Author Archives: ComicBookHarriet

Fourth Wall Frown

Link To Today’s Strip

Sure looks like Dinkle is ALWAYS ENJOYING giving piano lessons here. In panel two his face looks like it’s about to melt right off from all the pleasure teaching this child has given him. He stares out at us, his droopy face limp from all the aching joy coursing through him.

Kids today, amirite? What with their lazy ability to access nearly the sum total of the world’s knowledge through advanced pocket sized electronics connected to an invisible network of radio signals wirelessly transmitting nearly instantaneously across the entire nation. How annoying, that they can use this vast storehouse of information to interpret things they encounter that they don’t completely understand.

Back in Dinkle’s day, if someone purporting to be an expert told you something, you believed him. If you didn’t know the answer to a question, and you weren’t within arms reach of 100 pounds worth of encyclopedias, you lived with your ignorance. You didn’t get to instantly know why the sky is blue, or why mules are sterile, or when The Pet Shop Boys released the single, “I’m in Love with a German Film Star.”

So no, you snot nosed brat, you can’t ‘google’ it! You don’t get to know about Mr. Piano’s Mr. Middle C key until Mr. Harry Dinkle, The World’s Greatest Band Director, tells you!

And don’t you dare ask where my potted piano plant went!

25 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Mr. Whole Note Takes a Week.

Link To Today’s Strip

Thanks to our glorious leader TF Hackett, who brought up yesterday that “Mr. Whole Note.” is, in fact, a song/training exercise for learning piano students. The excerpt he posted of ‘The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 2.’ is simultaneously infuriating and fascinating. So, I’ll let you all expertly dissect Dinkle’s non-joke in the comments, and look forward to your hilarious analysis. I’m going off on a tangent again.

Like a lot of mouth breathing nerds, I am a huge Tolkien fan. Like, I’ve read The Silmarillion more than ONCE kind of Tolkien fan. If you really start digging into his work, you find out that the man was a persnickety and easily distracted procrastinator who created reams and reams of unfinished material that his son, Christopher, carefully collated and annotated into multiple volumes. The famous Silmarillion is just the tip of the iceberg.

Reading through something like “The History of Middle Earth” series, and seeing his son deconstruct the evolution of his father’s work in parallel to his father’s life is to get a window into the creative process of a man. The single world that Tolkien invented is so complex, with thousands of years of history and dozens, if not hundreds, of complete stories and sagas he never thought finished enough to release. And his son spent his whole life studying and writing about his father’s work, carefully breaking down the evolution of concepts and characters. I feel like all the weird asides, and life commentary, written in the margins of The Complete Funky Winkerbean attempt to achieve the same thing for Batiuk’s massive world.

But, unlike Tolkien, who hid his unfinished material away, and really didn’t like the idea of psychoanalyzing authors to find parallels in their own work, Batiuk is compelled to write the deconstruction himself. He has to be the one to break apart and explain this weird, paper-paste, universe he’s spent his life creating, and tie it together with his own experiences. Writing paragraphs on his musical education and family life with serious self-importance, probably because there is no one out there obsessed enough to do it for him.

It’s really kind of sad. Tolkien was a deeply religious man, assured of his own immortality and humble in his act of subcreation. Even if you don’t share his belief, you can tell how his faith comforted him. His only self psychoanalysis of his work is a wonderful short story, ‘Leaf by Niggle.’ In it he writes a parable of painter that ends with the realization that even if the massive work of art he was trying to create was never finished, and never appreciated, and ultimately never remembered by anyone on this Earth, that somehow it would exist forever and finally be perfected in the world to come.

Tom Batiuk, meanwhile, has the Kent State University Press printing out an entire Midrash of Funky Winkerbean, trying to scrape together enough interest and importance for a hint of earthly immortality. And, it seems, the only ones who care enough to spend any time at all engaging with his world are a tiny cabal of beady-eyed nitpickers who he disdains.

28 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Coasting.

