Tag Archives: comic books

The 2021 Funky Awards Week! Day 6

The wistful way John and Batton are looking at each other today, you’d think these two were carrying on some kind of illicit love affair. And in a way, they are. Talking about comic book memories is the ultimate form of intimacy two Funkyverse males can achieve. I wonder how Crazy Harry feels about John cheating on him like that.

Yesterday, we examined the few wisps of hay we found in the 2021 needlestack. Today a more onerous chore: to find out which of the innumerable rusty, tainted, twisted barbs hurt the most when it got under our skin.

The following are your nominees for The Worst Funky Winkerbean Strip of 2021.

1.) War of the Word Zeppelins

2.) Post Pandemic Doom Posting

3.) ‘Disappointed a Lot of Fans’

4.) Feeling Blue

5.) Randy Old Man

6.) Gross Randy Old Man

7.) Just Gross

And the winner for The Worst Funky Winkerbean Strip of 2021 is…

GROSS RANDY OLD MAN

Though other strips certainly made a strong case, only one strip this year had seasoned Son of Stuck Funky commenters saying things like:

The tonal shifts in this comic are several parsecs in length.

beckoningchasm

Looking at this offering is like playing “How many impending accidents and lawsuits can you count?”

William Thompson

The fact that I’m concerned about Lillian, who is utterly despicable, is kind of impressive.

RudimentaryLathe?

I don’t want to overreact, but I can’t help thinking this is just plain evil. 

Sourbelly

Can we nominate Batiuk for the Golden Crackpipe award? He can only be high if he thinks this was a good idea.

be ware of eve hill

 But never have I seen such a tone-deaf display as where today’s strip is leading this storyline.

J.J. O’Malley

I find it hard to believe that TomBa is this clueless but I also find it hard to believe that he could be so offensive intentionally.

Gerard Plourde

I can feel my sense of humor evaporating the moment my eyes fall on the strip.

The Duck of Death

Jesus, this is bad.

Rusty Shackleford

That’s it for the awards to hand out! Join us tomorrow for closing remarks as we wrap up the first ever Funky Winkerbean Awards, and I wrap up my shift.

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The 2021 Funky Awards Week! Day 5

Well look who’s referenced today, Lillian McKenzie. That’s a pretty obscure character to be pulling from there Tom, we only saw her 50 times last year in Funky Winkerbean, and 72 times in Crankshaft, for a total number of 122 Lillian strips for 2021, causing commenter ‘erdmann’ to wonder:

Loathsome Lillian appeared in 50 FW strips? That’s on top of her “Crankshaft” appearances? Lord, is it possible that wretched old bat could have appeared in more strips than any other Batiuk character last year?

(For those of you wondering, Crankshaft appeared in 266 of his eponymous strips, so he wins.)

A quick review of Crankshaft‘s year brought into focus once again how much better Crankshaft is. It has its terrible Batiukian moments, of course, but it also had several strips that gave me an out and out chuckle. Because Ed Crankshaft is a sort of horrible person it’s funny when dumb things happen to him. Which is why Funky can pun and complain as much as he wants, he can’t ever be anything more than a pale imitation.

Props to Davis for the facial expression in that last panel.

While I’m a little gentler on Batiuk’s humor than some here, it was still difficult to pick out strips that genuinely rose to the top. There were plenty of strips I found inoffensive, or mildly amusing, but those tended to mush together into indistinct blob of almost-humor. Still, with the help of a panel of my personal friends we were able to put together the following nominees for…

The Best Funky Winkerbean Strip 0f 2021

1.) Expensive Equipment

2.) Accessorizing

3.) The Joys of Reading Over 50

4.) Interdisciplinary Thinking

5.) Funkyverse in a Cookieshell

6.) I’ve Seen Things You People Wouldn’t Believe

And the winner for The Best Funky Winkerbean Strip of 2021 is….

I’VE SEEN THINGS YOU PEOPLE WOULDN’T BELIEVE.

Sorry if you didn’t want a nearly naked Rutger Hauer with Becky’s face burned into your brain.

Though it didn’t win, it was extremely gratifying for me to see ‘The Joys of Reading Over 50’ make such a strong showing. My panel of friends didn’t really get it, and I worried that I was just sentimental for the days I still lived at home. Remembering all the times coming in late from my gas station shift, seeing my dad passed out on the couch with a fat book splayed out across his chest; creeping over, taking his book, sliding in the edge of dust jacket to mark his place, slipping off his glasses to fold them on the side table, turning off the lamp and tucking him in.

