Sorry, don’t have time for an extensive post, archive dive, or cringy CBH story today, as I am hard at work elsewhere. (Ominous winky face)
Instead. I wanted to reprint what was one of my favorite comments this year. A hilarious comment, picked out of a treasure trove of hundreds of similarly hilarious comments.
On February 27 of this year, this blog hit a milestone of 100,000 comments.
To commemorate, Y. Knott composed the following magnum opus.
Funky Winkerbean is not a very good comic strip. It features uninteresting — sometimes annoyingly uninteresting — characters spouting poorly written dialogue in situations that are almost pathologically devoid of interest.
When it attempts to be funny, it isn’t. When it attempts to be dramatic, you wish it would try to be funny. Many days, it doesn’t seem to attempt much of anything at all. Paradoxically, this is perhaps the most infuriating type of Funky Winkerbean strip …. even though there’s decades worth of proof that when attempting something, the author will fail resoundingly. But even as they gnash their teeth in frustration, these strips lead the reader to ponder: is a crushing failure at least nobler than a crushing failure to try?
The worst Funky Winkerbean characters are the ones in the most recent strip. This is true no matter what day you happen to be seeing the strip. However, other Funky Winkerbean characters have also been the worst. They remain terrible right now, and will be the worst again when they reappear.
The worst Funky Winkerbean arc is the arc that’s happening right now … although many past arcs are also the worst. The next arc will also be the worst.
There is no reason for Funky Winkerbean to continue existing, except that comic strip inertia is a real thing that allows comic strips to continue on indefinitely until the corporation that owns them is dissolved, or the heat death of the universe occurs, whichever comes first.
Funky Winkerbean is one of the most idiotic things you have ever seen. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having read it.
For those new to the blog, we hope comment 100,000 (a summary of the previous 99,999 comments) gives you an overview of the site … and also saves you a LOT of scrolling.Y.Knott, February 28, 2022
And now a gallery of art from our crew of Beady Eyed Nitpickers…and I apologize but I didn’t remember to save who created what when I stole these, so I’m going off of memory. Please claim your credit in the comments and I will edit! Also, please repost your wonderful creations that I didn’t include! Go back and find some great comments! If Tom is allowed to stoke his ego with puff pieces in the Akron Beacon Journal, then we can have a big old backpat circle celebrating what WE did.
57 responses to “Peanut Gallery”
FWIW, I could read these “greatest hits” posts until kingdom come and never get tired of ’em. I stand in line for all of my fellow snarkers who produced this greatness, and especially for you, our dear indefatigable CBH. A chef’s kiss in your general direction.
Awesomely funny stuff. You all deserve to be in the Beady-Eyed Nitpickers’ Hall of Fame.
Batdick’s “work” is not worthy of this brilliance!
How weird that a strip this lame attracted so many talented snarkers.
Brilliant commentary. Spot on comments. TB does not deserve. To answer Y. Knott, I wish Mr. Batiuk tried and if he failed, then he failed. Writers tend to write for themselves. Even TB can’t be proud of his efforts for the last 10 years or so. Compare his football week to any other arc. Here he tried and succeeded. All the other arcs, he lost interest and details by the third day. If TB was picking his 2022 opus, I would bet CBH money that he would say the Mitchell arc. Three weeks to melt a gun into a toy. It was awful. The current week always was, but the next week would be worse. It does take creativity and hard work to make the next arc even worse. In that, TB succeeded.
To be fair, I’d probably pick the Mitchell Knox arc as the best story of the year, though probably not for the same reasons as Batiuk might. It was a lot of boring and stupid time-wasting. When Boy Lisa discovered… something, we just assumed it would be some pathetic plot device; a note to Jessica Darling Whose Father John Darling Was Murdered or somesuch.
