Last week’s running gag had Dinkle and Becky walking around reading signs. This week is shaping up to be a series of people letting themselves into the Atomik Komix office and being greeted with “Hey!” Superb draftsmanship today in panel 1: Kitch Swoon appears to be standing in the doorway of an airplane in flight, and Pete is so excited he’s morphed into Shemp Howard. Our colorist gives even less of a damn, leaving Ms. Swoon with white hair rather than the blonde hair she had when we met her last summer. At least Batiuk hasn’t altered or forgotten her name.
Silly monikers have been Funky Winkerbean‘s stock in trade for nearly a half century, from the title character and his friend “Less More,” to the late Coach “Jack Stropp” and forgotten teacher “Rita Wrighton.” These names were semi-witty, facile wordplay. But I’m at a loss to tease sense out of “Kitch [sic] Swoon.” She’s an artsy type for sure (she’s wearing a beret). Does she specialize in “tacky,” lowbrow, populist art? Does the sight of kitsch make her feel like she’s going to faint?
Being late/running late is a very common theme in dreams…Being late in a dream as an image of finding it difficult living up to your own demands or the demands of others…When we dream that we are late or that we are about to be late, it is often because we are fighting a battle to achieve more than we can actually handle.
It’s a pretty common dream, all right, so give Batiuk points for being relatable for once. I know I’ve had dreams of this type. The naked-in-public kind of dreams, too. Batiuk and Ayers do a pretty good job at giving this scenario a dreamlike feeling. The hallway appears infinite, and eerily empty. And while this is almost a universal dream premise, I bet Tom Batiuk hasn’t had this dream in ages. At this stage of his career, the only demands he probably has to meet are to submit one comic strip per day. It doesn’t have to be especially well drawn, or funny, or make sense, or follow a narrative. Just a piece of content, to fill space on a newspaper comics page or on a website.
Well, my two week long nightmare of having to deconstruct FW every day is ended, and on deck is guest emcee Epicus Doomus! Take it away!
Casual readers won’t recognize the skinny old geezer looming over Darin, but we all know that it’s Flash Freeman. He’s kind of the Harry Dinkle of the comics industry: though he’s long since retired, he still likes to randomly “drop by” and interfere with people who are trying to do actual work. Of course, Darin and Pete need no excuse to goof off, and they literally worship the comics legend. Pete especially, whose grin stretches all the way to the bags under his eyes in panel 1.
Today’s strip, when it drops.
Well, it’s been a real teeter-totter of a shift. One week of super-depressing Lesplotation misery porn, and another week of weightless recycled turkey gags. But you how the old song goes: When you’re up, you’re up. And when you’re down, you’re down. And when you’re only halfway up, it’s Sunday and the strip isn’t available for preview.
Our glorious leader TFHackett, is assuming his place on the podium tomorrow. Please treat him with the respect due a founding father of our blogiverse. He’s chopped down Lisa trees, and crossed the mighty Cuyahoga, and seen our troops through the frigid winters of Ohio. He stood up to the rotten king who tried to silence our freedoms through C&D, and brought us to this promised land.
Link to today’s strip
Dinkle! Stop touching your face! It’s gross! I don’t care if you forgot to shave, or have some kind of numb-cheeked neurological disorder, you will break out in ugly old man acne.
Speaking of ugly, Becky in panel three is a real barker. Bags under her eyes, lines around her misshapen mouth, weird flesh-colored half moon circles on her eyelids, mismatched ears. Ugh. Edvard Munch could be more flattering when portraying anxiety.
And I’m confused. Becky has a husband that isn’t Dinkle? I did another archive deep dive and, after going all the way back to December 2018, I found this weird strip.
That’s DSH John. But are they married? They mention each other a few other times, I guess? But that was the last time they were in a strip together. December 22 2018. They’re married, right? And have kids? When was the last time we saw kids?
Since 2018 Becky has attended OMEA in January, the school end picnic in May, Bull’s funeral, all with Dinkle at her side, and DSH John nowhere to be seen. Over 20 individual strips. And she only had 3 strips WITHOUT Dinkle.
And isn’t John married to Crazy Harry?
Found this funny strip from a year ago though. I guess Dinkle must be catching the Alzheimer’s that Mort Winkerbean lost. Because he forgot he’d already praised Becky for going digital.
Link to today’s strip
Went on a weird journey for today’s post. At first I was just going to point out bad art. Like Dinkle touching his face with a tiny little prop hand. Then it occurred to me that Dinkle has touched his face in shocked contemplation no less than three times this week, which is gross and not something you want to be doing during cold and flu season.
But I stopped when I noticed that Becky mentioned practicing music for the Christmas Concert…because Westview doesn’t have a Christmas Concert. They have a Holiday Concert, so as to not offend those who do not celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, and/or a night where the undead soul of a fourth century Turkish bishop breaks into people’s homes. I had vague recollections of an entire Holiday Concert arc dealing with Principal Nate becoming a somehow more exaggerated prototype of South Park’s PC Principal. So I dug into the archives, and sure enough there was an arc from December 7th through the 13th in 2015.
My trip took me farther back, because I decided to review some of the tired old Band Turkey gags, and I discovered that Dinkle himself assisted Becky in selling something other than turkeys back in 2014.
Then I looked up, and right there, November 2014, I found the arc where Bull had been offered a college coaching position, only to have it snatched away from him when the college’s first choice called back. And I was stunned to see that, five years ago, Batiuk thought to include a strip where Bull and Linda include their children in life decisions. Probably the last time Jinx has spoken in strip.
Reading that arc again, after everything, had me genuinely sad. And also kind of grossed out. Because Batiuk wrote Linda as incredibly horny back then.
Link to today’s strip
What a great way to follow a big prestige serious storyline you bragged about, with a total waste of space. “Hi!” “Hi!” “You’re fat!” I guess coming up with a week of ways to show how dumb Bull was must’ve really taxed Batiuk’s talent.
This is one of my least favorite things about this strip (the list of things I’ve described that way would be very long). Literally all Funky does in this strip is work and work out, and yet he’s still fat. And people make fun of him for it. And since Bull’s dead, he’s this strip’s fattest, dumbest character, so he’d better watch out, I guess.
By this point, the postal clerk is just cracking himself up with all the P.O. bashing. I’m surprised at Darin having the foresight to purchase a “bunch” of stamps. He’s denying himself future opportunities to stand in line and bitch about all the “old people.”
August 3, 2018:
Today’s strip and this week’s arc continue to practically mirror those of last August. Again, for those of you who’ve recently started reading Funky Winkerbean: even given FW’s elastic, nonsensical reckoning of time, Darin Fairgood has got to be at least forty years old, which many would consider “young” (certainly younger than me). But it’s unlikely that his presence at a postal counter would raise any eyebrows. What the hell’s with the 72-year-old Batiuk’s contempt for old people, the post office, and old people at the post office? Anyway, I happen to think that “a wallet that has a change purse” sounds pretty cool, and clearly, Darin thinks so too.
Having satisfied her simian sexual appetites, as well as getting in a “bonding moment” with her child, Jessica has hastened back to L.A.—the world must not be made to wait any longer for that very important Butter Brinkel documentary! She’s probably been back in town barely long enough to unpack her suitcase; long enough to compel Darin to show his “caring” by sending her a package. Rather, “one of” his packages, which suggests this is a thing with him. Batiuk persists in depicting Darin and Jessica as these two starry eyed, young sweethearts, tragically kept apart by their respective, oh-so-important careers.