Tag Archives: Classic Funky

She’s Having a Tired Plot Device

‘Ello! 4th-trumpet and Westview Waterboy DavidO is checking in, giving much-needed relief to Beckoning Chasm after BC’s two week run of excellent Funky snarking.

On to the funnies!

Hoo-boy. Put on your Members Only Jacket and throw on your Michael Jackson album because we’re about to retread over one of the tiredest troupes in situation comedy, the “Oh God, I’m having a baby, let’s duck into the nearest malfunctioning elevator that has a Rabbi, a mime and a 300lb guy who easily faints in it.” routine that was required in every sitcom, by congressional mandate, from 1983-1994.

Today’s strip throws logic out the window in favor of comedy, though I still don’t see how a panicked trip to the hospital where you gnaw your fingertips raw with anxiety constitutes comedy.

This sort of strip is great at illustrating why cell phones are the bane of screenwriters everywhere. In the age of instant connection, Jess could have just texted Durwood to come pick her up; she’s really feeling it and it’s almost time. The suitcase would already be in the car in that scenario; no need for a pregnant woman to go hauling it around.

I can’t peek ahead, so there’s no way of knowing if this arc is going to go on for weeks or if the Sainted Grandbaby will be enrolled in Westview High this time next month. Either way, prepare for every single worn out fumbling-dad-goes-to-the-hospital schtick ever seen in the last three centuries.


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Christmas Past

December 22, 2012 at 12:06 am
Because we all know how much interest Funky and Les showed in music and singing back in the Act I days…well, I can’t think of any right now, but I’m sure they exist, because otherwise Batiuk would just be pulling random bits of backstory out of his ass for the sake of a cheap gag, and we all know he has too much artistic integrity for that.

I’m not using the above quote here to show up TheDiva, because I’d never have recalled this either (the most musical one of the gang was Crazy Harry with his air guitar). But today Batiuk gifts us with an Act I strip to prove that, yes, Virginia, they really did go Christmas caroling.

I’m convinced that TB’s reproducing a vintage strip here, rather than trying to recreate his old style, as he’s done in the past with mixed results. The logo in panel 1 is the old style. Even the lettering in the dialog balloons is somehow more cheerful. Compare it to the lettering in the weird snow globe that shows our current-day cast: the “L’s” had yet to acquire their painful hump.

Les and Funky, see how young and how likeable! The redhead, of course, is poor, doomed Livinia. I have no idea who the blond girl is, or why she’d have anything to do with Les, even back then. Dig those bell-bottoms in the penultimate panel silhouette! Lastly, it’s interesting to note that before he started taking himself so seriously, Batiuk could use excessive drinking to get laughs.



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Tea Crazy

Our friend Roland” refers to a character who appeared in the very first Funky Winkerbean strip in March of ’72:

I don’t when he disappeared from the strip (or what happened to Livinia). I suppose his function in the early days of FW was to provide a little Doonesbury-esque topical humor. His radical views, of course, did not extend to Playboy magazine (va-va-va-VOOM!), which is why he did not bequeath to Crazy Harry any Betty Friedan or Susan Sontag.

Remember all those strips where Crazy Harry held forth about his conservative beliefs? Me neither. In order to wring another weak punchline out of the Harry Sells His Library premise, Batiuk, out of the blue, assigns a right-wing political view to the presumed former stoner. I’m just thankful that Batiuk didn’t have Crazy identify himself as a “teabagger“.


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Lordy, Lordy, Look Who's Forty

Still with me after yesterday’s post? Thank you, reader.

Let the celebration begin. By some remarkable coincidence, both Funky Winkerbean and Montoni’s Pizzeria celebrate their fortieth anniversaries this week!

March 23, 2012 at 2:05 pm
So, 40th anniversary strips coming up? If Bathack brings us in the wayback machine, I get the feeling they’re going to be a reminder that Funky Winkerbean wasn’t all that good in the 1970s either.

Into the Wayback Machine we go: looks like TB’s going with a “now and then” theme, and if every day is like today’s strip, snarker Jimmy may be on to something. If panel 2 is indeed an original, and not a “reimagining” a la Lynn Johnston, there was probably an original first panel that set this up as an actual joke (Funky dashes into Fred’s office: “Mr. Fairgood! I need to use your phone! It’s an emergency!”). The absence of humor here leaves us to contemplate the young, likeable, slender Funky, whose cargo pants conceal the merest suggestion of a butt that forty years later would threaten to burst right through Montoni’s window.

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Sunday Funday

Last day to comment on Friday’s post for a chance to win your own copy of Lisa’s Story!

You know what? I like today’s strip! I like it because in recreating a couple Act I scenes, TB has actually recalled the cartoony style of that period. Funky, Les and Crazy Harry, Holly and Cindy are their old 70s and 80s selves again. The punchlines are nothing to write home about, but I’ll settle for gentle humor over hamfisted melodrama any day of the week.

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Those Old Chestnuts

Today we’re hearkening back to the days when this used to be a “comic” strip. Les borrows one of Bull’s fractured sports metaphors to illustrate his lack of success with the ladies. In TB’s latest round of retconning, Teenage Funky sports a turtleneck, and is full of worldly advice on how to score, whereas we longtime FW readers know that despite his “cool” name, Funky was only a shade less uncool than Les.

Jump to the present, where the lifelong friends are so out of touch with one another that Funky is shocked, shocked to learn of this long-simmering love triangle.

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A Day in the Life of a Geezer


Inside Danforth’s Drugstore, newly-blonde Summer, and Cory, wearing Maddie’s stolen cap, peruse the latest copy of Inked…what? We’re still in the past? Oh, yeah, then that must be Funky’s young self with his ace pal “Crazy” Harry, checking out the comics rack like the red-blooded high school boys of their day (yeah, right). Seeing his cue, Funky the Old Geezer winks at the boys, wags a crooked finger, and suggests that his younger self invest in Starbuck Jones #1.

So: we’ve earned an ending of sorts. Took a while, but TB has actually tied up a loose end. I like Teen Funky’s face in panel 3; almost a throwback to when he was drawn with his eyes about a half-inch apart.

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Meanwhile, Back in 2010…

Guess that’s it for the ol’ PT Cruiser!

Looks like budget cuts have hit Westview hard. No cops, no firefighters, just two EMTs and a gurney to take our “buddy” over yon grassy knoll. Hopefully the cellphone talker who caused this crackup doesn’t need medical attention; our rescuers have their hands full.

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B “Pee” H

Batiuk continues to deliver the gags; today’s is not quite as chuckleworthy as yesterday’s (and not everyone found yesterday’s to be chuckleworthy), but we’ll let it go. Very edifying to hear Funky refer to himself as an “old man” (BPH notwithstanding). By my reckoning he still hasn’t hit 50 (he was about 46 years old at beginning of Act III in 2007).


Merry Pookster
July 7, 2010 at 4:05 pm

Who is the girl in the burnt orange shirt?

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Water, Boy

I’m always willing to give TB props when he makes a funny. Today’s riff is pretty good. Buying bottled water, at least in quantities less than a gallon, would indeed be an alien concept in 1977.

As far as the artistry in today’s strip, though…granted, the drawing style has changed over three decades. It wouldn’t do to depict teenage Funky the way he looked to us back then. But his profile in the first panel is bizarre; his nose is upturned rather than down; again, rather Owen-like. Additionally, Crazy’s lid appears to have been retconned from an Fidel Castro-style olive fatigue hat into a Confederate rebel cap.

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