Tag Archives: faculty workroom

Harley Holey

“There are gaggles of geese, pods of whales and murders of crows. What term would do justice to the special nature of black holes?…The question was crowdsourced on Twitter recently as part of what NASA has begun calling black hole week…Among the many candidates so far: A crush. A mosh pit. A silence. A speckle. A hive. An enigma. Or a favorite of mine for of its connection to my youth: an Albert Hall of black holes.” –Dennis Overbye, “What Do You Call a Bunch of Black Holes: A Crush? A Scream?”, New York Times, April 22, 2021

Thankfully we’ve survived the week-long shipwreck that is Tom Batiuk’s imaginary Hollywood, to find ourselves in the more familiar confines of Westview High School. Jim shares his dismay over his students not picking up on his referencing a fifty-five year old Beatles lyric. Which would be akin to 1970’s high school kids recognizing an Al Jolson reference. Which, come to think of it, we 1970’s high school kids might’ve picked up on, so maybe Jim’s pupils are deserving of his disdain after all.

Today we learn the name of Westview High’s janitor. Is Harley his first name or last? It Harley matters…


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A Brief History Of Wry

Link To This One

Christ, what a bunch of assholes. BatYam’s pandemic garbage dump arc limps toward the finish line today, as we get a rare glimpse inside the WHS teacher’s lounge, aka The Den Of Perpetual Ennui. The always-insufferable Linda is (surprise) once again bitching about her job in that low-key annoyingly wry way of hers, as Klabichnik delivers the “punch line” (as it were) while the useless Dick Facey sits there stupidly. What a piece of garbage. Strips like this actually make a mockery out of making a mockery of FW, which is the only “anomaly” here.


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Novel Idea

I had no idea Les was teaching a class in comic books but it makes sense, considering Westview’s entire economy runs on the currency of comics, pizza and heartache.

It’s almost weird seeing Les without his yellow shirt in today’s strip— it’s like Charlie Brown without his striped shirt!


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Yeah, so that Scapegoat football team that, back on picture day, their coach suggested would not only lose but would be reduced to unidentifiable corpses? Today they are “one game away from the conference championship.” You’d think a reality-based comic strip that depicts contemporary issues affecting young adults blah blah blah would get some mileage from the story of a historically losing football team fighting its way to the top.  But this “comic” strip’s really about the way these teachers utterly despise the student body.

Jim, rotten, hateful, possibly psychotic Jim, who, like Les, couldn’t give a shit about football or any sports, only brought up the team’s success to launch another slam against the kids (does Jim have kids? Or a wife? Never been explored). Bull accepts the backhanded compliment of his coaching ability. Les, who like Bull, is himself a product of this “lousy gene pool” Jim’s talking about, smirks appreciatively.


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Pun With a Chance of Horror

Today’s strip

So, it’s Battle of the Bands Gets Rained On season! Woo hoo!

I can’t really muster the enthusiasm required to express shock that today’s strip features a lame pun. I would have, but our auteur decided to have the punster ask if his audience got it. Get it? Batominc, you sucked all the humor out of your own comic strip by belaboring the point. Get it? You won’t show us any real action at the Legacy Run, but this you’ll pound into the earth.

It’s like you took a joke and repeated it until you got hoarse. Talk about beating a dead horse! Get it? Hoarse—horse? I slay me!

Detail of Becky’s deformed face OK, so panels 1 & 2 were boring. Let’s move on to panel three. Ah! The horror! Oh! The humanity! The woman in the magenta dress has smirked so hard that she developed a severe Tessier 7 facial cleft. (Note to the squeamish: do not do a web search for that phrase.)


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Who da’ Jerk

 We can excuse doddering, effete Jim for fearing for his safety around creepy loner Jarod. But Linda’s name calling is nasty and jarring, though it fits in with the sheer, unbridled contempt shown by all Westview faculty toward the students. It sounds especially callous given that we’re led to believe (from Sunday’s strip) that Jarod comes from a troubled home. “Jerk in progress” smacks of one of those phrases that TB heard or came up with and salted away for use in one of his strips; I wish he’d saved it for use by (or maybe against) the truly jerky Owen and Cody.


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Never Forget. (That the Scapegoats Suck)

Ya know, a SMALL nod to the event that changed the course of America might be nice. This is the funnies, of course, it’s not like I’m asking Garfield to stare sullenly at an American flag for three panels but it’s a little off that a strip that deals in melancholy as currency would pass up the chance to remember what happened on this date in New York City over a decade ago.

No such luck. Instead, today’s strip is just a time-marking daily grind forward until the next real story arc. Even the telephone pole and goal post weigh in on the current situation with some of the most weirdly-spaced dialog balloons since Mark Trail!



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The Wrath of Tom

Today’s strip

…whatever the hell that means.  It could be that, since people have to buy tickets to watch a losing football team go through the motions, they might buy more tickets to watch a terrible marching band go through similar motions.  However, it seems more likely that the students are going to have to pay to participate in the football team and the band.

