Heya Folks! CBH here!
I am hard at work preparing fun community group activities! Unfortunately the great Comics Kingdom Archive Apocalypse meant much of last week was spent in a frenzy of salvage diving to get as much valuable material saved from the wreck of Act II FW and Vintage FW as possible. Expect much more fun to come!
In the meantime, here’s the first of my patented CBH spreadsheets of nonsense!
FUNKY WINKERBEAN CHARACTERS BY NUMBER OF STRIPS APPEARING IN. 2022
|Crazy Harry Klinghorn||58|
|Mopey Pete Roberts Reynolds||21|
|Thatsnought ‘Malcom’ Hewmore||16|
|Rocky Rhodes Winkerbean||13|
|Lisa Crawford Moore||11|
|John DSH Howard||10|
|Andy Clark (Band Director)||5|
|Walt (BM Band)||4|
|Connie (BM Band)||4|
|Carl (BM Band)||4|
|Iris (BM Band)||4|
|Robbie (The Robot)||3|
|Mary Jane (Choir)||3|
|Connor (WHS Senior)||3|
|Cliff (Security Guard)||2|
|Maris Rogers (WHS Senior)||2|
|Andy Clark (Bus Barn)||2|
|Rocky Rhodes(Bus Barn)||2|
|Mary (Bus Barn)||2|
|Lena (Bus Barn)||2|
|Apple Ann Apple||1|
|Wally Winkerbean Jr. Howard||1|
|Pizza Box Monster||1|
|Phil the Forecaster||1|
These include appearance in flashback and speaking on TV, but not photos or appearing silently on TV.
In the crazy strips when Crazy was talking to Crazy I only counted one Crazy per strip.
I realize some of you may be confused by a few of these one strip wonders.
First of all.
MRS. THOMPSON. She appeared in a flashback during the OMEA arc.
She was Harry Dinkle’s piano teacher, and was the subject of an arc in 2003.
CARRIE: Cindy’s high school best friend/minion.
In this panel from Crazy’s Crazy Adventure, I took a stab that the brown haired girl talking to Cindy was supposed to be Carrie. I also guessed that the boy walking next to Junebug was Derek and not Jerome the Drum Major and that the boy in the letter jacket by the door was supposed to be Jerome ‘Bull’ Bushka.
I’ve often wondered if this unnamed frizzy haired lady in the 2015 reunion committee is supposed to be Carrie just with miscolored hair..
If not, then I think the last time Carrie was seen was when Cindy and Funky attended her wedding in March of 2000
BETTY REYNOLDS: Was the long time Westview High School Secretary. Starting midway through Act I, and retiring in May 2008 (early in Act III,) to make way for Cayla “Chocolate Lisa” Williams
She showed up in flashback during that stupid Dinkle talks about the past with Andy week.
If anyone else has crazy questions about any character on the list, let me know!
Expect an update in the next couple days! Stay Funky!
81 responses to “2022: THE FINAL COUNTDOWN”
Thanks for taking the wheel, CBH, I have been jonesin’ and I’m sure the readers have been too!
Seconded. I LOVE those appearances lists. Endlessly fascinating. It didn’t really SEEM like Crazy appeared 58 times, you know? I would have guessed maybe 12 or something.
Tied at 21 with Pete is “Harley Davidson,” probably tripling the number of appearances he had before last November.
How could I forget such a crucial character!!! Fixed!
CBH, are you able to access the archives after the Comics Kindom apocalypse?
I’m going to guess a fair amount of those were the “1980 time travel” arc. (There was a recap of the whole Eliminator nonsense, which I think was more than one week, and then the 1980 stuff, which was like three weeks, I think? So that’s at least half his appearances accounted for right there.)
CBH, ‘fraid that can’t be Carrie talking with classic Cindy in front of the high school. Cindy’s age is 46 at the beginning of Act III; Carrie, whoever she is, is 15, making her a contemporary of Summer and Maddie.
Meet the (Act III) Cast
Who the flippidy jibbit was THIS supposed to be?
And how did Carrie go from being a married adult to the plucky homeless kid from a 90’s heartstring pulling comedy?
