Today’s strip uses a real location to tell a cock-and-bull story. This “cartoonist hangout” is the Palm Restaurant in New York City, a real-life location. As commenter Gerard Ploude pointed out in the comments, Tom Batiuk announced this place would be part of an upcoming story. The entrance we see Phil go into is identical to the photo Batiuk showed on his blog:
The original Palm in Manhattan has since moved a few blocks, and now has locations in about a dozen major cities. They also have a tradition of artists (not just cartoonists) drawing their works on the wall instead of paying the tab. Sadly, the original location has since been remodeled, and the drawings are gone. I hope they archived them somehow.
Kitch believes this ridiculous yarn, and Phil leans back in his chair to smirk about it. This is one of Funky Winkerbean‘s most infuriating tropes: a character congratulating himself for his wit, when he hasn’t done anything remotely witty. I say “him” and “he” because it’s always a man. Women aren’t allowed to be witty in the Funkyverse.
27 responses to “Philholtian Legend”
Crap! Damn! No sideways strip!
Does this Sunday one-off constitute the totality of his “story where the action takes place at the Palm Restaurant” or does the Kitch Swoon/Phil Holt saga continue into next week?
You know, Gerald, if we keep this up, the whole day could be you and me conversing.
I don’t have the precog powers that some of our posters have, but I’m guessing that this thing about Philled Hole getting the chance to submit his stuff to take over Prince Valiant will drag on for at least another week. I’ll go even further and guess that it will be boring and pointless.
Another week if we’re lucky. I could easily see this thing eating up the rest of the summer. They’ll hold some sort of auction, and the AK gang will somehow be involved, then Chester will win the auction and give the artwork back to Phil, who will then die and leave the art to Boy Lisa. It’s totally feasible….too feasible.
…and somewhere along the way will be a Sideways Sunday strip featuring a “Prince Valiant” panel supposedly drawn by Phil O’ Dendron. With the title character drawn as a bulging-muscle superhero, no doubt.
I wonder who TB will blackmail into drawing it.
Give Batiuk credit for one thing: he keeps Phil Dolt perfectly in-character today. The guy isn’t supposed to be a story-teller and he really lives up to that.
Context for those who weren’t following FW nine years ago.
He’s really taking a mental victory lap over writing maybe 30 seconds worth of unremarkable pedestrian dialogue??
And it’s not even dialogue, either. It’s a verbatim quote from Cindy from an earlier strip. He didn’t even come up with the line himself!
Well that strip is 1/4 inch from reality, no doubt.
A quarter inch? Hardly. The walls of padded cells are much thicker than that.
“Look how witty I am” is so often the point in Funky Winkerbean. It’s really a specific application of the Idiot Plot. Characters like Phil Holt and Les Moore are only witty because everyone in the Funkyverse is a complete idiot.
Les can’t write for shit, Atomik Komix can’t make comic books for shit, and the examples we see prove this. Les’ emotional fragility, dishonesty, and incompetence make him completely incapable of doing what we’re supposed to believe he did. The AK team aren’t THAT bad. They’re just a bunch of mediocrities with high opinions of themselves – who are handed awards left and right.
I also hate the trope Batty uses when he shows a teacher asking the students a question and then is surprised when they don’t know the answer. If they knew the answers already they wouldn’t be in your class.
Unsurprisingly, the bar is the last thing in today’s strip that I would want to see run through with a sword.
Yeeech. Condescending, unfunny sexist crap. Who is the audience for this?
And if there IS an audience for this, why are they allowed to procreate, vote and drive cars?
So, can we then assume that–at some point in the not-too-distant future–a grawlix of cartoonists will be gathered in Manhattan’s Palm Restaurant, where a giant pile of manure will be sitting in the middle of the bar, and whichever one of them can reach into said manure pile and pull out a rhinestone will take over for Tom Batiuk on “Funky Winkerbean”?
He visits these real life locations that make a big impression on him, then he works them into his story arcs, but in the dullest, stupidest way possible. It almost like these things inspire him, just not that much, which isn’t ordinarily how inspiration works. And it happens every time, too.
