“Let thy speech be better than silence, or be silent.”Some Ancient Dude
Funky Winkerbean Characters By Number of Panels Speaking In, 2022.
|Crazy Harry Klinghorn||103|
|Mopey Pete Roberts Reynolds||21|
|Thatsnought ‘Malcolm’ Hewmore||17|
|Rocky Rhodes Winkerbean||11|
|Andy Clark (Band)||3|
|Cliff (Security Guard)||2|
|Robbie the Robot||2|
|Iris (BM Band)||1|
|Apple Ann Apple||1|
|Walt (BM Band)||1|
|Phil the Forecaster||1|
Please, do not take the quote I put at the top as an exhortation not to speak. Comment away! On anything you have to say!
We’re not making art, we’re making conversation.
Though some art is made by accident along the way. 😉
Thanks for all the masterpieces, guys.
75 responses to “He Who Says the Most, Means the Least.”
Will there be a chronological list of story arcs? Something to keep those forgettable events at Atomik Komix and Montoni’s from being forgotten?
There is, in fact, already such a list under the ACT III tab in the header, just scroll down to 2022 and MARVEL at all the AMAZING events of this year.
Thanks! I’m glad I read it. I just cooked some vegetarian lasagna, and if I can survive reading that then I can survive my own cooking
I wonder if this was done by word count, (please, CBH, preserve your sanity and not do this) where Garbageman from the FUTURE would rank. Certainly in “Words that ultimately meant nothing,” he’d win.
Oh, Harriet. You’re quite mad, you know. Marianne Winters – 43. Wow. Now THAT was a shitty arc right there. When she gave Les that Oscar, I cringed so hard I had to call out of work the next day. The “Marianne had breast cancer too” was horrific, and very difficult to top, but her “awww shucks” routine during that Oscars arc was just insufferable.
Kitch Swoon – 18. Ruby Lith -18. Wally Winkerbean – 2. Wally only spoke twice in FW’s final year. Kitch and Ruby spoke NINE TIMES more than Wally did. That’s just sad. Wally was one of the stars of the strip there for a while, but in 2022 he was relegated to the scrap heap, losing screen time to the likes of Kitch, Ruby and that f*cking repulsive “Crankshaft” asshole.
Linda Bushka – 2. Linda was a character who I seemed to hate more than everyone else did. Linda was possibly Act III’s dreariest character. I covered this once before. Dreariness is different from mere sad-sackery. You can be an affable sad-sack, but you can’t be affable or even agreeable AND dreary. And Linda proves it. Always downbeat, always weary, always resigned to her cruel fate. Even Becky cracked a joke every now and again.
Bull deserved better that’s for sure. He was the only one in this miserable strip that seemed to be happy most of the time.
Unlike the rest of those sad sack whiners.
What gets me about Linda is that as soon as her notice-me-senpai “prestige arc” was wrapped up, she essentially disappeared.
It’s odd that, at 75, Puffy doesn’t seem to have a grip on what happens when people die. He only has two ways of dealing with it:
1. The grieving spouse never gets over it, and never tries to. His friends, family, new spouse, and Hollywood stars encourage him to keep wallowing for decades. Meanwhile, his daughter has no particular emotional investment or complicated feelings about her dead mother.
2. The grieving spouse grieves for a week, then disappears. What happened to her? How did she deal with the guilt, the anger, the grief? Dunno. Don’t care. Called writing. 1/4 inch.
Bull’s death makes me irrationally angry.
Batiuk dumped on Bull in every way possible. Making Linda so dreary was one of those ways–imagine being married to someone like that. When Buck Futt was hitting on her after Bull’s death, Batiuk gave himself an awkward choice. Should he humiliate Bull by having the brand-new widow immediately pick up a new man, or should he show that Bull had married a perpetually lifeless creature? I think Batiuk made an abnormally subtle choice there.
I too was pleasantly surprised Batiuk stopped short of cuckolding Bull while his corpse was still warm.
Yeah, that was extremely odd, even by FW standards. I mean, why?
Maybe he was in a hurry to get back to Les Moore. That bit at Bull’s graveside, where Les trashed Bull, put Batiuk’s artistic talents on full display. When Les spoke, he made it sound as though he was the victim because he couldn’t let go of his hatred for Bull. It was a concise and exquisite portrait of total self-absorption.
John Darling has been dead for more than thirty years and he still appeared eight times. Todd never missed an opportunity to sell product.
Counting Phil Holt, dead characters spoke in about as many panels as Les did this year. That probably compares favorably to early Act III when it was like Lisa had never left.
