(Do you know what a blizzard at the end of March, right in the heart of calving season means?)
(It means you only get an Anniversary TimeMop cover today. And I get to finally sleep after a day and night of coddling chilly newborn calves.)
This time last year, we here at SOSF were celebrating 50 years of this silly strip by exploring Act I and wondering if Funky Winkerbean would ever end.
Now here we are, a year later, watching something neither alive, nor really dead. The current Funkyshaftverse wearing old Crankshaft’s skinned face. A strange zombie creation. Ailing siblings grafted into one. Horrifying, reverse-engineered, conjoined twins staggering limply from one ashen grey, putrescent yellow, and sickly blue plotline to another.
And yet, this new amalgamation was born 51 years ago. So let us mark the day.
What rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Centerville to be boring?
54 responses to “Happy Birthday Funky Winkerbean!”
It’s been almost three months now, and it still seems kind of hard to believe. The last few months of the strip were like a blur of anti-climaxes, one after the other. Then again, you could say that about the entirety of Act III in general, I suppose. He probably should have bagged it right after he killed Lisa, as that way FW would always be remembered as the grimmest, most downbeat thing ever. But he even messed THAT up.
Sure, some of you might think that’s a typo. But while Time in the Funkyverse may *seem* liquid, it does not flow like a stream. It’s more like a gas — a fuzzy, gauzy impermanent entity impossible to pin down, and one that also often stinks.
Only someone extraordinarily skilled in the art of mopping can mop gaseous steam. And only the chosen wielder of the TimeMop can handle — the TimeSteam!
Um…yes! Of course! All according to plan…
So smart of you to pick that out! Aren’t we both just such smart people!?
All I can say is “good a call!”
I know SoSF aims to keep up the Batiuk tradition of bowles-shatteringly creative spelling!
The way things have turned out is definitely not what anyone would have predicted but it does seem to be the logical conclusion.
Because TomBa was laser focused on the plot lines in FW, I think it’s fair to say that Ayers and later Davis had more leeway with Crankshaft until it became clear that FW was going to end. At that point, he began to become more involved with the strip and his choice appears to be to push Ed into the background and to import the Komix Korner and possibly Atomik Comix into the strip. His author avatar for that will be Jfff (but don’t rule out occasional Batton Thomas sightings as well).
Judging from the comments at gocomics, many longtime readers are disappointed in the new direction Crankshaft has taken, and many others think it is not nice to criticize the strip.
Even comic book fans are tired of all the comic book crap that has been foisted upon this strip.
There is precedent for the title character becoming a bit player in his own strip so that Batiuk can rant about his non-issues and his misdirected mommy issues. Look what happened to Funky. He’s already pretty much erased already.
Funky was shoved into the background, but he didn’t become an outright villain. I think today’s Crankshaft strip is pretty momentous, because it portends Crankshaft being the destroyer of Jeff’s precious comic books. I’m actually kind of curious how it turns out.
Would love to see Ed go off on Jfff and his stupid love of comic books. I can hear it now: “Comic books?!? See this is what happens when you aren’t drafted to fight in a war at a young age. Vietnam would cured you of your sissy love of comic books.”
It’s going to be like that “Kent State revisited” arc, where Pmm continued to hide her involvement in the incident, because Ed Crankshaft must be appeased at all times. Even though she was pushing 50 by then, and it was way past time to stop keeping secrets from daddy. Especially when her role was so secondary, and was so on the right side of history.
He had an inkling that she might have been involved which he unjustly blamed on the Jfffff whose reaction to the crowd beginning to form was to want to take her by the arm so they could amble away quietly and not stop until they got to Winterpeg, Manisnowba.
Why didn’t Pam shut Ed up by simply telling the truth? “The National Guard you’re so proud of was about to execute me for taking pictures, but one of them turned out to be your friend’s later-killed-in-Vietnam son who helped me to safety!”
The story raises an obvious conflict at the center of who these characters are. Then it completely ignores it to preserve the status quo. Same thing that happened in the Holly-Melinda broken ankle story (the last time we ever saw Melinda). Same thing that’s going to happen in Crankshaft this week. when Ed destroys Jeff’s precious comic books, and Jeff stands there and does nothing. Again.
Best Yeats nod/parody ever, CBH.
Truly! It makes you want to turn and turn in the widening gyre, and shout for Redwing to return to the Falcon.
CBH shows that the best, every now and again, are filled with a passionate intensity, while the worst lack even a band turkey and a bottle of salad dressing.
Can you please wait until I put down my coffee? My goodness, you should see the laugh-tastic mess I just made.
