And today’s strip is on from insulting Flash Freeman to… this… whatever this is is supposed to be.
I get the self-referential bit, of course, but what is its purpose? Is this lamenting the declining popularity of newspaper comics in the most confusing way possible? (maybe) Is this based on TB’s experience being ignored at real life comic convention functions? (definitely) What is Thatsnought’s reference to “the original guy who did that strip” all about? (probably nothing)
And Three O’Clock High? Is that supposed to be a stand in for Funky Winkerbean? Just Act I Funky Winkerbean? TB’s first published comic strip (the anti-Archie) Rapping Around?
Is it an intentional reference to the lightly-remembered 80s teen comedy of the same name that starred the guy who played the 3D glasses-wearing guy from Biff Tannen’s gang in Back To The Future? (unclear)
Whatever it is… it stinks. (apologies to Jay Sherman)
So I can’t really tell what’s going on here. It seems like an attempted retcon, since Funky’s talking about all the stuff they used to pretend the computer would do, which high schoolers pretending this kind of stuff about a computer seems weird. But then you just have Funky mentioning the computer making claims about his existence. So was it sentient, or not? If it ever was then it’s basically a slave, which is troubling.
If Holtron was a sentient computer in the seventies, how is reprogramming it to respond to voice commands any kind of improvement. I can picture Batiuk asking his wife “Wouldn’t it be funny if Holtron was an Echo?”, his wife responding “Who or what is Holtron?” and him calling her a macaque and storming off to the garage.
What is Harry expecting to happen? You can’t really ask Echo or Siri to find a living person for you. The best part about this strip is that you could’ve changed the last panel so it heard him perfectly clear, and it would work even better.
“There’s nothing on the web about Funky Winkerbean.” Basically true.
Um, is Atomik Komix publishing a comic book about Funky? That seems insane for a lot of reasons. And really like something that should’ve come up in the strip. But it’s just Batiuk pushing his own products again, so whatever.
Coming up tomorrow-Billytheskink!
Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview, so I’m just guessing that involves a now very awkward appearance Stan Lee dropping by Atomik Komix and promising to do a signing at Komix Korner.
Does anyone doubt that the entire purpose of this week was this “gag” right here? “Haha, I can have a crane company named after someone named Crane! It’d be hilarious. Hmm . . . what’s a plausible reason why someone in this strip would need a crane . . . I guess I could have Funky lifted out of his house because he’s so fat. But no, I’ll save that for the finale . . . I’ve got it! Comic books! Someone could need to lift something heavy into the comic book store!”
If someone sent Batiuk a copy of “The Mammoth Book of Corny, Slightly Punny Names” I have a strong feeling he’d use it as material for the rest of his strip. Stuff like this is what would be a background Easter egg in a Pixar movie that most people wouldn’t even notice. But Batiuk tends to put it front and center and repeat it over and over. “Get it?! It’s funny!” What are the odds we’re going to see “Buster’s Crabs” at least once the next time there’s a Hollywood arc? And Crankshaft is doing a bowling story so I’m pretty sure we’ll be seeing “Margo Lanes” over and over. I also look forward to the next couple of weeks, when they hire the “Frasier Crane Co.” to remove Holtron from the Komix Korner and the “Niles Crane Co.” to put it back in Atomik Komix (how did they not have any issues getting it down the multiple flights of stairs in that building?).
You know, if somehow you’d made it this far reading this strip and still expected some level of quality and for it to make sense, today’s strip would confuse you. Like, Mason is a star because of comics. Harry helped him prepare for the biggest role of his career. Interacting with his fans would be good for his image. But sure, let’s have Mason be the sole person in this strip who isn’t obsessed with comics, all for the sake of hilarity. Wait, something’s missing . . .
I’m a little more shocked that Crazy apparently has all of Butter Brinkel’s films on CD/DVD stacked up in what look to be jewel cases. And he’s just handing these rare treasures to Cindy stacked haphazardly, and not in a box or anything.
It’s pretty hilarious to me that Cindy is swearing Crazy to silence. I mean, why? You would think she’d want to build hype and buzz around her documentary. Is she afraid someone else is going to steal her idea? (Ha.) Or is she afraid this is going to damage her reputation? (Again, ha.)
By far the best/dumbest part of this strip, and the storyline as a whole- these “films” were apparently burned onto a CD or DVD. Meaning somehow Crazy either made digital files of them from the original film, or maybe a VHS release himself, which seems unlikely, or downloaded them off the internet somewhere. Meaning there’s literally no reason he couldn’t just have sent the files to Cindy directly, or barring that, made copies of the discs and mailed the discs to Cindy. I thought for sure it would turn out he somehow had the original theatrical reels of the movies, that would understandably be fragile, which would explain why Cindy had to spend thousands of dollars to fly cross-country. But yet again, I was giving Batiuk too much credit.
Well, I never! Cindy called Harry! Someone better stop all this hilariousness, before it’s too late.
So many of the story lines in this strip lately have started this way. Somebody needs to go back to Westview because somebody there has something old timey that apparently nobody else in the world has and can’t be shipped or sent digitally. And even though apparently it’s so rare and forgotten that it only exists in Westview, somehow people will end up being wildly passionate about whatever old crap it is.
Here’s Batiuk’s writing process now:
“Gosh, I sure like old comics/movie serials/decoder rings/silent movies. If only I didn’t have to write this stupid strip, I could spend all my time reading back issues of Old Timey Junk Quarterly. I know! I could do a four month arc where someone in Westview has silent movies, and somebody else wants to see them, for some reason!” (runs the bases in his mind)
Also, am I crazy, or should it not be Cindy Jarre now? I don’t know if this is just Batiuk not giving a crap about his strip or “She was Cindy Summers in high school and that’s the only period of her live that matters”, but either way it’s dumb.
Link To Today’s Real Strip
In case you missed it, yesterday’s actual strip featured Crazy, Holly, a Flash T shirt and a really dumb menopause gag. The fake one was way better, quite frankly. Anyhow, Funky is down in Florida, supervising Melinda’s looming move back to the mid-central Ohio valley and all heck is apparently breaking loose, as Funky is already completely overwhelmed by having to put some Hummel figurines and Franklin Mint collector plates in a box. Can’t these idiots EVER just do something without bellyaching about it for six days at a time?
I’m not sure which is funnier, Holly’s brutally fractured syntax or Melinda’s vintage 1925 parlor. Sometimes I just don’t understand Batiuk’s world at all, man. On top of that, Melinda is Holly’s mother, so why isn’t SHE down there doing this? I’m sure Wally and Adeela can hold down the fort, provided there aren’t any air raid drills scheduled this week.