Which Crankshaft character do you personally relate to the most? Tom Batiuk: “I’ve got a soft spot for Crankshaft’s comic book-collecting son in law, Jeff. Jeff was also a student at Kent State around the same time I was.”
“Crankshaft” Has Joined GoComics!
by GoComics Team
Jeff is actually a closer analog to Tom than Les is IMHBCO. Or Jeff is ‘good side’ of Tom (not as much ego/artistic angst/failure/pettiness) and Les is his DARK SIDE.
And Pam is OBVIOUSLY Cathy.
Very well put. I thought the same of Jeff, then again Batty went overboard with all the comic book fans in FW. It seemed like everyone was into them. Although it would have been fun to see Adeela hanging out at the Komix Korner.
Do you have a favorite “Crankshaft” theme or story arc?
The story arc with the McKenzie sisters Lillian and Lucy and Lucy’s struggle with Alzheimer’s is the work that means the most to me.
Look, Tom, if you don’t want us snarking at you, you CAN’T make it this easy for us.
I wonder if we can draw some conclusions about Tom’s health based on that comment?
“Crankshaft Has Joined GoComics!”? That explains why the price of sackcloth and ashes just shot up.
A fan suggested that I add a a school bus driver to “Funky”…
Wait — all this time, he was taking fan suggestions?
Does this mean that if Funky was terrible, it’s the fans’ fault?
Well, if you have a god complex, everything good is thanks to you and everything bad is your worshipper’s and the unbeliever’s/internet commenter’s fault
A while back someone here quoted Batiuk saying that his wife would push the paper across the table toward him, point at a story about a Very Important Issue and tell him
to include it in FW.
My first thought was that it takes a real jerk to throw your own wife under the bus like that.
Then I realized he meant that as praise. He thinks his After School Special arcs really are good. And he and his wife apparently believe the comics artist has some role to play in advancing whatever issue they care about (albeit in the most milquetoast manner possible.)
Did he ever try to make some obvious point about race relations through Les & Cayla’s marriage? I never saw those strips if he did and I always thought it was to his credit. Just show a husband and wife living, loving, and growing together is message enough. (Of course, he could not even do that with Les and Not Lisa.)
I was the one who quoted that. In the quote itself it was more implied rather than outright stated that Cathy was encouraging Tom to tackle social issues. Part of that was my interpretation.
Cayla’s race was brought up exactly once prior to her BIG RACISM ARC this year.
That means TB probably based the story where Jeff skipped a big test to go buy a Lovin’ Spoonful record on something he actually did in college.
And they let him work in a high school…
I know Batiuk has a penchant for producing word salads, but it’s definitely weird phrasing to state that one of his characters was a contemporary of his at Kent State.
Since Jeff looks like he is at his fifties, it must mean that Crankshaft happens at the turn of the century and the Funky bunch really graduated in ’72 like it was implied by the 50th reunion
It’s more than that. Both Pmm and Jff were students at the time of Kent State shootings. It was part of a big 30th anniversary arc in Crankshaft in 2000.
Given that Ayers was a witness to the event…I might give them this one topical issue. Knowing Ayers background, this is less cringe than Batiuk hamfistedly talking about ICE and racial profiling.
Batiuk talks about the arc.
So Crankshaft came to a screeching halt in 2000, when, I think, Batiuk’s opinion still was that Funky bunch graduated in ’88, and that caused the Funky timeline to start to stretch and compress uncontrollably, until the result was the mess we got last year.
Always remember to wear your seatbelt!
Time has always passed extremely slowly in Crankshaft, similar to a soap strip. I think when it started in 87 Max and Mindy were middle school aged. Mindy didn’t graduate High School till 2009.
That was actually a well thought out arc that accurately represented the events and various people’s reflections of the event.
It was a rare time when Batty didn’t let his personal views interfere too much with the story.
Ayers always took a larger interest in Cranky (probably because it always was his name on the strip) and he has been passionate in talking about what he witnessed at Kent State. If there was ever an arc where Ayers truly collabed with Batiuk on the writing, it’s this one.
The only snark I had reading the arc was how it ended with an eyewitness crying out “They just killed 4 kids!” immediately after the shooting. The technicality with that was while the number is accurate, many more than 4 were shot, with 9 surviving their wounds. Not all of the deceased died immediately either, at least one boy was conscious during the ambulance ride to a hospital.
It’s an acceptable artistic license since the point is still made, and it would be rather tedious to be technical about the victims in the moment that was illustrated, though there could be an argument in how foucsing on just the four victims does leave a lacking in acknowledgement to the wounded survivors. When I was at KSU myself I caught a few of the remembrance ceremonies they had every anniversary, and the survivors always had some stirring speeches about their experiences in the years since.