And then we got The Gun. The whole thing was just so inexplicable and completely deranged. I mean, this guy just happened to randomly acquire a murder weapon (used in a murder for which the culprit was already in prison, which for some reason wasn’t in an evidence locker) without even intending to, he kept it in a drawer on his reconstructed TV show studio set, and then he just… gives it away. Along with a mug. He had to be convinced to give up the mug, and only did so because it was cracked.
The whole thing was just SO demented it actually managed to become entertaining. The decision to melt it down (again, a murder weapon that should have been in an evidence locker) and turn it into a toy for their son to play with (yeah, that kid’s not gonna need therapy) was the icing on an insane cake.
It was GLORIOUS.
(Though why Mitchell Knox had a backstory cribbed from Jim Shooter’s life remains a mystery. I don’t know if Batiuk planned on bringing him back, probably to join Atomik Komix? But the background was unquestionably Shooter’s, and for a character that was not presented in a good light.) (But knowing Batiuk is friends with John Byrne may offer an explanation. To say Byrne had his problems with Shooter is putting it mildly. When Shooter was fired as Marvel’s editor-in-chief, Byrne held a party in which he burned Shooter in effigy!)
Darn it, G Luthor. You came very close to making me want to read that arc again. I still have to give the football arc points for being short, and making Les suffer for a change. Thanks also for reminding me on how petty J Byrne is. I think I remember that he and Claremont had a falling out. I do not think he has many people skills. He certainly burnt some bridges behind him. But I take nothing away from his writing skills. He is high quality with tremendous work throughout his career. I am not a fan of his artwork. That last week of FW, did not change my mind.
Sir, you are a good person who I always enjoy reading.
Aw, thanks. I always enjoy reading your comments as well.
Claremont and Byrne did have something of a falling out, although in that case I can’t say Byrne was really at fault. It really has to do with what’s called the “Marvel method” of comics. (It was used before Marvel, but it became standard at Marvel because they originally only had Stan Lee as a writer, with eight books a month, and he needed a way to delegate the work.) (Sorry, we gonna go into deep comics mode for a bit.)
Basically, the plotter comes up with the basic idea for the issue. It can be a simple story idea, or more detailed. It’s then given over to the penciler, who has to draw the entire comic. Depending on how detailed the plot is, they may be essentially doing most of the writing as they draw. After that, it goes to the inker, who (especially under direction from the editor) might make some changes to the art, and then it goes to the scripter who writes all the dialogue (though the letterer is the one who puts it on the page). On X-Men (and their other collaborations, like Iron Fist and Marvel Team-Up), Claremont acted as both plotter and scripter, with Byrne doing plotting and penciling.
The problem with that method is that, once the penciler draws the issue, they don’t have any control over the final product. And the script can make a HUGE difference in the story. There are plenty of examples where the penciler would draw one thing, and the script would say that something else was happening. And the penciler would get no say in those changes. So, Byrne would intend one thing to happen, and Claremont would change it completely in the script. Understandably, Byrne wasn’t happy about this, but ultimately Claremont would always get the final say.
(The breaking point seems rather petty on Byrne’s part, but it was really just a culmination of other instances. Byrne drew Colossus removing a tree stump from the X-Men’s yard. Byrne figured Colossus shouldn’t have any trouble with that, but Claremont scripted it so that he was struggling. Byrne said “that’s not what I drew”, Marvel said “but that’s what Claremont wrote”, Byrne said “okay, I’m not working on X-Men any longer”. He then got to take over Fantastic Four, where he was doing all the writing and penciling himself, so he wasn’t getting overridden all the time.)
(Also worth noting that Byrne was hardly the only person at Marvel to ever have that problem. Steve Ditko up and left Marvel entirely in 1968 because of Stan Lee doing that on Spider-Man. Literally, he walked into the office, told someone “tell Stan I quit”, and left.)
(DC made a big deal about a 2004 Justice League story that reunited Claremont and Byrne for the first time since 1981. According to Byrne, the two never actually had any direct interaction on that story.) (Also, the story introduced a character named “Nudge”. She had to power to mentally “nudge” people to do what she wanted. Go figure. No time-travel helmet and I don’t know that she had any janitorial skills, though.)
