Author Archives: beckoningchasm

Starring Crankshaft as Pennywise

Link to today’s strip.

As usual, Sunday’s strip was not available for preview. Who knows what it might be?  Comic book cover, obliquely referencing Pete and Mindy. who will be stuffed into a corner speaking utterly irrelevant idiocies?  Funky and Les jogging?  Someone vomiting at Montoni’s?  Les hawking the new Lisa book?  (Never has the term “hawking,” in it’s alternate spelling of “hocking,” and meaning “spitting up phlegm,” been more appropriately deployed.)  I can’t think of any other irons that Tom Batiuk has in the fire, though his capacity to surprise–in the most disappointing way–is beyond my ability to predict.

In the real world, the new movie based on Stephen King’s It is projected to take off at the box office–it has already sold something like 20-odd million pre-order tickets, which is pretty rare for something whose title doesn’t begin with “Star” followed by “Wars.”  The film is projected to break box office records for a horror movie.

The film will certainly dethrone Starbuck Jones The Movie at the box office, but this is hardly surprising given Jones‘ performance.  With a first weekend gross of $42 million, Jones debuted respectably for the most anemic Labor Day weekend in over a decade, but subsequent box office returns have seen the film plummeting disastrously–forecasts have it earning just a little over $1000 total for this weekend, at over 2500 theaters (this figure includes children’s matinee showings, oddly enough almost entirely attended by the elderly).  Cable Movie Entertainment spokesman Mason Jarre says the studio is proceeding with the sequel nonetheless, and adds that he feels the upcoming China opening will boost the film’s profile and profits.    His optimism flies in the face of Chinese film commissioner Wong Wei Feldman’s repeated assertions that there are no plans to open the film in China, and that in fact, the Chinese want no part of Starbuck Jones The Movie.   “I have seen stills assembled by someone named John Howard,” Mr. Feldman has stated, “and it looks like garbage…garbage set on fire, and dumped into a vat of sewage.  And we have plenty of that here.”   He then waved off reporters and jumped into his auto-gyro (“The Spirit of St. Louis” emblazoned on the side) and shouted that he was late for his engagement in Wu Hu.

And that, my friends, is my last posting on this go-round of Son of Stuck Funky.  Oh, as Ahnuld said, “I’ll be back,” but in the meantime please give a warm SoSF welcome to the fantastic DavidO, who becomes the new Number Two starting Monday, as I slither back under the storm drains.

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Skin Flakes, Phlegm and Excrement for Color

Link to today’s strip.

So, everyone wanted to see Crankshaft, probably in the futile hope that his demise would be depicted onscreen.

Well, here’s Crankshaft.  He looks like a plastic bag filled with pus trying to decide if gravity is worth resisting any longer.

Tom Batiuk keeps trying to shove Crankshaft down our throats.  And it never works.  No one cares about Crankshaft, it has never generated any interest in anyone to watch it unfold.  I suspect it’s a very low performer, newspaper-wise, and perhaps Mr. Batiuk is trying to shovel his legacy over there now that he has destroyed Funky Winkerbean.  But that’s like trying to choose between a burning building and a sea full of sharks.

And to be honest, the fact that Mindy seeks the approval of the Old, Unplaceable Odor makes her a truly terrible person.  At least Pm N Jff recognize that Crankshaft is something to be tolerated, not cultivated.

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But The Grandfather

Link to today’s strip.

Pete looks utterly distraught in that last panel–Oh, my God!  She’s making me meet her grandfather!  Well, this relationship is over…too bad, I thought it might have worked, but no, she’s gotta bring in the grandfather….

I can’t think of any other explanation for the expression oozing off his face–unless he once had a dream that he would die at the hands of some girl’s grandfather, and all of this is exactly like that dream….

The point is, he sure doesn’t look happy at all about this, and it’s worrying him to the point where he doesn’t even notice Mindy’s transformation into a 1960’s toothpaste advertisement.

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Re-Pete-I-Tion

Link to today’s strip.

