Tag Archives: Marianne

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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Fuel for Thought.

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And here it is. We’ve had to suffer through an entire week of Les whining to Marianne about one woman who died at least 15 years ago in strip time (Edit: twenty-three, ED), while the world is literally burning around them. As day turns to night with nary a word from Cindy, Masone, Pete, or Mindy.

You people have been saying it all week: Marianne has been blandly listening to Les whinge about his manpain, instead of worrying about friends, family, coworkers, or her own property. The girl had more going on for herself when she almost threw herself off the top of the Hollywood sign.

And all so Marianne can watch some video tapes that Batiuk will, no doubt, forget were transferred to digital years ago. So many problems with this. But two stick out in my mind.

One, why didn’t he let her or Masone watch some of the tapes to begin with? It’s implied that some tapes are very private and others are meant for more public consumption, as seen in this strip from Darin’s birthday. Why did you ever think of this as an all or nothing thing?

Two, are you now going to let her watch all of the tapes? Even the tapes that weren’t meant for you? Have you seen the tapes addressed to Summer directly? Or the tape specifically for CauCayla? Are you prepared to override the rights of Lisa, Cayla, and Summer, to have their own private messages remain private?

Who are we kidding? Of course you are. The sum total of everything Lisa ever was or wished is now yours to use, abuse, and change however you see fit. You can tell yourself that you think Lisa would have wanted you to share material that SHE SPECIFICALLY TOLD YOU IN PERSON was private. Anything so Marianne can have important moments like this inform how she plays Dead St. Lisa.

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You say it best (when you say nothing at all.)

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Baituk is really desperate to sell some books, eh? First he tells all his Beady Eyed Nitpickers on his blog that in order to truly understand the difference between a ‘retcon’ and ‘direct flashback’ we need to buy and read The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 9. Now he’s referencing some obscure bit of titillation, as if to bait us into buying and scouring Lisa’s Story for the infamous ‘Snow Angel’ incident.

I’ve only got the vaguest recollection of Les spilling this sordid tale to someone else before, and I couldn’t find the moment in the archives. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping our Skinkmeister can give some context to the readers who’ve only been able to religiously follow this strip since the end of the Bush administration.

It’s weird that, whatever the dirty little something was, Marianne is flat out refusing to say it on screen. A slice of life drama like this movie, which seems to be going for, ‘A Marriage Story, but ending with cancer and not divorce’ lives and dies on the simulacrum of realism, and if we’re getting the horrible ‘playground closed for repairs’ bit, then this must be something next level nasty.

Batiuk is probably imagining that we’re picturing kinky, like what Pepper Potts whispers into Tony Stark’s ear in the first Avengers movie. But cute and kinky would make it into an adult movie, as an important establishing moment of vivaciousness and young love. There is nothing a Hollywood starlet wouldn’t say or do if she thought it would increase awards potential.

Except something like:

But what do you guys think? I’d love to see some of your takes on Lisa’s forbidden dialogue.

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No Preview Review

Link to today’s strip whenever it drops.

Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview. So instead enjoy my favorite comment from yesterday.

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For a given value of save.

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Les, I am going to explain this using short unequivocal statements, that way there is no way for your spotty memory and outsized ego to twist my words.

You. Did. Not. Save. Lisa.

All you did was let her out the door first. That’s not a rescue, that is chivalry so lazy it’s a 50-50 shot if it was intentional.

Wally. Saved. Lisa. And. You.

Wally Winkerbean, that poor sad, pizza baking man has had his wife, his dignity, the childhood of his son, his sanity, and his agency as a character taken from him by Batiuk. Don’t you take one more damn thing from this strip’s number one whipping boy, who took all of that abuse, and survived, without a single legacy foundation to his name.

Les, I don’t know if you could ever lay claim to ‘saving Lisa’. Unlike some, I don’t have an encyclopedic knowledge of all the Act II drama. But you can’t even really take much credit for saving Marianne. You drove shotgun through a fire, and then carried a woman out the door who really should have been able to walk.

Why did I have to be given a Les arc? I would rather have a week of Dinkle.

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Not a Yacht of Space.

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As luxurious as Masone’s sailboat looks with just two people standing in it, I doubt its going to be so posh when he crams another five people on the darn thing. Judging by the artwork it couldn’t be more than twelve feet across. Where are they all going to sleep?

