In case you missed it, we are in the final weeks of Funky Winkerbean. Tom Batiuk appears to be reluctantly retiring the strip much in the same way he’s written Ruby as reluctantly retiring from Atomik Komix this week and in today’s strip. The timing of this thin gruel of a story arc and TB’s fairly muted announcement is certainly no coincidence. Most all of us here at SOSF, despite speculating for over a decade on when and how this thing would end, are probably still processing the suddenness of the announcement, how soon it will become reality, and what that means for this wonderful community going forward.
But enough wallowing about, let’s leave that to the strip and try to get back to business as usual. I guess today’s strip is aiming for bittersweet, but it largely is coming across as just bitter. You can’t mask your true feelings in a wall of smirks, TB… And even if the strip wasn’t ending at the close of this year, I’m guessing we were never going to see Chester meet with the building manager by looking in a mirror anyways. I’d say “a pity”, but, you know, it’s not. It’s really not.
Pete should leave the snark to us. For one thing, baked potatoes are delicious and this strip suffers greatly in comparison to them. For another, all this damate climage comic business was Pete’s idea in the first place. And above all, Ruby’s given him some prime snark ammunition by drawing some planet that does not appear in almost any way to be earth and he just completely misses it. Leave the wisecracks to the professionals in our comment section next time, Pete.
Ruby has got to be regretting speaking up a few days ago because, as we see in today’s strip, she’s being told to… do her job?!
I know, I’m as shocked as any of you that someone at Atomik Komix is even suggesting the idea of doing work. Granted, Phil is suggesting that someone other than himself work, but still… This will probably work better for the deadline anyways, Phil is not known for his speed. Flash being kind of a jerk and everyone else standing around like this place has no editor in chief, or leadership of any kind – now that is the Atomik Komix we all know and love.
Anyways, we’re back from “the climage damate comics aren’t optimistic enough” to “the damate climage comics aren’t, uh, something about women I think”. Are we supposed to see these two complaints as the same thing?
Today’s strip is all about the numbers for me… and not just the zip code of “Boston, Mass”. We’ve got 3 faculty on stage here, which is what… half of WHS’ known paid staff these days (along with Les, Cayla, and Lefty)? Of course, maybe you only need 4 teachers, 2 administrators, and a Dinkle when you only have 16 students in your senior class. To be fair, only nerds would show up for a school assembly during the last weeks of their senior year, so maybe these are just all the nerds (that would explain why Maris Rogers is having to plan on crashing graduation parties instead of hosting them).
Wait a second, this is the Senior Honors assembly. That explains it…
The good news is we can all boot up our Packard Bells and our MS Paints and join Bernie out in Tinseltown, where we’ll be paid handsomely for our rudimentary green screen skills (citation needed). Here’s a blank Bernie to start with:
Hey, do you remember that sketch on The Muppet Show where Florence Henderson played the teenage son of a Ronald Reagan Muppet? I sure don’t, and I’ve seen The Muppet Showepisode with Florence Henderson, but apparently Funky does, if today’s strip is to be believed.
I certainly can’t blame Morton for wanting to avoid these two bores the way a teenage avoids his parents. Given that Funky and Holly are back in the car driving who knows where instead of talking with the authorities about locating Morton and about Bedside Manor’s gross negligence, I guess the feeling is mutual.
Over the river
And through the woods, to Morton's
Nursing home we go
Funky knows the way
As he skids on through Copley
In the driving snow
But wait, he's not there?!
As we learn in today's strip
No, he's got a gig
That blonde has not mistaken
Funky for Morton
A front desk message?
Who communicates like this?
They're father and son!
OK, to be fair
This weirdness is typical
For this comic strip
If he has a gig
Does that mean we won't have to
Endure skeezy Mort?
Morton the creepster
Has become a Batiukverse
The great Christmas gift-giver strikes again in today’s strip. No, I’m not talking about Santa Claus or Crazy Claus (or Pete… I would never talk about Pete in this way), I’m talking about the nerd with the polecat on his scalp.
The department store nostalgia in today’s strip is pretty innocuous as Funky Winkerbean goes. I am enough of a retail enthusiast to know that department store nostalgia is totally a thing, by the way… but I’m not sure it manifests itself in wistful disappointment when receiving an Amazon package.
But since Amazon’s logo is clearly visible on present day Holly’s package, let’s talk about THIS:
Nope, we get Holly’s memory of shopping at DS, which by all indications stands for… Department Store. DS. Department. Store. This is Herb & Jamaal-level non-specificity. Look TB, if you can reference Amazon specifically, you can reference an actual department store specifically. The strip loses nothing if you get Ayers to write “Higbee’s” on a couple of shopping bags instead of DS.
Mr. A September 10, 2021 at 9:37 am It’s never been more obvious that Batiuk came up with an idea for a cool comic-book cover first, and worked backwards from there. On Saturday they’ll name the water character, and then we’ll see the cover art on Sunday, and then we’ll be done.
Two outta three ain’t bad, Mr. A! I didn’t even get today’s gag until the third or fourth read through. Why was the writer teasing the artist about an “obsession with writing things down”? I suppose that Phil is implying that he did the real work of drawing, while all Flash had to do was spin a “story” without even having to set it down in written form.
So we won’t know yet how the fourth character, representing the water element, will be (the Inedible Pulp, perchance?) But yes, tomorrow we’ll see a Comix kover (desktop users, get ready to rotate those monitors). And then we’ll be done. And, speaking of teasing, we’ll reconnect with yet another octogenarian FW character, one whom we’ve only seen in a single cameo in all of 2021!
The Batty blog is running the FW strips from the aftermath of September 11, 2001. The strips are really…not so bad (this was still Act II), and, to TB’s credit, they ran less than one month after the attacks (not a year later, as is the case with his Covid content). Anyway, I’m bringing this up as an excuse to post the most savagely funny sendup of a certain self important cartoonist from Ohio. Never forget.