Wow, it is always intimidating to follow up the amazing CBH! If Kent State University wants to start offering courses on “The History of Funky Winkerbean” I know who should teach it. Not for long, sadly, since that would probably mean the school was about to go out of business, but it would still be the right choice.
I was kind of glad to see I wouldn’t have to deal with the continuing adventures of old people complaining to each other about how all they somehow felt out of place and left out even though they were essentially their own entire social group, but more John Darling isn’t much of an improvement. I really don’t know why Batiuk keeps coming back to the Darling well. I can’t believe he really thinks people miss the character. I feel like every time he’s mentioned, 99.999% of the readers (everyone who doesn’t read this blog, basically-although I think we probably make up the majority of the readership now) has no idea who he is. Playing off of nostalgia doesn’t really work if nobody knows who or what you’re referring to. I feel like it’s probably just that it’s easier for Batiuk to keep repeating the same things over and over than coming up with new storylines and characters, which is just kind of sad.
Oh, also, we have the latest installment of “man says something and his wife/girlfriend gets furious at him” in this strip. Darrin’s question is totally legitimate, considering local TV stations never just air a decades-old local show. I do feel like there would be some serious contract issues with this. I’m also a little curious about how Jessica knows they’re airing them “24/7”. Has she been sitting there watching for a week, or did someone else tell her this? Did she just wait to mention this to Darrin?
48 responses to “Darling All Day”
Meanwhile, in Centerville, a Hollywood movie star and his impossibly young-looking wife revisit their nuptial setting…
Wow, he really is going whole hog on this thing. So which version of his characters make it through? Will “That cranky guy” be a moldering, broken down invalid in a nursing home, or will he be his younger asshole self blowing up grills and running over mailboxes with his schoolbus? Will Pm be a woman who appears to be around 40 or a woman who appears to be around 70? Will her dipshit husband have his severely receding hair or will he still have most of it – you know he’s going to be a comic book dipshit either way. Will Lillian be a 75 year old woman or a 125 year old woman? Will Les have a goatee, gray and a severely receding hairline, or will he be back to the helmet hair?
Or will Batiuk fuck this up and have two different versions of many characters that can’t possibly be reconciled? I know which one I’d vote for!
The smart money is always on Batiuk doing the laziest thing. And the least work-intensive thing to do would be to keep everyone at the age they are in their respective primary comic strips, no matter which comic strip they happen to appear in during any given arc. Then simply retcon away any discrepancies, with the simple device of “Time discrepancies? What time discrepancies, you beady-eyed nitpicker?”
Exactly. Why put any genuine effort into his stupid crossover arcs when he can just smirk and wink continuity away with a shrug? To him, the idea is cute all on its own and thus needs no embellishment, or coherent plot, or much of anything else, really.
You remind me of the Silver Age *Superboy* story in which an alien TV producer passes off videos of the Boy of Steel as a program…and gets complaints that the actors playing the Kents are too old. He gives Jonathan and Martha a de-aging serum, and Superboy then has to pass it off as the result of a passing comet.
But the producer still loses, because the network wants a show about Superman, which he can’t supply.
My favorite JLA/JSA team-up (the 1965 one, which appeared in *JLA* #37-38) isn’t actually a team-up: the evil Johnny Thunder of Earth-One acquires the Thunderbolt of his heroic Earth-Two counterpart and has him prevent the JLA from coming into being. The JSA has to do all the heavy lifting as they investigate the
“Earth — without a Justice League!”
“Earth — without a Funky Winkerbean!” has a nice ring to it, even if some part of me keeps thinking of King Pellinore’s grief over his neglect of the Questing Beast, who grows sickly without attention and may die, leaving him without any lovely fewmets.
We would miss it if it were gone.
We would miss this splendid community.
But the events of the Funky Winkerbean are ten years later than the events of… oh, never mind.
Okay, so Batiuk really doesn’t care about his once-slavishly defended 10-year Funky/Cranky time difference anymore, fine. But the Valentine was specifically sold to developers who wanted to turn into a “gentleman’s club,” so why are there “For Sale” signs on it?
Also, “Frankenstein” was Universal and “King Kong” was RKO, so a twinbill would be unlikely (and just as unfunny). “Dracula” would have made more sense, as that was a popular late ’30s reissue and a rep cinema favorite.
