Yesterday we looked at who showed up in 2022. Today we’re taking a look at the where. I can’t wait to hear what Epicus Doomus thinks of his favorite location featuring his favorite characters topping the chart!
FUNKY WINKERBEAN LOCATIONS 2022!
|Taj Moore Hall||25|
|Estate Planning Meeting||6|
Part of the fun (I’m serious…fun) of reviewing a year of strips at once, and actually looking at the panels in detail trying to measure ones that stand out, is it gives you a chance to notice some tiny details you didn’t see the first time. For example, the first panel from this strip at the end of November.
Please ignore the ugly old man, and the ugly young person, the nonsensical speech bubble, and the stupid helmet. Look instead at the band student that Harley appears to be nibbling the butt of. She’s obviously been shrunk down and pasted there to preserve detail.
Could this be based on earlier art? If I were to hop in my WayBack Machine and use my Time Tuner to take me to the nearest Space Helmet…
Batiuk couldn’t let his last November of Funky Winkerbean go by without a reference to band turkey. Even if he had make Ayers pull a bit of art from 2009 and shrink it down so the “Sam ‘n’ Ella’s Turkey Farm” was barely visible.
Funny little details everywhere. Often seen in the Sunday strips, but on occasional weekdays too.
An Inedible Pulp statue in Atomik Komix
This strip had several, (on top of the badly taped sign and Dinkle’s omnipresent music note coffee mug).
Many people noticed Mitchel Knox in the background, but I hadn’t seen that the miniature John Darling photo was recognizably rendered.
Along with the coffee cup, Dinkle has staked out his claim in the High School Band Room with a FRAMED PHOTO of HIMSELF.
Harley’s time broom, peeking outside the door in the panel he is mentioned.
Here’s a detail from the three weeks we spent in a janitor’s closet.
The calendar can only be read ‘mber’ to allow the conversation to begin in November and end in December and yet all take place in the same day. ( I don’t know why the calendar switched cases and added/dropped the year. But time bubbles are MYSTERIOUS)
The cover of Summer’s Future World Peace Book has the Central Park Gazebo on it. (or a terrifying gateway to hades, or a square skull with a huge nasal cavity wearing a party hat)
In this strip of Dinkle marching in the Rose Parade
You can see Dinkle in the back row of the marchers, and in in the front row of spectators Harriet and the guy she was talking to in the Brooklyn Dodgers cap. And Dinkle is indeed visible on the computer screen.
There was a hidden Funky in this strip. Can you find it?
According to Batiuk himself, Funky really was on the walls of The Palm in New York, until the building was sold and all the cartoons and comics were painted over.
Another detail in the last panel is that Phil is sketching the fey looking knight in the header. It’s clearer in a weekday strip a few days later.
So Phil still dabbles in fantasy and medieval comic art in his own time; forever toying with a genre he never could really break into. Sound familiar?
There were details that weren’t really hidden, so much as they were call backs from prior to Act III.
The day this strip dropped, our comments were able to explain Bill Clinton, Pizza World, Eliminator Donna from the 80’s and Biker Donna from 2002. But crouching pizza crotch statue?
1985 Montoni’s Pizza Team?
But, of course, that storyline is a major retcon (due to the Act II time skip/Act I time smoosh?). Because Montoni’s first Little League team was in 1979.
But in the 2005 reunion, they do pull jokes from the 1985 season.
Funky Winkerbean is like the outsider art of an obsessive in an asylum. It’s not good, but it is so complex you can still stare at it for hours and days and always find something new.
Stay Tuned. Stay Funky. More to Come!
47 responses to “Location! Location! Fixation!”
thanKs for this! perfect antidote to Funky withdrawal
EIGHT strips took place at Phil’s house. One is way, way too many. His reliance on Flash and Phil over the last few years really ground my gears. The only interesting thing about either of them (Phil being dead) was just completely shrugged away, leaving less than nothing.
It’s fascinating how he’ll go way out of his way to include various arcane details in the strip, yet he’ll totally ignore things like continuity and history like they’re nothing. Then again, for the last fifteen years he was mostly writing the thing for his own amusement, as no one else was all that entertained.