1. I knew widening gyre from the Batman comic. I think is was by Kevin Smith. Unfinished maybe? But Anonymous Sparrow does it again, and throttles up my curiosity. Found “the Second Coming.” Read it. Looked up the meaning to widening gyre. Makes sense in an ever growing arc in my reasoning. I thought Yeats was older. 1800’s even. I should never ask for “Poets” in Jeopardy. (Spoke too soon. Yeats born in 1865. Died 1939.)
2. I enjoyed your comment yesterday regarding “Dives and Lazarus.” One particular denomination considers it a parable because it illustrates a literal hell. Sorry. No can do. Jesus never calls it a parable. Too many down to earth human reactions and realistic people. Very easy story to relate to and grasp the meaning: accept the Savior. Change your ways by reading the Old and New Testament and you can escape hell. Unfortunately, a real place.
AS, take care, my friend. Someday, you and I must head to New Mexico and have a Merlot with BWOEH. 🤪😜😎
“The Second Coming” is a gold mine for titles: Joan Didion took *Slouching Towards Bethlehem* from it, and Robert B. Parker took *The Widening Gyre* (beat you to it, Kevin Smith!) and *Ceremony* (as in “the ceremony of innocence is drowned”). And I believe that there’s a book in which a fictitious soap opera has the name “A Passionate Intensity.” (“Grandpa Google” tells me that *A Passionate Intensity* is also the title of a book about Dorothy Healy, who should not be confused with Dorothy Healey.)
Yeats’s epitaph from “Under Ben Bulben” inspired Mary McCarthy (*Cast a Cold Eye*) and Larry McMurtry (*Horseman, Pass By,* which became the movie “Hud”). Someone has to have written a book called *On Life, On Death,* using the rest of the verse!
Cast a cold eye
On life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!
If you haven’t guessed, Yeats is one of my favorite poets, and certainly my favorite Irish poet. (Calm down, Seamus Heaney.)
Thank you for giving me some additional food for thought (more substantial than hot dogs and peas) on Dives and Lazarus (another good version of the song comes from Maddy Prior, who has recorded two albums with the previously mentioned June Tabor). It set me to thinking about Lazarus’s sisters, Mary and Martha, and what happened when Christ came to call.
“But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
New Mexico is the Land of Enchantment…a jug of Merlot, a loaf of bread, SP and BWOEH…ah, rapture! May it come to pass someday!
Wow! I gotta get me some Yeats. You make his writings so alive.
I have been reading, “A World Restored” by Henry Kissinger. It is about the diplomacy that rebuilt Europe after Napoleon and kept the peace for 100 years. Whether good or bad, HK knows his diplomacy and history.
I also thought of you while watching “Nicholas and Alexandra.” The movie about the Romanovs. Tom Baker, Dr Who, just mesmerized as the priest Rasputin.
I think Ukraine will create great upheaval on that continent.
Does Yeats write about WW1 or it’s aftermath?
You are appreciated. You are one of many in my prayers that I ask God to keep blessing and use.
Stay healthy, my friend. ♥️💖❤️😎🌺💐🌹
Yeats did his best not to write about World War I, as his 1915’s “On Being Asked for a War Poem” should prove:
I think it better that in times like these
A poet’s mouth be silent, for in truth
We have no gift to set a statesman right;
He has had enough of meddling who can please
A young girl in the indolence of her youth,
Or an old man upon a winter’s night.
His mentor, Lady Gregory, lost her son Major Robert Gregory in the War, and Yeats refers to him in at least three poems (“In Memory of Major Robert Gregory,” “An Irish Airman Foresees His Death” and “The Municipal Gallery Revisited”), but he was no Siegfried Sassoon or Wilfred Owen (or Ezra Pound, whose “Hugh Selwyn Mauberley” fairly drips with rage for what those who fought in the War found out later). He touches a bit on the Anglo-Irish War of 1919-21 in his verse, but while he recognized that Thomas Mann was correct in saying that “in our time the destiny of man presents its meanings in political terms,” he could still write of wanting something else in his 1939 poem “Politics”:
How can I, that girl standing there,
My attention fix
On Roman or on Russian
Or on Spanish politics,
Yet here’s a travelled man that knows
What he talks about,
And there’s a politician
That has both read and thought,
And maybe what they say is true
Of war and war’s alarms,
But O that I were young again
And held her in my arms.