I find the most reasonable explanation for Mindy’s attraction to Pete is the one offered by a number of commentors–she’s hoping to sleep her way into some of those Starbuck Jones/Cable Movie Entertainment millions so she can buy her way out of this strip.  That’s surprisingly cynical for a strip like this, but, let’s face it–Pete is otherwise a repellent character, who has no attractive features of any kind, and only an insane/desperate person would find him worthy of affection.  I mean, he and Mindy had two remarkably stupid conversations, and suddenly she wants to divert from the airport to Bedside Manor?  (To meet He Who Shall Not Be Named In This Strip, of course.)  I’d find it more plausible if she was driving him to some remote field where she’d force him to dig his own grave before gifting him with a bullet.

Pete is one manifestation of the Ultimate Batiuk Form–the Whiner.  If Mindy is serious about wanting to be with him, she had better get used to endless whining about how hard he has to work at what would otherwise be his dream job.  Because those who exist in the Funkyverse without constant complaining don’t truly exist at all.

Of course, the sleeping-to-the-top theory falls down when you realize this would mean a female character has drive and ambition–and those things are not directed toward bringing milk and cookies to her comic-reading man.  Sorry, everyone.

It does remind me of the old Hollywood joke–this one comes from the 1930’s I believe, so it’s right there on Nostalgia Boulevard.  “Did you hear about the aspiring actress?  She was so stupid, she slept with the writer!”

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The Shape of Things to Come

Link to today’s strip.

Can’t think of much to say about this one, except I’m sure the “book tour” will be excruciating.  I don’t know what Les means about a physical trainer helping him to look less old than he is–he needs a beautician (or, even better, a mortician) for that.   I wonder if the original word was not “older” but “fatter”?  That makes more sense, though it also implies Les might be flawed, and we just can’t have that.  Les will grow older, as everything does, but he is not in bad physical shape.   Certainly not like some people we could mention.

The stupid non-punchline is made worse by Dullard’s reaction–

Back when I watched a lot of anime, that face meant over-the-top enjoyment, as if a person got a surprise birthday party, or a piece of cake, or saw a really dreamy boy, or something along those lines.  If Dullard is so wrought by Les’ idiot statements, then he is even more worthless than I thought possible.

Of course, it could be that I’m looking at this the wrong way, and that Dullard has been affected by Les in the same way that the takers of dimethyltryptamine-19 from Banshee Chapter were affected:

If so, that would be the most interesting development this strip has had in decades…which of course, takes it right off the table.  Darn it!

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The Words Get In The Way

Link to today’s strip.

(Sorry I’m late!  Things…happened…)

Panels one and two are the funniest things I’ve seen in this strip for a long time.  “This is the cover for ‘Prelude'” says Dullard, handing Les an image that’s got PRELUDE written on it in huge letters.  Does Dullard have the same contempt for Les that the rest of us have?  Maybe he’s not such a bad guy after all!

Just kidding.  Dullard is thoroughly hateable, and if he likes to insult Les to his face, that’s not mitigating enough.

Normally, the titles and such wouldn’t be done by the artist, but by a typographer–so, if this was normal, Dullard might have to explain which cover went with which book.  But as you can see, Tom Batiuk didn’t even bother to change the author name to “Les Moore,” so this is exactly what it looks like–an advertisement.  Remember that $80 behemoth that Fearless Leader found?  Gotta get the word out!

I still find it hard to believe that anyone could read 862 pages of Les Moore.  That sounds like an elaborate suicide attempt, albeit much more painful than the traditional ones.

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Door-To-Door Dullard

Link to today’s strip.

The problems of working a year in advance are many, but this instance sets up a lovely contrast with reality.  I’m sure you can all see the headline on “Variety” there, trumpeting the Starbuck Jones movie’s success.   Well, IMDB has a headline that’s probably nearer the mark:

I still find it odd that there’s no room in Funky Winkerbean for anyone’s success but Les Moore…that we’re told of the movie’s success by an off-hand headline that you kind of figure Tom Batiuk didn’t want to put in at all.   I wonder if the new artist said, “Damn it, I spent a couple of hours drawing all that Starbuck Jones crap, so it better be a hit film!”

Oh, and speaking of a pile of festering garbage, there he is, smirking away!  He doesn’t get a line today, but we all know that won’t last.

I have to admit, I like the level of detail on the doorframe.  It’s meaningless and adds clutter to the image, but damn if someone didn’t decide that you just can’t have a doorframe without all the holes for the locks and such.  Pity none of those locks actually work, as it didn’t keep Dullard from wandering right in, but look at it this way:  they also wouldn’t keep an insane murderer out, either.

Hint, hint.

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