When Batiuk isn’t stroking his ego with prestige arcs, or indulging his comic book fetishes, or pandering for attention from organizations, he still…very rarely…has the power to touch.

But if it was hard to find strips this year that were genuinely ‘the best’, it was even harder to narrow down all the potential nominees for our last catagory.

Join us tomorrow for the final award: The Worst Funky Winkerbean Strip of 2021.

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The 2021 Funky Awards Week! Day 4

Batton, John, you two have known each other since at least May 2019. You already talked about Amazing Fantasy #15 back in June. There is no way in this entire multiverse of madness John selling a copy to Chester hasn’t been discussed to death yet. So what the heck is today about?

While I appreciate the irony of the author avatar attending awards week, nothing about this week makes sense or stands out. And NONE of these panels from this week are Panel of the Year contenders. Two doughy-faced men blathering at each other in a boring beige room is about as visually appealing as cellulitis.

Which is sort of a shame, last year’s lovingly rendered Rexall Drug that we managed to track down via Google Street View did make my short list for panel contenders. If only to honor a day when Batiuk’s obsessive weirdness so closely dovetailed with our own.

But ultimately the Imperious Holy Temple lost out to some, (in one case literally,) stiff competition.

The following are the nominees for The Panel of the Year 2021

1.) The Final Note

2.) Rare Flying Discman

3.) Take THAT History!

4.) Smoking Vader

5.) Les Waterboards Himself

6.) Eros Panoptes

7.) Stag Film

8.) Pizza Box Signal

And the Son of Stuck Funky winner for The Panel of the Year 2021 is….

THE FINAL NOTE

Here’s a comparison with the ‘variant’ Davis cover of the crossover event.

Though we all enjoyed a flashback of Les Moore drenching himself with water while spouting grawlix, nothing can complete with, “You guys wanna go see a dead body?”

Mr. A had this picked out all the way back on June 19 . (Sorry your nominee didn’t make it Sourbelly.)

I promised you yesterday a ridiculous spreadsheet. See, when I was trying to figure out arcs of the year, it suddenly struck me that the ratio of Les to Funky this year was skewed Funky in a way I had never seen before. Then I realized how many previously integral characters, like Wally, Cindy, or Jessica had been shoved so far into the back seat, they may as well have been tied up in the the trunk. It made me curious. Who showed up the most this year?

Below is hours of my life I could have spent with loved ones or napping. But I found it interesting, and thought some of you might too.

Named Characters by Number of Strips Appearing In for 2021.

The most baffling development from this is that, believe it or not, many of Funky’s AA meeting attendees have names. This floored me.

In October, when I was going on an CK archives deep dive for my Wally Winkerbean Pizza Monster nonsense, something caught my eye.

January 15, 2001

January 20, 2001

January 23, 2001

April 22, 2021

Why? Why when Batiuk can’t even remember the names and number of the collective children of Wally, Rachel, Becky, and John; when he can’t be assed to check who the Dinkles had for Thanksgiving LAST YEAR, would he go back in time TWENTY YEARS to resurrect these characters?

When Funky was last at an AA meeting, in 2018, it was peopled by generics. So I can only assume that working on this era while preparing his massive omnibuses for Kent State jogged his memory, and he asked Ayers to recreate these important figures of Funky Lore.

But THIS is what I’m here for. THIS is what keeps me looking again, coming back, pondering, analyzing. Some kind of weird call-back, so obtuse and strange that, as far as I can tell, no one among Batiuk’s most dedicated and educated readers noticed for months.

Join me tomorrow as I attempt to convince you, despite all evidence, that modern Funky Winkerbean isn’t universally unbearable, as we award The Best Strip of 2021.

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The 2021 Funky Awards Week! Day 3

This seems like a weird question to be asking John now. Batton has multiple times this past year been, as Epicus put it, ‘schlepping up that dingy, creaky old KK staircase’ to wax eloquent on the naissance of his funny pages obsession. You’d think this would have been one of the first things they chatted about.

I described DSH John once as a bartender in a town full of drunks. He slumps behind his counter dispensing the Westview drug of choice and getting high off his own supply. Character-wise, he has nothing going on for himself. He’s simply a springboard for other people to launch off of. He hasn’t had an arc to himself since the aborted plotline where he was going to be a consultant on the Starbuck Jones movie.