“Darin’s house – 9″…LOL. No recollection whatsoever. Boy Lisa…the dullest Act III character? Maybe. The most instantly forgettable? Always.
Darin’s house: that’s when they were melting the gun into the toy, right? Was that Darin? He’s married to Jessica Darling My Father Who Was Murdered, right? I can’t even tell half these characters apart.
Oh yeah, the gun. Seems like years ago already. Boy, that might not have been the dumbest FW story ever, but it’s definitely in the top ten thousand.
It is pretty remarkable how detailed TB could get when he wanted, which made it all the more maddening when he would frequently forget or change or eliminate established details that were actually important (or at least easy for readers to remember).
I especially like how that reused band member hauling a turkey down the hall in the Summer-Harley strip was originally Maddie Klinghorn, who of course drew the picture of the time helmet that Summer is showing to Harley in that very panel.
In act 1 he would often hide his wife’s and son’s name in the background of some of the holiday strips. It was kind of clever.
I don’t comment much, but I love to lurk. Thanks, witty folks! I just don’t understand why the titular character was ignored as the strip careened to its end, especially considering Funky got decent strip time in 2022 overall. Has TB justified December 2022 in any farewell tour interviews? Thank you, denizens of SOSF!
Justified it in the sense of making it clear that this is what he wanted to do and he’s happy with how it turned out? Yes.
Justified it to anyone other than himself? No. But he hasn’t done THAT in years, so why start now?
TB will never justify anything, because no one will ever ask him to. He only does interviews with overworked Cleveland-area newspapers who will print whatever self-aggrandizing drivel he sends them. And no newspaper outside of Cleveland will ever do a story on him.
The “Grey Lady” herself, the New York Times, has done at least two puff pieces on him. IMHO, that says everything about the decline of the Times and nothing about Puff Batty.
In Ghent Belgium is The Museum of Dr. Guislan, a psychiatric hospital dating from the late 18th century, but which is still in operation. They have exhibits of patient artwork that are amazing.
Thanks for sharing that, Gabby.
As always thanks CBH! Might need another level to the database about location—past, present, future
It’s fun having posts again. That was a harrowing two days there.
Westview High shows 49, but the two subcategories add up to 39. Is there another location?
Good catch, I fixed it. Funkybrain Fog.
CBH, I suggest taking a walk in the snow past places to which you have only a slight connection!
Great work as always, Harriet! I hope you didn’t strain your beady eyes.
Perhaps the idea for the baseball fever bit came from this song. It was played at the beginning and/or end of every Cleveland Indians radio broadcast starting around 1980. I believe they used the song for several years, and there are 162 games per year, so…Back me up here, Rusty!
Not to rain on your parade, Ian, but my local nine had a “fever” song way back in 19-aught-76: https://www.mlb.com/news/phillies-fever-celebrates-40-year-anniversary-c174493530
And, of course, Major League Baseball tried to cash in on “Saturday Night Fever’s” late ’70s popularity with its slogan “Baseball Fever–Catch It!” (which sounds a tad more ominous in these post-pandemic times).
The thing that gets me is that Batiuk was doing comic strips about a hapless kids’ baseball team that never won its games and thought he was doing something original. It’s a good thing Buddy the Wonder Dog wasn’t around in Act I, or else TB might have had him playing shortstop.
I just thought it most likely that TB had heard it on a Cleveland station, but he probably only follows the Toledo Mud Hens. The song was so ubiquitous that when I replayed it now I could still remember most of the words, although in the old days I had my own lyrics.
My version began, “Indian f***ups, they start in the very first inning…”
Meet the Mets! Meet the Mets!
An-y-one can beat the Mets!
A few months ago when Ruby did her last cover, everyone here was piling on her for being a Commie. I guess they thought she stole Mao Zedong’s cap after a one night stand in Shaanxi after The Long March.
