. It’s even money that you’ll march in with that stupid grin and tell me to “take it from the top.” Somebody shoot me.”

    There’s still a community band? When was the last time we saw them play?

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Funny, I thought her last-panel face seemed to be of Mopey Pete. Have we ever seen them in the same room together?

      Seriously, doesn’t it seem like Becky asks Dinkleberg every four months or so if he misses being the Westview band director, just so that he can rattle off all his post-retiring duties and Batiuk can amaze us simple readers with the breadth, the scope, the musical majesty that is Harry L. Dinkle, World’s Greatest Such-and-Such? I’m surprised they both left off marching in Pasadena earlier in the month.

      Also, how clever of TB to have the artist turn his nameplate on the title panel into a table standee, so as to give the illusion that The Great Man himself is doing a personal appearance at OMEA.

      • be ware of eve hill

        There is somewhat of a resemblance to Mopey Pete in the last panel but where are the humongous eye bags?

        Person #1: Did you hear Mopey Pete was badly beaten yesterday.
        Person #2: Oh, no! How unfortunate. What happened?
        Person #1: He stuck his head out the window of a fast moving car and his eyebags almost beat him to death.

        Poor Becky. Her main role is to play kiss-up to the ‘World’s Greatest Ego.’ It is a recurring theme for Becky to mention Dinkle’s ‘retirement.’ Perhaps it’s a passive-aggressive way to tell Dinkle to leave her the hell alone. Much like the Dead Saint Lisa, It’s Becky’s lot in life to suffer.

        LOL. It does look like Batiuk’s table standee on that table. I imagine his personal appearance at OMEA would be much like Batton Thomas’s at the Komix Korner’s free comic day. He’d be sitting all alone at his presentation table.

        OMEA Atendee #1: Who’s that guy?
        OMEA Atendee #2: Oh, that’s Tom Batiuk. He created the comic strip Funky Winkerbean.
        OMEA Atendee #1: Never heard of it.
        Tom Batiuk: Buy one of my books? I’ll sign it!
        OMEA Atendee #2: No thanks. I’m good.

  5. be ware of eve hill

    beckoningchasm, condolences for getting stuck with one of those insufferable OMEA arcs. Must feel like stepping on a landmine.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      And with no Khan to bat it away with a two-by-four.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      We’ve been to the OMEA enough times now that CL Barnhouse could publish one of those Dinkle-specific books about it:

      • Dood

        Monetize that martinet!

      • be ware of eve hill


        Why does Dinkle seem less than enthusiastic to be there? Can’t stand inserting one of those Dinkle grinning jack-o-lantern faces?

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I was going for a meta-joke of “even Dinkle himself finds this boring.”

        • Y. Knott

          Can’t wait to read the introduction! I bet we’ll all learn some fascinating facts about the genesis of the idea, and gain some important insight into how to keep that idea fresh and exciting through the years!

  6. RudimentaryLathe?

    How could Dinkle regret retiring WHEN HE NEVER RETIRED?!?!?!

  7. Hitorque

    Can Becky PLEASE stop asking him these softball questions she damn well already knows the answer to? It’s almost like she wants to watch the Big Dink stroke his ego incessantly…

    • Rusty Shackleford

      That is what she? is here for, to stroke his ego. She certainly wasn’t hired for her looks.

      • Hitorque

        By my count this is the third consecutive Dinkle storyline when someone felt compelled to run down Dinkle’s life resume for the audience…

    • The Duck of Death

      Well, what did you expect? Once upon a time, Becky was a brilliant musician, bound for Juilliard (one of the hardest schools in the country to get into, with an acceptance rate under 7%, and that’s after a gruelling audition process). Her ambition was rewarded with amputation.

      Now she knows better. She wants to keep her other arm, so she jollies Dinkle along, never complaining, never betraying her anguish that she herself will never make music again, just “conduct” a group of stupid, indifferent teens who will go on to indifferent careers in pizza or comics.

      “Don’t talk about yourself, Becky,” she reminds herself, gritting her teeth. “Smile wryly, smile indulgently, draw him out. Focus on the man. Praise the men, coddle the men. Focus on the men, until the day my one remaining arm and I can make a break for it and this town can eat my dust. Someday. Someday.”

      • ComicBookHarriet

        It’s silly, because with the right set up one armed people CAN play the trombone. Really, with one arm, there are few instruments that she can’t play with the right additional equipment. Maybe she’ll never be a concert pianist. Boo hoo.

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    Why the hell is Batiuk drawing attention to one of his biggest blunders? Dinkle retired from full-time band directing because he lost his hearing! But he magically got it back, and now he’s got five different gigs. And now he’s trying to make a joke out of “I retired but I didn’t really retire?”

  9. none

    Of course he enjoys teaching piano lessons. As we learned last week, he mutes them.

    Must be nice to be paid to do one single thing and then not do it. And then brag about enjoying to do it afterwards too. Yep.

