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.
Here is today’s strip. You all go ahead and tear into it. Not sure I could do much better than the post title anyways.
Sorry, two days to go on my stint and I’m already running on fumes. Even WordPress knows this, somehow. It’s kind of creepy, to be honest… I’ll press on these next two days, but I’m going to set a spell today and see you in the comments.
Speaking of running on empty (and burying the lede, for that matter), Tom Batiuk dropped some news late yesterday that may or may not be relevant to this story arc, the last several months of speculation in the comments, and the future of this website. Some of you all commented on it yesterday. I have plenty of thoughts on this, as I am sure many of you all do. As with today’s strip, I’ll see you in the comments to discuss.
I’m guessing this will get more ink than the strip…
We’ve teased you with her face at the top of the page for a full week now… but she’s finally here folks! Please welcome Ruby Lith to the climage damate/pandemic/supply chain issues story arc (now with comic book misogyny or something) in today’s strip.
Is Ruby just annoyed that all of the damate climage comic books Atomik Komix is putting out don’t feature female characters or are too muscle-bound action man violence explosions so many explosions-oriented (did she forget about The Oceanaire?.. well, she doesn’t appear to be the only one) or does she believe that these issue du jour comic books would somehow be more effective in changing the hearts and minds of the world citizenry if they weren’t so… ugh, “testosterony”? And why is she addressing Batton like he works at Atomik Komix? Unless… oh no. Surely it won’t come to that, will it?
I’m surprised it took until today’s strip for the word zeppelins to arrive… but one has docked right at Crazy’s mouth and is unloading such a tremendous volume of technobabble that it threatens to lift the roof right off the porch of the Taj Moore-hal! In explaining the concept of recording Lisa’s advice on video, Crazy somehow spits out 60% more words than Les did in the original take on this story back in 2007. It is almost enough to make you pity Lisa, who apparently had to listen to this verbal assault twice.
Hey, I said almost…
I’m not a big Isaac Asimov guy or a sci-fi reader in general, I’ve always been very much a non-fiction reader when it comes to things that aren’t comics, so I cannot tell you how accurate or apt or idiotic or unnecessary Crazy’s rambling is (I can tell you it makes for miserable comic strip reading, but that should go without saying). I suspect we have some folks much better suited to that than me in our comments section, so I will now turn this over to my fellow SOSFers.
Today’s strip FINALLY gets to the point, if indirectly and dishonestly. Despite his protesting, Crazy doesn’t really want to be hip… He’s not sad that he doesn’t have the time or energy to keep up with what’s popular on the radio Spotify these days, he’s sad that listening to new music would require a modicum of effort from him. He’s sad because he has decided he wouldn’t enjoy listening to anything new even though he hasn’t even tried.
In short, he’s sad that what’s “hip” doesn’t conform to what he already likes.
Well if that isn’t this comic strip in a nutshell…
Hip hip hip hip hip
Today's strip more of the same
It just never ends
Chipmunks to Springsteen
Crazy's music tastes cover
Only now Crazy?
How hip did you feel during
The last 40 years?!
"You can become hip,
Just listen to new music"
- Captain Funkvious
Funky's bald advice
Somehow smartest thing in years
In this comic strip
Crazy's, not so much
Listening to this
No wonder no customers
Are at Montoni's
Make it stop make it
Stop make it stop make it stop
Make it stop oh please
If today’s strip is to be believed, Crazy Harry is completely unaware of a genre of music that has been a major force in popular music for three-and-a-half decades now, and is arguably well into its second decade as the dominant genre of music in the United States. Where has Crazy been? Living under a rock (booooooooo!) since the Reagan administration?
Funky lives up to his name for once, brimming with mildly more modern musical knowledge than Crazy, the Act I gang’s resident music fan and audiophile dating back even to his early appearances. I guess he’s now not only channeling NASCAR legend Mark Martin’s haircut but also Martin’s unexpected rap music fandom.
OK, I’ll start positive today. Here’s something I like about today’s strip, Ayers uses bubble panel borders correctly, to denote a memory of dream sequence. Yeah, that doesn’t sound like much, but coming from TB’s pencil for decades it meant “present day in-strip setting change”, a maddening misinterpretation of longstanding comic art language.
And now, for everything else…
A pizza spinning on your turntable used to be a sort of shorthand for “cool”, in that it signified you were someone cool enough to have just a had a party wild and “crazy” enough that some nut tried to play a pizza and everyone was having too much “fun” to notice (see this well-known scene from Sixteen Candles, for example). However, a pizza spinning on your turntable when you are alone in your own room with your headphones on is not “cool”. Silly, whimsical, weird, crazy? Sure… but not cool. One could even describe Crazy’s memory as rather sad, given the contrast between him listening to his pizza alone in his room compared to the sight of a pizza on a turntable signifying a really good time shared by friends.
Marianne does NOT look like someone who is willing to give away her Oscar in the first today’s strip. No, she’s looking at that Oscar the way most characters in this strip look at comic books.
The rest of this is as rote and pat as an Oscar acceptance speech can be, so let’s have some fun with another crowd shot of “famous” faces. Help me fill in the blanks and fix the mistakes where my corrective lenses deceived me.