Look at last Sunday’s strip, and then look at today’s strip.
It follows almost perfectly, doesn’t it? The story could have skipped this entire week. When it wasn’t redundant, it was confusing. Yesterday’s auction scenario now seems like a bizarre non-sequitir as we flip back to Summer’s insipid story. And next week apparently won’t be about either of these things.
I have to give today’s strip credit for moving the story along. The strip could have easily spent a month unpacking all the repetitive backstory Summer is hearing about today. Maybe her author arc won’t take as long as I thought. Batiuk probably just wants to get Summer her book tour, movie deal, and Nobel Peace Prize for Literature faster. But I’ll take the positive side effects where I can.
There’s still a lot to complain about, though. The intellectual bankruptcy of Summer’s stupid “oral history” is on full display. She asks her father’s friends about things that aren’t remotely history-worthy, and which she should already know anyway. Harley the janitor, a character so irrelevant that Linda and Kablichnik talk about him like he’s not there, gets his second mention in three days. Dinkle and the Eliminator get two panels each, even though the strip rehashes both stories constantly. No doubt this dross will be enough to make Summer the greatest historian since Pliny the Elder.
Is she interviewing people during the auction? I know I asked why she and Harry weren’t at this event, but isn’t this kind of rude? And how are you going to have a conversation while this is going on the background?
And with that, my guest hosting shift is up! This was one confusing fortnight in the Funkyverse. Though I had a blast, as always. My esteemed colleague BillyTheSkink is on deck.
78 responses to “That Was The Week That Wasn’t”
This is like fourth grade-level writing. “So you were the…?”…come on BatYam, at least try to put a little effort into it. He throws together a Sunday strip featuring a whole slew of often-unseen characters, and somehow it’s STILL boring beyond belief. Other than maybe the Fairgoods’ picket line courtship, she’s obviously heard these stories a billion times already. And this Al Burch guy has to be like what, a hundred and thirty by now? What an ungainly mess of a Sunday strip.
MR BURCH? MR BURCH!?!?!
This is Mr. Burch in 1972.
We are reaching Gasoline Alley levels of ‘This f**ker is too old to be alive”
Good point, CBH. (Not a bad joke, though. Too bad such humor is below TB now.) Anyway, I O U an apology: I overlooked your wonderful reference to Sehnsucht. I am sorry. I also owe my gratitude for giving me my favorite German word. I studied German for 8 years, majored in it at college, and have lived and worked in Bonn and Cologne. Despite all that I never thought to have a favorite word, the way I do in Japan. Thank you.
The act 1 strips often had good jokes like the one shown here. But Batty grew well beyond this and shattered all those stodgy rules and the result is the artistic masterpiece of today’s strip.
Koln ist eine interessante stadt, Ich habe ville freunde dort! (Apologies, it’s been awhile that I have used German. But it is a fun language to study. I learned mostly from going there for work and pleasure and even passed the A1 exam years ago.).
I would never have thought that the SOSF crew would have a Köln-connected subset. My connection is far smaller than either Cheesy-kun or Rusty – a day visit during a Summer Study Tour in high school (we were based at a school in Marburg), a Summer with a host family outside of Euskirchen (the father was on the staff of the Wallraf–Richartz Museum), and a Summer as a Werkstudent with Bayer in Leverkusen, but living in worker housing in Köln-Mühleim. Great times. Thanks for providing the opportunity to revisit them. I’ll raise a glass of kölsch-style beer in your honor. Prosit!
My friend used to work for Bayer there. I remember eating at a nice restaurant on the Bayer campus.
Wish I had some Kolsch, it’s the only beer I drink! This friend used to give walking tours of Koln and spoke the Kolsch dialect.
I love kölsch, even though the locally-made craft brewery version is all I usually get chance to buy. I’m sure the real thing from Germany is better, but I still love it.
I had no idea the stuff was being brewed Stateside. Japanese craft and local beers have gotten pretty good but I’ve certainly never seen a Kölsch over here.
Marburg? Holy Roman Church! I go there about every four years for work. Sounds like a really special trip for you, so glad you enjoyed it. Do you still visit? A Kölsch would hit the spot, that’s for sure. Prosit to you, too, sir.
