In case you missed it, we are in the final weeks of Funky Winkerbean. Tom Batiuk appears to be reluctantly retiring the strip much in the same way he’s written Ruby as reluctantly retiring from Atomik Komix this week and in today’s strip. The timing of this thin gruel of a story arc and TB’s fairly muted announcement is certainly no coincidence. Most all of us here at SOSF, despite speculating for over a decade on when and how this thing would end, are probably still processing the suddenness of the announcement, how soon it will become reality, and what that means for this wonderful community going forward.
But enough wallowing about, let’s leave that to the strip and try to get back to business as usual. I guess today’s strip is aiming for bittersweet, but it largely is coming across as just bitter. You can’t mask your true feelings in a wall of smirks, TB… And even if the strip wasn’t ending at the close of this year, I’m guessing we were never going to see Chester meet with the building manager by looking in a mirror anyways. I’d say “a pity”, but, you know, it’s not. It’s really not.
Today’s strip is all about the numbers for me… and not just the zip code of “Boston, Mass”. We’ve got 3 faculty on stage here, which is what… half of WHS’ known paid staff these days (along with Les, Cayla, and Lefty)? Of course, maybe you only need 4 teachers, 2 administrators, and a Dinkle when you only have 16 students in your senior class. To be fair, only nerds would show up for a school assembly during the last weeks of their senior year, so maybe these are just all the nerds (that would explain why Maris Rogers is having to plan on crashing graduation parties instead of hosting them).
Wait a second, this is the Senior Honors assembly. That explains it…
Strips like today’s really just make Batiuk’s habit of writing his strips so far in advance extra hilarious. Not only is nobody wearing a mask and everyone is basically touching, you have a roughly hundred year old man on oxygen right in the middle of them. And it’s not like the global pandemic just sprung up in the last week when it was too late to tweak the strip. Batiuk’s had nine months where he could’ve had the artist at least draw masks on the characters to make it look like it reflected reality. Les blatantly ogling Funky’s ass with both of his hands in his pockets while his Lesser Wife is standing right next to him is extra awkward. When did Crazy Harry’s wife die from cancer/get murdered by him/starve because his part time job at a comic shop couldn’t feed them both? It’s especially sad when you’re a Funky Winkerbean character whose tragic untimely death doesn’t even merit an arc, or Les silently staring at your obituary in the paper.