So we’re now in day two of Young Harry being baffled that a thing such as “comic book store” exists. And we also have Old Harry naming John Howard to someone in the past, which is extra funny because he still hasn’t mentioned having a wife or daughter.
And it’s also just a terrible thing to do if you’ve travelled back in time to the past. I expect tomorrow that he’ll tell his young self about the collapse of the USSR, 9/11 and COVID-19. Who am I kidding, I doubt Harry cares about those or even noticed they happened. This week will probably just end with the two of them hugging and consoling each other about the Death of Superman.
I feel like Batiuk missed a major setup for a Funko Pop related joke, given that one of Harry’s closest friends is named Funky.
Today’s strip is so dense, every single panel has so many things going on…
My last day of the shift and I wind up with Batton Thomas, again (it could be Jff, actually, but nah)?! I know I am no longer the only one who runs into him, as he’s inexplicably turned into a semi-regular, but I still draw his appearances all too often. What a terrible coincidence.
Worse, though, is that it is like these characters know that they just followed a week of Les and are trying to match his insufferableness. They can’t, of course, but what an effort! Hope next week finds us somewhere else, though I can never be too optimistic that a change of scenery will improve things in this strip. The good news is that we’ll have the legendary Comic Book Harriett taking us through it… and through the 50th birthday (!!!) of this comic strip.
The wistful way John and Batton are looking at each other today, you’d think these two were carrying on some kind of illicit love affair. And in a way, they are. Talking about comic book memories is the ultimate form of intimacy two Funkyverse males can achieve. I wonder how Crazy Harry feels about John cheating on him like that.
Yesterday, we examined the few wisps of hay we found in the 2021 needlestack. Today a more onerous chore: to find out which of the innumerable rusty, tainted, twisted barbs hurt the most when it got under our skin.
The following are your nominees for The Worst Funky Winkerbean Strip of 2021.
1.) War of the Word Zeppelins
2.) Post Pandemic Doom Posting
3.) ‘Disappointed a Lot of Fans’
4.) Feeling Blue
5.) Randy Old Man
6.) Gross Randy Old Man
7.) Just Gross
And the winner for The Worst Funky Winkerbean Strip of 2021 is…
GROSS RANDY OLD MAN
Though other strips certainly made a strong case, only one strip this year had seasoned Son of Stuck Funky commenters saying things like:
The tonal shifts in this comic are several parsecs in length.
Looking at this offering is like playing “How many impending accidents and lawsuits can you count?”
The fact that I’m concerned about Lillian, who is utterly despicable, is kind of impressive.
I don’t want to overreact, but I can’t help thinking this is just plain evil.
Can we nominate Batiuk for the Golden Crackpipe award? He can only be high if he thinks this was a good idea.
be ware of eve hill
But never have I seen such a tone-deaf display as where today’s strip is leading this storyline.
I find it hard to believe that TomBa is this clueless but I also find it hard to believe that he could be so offensive intentionally.
I can feel my sense of humor evaporating the moment my eyes fall on the strip.
The Duck of Death
Jesus, this is bad.
That’s it for the awards to hand out! Join us tomorrow for closing remarks as we wrap up the first ever Funky Winkerbean Awards, and I wrap up my shift.
Well look who’s referenced today, Lillian McKenzie. That’s a pretty obscure character to be pulling from there Tom, we only saw her 50 times last year in Funky Winkerbean, and 72 times in Crankshaft, for a total number of 122 Lillian strips for 2021, causing commenter ‘erdmann’ to wonder:
Loathsome Lillian appeared in 50 FW strips? That’s on top of her “Crankshaft” appearances? Lord, is it possible that wretched old bat could have appeared in more strips than any other Batiuk character last year?
(For those of you wondering, Crankshaft appeared in 266 of his eponymous strips, so he wins.)
A quick review of Crankshaft‘s year brought into focus once again how much better Crankshaft is. It has its terrible Batiukian moments, of course, but it also had several strips that gave me an out and out chuckle. Because Ed Crankshaft is a sort of horrible person it’s funny when dumb things happen to him. Which is why Funky can pun and complain as much as he wants, he can’t ever be anything more than a pale imitation.
While I’m a little gentler on Batiuk’s humor than some here, it was still difficult to pick out strips that genuinely rose to the top. There were plenty of strips I found inoffensive, or mildly amusing, but those tended to mush together into indistinct blob of almost-humor. Still, with the help of a panel of my personal friends we were able to put together the following nominees for…
The Best Funky Winkerbean Strip 0f 2021
1.) Expensive Equipment
3.) The Joys of Reading Over 50
4.) Interdisciplinary Thinking
5.) Funkyverse in a Cookieshell
6.) I’ve Seen Things You People Wouldn’t Believe
And the winner for The Best Funky Winkerbean Strip of 2021 is….