And finally, why wasn’t this today’s FW strip, since it deals with the Westview reunion aftermath, and the one continuing the inexplicable “John Darling” revival plot used here?
I’m sure he wanted to lampshade the fact that he’s blowing up the time skip conundrum by have the strip swap contemporaneous arcs. And how much do you want to bet Cindy and Masone will buy the Valentine and move back to Ahia?
It’s also entirely possibly he just somehow got the strips mixed up.
When I first saw the comic panel next to your post, I assumed it was another well-executed mockup. Cindy and Masone in Crankshaft? Ha! That’s ridiculous. I didn’t realize until I read the other posts here that the panel is genuine.
The Crankshaft comic strip has been in a death spiral the last few months and is becoming Funky Winkerbean Lite.
be ware of eve hill – September 3, 2022, at 11:55 pm
Wrong again, dishpan breath. Every time I think I have Batiuk figured out, he pulls another “Crazy Ivan” on me. Zigging when I expect him to zag. I can imagine Batiuk laughing at me, arms akimbo, leaning back and sounding like a braying donkey.
Crankshaft is NOT “Funky Winkerbean Lite”. Crankshaft has evidently become “Funky Winkerbean 2”. It’s like Batiuk is trying to set up his own collection of Funky Winkerbean networks.
So we now have:
Funky Winkerbean = Funky Winkerbean 1
Crankshaft = Funky Winkerbean 2
Funky Winkerbean Vintage = Funky Winkerbean Classic
I really hope Batiuk isn’t thinking about reviving John Darling, but if he does, I hope Kings Features tells him to go pound sand.
Somehow, Batiuk always seems to get his way. I don’t know how he does it. Is he a hypnotist? A vampire? Was he born with a golden horseshoe up his backside?
Why isn’t Cindy becoming a frumpy hausfrau like the rest of the Westview middle-aged ladies? Many people have a theory on how she maintains her youthful appearance. There appear to be two main theories.
1.) Cindy is a succubus. Witness how much Funky aged.
2.) Cindy has a painted portrait of herself, à la ‘The Picture of Dorian Gray’ stored away in a secret location.
I’ve always liked the second option, and it’s kind of funny that Cindy is appearing in Crankshaft today. I’ve always pictured Cindy in the portrait resembling Ed Crankshaft in drag, complete with a hairspray unihorn, Ed’s trademark scowl and visible blackheads in her nose.
Your post reminds me of what Henry Kissinger said about academia: “ The fighting is so fierce because the stakes are so small.”
Mr. Batiuk gets his way because his life and work are in such a tiny puddle. He is rare in having devoted readers that care about his product, when he stopped caring by the end of Act II.
What accounts for the devotion? It certainly is not his creativity. It is the joy of coming to this website, and reading input such as yours and so many others. This site is light years beyond Comics Kingdom. (Now excuse me. I have to go check myself for ‘dishpan breath’.😝)
You make a good point. The other day Banana Jr. 6000 reported that Batiuk hasn’t had to report to an editor since 2007.
What happened after that? Nobody at KFS wants to take one for the team and edit Funky Winkerbean? Did KFS pass off the responsibility to the interns?
Batiuk: I want to destroy the continuity I’ve built up in my comics over the past 50 years, ignore the time difference between my two strips, and use the characters indiscriminately.
Mikey the Intern: Sounds great, sir.
Kimmie the Intern: Who was that?
Mikey the Intern: *shrugs*
Alternatively, I can easily see Batiuk making a nuisance of himself until the powers that be cave into his demands just to make him go away.
Batiuk: Give me what I want, and I’ll go away.
I know it’s improper to mock somebody’s physical appearance, but I’ve seen videos of Batiuk, and he strikes me as a particularly weaselly little man. During interviews, his eyes dart all over the place, and he maintains this annoying mischievous little boy grin. He has a higher pitched voice than you would expect. I think my voice is lower than his. Much like his comics, his interviews are hard to view.
Over in the Comics Kingdom, they have the “What do you think?” poll. Today, 8 of the 26 responses thus far can be categorized as positive.
In the past, some CK FW commentors have said they “Upvote” the current strip because it provided an excellent source of snark. Others vote “Funny” or “Love” just to be ironic.