Cheesy-kun, Rusty and Banana Jr. 6000,
Just to follow up on the kölsch question. As Banana Jr. 6000 says a number of microbreweries do produce kölsch-style beers (usually as a summer seasonal in my area). It’s been literally a half-century since I had the right-from-the-tap stuff at Früh am Hof, but there are a couple of places in Philly that serve Gaffel on tap. From my very non-expert tastings, the locals do a respectable job of replication.
And to Cheesy-kun re: Marburg,
Did you visit the Elisabethskirche? Prior to the Reformation it housed the relics of St. Elizabeth of Hungary and is the current burial site of Paul von Hindenburg, Supreme Commander of the Imperial German Army in WW 1 and later President of the Weimar Republic and his wife. They were originally buried (against his final wishes) at the Tannenberg Memorial in East Prussia, but were disinterred prior to Soviet occupation of the area and later reburied in Marburg.
Also, Luther and Zwingli met at the University in an unsuccessful attempt to reconcile their differences regarding the Sacrament of the Lord’s Supper.
Oh, wow, thank you Gerard. My hosts always put me up in a place across from the Elisabethskirche and I go into each morning as part of my daily walk. Somehow I’ve totally missed the Hindenbergs!! Thank you very much for brining that to my attention. My hosts at the U of Marburg taught me about Luther and Zwingli. Did you go on one of the Grimm Bros. tours?
❤ ❤ ❤
I’ll go with the Pliny the Elder comparison, as long as Summer and the rest of Westview are wiped out in a volcanic eruption.
“The ash already falling became hotter and thicker as the sedans approached the main street and it was soon superseded by charred sausage and blackened burnt crusts shattered by the fire. Suddenly the car bottomed out where the road was obstructed and choked by debris from the exploding ovens. He wondered whether to turn back, as his wife advised, but decided instead to go on. “Fortune favours the brave”, he said, “take me to Montoni’s”.
I look forward to reading Moore the Younger’s account of how Moore the Elder perished. I’m sure that when his body was found, it was recognized by its smirk.
“My father went to Komix Korner to see if there was any chance of escape by roof, but the pizza fumes were still far too strong. He lay down to rest on a long box of back issues and called for drinks of hot chocolate. Then, suddenly, heat and a strong smell of garlic, giving warning of yet more flames to come, forced the others to flee. He himself stood up, with the support of his replacement wife, and then he suddenly collapsed and died, because, I imagine, he was suffocated when the dense fumes choked him. When light returned on the third day after the last day that he had seen, his body was found intact and uninjured, still fully clothed in a Kent State sweat shirt and looking more like a man smirking than dead.”
Okay, CBH. If the veil is ever lifted and we discover who everyone here really is, we’re going to find out that you and several other veterans of SoSF are actually professional writers or super smart creative types in other arts fields where wide and deep knowledge of culture is a premium.
@Cheesy-kun did you see this post? I asked the community if they had any book-writing experience, and there were a lot of people who had (including myself)
It knocks me out how many funny, interesting, well-read, and well-versed people this site attracts! Especially considering that the base product we’re working from (before the SOSF crew starts commenting on it) is usually laugh-free, almost always very dull, never well-written, and reliably ignorant about almost every aspect of human existence.
Opposites attract, apparently!
I posted this song back in the 50th reunion story… but it has somehow become even more appropriate.
The potential gag here seems painfully obvious. You have Summer interviewing a few obscure characters, then at the end she interviews Dinkle, who tries to sell her band candy. Eye roll, the end. But he got all nostalgic and screwed it all up instead.
Does TB hate you, Epicus Doomus? He must hate so many of you who host and post here. You can do his job better than him. IT’S CALLED WRITING! (Just read the FAQ in the archives and, wow, does he ever sound defensive. Just like Les.)
If there’s any (recent) reason why Puffy should hate this place, it would be for the fact that the only online traction he got for his recent SDCC visit was one single tweet thanking him for being there and giving that thanks to the sonofstuckfunky Twitter account.
For the Love of Lisa! That is fantastic.
“Where my Winkerheads at?”
All the imbedded videos today have been replaced by Captcha windows. Anybody else?
Summer should have had follow-up questions about the teacher’s strike. What prompted it? Who supported and who opposed it, and what were their motives? How long did it last and did it lead to any lasting changes?