I’VE SEEN THINGS YOU PEOPLE WOULDN’T BELIEVE.
Though it didn’t win, it was extremely gratifying for me to see ‘The Joys of Reading Over 50’ make such a strong showing. My panel of friends didn’t really get it, and I worried that I was just sentimental for the days I still lived at home. Remembering all the times coming in late from my gas station shift, seeing my dad passed out on the couch with a fat book splayed out across his chest; creeping over, taking his book, sliding in the edge of dust jacket to mark his place, slipping off his glasses to fold them on the side table, turning off the lamp and tucking him in.
When Batiuk isn’t stroking his ego with prestige arcs, or indulging his comic book fetishes, or pandering for attention from organizations, he still…very rarely…has the power to touch.
But if it was hard to find strips this year that were genuinely ‘the best’, it was even harder to narrow down all the potential nominees for our last catagory.
Join us tomorrow for the final award: The Worst Funky Winkerbean Strip of 2021.
Batton, John, you two have known each other since at leastMay 2019. You already talked about Amazing Fantasy #15 back in June. There is no way in this entire multiverse of madness John selling a copy to Chester hasn’t been discussed to death yet. So what the heck is today about?
While I appreciate the irony of the author avatar attending awards week, nothing about this week makes sense or stands out. And NONE of these panels from this week are Panel of the Year contenders. Two doughy-faced men blathering at each other in a boring beige room is about as visually appealing as cellulitis.
Which is sort of a shame, last year’s lovingly rendered Rexall Drug that we managed to track down via Google Street View did make my short list for panel contenders. If only to honor a day when Batiuk’s obsessive weirdness so closely dovetailed with our own.
But ultimately the Imperious Holy Temple lost out to some, (in one case literally,) stiff competition.
The following are the nominees for The Panel of the Year 2021…
1.) The Final Note
2.) Rare Flying Discman
3.) Take THAT History!
4.) Smoking Vader
5.) Les Waterboards Himself
6.) Eros Panoptes
7.) Stag Film
8.) Pizza Box Signal
And the Son of Stuck Funky winner for The Panel of the Year 2021 is….
THE FINAL NOTE
Here’s a comparison with the ‘variant’ Davis cover of the crossover event.
Though we all enjoyed a flashback of Les Moore drenching himself with water while spouting grawlix, nothing can complete with, “You guys wanna go see a dead body?”
Mr. A had this picked out all the way back on June 19 . (Sorry your nominee didn’t make it Sourbelly.)
I promised you yesterday a ridiculous spreadsheet. See, when I was trying to figure out arcs of the year, it suddenly struck me that the ratio of Les to Funky this year was skewed Funky in a way I had never seen before. Then I realized how many previously integral characters, like Wally, Cindy, or Jessica had been shoved so far into the back seat, they may as well have been tied up in the the trunk. It made me curious. Who showed up the most this year?
Below is hours of my life I could have spent with loved ones or napping. But I found it interesting, and thought some of you might too.
Named Characters by Number of Strips Appearing In for 2021.
The most baffling development from this is that, believe it or not, many of Funky’s AA meeting attendees have names. This floored me.
In October, when I was going on an CK archives deep dive for my Wally Winkerbean Pizza Monster nonsense, something caught my eye.
January 15, 2001
January 20, 2001
January 23, 2001
April 22, 2021
Why? Why when Batiuk can’t even remember the names and number of the collective children of Wally, Rachel, Becky, and John; when he can’t be assed to check who the Dinkles had for Thanksgiving LAST YEAR, would he go back in time TWENTY YEARS to resurrect these characters?
When Funky was last at an AA meeting, in 2018, it was peopled by generics. So I can only assume that working on this era while preparing his massive omnibuses for Kent State jogged his memory, and he asked Ayers to recreate these important figures of Funky Lore.
But THIS is what I’m here for. THIS is what keeps me looking again, coming back, pondering, analyzing. Some kind of weird call-back, so obtuse and strange that, as far as I can tell, no one among Batiuk’s most dedicated and educated readers noticed for months.
Join me tomorrow as I attempt to convince you, despite all evidence, that modern Funky Winkerbean isn’t universally unbearable, as we award The Best Strip of 2021.