Let that sink in for a moment.  We’ve just seen two solid weeks of Becky and Bull heaping abuse upon their students, humiliating them and calling their talents into question.  What do you think the result is going to be when Bull gathers the team and tells them, “You’re worthless and weak!  Now drop and give me twenty!  Twenty dollars, that is, which plus another eighty is the fee you will pay for the privilege of playing football!  You terrible, terrible losers!  I hate you!  But give me those checks or preferably cash, thanks.”

Yes, I know this is Westview, but how many students are masochistic enough to pay for this kind of humiliation?  Even if the only alternative is the cornfield, I suspect that Bull, in another, better comic strip, would be presented with a pile of stacked helmets and the reverberating sound of lockers being slammed shut for the last time.  And then “the team,” and thus “the band” would cease to exist.

However (there’s always a “however” in Westview),  since this strip delineates the troubles faced by contemporary youth, and one of those troubles is marching band, let’s totally forget that the school can (apparently) afford a scissors-lift for the band director and an inflatable giant football helmet (and endless repair and replacement of same).  We can see that the marching band is in no immediate danger.   Despite the budget cuts and other assorted tribulations, Tom wants the band around…the same way he wants Lisa around.  Forever.

Why?  He clearly hates the football team, but without the team, the marching band has no function. Or does it?

Based solely on Funky Winkerbean (a phrase I hope I never hear the government utter), the band may have a life outside the reality imposed upon the comic strip.  I can’t count how many arcs have focused on the marching band, but there have been a bunch of them.  Becky, Dinkle, Owen, Cody…they’ve all been swallowed by the “marching band” maelstrom.  They only exist for torture and disappointment…which are the twin axes of the Funky Winkerbean universe.

So…if they have to pay to play in the band…(and Tom Batiuk will make them do so…selling turkeys, selling blood, selling beloved comics, selling “something” to the beings that have preserved them in these horrific tanks)…whatever it takes, it will keep the band alive.  He will keep the band alive.  Because Tom Batiuk can’t kill the band.  No…because the band tasks him and he shall have it.  Killing the band is too easy, too quick, too final.  He will chase the band ’round the moons of Nibia and ’round the Antares Maelstrom and ’round perdition’s flames before he will give them up!

Tom Batiuk has done far worse than kill the band…he’s hurt it.  And he wishes to go on…hurting it. He will leave the band as he leaves us, as he left Lisa: marooned for all eternity in “a reality-based comic strip that depicts contemporary issues affecting young adults in a thought-provoking and sensitive manner”…buried alive! Buried alive…!


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The Man Who Wasn’t There

Today’s strip

Greetings, fellow snarkers–tis I, BChasm, the guy who makes Les Moore look pithy and insightful, so let’s get to today’s offering before I get punched in the heart!

When Fearless Leader and I discussed this new arc, he offered that Tom Batiuk had totally forgotten how to draw Jim Kablichnik.  I felt compelled to disagree, mentioning that Kablichnik taught science, and thus would probably be delighted that the arts-and-other-crap were being cut, thus allowing him to perhaps steal a desk to go with his new chair.

No, I had the idea that the greybeard above was actually a brand new character being introduced.  Yes, with no last name, a first name already claimed by another teacher, no reference to prior appearances, and a character design that says that Jim Kablichnik, Les Moore and Crazy Harry fell into the Brundle telepod while holding hands and smiling into each others eyes.

Now, there is an argument that this is Kablichnik, now wearing glasses and a full beard, although the case is purely Batiukian.  Check the “Jim” in the panel three word balloon.  Note the amount of white space surrounding it.  Tell me there isn’t enough room in there to name this fellow “Nathanial” or “Millicent” or “Wolverine” for crying out loud.  So it may actually be Jim, meaning Tom Batiuk’s laziness (consistent character look, or handing out names) approaches legendary levels.

If it is a new character, an art teacher, those of you with long memories might recall that the Westview art teacher we’ve seen before was far, far less hirsute than this fellow, but not to worry–if this guy’s a brand new character, he’ll be gone before we can arrange a suitable memorial tribute.  Probably in less than a week.  The other fellow only got one panel, as I recall, before disappearing forever into “Funky Winkerbean characters I like, or at least don’t hate.”

As for the content of today’s jape (aimed at illustrating the problems of young people in a sensitive way, I’ll remind you), I might almost consider this “humorous,” since the sheer number of departments being cut (including lunch, for Pete’s sake) might be evidence of exaggeration for satirical effect…except that I think none of those words I just used have any meaning in Tom Batiuk’s world.


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(From yesterday’s
panel 1)

Sure, Linda, anyone would mistake a doddering oldtimer with a camcorder for a “movie crew”. It’s really just ol’ Pa Blackburn, whose cross to bear (other than having meddlesome Roberta for a wife) is having to visually document his family’s every move.


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