First of all, I’d like to thank our very own Billy the Skink for his expert analysis over the last couple weeks. Especially for pulling vintage strips from a period of time not currently covered by the penny-pinching misers over at Comics Kingdom. Billy, you are, by far, my favorite guest-host-with-a-name-that-reminds me-of-famous-K-Pop-artists. So here’s to BTS!
While my feelings for my fellow guest-hosts are always positive and enthusiastic. My feelings about today’s strip are…complex.
I mean… it’s almost good. It’s almost funny. It feels human. Like, for a moment we’re getting a window into the Multiverse of Madness to an alternate world where Funky Winkerbean isn’t about sad, self-centered old men complaining about the passage of time.
Maybe you disagree, but it feels believable to me that Thatsnot Hewmore has kinda liked Logan, but was hesitant to make their friendship awkward. It feels believable that Logan would respond in this way. Given the almost nothing we know about these characters, this feels relatable.
But…is it too relatable?
Am I only relating to it, and finding it funny, because of the meta-narrative?
50 responses to “Fear Of Missing Out (on characters you’ve had six years to use.)”
Kudos to the absolute shortest CBH post of all time!
There can’t be much back story for characters we don’t even know. But I will show CBH how much I look forward to her. I have paused my streaming of AEW Double or Nothing, with my 2 favorite wrestlers (Thunder Rosa and Serena Deeb) just to read CBH. It was worth it!
You paused Double or Nothing!?! Why do you think my post was so short!?!!! Hangman vs CM Punk! Are you kidding me?
I think we have a failure to communicate!
AEW just announced largest audience for Double or Nothing ever, including our very own ComicBookHarriet!
(At least that’s what I heard!)
Not there in person. But there in spirit… and via the silver screen (of my laptop) Gotta cheer on my favorite wrestling dinosaur.
The meta-strip: I’m skeptical that Tom Batiuk feels deadline pressure. First idea that pops into his head, that’s what he uses today — work day is over by about 11 AM.
Just in time to tune in to The Price is Right!
I agree, CBH. This seems eerily human. Like, I can totally relate to that kid awkwardly asking that girl out at a graduation party. Except that I wasn’t as brave at that age, and I’d never heard about high school graduation parties until this last week of strips. It’s possible, I suppose, that I just wasn’t invited to any of them. Nah. I’m sure those parties didn’t…never mind.
Three ways to explain this:
1. The dreaded “friend zone” can be really difficult to move out of…
2. Dude didn’t really “notice” her in that way until she started showing some skin…
3. Dude could have been shy and passive and expecting the girl to notice him and make the first move for the last four years (Yes, this comes straight from the official Hitorque “How to Score in High School” manual, which worked as well for me back then as you probably guessed…)
4. Dude sees the girl as a potential “low hanging fruit” consolation prize now that he realizes the top girls he was really crushing on at school aren’t going to happen…
I guess my biggest surprise this week was seeing that someone, anyone in Westview knows how to party down and have a good time… Because all I’ve ever seen at Westview High for the last decade are really dumb kids, really boring kids, and social outcast nerdy kids whose idea of Saturday night excitement is playing RPGs at Komixxx Korner…
Tom’s editor is way too busy on Twitter to pay any attention to his output.
Twitter was a mistake.
According to the WSJ in 2014 (the most recent data I could find), 44% of twitter accounts have never posted a single tweet.
According to the “Twitter by the Numbers” website, there are 391 million twitter accounts with exactly zero followers.
I am pleased to say I am in both of those groups.
Of course… The cult of TFG was entirely a twitter phenomenon.
It’s like a TDIET entry to me.
“@teaberry blue has had enough of heteronormativity and systemic patriarchy and is going to make sure you know all about it! …”
“… unless it comes from the people who have to answer to her. Then, well, y’know… ”
Apparently, she can’t be fired. The strip creators can’t be fired. What a sweet gig at that racket, from top to bottom.
ps: The post was meant to have fake html tagging of images to refer to her using twitter versus how she ignores content like FW’s general treatment of women as vapid doormats and mouthpieces who aren’t allowed to have original thoughts or ideas.
(Clicks link and looks at her Twitter feed).
Ok, now I remember why I am not on Twitter. What language is she speaking?
And apparently the web developers can’t be fired either.