The “gag-a-day” direction Crankshaft has been taking recently raises questions about whether and to what extent we’ll see any FW characters show up in Centerville.
I myself am a fan of gag-a-day. Some of the gags in the last couple weeks have actually been pretty good, which is remarkable.
I wonder who told Batty that comedy is frivolous, or that it can’t be used to make important statements. For someone who clearly considers himself well versed in litt’ra-choor (his avatar is a rather pompous English Lit teacher, after all), it’s a very odd delusion to have.
Comics like Pogo used comedy and cartoony characters to comment incisively on current events. But why would he deign to read Pogo? It wasn’t published by Marvel or DC so it’s obviously beneath him.
What bothered me about that arc was Pam, being about 50 by this time, still concealing her college activities from her father Ed. Nobody ever grows up in this world, or stands up for themselves.
I’ve mocked that story arc before, but it is actually pretty well put together. TB gives both Jeff and Crankshaft understandable motivation for their views on the Vietnam War, the horrible incident is portrayed respectfully and impactfully, and the cuts between flashback and present day are effective and well-paced.
Of course, TB being TB, he couldn’t resist a distracting John Darling cameo, complete with the future Mrs. Darling (Jeff’s sister Jan) looking like a 15 year old girl crushing on a TV reporter who appears to be about 45… And, of course, we learn more about the life and sad fate of Timmy Meckler.
It remains crazy to me that TB wrote so many story arcs about the world owing Les for taking Lisa from him when he already had characters like Jan Darling and Ralph Meckler who had previously lost their spouses in equally (if not more) horrible ways. Not to mention that Jan, on top of seeing her husband murdered right in front of her eyes, also had to grow up with toxic Rose Murdoch for a mother. Ralph, meanwhile, lost not only his wife to Alzheimer’s and son to the war in Vietnam, he also lost his business (the Valentine theater) and his race to unseat Centerville’s corrupt do-nothing mayor. Plus, his best friend is Crankshaft…
I believe Ralph lost the mayoral election by one vote because Crankshaft forgot to vote.
It was a strange story arc, but we can add spurned by a car hop girl. Ralph thought the young lady liked his Bunny Berigan music. Ralph was a bit of a stalker, but I felt sorry for him as he sat dejectedly on his porch.
My previous two replies to @billytheskink are awaiting moderation.
If this one doesn’t go through, I’ll never bother him again.
You have to tell Leroy, bwoeh.
Thanks, @ian’sdrunkenbeard. Nobody has been as unlucky as you when it comes to comments clogging the torso chute.
Crazy Harry ranks #2? Wow. Other than the stupid out-gassing helmet arc, I barely remember him talking at all. Batdick managed to make even his zaniest character forgettable in 2022.
He talked A LOT in that outgassing adventure. 60 panels of lines in April.
He also had a week of talking about ‘getting hip’ with Funky and another week of talking to a dying Lisa in a flashback. Along with assorted other appearances: reunion, wedding etc.
It was a pretty Crazy year.
Yeah, they went weeks without showing up, but whenever Funky and Crazy are present, you knew they were gonna yak-yak-yak.
Part of me was thinking “hey, good for Funky, taking back his own comic like that”, but then I remembered that those 141 panels included his AA stand-up and the retirement investment seminar. Now I’m just annoyed at having to remember those.
TB spent part of his final year of FW having Funky annoy some poor schlub running a retirement investment seminar at the local Days Inn… Some of the final few hundred panels he had left were spent on THAT. It boggles the mind.
It’s like if Bartolo Colon spent the August of his final season refusing to do anything but pinch hit.
Bartolo Colon was the reason I was sad the National League started using Designated Hitters in 2022. We’ll never get a moment like this again.
Greatest Home Run Ever!
As a new guy, when I saw “Bartolo Colon” I thought that was a name for Tommy I hadn’t heard before. It’s got “Colon” right there.
I got to see Bartolo pitch for the AA Canton-Akron Indians. They played in Thurman Munson Memorial Stadium, which only had 5,700 seats. In a place that small, his fastball really popped!
Jealous! So Jealous! Live baseball is my favorite way to consume it.
My two bits of sports “I was there” was hanging out outside of Wrigley Field the night the Cubs won the Pennant. If I was ever going to die in a stampede…that was the night.
I also got to see Jose Altuve trip over second base live in person on my birthday!
My local minor league team saw three Hall of Famers come through: Randy Johnson, Larry Walker, and Vladimir Guerrero. Also Gary Carter and Andre Dawson, but that was before I was old enough to go to games. Minor league baseball is the best.
