Tag Archives: holidays

Pizza, Actually

Link To Today’s Strip

Or it might be when you give your oldest childhood friend your treasured copy of “Contrivance Man Vs. The Zanthian Blorks” # 1 so he he can complete his collection even though you could have easily gotten $125 for it on FleaBay. It depends on where you are in Westview at the time. Unless these are characters I am unaware of, this is an extremely rare example of BatYam devoting an entire Sunday strip to random anon-o characters, which doesn’t happen a lot in the Funkyverse. Ditto actual customers in Montoni’s. That certainly doesn’t happen every day either.

I assume that maybe this is an homage to something, maybe those old “Peanuts” strips or something. And it’s harmless enough, I suppose. I guess sometimes FW is just plain deeply weird as opposed to deeply weird and highly annoying like it usually is.

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The Ladder of Divine Ascent

Link to today’s strip.

Here we have the quintessential “tell, don’t show” strip as everyone stands around marveling at a display of which we, of course, get barely a glimpse. Instead, we get to look at a quintet of imbeciles.

The real treat is panel three, where Tony speeds out of Montoni’s with a huge ladder, that was apparently just sitting around somewhere. Funky looks puzzled, Wally looks at the floor, and Adeela’s face is almost covered by a crucifix! There, that’ll show her! Based on what we can see, she’s either amused or about to throw up.

Holly’s face is that of sheer terror. Tony’s face seems to say “Ha ha, fooled you!” and I think Holly is about to yell to Funky, “Stop him! That grotesque old gnome is stealing our only ladder!

But no, he’s just using one of the non-black Santa hats to plop onto the Montoni’s mascot. Giving us, in the process, another unneeded look at his fat ass. Something tells me that hat won’t survive the first gust that comes along, but at least someone actually tried to do something without bemoaning the oncoming failure.

I will say this: the street in that last panel is very well presented. It looks like it’s wet from freshly melted snow, so good on whoever was responsible for that detail.

And that’s it from me for this go-round. Tune in tomorrow when Epicus Doomus sits in the center seat. See you on the Funway!

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Attack of the Clowns

Link to today’s strip.

“What should I do with this Santa hat? It’s red and kind of cheerful. Should I throw it in the trash?”

I hope K-2SO is suitable mortified to appear in Funky Winkerbean. I’m not sure why he’s making an appearance at all, other than Batiuk recounting his re-reading of Isaac Asimov’s “robot” stories. Which begs the question, why isn’t this Isaac from the Starbuck Jones comics? It’s one of Batiuk’s own creations, and he certainly hasn’t let up on the Starbuck Jones horn much since that was introduced. Maybe, as Red Letter Media would say, Batiuk is subverting our expectations.

Of course, K-2SO is not an Asimov robot, he’s a Star Wars droid. Who appeared in a movie, not in a comic book*, but I guess John’s shop is just an emporium for all kinds of pop culture ephemera. I wanted to say “garbage” but in the spirit of the season I’m being nice.

*Yes, there probably was a comic book adaptation of Rogue One, but considering how far Star War‘s fortunes have fallen since 2016, I doubt a lot of people are hunting it down…especially if the so-called “time jump” means that Rogue One opened fourteen years ago. And double yes, there are far older properties that are still celebrated, but I don’t think Rogue One is going to join that list. It’s a decent film in a franchise that has better entries. Funky Winkerbean should aspire so high.

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I Saw The Light

Link to today’s strip.

This is another baffler. In panel one, young Funky appears to be having a pleasant acid trip. In panel two, old Funky carefully arranges huge Christmas lights on a tree that looks unable to support said lights.

I guess it’s something to with colored lights being nice to look at? The odd candle-lights Funky is arranging are the same colors as the floating balls in panel one.

Whatever Batiuk is going for, this is way too subtle for me. Or dumb. Reader’s choice.

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Decryption in Progress

Link to today’s strip.

I have no idea what a “sanctuary pizzeria” is supposed to be. Once again though, we see someone stick their tongue out while doing menial tasks, it looks just as stupid as it did before.

And once again, it’s Montoni’s and Adeela is front and center. Why? Easy.

Adeela is one of two characters in this strip who is to be treated with kid gloves, whose beliefs and thoughts are always to be held in high regard, while everyone else gets kicked in the guts and has to say they like it. She’s here so Batiuk can get awards for “inclusion” and “diversity” and that’s the only reason she’s here at all. Nothing is ever done regarding her character except bringing up her religion, and that’s just so everyone can tiptoe around it.

(Note: I have nothing against “diversity” among characters. But they have to be characters first.)

Well, this strip is never going to win awards, because the person behind the “writing” can never come up with good characters or a convincing scenario that would appeal to anyone. So, yeah, Adeela will be in every Montoni’s strip from now on, because someone has to have an award they’re really desperate to give away, and one of these days that person might read this strip.