I don’t have to tell anyone that we live in a world where millions believe performative activism is the highest possible good — where thinking the right things, and saying the right things, make you one of the “good ones.” Tom thinks the right things — feminism good, global warming bad — and says them in his strip.
He doesn’t show them, no. He shows people jetting all over the country to have conversations that could just as well have been conducted with a 10-minute text conversation. He shows Funky ignoring the Cleveland Clinic to jet to Texas for a routine physical exam. He shows women happily accepting their roles as doormats; he shows Les as the real victim of Lisa’s cancer; he shows the one successful woman as an unnaturally young, frisky, empty-headed Hollywood bimbo. But he does have Kablichnik lamenting climate change and Ruby Lith lamenting how sexism held her back, so it’s all good. He gets the Tea-Berry Blue stamp of approval.
As an aside, can anyone read Tea Berry-Blue’s name without thinking of a breakfast cereal or Mintberry Crunch from South Park? If you can, you’re a better man…. er, person…. uh, folx? than I.
Bloom County skews left, but it does so in a thoughtful and humorous way that can be enjoyed even if you do not agree with Breathed. And Berke was never afraid to showcase hypocrisy from either side. This is something Batty would never do. He is hypocrisy personified.
We know Batty is against guns and was against the war in Vietnam, but I doubt we will ever see a strip criticizing our involvement in the war in Ukraine so as long as his man is president.
My take is that Batiuk just isn’t much of a critical thinker, or a thinker at all. He probably watches the nightly news, maybe a smidge of CNN, and just goes by what the TV man says without worrying about whether it’s consistent with other things TV man has said, or other beliefs Batty himself holds.
Having said that, I truly, unironically feel blessed that he doesn’t offer much in the way of political takes. I don’t recall any commentary about the last president; I don’t recall any lectures about vaccines or masks, or opinions on whether or not the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were just, or really anything other than the most anodyne of mainstream thoughts, viz. Bill Clinton’s a nice, regular guy; climate “damage” (his expression) is bad; availability of guns causes school shootings, etc.
I applaud his generally nonpolitical stance and hope never to hear his opinions on Ukraine or Russia, no matter what they are. All of us are pelted with political opinions every time we turn on a screen. I like having FW, and this comment section, as a respite. Mental rest is important.
I agree, everything is over-politicized and so many people are perpetually offended by everything.
That said, I always give people the freedom to speak their mind and I do not take political opinions personally. So if Batty wants to go there, fine. Just please make it interesting if you can…ah, he probably can’t.
I just plain stopped following the news. It doesn’t tell you anything anyway, except how to feel correctly. I stopped listening to news, and started listening to experts. Who really knows more about Funky Winkerbean? Us, or the New York Times flunky that wrote that op-ed about the CTE arc? We’re the experts. We know more about its history and lore than anyone. But news reporters don’t even seek this blog out for a comment, do they? And so it is with so many more important topics that people need to be informed about.
Now I’ve got the Teaberry Shuffle stuck in my head.
I cannot help but be astonished that Tea Berry-Blue has the same smirk as all the FW characters, as if she had taped some Ayers art to her mirror and practiced for hours. It’s a smirk seldom seen on the face of an actual living human.
From what I’ve heard and seen that’s pretty middle-of-the-road for NYC publishing and editorial workers now. Several media-related industries all effectively on auto-pilot.
I give her a little slack for retweeting Jorts. (I would join Twitter for Jorts (and Jean).) But otherwise she just seems to retweet fairly random stuff.
I doubt she actually reads most of the comics, just waits until there’s some sort of public kerfuffle that needs papering over. Like McEldowney’s use of an ethnic slur, and oh… TB’s total unawareness that Black women being compared to apes is not cute or funny.
Hell, I’m busy on twitter too for that matter
FWIW, I’d buy a CD of that BTS, CBH.
I’d like to think Thatsnought Hewmore’s reluctance came from the fact that he would have to finally reveal his name if he were to ask Logan (or anyone) out..
Dude coulda waited a few beats in between “You really look nice, Logan” and asking her out. Would he even be talking to her if she didn’t “really look nice”?
You know, maybe it’s just the hopeless romantic in me talking, but I always had a feeling that someday, somehow those two crazy kids would get together. You could just see it in the way they used to…um, I mean that time when he said.to her…err, like when she…say, just who are they again, and what are they doing at a party for high school seniors?