I wrote the following diatribe to defend her, but before I could post it the “story” had moved on and I was too late. I didn’t want the ten minutes spent writing it to go to waste, so here it is:
Geez! I wish you nitpickers would lay off Ruby with all the commie stuff. Even without my trifocals I can plainly see she has a red dot and not a star on her hat.
Did you ever stop to think that she might be a fan of Little Dot?
Or perhaps Yayoi Kusama?
Or maybe the world’s most inept sniper has drawn a bead on her forehead with a laser sight but can’t find the trigger?
Don’t let your netpickerosity overwhelm your beady-eyeishness.
A few Ruby parodies:
Well played, idb, well played! Triple upvote for connecting (the dots…) of Little Dot and Kasuma.
In that last panel of Ruby in profile she looks just like Dinkle. So, gotta ask; Were Ruby Dinkle ever in the same strip together? Things that make you go, Mmm.
Could be she’s his separated at birth sister!
They were both in the Christmas strip, but that’s likely the only time they were ever in a strip together. (Dinkle stories and Atomik Komix stories didn’t overlap; why Batiuk never realized people desperately wanted a comic about The World’s Greatest Band Director eludes me.)
Ha! Too bad you weren’t his editor, Green Luthor. We’d all be down at the local five-and-dime every month to pick up the latest edition of Super Dink- fighting crime and climate damage one half-time show at a time…
I suggested the laser-targeting spot, too. And that it was her brain’s “Battery Low” indicator, and that it was a turkey’s pop-up indicator waiting to report another half-baked idea, and a Reset button for her thoughts. If that arc had dragged out longer I’d have added “Mobile red-light district” and “World’s oldest Texaco pump-jockey.”
I remember the laser bit, but I don’t remember if that was a reason I held back on posting.
Your comments have made me lol most often.
I wish you’d posted about the laser, too. We could have joked about competing assassins with perfect aim.
Thank you, again, CBH! Wow. I stand in line. I bow before you. I salute you.
You know what? That is fun! (For me to see, the work you did could not have been unadulterated fun.)
Kudos to Batiuk & Ayers for paying attention to these details (even if one cannot be bothered to be as clever with his stories and lets the others turn characters into sometimes barely recognizable versions of themselves.)
In all seriousness, Batiuk should thank you for your attention to these details.
“ Funky Winkerbean is like the outsider art of an obsessive in an asylum. It’s not good, but it is so complex you can still stare at it for hours and days and always find something new.” —> BEST description of Funky art.
Has anyone visited the American Visionary Art Museum in Balto? It’s one of my favorites, I usually go to it when visiting my sister in MD.
That pizza – car wash gag was lame. Should have stayed on the cutting room floor. Batiuk did silly humor well in Act I but not later.
Oooooh! Linky Clicky Brainy Growy!
Some of my favorite art is created by people who had artistic training of some kind, who used art as therapy or self-soothing for their mental health issues.
Here are a couple of artists that I like.
Because there was so much detail in his work, I could’ve spent days looking at a Finster exhibit.
Kusama is another interesting person. She is anything but an outsider artist, but she has voluntarily lived in a mental institution since 1977.
Slightly off topic, but maybe not-
I just listened to the 2019 WebComics Alliance interview with Chuck Ayers and based on what CBH has observed about the shrunk-down and pasted Maddie Klinghorn in the Harley/Summer panel, I think that his departure wasn’t due to any diminution of his skills. It may also explain the increasing nuttiness of the strips over the past year.
Chuck joined the strip with the specific task as penciler. In the interview, he explains that he doesn’t use computer-assisted design software. He’s familiar with it, but he likens it to “drawing with my toenails”.
Batiuk, on the other hand, loves technology. My theory is that, as Batiuk became more an more proficient, he didn’t need Chuck’s drafting skills as much, eventually leading to Chuck doing the bare minimum, knowing that Batiuk would be using pre-stored images to complete the strips, and finally deciding to retire. This had an unintended consequence.
