Today’s strip was shot in Kodachrome… despite being set even further back in time than this past week’s sepia-toned historical revision. Really sets the mood for imagined fiery death, doesn’t it?
You would (not) be surprised at how often TB goes to the well for Holly’s Act I flaming baton trick. It wouldn’t shock me if it has appeared as a gag in Act III more often than it ever actually did in Act I. But hey, after this past week, I’ll take some Sunday Funky-Holly filler, even if it involves flaming batons.
And with that, I cede the podium to Comic Book Harriet, a master of both Batiukverse history and the entertaining anecdote. I expect we will enjoy a good bit of both from her in the coming weeks.
29 responses to “Jumping’ Jack Flashback”
Th wha? I thought we were learning about how PROGRESSIVE and AWARD-DESERVING Tom Batiuk is for making a long forgotten character Trans. Oops.
Well, he didn’t joke about Holly having a hot flash, so there’s that, I suppose.
In Batty’s world, wouldn’t a “Hot Flash” be a Silver Age DC superhero in a provocative pose?
We are. It involves a dream about a fiery explosion, though, because TB did his usual amount of research on the topic.
Holly was a majorette who frequently caused fires and… that’s it. There’s never any point to the endless repetition of these old tropes.
How can we tell whether this was a dream or a real memory? Leaving an open five-gallon can of kerosene near the performance is the sort of everyday incompetence we’ve come to expect in Westview.
Old story. Old shtick. TB no longer can create interest. CBH asked yesterday, what purpose does this have? Later she shortened it to, WAT?
If I had the power to squeeze a little bit of energy and creativity into Mr. Batiuk, I know what I would tell him: “You are always going off about comics. Why don’t you take several weeks and write a comic about your favorite character in Atomik Komix? You have drawn the character. You have given us covers. Give us an actual story. Recharge your batteries and give your readers and fans (sometimes mutually exclusive!) original content, instead of Dead St. Lisa, Dinkle, and Holly exploding in a flaming burst of baton. That could possibly be fun.
On a note from yesterday, bwoeh remembered watching Wizard of Oz when she was little. Same here. Each year it was an event, and we only had black and white TV’s. Margaret Hamilton can easily claim G.O.A.T. villain. She was terrifying. To this day I can remember horrible nightmares from that woman and the tornado that spawned her.
Can any of you match her villainy with a choice of your own? Dead St. Lisa is already taken.
Yup, that one got caught in the filter too, sorry about that. I’ll figure out how to resolve that, don’t fret! It’s not you, it’s us, as they say.
You are the best!
(I was prepared. I had copied my post.)
I don’t think that will ever happen simply because (far as I can tell from his work) Batty isn’t actually interested in comic book characters or stories. His interests lie in comic book artists, writers, collectors, and those who argue about comic books as a Holy Art Form. He has always been more interested in Rob, Buddy and Sally in the writing office than in the Allan Brady Show itself.
If Disney (which has already built a hotel where, for thousands of dollars a night, you can pretend to be a Star Wars character living on a Star Wars space ship) and Marvel teamed up to build a hotel where (for thousands of dollars a night, of course) you could pretend to be a writer/artist in the old (and largely mythical) Marvel Comics Bullpen, Batty would be the first guest.
Possibly the only one as well.
This is a perfect description of TB’s obsession with comic books. What he’s really interested in is the meta fantasy where he himself gets hired to make only the comic books he likes, and his meta-meta fantasy of the work environment being as his 8-year-old self dreamed it.
Definitely! The Wicked Witch of the West scared me too. I hid under the covers when she was onscreen! My mom eventually pointed out that Margaret Hamilton was a grandmother in real life-not much different than my own grandmas. That helped ease my fears a little bit. MH also appeared in Maxwell House coffee commercials around that time so that also helped once Mom pointed out who she was.
While she doesn’t match Wicked Witch status, Ursula from Little Mermaid ranks up there for me as a top animated villain. Her manipulation of Ariel, with just enough truth in her sales pitch, is scary enough. And then the scene where she rises up out of the ocean as a giant near the end: creepy! I remember watching that in a theater as a college student and thinking “Man, if I were a kid, I’d be scared S*&^less right now!”
