Hello, snarkers, your genial host TFH here to ring out the same old same old. I could never have gotten through this past year without our staff of volunteers: SoSFDavidO, BeckoningChasm, BillytheSkink, Charles, ComicBookHarriet, and most especially my aide–de–camp EpicusDoomus.
2017 saw many developments in the Funkiverse. Sadly, in the real world, this was also the year the syndicate stopped posting new strips online before midnight Eastern time. So while we wait for Sunday’s strip to drop at midnight, let us recap some “highlights” of the Funky Year just ending.
So much for depicting “contemporary issues affecting young adults.”
Story arcs this year included: the engagement and wedding of ostensible nonagenarians Cliff Anger and Vera Nash; Funky and Holly flying to a clinic in Dallas (!) for their annual physicals; Darin crossing paths with an elderly comics legend (who’d be dead a couple months later); Crankshaft crone Lillian McKenzie pestering Les at a book signing; Phil the Forecaster unceremoniously being put out to pasture; and an orchestra comprised of senior citizens traveling to Memphis to cut a record, led by crusty Harry Dinkle.
Dinkle Raisin the Bar
Speaking of Dinkle, though he mainly was just along for the ride during the Memphis caper, Batiuk’s favorite “breakout character” figured prominently in other arcs, even flying to Belgium to be feted by the company who makes all that band candy.
In other “funds raising” news:
Band candy (and turkeys) have been supplanted by mattresses, which are improbably hawked door to door. Ha! Ha!
More old people stuff
Funky’s dad Mort Winkerbean, depicted as helplessly senile five years ago, has inexplicably become livelier and more engaging than his son, while Bull Bushka continues his decline, and Ed Crankshaft is the very picture of decrepitude.
As he’s done for years, TB used his strip once again to publicize the real-life Lisa’s Legacy Run. This year, Batiuk introduced us to Batom Comics artist Phil Holt, before killing him off and auctioning off his work, as a weak tie-in to the real-life auction of faux comics art created by other artists and featured in the strip. At least this, like the Lisa Run, was for charity. Less altruistic was having Les blowing off his teaching job to flog his latest literary offering: a three-volume boxed set identical to the one Batiuk was offering for sale IRL!
After considerable buildup, we never did get to see a single frame of the Starbuck Jones movie blockbuster. The epic franchise exists only to serve as a plot engine, providing jobs for Darin and Pete, rescuing the Valentine Theater, sending the gang to Comic Con, and occasioning a guest appearance by Conan O’Brien.
Batiuk must’ve figured he’d need a little help dragging Funky out another four plus years to get to that Gold T-Square award. In May of this year, he introduced comic book artist Rick Burchett as his “penciller” on Funky (and Dan Davis performing similar duties for Crankshaft), somehow leading to an even more poorly drawn product.
Friends, on behalf of Team SoSF and myself, I wish you a peaceful, prosperous, safe and happy New Year! Thanks as always for reading and commenting.