Author Archives: ComicBookHarriet

Colorful Opinions

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Funky Winkerbean, a strip that only addresses the most current and topical of issues. Bringing us hot takes on the cultural debates that shape our world today. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, restored and conserved in the 80’s.

And Funky has to be one of those weird romantic hipsters that preferred the ceiling dark and dirty as the original sin it portrays. Not that he’s really alone. Go online and you will find entire cabals of passionate folk nitpicking the way they cleaned that ceiling, and they will never NEVER stop. Because there’s a genuine debate over if the ‘one solvent solves all’ approach of stripping the ceiling of anything that wasn’t painted on when the plaster was still wet erased details that our favorite pizza-loving, sewer-dwelling, turtle went back and put in there, rather than just erasing the heavy handed touch ups of early restorers.

Debate

There are others who thought that aggressively cleaning the ceiling at all was wrong. Some objects: furniture, coins, leather, firearms; collect a patina over the years that collectors consider a sin to remove, no matter how much time and oxidation have changed the appearance of the object. The ceiling as it was before showed its age, showed the hands of time and the hands of hundreds of tiny touchups by dozens of different humans through the centuries. It had accumulated a story. Who were we to erase that history?

But on the other hand, a painting is a statement by the artist. Mikey boy painted that ceiling to put into the physical world something in his mind and heart he had decided to say. If we had allowed time and grime and 18th century hands to obscure that work, we were changing the message of a man who could no longer speak for himself.

And Mikey was one odd duck, and not a guy we should ever talk over. The best story in the Sistine Chapel, one some of you might have heard, is actually on The Last Judgement wall fresco. It’s said that when Pope Paul III and some of his retinue were previewing the not complete work, the Pope’s Master of Ceremonies, Biago da Cesena, complained about all the naked people, saying the equivalent of ‘this doesn’t belong in a church, but in a bathhouse’.

Michelangelo heard this and, (In the words of my tour guide from my visit) ‘painted that man in the darkest corner of Hell, right above the door, where everyone would see him when exiting.’

A little bit of a prickly reaction. Kinda petty. Kinda vindictive. Sounds a little like something Tom would do.

But then again, Tom hardly has the artistic chops to back up his bluster. He’s no Michelangelo, a man so talented that, when poor Biago complained, all the Pope could say was, “I have no jurisdiction over Hell.”

Imagine This is Les.

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Gitmo Drops In

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I viscerally, personally know that things have been cold in the Midwest, but has anyone checked to see if the polar vortex has reached Hades?

Because, this is three days in a row now I’m not annoyed at Funky Winkerbean. This joke is tolerable. It’s kind of edgy for a guy who retconned a machine gun nest into cardboard. And its a little clunky, because obviously he’s only putting drops in the eye that was operated on, and that information is necessary for the joke, but he uses the plural in the first panel. But I can’t get mad at it.

Maybe we’re the ones who have broken under the torture. The cataract saga is nearly a month old at this point. We got a brief break from it for the most anemic OMEA arc I’ve seen in ten years. But we’ve had dozens of strips of Funky cracking wise to an annoyed health professional. Weeks of the punchline being, “This joke isn’t funny, sir.” And now, we’ve had three beautiful days of inoffensive. Yeah, we’re back to ocular humor, but this one doesn’t leave a bad taste.

You know what the difference is? Funky’s talking to Crazy Harry, his friend, and not some poor doctor, nurse or orderly. We’re not seeing two humans failing to connect, a wall slowly growing between them, as one assaults the other with misplaced quips. Friends are the kind of people you’re supposed to trade lame jokes with. The bonds of brotherhood can overcome all pun punishment, safe in the intimacy of bad humor between comrades.

I mean, it wouldn’t work as well if this was Les. His inherent Mooreness poisons his every interaction. Les is ‘best’ when he’s interacting with strangers who hate him, because it’s what he deserves. But he’s the exception. As far as I’m concerned Crazy Harry and Funky can sit here watching quality cartoons for my entire two week shift. They’re having fun, and I’ll find some tangent to run off on, and everything will be groovy.

But still, we’ll always know it can’t last. Hidden behind the panels of this strip, in the gradients at the corners and the darkness in the doorways, there’s something out there waiting for us, and it ain’t no man.

It’s Lisa’s Legacy.

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Locked in Cels of Padding

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Guys, I’m just so conflicted here. Like, painfully so.

On the one hand, we have two 60 year old men getting excited about watching nearly 30 year old Batman cartoons. The overpowering flavor of nerds, soaking into the lumpy bland tofu of these soy cubes, nauseating me. It’s getting really old. The entire Westview landscape is nothing but men waxing eloquent about Batarangs. Everyone male is consumed by geeky interests. There is no escape.

On the other hand, I, a nominal adult closer to middle age than adolescence, love cartoons. I own more DVD’s of cartoons than I own pairs of shoes. I watch more cartoons than any other genre of television. So this entire strip feels like some kind of personal attack.

