Yesterday we looked at entire arcs, complete stories, weeks of strips at a time.
Today, we do the opposite. Yesterday was all about the story. Today it is the art of comics. True, the context behind some of these snapshots aided them in getting a nomination. Panels that contained the climax of their entire arc.
But the single panel must be unique on it’s own. It must have merit apart. The staging, the artistry, the dialogue, something within the borders of four thin black lines, that is just as important. And panels from strips that didn’t even have arcs were also considered.
For example, this panel made the shortlist, though not the final cut.
I must again thank my personal friends for assisting me in narrowing down your list of nominees for:
Panel of the Year 2022
1.) Break-in at Tiffany’s
2.) Triggering Memories
3.) Book to the Future
4.) Bull’s Legacy
5.) Friend Fluid
6.) Best in Show
7.) Time Cat
8.) Meet the Parents
And the winner of the 2022 Panel of the Year is:
Meet the Parents
Like they’ve been all 2022 Awards Ceremony, Les’ Oscar and Jess’ Gun were very strong contenders, bolstered by being panels from fan favorite arcs. ‘Best in Show’ came very close to winning the prize. But in the end, neither could compete with the sheer artistry of Funky’s dripping backside. It horrified us. It baffled us. Some had to shield their eyes. Some couldn’t look away. A single electric panel in a mostly forgettable arc. It was art in it’s purest form.
Tomorrow, from intensity and plot to meh and wah.
33 responses to “A Thousand Words.”
Ah, another “worthy” “winner”. I had to vote for “Meet the Parents” (although had “Don’t mention the autopsy photos” been a nominee, that definitely would have gotten my vote) just because… well, why? Why, Tom, WHY? It didn’t factor into the story AT ALL! It was, like, completely forgotten two strips later. So… WHY??????
(The theory I’m gonna go with is that Batiuk, knowing that Ayers wanted to retire and thus force the strip to end, decided to get all passive-aggressive about it. “Enjoy your retirement, Chuck. But first… draw Funky’s ass crack as he gets out of the shower. You heard me. Ass. Crack.”)
(Though “Bull’s Legacy” was also a tempting one, just for how utterly ghoulishly tone-deaf it comes across. I mean… yeah, maybe that wasn’t the same helmet Bull was wearing when he died, I’m sure he had more than one… but what would even possess someone to think asking his widow for one of his helmets wasn’t a terrible idea? While not as demented as… certain other stories from last year… the very concept was pretty out there.)
Linda did everything but serve potato chips in that helmet. I ranted about all the “creepy souvenirs” in the Funkyverse yesterday, so I won’t do it again. I just wonder why Batiuk gets such a basic, universal human behavior so wrong.
I think Bull’s helmet was even more inexplicable than that. The police find his crashed car off Nobottom Road. They look inside, and see Bull’s body, wearing the helmet. The officer proceeds to TAKE THE HELMET OFF THE BODY, and then goes to Linda AND GIVES HER THE HELMET. As he’s telling her that her husband’s dead!
Ordinarily, one might think the police would, y’know, leave everything as it is for the coroner, but… nope, not in Westview, apparently. (Whether this might help explain how Mitchell Knox ultimately got The Gun That Murdered John Darling Who Was Murdered, I can’t say, but obviously things like “preserving evidence” weren’t taught at the academy…) And who would give the widow the helmet FRESH OFF THE BODY?
(To follow it all up with a punchline that involves Funky asking Linda for one of Bull’s helmets, even if it’s not the exact one he died in… seriously, you’re right, Batiuk really doesn’t understand basic human behaviors.)
Also, the helmet would have been covered in Bull’s entrails. It’s not something you give the victim’s wife to comfort her, the moment you’re telling her he’s dead. My lord, that story was fucked up. “Doesn’t understand basic human behaviors” isn’t the half of it.
Yeah, the ‘autopsy photo’ panel was a really good one.
One other personal rule I put into the nominees for this award is that the Panel of the Year couldn’t come from a strip nominated for Best or Worst Strip. If the sum of the entire strip was greater than the individual panel, for worse or better, it got bumped up to the top tier.
It was to spread out the panels/strips chosen to a nice selection of the entire year.
It’s also why Les getting tackled wasn’t included in Panel of the Year.
Please tell me that’s how Mr. Winkerbean will step up to the podium to accept his award (“And I’d like to thank Tom Batiuk for watching that ‘shrinkage’ episode of ‘Seinfeld,’ without whom none of this would be possible!”).
If we were going by panel titles, “Break-in at Tiffany’s” would have been the winner, I think.
