Tag Archives: Cayla

Shooting Gallery

Today’s strip

Greetings, folks, BChasm temporarily in the captain’s chair for the next little while.  What’s this?!  The viewscreen shows a sea of hostiles–ready photon torpedoes!   We must annihilate this threat before it spreads across the galaxy!

I’m going to skip over Mason’s “movie we filmed here,” comment, because while I don’t think any of the film was shot in Centerville, I honestly don’t remember the “school bus drives into shot” bit well enough, and–Tales to Astonish–I have no desire to look and see.  So I’ll give him that.

What else?  Well, we’ve got a crowd shot of almost everyone, including Les–which sets our Les Watch back to zero, damn it.  At least he’s not saying anything, and is both poorly drawn and partly covered by a word balloon.  Funny, though, I’d have expected both Comic Book John and Imbecilic Harry to be there, but I guess they got their exposure in at Comic Con, so no need to feature them any longer.  But who is that between Jim KibblesNBits and Marianne?  It looks like they flew Marianne’s mother out there after all!  I guess?

The fact that so many of the cast and crew are in the audience–and sitting right up front, too–makes me wonder if Tom Batiuk believes that the first time anyone involved with a movie actually gets to see the finished film is at the premier.  In the real world, the director would have seen the film dozens of times by now, and there’s almost always a screening for the cast and crew.  So all these people would be backstage, or at the back of the hall, gauging audience reaction–pacing, room for laughs, people getting bored at certain parts, and so on–and looking for “oohs” and “aahs” for the cast members.

But not in the fantasy land that is the Funkyverse.  Here, everything happens the way a five year old imagines that it happens–it’s all just magic, and friendship, and comic books and pizza, and it works every time!  In a way, that sounds like an attractive world…for a few minutes.  But after those few minutes, I’d want something of substance, something that would stir the imagination rather than just “be” everything forever.

Poorly thought-out as the Lisa stuff is, it’s at least an attempt to address adult concerns–something that a comic strip aimed at “contemporary problems of young people” should attempt more often.  Because I’m pretty sure the contemporary problems of young people aren’t that they wish there were more comic-book movies.

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School’s Out Completely

Batiuk’s spent the last few weeks burning off a lot of one-shot gags. You’ve gotta admit, though, that even when they fall flat, you’ll take a half-dozen joke strips over say, a week of Funky exploring an abandoned houseToday’s comic continues in the gag-a-day vein, but Burchett continues to add welcome and pleasing visual details. Especially in that first panel: Cayla is positively coquettish, smiling to herself as she casually lets slip to Nate that hubby Les is going to be…preoccupied. And she’s totally getting through to Nate, too. Cut to a nice shot of the talking school building featuring non-hand lettering on the WHS message board, some nice shade from some leaves, and of course there be bricks.

That slow jam playing we could hear in the background abruptly switches to Yakety Sax! Here comes Les, haulin’ ass, knocking hapless students aside with his valise in his frenzy to get the hell away from there. Unless Les and his wife drive separate cars to work, poor Cayla’s going to need a ride home…

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Meh-Moore-ial Day

Big hat tip to billytheskink for a great fortnight of Funky analysis and haiku. And my eternal gratitude to the generations who’ve fought and died so that we might enjoy our liberty. We honor them today and every day.

From the FW blog:
As I discussed in a previous post, Batman animated artist Rick Burchett is coming on board at the end of this month to work with me on Funky.

So the Batiuk & Burchett era is underway, and if not for the tandem signatures on today’s strip, you’d be hard pressed to notice the transition. But let us, with our beady eyes, nitpick this panel by panel:

Les and Cayla celebrate the holiday at their wedding venue (outside the Taj Moore-hal). Les’ smug expression refuses to so much as wilt, even over a hot grill. Speaking of which, don’t those, um…burgers? look tasty?

Looks like Burchett got the memo about drawing bricks, although it’s a 2-D view and not a perspective rendering…but look how many he gets into that little space! ++++

Burchett’s depiction of outside corners on wooden siding, however, displays none of the verisimilitude of his bricks. Les retains his Paulie Walnuts hair color scheme, and is smirking hard enough to give himself dimples to rival those of TV’s Pioneer Woman.

I actually like this panel 3 tableau of the Moores looking into the distance; though if the perspective is true, Les’ giant wheelbarrow is leaning against his two-story garage. Apparently Westview and Centerville are separated by a lush, wooded shire (and of course, “ten or so years”). Notice Cayla, though: while she’s her usual, bland gingerbread cookie self in panel one, here Burchett has given her a perceptible backside and the appearance of hips. This gives me such hope.

While we can expect the draughtsmanship to marginally improve, Batiuk will still be the one “writing” the strip. So don’t get your hopes up over plotline hygiene, more humor, and less gloom: this is still Funky Winkerbean in the 21st Century. But even a little visual polish couldn’t hurt. Welcome aboard, Rick.

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★★★★★

“You never have to change anything you got up in the middle of the night to write.”
― Saul Bellow

Nope, but you do have to be able to read what you wrote the morning after. You’ll remember Les as the guy who a week (and ten years) ago showed up in Crankshaft to pooh-pooh the creative techniques of his fellow writers at a book festival. Please tell me how jotting down ideas that come to you in your sleep differs at all from “I go to sleep and allow my dreams to write my book for me.”

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The “Notte” Book

The winner of our 7th Anniversary contest is Epicus Doomus, who gets a mug from the official Funky Winkerbean CafePress store. Thanks to everyone who participated!

We frequently take Mr. Batiuk to task for his “tell, don’t show” proclivities, but we’ll gladly give him a pass today for having fast-forwarded through Les and Cayla making whoopee. That is, if any whoopee was made: we find the Moores not blissfully spooning, but rather with their backs to one another (the accepted sleeping posture for couples in the Funkiverse). Les has started awake, and though he’s made no sound, Cayla’s aware of this. She’s either a very light sleeper or has been lying there fuming since Les conked out.

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In Soviet Russia, the Sack Hits You!

Cayla’s definitely put something in Les’ hot cocoa, but instead of lethal poison (our choice), mayhap she’s slipped in a little sumpin’ sumpin’ that will put some lead in Les’ stubby little pencil. Have we ever seen Les be the one to initiate a romantic encounter, with Cayla or any of the women who’ve fought over his writer ass? At least this time Cayla doesn’t have to take Les by the hand and drag him up the stairs.

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That’s Good! No, That’s Bad!

Along with his cloying false modestly, Les’ other key character trait is his fear of success. He forgets that time in his writing career when the only news he got from publishers came in the form of rejection letters. And it was only last month that Les couldn’t produce more than one sentence until Darin showed up to reminisce with Les about “Mom.” Inspired, Les squeezed out the literary equivalent of a stool sample which he sent off to the lab the publisher. Naturally the publisher loved it and wanted more, meaning—horrors!— that Les would be forced to continue working on what he considers his life’s passion.

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