In terms of Irish history, Yeats was in Scotland in 1907 when the *Playboy of the Western World* riots erupted, and he was in Paris in 1916 when the Easter Rising occurred in Dublin. (Which may be what makes his “Easter 1916” so powerful. Had he been there, the poem would have been very different, perhaps a sequel to “September 1913.”) He’s buried “under Ben Bulben,” yes, but he died in France, and wasn’t buried in Ireland until 1948, nine years after his death.
I saw “Nicholas and Alexandra” with my mother when it opened in 1971. I hadn’t realized it was Tom Baker as Rasputin (a tough man to kill, even if he couldn’t regenerate like a certain Time Lord)…for me, he’ll always be Puddleglum in a TV version of C.S. Lewis’s *Silver Chair.* (Respectobiggle!)
Weirdly, part of my current reading is a “Doctor Who” novel, Dan Abnett’s *Silent Stars Go By.* The Doctor is the Eleventh (Matt Smith), though, not the Fourth (Baker).
Henry Kissinger will be 100 on May 27th. When he passes, the obituaries should be interesting.
I’ve read his *Diplomacy* and like his notion that U.S. foreign policy is a conflict between the pragmatism of Theodore Roosevelt and the idealism of Woodrow Wilson.
All the best to you!
1. Kissinger is a pleasant read. I have read many of his works. Diplomacy is a highlight. His book on China was enlightening. I hope to read his book on ending the Viet Nam War.
2. Dan Abnett is pure joy. He assisted Keith Griffin on Annihilation, a massive Marvel crossover of all of their cosmic characters. He wrote Nova. It was an early chapter in the story. It proved the high cost in lives the story would take. Don’t confuse it with the inferior Annihilation 2. Abnett moved on to Guardians of the Galaxy that led them into the MCU.
3. I will have to check out his Doctor Who story. I love Matt Smith.
4. You like BWOEH have power over me. I just bought the Kindle version of the complete works of William Butler Yeats. I have many days of happy reading ahead of me. Thank you.
Yes, “Widening Gyre” was a Batman series by Kevin Smith, which was never finished and which no one seems all that perturbed about.
For anyone who’s not had the “privilege” of knowing about Kevin Smith’s “Batman: Widening Gyre”, it’s… not good. Its most infamous scene is a flashback to an actually cool scene from Frank Miller’s “Batman: Year One”. Smith decided that the scene would be improved if it were revealed that Batman accidentally wet his pants during that scene.
Yes, that was a thing that happened. DC was given that script, approved it, printed it, and sold it to the public.
Whatever problems Tom Batiuk may have with the campy TV show, at least Adam West’s Batman never peed himself.
(The plot of “Widening Gyre” also involves Batman meeting a new hero in Gotham calling himself “Baphomet”, and deciding “yeah, I can trust this dude with my secret identity”. Turns out he wasn’t as trustworthy as The World’s Greatest Detective thought. Go figure. Like I said, no one seems overly bothered that the series never got finished…)
Green Luthor! Great to talk to you. 👍
I had forgotten about Batman’s self urination!
Kevin Smith is a unique individual. He tries to be a very transparent person. I think he succeeds. His first movie, Clerks, contained everything good and bad about Kevin Smith. Fascinating characters, loyalty and comradely, great dialogue, intriguing situations. Excellent use of cameras, music, and film. Very brave and took a huge chance that hit a home run. But it also illustrated his worst habits: drugs, profanity, and complete focus on sex and/or bathroom functions.
When he focuses more on his (+)’s, he is a genius director. I give you “Dogma.” But wow, if he can’t see past his (-)’s, you get “Clerks 3.
Now as a person, he is open, transparent, and very giving. He spoke in Kansas City Missouri. Fans could buy 10 minutes of his time and speak to him personally after the show. My brother did so. Yet Kevin Smith, quickly discovered my brother did a podcast. He had my brother start his podcast, and Kevin interviewed him instead of vice versa. He is very giving of his time. For that alone, I enjoy his art.
Well, I better quit, Green Luthor, you are the man!
Pondering a FW without Funky is kind of an interesting thought, mostly to wonder how much of the strip we would actually lose without him.
Even when TB actually wrote for Funky in Act III, the character was rarely important to any of the ideas that TB wanted to communicate. The rare times he was important to the point of a story arc were the AA weeks… and I think we all rank those near the bottom of the many many story arcs we already ranked near the bottom.
Funky’s most important role in Act III was turning on the lights at Montoni’s.
Over at Go Comics commenter seismic-2 pointed out that in FW Jff sold his collection to Holly. I can’t remember if that’s accurate. If so, we have another retcon occurring.
