Author Archives: beckoningchasm

The Ladder of Divine Ascent

Link to today’s strip.

Here we have the quintessential “tell, don’t show” strip as everyone stands around marveling at a display of which we, of course, get barely a glimpse. Instead, we get to look at a quintet of imbeciles.

The real treat is panel three, where Tony speeds out of Montoni’s with a huge ladder, that was apparently just sitting around somewhere. Funky looks puzzled, Wally looks at the floor, and Adeela’s face is almost covered by a crucifix! There, that’ll show her! Based on what we can see, she’s either amused or about to throw up.

Holly’s face is that of sheer terror. Tony’s face seems to say “Ha ha, fooled you!” and I think Holly is about to yell to Funky, “Stop him! That grotesque old gnome is stealing our only ladder!

But no, he’s just using one of the non-black Santa hats to plop onto the Montoni’s mascot. Giving us, in the process, another unneeded look at his fat ass. Something tells me that hat won’t survive the first gust that comes along, but at least someone actually tried to do something without bemoaning the oncoming failure.

I will say this: the street in that last panel is very well presented. It looks like it’s wet from freshly melted snow, so good on whoever was responsible for that detail.

And that’s it from me for this go-round. Tune in tomorrow when Epicus Doomus sits in the center seat. See you on the Funway!

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Attack of the Clowns

Link to today’s strip.

“What should I do with this Santa hat? It’s red and kind of cheerful. Should I throw it in the trash?”

I hope K-2SO is suitable mortified to appear in Funky Winkerbean. I’m not sure why he’s making an appearance at all, other than Batiuk recounting his re-reading of Isaac Asimov’s “robot” stories. Which begs the question, why isn’t this Isaac from the Starbuck Jones comics? It’s one of Batiuk’s own creations, and he certainly hasn’t let up on the Starbuck Jones horn much since that was introduced. Maybe, as Red Letter Media would say, Batiuk is subverting our expectations.

Of course, K-2SO is not an Asimov robot, he’s a Star Wars droid. Who appeared in a movie, not in a comic book*, but I guess John’s shop is just an emporium for all kinds of pop culture ephemera. I wanted to say “garbage” but in the spirit of the season I’m being nice.

*Yes, there probably was a comic book adaptation of Rogue One, but considering how far Star War‘s fortunes have fallen since 2016, I doubt a lot of people are hunting it down…especially if the so-called “time jump” means that Rogue One opened fourteen years ago. And double yes, there are far older properties that are still celebrated, but I don’t think Rogue One is going to join that list. It’s a decent film in a franchise that has better entries. Funky Winkerbean should aspire so high.

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The Longest Short Story

Link to today’s strip.

First off, those are the blackest “Santa hats” I’ve ever seen. I guess the band is going to play at Santa’s wake.

But really, in what way is this a “long story”? Funky appears to be able to tell the entire thing in a single sentence. But they had to make coffee and settle in a booth so he could do this?

This makes me think Funky’s “That’s a long story” is his way of saying “Stop bothering me.” So Adeela went off and made coffee and came back and said “I made coffee” and Funky responded “Oh okay.”

And then he got bored and told the story in the dullest way possible, rather than trying to make it interesting. Hey, if his creator can’t do it, what chance does Funky have?

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I Saw The Light

Link to today’s strip.

This is another baffler. In panel one, young Funky appears to be having a pleasant acid trip. In panel two, old Funky carefully arranges huge Christmas lights on a tree that looks unable to support said lights.

I guess it’s something to with colored lights being nice to look at? The odd candle-lights Funky is arranging are the same colors as the floating balls in panel one.

Whatever Batiuk is going for, this is way too subtle for me. Or dumb. Reader’s choice.

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Tag – You’re It!

Link to today’s strip.

This is probably more “inside baseball” than you folks need, but WordPress has recently changed the post editor into a near-disastrous model. Everything is hidden, and when it isn’t, it’s nowhere near where it should be.

We used to have a list of all the tags available for a post, so we could pick and choose which ones were appropriate. Now, we have to guess–typing the first three letters will usually bring up something, but not always.

All this is an extremely roundabout way of saying that when Tony showed up on Monday, I typed in “ton” and got not only “Tony” but “Tony’s stupid ideas.” And today’s strip illustrates that perfectly! “Who’s going to feed them” is not the only legitimate question–“Where are they going to go, on the roof, all day and night?” is another good one. “Where do they go after Christmas?” “Who’s paying for this?” There are lots more.

Thank you, Tony’s stupid ideas.

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Decryption in Progress

Link to today’s strip.