“Well, young lady, the strike lasted three years. It ended quietly when we teachers noticed that WHS kept graduating students and that our absence hadn’t led to a measurable difference in their already-low academic skills. After that we teachers accepted the fact that we were glorified, underpaid babysitters, and stopped pretending to teach.”
If I have any trouble enjoying the extra hour of sleep tonight, I will just read today’s FW. In physics, this strip has less air than a vacuum. If you have trouble picturing nothing, then read today’s strip.
This is the dictionary meaning of “entropy”.
Summer quit grad school for this? Maybe this just shows she really isn’t cut out for the academic rigor of advanced study. She’s not even qualified to write for the Westview Gazette (or whatever the local paper is called.) Batiuk thinks this is writing- writing about writing, to boot. Is there a Pulitzer for meta? The fact that he thinks of his characters as his children must make his actual children feel like less.
Surprised she was accepted into graduate school in the first place.
And the writing today shows why Batty so desperately needs an editor.
Hi, Rusty Shackleford. Thank you very much for your words of welcome the other day. Please pardon my late recognition of your gratitude, I just saw it. I hope your friends are enjoying their trip here. For most of the country this time of year has fantastic weather. They must be happy to be able to finally visit after a couple of years.
Is… is the picture of John Darling Who Was Murdered being held up by a severed arm? Wait… could that be BECKY’S arm?
Yeah, I’m just gonna go ahead and assume Mitchell Knox is in a bidding war with Becky’s Severed Arm, because at this point, why the hell not.
Also, Becky’s Severed Arm is secretly the Pizza Monster.
Brilliant! After he buys the arm he’ll melt it down and mold it into a gun.
Banana Jr 6000 wrote: The story could have skipped this entire week.
True. Although I’m fairly certain any Funky Winkerbean story could be improved by skipping a week.
This seems like a good time for Summer to break the ice with interviewees by asking them about their thoughts about Montoni’s closing and their memories of the place. But I guess not. Our author isn’t interested in the premise he set up. Neither am I, actually.
I think the link should be corrected, I clicked on it and was covered in a shower of garbage.
Lucky you! I had a much worse experience … it linked me to a Funky Winkerbean comic.
Honestly I’d like to see some actual history of Westview here, even if Summer’s outright stated she wants the oral history and perhaps a more “modern” era (even though there’s probably plenty of really old geezers who she could at least get early/mid 20th century info out of. Hell with Crankshaft’s bus route through town she could have an excuse to get his long-winded baseball career story & WW2 traumas out of him). How was this town founded? What quirky incidents is in its past? How did a scapegoat become the school’s mascot?
That feels like the true potential of a storyline like this, explore things that haven’t been touched on, instead of revisiting old characters and just hearing them talk again for what might just be a lead-in to the in-strip equivalent of a new special collection of FW comics focused on Westview or whatever. Making it yet another retrospective story in a year full of it.
With such a strange introspective direction leaving some of us to wonder if this is implying the comic itself is ending, the only thing that makes me hesitate to agree is how Bautik prefers to announce his big deals in advance (see him announcing Lisa’s and Bull’s deaths months early and pulling the narrative tension from under the rug just to go “We’re doing a big serious story guys!”). I’m not quite sure how many of the big newspaper comic endings were announced before their last strip was published, but I don’t take Tom to be one to surprise us with a big The End, or a surprise further time jump for that matter.
As I noted above, Andrew, TB must hate you all. You keep taking his stories to places that would not only be consistent within the universe he created (admittedly, the laws of logic within it are broken by its creator weekly) but also interesting.
I’m fairly sure most of the big comic endings were announced ahead of time. Honestly, they pretty much HAVE to be. Print newspapers may be dying, but they’re not dead yet, and the syndicates still sell the comics to those print newspapers. If the strip were to end, the papers would need to know ahead of time so they can decide what to replace it with when it does end. (The syndicate could always offer “Funky Winkerbean Classics” as a replacement, but the papers still need to have the choice whether to run that or go with something else.) (Plenty of papers chose to run “Peanuts Classics” when that ended, but it was also one of the most beloved comic strips ever. Funky… isn’t.) Otherwise, they might end up having to run a blank space where Funky used to be, and it could take DAYS for readers to notice.
