Tag Archives: Martin Johns

In a Funk

Today’s strip was, of course, unavailable for preview.

But please, let us discuss poor Funky. When was the last time Funky had an arc that wasn’t pointless filler? There is hardly a character in EITHER Funkyverse strips that is stagnant as this poor lump.

If the arc is dealing with something bordering serious, Funky is the world’s most passive protagonist, reacting to events outside his control and doing what other people tell him to. Alternatively he serves as the distributor of jobs, food, and apartments to whoever wanders by needing them like some kind of slapshod Greek god rising from a rickety machine to fix ‘conflicts’ in a piss poor drama.

If Funky is going to show any initiative of his own, it is to chase down a pizza box monster.

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Haik-UNIVAC

Still talking about
Holtron ownership transfer
here in today’s strip?!

Wealthy Boomers are
Out there laying down stacks for
Sperry-Rand mainframes?

Why didn’t props group
Make a more mobile Holtron
For the first movie?

No really, why not?
Or why did they need Holtron
In the first place, huh?

Sentient Holtron
Has always been property
This is just so wrong

A better comic
Would be Short Circuit rip-off
With Holtron and Frank

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Holtron, I’m Comin’

Clever move by Mr. Director and smarmy Clay Wallace in today’s strip, getting Pete and Durwood to haul away their trash for FREE. Heck, P&D are pretty much thanking them for the privilege. Morons.

Wait, wait, wait.. wasn’t it strongly implied that Holtron is sentient? Yeah, Conan O’Brien tackled it for responding to a heckler (it mistook for a time machine?) back during last year’s Starbuck Jones Comic-Con panel. And now Holtron, a true breakthrough in artificial intelligence, is the property of these two shmucks, wrapped up in one of those stupid giant bows from the Lexus commercials… You’re sick, Tom Batiuk. Sick.

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Off you go, into the mild new blunder

Mr. Director (Martin Johns) doesn’t even feign disappointment in today’s strip, as Pete and Durwood officially quit the Hollywood jobs they never much actually did. In fact, he seems thoroughly excited to be rid of these two sacks of misshapen rocks.

It is one of the most understandable moments in recent Funky Winkerbean history. You can see the relief washing over him, finally losing these two deadweights without having to incur any pushback from Mason. I expect it is like the feeling when an awful coworker, one who could never get fired because of a relation/connection to upper management, decides to leave. Mr. Johns is one of the least disagreeable shmucks in the recent history of this comic strip and I’m almost happy for him today.

Pete and Durwood… Atomic Comics… movie rights… CME’s sudden shortage of Cecile B. DeMille-era director’s chairs… Don’t care.

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Shooting Gallery

Today’s strip

Greetings, folks, BChasm temporarily in the captain’s chair for the next little while.  What’s this?!  The viewscreen shows a sea of hostiles–ready photon torpedoes!   We must annihilate this threat before it spreads across the galaxy!

I’m going to skip over Mason’s “movie we filmed here,” comment, because while I don’t think any of the film was shot in Centerville, I honestly don’t remember the “school bus drives into shot” bit well enough, and–Tales to Astonish–I have no desire to look and see.  So I’ll give him that.

What else?  Well, we’ve got a crowd shot of almost everyone, including Les–which sets our Les Watch back to zero, damn it.  At least he’s not saying anything, and is both poorly drawn and partly covered by a word balloon.  Funny, though, I’d have expected both Comic Book John and Imbecilic Harry to be there, but I guess they got their exposure in at Comic Con, so no need to feature them any longer.  But who is that between Jim KibblesNBits and Marianne?  It looks like they flew Marianne’s mother out there after all!  I guess?

The fact that so many of the cast and crew are in the audience–and sitting right up front, too–makes me wonder if Tom Batiuk believes that the first time anyone involved with a movie actually gets to see the finished film is at the premier.  In the real world, the director would have seen the film dozens of times by now, and there’s almost always a screening for the cast and crew.  So all these people would be backstage, or at the back of the hall, gauging audience reaction–pacing, room for laughs, people getting bored at certain parts, and so on–and looking for “oohs” and “aahs” for the cast members.

But not in the fantasy land that is the Funkyverse.  Here, everything happens the way a five year old imagines that it happens–it’s all just magic, and friendship, and comic books and pizza, and it works every time!  In a way, that sounds like an attractive world…for a few minutes.  But after those few minutes, I’d want something of substance, something that would stir the imagination rather than just “be” everything forever.