I have no idea what a “sanctuary pizzeria” is supposed to be. Once again though, we see someone stick their tongue out while doing menial tasks, it looks just as stupid as it did before.

And once again, it’s Montoni’s and Adeela is front and center. Why? Easy.

Adeela is one of two characters in this strip who is to be treated with kid gloves, whose beliefs and thoughts are always to be held in high regard, while everyone else gets kicked in the guts and has to say they like it. She’s here so Batiuk can get awards for “inclusion” and “diversity” and that’s the only reason she’s here at all. Nothing is ever done regarding her character except bringing up her religion, and that’s just so everyone can tiptoe around it.

(Note: I have nothing against “diversity” among characters. But they have to be characters first.)

Well, this strip is never going to win awards, because the person behind the “writing” can never come up with good characters or a convincing scenario that would appeal to anyone. So, yeah, Adeela will be in every Montoni’s strip from now on, because someone has to have an award they’re really desperate to give away, and one of these days that person might read this strip.

There’s one other character who is treated the same way, and that’s Les Moore. If that doesn’t give you incentive to hate Adeela, nothing will.

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The Tony Awards

Link to today’s strip.

For a nice change of pace, everyone in today’s strip looks cheerful. As usual, though, there are no customers to be seen. Not even freeloaders like Harry.

What happened to Adeela in panel two? She was right next to Holly, and now she’s been shunted to the rear of the restaurant. And why is she there? I thought Wally and Adeela were managers who worked different shifts, though I don’t care to remember who had the day and who had the night.

I guess Batiuk feels if she’s not a part of every Montoni’s strip going forward, he’s not going to get any of those diversity awards.

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Strauss Test

Link to today’s strip.

I’m somewhat familiar with Richard Strauss’ work, but not so I can point to something he wrote for the holiday. Perhaps he did, or perhaps Tom Batiuk thought of this bit (reminiscent of the late Norm Crosby) and just couldn’t find another way to present it.

He couldn’t use Johann Strauss (either of them) because “Viennese” is too close to “Vietnamese” and thus might be a simple mistake in pronunciation. No, the students must be presented as dunderheads beyond measure or redemption. I mean, just look how Becky’s face has fallen in that last panel. So, Richard Strauss it is. Even though the students might think Johann Strauss was “Australian,” and that’s surely a malapropism good enough for Funky Winkerbean.

Strauss Waltzes are often used in holiday programs because they’re light and fun. But “Light and Fun” have no place in the Funkyverse. Maybe Becky should choose some Nick Cave songs for the holiday program–that would go over well.

(NB: I like Mr. Cave’s music a great deal, but it’s not the sort of thing one plays in celebration. Some songs are quite lovely, but his work is typically rather dark and gloomy. And before you say it, even at his worst his work has too much quality to appear in this strip.)

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To Have and Have Not

Link to today’s strip.

First off, kudos to unca scrooge and others who noted that the joke in yesterday’s strip had to do with men being last-minute shoppers, while women were ahead of the game. The presentation was unusually subtle; generally, Tom Batiuk can’t help but have one of his characters point out how clever he is.

And the joke would have worked fine…in a sitcom made during the early 1960s. But here in the technical vastness of the future, we can surmise that surely humor is very different.

Take today’s thing. It seemed pretty obvious from the outset that the pun being avoided here was something Batiuk was aching to use. The fact that he now denies himself is quite odd. Including it would have made at least one joke, no matter how poor; keeping it out just makes today’s strip one more pointless episode in a long string of them.

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Wrappin’ Around

Link to today’s strip.

I’m going to guess that the “joke” here is that people get more frantic and desperate the closer the holidays get.

There’s not a lot of visual evidence for that guess, but that’s what I’m going with. In fact, panel two seems to have some of the same folks as panel one–sky-blue coat lady and blonde, for example. I guess it could be a second shopping trip, but you’d think Tom Batiuk would want to spice it up with a little variety.

At first, I thought the bald guy near the front had brought an upright vacuum cleaner to be wrapped–which would have been a good choice a day or so ago–but on closer inspection it looks like a sauce pan. Seems like an odd thing to want wrapped, as I imagine they mostly come in their own boxes, but I don’t know–maybe you can buy them loose. Fine.

What I really like is the guy in the front of the line. What a face of absolute despair. I like to imagine he’s saying “I don’t have any family or friends, so I don’t have anything to be wrapped. My dearest wish is to have something I need wrapped.” Everyone angrily waits for him to collapse, or to shoot himself.

Callow youth even furiously checks his watch. It’s been eighteen seconds, damn it. Do what you’re gonna do and let us get our stuff wrapped.

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