Split the Dimwits

Link to today’s strip.

I really hate those smiles that split the characters’ faces. It’s supposed to imply that these people are just enjoying the heck out of Dinkle’s, uh, witticisms. But to me, it means these are people with severe brain damage. Even Larry Fine, there in the middle. They would smile this way no matter what they were looking at. But don’t worry, I’m sure their handler will be along presently to herd them back on to the correct bus. Huh, would that be “on to” or “onto”?

Their presence does have one advantage: it kept this episode from being a vertical sideways strip. The only thing that could make a Dinkle strip even more irritating.

And of course, with two days of him farting out only a word or two, the rising tide can no longer be contained, and we get an entire strip of logorrhea. Funny, I thought people excreted out the other end, but I guess Harry’s unique that way.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

40 responses to “Split the Dimwits

  1. Epicus Doomus

    The 2021 OMEA must have been a real snooze, as he ran out of OMEA material QUICK. When he’s doing Claude Barlow gags, the barrel has been scraped clean. Enjoy the next eleven months and three weeks, because right now we’re at the farthest possible point from the next OMEA arc. And for that, we should be grateful.

  2. William R Thompson

    A man who died in 1627 composed a work with the words “Appalachian Trail” in the title? Right, Batiuk, Barlow was such a genius he knew of a term coined in 1921.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      He should have been born in 1627 and died in 1534. Because stealing jokes from PDQ Bach would be a major step up for Funky Winkerbean.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      A man who died in 1627 composed a work with the words “Appalachian Trail” in the title?

      To say nothing of when the phrase “trail mix” was coined.

      • One hesitates to be fair to Tom Batiuk, but it does happen that a piece will sometimes get a name that has nothing to do with anything the artist might have named. Especially if, say, the piece were unknown before modern times, or if someone (maybe even Dinkle) wrote a piece that forced a reappraisal of it.

        Anyway all this has caused me to learn that Europeans had the name ‘Appalachian’ for the mountains by the middle 16th century so the time checks out. (Although apparently the name did not necessarily refer to the whole mountain range, the way we now use it.)

        I had always thought Claude Barlow a later composer than this.

    • Hitorque

      Don’t forget over in Krankenschaaften, that disgruntled newspaper editor was talking about his paper’s history dating all the way back to the American revolution, you know, when the entire region of Ohio was nothing but a few army forts and trading outposts for fur trappers…

  3. Tom Hackett

    Even worse than the smirks in today’s strip are the strips where the onlookers turn to one another and exchange knowing smirks. Also, somebody please get Dinkle a chair so he doesn’t have to stand hunched over the table to autograph what will surely amount to tens of books.

  4. Banana Jr. 6000

    Look at all those people in line to buy that book Dinkle never finished about that composer nobody likes!

  5. Suicide Squirrel

    Appalachian trail mix? Batyuk, please, spare us.

    I’m sure Claude Barlow could have written about his hemorrhoids from sitting on his piano bench too long. Would that have been one of his most beloved pieces too?

    Ode to Inadequate Stool Padding in B Minor

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    This is the part where I examine Tom Batiuk’s lost repertoire, Featuring books such as “Appalachian Trail Mix,” which no one has ever read. Automatically making it one of his most beloved pieces!

    • billytheskink

      “Summer’s 8th birthday” is definitely one of the best FW strips I’ve never read. Lefty and DSH’s wedding, however…

  7. Y. Knott

    Those are clearly three absolutely hammered people standing there — happy but completely sozzled. They’re not so much enthralled by Harry’s sales pitch as they are too drunk to move. At least Harry realized his only hope was to make sure the traffic flow went past the Jell-O Vodka Shooters booth before the OMEA crowd got to his booth.

  8. be ware of eve hill

    Batty really seems to really have it out for us this week. We have Lillian and Les meeting in Crankshaft and Dinkle dominating Funky Winkerbean.

    Let’s all be grateful that Les hasn’t appeared at OMEA yet.

    Les: ‘Hi, Mr. Dinkle. I wrote a book too. It’s called Lisa’s Story. Have you heard of it? You have? Excellent! You see, Lisa was my wife. She died from cancer and…’

    Batty, please! There’s only so much suckage a person can take!

    • be ware of eve hill

      Dinkle: Mr. Moore, I admit defeat and bow to your superior suckage.

    • be ware of eve hill

      The Life and Times of Claude Barlow, Volume 11?

