Tag Archives: headgear

Burn It All Down

Link to today’s strip.

Well, my wish from yesterday wasn’t granted, and we’re back with the Mope Set.  As before, I don’t know what to make of this; I wish I’d had the arc where Funky misses the winning basketball shot, because that’s easily explainable as Tom Batiuk’s utter hatred of his title character.

Then this would be relevant:

(Larger and more satisfying version here.)

In today’s case–well, is it true that fewer high school kids are going out for football?  I have no way of knowing either way.  My impression is that sports are always popular for students.  If the numbers are falling, one thing I do know is that it’s NOT because the kids read a powerful anti-CTE story in Funky Winkerbean.

And the last two panels, again, make me wonder if we should be concerned about Batiuk’s mental state.   Much as I disdain his work, I have no animus against the man himself.  May he live long and prosper.  But what on earth is Buck talking about?  How does cancelling the football season mean that the band “wins”?  Aren’t they tied in great measure tied to one another?  Yes, there are other band activities, like the odd concert and student assemblies and so on, but the main display of the band is at sporting events.

And please tolerate a dumb question from a non-sporto, but it’s March.  Isn’t the football season already over?

As for Linda’s curtain line, does Tom Batiuk know what “Pyrrhic victory” means?  It’s when you win a war, but at such great cost to your side that it might as well be a defeat.  Trying to spin the logic here, she means no football games means, um, no band half-time shows, but, uh…there’ll be other occasional activities for the band (which the football team wouldn’t have).  So the band has marginally more stuff to do.  But there may be so few of said activities…uh, lemme think.  I guess she means that the school might consider cancelling the band as well?  Is that it?

Why would she care?  A) She’s retired.  Other than retirement pay, the school is in her past.  (Of course high school never really goes away in Funky Winkerbean, but still.)  B) She never had any interaction with the band that I can recall.  If the school cancelled football and band, why would she care either way?

In order to really have that line work, the band members would have to be actively persuading students not to join the football team.  Which is not what they spoke about.  And neither Linda nor Buck would know anything about such a scheme.  (And that kind of scheme would make a very interesting storyline, honestly…which is why we’ll never see it.  Damn.)

I keep bashing my head against this strip, trying to figure out the logic or sense behind it, and all I get is a headache.  I think Funky Winkerbean is giving me CTE.

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Speaking of “Deeply Flawed…”

Link to today’s strip.

I dunno, Buck.  I’d say if the plan is getting rid of you, then it’s moving along swimmingly.  On the other hand, I’d like to lodge a complaint that Les is still around.

Again, I remain baffled that this was “written,” “drawn” and published.  Only the last seems to’ve been done with any talent or purpose.  People who are naively expecting a “prestige” arc from this strip are not going to be at all satisfied with what they’re getting.  (Regular readers know to expect nothing, or worse.)   This whole are doesn’t seem have any point behind it; two people in a room babbling past each other.  The dialogue is meant to seem deep and profound, but it just comes across as moronic.

If Batiuk had an occasional story that at least did something, I’d write this one off as something fished out of the trash because the deadline was RIGHT THERE.  There’s no excuse to have something so utterly pointless printed under one’s name.

That 50th can’t get here fast enough.

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Bobbleheaded Booby

Link to today’s strip.

Okay, I’m genuinely baffled by what the Hell Buck is talking about.  I mean, I think I’m aware that there are “bobblehead days” for major league teams, where toys are given out in the likeness of one of the star players.  And he wishes he had that kind of fame.  I get that part.

It’s the “not with my own head” that seems to come out of nowhere…that, I don’t get.

If I had to take a stab at it, I’d guess that Batiuk has no idea at all what sportos talk about when they get together, so any errant bit of nonsense is good enough to mail off to the printer.   “What would sports fans do?  I’ll use Google.  Huh, ‘Bobblehead Day’?  That sounds interesting!  Let’s just click–oh, wait, time for Flash comics.  Oh well, it’s probably just a day where they take off their heads and juggle them.”

Now, if it was comic book fans, every utterance would be accurate down to the smallest detail (unless one of those details is spelling Joe Shuster’s name correctly).

All of the above makes me wonder what this arc is supposed to be about.  It’s clearly not about any of Batiuk’s passions; it seems too banal to be award bait; and it isn’t entertaining at all.  Is it supposed to be heartwarming and sentimental?  Because it’s nowhere near that.

That leaves the only remaining answer as “one more week of carp pumped out on the way to that 50th.”