While the John Darling murder weapon story arc was probably the most unexpected thing to happen this year on the whole, Meet The Parents was certainly a more unexpected panel even than the gun panels. It’s like something Greg Evans might put in Luann, except with a 65+ year old man instead of a pair of 19 year olds, just very much not a TB-style gag.
What struck me most about it, though, was Funky’s judicious towel placement. It would seem that we got more of a peep show than Rocky did.
When I saw that panel I said to myself, “This is going into panel of the year.” Even if it didn’t stand out to anyone else that much, to me was just so weird and tone deaf and abrupt of a reference to stick into the ONLY Apple Ann or New York strip we got the entire year.
Excellent choice! What mystifies me about that strip is the fact that Rocky sees the bathroom door is closed and proceeds to open it. In my experience, a closed bathroom door indicates that the room is being used and that bathroom doors are usually left open when the room is unoccupied.
I’d have been shocked if anything other than this one won. I mean…’nuff said right there. Even when he was working with the corniest of premises, Batiuk always found a way to give it a peculiar, off-kilter, and sort of disturbing twist.
(smoking a Meerschaum, stroking his chin)
Well, I think we should all just step out of our personal spaces, and ask yourself: “How would a non-Funky reader respond to these panels? Mayhaps they would be your friends, parents, children, an old lady with a sub to the local paper, random retail workers, maybe possums?
I propose that they would all act like man’s best friend, the possum. Just scream. Scream, scream indeed forever.” (strokes pipe, smokes chin, goes “Ew! Wrong order!”)
If you showed “fat old man’s ass cleavage” to someone, I’m gonna go with “Leaves in back of squad car.”
They’d say “meh” to it all. None of this is even uncommon in the comics page.
Time Cat is unremarkable by itself. Book To The Future, Best In Show and Bull’s Legacy are too, except for their reovlting backstories. Lisa’s Story is basically the cult indoctrination manual of this world. The helmet was used by a man Holly knew to kill himself, and also a symbol of the degenerative brain disorder that drove him to it. Les is basically Hitler if he got to be a painter like he wanted, and lost interest in politics after the 1928 elections.
Meet The Parents is a bog-standard comedy trope. Break-In At Tiffany’s is badly out-of-date moral grandstanding, which didn’t even have any context in FW itself. Friend Fluid, same thing, plus the awkward terminology.
That leaves Triggering Memories. The danger of the scene, the cartoony art style, the too-nonchalant expressions, and the appalling gun safety make this panel stand out by itself. But if an ordinary comics reader saw this panel in Judge Parker, in its “soap opera strip” art style, they wouldn’t bat an eye at it.
At the time, Friend Fluid irritated me enough that the details didn’t stick out.
Looking back on it, it contains one of my least favorite “social justice” tropes: The vigorous self-backpats for just acting like a decent human being.
Regardless of one’s opinion on trans issues, I think all decent people should agree that if a person approaches you in a friendly way, human-to-human, especially if it’s someone you were already friends with, you should treat them as you would a fellow human being. You know, because they are one. Because people shouldn’t be hateful to one another for stupid reasons.
A white, heterosexual, upper-middle-class man doesn’t get a single back-pat for treating the following like a fellow human beings/children of God/suffering and striving creatures:
— Trans people
— People of other races
— People of other genders
— People with more money/success
— People with less money/success
— People of other religions or cultures
— People who are ill or very old or young
— Anybody anywhere who is not an immediate personal threat to you
Nobody deserves a back-pat for treating fellow humans with basic decency. It’s the default value. It’s table stakes. How sad that Batty thinks he and his avatars are Very Specially Tolerant and deserving of a tickertape parade for not being hateful asshøles.
Thanks, your thoughts mirror mine exactly. I wasn’t going to let Batty get away with his cheap virtue signaling on this issue.
“Friend Fluid” sounds an awful lot like saying “Today you’re my friend, tomorrow you may not be.”
“I pretty much forgot about you for 50 years but yeah, I guess we can be friends again for the duration of this get-together, and then forget about each other again forever. I’m fluid that way.”
BJr6K, I have to say you’re way out of line comparing Les to Hitler.
Hitler was a decorated war veteran who never got anything handed to him with no effort on his part. I’ve also never seen a film or photo of him smirking. He doesn’t deserve to be compared to Les.
Well, Hitler was a terrible writer whose first book . . . wait, Mein Kampf includes a description of a dysfunctional family that doesn’t try to sugarcoat everything, so Hitler comes out ahead of Les on points.
Hitler wrote a second book, a collection of his thoughts called Hitlers Zweites Buch . . . wait, it wasn’t published until long after his death, which makes Hitler a better person than Les Moore.
Hitler also did his own artwork.