  10. ComicBookHarriet

    Once again, when did Dinkle take the community band back over from Becky?

    And what is Lieutenant Commander Tuvok doing in panel 1?

  11. robertodobbs

    I keep wondering who the target audience is for this strip. And why newspapers continue to pay for it. And if a single angry letter to the editor would result from it disappearing from the comics pages.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Inertia and indifference. That explains why a lot of things are still in newspapers nowadays, decades after they stopped being of any value.

      And if a newspaper did pull FW for being a useless, expensive, incoherent waste of space, they’d get hundreds of letters from people demanding they put it back. And yes, they’d be letters, because nobody who would demand this is under 78 years old or uses any technology from this millennium. But that’s the newspaper reading demographic for you.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      It’s for the band directors heading to Cleveland this week for the conference. Not sure many of them even read this strip but expect Batty to be there selling LisaBooks.

  12. Gerard Plourde

    The real question is whether Dinkle can actually claim to be “retired” in any meaningful sense. The dictionary definition of the term is “withdrawn from or no longer occupied with one’s business or profession”. Dinkle just moved from being an employee of the school district to being a sole proprietor (his music lessons gig) who also performs as an independent contractor (St. Spires and presumably at Bedside Manor and the Community Band). All of these activities are exactly what he’s been doing for over a half-century (he was already ensconced at Westview High when the strip began).

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      And what the hell does “it was never meant to go on forever” mean? That’s exactly what retirement is! It means you stop working forever. But TB needed to fill a word balloon, so he had say Dinkle something that makes zero sense.

      Not only that: remember when Dinkle badgered that guy into not retiring because “band directors don’t have a retiring personality”? According to today’s strip, they do. Dinkle liked retiring so much he’s going to retire again! I imagine that guy’s 83 years old now and can barely walk, but he struggles to lug himself to work and back every day because he doesn’t want to disappoint the World’s Greatest Band Director. Then he falls over dead in front of his class, and Dinkle trash-talks him at his funeral.

      • The Duck of Death

        I think “It was never meant to go on for infinity” refers to full-time directing. As usual, it’s poorly structured and hard to understand. And stupid, since nothing, including Dinkle’s life, the state of Ohio, the existence of humanity, the planet Earth, and the sun, are expected to go on for infinity.

        In any case, while he may not hold a full-time job now, he has so many part-time jobs he must be guzzling Ritalin just to get through his 6AM-midnight work days.

        No matter how you twist it, turn it, slice it, dice it, hold it up to a strong light and look at it with a magnifying glass, the strip is nonsensical.

        • Gerard Plourde

          I agree that that is probably what TomBa intended but Dinkle’s directing the St. Spires Choir, the Community Band and the Bedside Manor combo. How is that not full time in any meaningful sense?

  13. Dood

    Why doesn’t Becky ever ask the martinet how he miraculously recovered his hearing loss? Didn’t that condition actually prompt his retirement?

  14. batgirl

    Is Dinkle the only Westviewian who isn’t “Nordic”? Most seem to go in fear of expressing happiness or contentment lest the jealous gods rip it away from them (cf Darin just before Fred Fairgood’s stroke) but Dinkle just exults constantly.
    It’s like Ursula LeGuin’s Omelas, except reversed – Westview is the misery engine that powers a single person.

  15. Hannibal's Lectern

    When Harry made that remark about going on for infinity, I was hoping the punchline would be some variation on how, in his case, it’s going “to infinity and beyond!”

    Because I would just love to see Disney/Pixar sue the crap out of Battocks.

    • none

      Eh, if drawing the the entirety of Iron Man for one gigantic Sunday panel didn’t incite the lawyers, I don’t know what else would.

      Hell, you could technically buy a print of that strip from CK and have it framed and sent to you, right? Still nothing? Guess not.

      • *Shrug* Disney probably looked at it as free publicity. Batiuk wasn’t using the character to make money, and (aside from appearing in Funky Winkerbean) the character wasn’t used degradingly. People wanting Iron Man drawings wouldn’t shell out money for a FW strip, unless they were weird Iron Man cultists.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          The rules on Fair Use aren’t hard and fast, but two main principles are “use as little of the source material as possible” and “the resulting work must be transformative.” Tom Batiuk never even tries to meet either of these standards. If somebody wanted to take him to court for it, I think he’d be on thin ice. But we won’t know for sure until a judge rules one way or the other.

          I can only guess that Disney considers the Funkyverse too small to bother with, even though copyright holders have a duty to defend their own copyright or potentially lose it. They don’t have to litigate every single case to accomplish this, though.

          • Yeah, I would kind of think the Disney lawyers were thinking “A lawsuit will just be negative publicity for us, Disney vs a devoted comic fan.”

            But you’re right, a copyright holder is supposed to defend against all unauthorized uses, the tall and the small. They can’t pick and choose, waiting for a bigger fish. I think Mad magazine almost lost their copyright to Alfred E. Neuman because they thought the film “Carnosaur” was too low budget to bother with.