Link To Today’s Strip

Some observations about today’s strip:

1.) Dinkle’s curtains are that horrible pubic hair texture we often see on Funkyverse couches.

2.) You can faintly see leafless trees outside through the window. Which is a unusual amount of effort for a weekday strip. I’m getting used to characters conversing in strange gradient colored voids punctuated by door and window frames, like some kind of weird, artsy, theatre project.

3.) Dinkle is using a saucer under his coffee cup. When loitering needlessly at the highschool, I have never ever seen him use a saucer or coaster under his coffee cup. Instead he sticks the dang thing right on top of the piano, probably leaving behind more ugly rings than a thrice divorced Kardashian.

4.) Isn’t that just like Dinkle? To care for his own property, while treating the property of others with thoughtlessness.

5.) Seriously, Dinkle is just the worst.

29 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Always Enjoyable?

Link To Today’s Strip

Oh goodie! I get a Dinkle arc. Having to scrape together some kind of humor or commentary for Dinkel arcs is ‘always enjoyable.’ But it gets tedious trying to remember everything that has happened to Dinkle in Act III that has slowly morphed him from a unique and bombastic caricature of a passionate band director into just another bland, smug, Westview Pod Person.

Please note, while Dinkle claims that teaching piano is ‘always enjoyable’ he doesn’t look like he’s enjoying it today, and…spoilers…he doesn’t seem to enjoy it all week long. Maybe in Westview the words ‘always’ or ‘enjoyable’ mean something very different than what’s listed in the dictonary?

29 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Note: Masone Jarre died on the way back to his boat.

Link to Strip When It Drops.

Sundays get no preview. Too bad. Maybe it’s seven panels of Les and Marianne sipping coffee on a sailboat while the world burns. Or maybe it’s a loving homage to the poster of ‘The Phantom Empire’.

You guys ever seen it? I found it on YouTube, and it’s…um…different. I mean, I guess I can see the charm if you like singing cowboys and 30’s cheese. But it’s such a weird thing for a 65-70 year old man to fetishize having seen as a child, a movie serial that would have been past 30 years old then. I guess I grew up in the 90’s watching Star Wars, but modern movie sensibilities are there in Star Wars. It’s still pacey and exciting. There is no point in Star Wars where Luke Skywalker stops the action to sing an entire song about the animals on Noah’s Ark.

I can see a teen or young adult developing an appreciation, ironic or genuine, for something like ‘The Phantom Empire.’ But the movie is borderline unwatchable for modern kids, and I don’t think it would be that much more palatable for kids growing up in the 60’s.

Whelp, I’m pretty much burned out on all this nonstop Lesplotation action. Our glorious leader TFHackett is taking over tomorrow to lead the charge of the Thunder Riders. “To The Rescue!”

ComicBookHarriet powering down now.

86 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Passive Patricide

Link to today’s strip

Is there any character in this strip as thick-skulled as Mindy? She’s been standing outside the Bedbug Hotel with Pete long enough for Masone to drive from the Channel Island Harbor Marina (The nearest marina north along the coast from Malibu) to, judging by the view, the Hollywood foothills.

I know Comics Curmudgeon has been going nuts trying to parse out the geography of this arc, but here’s my take on it:

So, of course, given this map, it was entirely reasonable for Mindy and Pete to stand and wait for the minimum of two hours it would take Masone’s Starbuckmobile to drive BACK THROUGH THE FIRE to pick them up after dropping off Marianne and Les.

Only for Mindy to then remind her friends that her dad was hiking in Griffith Park.

Pete is smiling in relief in panel one, and suddenly worried in panel two. So unless he has the attention span of a goldfish, Mindy is only bringing this up now. And she seems at a complete loss as to what to do next.  So she’s going to let her fiancee and his pal decide if and how they should alert emergency personnel.  Or is she expecting them to go charging through the brushfire themselves?

Truly, dumb as a box of sponges. Because a box of rocks at least has some weight.

70 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

Fuel for Thought.