I only recall Jff giving Holly an issue of Starbuck Jones back when she was on her quest to complete Cory’s collection. And he didn’t even bother to show up in FW to give it to her, he made Mindy do it.
Wow, look at Holly’s expression in the last panel, I bet she makes that same face when she sees a chocolate cake.
And what’s with letting a girl handle a precious comic book? Jfff deserves to have his collection destroyed!
Yeah, that reaction doesn’t really fit, does it? She’s doing a project for her son; it’s not her own passion. You might think she’s elated at not having to pay for a rare piece of the collection, but she dropped $50,000 on a different one, so money’s hardly an issue.
The deal TimeMop offers Funky reminds of A Few Seconds of Radiant Filmstrip by Kevin Brockmeier. Was that the inspiration?
Thank you for keeping the lights on here!
be ware of eve hill is lighting a candle in memory of Funky Winkerbean (the character).
In the most recent BattyBlog posting of “John Darling”, we learn that apparently The Rockford Files starred, uh, I think Bryant Gumbel?
Also there’s an attempted ‘joke’ that in no way justifies five big Sunday panels. But, c’mon, that’snothing new.
Tuesday’s Crankshaft is yet more evidence that one should never, ever read Crankshaft.
Didn’t he just buy the comic books last week? WTF is even going on?
The GoComics commenters seem to be yelling at clouds. They’re still whining about “angry” people.
There were only 17 comments, and I didn’t see any snark. Is the GoComics moderator working overtime to keep Crankshaft snark free? Must be a fun job. /s
I’m trying to think of a word to describe “saying goodbye to my comics” and I can’t think of one. “Pathetic” just won’t do it. In fact, whatever the word is, “pathetic” beats it up and takes its lunch money.
“tcayer” on GoComics had today’s winning comment: “Saying ‘Goodbye’ to something that you bought, wrapped in mylar, stuffed in a box, put in the attic, and never touched again. I can see how this might be hard for you.”
I think I’ve posted on Crankshaft twice on GoComics, both mildly (but not overly) snarky, and both were gone by either the next day or the day after. Either they’re on a strict “no snark” crusade, or they just don’t like me in particular.
So many bans going on.
Comments on GoComics disappearing. Profiles receiving temporary and permanent bans, often not knowing why.
A few months ago, a commenter here said they were permanently banned from GoComics due to snarking on LuAnn.
ComicBookHarriet was shadowbanned from GoComics for pointing out Dan Davis recycled artwork and stole from Chuck Ayers.
Somebody else said they received a permanent ban from The Comics Curmudgeon.
The Comics Kingdom changed their commenting platform from Disqus to OpenWeb because they thought the discussions were too uncivil. Since the change, it seems like there’s only a handful of people commenting there. Comic strip after comic strip, it’s the same names. Quite a few comics strips on CK have zero comments.
Son of Stuck Funky, your safe haven for comics strip snarking.
It’s the world we live in today.
See someone with an opinion that differs from yours? Why not engage them in debate, present your viewpoint, offer evidence and entertain the possibility that you might have your viewpoint changed?
Nah. Easier to just get the other person banned.
(Just in case it’s not clear, I’m using the editorial “you.”)
Engage, bc? Without hurling epithets? It seems a lost art.
Anyway, I have an even more radical idea! What if you (editorial “you”) disagreed with a comment — and just ignored it? Literally looked at it, and then scrolled on by?
Crazy idea, I know. It’ll never catch on.
SOSF is the freest sight on the internet. Other than BWOEH getting herself and me temporarily banned for our sports talk about the KCChiefs, I don’t know if any other bans. BWOEH, you may not know this, but I got us reinstated for $59 out of your account. It was the least I could do. Good times. Good times. 😱🤢🤥
Online comic strip fandoms are somewhere between Howlers and The Swarm. They can quickly detect non-believers, and run them out of Dodge quickly, even if your behavior is perfectly reasonable. Such forums breed a “Truefans only” attitude.
Those “Flame Warrior” characters date back to the 90s, but are still pretty on-point.
Mallard Fillmore on the Comics Kingdom used to have over 200 comments a day, most having nothing at all to do with the comic. Today, there is a whopping 23 comments.
Guess where they all are now? Arcamax (247 comments). What good is a “civil community” if over a hundred readers bail from your website? All those page views and unseen ads out the window.
Another One thing I’ve noticed about OpenWeb. A page find (Ctrl f) does not work. It always returns zero results from the comments.
I’m still trying to discover an advantage of OpenWeb over Disqus. Anybody know of any?
