Tag Archives: batons

Jumping’ Jack Flashback

Today’s strip was shot in Kodachrome… despite being set even further back in time than this past week’s sepia-toned historical revision. Really sets the mood for imagined fiery death, doesn’t it?

You would (not) be surprised at how often TB goes to the well for Holly’s Act I flaming baton trick. It wouldn’t shock me if it has appeared as a gag in Act III more often than it ever actually did in Act I. But hey, after this past week, I’ll take some Sunday Funky-Holly filler, even if it involves flaming batons.

And with that, I cede the podium to Comic Book Harriet, a master of both Batiukverse history and the entertaining anecdote. I expect we will enjoy a good bit of both from her in the coming weeks.

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Dej-UGH Vu

We can only hope that today’s strip marks the end of this story arc and the depiction of this unhealthy and unsettling Melinda-Holly relationship for some time (infinity is a time, right?).

With that, I will focus my commentary on Holly’s use of term “EMS Vehicle”. So, did TB just not like the way “ambulance” fit in the word balloon or does he have a thing for using awkwardly bland language? I mean, its not an incorrect term of course, but if Holly calls an ambulance an “EMS Vehicle” then Melinda ought to have said “medical facility” or something like that yesterday instead of “hospital“… y’know, to maintain this strip’s reputation for exceeding consistency.

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Grosstalgia

As someone who has ridden in an ambulance with a parent after breaking a bone while competing in a sport, I found there to be nothing at all redeeming about today’s strip. At least yesterday we had some America’s Funniest Home Videos visuals, solid work from Chuck Ayers for once, but today… today… just get out of here with this tripe!

No one wants to see Holly apologize to her mother for, um, for breaking her ankle?! What?! No one wants to see this whole cruel and miserable experience turned into a nostalgia trip. No one wants to know what kind of hairspray Holly uses that has kept her terrifying hair claw intact despite spending extended periods in a driving rainstorm.

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Slipping through the craaacks

As someone who has broken a bone after slipping on wet grass, I must admit that I briefly chuckled at today’s strip… briefly.

And that brief chuckle is the sole redeeming payoff of a story arc that began (checks phases of the moon) three weeks ago?! That’s… better than a lot of TB’s story arcs to be honest.

But what of Dinkle and the alumni band? OK, I don’t care one iota what Dinkle is doing, but the alumni band has been waiting three YEARS to perform! Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot until today that TB did this whole alumni band thing, complete with majorette performance, pretty much three years ago on the dot. I forgot about how it all started with Holly and her mom reminiscing (though then it was on a car trip from Florida). I also forgot that Holly and Melinda were told “no” on the flaming baton trick back then too. I forgot that it all ended (after taking up a whole MONTH), not with a performance, but with this. And worst/best of all, I forgot all about all of this despite being the blogger on duty when it all happened.

I was going to say “you’re welcome”, but I had to go and remember all of this today.

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Don’t sleep in the subway, Holly

The day of the big alumni band Holly and Melinda Budd vanity performance has arrived in today’s strip, and the nastiness continues. No, I’m not talking about the weather, though most of us are aware that monsoon rains during band performances are quite possibly the longest still-running gag in this strip (predating even Garfield and lasagna/Mondays, though far far less accessible).

Good crowd on hand, considering the weather, probably the biggest since Bull retired. Whoever replaced him must be doing a good job, crowds were pretty thin when Bull’s teams were struggling.

Sorry, scratch that last paragraph. This is Funky Winkerbean, so I’m sure the crowd is really here to see Holly…

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Thoughts and Ayers

Hope you all enjoyed yesterday’s respite from the boringly toxic (or rather, toxically boring) Melinda-Holly relationship, because we’re back for (checks calendar) WEEK 3?! of it in today’s strip. Things between these two are so bad that Holly will ignore good advice that is widely known by nearly every adult who has ever engaged in athletic behavior just to spite her nagging mother.

This strip has everything! Needless exposition! Falling leaves! Absolutely nothing likable! References that would have been topical 3 decades ago! References to death! And more word and thought bubbles than you can shake a baton at!

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A Picture is Worth a Dozen Words

Batiuk has long relied on the “photo album corners” visual cue when depicting flashbacks to past events. He uses that device once again in today’s strip to confusing effect. Are we seeing the photo that Holly is holding in her hands? Why is that photo talking? If Holly’s photos aren’t collected in a photo album, why does this one have photo album corners? There are other head-scratching details to unpack as well. There are apparently enough majorette pics to staple together and make a movie, yet there’s only one single photo of Holly as a baby…and she’s not even in it? I get the feeling too that Batty had an extra baton twirling joke, and decided to use it up in the middle panel. It really doesn’t have much to do with what’s being said in the panels surrounding it.

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Batteredday, September 1

Today’s strip was not available for preview. I would apologize, but I’m not sure I’m sorry I did not have to see it in advance.

Is it simply more of Dinkle’s megalomania? Yeah, probably. Dinkle, of course, has always been a megalomaniac, but his megalomania has gone from cartoonish and over-the-top to appalling and monstrous. Some of that is due to the fact that this strip’s tone has become so self-serious that attempts at humor seem either discordant or simply illustratitive of terrible behavior.

As much as that, though, Dinkle has changed too. In Acts I and II, his constant appearance in full dress uniform with his eyes always hidden under the bill of his cap gave him a cartoonish appearance to match his portrayal as obsessive perfectionist for whom marching bands are the pinnacle of human existence. Since his “retirement”, however, he has taken on the appearance of post-2010 Chevy Chase, and has come to behave much like Chase is said to off-camera.

To visualize, he went from this:

To this:

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Killing Ed Softly With Baton

Link To Today’s Strip

Few people remember how this legendary Act II arc ended up playing out. Dinkle did indeed stab Crankshaft, causing the bus to plunge into one of Ohio’s many ravines. A guilt stricken Dinkle rendered first aid to Crankshaft who managed to survive, but the entire band died of exposure while awaiting rescue. In one of the strip’s most harrowing twenty-two week sequences, Harry and Crankshaft resorted to cannibalism to survive long enough for Les and Lisa to rescue them.  Some of TB’s most chilling (pun intended) work.

The fact that Dinkle is the one reciting this retconned story makes it pretty creepy if you ask me. He’s flat-out admitting that he once threatened to kill a school bus driver for refusing to drive children through unsafe conditions. While that sort of thing was considered hilarious back in 1976, now it’d probably result in that weirdo Dinkle being banned from the school for life, at least. And he’s telling this story to a woman who lost her arm in a car crash, no less. Surprisingly tone-deaf stuff from a guy so in tune with the issues facing young people today and (zzzzzzzz).

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