Imagine if the last fifteen years of Peanuts had been panel after panel of Linus in a beanbag chair in front of the TV, Snoopy lying on top of his doghouse, and Charlie Brown with his head in his hands.  No dialogue; just those things, over and over for years.

I suppose it could always be worse.  Linda hands Buck a book.  “I think you would’ve wanted to have Bull’s autographed copy of Lisa’s Story!”  “Lisa’s Story?  Oh wow, I’ve heard that book is supposed to be entirely awesome, uplifting and kind of humbling, at the same time.  Oh, I’ll treasure this–and I can’t wait for the movie!”

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The Helmet of DEATH

Link to today’s strip.

Is that the helmet that Bull was wearing when he died?  That seems like a remarkably tasteless gift, to be honest.

Of course, Buck’s line is rather tasteless as well–“I was one of the guys who gave your husband the CTE that killed him!”

I guess “tastelessness” is a characteristic; it’s certainly better than the boredom and uninteresting trivia we’ve been served thus far.   But you’d think Tom Batiuk would reach for something a bit more positive.  Hey, remember when he used to be funny?  Those days are rapidly receding in the rearview mirror, soon to be forgotten by all.

It makes me wonder why he decided to do this comic strip in the first place.  Did he really want to take uninteresting stories and stretch them to tedious length?  Because that’s exactly what he’s doing.

I honestly don’t know what the point is to any of this.  And really, I could say that about any Funky Winkerbean strip from the past few years, come to think.

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Same Brain, Different Damage

Link to today’s strip.

The expressions in today’s strip are really something.  Panel one’s Les looks like he’s ready to burst into a whine.  “I’ve been listening to you talk forehhhhhhhver.  It’s miiiiiiiiiiii turn!”

Panel two’s Linda counters with “Gad.  Why am I talking to this excrement stain.  I could be watching TV, or eating toast.”

I’ve no opinion on the NFL-as-monster issue, though it’s pretty clear Batiuk is saying they have blood on their hands because they won’t fund Linda’s post-marriage lifestyle.  “It’s not fair.”  Well, Linda, I’d say that if Bull never played in a game, his brain damage can’t be ascribed to the NFL.  Some players have a career in the NFL that lasts years, and I’m sure their brain damage would be far worse that someone who (apparently) got his CTE while in high school or college.   The NFL can reasonably say “We don’t know who this guy is.”

Fair?  Maybe not, but life isn’t fair.  Never has been, never will be.  The NFL is not, repeat not in the business of providing health care for its players.  It exists to make money through entertainment.  That’s an argument that ought to be applied to comic strips, but somehow never is.

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1962 Called….

Link to today’s strip.

“And I mean I literally made sure to preserve his brain for study.  If you look inside this closet, you can see that I severed Bull’s head and put it in this photo-developer tray.  I attached some tubes to his head so it would look cool, but they’re just for show.  Oh, and you can see he’s got plumber’s tape over his mouth; that’s because he kept yelling at the big mutant in the other closet to break out and smash the place up, and I’d just vacuumed.”

So, is Linda’s dialogue (in panel two, blimp one) supposition, or did she find a note explaining Bull’s plan?  Because he could have been wearing his helmet because dementia.  Or because he forgot he had it on, or simply wanted to wear it.  The longer this arc goes on, the more apparent it is that there was no plan at all here, just another pathetic stab at getting attention.  A phishing attempt that somehow managed to snare the New York Times.

And if Linda did find a note, how many weeks will it take her to read it?  At one word per day….gee, are you sure ten weeks are enough?

Special Movie Bonus:  has anyone here seen…this?

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Disabled Airbags

Link to today’s strip.

Yeah, I see a couple of airbags here that would benefit from being disabled.

Another example of how Batiuk’s method of drawing a year ahead of time (including the word blimps), but waiting until the last minute to write the dialogue results in a clunky product.  Why bother mentioning that the cop was a former player?  What does that have to do with anything–unless Linda is implying that this officer’s loyalty to Bull made him fudge the police report, so that A) Linda could be spared the “embarrassment” of her husband being a suicide or B) to help her with some insurance fraud.  Neither one sounds terribly noble.  In fact, they sound kind of criminal.  It also means there’s a possibility this could become interesting–RED ALERT, TAMP DOWN ALL EXPECTATIONS.

If it’s just there to take up blimp space, well, that’s okay then.  Another example, as if another was needed, that the author just doesn’t give a damn about any of this, puff pieces in the New York Times notwithstanding.

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