      Ya, shurrrrrrrrrrrrrrr! There’s going to be a long line waiting for an autographed copy of that puppy. /s

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Batiuk is constantly indulging his ego need for people to ask him for autographs. His author characters can’t just write and sell books; they have to be actively involved in autograph signing anytime they’re seen, with fans eagerly awaiting them like they’re the Beatles or something. Even Holly had a well-placed pen on her desk earlier this week.

  9. Sourbelly

    If you “stand in line” to get a book autographed, why do you need the author to explain what the book is about? It’s not like Hairy X. Dinkhole is an author that completists care about, right?

  10. J.J. O'Malley

    “Even Larry Fine, there in the middle”? As the immortal porcupine himself would say in indignation, “Hey, what’s the big idea?”

  11. The Duck of Death

    In a very crowded field, “shoehorned-in pun” stands out as one of my least favorite Batiuk tropes. “Booster shot,” “Appalachian Trail mix” — these are barely puns. They’re second-grade level attempted wordplay.

    I assume the method goes like so: “Someone mentioned the Appalachian Trail. Trail… trail… trail mix! Brilliant! Okay, it’s OMEA week, so I’ll just put that Appalachian Trail mix joke right into a strip about Dinkle and OMEA. Add about 100 extra words to really drive the joke home…. and BINGO! Tommy, you genius! You did it again!”

    Not only bafflingly out of context… not only unfunny…. but also totally unoriginal.

    • The Duck of Death

      Lord have mercy, in an uncanny crossover to the Lillian/Les plotline in Crankshaft, there’s even a crappy-looking mystery book on Amazon:

  12. The Duck of Death

    I wonder if those smirkers are buying the book as a gag gift, or for a White Elephant gift exchange.

    You could leave it slyly on a rival’s shelf, then whisperingly point it out to other faculty members, destroying your rival’s reputation.

    I’m sure there are other uses. Ever have those big waterbugs/palmetto bugs in your house? They’re mighty hard to kill. Dropping several Barlow tomes on them might do the trick. Wobbly sofa? Wedge Volume XVI under that leg. Pressing flowers? Flattening photo prints that have curled up? Starting barbecues? Emergency toilet paper?

  13. Don

    Volume 11? What a coincidence – a certain long-running comic strip just released Volume 11 of its “complete” series (2002-2004) less than two weeks ago.

  14. be ware of eve hill

    And of course, with two days of him farting out only a word or two, the rising tide can no longer be contained, and we get an entire strip of logorrhea. Funny, I thought people excreted out the other end, but I guess Harry’s unique that way.

    My mom had a phrase she used when she thought somebody was talking too much, especially newscasters on TV. Perhaps she altered “logorrhea” for humorous effect.

    That person has diarrhea of the mouth.

  15. The Duck of Death

    I assume the split faces in the audience belong to Canadians who ferried across the lake from Hamilton. At least, if South Park is to be believed. All Canadians in the show are portrayed with heads that split at the mouth.

  16. ComicBookHarriet

    I’m hiding this here at the bottom of the comments, hoping that TB doesn’t actually lurk here.

    I was SO CONFUSED by the Crankshaft/Winkerbean time mix up, that I finally did something I never thought I would do. I emailed Tom about it directly.

    KEEP IN MIND. I genuinely mean all the congratulations and thanks I give to TB in the email. I do wish him all the best, I do GENUINELY thank him for creating this thing, and I hope he keeps creating so I can keep analyzing it with my fellow weirdos on the internet.

    Hello Mr. Batiuk,
    > First of all, congrats on Funky Winkerbean’s upcoming 50th anniversary! And also congrats on Harry Dinkle The World’s Greatest Band Director being honored in the Rose Parade.
    > I had a question about this week’s Crankshaft strips. Les and Lillian are acting a little like they’ve never met each other, even though they had a couple times before. Also Les looks like old Les and not young Les. Doesn’t Crankshaft take place at least a decade before Funky Winkerbean? Have you decided to stop doing this?
    > Thanks again for all that you do! I hope you keep staying Funky for many years to come.

    Hi NAME,

    Thanks very much for your note and your kind comments on Funky’s 50th.

    Regarding your question, I was in bed the other night when the same thought occurred to me. There’s a technical term for what happened there… I screwed up.

    As for the second time anomaly, that one was intentional. I want to slowly bring everyone into the same time sphere and fuse the timelines back into one. I’m making use of the rubric know as “house rules”.

    Although if I’d known you were paying such close attention, I’d have tried to be more careful about the former and elegant about the latter. However, I do appreciate your taking the time to keep me on my toes.