My problem ticket from 11/30/2022 remains in “PENDING” status. I’m guessing Comics Kingdom IT is forbidden to fix OpenWeb issues and doesn’t want to pay OW to fix them. My other three non OpenWeb problem tickets were resolved in a matter of days.
SP, a.k.a. the Teddy Bear Who Walks Like a Man,
Banned? Crikey, what a drama queen. Epicus Doomus let me off with a gentle warning way back in September. You’re the one who brought up the Super Bowl win in SoSF last month.
Small amounts of cannabis were decriminalized in KC a couple of years after I moved away. Are you sticking a pinch between your cheek and gum? Sprinkling it on your Corn Flakes? Snorting it? Freebasing? Do you have a “Secret Garden” in your attic like Ed Crankshaft?
Sorial Promise, what a strange person.
Every time I pick up keyboard to respond, I get genius-lock. (a rare malady. [or perhaps I am a rare melody?] oh well.) So I must rely on the Duck of Death method and just move on. Or as the Bear that walks as a Man would say, “Be the bigger man.” But I am the bigger man. I outweigh you by 100lbs. I think you got me in height. On my best younger days, I was only 5’8”.
For an HOA nearly victorious candidate, you should be nicer to a potential voter. Follow my example. I am nicer to me. 🤩
Earlier this week, I have watched Zulu Dawn 1979 with Burt Lancaster. Tonight I will watch the out of time sequel, Zulu 1964, Michael Caine’s first movie. Then top off the week with one of your favorite films, Asphalt Jungle with Sam Jaffe.
I am getting goosebumps of anticipation. 🫂
Sorry. I too far with my teasing. You’re a drug counselor, aren’t you? 🤦♀️🔫
All the movies you mentioned are good. Zulu and The Asphalt Jungle are classics. Watching the Zulu movies almost back to back sounds pretty cool. You giving Sam Jaffe top billing over Sterling Hayden? If you’re a Sam Jaffee fan, heartily I recommend Gunga Din, if you haven’t already seen it.
We had a SHOWTIME free preview this past weekend. One of the movies we recorded was Everything Everywhere All at Once. I’ll get to see what the big Oscar hubbub was all about.
Come down off that ledge, Eve.
You are talking to the bravest man in SOSF. I literally poke “the Be Ware” whose husband sits at home making bullets all day. Am I brave or what? Or as CBH would say, “Dashingly handsome.” She is a neutral, unbiased source. You may quote me. Well, at least as handsome as a Bear who walks like a Man can be in extreme Froot Loop Dingus.
Did you read that Anonymous Sparrow is up for a trip to New Mexico?
The Sam Jaffe remark was only a dig. Although he is spectacular in that film. Yet Sterling Hayden owns the movie. One of his best films, and you are his biggest fan. When I watch it , I will send kind thoughts to both you and Spleen-Crusher Mal.
I have seen most of Everything Everywhere All at Once. Weird, Wonderful, Wacky. It is the Multiverse done right. Light years ahead of Marvel movies. Great stars.
It’s good to know that you and Mal are High Plains Drifters! ♥️💖❤️😱🫂🌺💐🌹
Yeah I noticed the same. I was tempted to post and say that the only reason I bother with this strip is for the snark and then laugh at them for being a serious reader.
Today, on the BatBlog, a long, lengthy, drawn-out, blathering bloviation about TB’s wandering around a construction site and coming up with the BEST, you guise I’m serious, the BEST, BESTEST idea ever for a Dinkle plot. But he forgot it! He forgot his BESTEST EVER idea!
Boy, you would’ve loved it! Even the snarkiest SoSF’er wouldn’t have been able to muster a word of criticism! What a doozy of an idea! One for the books! Pretty much a Pulitzer shoo-in! If only he could remember what it was!
That reminds me. I came up with an idea to get free electricity in every socket in the world. No wires, no nuclear or solar. Just free electricity. This idea will change the world! I forgot it, though.
Batiuk forgot his BESTEST EVER idea about Dinkle, so he went back to old reliable. Dinkle is an inconsiderate jackass who does whatever he pleases. Others be damned.
That bit never gets old. Everybody loves it. Right? /s
I’m just going to assume the idea was that Dinkle was secretly part of a cabal of time-traveling band directors, dedicated to making sure everyone knows the Gospel of St. Claude Barlow.
The auto-color-coded tagging system my brain uses marked it as quite possibly the best band director idea I’ll ever have.
“There is research to suggest that the likelihood of having synesthesia is greater in people with autism spectrum condition.”
I didn’t say it. Wikipedia did.
51 years and 52 comments. (Except for this one.) Seems appropriate.