ComicBookHarriet reporting in for duty. Normally I would thank Billy the Skink for the lyrical and well tagged two weeks he put in, but I’m sort of seething in jealousy here. He got two glorious weeks of the most amazing trashfire to talk about in his Les-Wins-Best-Actress arc. A beautiful blazing dumpster glowing with Lesplotation goodness. And I’m stuck back in AA with Funky and the ageless former addicts he tempts with donuts to listen to his nonsensical ramblings.
It’s been pointed out before, but it deserves to be pointed out every time it takes place: This is not what AA meetings are for, Funky! He hasn’t talked about temptation to drink since the very first week Batiuk used this gimmick. Since then it’s been weeks and weeks of focus-less blathering about a pandemic that happened ‘in the past’ like it’s open mic night at the TED talk tryouts. Unless this has been turned into a Post-Pandemic-Support-Group, talk about booze or put a lid on it.
Of course Batiuk wants to do material on the pandemic, even if he’s laughably late. All of the inconveniences of the last two years are a motherlode for his favorite brand of observational almost-humor, something to pad out the spaces between his precious prestige arcs. But why the AA meeting? Why couldn’t this just be a conversation between the guys at the disgusting Montoni’s coffee corner? Because Crazy and Les and DSH and Wally would already know this stuff? That’s never stopped Batiuk before.
But no. Funky has to go to AA to tell a group of dead eyed donut junkies his barely amusing, and definitely embarrassing, stories about his wife. If my dad ever pulled something like this in regards to my mom, she would have shit a brick and beat him to death with it.
I have a feeling that this week is aggressively unfunny all across the board. Often I would take this as an exciting challenge in making something out of nothing. But it feels so anticlimactic as we count down the final days to Funky Winkerbean’s big 5-0.
I decided that I wanted more to mark the occasion, and in preparation for the big day, I paid my toll to Comics Kingdom, and read the roughly four years worth of vintage Funky Winkerbean they’ve posted there. A little at a time, off and on, for the last month. I wanted to see what this thing was at the beginning, and I wanted to see enough of it to judge those beginnings as whole ideas. Give the characters time to fall into recognizable patterns. It was fascinating, finding so many fossilized and forgotten creations (Hi Roland!), as well as barely germinated seeds of the future.
So, I hope you don’t mind, but while Funky is reminiscing about a pandemic past that never was, I’ll be pulling up some old strips from a time when Nixon was president, Vietnam was raging, and my grandma was chasing my terrified dad away from the door because my mom wasn’t allowed to go out with boys yet.
35 responses to “Repeatedly Relapsing Reminiscence Reliance”
And a lot of US have talked about how BatHam’s jarring tonal shifts and wild changes of direction leave FW readers wondering if he just schedules these stories randomly with no rhyme, reason or logic at all. In the span of three days we’ve gone from Marianne winning an Oscar to Batton not knowing anything about “Magic: The Gathering” to Funky blathering on about the pandemic again. It’s like being beaten with a pillowcase full of boredom, it doesn’t hurt but it’s really, really dull. I can’t wait to find out what the “flip side” of relationship havoc might be…(sigh).
TFH pointed out to me that while fifty years seems totally incomprehensible, FW isn’t even in the top ten longest running comic strips of all time. Here’s the current list.
The Katzenjammer Kids (1897–2006; 109 years)
Gasoline Alley (1918–present)
Ripley’s Believe It or Not! (1918–present)
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith (1919–present)
Thimble Theater/Popeye (1919–present)
Dick Tracy (1931–present)
Alley Oop (1932–present)
Bringing Up Father (1913–2000; 87 years)
Little Orphan Annie (1924–2010; 86 years)
I may have underestimated the comic strip business. “Gasoline Alley” was already fifty-four years old when FW began. Just mind-blowing.
Pillowcase Full of Boredom is my new band name.
It’s like being repeatedly punched in the arm by a disinterested five-year-old. It’s not painful or anything, but it gets really annoying really fast.
My band’s name is The Rhythm Method. We had to give up our old name, The Minstrel Cycle, because we couldn’t get any gigs.
Of course all of those were passed through different artists and writers. I wonder what the longest running strip plotted by a single writer is? Peanuts made it to 50. Supposedly Garfield is still written by Jim Davis (though drawn by others).