Even though their meetings were brief to discuss content so that Chuck would know what to draw, they did represent a sounding board where Batiuk’s final product actually received outside input, even if it was minimal. Ayers in the interview mentions that the “year ahead” planning was created as “disability insurance”. These meeting were probably where the “maybe it was all a dream” strip and the following nostalgia tour of Westview sites was tweaked. I even think that that was the intended finale, with everything wrapping up with the St. Spires arc and a Sunday strip, which is Batiuk’s preferred style. Then Batiuk looked at the calendar.
In true “first thought, best thought” style, he decided to indulge his love of science fiction, particularly Asimov’s “Foundation” and Robot series, by appending an epilogue. Chuck had retired and probably had no interest in ruining what was a neat package, so Byrne was called in.
This is an interesting and plausible theory. Thanks for sharing it!
We’ll never know, but this is eminently believable. Even the part where Puffy forgot to look at the calendar to see what day Dec 31 fell on. He’s missed holidays before.
The singular counter-argument I can think of is that he’s obviously tremendously pleased with his final six days, bragging to the media about “tying a bow” and “giving the characters the finale they deserve”* and such. But something tells me he could have had his dog scoot on a piece of Bristol board and sent it to the syndicate, and he would still have been proud of his groundbreaking, iconoclastic brilliance.
*I don’t recall him saying anything about giving his readers the closure they craved. He never even explained why Funky was so happy about Montoni’s closing, or what Funky’s/Tony’s and the employees’ futures held.
I love how they’re singing “How Great Thou Art” as if they were talking about Dinkle. If Act III still had jokes in it, a good one would have been the pastor thinking “wait, that’s not in the hymns for today.”
Funky Winkerbean always finds new ways to annoy me. They held a 20-year reunion for their failed Little League team? And anyone actually went to it? All these people ever do is go to reunions. To see the same people they spend all their time with anyway. Ugh.
The gazebo on Summer’s book cover looks like “a square skull with a huge nasal cavity wearing a party hat?” Now that my Les Moore grave is obsolete, I need to come up with a replacement for next Halloween. That square-skull gazebo might do it.
Given his issues, it makes a sad sort of sense that he set the last arc anywhere that isn’t Westview High. Just as he left his original kind of jerkish everyman behind to fixate on his author avatar, Batiuk wanted to shift the focus away from the high school because he can’t identify with young people any longer.
CBH, you have pulled me out of my post-Funky letdown, and put the Fun, and the Funk, back into Son of Stuck Funky.
I’ve been overly busy the last couple days with a broken water main and all the merriment that goes along with it. However, I ran across this today and I think it needs to go into our file of German words that don’t exist in English, but are needed in order to better describe the Funkiverse:
Verschlimmbessern: Making something worse in an effort to improve it. The perfect description of every iteration after Act I.
It can join backpfeifengesicht, meaning roughly “face that cries out to be punched.”
Only 5 strips in St. Spires? I would have guessed 50. Did Harley dilate time during those strips?
This is the thing with Funky Winkerbean. It could make 5 strips SEEM like 50.
And conversely — given some time and distance — it could make pointless weeks-long arcs fade from memory so completely, you’d swear they never happened.
It no wonder time in the Funkyverse is such an elastic concept.
To anyone who may be interested. A new blog entry on GoComics.
Crankshaft has joined GoComics
Please! Keep us updated on the Cranky situation.
I haven’t started my own migration.
GoComics has always struck me as the Six Flags of comics sites. Cheap and trashy looking, but okay to navigate through and it gets traffic because of all the stuff.
Crankshaft followers on GoComics:
The strip is gaining traction:
Jan 3 7:14 PM EST: 766 followers
Jan 4 7:09 PM EST: 1,242
Jan 5 10:18 AM EST: 2,468
No archive migration yet. The archives of other recent Comics Kingdom to GoComics titles, like Baby Blues and Sherman’s Lagoon, took a while to arrive.
I’m paying the same subscription fee for the Comics Kingdom and GoComics. GoComics is so much better it’s not even funny.
It’s strange. There are no links or archive for Vintage Funky Winkerbean on the Comics Kingdom website, 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. Today’s is from 3/12/77. Funky and Crazy Harry are stargazing.