Poorly thought-out as the Lisa stuff is, it’s at least an attempt to address adult concerns–something that a comic strip aimed at “contemporary problems of young people” should attempt more often.  Because I’m pretty sure the contemporary problems of young people aren’t that they wish there were more comic-book movies.

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I Saw Her Smirking There

Does everybody around here lean back in their chairs doing nothing?” wonders Director Guy as he fetches the producer his coffee. Of course, with Starbuck Jones opening soon, and its sequel having been filmed concurrently, what work would there be for the storyboard artist? Maybe Boy Lisa’s run out of his favorite pens again and is unable to work.

Back in C’ville, Pete has indeed found “something”: he spies a Batiukian/Burchettian blonde who stops him in his tracks so hard that his arms and shirttails fly away from his body. He’s pretty whopperjawed, all right! Casual readers might wonder why Pete’s blatantly ogling Cindy, but we know (since Batiuk teased it two months ago) that this is Crankshaft’s Hot Granddaughter Mindy. She’s successfully parlayed her Kent State diploma into a job helping her brother manage the dive theater.

 

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Manos: The Hands Of Grate

Today’s strip finally gets to the point. Whatever.

All I see is a kid in a Davy Crockett coon-skin cap…
FWSmif

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Dead Putz Society

Everyone is severely intoxicated in today’s strip, right? Those glasses everybody has been carrying around have surely been filled and emptied many times by now, yes?

Because I don’t really know how else to explain this. The exaggerated hand gestures, the jumping on tables, the applause, the addressing of a group of full-grown adults as “kids”… Heck, alcohol may not really be enough to explain this. Not even something as dumb as Funky still dreaming in a coma back in 2010 effectively covers this ridiculousness.

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Butterfl-hio Effect

Today’s strip is a sobering reminder of just how tantalizingly close we came to completely avoiding the foul, intrusive neighbor that is the Starbuck Jones movie. If only Mason had never come to Ohio, none of this would have happened.

– Mason only came to Ohio, of course, because he met Les on the set of Lust For Lisa.
– Tempting as it is to pin this all on Les, he was only able to lure Mason to Ohio with Holly’s collection of “Starbuck Jones” comics.
– Holly’s “Starbuck Jones” collection only existed because Cory started it.
– Cory only started the collection because… well, Tom only knows that. Maybe something to do with his stepfather reading it when he was a kid
– And Ohio is only a state because the British ceded it to the United States in the Treaty of Paris, which was only possible because the French ceded the Ohio Valley to the British after losing the French and Indian War.

“Fan” theory time:
Funky is still in a coma from that 2010 car wreck and everything that has happened since then has been a dream. It was immediately before the wreck when Starbuck Jones was first mentioned (Funky had to sell SJ issue #1 to cover Komix Korner’s overdue rent), everything else involving Starbuck Jones has occurred after the wreck. Also, think of all of the other outlandish things in this strip that have happened since that wreck, things that would have been unlikely before: the successful publication of Lisa’s Story and its national book tour and “Hollywood” chapters, Cayla’s appearance changes, Les’ love life, Cory becoming a soldier and a well-adjusted individual, Cindy comes crawling back to Ohio, Wally snags Rache and Buddy, Dick Tracy…

This theory is, of course, disgustingly unoriginal and incredibly stupid. But is it really worse than the alternative?

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O-H! I-ugh…

Today’s strip simply confirms what we’ve all known since Monday, that this movie premiere is going to take place at “that damn Crankshaft theater”.

And we can all blame Jeff Murdoch, a passive-aggressive sad-sack who has never managed to elicit sympathy from readers despite constantly suffering under his mother and father-in-law, two of the nastiest and most despicable characters to have ever graced the comics page. We can also blame Batiukverse Twitter, which waived its character limit to allow Jeff to convey the following information in a single tweet (maybe he typed this all up in Notes and tweeted a photo, which is still contemptible):

– His first and last name
– His location
– The fact that he was a member of the Starbuck Jones Junior Spaceman Fan Club when he was a kid
– That he saw the original Starbuck Jones serial at the then-new Valentine Theater
– That his son now owns the Valentine Theater
– And that he thinks it would be a good place to hold the premiere of the new Starbuck Jones movies.

Given all of that, I’m surprised he didn’t mention how movie tickets only cost $0.10 when he first saw the Starbuck Jones serial, or how much he misses voting for Robert Taft Sr., or how great his old LaSalle ran.

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