I have no recollection of “Carrie” at all. Was she supposed to be one of Cindy’s little clique or something? How many characters did this strip have, anyway? It must be around a thousand.
I would have guessed 2,529.
She was Cindy’s main henchwoman, especially right before the time skip.
“Carrie” the bride (Cindy’s best friend from high school, don’t cha know) showed up in 2000…might have been a phase during which I wasn’t reading FW. But I can’t recall 15-year-old “Carrie” the urchin anywhere in Act III. A couple other of those proposed characters never showed up, like Ally and Eddie.
Ally would have been Mopey Pete’s sister who mainly showed up in the school newspaper segments.
And for those not versed in Act II. Monroe was Wally’s best friend in high school. When Wally went to Afghanistan the first time, he wrote Monroe a ‘last letter’ that had messages for Becky and Sadie Summers. Monroe read it with them after Wally was MIA and presumed dead.
If he appeared after this, it was a one-off background kinda thing.
BOOO I MEANT THIS STRIP FOR THE MONROE comment
Chien describing Pete’s comics as “Testosterone-fueled fantasies”, haha! Mindy got beat to the punch by two decades!
“flippidy jibbit” ?! That is just the best thing I’ve read in ages, CBH. Where do I file for the right to use it in my daily life. It’s not enough that you gave us this master timeline, but you contribute to the English vernacular.
I think it was stolen from The Sound of Music. In the ‘How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria’ song they use the archaic word Flibbertigibbet. For some reason my older sister used it as a ‘swear’ when she was like…twelve. And it stuck in my brain ever since.
Cindy at 46 looks older than Cindy at 68. (But I’m 99% sure the Act III cast pictures were drawn by John Byrne; it looks more like his work than anyone else who drew the strip.)
(That also means Act III took place over 22 years, even though it was only 15 in real time. And it means Girl Les was 35(!) when she decided to take a “skip year” from college to write her book.)
Wait, lemme check the math here. The second time skip was 10 years, right? So Cindy (along with Funky, Les, Crazy Harry, etc.) was 36 at the end of Act II. And Act II started 4 years after they graduated high school, so she would have been about 22 at the start of Act II, so Act II took about 14 years, in about 15 years real time (1992-2007).
So… if Act I ended in 1972 (rather than 1992 when it was printed), that means Act II started in 1976 and ended in 1990 (as opposed to 1992-2007). Then Act III started in 2000, going to 2022. Even though that would completely throw off any contemporary references or technologies in use. (Plus, of course, Crazy Harry traveling to 1980, but that was wildly out of sync with any timeline Batiuk gave.)
And when did John Darling Who Was Murdered get murdered? The strip ended in 1990, but that’s now the END of Act II. Which would implyu Les wrote “Fallen Star” BEFORE John Darling Who Was Murdered was murdered. Hmm… suspicious.
(Or my math is way off somewhere and I’m too groggy to work it out. Always a possibility.)
Careful, GL. You could break your brain!
Batiuk timeline math involves working in base §, calibrating years to account for the variable µ (except in leap years, when it’s -µ/‰ª), and then multiplying the result by an inverse ratio of the number of seconds Tom took to write that weeks scripted material. The number you get should be somewhere between 19whatever and 20Idon’tcareaboutcontinuitysotohellwithit.
Green Luthor, like CBH today, and our moderators each time it was their turn- Thank you for taking the deep dive into the muck so we don’t have to .
If I may presume to be in the same intellectual league as Summer Moore, I’d say that the timeline pattern of Act III was pretty clear: There’s no way these characters were as young as they were depicted (and the vast majority of them were somewhere between past-middle age and extremely old!)
Yet, in nearly every softball feature piece this year, Batiuk insisted he took the time to avoid inconsistencies and find “eloquent solutions.”
To paraphrase a term from the Great & Mighty CBH, that’s just flippidy jibbitry!
And, of course, I realize way later that I did, indeed, make a slight error. Girl Les wasn’t actually 35 at the end of the strip. She was 37(!!!). (15 at the start of Act III + 22 years.) (There were probably tenured professors on staff who weren’t at Kent State as long as her.)
Two characters named “Carrie”… from the same guy who has two characters named Andy Clark and two characters named Rocky Rhodes in his fictional universe.