They better hope that Jeff asphyxiates in that cave, or they’re going to have to put up with the old guy staggering over the prone bodies on the floor to the tiny cabin toilet every 30 minutes all night long. My advice, put him on the deck and tell him to take a leak over the railing.

Les is giving Marianne some serious side eye in panel three. In a more ambitious strip, or maybe Act II, I would agree with the commenters that suggest we’re about to rock that yacht with a little post rescue adultery. But remember this is Les, in Act III, and the deepest form of intimacy he can show another person is to reminisce about Lisa with them. It’s how he bonded with Masone. It’s how he proposed to his purported second wife on his cancer bench, confirming to Cayla and everyone watching that he sees Cayla as a appendix to the beautiful story of his relationship with Lisa.

And she still married him. Sometimes I think we pity CauCayla too much. She worked at Westview high for years with him. She knew what she was getting into marrying the sad sack. I’m going to give her the agency that Batiuk doesn’t, she married Les for his house and money because their daughters got along. She got money for her daughter’s college, and when Les dies of mopey artist syndrome she gets it all. She’s not sad he’s emotionally distant, she’s relieved.

You go girl!

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All is Vanity

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Yes. Please Mason. Go back to clogging up traffic, making things more difficult for fire and rescue, just so you can have all your friends together for your fun bonfire boat party. Mindy and Pete presumably know about the fire, call them to let them know they’re welcome to your BYOB yacht club and let them evacuate themselves.

Of course, this is Pete, he’s probably been evacuating all over himself for the last couple hours.

Nice vanity plate on Masone’s circa 2004 SUV. I guess it really would be the best way to go incognito around LA if you’re a mega famous Hollywood heartthrob. No one would believe that the star of the mega blockbuster Rise of the Zeton Warriors would be both that cheap AND that egotistical.

Who do you guys figure might die in this arc? Cindy? Jff? Masone? Or will Marianne attempt to drown herself after being stuck for hours alone on a boat with Les? Even if she tries, I’m sure a life affirming quote from Kurt Cobain or Sylvia Plath could put her back on track.

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Carry On Baggage.

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Wow, Les has really manned up in the last couple decades. He’s gone from passively handing his standing wife off at the door to another manlier man, to bridal carrying his wife’s avatar over the threshold at a brisk jog; effortlessly hauling all 110 lbs of Hollywood starlet in his arms with the wiry strength natural to a fifty year old English teacher.

Just kidding. This is the dumbest attempt at trying to make something look more dramatic I’ve seen in this strip. Unless Marianne fell down the stairs off panel, she should be perfectly capable of walking out the door. What is this strip trying to convey? The weakness of Marianne, or Les’ overprotective instincts? An excuse for an upskirt shot? We don’t know what the situation was like in the house, or how the women were reacting to it. Apparently the sight of fire turned them into whimpering passive objects unable to move or think without the firm touch of a man guiding them.

They must have lost the car Marianne drove in one of the THREE CARPORTS this McMansion is rocking.

Seriously, what happened to this car? Is it a self driving car? Did it drive itself away from this nonsense? Good for it.

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Mad Masone: Beyond Blunderdome

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Sorry for the late post, today’s strip was not available for preview, but I
was already up late bingeing cartoons, so decided to wait around for the exciting next installment of Twin Boobs: Fire Drive Through Me. But the darn strip refused to drop. And when it finally did, it’s just two panels of ridiculous action. DOES ANYONE EVEN CARE ABOUT THE LAWS OF CONVECTION? The reason cars can drive through fire in the movies is that the type of incendiaries they use are meant to burn up quickly.

But it’s just another strip of MEN BEING MANLY, BY SAVING THEIR HELPLESS WIMMENFOLK, FROM FIRE BAAAAAAAD.

A single story, or even two, of a brave Les running down the street screaming, “USA! USA!” would be fine, if it was balanced out by some feminine heroics. Can anyone think of an instance? Because all I’m thinking of is Lisa giving Les a ghostly phone call from beyond the grave to warn him not to get on a plane that didn’t end up crashing anyway. So basically she saved him a couple hours sitting on a plane that refuses to leave the gate. HEROIC.

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The Fire That Burned Les Up

Today’s strip wasn’t available for preview. I’m guessing it’ll be a Human Torch inspired comic cover. And knowing Batiuk it’ll be the first one that nobody remembers.

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