He’s hoping some of the magic will rub off. “Gosh … maybe if I incorporate a mention of this pub, it will make me a REAL comic creator, just like the guys that hung out there!” Because that’s as far as Batiuk’s increasingly limited mental processes will take him these days….
It is beyond sad. And you’re right — he does this continually. “Phantom Empire”, “The Ripples”, the endless veneration of forgotten “Silver Age” comics … it’s all about trying to bring back a past that never really existed. (Never really existed because none of these things were ever really taken seriously, or were even *known* by most of the population. But in Batiuk-land, they’re cultural touchstones.)
And why does he have this desperate need to go back to the (rose-tinted) past? It’s clear that on some subconscious level, Batiuk has a at least a vague inkling that his time has long come and gone, and that he will never, never, never, never, never, never, never, NEVER be a truly widely-respected comic artist, even within the very small circle of people who have heard of him. But he CAN create a fantasy world where otherwise forgotten third-tier (or lower) works are continually celebrated by all, and the highest possible calling is to be a creator of comic-based art.
This self-serving fantasy is, of course, only PART of what makes Funky Winkerbean so uniquely bad. There’s Batiuk’s tin ear for dialogue; his innate sexism; his utter inability to research even the simplest detail; his insistence on writing issue-based story arcs when he has absolutely no talent for it (he DID have some gag-a-day talent); his characters’ cheerless, witless fatalism; and on and on and on.
But the wish-fulfillment issue — and Batiuk’s lack of awareness as to how transparent it is, and how foolish and sad it makes him look? That’s certainly a BIG part of Funky’s unrelenting awfulness.
Remember when this woman was really excited to fork over an obscene amount of money to get some of Phred’s old unused artwork for display in her gallery? What happened with that? Why are we sitting through flashbacks and dumbassed anecdotes?
Remember when it was about Roy Lichtenstein prints?
This was the one time that I was looking forward to one of those damn comic book covers! That page in yesterday’s strip didn’t look too bad, so I was curious to see if Ayers was busting out a full-assed tribute to Hal Foster.
Even if it turned out to be a reprint of an old “Prince Valiant,” just with FUNKY WINKERBEAN scrawled across it while FUNKY WINKERBEAN was smirking at it, the cognitive dissonance would have been hysterical.
(Please tell me that it’s an actual “Prince Valiant.”)
I would have been down with that! I love P.V. One of my favorites had Aleta trying to get Val to eat with a fork. Of course he scoffed at the notion, he being a member in good standing of the round table. I mean, what’s next? Wearing pants? Anyway, they were being chased by Vandals or Visigoths or whatever, so Val buried all the forks tine-side up in the drying mud. Those barbarians had some wicked ouchies on their feet that day. Serves them right for sacking Rome.
When he first posted about this in June of last year, it didn’t immediately register with me that the Palm Restaurant he was writing about was the original location of what is now the famous chain that features caricatures of (usually well-known) patrons. What he described as famous cartoonists being allowed to doodle on the walls isn’t actually what he was looking at. Below is how the Palm website describes it and a link to the page that identifies the artists responsible.
“The Palm’s legendary tradition of caricatures originated in 1920s New York, when some of its first patrons – talented cartoonists from the nearby King Features Syndicate – virtually paid for their supper in original art on the walls of The Palm’s first restaurant; then a speakeasy. These artists would draw lively scenes of the restaurant’s clientele – neighbors, family as well as celebrity patrons – that came to be known as the hieroglyphics of New York City life at the time.”
Twacked out on bath salts, a naked man believes he is under attack and flees his home. He launches himself onto the hood of a passing pickup truck. Terrified, the teen motorist keeps going, driving four miles into town. He finally stops at the sheriff’s office where his unwanted passenger is “rescued” from his imaginary pursuers.
That’s a true story, the kind you really can’t make up. Todays strip is the kind you definitely can make up, but shouldn’t.