Not sure why anyone ever questioned Funky’s name, clearly there’s another Funky Winkerbean running around out there in the Batiukverse.
Good Lord, who WERE some of those people? Monroe? Matt? Alex, the tatted-up goth chick? Sadie? They were supposed to be in Act III? It implies a much more high school-focused Funky Winkerbean than what we got.
Monroe, Matt, and Sadie would be aged up characters that were in high school in Act II. Matt Miller was ‘the jock jerk’ who was Susan Smith’s abusive boyfriend. Sadie was Cindy’s younger sister.
Why did John Byrne draw the ‘Meet the (Act III) Cast’?
Seems like a big ask for someone who filled in a short period while TB was laid up.
Is he that big of a FW fan?
Batiuk and Byrne are actually friends, for quite some time.
Actually, it might be easier to just “borrow” Byrne’s own words for this; I’m thinking it might actually be of some interest to some around here. From TwoMorrow Publications’ Modern Masters #7 (ENW is Eric Nolen-Withington, one of the interviewers):
ENW: How did you get involved with the Funky Winkerbean newspaper strip?
JOHN: Tom Batiuk and I have known each other forever and ever. He’s a semi-regular at Mid-Ohio Con, and years and years ago I drew Funky and one of the other characters on the splash page of the one and only Web of Spider-Man that Roger Stern and I did together. I drew a couple of Doonesbury characters and a couple of Funky Winkerbean characters in the splash. Gary Trudeau never got in touch with me, but Tom Batiuk did [laughter]. We became friends and then he had this one particular story that he wanted to have a certain kind of look. He was looking to take the strip to another place in terms of its look, and he decided that inking me for ten weeks might be the way to get it there.
ENW: Did Tom give you a script to work from?
JOHN: Yeah, he gave me a script, all broken down.
ENW: You had drawn some of the characters before, but did you have to do any preliminary work just to get a better feel of working in a different style?
JOHN: Well, Tom didn’t want me to ape his style too much. So I basically just drew in a somewhat lighter version of what was already my humor style – a somewhat light version of my “Rog-2000” style. And then Tom, in the process of inking it, turned it fully into Tom. And in fact it was funny, he said at one point that when he got the first batch of stuff and he sat down to ink it, his first instinct was to make it more like the way he draws, and then he thought, “Well, no, the whole point of this is to make it less like the way I draw.” So he ended up inking pretty much exactly what I drew.”
So if I’m reading it right, Batiuk wanted to change the style of the strip, and he got Byrne to help with the changes (doing the penciling with Batiuk inking, so Batiuk could adapt to a style closer to Byrne’s), including providing the designs.
For the record, Byrne’s memories of that Spider-Man appearance are a bit off; it was actually in Peter Parker, the Spectacular Spider-Man #58 (cover-dated September 1981), and it looks like it’s only Crazy Harry there. (Mike and Zonker from Doonesbury are also on the page.) (Though the issue was inked by Vince Colletta, so it’s also possible Byrne did draw Funky in there and he got erased in the inking. Colletta… was known for doing things like that.)
If you want to see the page in question (and also a cameo appearance of Ed Crankshaft in Byrne’s Next Men #10), they can be found here: https://www.cbr.com/comic-book-easter-eggs-john-byrne-comic-strip-easter-eggs/
Thanks, @Green Luthor.
Could the ‘Meet the (Act III) Cast’ have been a practice run for Byrne?
Curious. Batiuk clearly has an aptitude for inking other artists’ pencil work. I’m by no means well-versed in comic books, but I used to read some of my brothers’ titles. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t one of the staff positions “inker”? On the first page of comic books back in the 1970s, there was a box with a list of credits. There was writer, pencils, inker, letterer, and colorist.
Could Batiuk have missed his calling? If it was his dream to work in the comic book industry, why not be an inker?
Instead, from what I read from other SOSF commenters, Batiuk marched into the Marvel Comics office and all but stood on a chair and introduced himself as the new writer of Spider-Man. Marvel Comics said, “thank you for stopping by”, and showed him the door.
As Detective Harry Callahan used to say, “A man has got to know his limitations.”