I thought a lot about the subject of ‘arcs’ when preparing these awards. For the Worthy Awards, picking nominees for Outstanding Story of the Year seems easy. The Worthyverse has months long super arcs, usually between three and five a year. However, in Funky Winkerbean, anywhere from a week to a month may be spent on a group of characters before he moves on to another group, and then often back again to an earlier thread, weaving together like a messy braid of nonsense. And then there are one-off weeks spent on plotless gag concepts. Was Dinkle suffering through a series of anemic high school pranks an arc? Was the Pizza Box Monster an arc?

What constitutes an ‘arc’? I thought about it a couple different ways.

One way was looking at what seemed like major events; high points where long running plot points had new developments, or where the status quo changed. It was easy to catagorise the Comic Con trip or the flopping of Lisa’s Story as an arc.

But another way I analyzed the year was by breaking it down by location. Where did the comic spend most of it’s time? This is how Funky and Holly got an ‘arc’ nomination that encapsulated all their banal medical and reno stories. We also spent way too long poking around St. Spires with the choir in a number of mini arcs that begged to be rolled together.

Number Of Strips Taking Place at Each Location.

In the end, I simply went with my gut. I felt bad about it, because it felt like something Batiuk would do.

So, the nominees for The 2021 Story Arc of the Year

1.) Dinkle Joins the Choir

2.) ‘Lisa’s Story: The Movie’ Wraps and Flops

3.) Phil Holt: Resurrections

4.) The Winkerbeans Rehab, Reno, and Recover

5.) Tom Worships Idols of Silver

And the winner of The 2021 Story Arc of the year is…

‘LISA’S STORY: THE MOVIE’ WRAPS AND FLOPS

iT tUrnS BaAck iNTo A pUmPKIn.

For most of last week I was sure Phil Holt’s Resurrection was going to maintain its narrow lead. But at the very end Lisa’s Story swooped in to steal the prize. Congratulations to the cast. It will likely be the only accolade this cinematic turkey receives.

Come back tomorrow, when we’ll announce The Panel of the Year, I’ll show you another ridiculous spreadsheet that proves I have too much time on my hands, and we’ll go on an archive deep dive that will leave you scratching your head.

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The 2021 Funky Awards Week! Day 1

Welcome, one and all, to the first ever Funky Winkerbean Awards Week!

And a very special welcome to an unexpected guest here at the awards, Batton Thomas!

It seems very appropriate that this week Tom Batiuk’s own author avatar has another of his John-and-Bat-gush-over-comics arcs. Because this week we are judging what Tom accomplished, and failed to accomplish, in the comic universe he controls.

2021 was the year of the author mouthpiece, the strawman, and the wry observer. Our first award goes to the unnamed character who managed to stand out in a sea of melting tired faces. Whether by attempting to one up the main cast in insufferability or obtuseness, or by giving voice to the feelings of the audience, these characters ensured that while we may never know their names, we are sure to remember their faces.

Your Nominees for The Thatsnot Hewmore Award for Standout Unnamed Character:

1.) Referential Heckler

The smirk that launched a blogwide meme.

2.) Suffering Saint Nursing Assistant

Giving Holly the pity she deserves

3.) Average Comics Fan

The Man who spoke for us all.

4.) Mature Comic Con Attendee

Another Batiuk mouthpiece monopolizes the mike.

5.) Zombie Orderly

The true face of existing in the Funkyverse.

6.) Oblivious Parade Spectator

I guess Harriet needed someone to blather at…

And the Winner Is….

AVERAGE COMICS FAN.

Though Referential Heckler made a strong showing, earning more than a quarter of the votes, the winner was clear early on. Whether it was cursing in front of children, complaining about the artwork, or paradoxically consuming the entire corpus of the comics he can’t seem to stand, we all saw a little of ourselves in Average Comics Fan. In attempting to make a strawman of his critics, Batiuk unwittingly built up the most relatable character all year. Bravo.

One way Average Comics Fan was like us is in complaining about the portrayal of women. While he complained that the women of Atomik Komix were too ordinary, we noticed women in the Funkyverse being stereotyped, being props, and flat out disappearing. Despite his seemingly earnest attempts at female empowerment via women in comics and media, it’s clear that Tom Batiuk will forever have trouble relating to, and portraying, the female characters he has created.

