Shirt Tale

If you’re serious about decluttering then it makes sense to part with clothes that no longer fit. Holly’s suggestion to Funky is neither brutal nor mean. What’s brutal and mean is reducing the titular character of your fifty-year-old franchise comic strip to a peripheral character who mainly shows up to provide comic relief.




Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

30 responses to “Shirt Tale

  1. To my way of thinking, “brutal” is far worse than “mean.” But I guess Funky and Batdick disagree. Cool. So it’s a joke about elderly people gaining weight. I gotta think “Pluggers” has already covered this territory a few times.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Funky’s chipper expression in the last panel makes it even more confusing.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        I kinda like the chipper expression. Reminds me of the ways my parents playfully rib each other. A vast improvement over any strip ending in a glare or scowl.

        • J.J. O'Malley

          Or a vertical smirk that occupies one full half of the lower face.

          And yes, I’ve already copyrighted “Vertical Smirk” as the name for my “riot grrrl” cover band.

  2. Gerard Plourde

    I guess this Sunday filler strip indicates that we’re done with Flash and Phil. Where will August take us? Are we in for a week of Funky at AA?

    • Y. Knott

      In what way will the next Funky arc suck? For it will suck, of that we can be sure. But the secret sauce is the specific way it sucks worse than we could have possibly imagined….

      • Y. Knott

        “Estate planning” is our clue! Which character is looking smirkily at their own potential demise? Who stands to inherit a valuable comic book collection? And how will it all be made impossibly dull and disjointed?

        • Aw, I had just been thinking how nice it was we haven’t had a Les Moore Week in a while and now I fear that’s what we’re going to be stuck with.

          (Les Moore and Funky Winkerbean being the characters who have something you could reasonably call an ‘estate’ — the Dead Lisa Intellectual Property Franchise and the Dead Pizza Chain Empire, respectively — and Les is the more annoying choice because, gads, get him on the subject of death, you know?)

        • gleeb

          Who will talk over the exequies at their funerals?

      • be ware of eve hill

        Come join us Monday for the next Funky Winkerbean Sucktcular Extravaganza!

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Another example of BatHam at his most inexplicable and incomprehensible. How can this NOT be a Sunday comic book cover? He sets up a golden opportunity to publish one of his beloved fake comic book covers, then, just completely out of nowhere, Holly and Funky are hurling wry wisecracks around like it’s Tuesday. I’ll never understand how this man’s mind works.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The second consecutive Sunday that needed art to wrap up the story, and he doesn’t do it. But I bet “estate planning” will end with one.

      Meanwhile on his blog, he’s now made three inconsequential posts after saying “I’ve been asked to hold back a bit so as not to muck up the looming (website) transition.” Right after he went two solid weeks without making a single post, not even his “scheduled” weekly posts.

      Whatever works best for a situation, the man does the opposite.

  4. Was really expecting a resolution to the Phil/Flash storyline that revealed Phil’s art was not stolen by a legendary dead comic strip artist, but I guess we’re just done with that storyline now and it is what it appeared to be.

  5. Anonymous Sparrow

    If I remember my *Foxtrot* strips correctly:

    Andy Fox thinks she’s fat (“blubber city!”) and asks her husband Roger (Who wants pie?) for his opinion. He thinks she could stand to lose…

    Two (2) pounds,

    Andy bursts into tears. Roger comforts her without knowing what he did.

    “You asked me to be honest,” he says.

    “But not brutal,” she replies.

    And that made me smile and laugh.

    It’s not too late to make Amends (Ouch, ouch!), Tom, or to try to convey the enthusiasm for literature that Andy (so excited when her daughter Paige was first reading Shakespeare) does.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The difference is in getting the escalation right. “Brutal” is a harsher word than mean, so Andy’s reaction makes sense. Today’s Funky Winkerbean doesn’t.

      The only way this joke would work is that Funky is admitting that his own words were empty. If he were genuinely upset by the less offensive form of the word, the joke becomes that he said “be brutal” but he couldn’t even handle “mean.” It’s a way of showing that a character is all talk. It would be similar to the Gilligan Cut, which cuts straight to the character doing what they just said they wouldn’t do.

      But the expressions don’t match that interpretation. Funky in the last panel doesn’t look like a man whose feelings have been hurt. He looks like a man who thinks he’s a lot funnier than he is, smirking at his own incoherent joke.

      This is what I call “writerese.” Batiuk’s writing often mimics the form of something, without actually being that thing. This acts like a joke, but it’s not a joke. At least not a coherently executed one.