I have no idea how much salary an inker pulls in, so perhaps Batiuk was better off creating his comic strips instead. By all accounts, Batiuk seems to have made a decent living.
Hm, not sure if it would be considered a practice run, since that was after his 10-week stint on Funky.
There are inkers in the comic production process, yes. The penciller draws the pages (in pencil, obvs), then the inker (who may be the same as the penciller) goes over the line work in ink, sometimes making changes/corrections to the art. (Then it goes to the colorist, who again could be the same artist.)
The way Batiuk tells it, his rejection from Marvel didn’t go down that way (whether he’s being honest is, of course, not really something verifiable). His version is that he met with Roy Thomas, who gave him what was probably the verbal equivalent of a form letter. Something like, “you’re as good as anyone here, but we need someone better than everyone here”. (But I can believe Thomas would say something like to be polite.) (Again, though, it’s doubtful there’s any way to verify that, and I have no idea if Thomas would even remember, given how long ago it was and how many applicants he probably met with and had to turn down.)
But I would say that, yeah, it’s safe to assume Batiuk was better off (money-wise) with a comic strip. Working on a comic strip has always paid considerably better than comic books (or at least, they historically have; it could be different nowadays with print newspapers dying, but it would have been the case in 1970). (Especially for the ones who retain some ownership of the property; most work for the big comic book publishers is considered freelance/work-for-hire, so the creators have no claim to either the characters or even the stories, may not get any kind of residuals or anything from merchandising and other adaptations. While the MCU is bringing in billions for Marvel/Disney, the people who created the characters or even whose stories are being adapted may be lucky to get a token payment in thanks.)
There is no way I would have guessed Crazy Harry appeared 58 times.
And Batton Thomas sure felt like more than 35. I would have guessed 2,529.
Phil Holt – 50. Fifty freaking times. Phil Holt. That says plenty about how terrible FW really was in 2022. BatYam’s fascination with Flash and Phil was shared by no one, ever.
OK, I’m a new guy who may be posting too much, but I just had to crawl the archives for the Greatest Comic Strip Arc of All the Times. Good Gourd, I wish I was aware of this site back then. Here’s a comment from Eldon of Galt, surely his real name (I, Bill the Splut, am from the West Egg Spluts). I think it predicts the end of whatever fever dream the last weeks of this were:
“I must admit, I’m really interested in finding out what happens next. How will Batiuk resolve his totally botched-up mess of a story? Counting theories here and at the Comics Curmudgeon we have a choice of: Cliff is pranking Cindy, Batiuk thinks chimps can talk, Zanzibar is a child in disguise, some LSD was consumed. Also, and leading the list as most likely we have: It was all a dream (likely because it is flat-out the laziest way to resolve things) or “Cliff has senile dementia” (likely because of the potential for cheap
Or Batiuk might go for something else, something so stupid a normal human mind could not predict it.
Who knew that chronic ineptitude could be so intriguing?”
(nods solemnly, strokes chin with bubble pipe in hand) Yeah, RIGHT! Like who’d ever write something THAT dumb?!
Then Batty went and surprised us by picking “None of the Above.”
Seriously, if he wants me to read “Crankshaft” on a regular basis, he needs to have Zanzibar move in across the street.
Tom would make it a 1963 sitcom about a talking chimp named Mr Zanzibar.
“Oh, Satan is lord, of course of course!
And no one defies the Lord of the Flies of course!
Unless of course, that talking chimp
Is SATANIC ZANZIBAR!”
First scene: “My chimp Zanzibar can TALK!”
Second: Mr Zan shoots Wilbur.
CBH: I do remember Cindy’s popular girl clique, but I didn’t know or remember that they had names. Good thing it was early Act I, or they would have all had their own sad back stories too.
Excellent, CBH! I’ve been suffering from a little content withdrawal! I’m a bit surprised that Funky actually had the most appearances, because it didn’t seem like it. I wonder how many of those 80 were him talk, talk, talking at the AA meetings.
I think it says a lot about how Batiuk felt about Less Moore’s homelife and second marriage when one considers that, in the strip’s final year, Batton Thomas (Creator of the Syndicated Comic Strip “Three O’Clock High”) appeared more times than Cayla and Keisha combined.