Link to today’s strip

And here it is. We’ve had to suffer through an entire week of Les whining to Marianne about one woman who died at least 15 years ago in strip time (Edit: twenty-three, ED), while the world is literally burning around them. As day turns to night with nary a word from Cindy, Masone, Pete, or Mindy.

You people have been saying it all week: Marianne has been blandly listening to Les whinge about his manpain, instead of worrying about friends, family, coworkers, or her own property. The girl had more going on for herself when she almost threw herself off the top of the Hollywood sign.

And all so Marianne can watch some video tapes that Batiuk will, no doubt, forget were transferred to digital years ago. So many problems with this. But two stick out in my mind.

One, why didn’t he let her or Masone watch some of the tapes to begin with? It’s implied that some tapes are very private and others are meant for more public consumption, as seen in this strip from Darin’s birthday. Why did you ever think of this as an all or nothing thing?

Two, are you now going to let her watch all of the tapes? Even the tapes that weren’t meant for you? Have you seen the tapes addressed to Summer directly? Or the tape specifically for CauCayla? Are you prepared to override the rights of Lisa, Cayla, and Summer, to have their own private messages remain private?

Who are we kidding? Of course you are. The sum total of everything Lisa ever was or wished is now yours to use, abuse, and change however you see fit. You can tell yourself that you think Lisa would have wanted you to share material that SHE SPECIFICALLY TOLD YOU IN PERSON was private. Anything so Marianne can have important moments like this inform how she plays Dead St. Lisa.

86 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

You say it best (when you say nothing at all.)

Link to today’s strip

Baituk is really desperate to sell some books, eh? First he tells all his Beady Eyed Nitpickers on his blog that in order to truly understand the difference between a ‘retcon’ and ‘direct flashback’ we need to buy and read The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 9. Now he’s referencing some obscure bit of titillation, as if to bait us into buying and scouring Lisa’s Story for the infamous ‘Snow Angel’ incident.

I’ve only got the vaguest recollection of Les spilling this sordid tale to someone else before, and I couldn’t find the moment in the archives. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping our Skinkmeister can give some context to the readers who’ve only been able to religiously follow this strip since the end of the Bush administration.

It’s weird that, whatever the dirty little something was, Marianne is flat out refusing to say it on screen. A slice of life drama like this movie, which seems to be going for, ‘A Marriage Story, but ending with cancer and not divorce’ lives and dies on the simulacrum of realism, and if we’re getting the horrible ‘playground closed for repairs’ bit, then this must be something next level nasty.

Batiuk is probably imagining that we’re picturing kinky, like what Pepper Potts whispers into Tony Stark’s ear in the first Avengers movie. But cute and kinky would make it into an adult movie, as an important establishing moment of vivaciousness and young love. There is nothing a Hollywood starlet wouldn’t say or do if she thought it would increase awards potential.

Except something like:

But what do you guys think? I’d love to see some of your takes on Lisa’s forbidden dialogue.

76 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

No Preview Review

Link to today’s strip whenever it drops.

Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview. So instead enjoy my favorite comment from yesterday.

66 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

For a given value of save.

Link to today’s strip

Les, I am going to explain this using short unequivocal statements, that way there is no way for your spotty memory and outsized ego to twist my words.

You. Did. Not. Save. Lisa.

All you did was let her out the door first. That’s not a rescue, that is chivalry so lazy it’s a 50-50 shot if it was intentional.

Wally. Saved. Lisa. And. You.

Wally Winkerbean, that poor sad, pizza baking man has had his wife, his dignity, the childhood of his son, his sanity, and his agency as a character taken from him by Batiuk. Don’t you take one more damn thing from this strip’s number one whipping boy, who took all of that abuse, and survived, without a single legacy foundation to his name.

Les, I don’t know if you could ever lay claim to ‘saving Lisa’. Unlike some, I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the Act II drama. But you can’t even really take much credit for saving Marianne. You drove shotgun through a fire, and then carried a woman out the door who really should have been able to walk.

Why did I have to be given a Les arc? I would rather have a week of Dinkle.

68 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky