Tag Archives: Jessica

Through a Glass, Dorkly

Link to today’s strip.

Gosh, Mr. Batiuk, that sure is a swell observation about Superman’s glasses, but don’t you think it might be too clever? I mean, it’s so deep and true and sure to leave an impact on the world at large. Here, you’re wasting it in the funny pages, which, aside from the notable exception of your own work, is chodder for dum-dums who can’t handle innovation! Maybe you should write a book — “Superman’s Story – The Other Lens” — and send it to those clodhoppers at the Pulitzer Committee! And write on the inside cover, “Here’s some genius–let’s see if you can recognize it!”

I believe Dullard’s “clever” observation has probably been in circulation since, oh, I dunno, probably as long as Superman himself. I’m sure there have been a number of theories about why it works when it shouldn’t. I recall one of the more, uh, fanciful ideas was that Superman is actually using a low-level form of his “super hypnotism” power. Against the entire world. At all times. That sounds like something Batiuk would write, so maybe DC should have snapped him up when they had the chance.

It does remind me of the 1978 Superman film, where Christopher Reeve’s acting style could make you believe that he was two entirely different people. That was an excellent performance, which I don’t think has been bettered in the role of Superman in the years since.

I think that’s the only way I can use the word “excellent” in a post about Funky Winkerbean,

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People Who Are Unalert and Afraid

Link to today’s strip.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but Jessica comes across as emotionally unstable, and Dullard comes across as a clueless clod. The fact that she’s ready to fly off the handle without knowing what’s actually going on, and then immediately turn lovey-dovey would be worrisome to a normal person.

But of course, Dullard isn’t normal. He thought he could hide his glasses from his wife, apparently forever; and he thought sharing his medical condition with his wife (again) was something one simply does not do.

Now, in the hands of a nominally clever writer, this could work, with a lot of details nudged here and there. You could get some good comic mileage out of this kind of a relationship. “Seinfeld,” “Friends” and dozens of other shows managed to make neurotic relationships amusing.

Of course, we are not in the hands of a nominally clever writer. What occurs to me is that this week’s “story” would have worked better with Pete and Mindy as the leads. Pete is already obsessed with his loser nature, and since they’re not married it might be a genuine worry for him that Mindy would say “Ugh! Glasses? No thanks!” Maybe. None of these characters are developed enough so we can reasonably guess what kind of reactions they would have. This week offers proof of this.

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People Like You (Dullard) and You (Jessica)

Link to today’s strip.

So Dullard was afraid that Jessica would think he was a nerd, because he was wearing glasses.

And then what? Divorce him? “Your honor, this man wears glasses. No wife wants a man who wears glasses.”

Seriously? I mean, sure there was a time when wearing glasses was considered “uncool” and perhaps a bit of a stigma…among school children, on television sitcoms. In the 1960‘s (at the latest). And I’m betting on each of those sitcoms the resolution was that it was “okay” to wear glasses.

Today, I’m not sure I know anyone who doesn’t wear glasses. It’s not a trait that really stands out anymore.

In a better comic strip, this could be the start of a “bit” that could be hilarious, as over the coming days Dullard tries increasingly bizarre ways to hide his glasses from Jessica. Because what else could his plan be?

Let me restate this: Dullard didn’t want Jessica to know he needs glasses. Since they are a married couple, and not casual acquaintances, this would be a very difficult achievement. “What are those?” “These? Nothing! Funky asked me to keep his glasses, just in case.” Later: “While we’re driving in the car, can you tell me when you see the signs for the exit for HorribleDemise Lane?” “Uh, I’ve got a better idea! Why don’t we ask Skyler, to test his reading ability?” “Oh, that’s such an awesome idea from a father! My father was murdered by the way.”

Skyler: “M-U-R-D-E-R-E-D. Murdered. Shot to death while on the air.”

This scenario, though, would require the creativity of 1950’s sitcom writer, which Batiuk can’t give, can’t even buy, and just doesn’t get.

Skyler: “A-E-O-N space F-L-U-X. Something unfathomably better than this horrible existence could ever be.”

(Sorry, I love that intro and wish I could do something half as cool.)

It’s another example of Tom Batiuk deciding that the first thing he thinks of would make a good story. “What if…Dullard had to wear glasses?” Well, what if? That’s just boring. “What if he wanted to hide this from Jessica?” What? That doesn’t make any sense! And it’s still boring!

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And Who’s Watching?

Link to today’s strip.

I’m not sure I understand you fully, Dullard. Could you state that as a question?