Many thanks, CBH, for your crack research and for giving us something one more morsel to snark on.
Great work, CBH.
We didn’t know it at the time, but the preview sketches of Act 3 characters who ended up either getting short shrift or being totally ignored was a harbinger of things to come. It’s almost a template for what happened in the Atomik Komix arcs – a first issue cover followed by no content.
And yet, over 100 characters appearances in 365 daily strips. FW really needed to thin the herd at some point. But at the same time it had no problem writing more relevant characters out of the continuity with no explanation.
Mind boggling, isn’t it? He would have benefitted from an editor but his need for control of the strip wouldn’t permit it.
Batiuk only thinned the herd once last year. That was when Rubella Lethe announced her retirement. Then she returned for the final Christmas scene.
And rode with the Atomik Komix crew, as if she never left the place.
I would have bet money that either Dinkle or the comic book crew would have had the most appearances. The whole year just felt like that’s all we saw. But, I guess, not seeing punchable Les as much, is a small blessing as well.
I’m not going to kid you. I would have bet the farm that Les appeared more than the titled character in 2022…and I would have lost. Great work, CBH.
I hope you stick around for all the 2022 windup fun! (MORE INSANE CHARTS AND DETAILS TO COME)
Great stats, CBH. I stand in line, as always.
And holy cow that 2003 Dinkle/Mrs. Thompson strip… I had forgotten about Dinkle’s young assistant with the pulled-back curly hair! I don’t recall her name, but I do wonder where Lefty stashed her corpse.
Thank you for doing all this work, Comic Book Harriet! It’s actually really interesting! I also would not have thought that Funky showed up more often than Les. But, then again, he is the title character. I just got used to Les being the star for so long, I forgot he wasn’t always the main focus of the strip. Pretty much my only memories of Act I, reading the comics while eating Coco Puffs or some other godawful sugar bombs at breakfast, is Dinkle directing the band in a thunderstorm, and Les stuck on a rope in the gym.
On another note, I was disappointed to see that Klabitchnik didn’t make it into the last Sunday strip. He was an ass, but for some inexplicable reason, I always found him funny.
Kablichnick seems to me like someone you couldn’t pay to set foot in a place of worship.
I wonder which strip was the title character’s final appearance.
The Christmas Sunday strip had him in the first row. Prior to that was the strip of the Montoni’s crew leaving for the concert.
That strip cracked me up because it was the first and only time this year that Wally Winkerbean, who was major player in Act II, got to speak.
This table really illustrates Batdick’s commitment to focusing on young characters in Act III.
Kitch Swoon: Unforgettable name, but for the life of me I can’t remember which story she appeared in 18 times.
Kitch Swoon isn’t actually a young character. She’s the gallery owner whose venue has exhibited art created by Atomik Komix staffers. Her origins are interesting.
Back in 2017, Batiuk ran across a collection of New York Daily News Sunday Comics Sections from 1947. Among those comics was a strip called “The Ripples”, which he became very enamored with. The central venue for that strip was an art gallery called “Dibbs” and one of the employees of the gallery was a young woman named Kitchie. It’s not a far stretch to see that he imported Kitchie as Kitch Swoon (older but not as old as the 1947 character would be) and the Dibbs Gallery into FW.
It’s no wonder Batiuk loves The Ripples: it’s exactly like Act III. Look at this, and tell me you can’t see Pete and Darin having this happen to them:
You’re right, Banana, Jr. 6000. Batiuk loved to have his Funkiverse characters fight straw men.
It was when she got to talking with Phil Holt about Prince Valiant. In response, he hit the switch on his personality to Off and invited her into his home, all so that TB could implicitly throw shade on that strip’s production ethics. Oh, and so that he could make a callback to that New York restaurant with all the comic stuff on it.
And, so he could accuse Hal Foster of appropriating “Phil Holt”‘s art from the garbage can and print it as his own. And then six weeks later Batiuk made a joke out of “Phil Holt can’t draw horses.”
Also, “Phil’s” art was copied from an actual Prince Valiant strip, so Batiuk was saying Hal Foster stole art that Batiuk himself stole. Classy!