Peanuts’ run was October 1950 to January 2000, so it didn’t quite make 50 calendar years. Garfield will be 44 years this June.
I was surprised a few years back when “Edge City” quit after (only) 15 years, at which point it was still a parvenu in the comics page. What kind of business, particularly a media business, doesn’t even notice you if you haven’t been there two decades?
Thinking of his contemporaries I would also note Lynn Johnson gave up “For Better or for Worse” after about 30 and has been retired for over a decade, roughly around the time of the last time-jump in FW. Let’s just see what Tom accomplished with the extra years on the strip (not at home with family or opening his own comic shop or taking extra lunches at Luigi’s), surely this one won’t end in a crappily arranged marriage (because Summer stopped developing years ago).
Doctor Doomus, if you are looking for your daily downvote I found it. I think I might like to keep it for a while.
Hey Epicus, I now seem to have an extra downvote. Please let me know if you want one. 😂
Downvotey McDownvoter strikes again! It’s OK, it keeps the “thumbs down” button loose and limber.
Sorry CBH. Les arcs are always the worst… but Funky hogging the mic at AA is also the worst. Funky Winkerbean is a land of many worsts.
Nobody wants to talk about this, Funky. We’ve lived through it. It was terrible. I drew a comic about this early in April 2020, set in post-pandemic future, where a girl asks an old man who lived through it what it was like and reacts negatively to the minor inconveniences rather than the terrible illnesses. It is tone-deaf and terrible and embarrassing. It is better than this.
I thought Germany was the Land of Many Wursts.
But what is worse is that Batty isn’t just a year late to be talking about Covid, it’s almost two years late as Ohio dropped most restrictions last May. Since then, I’ve only worn a mask when going to a medical facility. Most restaurants and stores were fully open with minimal restrictions.
Now I’m not here to debate the effectiveness of masks, I’m just wondering what Batty is going to complain about. Luigi’s has been fully open through most of this so it’s not like he couldn’t get his crappy pizza.
I hate these petty complaint arcs where Batty tries, but fails to say something meaningful about some minor gripe of his. As for Covid, it seems to me that most people are done talking about it.
And of course we never saw Funky go through any of this, but we get to listen to him drone on about it…oh goody, can’t wait!
This is Funky going through it. This universe runs on “tell, don’t show.” The only other time COVID has even been mentioned is to give Les a couple of forced, awful jokes. And of course, to make COVID about Lisa, who died at least 12 years before.
He could have shown a masked ghost Lisa.
Anyways, there were good things to come out of it. Many people learned to slow down and appreciate what they have. Work schedules changed. I now work from home primarily now and only have to go in twice a week. This has reduced my expenses and stress levels dramatically.
But Funky still has to gripe. My cousin owns a small pizza shop and saw zero loss of business since they were primarily carry-out anyways.
Oh the picturesque poetical pen of ComicBookHarriet! I do not need to see her folks or ever meet them to say, I know them. I will forever have this quote, “If my dad ever pulled something like this in regards to my mom, she would have shit a brick and beat him to death with it.” A word picture of style and beauty. (At least ‘of aroma’) So now I can say, “ComicBookHarrietParents, I know you. I feel you. I smell your pain! Let’s do lunch.
The irony is that if my mom knew I was sharing these stories, even anonymously, I would be the one getting pummeled.
The classic Funky strip: Not bad. You can clearly see the Charles Schulz influence here — although Schulz would have done it better, probably as a four-panel two-hander with Charlie Brown and Linus walking along. Linus would handle the penultimate panel (“It’s been said that life is like a play, Charlie Brown, and we are the actors.”) while CB would get the punchline (and Linus a same-panel reaction take.)
Still, a basically respectable (if derivative) effort.
Today’s Funky strip: Ugh. Go back to ripping off Peanuts, please.
So Funky reminds everyone that the pandemic played havoc with relationships and all that squishy emo stuff–and then looks distraught when he says there was a flip side to that badness. Pure, classic Funky!
Presenting today’s Funky Winkerbean, featuring the wit and humor of Tom Batiuk. Let’s all give Tom a big round of applause.
Hello? Is this thing on ? (taps microphone) Is there anybody out there?