Seriously, why does Dullard’s statement end with a question mark? This is the sort of response when you’ve been found out, and are hurriedly trying to think of an answer that will defuse the situation. “My–eye doctor? Ha ha, no, of course it isn’t my eye doctor! That would be silly! I meant I might…try…a new…locker! Yeah, that’s it!”

While it is almost certainly his eye doctor he’s seeing (boy are we getting a theme in 2021 or what?), it’s interesting that his reaction to an angry Jessica is to shrink in terror. Again, boy, is this a healthy relationship. (Answer: no, it isn’t.) Most husbands or wives would probably be amused by the anger and say, “Oh hi honey. I’ve been seeing an eye doctor. I just didn’t want you to worry. Sorry, I didn’t mean to keep you in the dark. Where do you want to go for lunch?”

Because, again in a healthy relationship, Dullard would know that Jessica was coming to visit. She’d have told him. She wouldn’t have just popped by…although that seems to be exactly how Atomik Komix (spit) headquarters seems to work. In a healthy relationship, she wouldn’t have wanted to keep him in the dark. In a healthy relationship.

Speaking of the dark, wow, that’s some cloud there descending in panel three to envelope (and hopefully digest) the three idiots.

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Is Guaranteed For The Life Of The Watch.

Link to today’s strip.

Day three of Jessica hanging up her coat and getting more and more worried about her marriage, only this time her worry is stoking over into rage. Let’s try spitting, that’s a good trick!

It reminds me of this video of a person using her dog’s favorite words. The dog reacts each time one of them pops up. It’s very cute and it’s basically the polar opposite of today’s thing. Jessica reacts to anything Dullard says with increasing puzzlement and anger–when he’s not talking to her.

This is not a healthy marriage. This is the portrait of a neurotic who is rapidly becoming psychotic.

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Wound Up As Tight As It Is

Link to today’s strip.

And Jessica’s fears grow deeper and wider. Perhaps, as I suggested yesterday, Dullard’s beginning to wonder why he married her.

Ha, just kidding. We all know it’s not going to be anything that threatens their relationship (such as it is).

A man having an affair wouldn’t say he “hasn’t said a thing” to his wife. Of course he hasn’t told his wife he’s cheating on her!

Banana Jr. 6000 on March 8, 2021.

Not to mention that a man having an affair probably wouldn’t talk about it with anyone, much less his co-worker. Seems like the kind of thing you’d want to keep private. Especially since Pete is well-known to just blurt things out if he thinks it makes him look clever. (Spoiler alert: it doesn’t, Pete.)

Also as mentioned yesterday (hey, if Batiuk can do it, so can I) this seems to be the only scenario he can come up with featuring Dullard and Jessica. Person A overhears conversation involving Person B, and immediately takes the worst possible interpretation.

Again it begs the question: why are these two together? What kind of relationship do they have if, on overhearing any dialogue (not between themselves), they immediately assume they’re on the outs with each other? I seriously wonder why they haven’t murdered each other until–SNAP!–I remember that this is Funky Winkerbean, where interesting developments are NOT allowed.

Batiuk has to keep it all stable so the Pulitzer committee can re-think their mistake.

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The Springhead of this Country

Link to today’s strip.

Many thanks to TFH for his outstanding work for this underwhelming strip. A week of moaning over renos followed by Les exalting his own genius, and TFH is still among us!

Today, Jessica overhears Pete and Dullard talking, and her first reaction is to get worried. Yes sir, this is a marriage on firm ground, all right. They could be talking about a surprise party for her, or something nice, but she’s no doubt thinking Dullard has spent the rent money on comic book art again.

Which is, come to think, a genuine worry for her. Dullard seems rather irresponsible, money-wise, considering he’s the sole breadwinner and has a young son. Yet he acts as if money is no object and gives away valuable comic art for Lisa’s Legacy. (I’m kind of surprised he didn’t buy it all back.)

This makes me wonder why he and Jessica are together at all. They don’t seem to share any interests and rarely communicate with each other. Jessica did buy two tickets to the Flash Museum…so Dullard could go with Pete. And of course that “story” mirrored this one, only Dullard thought Jessica was cheating on him. It’s become a routine with them, like a comedian saying his catchphrase.

I’m positive that today’s episode will not provide any lasting changes, though. How do I know this? It’s Funky Winkerbean. Despite Mr. Batiuk’s touting his own ability to make his characters grow and change, they never do.

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Rotary Sojac

This year’s Lisa’s Legacy event is taking place rather early. When the Act III curtain rose twelve years ago, Bull Bushka presided over the Lisa’s Legacy Walk while Les and Summer took part in the Making Strides walk in Central Park. Let’s recap events of the years since.