But yeah, that’s a long-winded way of saying that Byrne and Claremont did have a falling out. And certainly Byrne’s people skills are known to be lacking, especially since the man can hold a grudge. I like him as both a writer and an artist, although I think as he started getting more detailed in his pencils, it started to get too cluttered and less appealing. But I definitely can’t see him getting any new fans from Funky, that’s for sure.
(Crap, that was long. Sorry!)
Don’t be sorry. The history of Marvel is always fascinating. I think Jack Kirby left Marvel for similar reasons. Obviously there was much more to the grievance, but he felt that he should be getting plotting credit along with Stan for his efforts.
Agreeing with Sorial here! These kind of history lessons are great.
Yup. SoSF — come for the sarcastic snark, stay for the erudite spark.
Thanks, guys, I really appreciate it. Never sure when a rambling post like that is actually interesting or just annoying, so it’s nice to know when someone finds it useful.
sorial, yeah, that was indeed part of Kirby’s beef with Lee, though there likely was more to it than just that. Ditko felt he should have been credited as the writer on Spider-Man, and Lee actually gave him the writer credit, but I don’t know how any discussions between Kirby and Lee on the matter may have played out. (But I do know that Kirby never faked his death and then confronted Lee at ComicCon years later, unlike some other comics creators I could mention…)
That what was amazing about FW as it wore on; it always got worse, but never for a reason you could accurately predict.
It was an annoying earworm of a song, played endlessly on a kazoo by a distracted child.
It was a photo essay on the sights of the Grand Canyon, but one that kept a pathological focus on chronicling the clouds overhead, or the gum wrappers that people tossed on the ground.
It was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, but the jelly was mint jelly, and the bread was pumpernickel that hadn’t been baked yet.
It could, in short, suck in a variety of flavours, while always maintaining its primary flavour of Batiukiness.
“Batiukiness” what a perfect word. We all knew the next arc would suck. But we were incapable of knowing how it would occur. He gave hints, yet they were always red herrings to throw us off the chase. We must give him credit. He was a master of unfathomable Batiukiness.
I did the “Lisa Feeding the Birds” strip remix, but can’t take credit for the Family Circus one; that is frickin’ brilliant! I thought about doing one when Summer was wandering around Westview in the snow but was nowhere near ambitious enough.
Speaking of The Family Circus, one of the first and funniest bits of comics snark I found on the internet was about FC. To paraphrase: “they should pull the strip from newspapers immediately, and use the space for the next five years apologizing to the nation.”
One of my favorite page headers popped up in the rotation just now. Can anyone “get the reference”?
Got the reference 😉
Some girls will get the reference.
My friend doesn’t get the reference.
You remembered correctly on my work, CBH. Though I have to say that this post reminds me that my photoshop skills pale in comparison to pretty much all of our regular image alterers here.
You all are dynamite and I love seeing your work. I’d call in Kitch Swoon, but… well…
All your original panels are great! They made me lol and the graphics are supoib.
You will notice I didn’t include full parody strips on the post today.
Thanks for the kind words, CBH!
While all the visual parodies and remixes were great, “Lisa feeding the birds” was gruesomely brilliant, and the Family Circus parody was amazing. I know I’m not the first to point out that if Batiuk brought this level of effort and creativity to his work, these parodies wouldn’t be necessary!
The worst failure of all was always Batiuk’s refusal to see the obvious. In the day-to-day world, it’s the refusal to admit that his inept promotion of the King Of Afterschool Specials is why Lisa’s Story sits on the shelves of Kent State University Press and not some defect in his audience. People will accept a gritty, down-beat ending that’s kind of miserable for all concerned…..if they know about it. If you build it and tell nobody, they will not, after all, come.
In terms of the strip, there are so many stories that we know could have been told that he denies could exist because he can’t think of them. It’s like fellow failure Lynn Johnston. If she can’t think of something, her limited mind tells her that no one else could.
