Tag Archives: desk lamp

Fort Knox

Link to Todays’ Strip

I spent way too long a few months ago reading about the McDonald’s ad character Mac Tonight a few months back. I bring this up because Flash in the first panel sure looks like him.
I feel like anyone who would collect John Darling memorabilia (were there McDonald’s toys? or trading cards?) is the kind of person I’d want to avoid, but I’m not a FW character.

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S.S. Skyler

Link to today’s strip

An artist can’t really draw horses that don’t look like donkeys. That’s today’s joke, and that’s just about all there is to today’s strip, apart from the fact that Skyler is already going bald. That seems to happen super early to just about everyone in this strip, but even by that standard Skyler seems pretty young.

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Why Is There A Raccoon’s Ass On Your Shelf?

Link to today’s strip

I don’t know why Phil’s bringing up that anecdote about Picasso moving rather than cleaning his studio. Apparently he moved to Ohio less than a year ago, and his new home has become this cluttered in that little time.

One of Tom Batiuk’s favorite tropes is on display today: elderly men acting like teenaged boys. Phil Holt is ancient, and he’s also an analog to one of Batiuk’s real-life comic book heroes. And this is how he gets portrayed? Like a 15-year-old who’s had a girl show up at his house unexpectedly? But of course, she thinks it’s cute and endearing. Ugh.

This doesn’t feel right for either character. Phil seems more like a neat freak to me. Like he stores all his pencils in the box they came in. Kitch runs a highfalutin’ art gallery. She might be used to the eccentricities of artists, but she wouldn’t find them charming. This is a great example of how all 300 characters in Funky Winkerbean are all the same person, differentiated only by gender.

Seriously, though: why does Phil Holt have a raccoon’s ass on his shelf?

That’s not a cat or dog. Phil doesn’t seem like a pet owner anyway, and he’s certainly not Ace Ventura. It’s the kind of detail that doesn’t belong in a quarter-inch-from-reality strip. If you want to make Phil messy (and ignore all the problems with that I already mentioned), then he should be messy in ways that make sense for his snippy personality. A random raccoon is the kind of detail you see in Animal House, to show how bonkers the frat party was. Or in Bloom County.

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Su-Su-Studio

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:

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Together Again For The First Time At Last

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.

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Cities On Flame With Batton, Holt

Link To Sunday

“Done something about” what, exactly? Smoldering futuristic cities? And how does Atmos hovering in the air help the situation in any way? Why didn’t he act BEFORE his planet was consumed by climate damage? Why doesn’t he ask Oceanaire to splash some water on it? What the hell do the other The Elementals do, anyway? They’ve been working on this for months and THIS is what they came up with?

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No Country For Old Comic Book Men

Link To Today’s Strip

That’s right, BatYam, it’s the readers who are wrong. This attitude sure explains an awful lot. “Crappy serialized stories that plod along for weeks on end and never go anywhere are what comic strip authors choose to publish!”…yep, they sure do. It’s one of American popular culture’s most enduring and vexing conundrums.

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The Trilogy Of Tedium

Link To This One

It’s called a “tetralogy”, you nimrods. Or a “quadrilogy”, if you prefer. It took me all of three seconds to learn this. But BatYam felt he really needed to drive Flash Freeman’s general imbecility home, again, so here we are. It would appear that once again he’s done the impossible and discovered something even more tedious than that “Elemental Force” arc from a few months back, and that “something” is watching Flash and Phil talking to Batton about it. That BatHam, always pushing his artistic boundaries.

That “Elementals” arc was absolute hell to get through and I really hope we’re not revisiting that fiasco again, because I am totally out of sub-atomic particle puns. It really is remarkable how quickly Flash Freeman became one of my most despised FW characters, as he wasn’t even in the strip until a few years ago. And it was better that way. Marginally, yes, but nevertheless.

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Karmic Dread Mill

Link To The Strip

Special thanks to TFH, and everyone else really, but especially him! Lucky me, I’m back just in time for the unholy alliance of Batton Thomas and Atomik Komix, perhaps the second or third most sickening development of 2022 so far. Les getting that Oscar is gonna be tough to top.

So this Batton guy just “started coming there”? He just showed up at random local businesses looking for gym equipment he could use? Did someone invite him? How did he even know about the treadmill? This was the only way a guy with fifty years of writing experience was able to work a character based on himself into the story? Why not just use “magic” next time? Would it really be that much more ridiculous?

Batton is in the strip all the time now, yet Batty is still explaining who he is, which means that either a) he thinks his readers are forgetful dullards or b) he has no confidence in the character and probably shouldn’t be using him at all. I’m kind of surprised that Batton doesn’t already work at AK, as everyone else even loosely associated with the comic book business (turns and glares at Mindy) does. He could write and illustrate “Apathy Man”, whose superpower is that everyone forgets interacting with him immediately. He could use that ability to solve crimes or save the planet or something, or he could just half-ass it and milk it for fifty years. Either or.

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Smell That Oceanaire

No prizes for anyone who saw this coming: a Sunday Sideways Comic Book Cover, the Oceanaire’s second and James Pascoe’s third in three months.

For this one, Pascoe’s softened the character’s looks, compared to her first cover and especially compared to the Elementals Force cover, where she appears to be throwing up. As clumsily composed as that cover was, at least it depicted action. While her posture is one of repose, her fists are clenched, and the Oceanaire gazes intently at the viewer. For an artwork created by a nonagenarian cartoonist, on a drawing board under a floating fluorescent lamp, this sure looks…digitized. Everything surrounding The OC’s face is soft and blurry. Is she standing underwater? Or mostly submerged, lying on her back on a vast bed of garbage?

To answer Phil’s question: the cover doesn’t need more trash, just for the trash to be realistically drawn. These floating bottles and cans are rendered in such odd shapes and sizes, so generically as to be almost abstract. And I don’t even wanna know what those white blobs are floating around her collarbones.

Billytheskink takes over the reins with Monday’s strip. Thanks for reading! Stay Funky and stay tuned for news about a couple special events!

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