And Mein Kampf, unlike Lisa’s Boring Megillah, did actually change the world and usher in a new order (ie, the postwar world). And it is still being read and discussed 100 years later.
In fact, think about the books that truly changed the world. Other than foundational religious texts, it’s stuff like Mein Kampf and the Communist Manifesto. Unsavory writings. Destructive writings. Writings that bring about hatred and war. Actually, now that I think about it, Lisa’s Kampf fits right in with that company.
And I’ll actually defend Lisa’s Story here. We can’t fairly call it hateful or destructive, because don’t know a single thing about it. For all we know, it’s as banal and mis-aimed as Funky Winkerbean itself.
Same for Starbuck Jones, Murder at the Bookstore, Dinkle’s book about Claude Barlow, and every other media property that exists in this universe. They’re all comic book covers with no pages. There’s absolutely nothing to have an opinion about. Lisa’s Story is barely any different.
The only difference is that Lisa’s drove the meta-story, which provides plenty of reasons to be appalled by the whole thing. If Les Moore wasn’t such a complete asshole, he’d be a tragic figure. Imagine trying to get over your beloved wife’s death, but life just keeps making you relive it.
You could re-tell it all as an even more twisted Truman Show. Imagine the Christof character telling Mason Jarre, “Look, I know what he did last time. Just go to the pizza parlor set and tell him how desperately Hollywood needs him back. The rest of you, places, and remember to stress the importance of Lisa.”
You know what? You’re right. I think I was actually thinking about “Westview,” the magnum opus by Summer that “connects matters of ordinary small-town households to matters of immense consequence… [and] sparks others to build on it to create a science of behavioral-patterned algorithms that will one day allow us to recognize humanity as our nation!”
It has that suspicious “break everything and just trust that we’ll rebuild it in a perfect way” cultish feel of Hitler and Marx. “Sure, a lot of people will have to be killed along the way. But don’t feel bad. They weren’t really ‘people’ — they were bad guys who deserved it. As soon as we’ve destroyed enough people and institutions, we can bring about that utopia we promised. Any day now.”
Batiuk doesn’t even realize it, but Westview was a self-parody of Lisa’s Story. Person with no discernible skills announces writing career, smugly blathers around town, never does any actual work on it, and it’s immediately declared the most influential tome since the Bible. (And in Summer’s case, that’s not even an exaggeration.)
Then he did it AGAIN by having Even Lamer Judy Jetson become Summer’s biographer, in a world where that somehow makes even less sense. “Writing runs in my family!” Then how the hell did you survive the “burnings?” Whatever they were.
I don’t know how I wanted Funky Winkerbean to end, but it ended perfectly. It was more arrogant. deluded, confusing, and up its own asshole than Dan Ronan could have come up with as a parody. It ended exactly how it should have.
Godwin’s Law: Funky Winkerbean edition.
It says a lot about Funky that he’s too stupid to lock the bathroom door, doesn’t it?
Funky shoulda fuckin locked the bathroom door so that Rocky wouldnt have been traumatized!
Once again, all profoundly worthy candidates.
I had to vote for “Book to the Future” because… everything. The titles on the shelf (“Strike Four,” really?), the looming robot, and especially the Dinkle Bottle Opener Jaw.
But the winner certainly won fair and square. Male nudity in the Funkyverse squicks me out quite severely, and I’m far from squeamish. There was a panel of postcoital Les where almost all of him is under the covers and I still nearly hurled looking at it.
My brain bleach is on back-order from Amazon. I guess there are a lot of Funky readers out there placing orders.
The winning panel once again illustrates Batiuk’s fuming hatred of his title character. Try to imagine this happening to any other character. It’s not possible. If it was Les in the shower, we’d hear about how manly he is and how he’s in great shape.
The lucky woman who saw him would go straight home, throw herself on her bed to sob for hours, then take an overdose of pills out of desperate, unrequited love for Les.
All this because he was too stupid to realize that he didn’t actually HAVE to name the character what he did.
And too humorless and unimaginative to find a way out of the situation. Or to just leave it alone: the Funkyverse is full of people with silly names, most of which were holdovers from Act I that nobody even noticed in Act II.
As late as November 2022, he was still naming characters “the auctioneer Ferris Wheeler.” 1/4 inch, folks.
Behold, Mindy punching Les in the face [url=https://ibb.co/m6Pb6n4][img]https://i.ibb.co/FgdmgQz/FEF39-E19-678-C-4-D34-96-F2-9-FFC91-FCCD24.jpg[/img][/url]
I’d’ve voted for “Love Is Terrifying” had it been a nominee. I’m pretty sure that’s everyone’s reaction to encountering latter-day Funky Winkerbean.