The Wicked Witch of the West’s Kansas counterpart, Miss Gulch, was no slouch either.
In reality, Margaret Hamilton was very nice and had a great love for children, frequently giving to charitable organizations.
A friend of mine wrote Margaret Hamilton as a fan (years before common email), and she invited him to tea!
That makes me think of Al Capp, who would occasionally turn over *Li’l Abner* to *Fearless Fosdick,* Capp’s satire on *Dick Tracy* and Abner’s “ideel.”
it would indeed be fun to see in *Funky Winkerbean,* which is why, as so many have noted, we will never see it.
Bomb Face, Stone Face and the Chippendale Chair wish more power to the enemies of the Elemental Force!
I kinda like KA-WHUUUMP!! as a sound effect. I guess.
Beyond that, it’s just another example of how much Batdick has to rely on “flashbacks” for content.
I agree. Reminds me of a Don Martin strip in MAD magazine.
There really isn’t much to complain about today, although new readers might be confused….ah, just messin with you, there are no new readers!
But compared to the brutalist strips from last week, this is a bit refreshing.
Holly used to blow herself up a lot. Dinkle staged lots of goofy fundraisers for the band. Harry was “crazy”. Cindy was hot. Les was a dweeb. Lisa was dying.
There. Now you’re completely up to date on fifty years of FW history. Sorry for dragging it out with all that needless detail.
Funky was drunk. Wally was missing. John was dweebier than Les could ever have been.
Lisa died. Les still grieves as if there was no time jump.
Sure the comic is a tiresome retread of a worn-out running gag. But does it work for someone WITHOUT the extensive knowledge of the character’s backstory? Someone, in other words, brand new to the flaming baton gag, who may find it arresting, amusing and fresh?
Speaking as someone who had never read a single panel of Funky Winkerbean prior to 2019 … no, it doesn’t work. Perhaps the concept did work, once, long long ago…. but now it just lies there, inert.
…just like Holly does in bed when Funky is feeling a little frisky (“Not tonight, dear, I just had a flaming baton recollection!”).
Say what you will, at least today was a one-and-done quickie gag of a palate cleanser, after a week of the most pointless revision since Lucas made Greedo shoot first.
I don’t see how this works as a joke, either: She’s having a nightmare about an experience where she could have been incinerated. There’s not even an effort to make it an insanely over-the-top night terror where she sets the entire world on fire, or gets a complaint from Satan about overdoing it, or tells Funky he burned the pizzas again.
Batiuk should forget about Asimov for a while and try some Philip K. Dick. There’s a scene near the end of “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” where Pris is pulling the legs off a spider, one by one, just to see if it can walk without all those legs. I can’t imagine why Batiuk’s strip made me think of that character and her lack of empathy.
Batiuk can’t exaggerate his jokes enough to be funny, because he most worship at the altar of A Quarter Inch From Reality. In Act I he wasn’t afraid to go over-the-top with scenes like this. Now he tries to mimic Act I gags while omitting what made them work. He’s become a sad parody of himself. But he can’t stop, either. For all his “I’m too much of a serious artist to be a gag writer” pretenses, he’s still very reliant on gag strips. He just can’t do them anymore.
The 1987 Pulitzer nomination destroyed Funky Winkerbean. It convinced Tom Batiuk that he was something he wasn’t, that he had a level of talent he never did, that the pregnancy story was better than it really was, and that the world wanted more Les Lisa drama death cancer.
Batiuk also ignores the context of 1987, which was that they wanted to give the award to a traditional comic strip for the first time. People like Jeff MacNeely had won it before, but for their editorial cartoons only. Bloom County deserved the level of praise, but I infer that they wanted another comic strip nominee to justify the change in format. So they gave Batiuk a token nomination. If only they’d nominated Lynne Johnston instead.
Looking forward to next Sunday’s strip, where we’ll see a teenage Holly waking up from a flash-forward nightmare in which she was a frumpy hausfrau who bore an uncanny resemblance to her bitter pizzeria-owner husband.