I’m sure there are devoted fans, but it’s impossible to tell because the positive comments are so few and far between. When you do get somebody to talk, they’ll mention something like “good wholesome family values.” Good wholesome family values in Funky Winkerbean? 😂🤣😂
Most people who have nice things to say about Batiuk don’t seem to know him or his products very well.
P.S. Mr. bwoeh is out on an errand to trying find a replacement part for the grill. I’m sitting out on the back patio enjoying SOSF and drinking a nice red. Guess who’s having more fun?
I will give Davis some kudos for that first panel. The Valentine is sharply drawn even as it had to be squeezed under all that text. The realtor looking like Lois Flagston while sharing a last name with the creator of Hi and Lois is a nice touch too.
Over on CC a commenter remarked that the Real Estate agent looks like Lois from Hi and Lois. It looks like the sign says Walker…a tribute to Mort Walker?
Why is the “Valentine” livery still up? The Bobbsey Twins closed the theater months ago, and sold it to new owners who had clear plans for it. Why isn’t renovation underway? Why is there a For Sale sign on it when it’s already been sold?
What are the odds? Both billytheskink and Rusty Shackleford post similar comments about the for-sale signs… AT THE SAME EXACT MINUTE!!!
No, I’m serious. What are the odds? I struggled through my ‘Statistics and Probability’ class in college.
Can one of you guys please type “JINX”?
The magic of moderation! Plus great minds!
Every Funky Winkerbean comic should end with JAZZ HANDS!
I mean, it certainly couldn’t make the strip any worse…
Channel One has begun a nefarious plot to increase its ratings. They’ll run these mind-numbing John Darling shows nonstop. Anyone who accidentally tunes in will find their mind rotting away before they can hit the remote. Slowly, slowly, more and more viewers will be caught in this sinister trap, unable to muster the brain-power to stop watching Channel One. The sttion’s ratings will climb and they will be able to charge advertisers huge fees for commercial time.
Yeah, I know. The flaw here is that everyone in the Funkyverse is already braindead. But since when has that stopped an act of mass idiocy in Batiukland?
Hey, remember the last time Jessica started caring about her father, John Darling, again? She was filming a documentary about the gardener who killed him, but she suddenly lost interest and gave up…until now, that is, when happening across his old TV show once again piqued her always-fickle interest once more. The whole Boy Lisa/Jessica union makes less sense when the focus is on Boy Lisa, but it really comes together more when he focuses on Jessica, as her overall ditziness makes it seem more plausible somehow.
The recently redesigned tombatiuk.com homepage puts John Darling third among Batiuk’s four key brands (the Lisa books being their own thing I guess). The “about” page for Darling details the origins of the strip in 1979, but makes no mention of Batty’s petty decision to kill off his leading man 11 years later. And, to date, Batiuk’s posted 327 of those very well drawn if woefully dated John Darling strips.
I think he thinks recalling John Darling is fun and whimsical, so he feels compelled to do it every now and then. It’s a bit like bringing Lisa back every now and then, but rather than the cultural cachet he thinks bringing up Lisa gives him, it’s just unbridled zaniness instead!
Gotta get the public fired up, and bring back Darlingmania! How else is Batiuk gonna get Kent State interested in publishing “The Complete John Darling (Who Was Murdered)”?
I’ve given up trying to guess what goes through this man’s mind anymore.
The possibility just dawned on me that this is a setup for (my not-father) John Darling going viral. Which means at some point we’re going to have to endure what TomBat thinks “going viral” means.
It’s definitely headed for “John Darling saves the station” and “Hannah’s a genius.” Because They’re Just So Talented.
It was a good strip that I enjoyed back in the day. The characters were relevant and relatable and the strip had the right amount of silliness. The same was true of FW. Then Batty had to get all serious and destroy all of his creations.
So much could have been done with his characters, but instead Batty just wanted to give a voice to his views, his gripes, his interests, or anything he thought would impress the people he looked up to (overage hippies from Kent State who still think they know everything and are angry that the world changed).
The “behind-the-scenes” reason why is self-evident, but why would Jessica feel the need to tell Darwin that the show bears the name of her father, John Darling (who was murdered)? Wouldn’t “Channel One has been my dad’s TV shows 24/7” be the logical thing to say? I’m fairly sure that Dimwit know his name by now. Can’t wait to see how many more pun names we’ll get out of this arc.
