Tag Archives: comic book cover

Gorilla Marketing

Hi all! SosfDavidO here with a pain in my neck from trying to read today’s strip sideways.

Hey, hey, it’s a monkey! A gorilla to be more accurate, drawn by a man who ape-parently only has a basic understanding of what a gorilla looks like.

It’s true, though, gorilla covers on comics sold a lot of issues back in the day. TomBat isn’t the first to notice the phenomenon of course, but I have to wonder, Tom, if you’re going to do a throw-back gorilla cover, why not the simian golden age equivalent of Freebird by revamping the infamous Jimmy Olson marries a gorilla” cover?

olsen_gorilla

This is what Gramps was reading, kids.

 

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There You Go Again

Leaving meaningless oil paintings behind in the dilapidated shacks that they deserve to be housed in, today’s strip brings us back to art’s purest and most meaningful form and in its most hallowed of temples…

Well no wonder DSH couldn’t cover his rent back in 2010, he hates the actual function of his business. That 2010 story seems especially relevant to this one, as Funky covered DSH’s rent (and some of his own expenses) by doing exactly what DSH had apparently been failing to do, sell comic books. Now we know that he can hardly bear to part with the things that his business is supposed to part with.

I do not recall this “McKenzie Collection” but I assume it has something to do with Crankshaft’s elderly neighbor. I’d try to track down more info but I’m researched out right now, sorry.

Thanks for sticking with us through the last month, which included a couple of the most asinine and one of the funkiest strangest weeks in recent Funky memory. Sosf David O will be your driver starting next week, and should do a better job steering around the potholes than I did… and there WILL be p(l)otholes.

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Hardboiled Volk

Today’s strip tells us literally the same thing that Friday’s strip did. Marianne’s fate will remain a mystery for another day… that day quite possibly being Christmas Day. We are in color again, but I’m not quite getting that infomercial tonal shift feeling I described a few days back.

I feel it my duty to point out that a story about an actress who is driven to suicide (possibly) by cyberbullies is not “hardboiled” It’s pretty much the exact opposite of hardboiled, actually. It can be many other things: sad, appalling, educational (or in TB’s hands: implausible, maudlin, and preachy), but a word meaning “tough, cynical, unsentimental” as hardboiled does? No.

Us beady-eyed nitpickers may notice that Tom Lyle’s signature offers additional proof that TB works a year ahead, not that we really needed it.

lylesignature

You can see the conception of this comic book cover on the official Funky Winkerbean blog

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To The Moon, Alice

Despite hatching the title “In The Clutches Of Queen Morphine!”, TB breaks from his typical tone in today’s strip. Yes, what sounds like the title of an Act II addiction-awareness pamphlet written by Mopey Pete, or something else right up TB’s alley, is actually a setup for some cheesecake space action. Weird.

Anyways, Cindy is still jealous, Mason still oblivious, and this whole Starbuck Jones movie deal is still ridiculous. There was no resolution this week… I’m afraid to see what might come next. Walt Kelly help us all.

I would like to thank everyone but Tom Batiuk for these last couple of weeks. Taking over tomorrow will be, your friend and mine, the nonpareil DavidO.

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Double Shot of My Batty’s Love

I suppose we can’t blame Tom Batiuk for taking Fathers Day off and yielding the floor to a “real” comic artist. But we’re left with so many unanswered questions.

Mason Jarr casually  informs Cliff, on-set and in costume, that they are concurrently “shooting” Starbuck Jones and its sequel? Did Cliff not read and sign a contract? Or is he so delighted to have been rescued from obscurity that anything is fine with him? “I can’t believe they’re shooting two at once!” This from a man who became (obstensibly) famous as an actor in serial films. Do you suppose these were shot episode by episode, totally in sequence?

Let’s move on to the content that’s not drawn by Batiuk: a fucking Western? Because “shooting two at once”? Maybe this one of Batty’s obscure, beloved old comic covers that he tries to to bend the narrative in order to make it fit? We Google “comic book ‘arizona ranger‘”  to find the source…there’s Lone Ranger comics…Texas Ranger comics…there’s, um, this

Turns out it’s not a vintage comic after all, but is instead another title from TB’s imaginary Batom Comics: he mentioned The Arizona Ranger in his blog two years ago (along with Charlie and Chuck and Mr. Sponge). So TB commissioned this “tribute” (from an artist who is old enough to be a contemporary of Cliff Anger’s) and really doesn’t care if it makes any sense.