1. Yeah you’ll always be my dirty little curvy pyromaniac, won’t you Holly? Fire🔥 makes you all hot inside, doesn’t it?
1a. This strip could be so much better if Hottie just admits to herself and her husband that she has a sexual kink about fires… Why be prudish about your natural urges? It’s 2022!
1b. And yes, Hottie Budd should have gotten some psychoanalysis about these nightmares decades ago… FWIW, I’m 45 years old and the LAST time I had any sort of dream/nightmare about my high school was when I was 18 and still in high school. (If you must know, it was the classic “It’s senior year final exams day for Latin 3 and World History and Physics and Calculus 1 and World History is a motherfucker because part of the exam is identifying EVERY country of the world on a blank map and all the old Communist Bloc nations just split up into unpronounceable alphabet jumbles last year and I’m not ready at all and I didn’t get any sleep and I’m an hour late to school and I had to take the farthest parking spot and I’m sprinting down these endlessly empty hallways lugging this heavy ass backpack trying to find my exam room but none of the classrooms have numbers on them and all the doors are locked and I’m banging on doors but nobody will open them and I’m going to have to repeat senior year and my parents will be so ashamed and everyone will laugh and…)
2. What happened to retconned THICC teenage Holly (From Lester’s heart attack/stroke time-travel flashback at his high school reunion)? That’s who I want to see and not this scrawny girl…
3. I actually don’t mind this recall so much… Act 1 had so, so many silly but genuine, relatable “never give up” Charlie-Brown-and-Lucy-with-football tropes from my childhood like Lester with the gym rope, the live scapegoat mascot, graffiti rock, someone trying to ask out Cindy Sommers, a football team that always went 0-10-1 every fuckin’ season, etc… And iirc this is the only one that still survives especially since Jerome Bushka was killed off (and no I’m not counting Harold LeRoi Dinkle’s present day bullshit either). Also whenever Holly burned up the bleachers and sent The Big Dink and His Marching 100 to the hospital burn ward it ALWAYS happened off-panel, so I like seeing it being illustrated here in full…
3a. For me, the joke SHOULD be “Hottie Budd keeps burning down the entire Cleveland suburbs but The Big Dink keeps on trotting her out there at halftime anyway because he hasn’t helped her improve at all because he fucking sucks at his job but his ego won’t let him acknowledge that reality… But obviously Act 3 Dinkle is now the self-appointed Jesus of all Western music so that won’t work…
3b. I realize I’m giving Batiuk way too much credit here, but even back in the day I saw Hottie Budd’s pyromancy as some kind of metaphor for overactive burning teenage hormones, an obviously well-developed young girl growing into a lady wealthy with desire, anxiously eager to touch and be touched, and certainly not lacking for male attention? Because let’s be honest, in that outfit, with all eyes on her, the whole thing is pretty exhibitionist, wouldn’t you say? And the “accidental” but totally expected conflagration could be symbolic of climax and release, could it not?
And I’ll just quit here before my mind really starts running away with this concept…
1a: reminds me of an old joke involving a French WWI pilot, his girlfriend, a bottle of 100-proof liquor and a match. The punch line was, “When Pierre goes down, he goes down in flames!”
1b: I work in a high school (as a part time sub) and rarely have dreams about the school (when I do, they are invariably about showing up in the wrong classroom at the wrong period with the wrong lesson plan). Haven’t had a dream about being a high school student in decades. Though it is a bit odd that when I have these dreams, they are set in the school I attended, not the school where I currently work…
3: the difference is that each time Lucy got Charlie Brown to attempt to kick the football, the setup and punch line surrounding the slapstick bit were different, well-thought-out and funny (example: Lucy gives CB a signed contract promising not to jerk the football away. She then does it anyway. Last panel, she muses, “you know what’s funny about this contract… it’s not notarized”). See? I remember that comic, though I probably haven’t read it in decades. Where’s the similar setup and payoff surrounding Holly catching fire? There isn’t one. It is, again, a premise, not a joke.
1a. That would just turn Funky Winkerbean into 9 Chickweed Lane.
I am so pumped!
Put me down for tomorrow’s class in…
Advanced Studies in Tom Batiuk’s Funkology 5.0