Tag Archives: marching bands

This Year in the Funkiverse

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 aidedecamp 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.

Promotional consideration

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!

Starbuck Jonesin’

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.

Rick rolled

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.

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Garage Turkeys Re-Re-Visited

Link to today’s strip

Uh yeah Becky, they’ll “celebrate” with a “holiday (presumably Memorial Day) meal” consisting of ancient freezer-burned band turkeys…a prospect that apparently amuses Becky to no end based on her deranged wry smirking. Not even a rotting band turkey would land with a thud as leaden as this gag, which was quite clearly a desperate “hail Mary” attempt to fill that last sad and empty word balloon with SOMETHING…anything…no matter how incredibly dumb it was. A silent strip featuring the band parents walking out to the parking lot and starting their cars would have been way, way funnier than this.

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Ahhh-Trophy

Link to today’s strip

Someone, please, make it stop. Today we see just how bad a marching band gag can get, as BatNom reaches the bottom of the barrel, plunges his fist straight through it and grabs a handful of slug and worm-riddled soil beneath said barrel…just because he can. See, the horrible marching band full of useless slacker teens wins SO MANY TROPHIES that they actually need an ENTIRE BUILDING to house them. And fortunately for the marching band, WHS JUST HAPPENS to have an entire building to SELL to the perennially-cash strapped band, which is rather fortuitous if I do say so myself. Everyone wins! Well, almost everyone, as regular FW readers might not consider Becky’s truly obnoxious Dinkle-esque cackle as being a “win”. I do like that weird angle in panel two, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her pinned-up sleeve from that perspective before.

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Flutophoning It In

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Good ol’ FW, always with that smirking contempt for things BanTom likes. So to reiterate, the WHS marching band is a deeply competitive, proud and Ohio-renowned institution full of lazy talent-less slackers whose parents actually receive awards for enduring the shrill horrifying noises their offspring produce when they practice, which according to FW lore is extremely rare. Got that?

And no band parent has it worse than those whose children play the dreaded flutophone. Sandy’s actually handling it better than some other band parents, as overeating is preferable to the alcohol and illegal drugs some band parents need to make it through even one more day of that incessant racket…award-winning racket, I might add. It must be quite an honor to receive an award plaque from Becky. Not because of the award itself which of course is totally meaningless, but because it’s just harder for Becky to hand things to other people, what with the missing arm and all.

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A Cymbal Of The Decline Of The American Comic Strip

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Fortunately “Hattie” didn’t turn into the pianist, as we all know how painful THAT can be. Once again BanTom finds “humor” in the college sports analogies, this time resorting to absolutely fail-safe comedic gold…head injuries and wordplay. You can’t go wrong there, no sir-ee. Onward drag the marching band gags, at this point I can’t even remember what FW was like before the band gags began. Was it always like this? Did anything else…at all…happen before this brutal onslaught of marching band jokes? Talk about “concussion protocol”, I feel like I’ve been beaten with a sweat sock full of padlocks over here.

Hattie?? Who the hell has named their kid Hattie since the 1920s? Come on, BatNom, get with the times and choose a more era-appropriate name, like Susaynn or Jocelynn or Brittanee or Kyrrsten or Ambyre or Rayne. Even “Hattye” would be more believable.

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Babble Of The Bland

Link to today’s strip

“Recruiting violations”…uh, yeah. Whatever you say there, Lefty. I like how the audience is exchanging knowing smirks, like it’s somehow funny that WHS’ main rival is a bunch of dirty cheaters. Maybe tomorrow he’ll do a hysterical riff on Big Walnut’s history of hazing, doping allegations, sexual misconduct and kickbacks too, just to bring this idiotic sports analogy full-circle.

As I mentioned (complained about) last week, these stupid band gags still rely on the pretense of Dinkle’s overall nuttiness from back when he was the insane “win at all costs” tyrant who’d make students practice in monsoons and band majorettes immolate themselves for halftime entertainment. Without that pretense this is just a boring one-armed woman making smug wisecracks, which except for the arm thing neatly describes almost every other FW strip.

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Preggers Banquet

Link to today’s strip

Ugh, more marching band hi-jinx courtesy of the one person on the planet who finds marching bands to be hilariously funny. That BatNom, always pandering to “real life” band directors who enjoy clipping individual marching band-based FW strips and taping them to their filing cabinets…sure, it’s a tiny demographic but an important one nonetheless.

I guess he’s comparing the high-stakes world of high school marching bands to the high-stakes world of college sports here. As I jabbered about last week, these stupid band jokes are only (hypothetically) funny within the context of the old Dinkle character, the over-the-top madman whose entire life revolved around marching band competitions. To do a gag like this you’d first need to establish that the WHS marching band is a cut-throat, deadly serious operation, which is exactly the opposite of how it’s usually depicted. Otherwise it’s this, a listless stupid out-of-context joke delivered by a character whose one defining trait is her missing arm. BanTom always wants it both ways, but the band can’t be this huge intense competitive operation AND full of lazy slackers who never practice. Yet it is.

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