  6. batgirl

    Teen Funky often wore a plaid flannel shirt. Is this flannel shirt Symbolic (your sign of quality literature!) of the Funky Winkerbean strip itself, with humour and consistent-if-shallow characters? That the owner is no longer able to struggle into and button up?
    Is this a message from the Author? And if so, to whom?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This touches on another problem with the strip. What does Funky care if his old shirt gets thrown out? He’s never shown any attachment to any of his outfits. He doesn’t even have a “standard” shirt, like Les and Pete do. He has no reason to care about this, and the strip doesn’t give him one. It doesn’t even bother with the sitcom cliche of “men never want to throw anything out.”

      What if Funky Winkerbean had a younger engaged couple, where the man always wears the same plaid shirt, and has a history of being unable to let go of things? Gosh, if only two people like that had appeared in the strip this week! This scenario would have been a lot more effective.

  7. sorialpromise

    Catching up on odds and ends.
    A big ‘thank you’ to batgirl and Y. Knott. A month or two ago, both of you recommended sci fi “the Greenwich Trilogy.” I purchased all three and have finished “the Butterfly Kid” by Chester Anderson. I recommend it and will read the other two. (I will never look at 6 foot lobsters the same way again.)

    Another thank you to be ware of eve hill and Anonymous Sparrow. Yesterday they highlighted “the Killing” with Sterling Hayden. I will watch it today. I enjoyed Hayden in “the Asphalt Jungle”, so this should be good.

    Finally, for the wonderful be ware of eve hill. How was “video call day”? Did the grandkids get to love their Grammie? YaY!!!

    • Y. Knott

      Glad you’re enjoying them, and thanks for the follow-up, sorialpromise! They’re very, very “of their era” books, but still quite enjoyable.

      And “The Killing” gets my vote as a worthy watch too. I haven’t seen it in years, though … maybe I’ll follow the lead of be ware of eve hill and Anonymous Sparrow and do a re-watch!

    • be ware of eve hill

      I neglected to mention the wonderful Sterling Hayden was also great as General Jack D. Ripper in Dr. Strangelove. What a voice.

      Thanks for asking. “Video call day” was great. They had little trouble corralling the kids. They were playing outside in 95 degree heat!

      My son and I share a phone call once a week. Sometimes it’s not long, maybe only 10 minutes. But the last Sunday of the month is reserved for “video call day.” Everybody joins in.


      • Anonymous Sparrow

        Another Sterling Hayden recommendation:

        His performance as Roger Wade in the 1973 “Long Goodbye,” an idiosyncratic take on Raymond Chandler’s penultimate Philip Marlowe novel. Dan Blocker was supposed to have played the role, but died before filming began (the picture’s dedicated to him). It’d hard to see how anyone else could have played it.

        Also in the cast: Jim Bouton, who’s been mentioned here previously.

        • sorialpromise

          To Anonymous Sparrow and
          to Y. Knott:
          I am really enjoying “the Killing.” It’s funny. When I was younger, I did not care for Hayden. But he really gives it his all. I will rewatch “Asphalt Jungle” and give “the Long Goodbye” a look see this week.
          I am so glad both of you post!

        • be ware of eve hill

          Hunh. Jim Bouton was Terry Lennox, the “Playboy Killer”. I’m not really a baseball fan, so I had no idea who he was.

    • be ware of eve hill

      How old are your grandkids?

      Do you spoil them?

      • sorialpromise

        My grand daughter is almost 5. She kinda rules the roost. I cooperate with her or else.
        The boy is 3. Easy going. He better be with her. But don’t get the wrong idea. She is a darling, but doesn’t give affection easy. She likes giving nose kisses! Yuck! But I let her. The boy is the opposite. Sweet natured. Gives hugs easy. I am so glad to be retired. They only live 35 minutes away. So I am blessed. Tell your son to live closer or make that practical joker of a husband get a second job so you can see them more often! Both of you are loved!

        • be ware of eve hill

          Thank you.

          My grandson is a troublemaker. He takes after his father and grandfather. He’s also very much into sports, like his Grammie was. My granddaughter is very affectionate, and I spoil her rotten. It’s kind of new territory for me. I had a son and grew up with two brothers. I need some “girl time.”

          We’d like to live closer, but it’s not the guy’s fault. It’s the gals. I took a career opportunity on the West Coast before the grandkids were born. My husband is semi-retired and only works part-time. My daughter-in-law is in the service.


    • batgirl

      You’re very welcome! Hope you enjoy the other two – my favourite is the middle book, as I think I’ve mentioned, but all of them provide fascinating insights into the era.
      Just wanted to share that yesterday I had my first grandbaby video chat – or viewing, rather, as grandbaby was born the night before.

      • sorialpromise

        Wow! First grandchild! I am so happy for you, batgirl! God bless the Momma, the Daddy. God bless Grandma and that wonderful baby.
        I could suggest a name: batgirl SOSF!