This seems like a weird question to be asking John now. Batton has multiple times this past year been, as Epicus put it, ‘schlepping up that dingy, creaky old KK staircase’ to wax eloquent on the naissance of his funny pages obsession. You’d think this would have been one of the first things they chatted about.
I described DSH John once as a bartender in a town full of drunks. He slumps behind his counter dispensing the Westview drug of choice and getting high off his own supply. Character-wise, he has nothing going on for himself. He’s simply a springboard for other people to launch off of. He hasn’t had an arc to himself since the aborted plotline where he was going to be a consultant on the Starbuck Jones movie.
I thought a lot about the subject of ‘arcs’ when preparing these awards. For the Worthy Awards, picking nominees for Outstanding Story of the Year seems easy. The Worthyverse has months long super arcs, usually between three and five a year. However, in Funky Winkerbean, anywhere from a week to a month may be spent on a group of characters before he moves on to another group, and then often back again to an earlier thread, weaving together like a messy braid of nonsense. And then there are one-off weeks spent on plotless gag concepts. Was Dinkle suffering through a series of anemic high school pranks an arc? Was the Pizza Box Monster an arc?
What constitutes an ‘arc’? I thought about it a couple different ways.
One way was looking at what seemed like major events; high points where long running plot points had new developments, or where the status quo changed. It was easy to catagorise the Comic Con trip or the flopping of Lisa’s Story as an arc.
But another way I analyzed the year was by breaking it down by location. Where did the comic spend most of it’s time? This is how Funky and Holly got an ‘arc’ nomination that encapsulated all their banal medical and reno stories. We also spent way too long poking around St. Spires with the choir in a number of mini arcs that begged to be rolled together.
Number Of Strips Taking Place at Each Location.
In the end, I simply went with my gut. I felt bad about it, because it felt like something Batiuk would do.
So, the nominees for The 2021Story Arc of the Year
1.) Dinkle Joins the Choir
2.) ‘Lisa’s Story: The Movie’ Wraps and Flops
3.) Phil Holt: Resurrections
4.) The Winkerbeans Rehab, Reno, and Recover
5.) Tom Worships Idols of Silver
And the winner of The 2021 Story Arc of the year is…
‘LISA’S STORY: THE MOVIE’ WRAPS AND FLOPS
For most of last week I was sure Phil Holt’s Resurrection was going to maintain its narrow lead. But at the very end Lisa’s Story swooped in to steal the prize. Congratulations to the cast. It will likely be the only accolade this cinematic turkey receives.
Come back tomorrow, when we’ll announce The Panel of the Year, I’ll show you another ridiculous spreadsheet that proves I have too much time on my hands, and we’ll go on an archive deep dive that will leave you scratching your head.
Very sneaky of Batton Thomas today, trying to distract me from this awards show with a massive word zeppelin chock full names; tempting me with a whole list of googleable rabbit holes that I would have loved to dart down in other circumstances. I’ll give Tom this, the comics and artists he admires are usually worthy of respect. Maybe they haven’t earned a sacred tabernacle at the high altar in the temple of Rexall Drug, but I took a quick look at some of these artists and titles and saw art and story-telling leaps and bounds beyond the Funkyverse. Stuff capable of eliciting more than boredom, bafflement anger, and disgust.
No one in the Funkyverse elicits more anger and disgust from the Beady Eyed Nitpickers of this blog than Les Moore. It doesn’t matter what he’s doing, or what emotion he’s expressing, the pervasive undercurrent of unwarranted melancholic superiority that infuses everything he does truly gives him a face in need of a slap.
But which faces needed slapping the most? Your nominees for
The Backpfeifengesicht Award for Most Punchable Les Moore
1.) Remembering Old Friends (For the First Time in Years)
2.) A Single “Manly” Tear
3.) No True Sports-Fan Fallacy
4.) Self-Centered Stage
5.) Deadly Pundemic
6.) The Smile on My Face
7.) Interacting With Fans
And the winner of The Most Punchable Les Moore of 2021.
NO TRUE SPORTS-FAN FALLACY
This was an incredibly close and divided race, with no one face getting even a quarter of the votes. It seemed nearly every Les Moore face triggered a strong response. Les is a character complex in his awfulness, and every awful thing about him is the worst thing to someone. He’s designed so that, no matter your pet-peeve, this man will infuriate.
Not all categories were so evenly split in the voting. For some, the winner knocked the competition right out of the water, as was the case in our next award.
Most Puzzling Continuity Questions of 2021
1.) Who Directs the Community Band?
2.) What is Rachel’s Major?