I forgot Tim Raines. He was there too.
Very much agreed. Before Colon became so well-known, I used to use stocky relief pitcher Ray King in the same argument.
“You don’t want to see pitchers bat? Not even Ray King? C’mon now…”
I have more logical arguments against the designated hitter, but none were more fun. Even the biggest DH advocates wanted to see Ray King bat (which he actually did a couple of times in his career).
Gene Garber was a sidearm reliever from the Braves when I first became a big follower of them. And he batted exactly like he pitched. I couldn’t easily find a clip of it, but use your imagination:
Now, imagine that happening in the 18th inning, at 3 in the morning:
I remember when Bartolo Colon played for the Indians. He was a great pitcher, and I was so disappointed when they traded him to the Expos.
Bartolo has always been “heavyset.” I wonder about Bartolo’s appearance nowadays, having been out of baseball for a few years and has had a chance to get out of shape.
Looking these over, I keep hearing Kevin MacLeod music playing.
“Before we get to number one, my name is CBH and I hope you’re enjoying my list-making. If you’re curious about what I look like, follow me on Instagram at–“
And I’d sound just like this guy ordering the number 15.
Thank you so much for doing this. Love the title b/c it’s so accurate to this strip. Again, I’m surprised that Les said Less than I’d have expected: Less is Moore. However, the atomic weight of what Les said surely makes up for the discrepancy. It’s heavier, after all, all the Meaning (capital M meaning, I tell ya) adds so much mass.
At the end of day, if you add up all the speaking panels together (approximately 365 x 3) you get a number larger than zero which is to say you get too much speaking from these characters.
Perhaps The Syndicate would re-run Funky Winkerbean if all the original panels could be filled with text by Our Glorious Moderators. I’d pay to read those.
Thank you, again.
Over at GoComics some people are upset over the influx of snarkers from CK. There are several “If you hate it so much, why do you read it?” comments, as well as posts by names you will recognize.
FYI, the same old article about FW ending ran on the front page of the Jan. 1 edition of the Akron Beacon Journal, just under the “year in review” stories.
Isn’t the internet fun? I love it when people take the time to complain about other people complaining.
Hey wait a minute….
“YOU want to complain? How about these shoes, I’ve only had ’em two weeks and the heels are worn right through.”
A real life Phil Holt? ( If true, this is sad and disturbing.)
That is weird and disturbing.
But unlike Phil Holt, her estate presumably didn’t go through probate, resulting in an executor dispensing with all her worldly goods. Gotta say that the medical examiner in the Centerville/Westview metroplex must be a no-show job. The ball was dropped in Bull’s case too. Actually, there are an awful lot of incompetent medical professionals in the area. Maybe because the competent ones are constantly berated by cranky old farts until they decide to move to a more congenial area.
On the other hand, if you were a moral doctor and lived in Batiuk’s world, wouldn’t you try to slay as many of the demons as you could? Especially if, when you get caught, you can just say “Whoopsie!”
Sure! There are no repercussions for “mixing up” records of cancer patients, or fudging cause of death for suicides to enable insurance fraud, or issuing death certificates for people who aren’t dead. So… Whoopsie!
Also, unlike Phil Holt, she wasn’t depicted as having an afterlife conversation with St. Lisa during the auction of her effects.
Holy Cow CHEESY-KUN providing the SWEET MILK.
That is fascinating. It sounds like she only faked her death online. And it shows the kind of backlash a stunt like that would actually cause. IRL Phil Holt should be a pariah.
Over on the Battyblog, he avers: “A number of people have been asking recently if the John Darling strips that I did are available to view online somewhere… ”
Zero is a number, right?
I’m sure he asked himself. That counts.
Which raises a question: how COULD anybody even ask Tom Batiuk anything? Other than his book signings, which don’t draw too many people from the pictures TB posts of them, he’s not particularly open to fan feedback.
Naw. I emailed him a long time ago with a continuity question and he responded in a few days. His email is right on his website.
ComicBookHarriet, I’m getting a little concerned.
So Far this week.
January 2nd: Funky Winkerbean Characters by Number of Strips Appearing In. 2022.
January 3rd: Funky Winkerbean Locations 2022!
January 4th: Funky Winkerbean Characters By Number of Panels Speaking In, 2022.
January 5th: Funky Winkerbean Characters By Number of Word Balloons In, 2022.
January 6th: Funky Winkerbean Characters By Number of Words In, 2022.
Saturday: An intervention!
I kid because I care. Keep up the great work. 🤟
LOL. Actually most of the counting and collating on those spreadsheets was done back in December when I was laid up with Covid. So worry not!
Or worry! It just means you care. ❤