Yeah, and also his attitude. Everyone knows that comics don’t need to be knee-slapping funny all the time. It’s not rocket science, TB! You can’t act all high and mighty just because your readers don’t want to see a cancer patient graphically withering away across from Dagwood’s sandwich antics. Not. Rocket. Science!
Poor ol’ Lynn Johnston. I know things got rough in the end, but I admit that I can respect her…for writing what she knew and putting effort into it. I used to love that paper soap opera. 😂
And bless her, she didn’t insult her audience as blatantly as Batiuk did. She blamed her problems on fungus people in basements trying to take over the writing of the strip because we could see a telegraphed punch called Anthony coming. He blamed his problems on his audience wanting to live in a dream world.
Man, these edits got me cackling! 😂
Tom killed his own strip with Lisa’s Story! He thought if he kept bringing it up, he’d get more attention, acclaim, honor, awards, or whatever. When that didn’t really work, he killed Bull because CTE was trending — ultimately to put the attention back on Lisa’s Story because now Linda had something in common with the town’s poster boy for grief. When that still didn’t work and they told him it was time to go, he JD-ed everyone — which we all knew he would do, but didn’t know how he was going to do it — not with a massive explosion, but by skipping ahead to an implausible future where the Lisa Cult will get started up again by her daughter’s numb-skulled offspring who should have already known all about her.
Thanks for ruining my love of Marc Chagall with your art CBH.
Les in the asylum, Lillian’s head in the Futurama jar and the Family Circus parody were all by me.
I don’t remember that Family Circus spoof. Awesome! They all are.
Off topic, is anyone else finding Crankshaft a bit tone-deaf this week as Damar Hamlin fights to recover? I’m surprised we’re not being treated to reruns of Cranky mowing down mailboxes or blowing up barbecue grills or some such.
TB’s disastrous predictive powers strike again.
“The positive feedback I got from this strip was overwhelming… that is, until someone pointed out that the strip was published ON 9-11… meaning I had written it prior to 9-11 and must have known about the attacks in advance.”
I got that reference!
Batiuk just has the worst luck when it comes to this kinda stuff. He gets those strips done months and months in advance and then they come out just in time to eerily coincide with some crisis or tragedy.
I agree. If they were at all paying attention, they should have probably pulled some strips.
Well, you denizens would know or better than I who’s responsible for that decision — TB or the syndicate. Didn’t Crankshaft just leave Comics Kingdom and land somewhere else?
Cranky just hit Go Comics this week. Judging by the slow exodus they’ve been getting from Comics Kingdom, they may be more creator friendly. But they also allow absolute FILTH like 9 Chickweed Lane to be published on their site. So quality control is not there.
Either the syndicate or TB could pull it, but to be fair to TB (or to any comics creator) the writer of a comic is in the midst of working months ahead, and the comic that’s going to appear today isn’t always top-of-mind.
The syndicate should be looking at what they are posting for the week ahead, and make a judgment call — in consultation with the writer, if possible — as to a strip or series of strips that may need to be pulled, delayed or reworked.
Going back years, Walt Kelly would have a couple of weeks of light, fluffy Pogo strips ready to go if some papers found his political stuff too hot to handle.
Thanks for the insight!
I’m sure there is a “no politics” ban here, but…
There’s an editorial comic with a pantsless duck that talks without moving its beak, and it’s the only such strip that’s done 3 weeks in advance. I’ve read interviews with editorial cartoonists who say “I submit my day’s cartoon about 2 hours before the paper goes to bed. My greatest fear is doing one about a change in municipal traffic laws, and wake up to a war.”
This cartoonist would do a strip about “Guns are cool!” and it’d be published the day after a mass shooting. Or “There’s no racism in America, except against white males!” and George Floyd is dead. King Features would never pull them.
I’m sure we’re looking at stuff Bats wrote a year ago, but so far, the only change I’ve seen is Cranky has gotten WORSE. How is that even possible?