Can’t wait to hear what Rolanda thinks about all this, and what she…huh? What’s that? Now that she served whatever her purpose was, we’ll never see Rolanda again, not even at the 60th Westview Reunion in 2023 or ’24? Oh, well. You will be missed, girlfriend.
Of course Jessica’s been sitting there watching Channel 1 for a week straight. It’s not like she has a job or a life or a kid or anything…
OK. Well, it’s not like she has a job or a life or a kid that she pays any attention to.
Come on, Durrwood. Remember, you can say whatever you want around smart people. But around blithering shitwits like Jessica, you need to tread lightly. You never know what will set them off.
Coming to you from Westview, it’s Dead TV! All the best hosts and personalities, speaking to you from BEYOND THE GRAVE. Tonight at 8: John Darling! At 8:30: The Lisa Tapes! And 9, episode 4 of The Phantom Empire, appropriately entitled “Phantom Broadcast”! Remember, if it’s live, it’s not on Dead TV!
Ohhhhh, boy. Here we go again with the “my __ John Darling”! But I have to say, I’m a bit surprised we’re not still at the reunion.
I will defend the Darling daughter. Her Dad died in 1990? My Dad died in 1980. If some station was telecasting segments of my Dad’s life then I would watch 24/7. The thing about my Dad, he was genuinely funny. I am just mildly humorous. (for example: if I am wry, he would be more pumpernickel) [groan]
So I give the girl a pass.
On another note: I think it was back in April that Crazy Harry went on his helmet induced time trip. Mr. Batiuk came “this close” to rescue Dead St. Lisa from cancer. We could of had Live Lisa, all the thyme. (He did it again! Make it stop! 🛑)
I do think that was Mr. Batiuk’s intention, but he forgot half way through.
Did the strips get switched? Doesn’t the CS strip go better with FW? And the FW strip go better with CS? Maybe it’s just me.
Isn’t this all in bad taste though? John Darling was murdered by one of his (frequent) guests. Which means they’ll be re-broadcasting the murderer’s own appearances. Nobody at the station has mentioned culling those episodes. Or even has any clue who John Darling was or what happened to him, even though it should be well-known to the station that holds his tape library.
This whole arc should have been vetoed by an editor. It is horrible, even by Tom Batiuk’s abysmal standards.
True the station is in bad taste. They are not run by mental giants. If they broadcast the murder, TB could actually have some kinda story with a plot. Wow! Labor Day must fill me with incredible optimism.
The ultimate stupidity of this whole thing is that the station could do this, and not take up airspace and loss of revenue from commercials. Hey BatHack! In the real world, the station would just throw the whole thing on YouTube and be done with it. Really, the blindness to how media works nowadays that is always shown in this so-called comic is mind numbing.
Yeah really. There’s no benefit to shoving content on the air if you can’t sell advertisements for it, or at least air existing ads. The John Darling Show isn’t what any advertiser paid for, and they would not accept just being dumped into this random, creepy, outdated, unairable program.
Again, this is all to avoid paying a $1000 ransom. Stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid, stupid.
A lot of stations have the digital .2 and .3 stations now where they run Antenna TV/ME-TV or other programming. It would make more sense to dump them on one of those if they had them-certainly not on the station where bulk of the revenue goes.
All to avoid paying a $1000 ransom, which they apparently did pay, but it was given back? Or something…
I’m glad ComicBookHarriet compiled that family tree yesterday. It’s a great way to differentiate all the interchangeable young blondes.
I can’t wait for the day when Crankshaft Mindy meets Funky Winkerbean Mindy and the Batiukverse explodes. Implodes… whatever.
Jessica meet Hannah
Hannah meet Jessica
Jessica meet Crankshaft Mindy
Crankshaft Mindy meet Jessica
Hannah meet Crankshaft Mindy
Crankshaft Mindy meet Hannah
Jessica meet Funky Winkerbean Mindy
Funky Winkerbean Mindy meet Jessica
Hannah meet Funky Winkerbean Mindy
Funky Winkerbean Mindy meet Hannah
Crankshaft Mindy meet Funky Winkerbean Mindy
Okay, looking at the banner… how does this all tie in with Hagglemore? Spitballing here… two themes Puff Batty loves are comics bequeathed or found in an estate and dead people being resurrected. Which one shall it be?
