Oh boy, more unwelcome guests in today’s strip… and also Bingo. Bingo can stay, he’s cool.
Hopefully Bingo will take his claws to the new choir robes in the back after these yutzes leave.
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.
This is just kind of sad, to me at least. Haha, the church choir ruined the worship service because they were so excited to see Dinkle on a small screen. And I really don’t understand how Dinkle’s whole schtick can be that he’s basically a slavedriver but still somehow everyone loves him so much they’re thinking about him in the middle of singing a hymn. At this point I won’t be surprised when this church is renamed Saint Dinkle’s.
And I’ve probably said it before, but whenever I look at an individual comic strip I assume someone is probably reading it for the first time, especially when it’s a Sunday strip. Unless you read this strip obsessively (and if you do, odds are you’re a commenter here), you would have zero clue what’s going on, who “he” is, or why this is supposed to be funny. Honestly, without any context most people would just assume that this is supposed to be some kind of joke about technology becoming so prevalent even a church choir is distracted by it. Not that actually having the context improves things . . .
Today’s strip is pretty inoffensive, as these things go. It might border on “nice” if we liked a single one of these characters.
Not sure why Funky and Holly look so surprised to see Morton playing the trombone. They know Morton is in this band. They know the band is playing at St. Spires. They walk into the Christmas Eve service hearing the strains of “Silent Night”. Put two and two together…
OK, sure, most of the churches I’m familiar with place both the choir and orchestra in front of the congregation rather than behind, but such a slight difference wouldn’t floor me like a character from the late They’ll Do It Every Time.
I cannot decide which is more egregious:
If you are one of the 17 folks who own a copy of Roses In December or just a really really big Crankshaft fan, you may recall another story where a nursing home lost track of one of its residents. That time the nursing home had an excuse, as Ralph Meckler had kidnapped his Alzheimer’s-stricken wife and took her to Sotheby’s in New York to see his collection of vintage movie posters auctioned off.
I remember that arc. It went something like this:
“Dad, I’m really sorry but I simply can’t allow you to drive anymore. It’s just not safe.”
“Beer nuts! Mom? Happy Arbor Day! Huh?”
“Now dad, don’t be that way. You know I’m only looking out for your best interests.”
(Morton lights up a Marlboro Light)
“Ah, that’s better. While I respect and appreciate your concern, I am also offended, as I obviously still have the cognitive and physical abilities required to operate a motor carriage.”
Although perhaps my memories are a bit hazy, as there was a lot going on in the strip at that time. Good thing Funky didn’t entrust Linda with Morton’s keys, as he would have easily found them while Linda was on the phone complaining, then driven himself into Westview Gorge like how Bull did. And right now Morton is WAY sharper than Bull was near the end of his run.
It’s funny, because just a few years ago Morton didn’t have an imagination at all! At least they’re still both clothed and for that, we should be thankful. Obviously BatYam caught part of some rock band biopic and thought it’d be “very funny” if yadda yadda yadda and so forth. At least Morty finally stopped with the demonic sex offender leering, at least for now. The whole “aren’t depraved randy old coots hilarious?” thing is around 98% less funny than BatNard thinks it is and I really wish he’d leave those gags for his other, lesser known (chortle) comic strip, as I don’t read that one.
It’s funny how usually FW characters are heavily into pop-culture references from thirty years before they born, but today Morton is referencing rock and roll tropes from seventy years AFTER he was born. It’s amazing how his advanced dementia didn’t seem to affect his memory at all, which is, uh, highly unusual, I guess you could say. The way he just totally blew off that early Act III Major Prestige Arc remains one of Act III’s greatest and dumbest mysteries.
“No, no. no. He still looks too friendly and cheerful. I want the reader to see Morton as a malevolent sex machine who’s going to force himself on Lillian whether she consents or not!”
“Uh…OK, I guess. Here, let me cock up that eyebrow by 40% or so and add more sneer…and how’s that?”
“No no NO! MORE sneer! MORE eyebrow! And Lillian should appear frightened, like she knows she can’t say no!”
“Hmmm (sigh). OK (sigh).”
Once again Morton is inexplicably leering in unrestrained lustful malevolence, but what really sends this one caroming over that fine line between gross and disturbing is Lillian’s line about needing to go to confession, which is just completely unnecessary. The guy is supposed to be an “elderly ladies’ man”, not a coercive sex offender. Doing an arc about Morton trying to score a “date” is one thing, but having him luring old ladies into vans is, uh, something else entirely.
I can’t believe he’s actually doing a sub-arc about Morton trying to bang Lillian in the Bedside Manor van. I’m not sure which is more disturbing, the artist’s decision to draw Mort with that demonic leer of unbridled lust or BatYam thinking this is “cute”. In fact, this one is so far “out there” it might be the highlight of the entire year so far. It’s almost like he did this one as a test, to see if anyone was still paying attention.