Say, is this the year we get the first (and last?) Funky Awards?
We had The Funkies last year. Hopefully they will return this year.
*sigh* Part of me knew that.
I’m finally caught up. Every time I thought I was close to catching up here on SOSF, you guys moved the goalposts by adding another comments page. I will admit, it was a good “problem” to have.
Sorry I missed the great Winkerbean Send-off. I feel like the party guest who arrives as the cleanup crew is putting away the tables and chairs.
Don’t worry. Hopefully the after party will be just as fun!
Thank you, ComicBookHarriet. Today’s entry is a pleasant surprise.
Every time you compile one of these lists, I imagine you with a notepad full of character names, running through the comics one-by-one and adding a tally mark every time a character makes an appearance. Please tell me it’s not that labor-intensive.
Last year…yes. I made hand made lists with tallies.
This year, I typed the lists out instead.
Please do not take these lists as absolute gospels, I have been known to miss an appearance, miscount, etc. I would give these a margin of error of 1 to 2.
Thank you, CBH!
CBH-sensei, Makoto-ni arigato gozaimasu!
These lists are always fun and reveal my own memory and time biases. To wit, probably b/c I dislike him so much, and b/c he appeared a lot at the end of the year, I overestimated how many times Dinkle showed up. I’d have expected him to be in the top 3.
Cayla only appeared one time less than Dinke but I’m assuming the ratio of spoken parts is at least 10:1 in Dinkle’s favor, 20:1 if we’re measuring word count. (Dinkle’s monologues crowd out the artwork. Cayla says things like, “Hollywood? I need to go shopping!” or “I’ll leave you alone for your Lisa time.”)
This great list looks like a ton of work to compile.
Thank you, again, CBH!
CBH, this list is truly wonderful, and I know it’s only the tip of the iceberg in terms of your research.
Tom Batiuk, you need someone to create interesting Funkyverse content for your Twitter feed? I have just the candidate….
On a comic’s “About” tab, GoComics maintains a count of many people “follow” a particular strip. I’ll be curious to see how many people follow Crankshaft as time goes by.
The current number of Crankshaft followers is 766.
Calvin and Hobbes has 356,002 followers. Yowzers!
Garfield has 192,670
B.C. has 190,426.
Pearls Before Swine has 182,071
Peanuts has 178,599.
Pickles has 159,990.
For Better or For Worse has 148,711.
Luann has 133,079. Really?
Somehow 9 Chickweed Lane has 77,621. Ew, gross.
Mother Goose and Grimm which also migrated to GoComics on January first has 428. There are only three strips in the archive, 1/1/2023 – 1/3/2023.
Like Batiuk’s trio of strips, the Mother Goose and Grimm archive and related links have also completely disappeared.
Feature Not Available
The feature you are looking for is no longer here. Perhaps you would enjoy one of these;
(list of six comics)
…disappeared from the Comics Kingdom.
@#$%! My kingdom for an “Edit” function
I wrote “Batiuk’s trio of strips” on Comics Kingdom. There were actually four. Vintage Funky Winkerbean was only the Monday through Saturday comic strips. There was also Funky Winkerbean Sunday in the Vintage section.
It’s strange. There are no links or archive for Vintage Funky Winkerbean but I’m still seeing the title in my “Favorites” page and the daily email of favorites from Comics Kingdom. It’s a new strip every day.
Crankshaft on GoComics is up to 1,242 followers. Almost doubling yesterday’s count.
Les high on a rope
Hovering over the strip
Brings doom and despair
His kids will infest
The future for all of us
Lisa and Summer
Harriet the wise
Sees patterns and connections
Joy to her readers.
What a fantastic poem, sorialpromise. This site seems to be a magnet for Renaissance Men & Women.
And it also lets people like me in!
I am good at seeing patterns. Maybe I should write a book about my small hometown? Maybe it will lead to WORLD PEACE and THE BURNINGS.
You have a much better chance than Summer. There are too few books about the fair fields of Ioway USA and humble researcher/gas attendant/cat prey.
You should probably do a post for characters that haven’t appeared in years. I haven’t seen or hear of Chien since the Obama administration.
There’s probably THOUSANDS of them.