The hitherto undiscovered John Darling collection sets the comic collecting world on fire? Or John Darling is resurrected and shows up at Atomik Comix?
Or both? Chester wonders who the mysterious Mr X is who keeps consigning super-valuable books a few at a time, and demanding payment in cash. Then one day Mr X shows up in a Captain America mask with his full collection, and big reveal WOW!!! it’s John Darling who was butthurt because his show was ending so he faked his death with his trusty sidekick “Plantman” Pete Moss! I repeat, WOW!!! He’s been living in obscurity on the proceeds of his amazing Golden Age collection (mint, slabbed, etc) but now that his 1981 reruns have taken the world by storm, he’s ready to stage a triumphant return!
And now Jessica must use the sobriquet “Jessica Darling, Daughter of John Darling Who Was Thought to Have Been Murdered but Actually He Faked His Death and Is Alive and Well.”
I’m arriving a bit late with these thoughts, but I wasn’t in a convenient place to write them down during the peak of the Roland(a) train wreck.
I got really fascinated by how Ayers drew Rolanda’s head, particularly her jaw, in the first strip. Most of the FW characters have somewhat receding jaw lines (to match their receding hairlines?), but here’s Rolanda with a vaguely triangular skull and a jaw that would make Chester Gould proud. Over the strips (in which she appeared), the jaw line softened a bit, but she kept the most stereotypically “masculine” facial features of anyone in the strip.
That got me thinking further, as I looked at the older strips CBH dug up featuring Act I Funky, Roland and Harry, all of whom had (under their hairdos) basically spherical noggins (Batiuk attempting to emulate Charles Schulz?), and which have been compressed, stretched and Silly-Puttied into preposterous caricatures by Act III.
I’d say something about today’s dreckfest, but there’s nothing to say… wait, yes there is: I have an antenna on my roof and pick up about 40 or 50 channels of digital TV. Most of them are re-run channels that blast through the same programming night after night after night. F’rinstance, there’s one that runs five episodes of “CSI:” on Mondays and Saturdays, five of “CSI: Miami” on Sundays and Tuesdays, five of “NCIS: New Orleans” on Fridays… and when the get to the end of a show’s run, they start over… and over… and over. Moreover, I have found two channels whose prime-time schedule is nothing but old Johnny Carson “Tonight Show” episodes.
What I’m saying is, I don’t believe for a minute that Channel Number One (the dollar-store version of Chanel Number Five?) could get the rights to run the “John Darling” shows. There’s already got to be a channel out there that owns those rights and is already running them all, one after the other, 24/7, starting over right after the on-air murder… and has been doing so ever since the conversion to digital TV back in 2009.
The thing it, I’m pretty sure The John Darling show was aired and produced by Channel 1 back in the day. So if anyone has the rights, and if they haven’t sold them…
Even stranger given that “back in the day” was over the air TV, which has no channel 1. Was that ever explained?
“Playing off of nostalgia doesn’t really work if nobody knows who or what you’re referring to.”
Another great pull-quote for the ‘Funky Winkerbean’ complete box set.
Who knows if this was intentional or if some idiot just accidentally switched the strips? Do we care either way?
I read a lot of Denise Swanson cozy mysteries. As she wrote more of her Scumble River series books (which started in 2000), she started putting a timeline at the beginning of each of them because her characters aged more slowly than real life. When she rebooted the series in 2017, she put a note in the first relaunch novel resetting the timeline to present day. She acknowledged that the passing of time is a challenge when writing a long term successful series but was grateful that she her characters continuing popularity required making those decisions.
I’d be a lot more OK with the FB/Crankshaft time jumping around if TB would just say “hey, setting up two different timelines got way more convoluted than I ever anticipated, so they’re now both in the same time frame.” Granted, it would still be a royal mess, but we’d at least know what year it is supposed to be.
Some people are such pathological liars that they can’t tell the truth even when it’s a benign thing to do. Nobody would care if Batiuk announced that he was chucking the time skips. But he’s so committed to I Age My Characters Realistically Unlike All Those Inferior Comic Strips that he must continue supporting this notion long after it stopped being true. Or relevant.