Banana Jr. 6000
July 29, 2022 at 5:02 am
Who the hell would go to this exhibition? Both these men now live in this town, and have spent a lifetime putting out the comic book equivalent of shovelware.
Maybe people are coming out just to gawk at Flash “Fairfield’s” towering head. It’s the most interesting detail in today’s strip. Not a hell of a lot else to comment about here.
What is “show-offy” of even writerly about Pete’s comment? That paragraph that Darin has to lean in closely and squint to read is a little flowery (“its special magic”) but otherwise inoffensive and succinct. How is “From the hearts of Phil and Flash” an improvement?
The day of the big gallery opening has come at last. On the walls of the Dibbs Gallery are famous Phil’s Batom covers: Charlie & Chuck, the Cockroach, Starbuck Jones, and, of course, the Amazing Mr. Sponge. If they look familiar, it’s because these are the artworks which Phil Holt inexplicably bequeathed to Boy Lisa, who decided they should be auctioned off to benefit Lisa’s Legacy, and which were bought, every last one, by Hagglemore, who happens to be Phil and Flash’s employer. There! I’ve explained how Phil’s sold-off covers are still available for this gallery show.
Now: can anyone explain how, after Batiuk has spent 8 years establishing his canon, Flash Freeman’s is now Flash Fairfield?
Comic Book Harriet commented the other day about Batiuk “[giving] Flash and Phil the same backstory as Darin and Pete.” Maybe by bestowing on him an alternate last name, Batiuk’s just giving Flash one more thing in common with Pete Roberts Reynolds.
“Hey Siri. Look up ‘futurians’ on Wikipedia.” I’m still tuckered out from researching Charlton Comics, a franchise which a surprising number of you were familiar with. Wikipedia has not one but three “futurians” articles. Let’s leave aside the New Zealand sci-fi punk band by that name. TB’s musical tastes are certainly varied, but I doubt that’s who he’s cribbing here.
Well if today’s panel 3 ain’t just the purest distillation of Tom Batiuk’s raison d’être over the last couple decades of Funky Winkerbean…Which is why I used that quote in the header of this page. Anyway, “that place” that Batty is trying to get back to doesn’t exist, and it really never did. Continue reading
Like most people who will read today’s strip, I never heard of Charlton Comics, so once again, off to Aunt Wikipedia I go to glean some knowledge about yet another one of Batty’s obscure cultural touchstones. Though young Phil dismisses them as “crummy,” Charlton’s history is rather more colorful that the one TB dreamed up for Batom Comics. Continue reading
Chuck Ayers’ name is misspelled here. Discuss.
Kudos to the our newest bullpen addition BananaJr6000 for a stellar debut. Is it too late to hold him over for another week? Because I was hoping that by the time it was my turn in the barrel, this Phil + Flash + Kitch arc would be concluded, and I would get to write about something, anything else besides Batty’s imaginary comix universe. Continue reading
Link to today’s strip
Well, now Phil’s just being a jerk. We saw last year that his studio is in a home near some palm trees, somewhere drivable from San Diego Comic-Con. Is that going to be Thursday’s joke? Does Kitch have to get into the car before she learns it’s a cross-country road trip? What does any of this have to do with Kitch’s initial goal of returning to the source of Dibbs Gallery’s Roy Lichtenstein prints? That was only two days ago.
Today’s strip reminds me of the infamous “Me Too on speed dial” strip, where Chester Hagglemore made Ruby Lith get into his car and go to his home for undisclosed reasons. (Spoiler: it was about comic books.) Now Kitch, a woman, has initiated a car trip to a man’s house. (Spoiler: it’ll be about comic books.)
It could have been interesting to re-create that situation, with the genders reversed, as an exploration of sexual double standards. But Funky Winkerbean isn’t nearly that ambitious. For which I am thankful, considering how badly it botched a simple “Me Too” reference. But they could have done this:
Link to today’s strip
And there’s Atomik Komix’ lead art forger Darin, looking like a cat who’s just heard someone open a tin of Fancy Feast. But Phil Holt’s reaction is much more interesting.