“I mean seriously we’re both in our early thirties and I’m hearing this now!?”
I totally related to this. In the week leading up to my college graduation (80s) all kinds of people were suddenly dating or hooking up out of the blue. It was your chance to come on to your secret crush without much risk because we’d all be gone and scattered soon. And you could say OK with no real risk. But I don’t remember any girls being taken aback by this. And without social media anything that happened was undocumented and soon forgotten.
“Seriously who invited that creepy bearded dick who brought his own lawn chair?”
“I don’t know but I see that weirdo talking to himself on that park bench all the time!”
Am I the only one who thought these two were brother and sister? There’s a striking facial resemblance between the two, and I assumed they were related.
Batyuk had six years with these characters to clear up that misconception. Does the guy even have a name?
Sorry if the previous post came off as racist. I definitely didn’t mean to imply “all black people look alike.” If I say something that can be construed as racially offensive, it is due to ignorance or a lack of social graces on my part, rather than any intentional malice.
Never blame yourself for what is clearly the fault of the artist.
Perhaps I am being too sensitive.
Last week a few coworkers and I discussed traveling for the Memorial Day weekend. One of the guys lamented that he’d need to prepare the correct amount of bills and change for tolls on the turnpike. I told him of a travel experience I had. I was driving home on the turnpike and was running short of cash. I was afraid I might not be able to pay the last remaining toll. I mentioned that I stopped at a rest area plaza to try to buy something with a credit card and obtain change for the toll. I said, “There was a black guy, the sales clerk in the convenience store, who told me the toll booths take credit cards.”
The other guy listening (who is black) said, “A what guy?” I repeated, “A black guy working at the service plaza.” Again, my coworker said, “A what guy?” I was confused. The guy I had been talking to (who is white) started chuckling and said, “Here we go again.” I asked him, “What’s so funny?”
After a short discussion, I finally understood the issue. My coworker was teaching me that the sales clerk’s skin color was irrelevant to the story. It was an unnecessary detail he found annoying. There was no need to mention it at all.
As I said, I can be offensive without meaning to. The city where I currently live and is close to where I grew up is 95% white. It’s ignorance.
You do bring up a question. Would this website exist, if Les was black? Would he get a pass from most snark! My opinion is “Hell no!” Les is a horrible character because of his behavior.
I can offer proof. Does Cayla get a pass because she is black? No. She is a doormat to her despicable husband. That opens her to Les level snark.
I do have a question for our historians. Did Les court Cayla?
Did he ever give her undivided attention as an equal partner?
Did he propose, or did she?
Was he romantic to her?
When was she overthrown by Dead St. Lisa?
The only thing about her that I know is that she likes shopping in Hollywood.
You don’t want to know. It was UGLY.
Yes, it’s best left forgotten. Woody Allen was involved and Lisa weighed in.
That bit where Lisa gave Les her approval about his relationship with Cayla made me want to chuck my computer out the front door. Gawd, that was awful.
You’re right, though, at least as regards Westview. All black people look alike (except Caucayla). All middle-aged non-black women look alike — in other words, like the middle-aged non-black men, who also all look alike (except Les and Harry). All young women look alike (including Caucayla, but she gets slightly darker skin and an extra lip-line so we know Batiuk is real progressive about diversity in his cast).
Only the young men are drawn slightly distinctly. I mean, the character models for Chullo Boy and Bernie seem to be different; they aren’t potato-shaped blobs distinguished only by frightwig vs hijab, the way Holly and Adeela are.
Cayla used to look different. Now she just looks like Cindy, but colored with a different eyedrop and fill.
“Thatsnot Hewmore” comes off like a snotty sitcom kid here. Yes, there’s a certain realism to his situation. But real children aren’t that perceptive about themselves and why they have the hangups they do. I can practically hear the laugh track at the end of this one. Still, above-average by Funky Winkerbean standards.
Of all sad words of tongue or pen, the saddest are these: “Above-average by Funky Winkerbean standards.”
If, of all words of tongue and pen,
The saddest are, “It might have been,”
More sad are these we daily see:
“It is, but hadn’t ought to be.”
Sadder still are these we say:
“Pizza and comics again? No way!”
DOD, you’re the best.
Another week of this? Okay. Good luck, CBH!
Logan, don’t date a boy who refuses to tell you his real name.
Les, go home.