There’s one other character who is treated the same way, and that’s Les Moore. If that doesn’t give you incentive to hate Adeela, nothing will.

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The Tony Awards

Link to today’s strip.

For a nice change of pace, everyone in today’s strip looks cheerful. As usual, though, there are no customers to be seen. Not even freeloaders like Harry.

What happened to Adeela in panel two? She was right next to Holly, and now she’s been shunted to the rear of the restaurant. And why is she there? I thought Wally and Adeela were managers who worked different shifts, though I don’t care to remember who had the day and who had the night.

I guess Batiuk feels if she’s not a part of every Montoni’s strip going forward, he’s not going to get any of those diversity awards.

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Strauss Test

Link to today’s strip.

I’m somewhat familiar with Richard Strauss’ work, but not so I can point to something he wrote for the holiday. Perhaps he did, or perhaps Tom Batiuk thought of this bit (reminiscent of the late Norm Crosby) and just couldn’t find another way to present it.

He couldn’t use Johann Strauss (either of them) because “Viennese” is too close to “Vietnamese” and thus might be a simple mistake in pronunciation. No, the students must be presented as dunderheads beyond measure or redemption. I mean, just look how Becky’s face has fallen in that last panel. So, Richard Strauss it is. Even though the students might think Johann Strauss was “Australian,” and that’s surely a malapropism good enough for Funky Winkerbean.

Strauss Waltzes are often used in holiday programs because they’re light and fun. But “Light and Fun” have no place in the Funkyverse. Maybe Becky should choose some Nick Cave songs for the holiday program–that would go over well.

(NB: I like Mr. Cave’s music a great deal, but it’s not the sort of thing one plays in celebration. Some songs are quite lovely, but his work is typically rather dark and gloomy. And before you say it, even at his worst his work has too much quality to appear in this strip.)

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Sidelong Glance

Link to today’s strip.

Why does Tom Batiuk use these stupid sideways strips? While it makes less work for Ayers to draw them, it makes more work for the reader, and there’s never any reward for doing so.

Batiuk might say they make his strip unique, as no one else does this. That’s true–no other comic strip artist does this. The reason they don’t is very simple–it’s an idiotic idea that adds nothing, and subtracts a great deal. Much like an ermine violin, it’s an impractical thing to have. Here’s an idea: why not make up a completely new language for his characters, with no translations available? That would be unique, too. And it would save time for the reader, since he could just skip the whole thing and move on to Garfield.

I guess striving to be unique, even if that makes the strip more difficult, is his goal at this point. He certainly hasn’t been trying to make his characters interesting or his stories anything other than dull.

As for today’s entry, well…when I was in college, my father would arrange summer jobs for me between years. It was decent work, and it gave me some spending money. But he never did this during Christmas break, which is (I assume) why Summer and Keisha are there now. It seems like a rather mean trick to play on a kid.

One might argue that this gives Summer and Keisha some work skills, showing up on time, knowing your tasks, etc. Except I feel certain both of them have worked at Montoni’s, so they’d already have some idea of those things.

Any excuse to ruin someone’s holiday, I guess.

By the way, I refuse to believe the person “on the left” is Cayla. It doesn’t look anything like her.

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Krabby Petey

Banana Jr. 6000
December 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm 
…The joke is so mild and so botched, and the reaction is so ridiculously oversold, that the strip should be funny for how misguided it is.

Does anyone else think that Darin in the last panel looks like he was drawn by MAD’s Maddest Artist, Don Martin?

Tom Batiuk has frequently expressed, in his work and in interviews, that even though we call them “comics,” they don’t necessarily have to be “funny.” “I don’t see why a comic strip can’t carry the weight of substantial ideas,” he once said. But even a storyteller like Batiuk must cleanse the palate with the occasional standalone gag, or even a week’s worth of them. Everything about Pete’s “holiday joke” is lame, and the smugness with which he delivers it is just off the charts. Of course, the response is a hearty HA! HA! HA! from all but one of the Atomik staff.  At first, it looked to me as if Chester was the one admonishing Pete to “stick to writing drama,” which would make sense as he’s Pete’s boss. Naturally, as his fiancé, Mindy must come to Pete’s defense. But nobody knows better that his real soulmate, Darin, that flighty, distractible Pete needs help with focus. And anyway, his jokes suck.

Something that does not suck is the way Beckoning Chasm goes to work on Funky Winkerbean with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch, and his authoring stint begins with Monday’s comic. Stay safe and well and happy, people. –TFH

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Plum Nasty

Apparently Dinkle has suffered from these band turkey dreams nightmares leading up to Thanksgiving every year, even unto a decade or more into his retirement. Harriet knows that, now that Thanksgiving’s behind them, Harry’s PTSD (Post Turkey Sale Dementia) will start to lessen. Unfortunately, her “sugarplums” reference has triggered in Harry’s dream consciousness a truly nightmarish scenario, in which the box he carries door to door is crawling with large spiders!

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