“Slumming again?” Phil, you only joined Atomik Komix ten months ago. How often does this woman visit that you can say that? It can’t be that many times, because she buys comic book art, and Tom Batiuk didn’t obsessively catalog every step of the transaction process. The contract signing alone would take a week.
Kitch’s playful response suggests that she knows Phil, too. But how? From 2017 to 2020, Phil was pretending to be dead. Before that, he was doing caricatures for kiddie birthday parties. He was also shown to have a home somewhere that clearly wasn’t Ohio. Flash Freeman, Phil Holt’s closest companion as far as we know, hadn’t seen him since he stomped off with The Subterranean in the 1950s, and spoke of Phil rather negatively.
But Kitch seems to know how toothless Phil’s “grumpy” act really is. And she’s right. There are at least five old people in the Funkyverse who are much worse than Phil. Harry Dinkle, Ed Crankshaft, Lillian McKenzie, Mort Winkerbean, Melinda Budd.
To make another movie comparison: this is the “you two know each other” scene. A new character enters the movie; an existing character greets them in overly familiar way; and someone says “you two know each other?” One of them says “yes, we were in the Army together,“ and exposition is achieved. This interaction appears to be setting that up. But it probably isn’t.
Tom Batiuk is just filling the word balloons with whatever meaningless drivel he thinks will let him get on to the comic books, which is the only thing he wants to talk about. But he’s inadvertently implying that Kitch and Phil have a history, and that this is going to be relevant to the story. 98% of the time in Funky Winkerbean, it’s not.
Link To Today’s Strip
I guess we were all hoping that this wedding arc would just immediately end and never be mentioned again, but no such luck. (At first, I spelled it as “welding arc”, which would have been way better IMO). Even the actual wedding ceremony itself is just another excuse to pack the word balloons full of trite, moronic pop-culture references he’s already done to death a million times over. “Superheroes”…”binge watching”…if this “writing” was any lazier, it’d be dead. Cory, the one-time local degenerate scumbag who joined the military and came home a completely transformed man, is just another goofy “young” character, doing everything “these kids today” are into, like reading comic books and watching TV. He created an entire backstory for the character, then decided to just ignore it completely, which makes you wonder why he bothered in the first place. All this wedding arc really accomplishes is bringing BatYam’s Act III failures into clearer focus. In short, he stinks.
Oh yay, comic books, it’s been so long since they’ve been mentioned in this strip that I really missed it. And of course Rocky is a massive comic nerd, since that’s the other personality trait she has other than “was in the army”. If someone told Batiuk he had to write a character, story or even just a strip or just a single wedding that didn’t have anything to do with comics, I’m pretty sure you’d hear the sound of several fuses in his head blow and smoke would start pouring out his ears, because I do not think he’s capable of even considering that anymore.
I just Googled “‘unification display’+wedding” because I’d never heard of them before and wondered if this was something common that I just hadn’t heard of, but I really don’t think so. It only returned three results and none are remotely like what’s being portrayed here. Even less restrictive searches returned nothing close, so I really don’t think this is a thing. What I think happened is Batiuk thought it was hilarious/touching to have two people merge their comic collections and made up the concept of a “unification display” because I guess he couldn’t just have someone point and say “hey look, they combined their comic books!”. (And have them sitting out in the open in the sun where anyone can swipe one).
Is that supposed to be Summer on the right? I can’t really imagine who else it would be, even though it doesn’t look at all like Summer, and she’s not wearing a hoodie.
This is also yet another example of Batiuk’s need to have an extra line after the “punchline” of the strip. Nothing is added by having maybe-Summer tell us it’s cool and sweet. It’s like Batiuk doesn’t think the readers will be able to tell how they’re supposed to react to or feel about a joke without literally being told.