Batton, John, you two have known each other since at least May 2019. You already talked about Amazing Fantasy #15 back in June. There is no way in this entire multiverse of madness John selling a copy to Chester hasn’t been discussed to death yet. So what the heck is today about?
While I appreciate the irony of the author avatar attending awards week, nothing about this week makes sense or stands out. And NONE of these panels from this week are Panel of the Year contenders. Two doughy-faced men blathering at each other in a boring beige room is about as visually appealing as cellulitis.
Which is sort of a shame, last year’s lovingly rendered Rexall Drug that we managed to track down via Google Street View did make my short list for panel contenders. If only to honor a day when Batiuk’s obsessive weirdness so closely dovetailed with our own.
But ultimately the Imperious Holy Temple lost out to some, (in one case literally,) stiff competition.
The following are the nominees for The Panel of the Year 2021…
1.) The Final Note
2.) Rare Flying Discman
3.) Take THAT History!
4.) Smoking Vader
5.) Les Waterboards Himself
6.) Eros Panoptes
7.) Stag Film
8.) Pizza Box Signal
And the Son of Stuck Funky winner for The Panel of the Year 2021 is….
THE FINAL NOTE
Here’s a comparison with the ‘variant’ Davis cover of the crossover event.
Though we all enjoyed a flashback of Les Moore drenching himself with water while spouting grawlix, nothing can complete with, “You guys wanna go see a dead body?”
Mr. A had this picked out all the way back on June 19 . (Sorry your nominee didn’t make it Sourbelly.)
I promised you yesterday a ridiculous spreadsheet. See, when I was trying to figure out arcs of the year, it suddenly struck me that the ratio of Les to Funky this year was skewed Funky in a way I had never seen before. Then I realized how many previously integral characters, like Wally, Cindy, or Jessica had been shoved so far into the back seat, they may as well have been tied up in the the trunk. It made me curious. Who showed up the most this year?
Below is hours of my life I could have spent with loved ones or napping. But I found it interesting, and thought some of you might too.
Named Characters by Number of Strips Appearing In for 2021.
The most baffling development from this is that, believe it or not, many of Funky’s AA meeting attendees have names. This floored me.
In October, when I was going on an CK archives deep dive for my Wally Winkerbean Pizza Monster nonsense, something caught my eye.
January 15, 2001
January 20, 2001
January 23, 2001
April 22, 2021
Why? Why when Batiuk can’t even remember the names and number of the collective children of Wally, Rachel, Becky, and John; when he can’t be assed to check who the Dinkles had for Thanksgiving LAST YEAR, would he go back in time TWENTY YEARS to resurrect these characters?
When Funky was last at an AA meeting, in 2018, it was peopled by generics. So I can only assume that working on this era while preparing his massive omnibuses for Kent State jogged his memory, and he asked Ayers to recreate these important figures of Funky Lore.
But THIS is what I’m here for. THIS is what keeps me looking again, coming back, pondering, analyzing. Some kind of weird call-back, so obtuse and strange that, as far as I can tell, no one among Batiuk’s most dedicated and educated readers noticed for months.
Join me tomorrow as I attempt to convince you, despite all evidence, that modern Funky Winkerbean isn’t universally unbearable, as we award The Best Strip of 2021.