(And now I’m realizing that Funky Winkerbean has had a longer run than Peanuts did. I’m gonna be sad for the rest of the day.)
So the syndicate would need to inform the papers if the strip were ending, and there’s little reason for it not to be made public at the same time. Unless Batiuk’s planning on winding it down over several months, and they haven’t hit the “must tell the papers by this date” mark yet. (Or he’s planning to just slip in 40-year-old “John Darling Before He Was Murdered” strips and pretend it’s a valid story choice, but, really, who would even think of doing something silly like that?)
Your reasoning is sound and I agree. But I can’t shake this feeling that he’s up to something. But what? What is his diabolical plan! Is Normandy just a feint? Is Cherbourg the true target? The fate of millions hang in the balance!
Especially with that 11-month lead time he’s so proud of. The ending could already be written, but not slated to run until June 2023. His references to COVID have all been outdated in ways that imply this delay is still in effect.
Funky Winkerbean will end like Lisa’s life did. Batiuk knows he needs to end it, but doesn’t know how. So it’s just going to aimlessly meander around for years. In fact, that’s what most of Act III has been.
I think you’re right PT. You certainly deserve to be after that brilliant reference. (Sincerely, no snark intended.)
Patton has to be involved! The soldier slapping story must be a fraud!
“Here, I’ll sketch her helmet for you”? Or mayhaps Mopey Summer could have simply looked at the furshlugginer photograph of Donna in her helmet that was on the wall and is presumably being auctioned off by one Ferris Wheeler (Shouldn’t the Klinghorns be bidding on that?)!
Also, what is Dinkleberg doing at the Westview High band room for his interview? Shouldn’t Summer be talking to him at his house, or maybe that church where he directs the choir? He’s retired, for criminy’s sake! It would serve them both right if Becky came in and chased them off with a broom in her one hand.
Looking forward to Monday’s one-on-one with Les Moore: “So, I understand that your first wife died of cancer and you wrote books about it.”
Yeah I found that an odd detail too. Proof that he doesn’t put any thought into this and is just filling space with nonsense.
Thank you, Banana, Jr. 6000 for your time, insights, and humor.
It is my pleasure! I’m honored to be part of the team.
NOBODY DOES ORAL HISTORY WITH A PAD AND PENCIL! The whole point is to capture people’s *exact* words. Who is this, Robert Caro in drag?
That’s been bothering me the whole time. No recorder in sight.
My theory is that it’s because of Tom Batiuk’s antipathy towards technology. Even something as benign as a portable tape recorder.
It’s 2022. Her phone could be a recorder. But Batiuk has her taking notes on a notepad. If we zoomed in, would she be writing in old timey shorthand?
Writing a book must be done the right way, Batty’s way. That means pen and paper.
True, but Summer’ committed to an oral history with a macro-something, showing the dynamics of…something. Point being, TB is a writer and this is called writing. Yeah, once again, TB displays either his ignorance, in this case of how reporters work, doesn’t care, or both.
If Summer functions at Caro’s pace, she’ll never complete it. (It took thirty years to bring Lyndon Johnson to the White House, and it’s been ten years since *The Passage of Power* was published.)
Maybe someone needs to remind him that when Francis Parkman, Jr. thought he wouldn’t complete his epic history of France and England in North America, he wrote *Montcalm and Wolfe* out of sequence, because he wanted to do that portion most of all. So it appeared in 1884, eight years before the book which would otherwise have preceded it.
I wouldn’t bother with Summer Moore, though, since I doubt that she’s even heard of Parkman. Given the reunion’s reaction to the Kinks’s “I’m Not Like Everybody Else,” Les may have, because the Band referenced “what went down on the Plains of Abraham” in “Acadian Driftwood.”
Great shift BJ6K! You truly had a WEIRD one.
Thank you! It was weird, but it wasn’t boring or lacking in material. I don’t dread weird. I dread a week of “Dinkle drones on about nothing.”
Also, really dumb factoids, but I went on a auction chant deep dive a few years back.
The rhythmic droning singsong auction chant is a uniquely North American phenomenon, and is generally not used in extremely upper crust auctions.
It can be traced back only a recently as the Civil War, and seems to have been used for loose leaf tobacco auctions in the south first, before spreading to livestock and other commodities.