3.) Who Did the Dinkles Have for Thanksgiving?
4.) Are the Reindeer Broken or is Tony Dead?
5.) Was Phil Holt Really a Ghost?
6.) Where Are the Kids? Who Are the Kids?
7.) What Even Is Continuity?
And the winner, by the widest margin of the voting this year, of the Most Puzzling Continuity Question of 2021:
WAS PHIL HOLT REALLY A GHOST?
Yes, while some of you did wonder about the breakdown of the Crankshaft/Winkerbean time differential, and others of you pondered the whereabouts of missing and mis-named children, it was the metaphysical question on the nature of death that was on most voters’ minds.
Join us tomorrow, as we look back on the stories of last year, and find out which narrative arc stood out as, arc of the year.
I realized I didn’t put up the graphs for yesterday’s awards, and thought some of you might be interested.
Welcome, one and all, to the first ever Funky Winkerbean Awards Week!
And a very special welcome to an unexpected guest here at the awards, Batton Thomas!
It seems very appropriate that this week Tom Batiuk’s own author avatar has another of his John-and-Bat-gush-over-comics arcs. Because this week we are judging what Tom accomplished, and failed to accomplish, in the comic universe he controls.
2021 was the year of the author mouthpiece, the strawman, and the wry observer. Our first award goes to the unnamed character who managed to stand out in a sea of melting tired faces. Whether by attempting to one up the main cast in insufferability or obtuseness, or by giving voice to the feelings of the audience, these characters ensured that while we may never know their names, we are sure to remember their faces.
Your Nominees for The Thatsnot Hewmore Award for Standout Unnamed Character:
1.) Referential Heckler
2.) Suffering Saint Nursing Assistant
3.) Average Comics Fan
4.) Mature Comic Con Attendee
Another Batiuk mouthpiece monopolizes the mike.
5.) Zombie Orderly
The true face of existing in the Funkyverse.
6.) Oblivious Parade Spectator
I guess Harriet needed someone to blather at…
And the Winner Is….
AVERAGE COMICS FAN.
Though Referential Heckler made a strong showing, earning more than a quarter of the votes, the winner was clear early on. Whether it was cursing in front of children, complaining about the artwork, or paradoxically consuming the entire corpus of the comics he can’t seem to stand, we all saw a little of ourselves in Average Comics Fan. In attempting to make a strawman of his critics, Batiuk unwittingly built up the most relatable character all year. Bravo.
One way Average Comics Fan was like us is in complaining about the portrayal of women. While he complained that the women of Atomik Komix were too ordinary, we noticed women in the Funkyverse being stereotyped, being props, and flat out disappearing. Despite his seemingly earnest attempts at female empowerment via women in comics and media, it’s clear that Tom Batiuk will forever have trouble relating to, and portraying, the female characters he has created.
In recognition of this we present you with the nominees for
The Livinia Memorial Award for Achievements in Feminism
1.) Women Be Shopping
2.) Women Be Changing Their Minds
3.) Women Be Jealous
4.) Women Be Catty
5.) Women Be Another Species Entirely
6.) Women Be Tiny and Disappearing in the Background
And the winner is….
WOMEN BE JEALOUS
For a while, it seemed like ‘Women Be Tiny and Disappearing in the Background’ was a sure winner, but late in the game voters seemed to realize that Jessica Fairgood’s only arc this year was to become livid and suspicious at her husband of over a decade after half-hearing a single vague conversation, and then instantly gushing over his new, nerdy appearance. Though other strips might have been more blatantly stuck in the women-are-from-Venus, men-are-from-Marvel, mindset that plagues Batiuk’s thinking, and there were more tone deaf attempts at white-knighting, this arc showcases Tom’s willingness to betray the integrity of his female characters for a week of cheap ‘humor’.
Join us tomorrow, as we puzzle over Tom’s inability to remember his own history, and see which Les Moore face you wanted to punch the most.
If TB is going to procrastinate until 5 minutes before his deadline, as was surely the case with today’s strip, then why can’t I? Yep, I began this post at 10:25/9:25 CT and finished this up right at 10:30/9:30 CT.
Does Crazy even know who Santa Claus is? He seemed genuinely baffled that anyone would mistake him for Santa while wearing a Santa hat and Skyler has had to browbeat him into doing Santa Claus things all week. This is the fourth time in six days.
The great Christmas gift-giver strikes again in today’s strip. No, I’m not talking about Santa Claus or Crazy Claus (or Pete… I would never talk about Pete in this way), I’m talking about the nerd with the polecat on his scalp.