In recognition of this we present you with the nominees for

The Livinia Memorial Award for Achievements in Feminism

1.) Women Be Shopping

2.) Women Be Changing Their Minds

3.) Women Be Jealous

4.) Women Be Catty

5.) Women Be Another Species Entirely

6.) Women Be Tiny and Disappearing in the Background

And the winner is….

WOMEN BE JEALOUS

For a while, it seemed like ‘Women Be Tiny and Disappearing in the Background’ was a sure winner, but late in the game voters seemed to realize that Jessica Fairgood’s only arc this year was to become livid and suspicious at her husband of over a decade after half-hearing a single vague conversation, and then instantly gushing over his new, nerdy appearance. Though other strips might have been more blatantly stuck in the women-are-from-Venus, men-are-from-Marvel, mindset that plagues Batiuk’s thinking, and there were more tone deaf attempts at white-knighting, this arc showcases Tom’s willingness to betray the integrity of his female characters for a week of cheap ‘humor’.

Join us tomorrow, as we puzzle over Tom’s inability to remember his own history, and see which Les Moore face you wanted to punch the most.

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Do quit your day job

Et tu, Skyler? Crazy being baffled anyone would think he looks like Santa Claus while wearing a Santa Claus hat was bad enough… but today’s strip sees Skyler puzzled that Santa Claus spends time away from the North Pole? Has the kid never been to a mall? A store with a Salvation Army bell-ringer out front? A December Rotary Club fundraiser?

Actually, Given Westview’s general economic and retail landscape, that may be believable. The inquiry “North Pole?”, however…

As pretty much every single one of us beady-eyed nitpickers noted yesterday, Skyler was born in 2013, eight years ago (in fact, his birthday was November 22, just a few weeks ago), and has demonstrated his ability to speak in complete sentences on multiple occasions in the past. His regression to the verbal ability of a two year-old is a puzzling and insipid development, but no less so than a number of other things that have happened in this strip in Act III. Tomorrow may well find Kevin Garnett (no, not that Kevin Garnett, this guy after a visit to the Pete Reynolds New Last Name Store) correctly shouting “Anything is possible!” It’s true, we’re all living in Phil Holt’s world now.

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No No No, Who Wouldn’t Go?

Hi, I’m billytheskink and I love Christmastime. A lot. So folks who find me insufferably cheery at this time of year can take some solace in knowing that this year I have volunteered to take time away from playing holiday novelty records just a bit too loudly and dumping sprinkles on yet another batch of cookies to read AND write about Funky Winkerbean.

Crazy, you’ve had a beard for decades… no one has ever compared you to Santa Claus when you wear red? Not one time? Reading today’s strip, you would think Skyler is the first person ever to make the connection between a bearded man in a red hat and old Kris Kringle.

Skyler’s smarter than he looks, though. He knows that with parents like his, he’d better go straight to Santa to make sure he winds up with something good this year, and not (Starbuck Jones-themed) clothes again… or the coal that Durwood and Jess are sure to find in their stockings.

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It Was Good a Call

This is not a doctored panel.

Yeesh, the things Dead Skunk Head gets emotional about…One thing I’ll say about reading and commenting about FW on a regular basis: you can learn a lot. I never knew until this week what a comics “pull list” is, nor that you could download comics online. All this knowledge absorption  has worn me out. Luckily billytheskink rides to our rescue, starting Monday, bringing plenty of ammo for shooting all these fish in a barrel. Save a seat for in me in the comments section, won’t you? Happy holidays and thanks for reading.

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Pull List Surprise

Mindy is the last person in the room who needs to apologize. Pete literally had his back turned as his fiancé got in a shouting match with a stranger. John was nowhere to be found while this was happening, and even after the jerk is gone still does not come out from behind the counter.

Sourbelly
December 8, 2021 at 10:52 pm
Why not just tell this weirdo the truth: “Sure, loser, we produce garbage, but we make 100x more money than you do, and we barely do any work! We win!”

Yesterday’s strip may have been the big F you to the critics, but today we get the victory lap. OK, we’re talking comic strips vs. comic books, but those checks from King Features Syndicate keep rollin’ in. And you and I may not have to pay for the privilege, but we snarkers are his most loyal readers. Not because we like it, though.

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