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Cadet Collection

If you find reading Funky Winkerbean seven days a week to be an exercise in confusion and frustration, imagine what the reader experience must be like for those who only get the newspaper on Sundays. We daily readers at least have some sort of context, not that it helps much.

If Batiuk really cared about telling this story in a coherent manner, the extra real estate of the Sunday panels would afford him space to provide character and story development. Instead, he squanders precious ink and newsprint on another comic book cover. At least this one is an original (by DC and Marvel artist and fellow Ohioan Paul Galacy) and not some obscure title from a longbox under TB’s bed. So he’s able to work in some tangential connection to the “plot”: based on hair color, the “Lunar Cadets” appear to be stand-ins for Mason, Cindy, and Pete. Meanwhile, the real Mason, Cindy and Pete are relegated to a Family Circus-like bubble at the top, and most of that space is taken up by exposition and a reference to yet another comic franchise.

The artwork itself is fine; well, aside from the dull, muddy color pallette. But if the artist is going for a 50’s or 60’s feel, it would have been a nice touch to have the LUNAR CADETS banner hand-lettered, instead of using type that has clearly been digitally set and stretched.

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Secretary of Covers

Link to today’s strip. (Vertically oriented version)

So at long last (and we do mean long) the Starbuck Jones project has been completed…we hope and pray, anyway.

Since Sunday’s strip was not available for preview, I’m assuming that we’re looking at a Starbuck Jones cover that has artwork far better than Funky Winkerbean has enjoyed since…well, the last strip not drawn by Tom Batiuk.  I’m also assuming that Mr. Batiuk has junked up the cover with word balloons and his own uninteresting characters.

What little we could see of the cover last week showed Starbuck, gun at the ready, leaping through space while clutching a blonde, large-chested woman.  Her gloved hand dragged over her forehead could either mean, “I’m getting the vapors!” or “Why do we always have to visit your friends?!”  Either way, like the women of Funky Winkerbean, it appears that the women of Starbuck Jones are either clueless or hindrances.

And finally the saga (of collecting comics*) has drawn to a close (it is fervently hoped).  Well, she still has to present the collection to Cory, who won’t appreciate it (having been shot dead the week before), but that shouldn’t take more than a Sunday strip.

And now, what have we learned?   Well, I’ve learned that Tom Batiuk can take a subject which engages his interest and turn it into something utterly boring and uninvolving.  Apparently his passion for comic books simply cannot be translated onto the page.

It would have been interesting to see Holly actively engaged in the search, to the point where she had to develop skills and strategies.  Since she started to read the stories, and apparently enjoyed them, perhaps she could adopt some of Starbuck’s tactics to use in her quest.  She could learn how to negotiate, how to evaluate a product, when to cut a deal, and so on.

But she didn’t.  She didn’t do any of those things.  With the exception of the issue bought off eBay, Holly was simply handed the damned things.  She showed no growth as a character; like all Funky Winkerbean females, she remained utterly useless and unaccountably stupid.  Most of the “heavy lifting” was done by Dead Comic Dick John, who could have steered her toward becoming a savvy collector, but instead just pointed her in a direction and said, “There’s a comic book you want, over that way.”  Even the information he gave her about comic books was just trivia (when it wasn’t factually wrong, that is).

And now the project is done, and I’m left wondering what the point of it all is (other than filling newspaper space, I mean).  In interviews, Tom Batiuk always comes across as enthusiastic and excited about his upcoming arcs, and then, when those arcs actually see the cold light of reality, they’re just…lazy and stupid and poorly thought out.

It makes me wonder if there are two Tom Batiuks out there.  There’s the friendly, engaged guy who does the interviews and personal appearances, and then there’s Tim Batiuk, who writes and draws the actual strip, based on his brother’s boastful claims.  (That actually sounds like an interesting story, doesn’t it?  Someone should do a comic strip based on that premise.  I’d read it, at least until one of the brothers got cancer.)

Ah well, such points to ponder shall have to wait, as the door is at last unlocked, and the warm sunlight filters into my dank, brick-walled cell.  Yes, folks, it’s freedom time again!  Please join me in welcoming back the fabulous DavidO, who will be locked in a tiny room serve as your host for the next two weeks!

*I have a feeling that the Starbuck Jones stories themselves could be quite interesting–the story elements hinted at are certainly there, after all.  As long as someone else writes and draws them, they could be worth reading.  Amazing, isn’t it?

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