It doesn’t help that Batman: The Animated Series is not only an amazing, critically acclaimed cartoon that no adult should be ashamed to watch, but is also a cartoon that I remember watching as a small Harriet. I actually watched it as it was airing. A beautiful cartoon. A cartoon that deeply, deeply, wonderfully traumatized me.

There I was, a poor little girl, not even seven, sitting on the couch on Saturday Morning, watching the silhouette of a man held down and begging for mercy as he’s drowned with toxic chemicals.

Kid Friendly

An innocent girl, manipulated by her invisible and increasingly more unhinged father who loves her possessively and dangerously.

Emotionally Healthy

A mentally fragile man sobbing uncontrollably after the violent ‘death’ of the creepy puppet that was actually a manifestation of his dissociative identity disorder.

Still a better love story than Twilight

What I’m saying is, this show gave me some of the formative psychological horror experiences of my young mind, and if anyone wants to sit and rewatch it with me, well, I thought you’d never ask.

(Also, Batman TAS was produced as TWO seasons. the first was 65 episodes long to reach syndication length. They then made an additional 20. It was released on DVD in four volumes. So, you know; suck it Tom.)

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À la Recherche du Temps Pizza

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Comic Book Harriet here again! Can’t believe I’m up again already. It seems like yesterday I was struggling to find a band turkey joke that wasn’t as overdone as the ones in the strip. But Tom rolls on like an ever flowing stream of consciousness, bringing me back again, panning through his muck for fool’s gold.

I want to give special commendation to SpaceManSpiff 85. He was given a relentlessly dim and myopic arc, and managed to fill the week with a overwhelming flow of cataract puns. Sir, you have my admiration. And my sympathy. Because it seems I’m going to be just as burdened this week with shortsighted visual humor.

I asked earlier this arc if Funky has always been a hapless character that only exists to be neurotic and spout lame puns. My interactions with Act I Funky come through flashback photo-cornered panels, car accident coma dreams, and the offerings of our resident Batiukian researchers. Longtime Stuckfunkians Rusty Shackleford and Banana Jr 6000 were kind enough to reply, and both used the term ‘burnout’ to describe Act I Funky, which kind of surprised me. I can’t see the preachy Batiuk, with more cheap soapboxes than a Palmolive warehouse, insinuating his main character was dating Mary Jane Wackytabaccy on the weekends, and playing it for harmless laughs. Crazy Harry? Sure. But the eponymous protagonist?

I can see it now. Panel two has Act I Funky, in all his mellow glory, blissed out on his tiny bed, with every comfort a baked adolescent needs within arm’s reach: lamp, pizza, soda, music, The Amazing Mister Sponge. Curled up in a tiny cluttered nest of his own hedonism. He even has his SHOES on the bed, that’s how much he DNGAF.

Stark contrast to Act III Funky in panels 1 and 3, sitting on a huge, empty bed, in a mostly empty room. Only a featureless smartphone and a rapidly expanding mattress his plebian pleasures. His specific interests have been pulled out, leaving us with a boring box containing a boring man with a face slowly drooping like a blobfish.

I wish Funky could have gotten glaucoma instead. We could have had burnout Funky back.

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Galling Gabbing Gobblers.

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For Pete’s sake, look how absolutely smug Dinkle is walking into the band room in panel one. Since his retirement, Becky has tried shilling mattresses, books, and selling the turkeys online. But here she is, stuck again in a chilly band room full of cardboard coffins of rapidly thawing poultry corpses. He knew she’d go crawling back to Sam’N’Ella’s finest, just like she always does. There’s nothing the elderly love more than seeing innovation fail.

I don’t know how long Batiuk has been patting his back over his Sam’N’Ella turkey pun. But, the earliest November in our archives shows the bacteria riddled band turkeys stacked to the ceiling.

November 20, 2007

I hope all of you aren’t tired of Dinkle yet! Because November is DINKLE AWARENESS MONTH, and our glorious leader, TF Hackett, will be making sure you all are aware of Dinkle for the foreseeable future.

But, before I sign off from my shift, I just wanted to take a moment for a little early Thanksgiving sentimentality. This week wasn’t just Donna and Harry’s (early) anniversary, it also marked my third anniversary of guest hosting this blog. I can’t say how much having a warm and inviting place to snark means to me. A place where I can stretch some disused writing muscles to a cozy, appreciative, audience, and even feel okay if I need to slack off on a few posts where the stress of real life or the paucity of the material gives me little to work with.

So I give thanks to TF Hackett and Epicus Doomus, for making this little place chug along, and giving me the opportunity to drive the bus every few months. And thank you everyone who comments, either with praise, or details, or your own hilarious takes on this strange comic universe’s Kafkaesque parody of a Hallmark Channel movie. Remember, your impotent rageposting makes the world a brighter and funnier place.

Stay Funky my friends.

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