2008: Cory steals the cigar box containing over a grand in registration fees; Funky writes a check to keep his delinquent son out of trouble.

2009: Cayla and Keisha get roped in to volunteering; Cayla’s reward is to get schooled by Les on exactly how Lisa made a peanut  butter and jelly sandwich.

2010: Even ten years ago, Funky was complaining of his physical ailments.

2011: It rains.

2012: Instead of a week-long arc, the Run occupies a Sunday strip in fiery autumn hues.

2013: This time Funky needs to be attended to by an EMT.

2014: The 15th annual LLR is noteworthy for the black, not primarily pink, tee shirts worn by the participants, and the black comic border and muted palette; not TB’s usual fall riot o’ color.

The Run wasn’t featured in 2015, and again was a Sunday-only in 2016. The Mentor (Ohio) Rotary took over the event in 2017, in order to allow Les more time for his book tour.

In 2018 and 2019, The Run was apparently pre-empted by prestige arcs: Wally and Adeela and the Death of Bull, respectively. This year’s real-life event doesn’t appear to be happening, no doubt on account of Covid.

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Before They Make Me Run

Hope everyone’s enjoying a nice Labor Day Weekend!

So Les is back in Westview for the Lisa’s Legacy Run. And Mason, Cindy, and Marianne surprise him by showing up. And “Cindy is shooting footage of us running the race today…” For use in the movie? Will Marianne and Mason be running in character as Lisa and Les? Cindy’s a cinematographer now? Wouldn’t they need permission to shoot? And two movie stars and a former network news anchor are just hanging out, not attracting attention from anyone beside Les. Such disorienting plot “developments” have been Funky Winkerbean‘s stock in trade since mid-Act II. Let’s talk instead about the deteriorating draftsmanship in this comic strip.

The only modification I’ve made to this panel was to remove the dialogue balloons, or “word zeppelins,” in order to allow us to better appreciate this Mount Rushmore of melting faces. Les suffers the least, as his goatee in profile always looks like shit. Mason sports an even goofier than usual expression. Cindy is droopy-eyed, and Marianne’s head is on a stalk.

Tom Batiuk writes and “inks” FW, but for the last two years the strips have been penciled by Batiuk’s ol’ Kent State pal Chuck Ayers. Ayers has partnered with TB in this way since the mid 1990’s, in addition to drawing Crankshaft for 30 years. In March 2017 Ayers gave up both jobs to pursue other interests, but returned following the tenure of Rick Burchett, who turned out some of the most horrendous, slapdash, off-model draughtsmanship since another noted comics artist, John Byrne, was at the drawing board.

Ayer’s Crankshaft strips always seemed to me to be much better and more naturally drawn than Funky Winkerbean. And the aforementioned Messrs. Burchett and Byrne were renowned, more-than-capable comic book artists. I’m bringing all this up because I wonder if a requirement of working as Tom Batiuk’s penciller is having to “dumb down” one’s ability closer to Batiuk’s level. In this way, the guy who got laughed out of New York by Marvel and DC gets to hire real artists, and then pin clip their wings.

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Woo goo away, please!

We have Thatsnought Hewmore to thank/blame for today’s strip. Because HE demanded it! And true to his word, Pete didn’t write a crossover until Atomik Komix had more than four titles… they’ve had FIVE since the addition of Wayback Wendy.

The Comics Code Authority is not exactly the heaviest of punching bags in 2020… but it’s an especially odd one for Atomik Komix. This is a company founded on replicating Batom Comics and its Silver Age shlock in every possible detail… Chester hates that non-CCA guided new stuff. Batom Comics is said to have existed pretty much entirely in the CCA era and all of its titles would have adhered to the CCA’s guidelines. Go look at the Batom Comic covers that appeared every other Sunday before Atomik Komix happened, they’ve all got the CCA stamp.

That ends my latest stint writing this pap up. My honest apologies for not noting Son Of Stuck Funky’s 10th anniversary on April 9. I was and am quite honored to have been blogging when this site moved from its first decade into its second. Our esteemed founder, TFH, takes the helm for tomorrow’s certain tire fire and many thanks to him for launching this ship and picking up the survivors of the original Stuck Funky site. This site has picked up so many more folks over the years and has become one of the internet communities I value most. It has survived cease-and-desist letters, Comics Kingdom’s ever-changing strip link addresses, and TB’s best efforts to drive us to madness. I say “here’s to another decade”, because I cannot face whatever this strip has in store next without you all.

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