Again, I don’t know the rules here, so feel free to delete this comment if I’ve messed up.
From what I’ve gathered from Epicus and TFH, the no politics on this site allows for the discussing of politics in the context of the strip itself, and mentioning of political figures, issues, history, but discourages commenters from arguing their political side, denigrating the ‘other side’, and definitely forbids commenters from getting in political arguments with other commenters.
Either bossman can correct me if I’m wrong.
I’m only speaking for myself here, but I think you handled it well. Your post wasn’t about politics, it was about a cartoon that has a political slant. And you didn’t detail the political part of it, nor did you epsouse or condemn the politics the cartoon discusses. You merely were making the point that there is a cartoon out there which COULD have had some of its material pulled — but that didn’t happen. Because clearly the syndicate isn’t paying attention, or doesn’t care. Or both.
I think we can all agree with the point you made.
And also that Crankshaft is, on the whole, pretty bad.
The comment policy at GoComics: “We welcome thoughtful, respectful comments that stay on topic…We do not allow comments that…are sexual in nature, indecent, obscene, threatening, defamatory, inflammatory, abusive, harassing, violent, offensive, or otherwise objectionable.”
One of the only two people ever banned at SoSF:
LOL. Oh, DSSS, such a one track mind.
Given the way he expresses himself, it’s more of a one-crack mind.
I was laughing at this all week. The Go Comics readers must be new to Crankshaft otherwise they would have seen the similar comments over at the old Comics Kingdom site.
Funny to think there are actual new Crankshaft readers.
It’s still posting there, under a new name. The GoComics ban leaves a lot to be desired.
I’ll never understand DSSS. They had a decent grasp of Funky Winkerbean history and could write good snark. I admit it. Over the last four years on Comics Kingdom, I upvoted hundreds of their posts (the inoffensive ones). There were a few occasions when I left the CK FW discussion, and DSSS always pleasantly welcomed me back when I returned. There were never any issues between the two of us.
But there was always a side to their behavior that I found offensive. Why do they insist on posting slashfic about Batiuk and Ayers? Why do they feel compelled to mock readers who aren’t snarking on Batiuk’s strips? Who still says, “Cool story, bro” anymore? That meme was old ten years ago. Does anyone appreciate this kind of behavior?
The number of followers of Crankshaft on GoComics declined for a while yesterday. I can’t help but wonder if some people were unfollowing due to DSSS’s behavior?
Who still says, “Cool story, bro” anymore?
Someone who thinks Miley Cyrus sticking her tongue out is edgy in 2023.
If he’d have tried to post something normal here during the last few regular posts, I’d have probably allowed it, as I was feeling magnanimous at the time. With all due respect to everyone, no more DSSS discussion, please. Ancient history, water under the bridge and such. Go Comics can handle their posters as they see fit.
I know it’s a taboo subject for @Epicus Doomus, but I thought you’d like to know this person has been given at least a temporary ban from GoComics. I can tell they’ve received a time-out because you can see recent comments on their profile page, but the comments don’t appear in the comic’s discussion.
Apparently DSSS wasn’t getting the desired reaction in the Crankshaft discussion and took their act to For Better or For Worse, insulting the comic strip and Canadians in general.
I kept track of DSSS because I was curious to see how long they could keep it up before receiving a time-out.
Answer: About two weeks.
I have to confess, I flagged several of DSSS’s comments. So naughty.
Susan Meachen (the real-life Phil Holt) has reached the national news: https://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/romance-writer-accused-faking-suicide-rcna64530
TFW you decided that you were going to wait until there was something “worth discussing” in the strip and then it just… ended. (Why the hell didn’t Lisa III already own the book that made her family famous?)
Happy New Year SoSF! Thank you all for the laughter, tears, and thrills.
That’s part of the bigger question of why the whole Timecop arc was such a flustercluck. The best answer seems to be that Batiuk was only interested in advertising his books. The “stories” were padding around the ads,