    I thought this email was nice and even kind of funny. I also think mashing the time streams at this point is THE WRONG DECISION. As confusing as it could get to the filthy casuals, there have been just too many crossovers at this point to mash it now. But I’m very interested to see how him chucking it affects things in future.

    • The Duck of Death

      First, CBH, congrats on having the guts to do that, and the humanity to do it with respect and class. It’s true that, on some level, we are “fans,” so you weren’t misrepresenting yourself.

      What really stands out here is that, other than running gags like HD, TWGBD, and touchstones like Dead St Lisa, he really doesn’t seem that interested in his own universe or the continuity thereof. He doesn’t appear to remember what he’s done in the past, or care to look it up.

      If I were in his place, I would keep notes, and also diagram who knows who, who has met who, what their ages are, and what their relationship is. My take is this:

      He is a man approaching old age. Like many before him, as he ages, he turns more toward the past. The distant past, when he sipped hot chocolate as he read his comics from the spinner rack, and the slightly less distant past when he had a funny, popular strip with well-liked characters.

      The past is golden and happy. The future is murky, and between the various crises facing the country and the world, bleak. I don’t blame anyone for wanting to look in the rear view mirror and ignore what they’re driving toward.

      It’s just that, when you are a professional signing your name to work, and being paid for it, more is expected from you. You should be writing for your audience, not indulging yourself, heedless of your vaunted continuity, changing characters’ histories and personality traits on a whim. At the very least, you should be respecting your own past work and the world you built over the decades.

      But if he did that, we’d have nothing to snark at. Don’t ever change, Tom Batiuk.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Yeah, he’s not only getting paid, but he brags about his stories and he pretends like he furthered the art form in some way. Big hat, no cattle.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Oh, and by the way, I consider myself a fan…well more for his act1 and John Darling strips. I wouldn’t mind the more serious prestige arcs if they were just better written.

    • The only way he could really do that would be massive retcons. IE, Mindy’s “gramps” was just some random old guy, the twins were a different set of blonde twins, etc. It doesn’t seem possible, which means it’s inevitable.

      • The Duck of Death

        I don’t think it’s gonna happen at all. The official web site is full of promises of things to be clarified and revealed, none of which happened. I don’t see him suddenly changing to a creator who holds himself to a high standard, and puts in whatever work is needed to achieve it.

        I think he’s gonna putter along as he’s been doing, puttering, puttering, till he putters out.

        Sometimes I think about Achewood, and how much I miss it. I’ll go back and reread a few arcs, just to spend a little more time with Ray, Roast Beef, Phillipe and the rest of the gang. But deep down I know, just as Chris Onstad knew, that it’s better to quit while you have the energy and passion than to just let it coast on entropy, and droop drearily to a depressing conclusion. I wouldn’t have been able to stand seeing those characters and their world neglected and wrecked by their own creator, the way TB has neglected and wrecked the world he created.

    • Gerard Plourde


      The answer you received is nearly as perplexing as the conundrum itself. As beckoningchasm points out below, there are so many time jump anomalies that have to be retconned. He’s covered Crankshaft and the twins. Outside of Crankshaft, the one that’s most glaring to me that he has to deal with is Pmmm and Jfff. Old age Jfff played a major role in the LA Burns Down arc, now will we be seeing both of them de-aged, making them practical contemporaries of Funky and company? (In reality, this would have been the case for the ‘70s Funky Crew had they aged normally within the strip. They would only be about five or six years younger than people who would have been on campus at Kent State in May of 1970.) But I guess the big takeaway from this news is that he’s actively targeting the senior citizen demographic.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        It’s Mindy that baffles me the most, as she’s the character I feel is going to be most consistently in both strips, Lillian and Dinkle’s 2021 choir stuff notwithstanding.

        Is Mopey Pete going to start showing up in Crankshaft all the time now? Because they’re engaged. Is a suddenly de-aged Crankshaft going to show up at their wedding?

        How can Crankshaft be living as a wheelchair bound lump in Bedside Manor AND at home.

        The retcon will literally only work if, in universe, Les goes back in time to try to save Dead Lisa, and changes the time line.

        Call it Lespoint.

        • In a sense, he’s already started, with the Valentine being a strip club in both realms.

        • Y. Knott

          I think you’re overthinking how the retcon will work. You’re expecting continuity issues to be addressed and so forth — but it will probably be simply “Well, here it finally is….now they’re all together at the same time. Enjoy!”

          Honestly? That’s probably actually going to be less painful than Batiuk attempting (and failing) to resolve contradictions and attempting (and failing) to tie up danging plot threads.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          Why not *Les of Two Worlds*?
          A spectacular story that is sure to become a classic!