I researched this a little this myself, because I didn’t know if that style of auctioneering existed outside of agriculture. I found a YouTube example where it did, so I figured that was good enough for the bit. I wouldn’t be surprised to learn the style spread from agriculture to other industries, just because it’s so cool.
I’ve been to estate auctions of household goods and church auctions where it’s used. And I think most consignment auctioneers also use the chant. It’s really only the super upper crust of places like Christie’s that don’t.
I love auction chant so much. It takes me back to being a little kid playing around at the very top of the Sale Barn’s bleachers. The whole place reeked of pipe tobacco, dust, animals, and sweat. And the Auctioneer went on and on, and little kid me had NO IDEA what was being said, or decided on, like some weird dance I didn’t know the steps to.
We could have had the “I ask questions like I’m in fourth grade” last week and had yesterday’s thing as the Sunday strip but for Batiuk’s apathy. He can write almost well when he cares about the subject. I recall a stupid PSA he did on Crankshaft that leans heavily on something Hanna-Barbera did in which a dude takes a hit on a reefer and gets aged fifty years. Having the man end up in the loony bin because he inhaled might have occasioned Jack Webb’s ghost to tell him to tone it down a notich but he cared enough to write a monster under the bed story.
LSD is the bomb, man!
Since I don’t hang around here like I have in the past, is it possible that Todd is running this as a retrospective before the grand retirement announcement? The last couple of weeks has a Leave it to Beaver “Family Scrapbook” feel to it.
That theory has been advanced. But it just shows how little Funky Winkerbean he has to reminisce about. The strip just went through the Eliminator story in April, and had Dinkle reminisce about his band director past in June.
There are a lot of other characters with histories much more interesting than Donna and Dinkle that the strip could reminisce about! Just to start with, Wally. His story is basically an over the top action movie! But not a word about him. Sure, a guy who sold band candy is more interesting than a POW. Ok, so that didn’t happen in Westview, but he came home and as far as we know still lives there, although we haven’t seen him in a long time.
Wally is the sort of character whose life story would IRL be a hell of a hit memoir. Going from a car crash that amputated his future wife to a traumatic Iraq service, going back for charitable causes only to nearly get blown up by a mine, go home and become a proper family man, gets redeployed over some dumb technicality and promptly is captured and thought to be dead, spends a decade in secretive captivity and escape attempts before finally being released in a prisoner’s exchange, only to come home to a somehow-more-bitter version of the ending of Tom Hank’s castaway, left to fend for himself drinking away his sorrows alone in an apartment, then finally pulls himself out of it with a therapy dog and a girlfriend who understands what he went through, who is nearly deported by the most infamous government agency and is only saved by a favor his friends somehow have with an ex-President.
That’s ten times more interesting than American Sniper, and capitalizing on the themes of personal indignities from the War on Terror and its consequences that would endear the strip a lot better to people who detest what came out of all that. But instead all the credit goes to a woman’s death from cancer because… she was noble about it and she made video messages to talk to her future self (an idea her husband had but actually his crazy friend had it first and tricked her husband to get the idea himself)
Slight correction: Adeela was the woman whom former President Clinton’s intervention saved. She was not Wally’s girlfriend, even if his driving instruction lessons made Rachel (Wally’s wife) think the worst.
I can’t see Batiuk voluntarily ending either one of his strips. I don’t think his ego would withstand the loss….they’re the only reasons anyone pays any attention to him at all.
CBH has put forth the theory that as Batiuk writes the introductions for each volume of The Complete Funky Winkerbean, he is forced to go through the decades-old comics that are being collected year-by-year. As he does, he is reminded of plots, characters and situations past. Lacking any fresh ideas (possibly due to his innate laziness and/or to the beginnings of cognitive decline), Batiuk is simply going back and re-hashing/re-telling/re-living/re-using those bits of FW that even he had forgotten about.
If true (and I think it’s an excellent theory), it would explain why the strip is now an endless nostalgia-fest. And why there’s no end in sight.
I see that Maddie has joined Rachel in The League of Redheads Who Turn Blonde on Sundays. Though she’s still wearing the goofy Carmen Sandiego hat she wore to Cory’s wedding.