Hoo frickin’ ray. Yet another pontificating Funky AA pandemic arc because the first two were so bloody wonderful. /s
Third verse just as bad as the first. I can completely wait until tomorrow. I can sense this story unfolding with all the excitement of a dental cleaning.
Seriously, Bats. Only you can create comics like this. I’m proud of ya.
ComicBookHarriet, you subscribed to The Comics Kingdom?
I’m sorry. I can only welcome you aboard and offer you my condolences.
I’m suffering through it. As busted as that site can be, it’s still much easier than the OTHER way I get vintage Funky Winkerbean strips. Which is by zooming in on the online microfiche on the Google News Archive of the Toledo Blade.
What is covered in the archives? I subbed for a year ages ago but the site added Classic Funky sometime afterwards, before that it maybe went back to just before time-jump. (Comics fans took another hit recently with the updates on the Comixology app, now thinking i should just give up)
The Archives currently cover Funky Winkerbean going back to late 1998. (Trying to search earlier gives you the death spins) And Vintage Funky Winkerbean from 1972 to 1976, with additional strips being added daily.
Thanks! Under normal circumstances it would be tempting but my interest is probably only heightened because of my morbid fascination with the upcoming anniversary.
Gocomics, i have to say, is significantly better from almost every standpoint—archives going back ages (the entire run of FOOB and Luann, last i checked); classic strips from like the ‘50s (Wizard of Id classics, Back to BC); not crapped up with pop-ups. Spanish versions! I’m with Eve—I would be delighted to never have to look for something on CK again.
I’ve written CK Support so many times, they’re no longer acknowledging my requests. A few weeks ago, they told me the problems were due to switching the comics to a new database. If that’s the case, these issues seem to be taking an inordinate amount of time to resolve. I’m wondering if they suffered a malware attack.
My favorites page on CK is almost back to normal. The page displays the latest strip for any title. Doesn’t it make more sense to show only the current day’s comics, similar to the daily email?
I’m still encountering a lot of “the swirling toilet bowl of death” if I try to go back too far in the archives.
I read the comments on Disqus, but rarely post anymore. Maybe I’ll see you there some day. 😉
Same here. I have to log in every time I go to a new page, so It’s sort of a hassle to post. And no more seeing the splash panel. I thought it was Funky yesterday until I saw it here.
You have to log back into Disqus every time you go to a new page? Do you have to perform the CAPTCHA I-am-not-a-robot test every time too? Yikes!
I’m no expert, but I wonder if you’re blocking the web cookie that maintains your Disqus login info.
I’ve read in the comments that people aren’t too happy the “throw away panels” in comic strip like Blondie and Beetle Bailey have disappeared.
God damnit Funkensteiger, we’ve already heard about the second-to-last original Sony Discman in existence… And we already know your pyromaniac wife foolishly decided to make a horse’s ass of herself trying to show off at her high school homecoming 44 years after her glory days ended… And we know everything there is to know about running a second rate pizza joint in a small town where you’ve got a virtual monopoly… So kindly sit the fuck down and let someone else speak for once…
That should be Bill’s thought bubble. Or whatever the guy’s name is, he looks like a “Bill” and Batiuk isn’t creative enough to name him something like “Dwight.” But he’s giving Funky a vicious side-eye right now, and looks like he’s asking himself if his coffee is hot enough to send Funky to the burn ward for the rest of the meeting.
Also, I imagine Bill is a Terminator:
I hate these “Funky philosophizes while hijacking the AA meeting” arcs. I wonder what banality TomBa has created this set up for and how much of the week it will take up to reveal it.
What relationship is Funky referring to? The pandemic played havoc on what relationship? Clearly not his relationship with Holly. If Funky goes to work at Montoni’s, Holly is there. If Funky stays home because of shutdowns and stay-at-home-orders, Holly is there too.
Sigh. Per the blog, Batiuk’s research for Funky’s AA “arc” consisted of going to “an AA meeting to see and hear what transpired there.” Aside from that constipated language – dude, did you not pay attention to the part at the beginning where they always say, “We ask that when discussing our problems, we confine ourselves to those problems as they relate to alcoholism.” As in, they say it at every single meeting. The fact that you only went to one is not an excuse.