When I first looked at the first two panels of today’s strip, I thought the blonde woman must have been Jessica, until I realized that Maddie was in the Friday strip with the same hat, but red hair.
In a strip where often the only distinguishing characteristic between female characters is the hair color, one would think that someone, anyone, at King Features would pay enough attention (and care) to have corrected this weekday/Sunday hair color discrepancy that’s been going on for years.
I know that, on the (long) list of things that are wrong with FW, this is probably not in the top ten, but it still infuriates me.
You think anyone at King Features even reads this crap?
The only thing King Features requires of any one of their strips is that it fills up the space allotted to it with some pictures and some words. That’s it. Nothing else. If it hits those basic benchmarks, it’s cleared for publication. Nobody at the syndicate reads it, let alone edits it. They just check to make sure they’re not posting a blank file, then on to the next one.
For further proof, take a look at Six Chix.
Love the very natural bit of dialogue here, “which i wore to keep the boys from knowing that i was a girl”, as if people normally start their sentences with “which”forust going off of what the last person said.
Batiuk’s making easy work for himself with this ‘oral history’ plot device. He doesn’t have to write anything new for the next few weeks. He can just have some okd forgotten character summarize a story he already told.
Tom, if you’re listening, here is a strip I want to see: Les and Dinkle in the same room, each just complementing the other. “Harry you really are the greatest band director,” “Oh but Les, thats nothing compared to your oscar winning screenplay”.
I see a couple posts already addressing the issue with Maddie’s hair color change. Maddie had been a fiery redhead since her first appearance, until today. It bugs me too. The Batiukverse already has too many young blondes.
I could swear I read an interview with Chuck Ayers where he mentioned he did all the artwork on Sundays, coloring included. Why is he straying from established character traits? Did Chuck suddenly develop an aversion for gingers?
The colorists for the dailies must be getting confused. Last week Rachel was blonde, yesterday she was a redhead. I wonder if Cindye Summers Winkerbean Jarre will be a redhead the next time we see her.
The coloring issues on GoComics this year have been a hell of a lot worse. The worst offender is Peanuts Begins. Charlie Brown’s classic yellow zigzag shirt is getting colored red. Linus’s blanket is getting colored pink, not the expected light blue. Lucy’s signature light blue dress is getting colored pink on some days and yellow on others. It’s not only annoying, but it’s also distracting.
Some comic strip characters on GoComics even changed race. People in the Bloom County discussion called me racist for pointing out Lola Granola was supposed to be white. Ditto for Georgie in Cleats.
What’s going on there? Are the colorists unfamiliar with the comic strips they’ve been hired to color? Is GoComics hiring cheap overseas labor?
Are the colorists interjecting their own artistic interpretations?
Colorist: I think Snoopy should be brown. This comic strip is so racist.
Over the past week or so, some comic strips on GoComics stopped getting colored at all. Labor shortages?
C’mon Andrews McMeel. You’re representing KC. Get your sh*t together.
Damned if I can find that Ayers interview now. I’ve been looking for about an hour. I quit.
The beady-eyed nitpicker in me would also like to point out that the band room, lockers, and hallways have been colored a light teal for quite some time. Not whatever that color in the Dinkle panels is supposed to be. Cream corn?
1. Kudos to Banana Junior 6000. You are a pleasure.
2. My wife’s family grew, housed, and sold tobacco. They brought to Weston Missouri, the only tobacco auction west of the Mississippi. There were fewer buyers, so the auctioneer did not put on a performance.
3. “C’mon Andrews McMeel. You’re representing KC. Get your sh*t together.”
“If you prick us, do we not bleed? if you tickle us, do we not laugh? if you poison us, do we not die? and if you wrong us, shall we not revenge?”. – (Act III, scene I).
William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice. (I love the final scene in Merchant of Venice , when Charlton Heston says as Skylarks ,
“Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”
Between the Portia of *Julius Caesar* and the Portia of *The Merchant of Venice,* I choose the former. As Elizabeth George notes in one of her Lynley/Havers mysteries, Portia is eloquent on the subject of mercy because she has none herself.
Shylock cared more about the turquoise ring Leah gave him than Bassanio did about the ring Portia gave him.
Recommended to all: Harry Golden, Jr.’s “Shylock and Shakespeare” essay in his *Only in America* collection.
I enjoy your insight.