Link to today’s strip.
Whoops! Late to the party on this one, but I got involved in a project of my own and neglected the time.
Not much to say about this one. The artwork continues to slide into the abyss, the dialogue is idiotic, and Rich Burchett shows us something in that last panel (almost wrote “penal”; these hosting stints, lemme tells ya…)
I mean, look at Cliff’s face in that last panel. “Oh? Think I’m not planning on getting my cheese dip on? Really, Vera? Wow, are you in for a surprise!”
Overall, again, it’s people sitting around discussing things that we have not seen and we’ve not been given a reason to care about. Eating food that looks, honestly…well, it looks largely like bowel movements. Which, given the overall bent of this strip, makes perfect sense. It also makes those vaguely flesh-colored cubes that show up now and then in Mary Worth look edible.
It’s kind of silently nauseating in its own unique way. And it’s another step away from what people want in comic strips. And it makes me feel that the 50th anniversary will be something to see, though I can easily imagine Batiuk presenting something ultra dull. After all, it’s the Funky Winkerbean way.
Boy, the artwork in today’s offering is really terrible. Those faces in panel one look like a set of sad balloons from an abandoned “melting-flesh” themed carnival. And I don’t know what’s going on with Cayla’s hand. That doesn’t look natural at all. Rick Burchette is becoming worse and worse all the time; he’s actually making Batiuk’s work look good by comparison. Whether this is due to influence from above (“Make it crappy, like me!”) or a growing disenchantment with his task (“This strip sucks, so who cares”), it’s hard to say. I would guess that the recent Atomik Komix (gah) covers are his way of saying “I am actually quite a competent artist; ’tis the subject that dictates the work and moves the artist’s hand.”
And as to today’s content, well, we’re back to the self-depreciation crap. I know Batiuk loves to have his characters wallow in misery, but seriously, give it a rest. It hasn’t been “edgy” for decades now, it’s just tiresome. It’s the sort of thing that teenagers grow out of. Sheesh. Cliff himself has had a 180 degree turnaround in his life, and he’s now revered and celebrated. But no, he has to be all “Woe is me.”
How can one be a “Hollywood Heartthrob” by starring in one forgotten (but beloved) serial before disappearing into bitter exile? How the Hell can these people be ambulatory and lucid, let alone alive, in their late 90’s? It’s easy, really. Because reality in this strip is whatever Batiuk wishes it to be, because reality in the real world refuses to cooperate.
If it weren’t so dull, it would be sad.
Link to today’s strip.
Another dull entry…which would be a great name for this strip.
Imagine this particular episode presented with no dialogue–it’s just people standing around with a couple of handshakes thrown in. Without the dialogue, it’s dull, but you have the possibility that adding dialogue might make it into something that could be interesting, possibly, depending on what these people say. But in Funky Winkerbean, if you add the dialogue back, yes, it changes…but not for the better. You end up with something no one could care about at all, except someone trying to reach a 50th anniversary on a project in which he has lost all interest. And it shows. Boring people saying boring things in a boring way.
I’m sure the idea is that Funky Winkerbean fans (those mythical creatures) would look upon this and shout, “Yes! Vera and Cliff are back! This is great!” The problem–probably the main problem with the whole strip–is that in the real world, enthusiasm for characters comes from caring about them, because those characters are interesting, or do interesting things. Here, these characters are uninteresting, do nothing but stand around, and we are given no reason to care about them at all. This is because Tom Batiuk cannot create interesting characters, because he cannot care about anyone other than his various avatars (mainly Les, but also Dullard, John Howard and Dinkle).
Remember that time you were in a restaurant and you asked the table next to you if you could borrow their salt shaker, and you got an assful of stories that bored you to tears, but you needed that salt? Say hello to Vera and Cliff.
While I can’t say much for his taste in clothing, it’s nice that Cliff and Vera dress up a bit when they’re going visiting.
Link to today’s strip.
Greetings, folks, BChasm here back behind the wheel of this eternally stalling vehicle. Many thanks to Comic Book Harriet for an excellent hosting stint. Trust me, the headaches go away after a while!
So, what do we have here? I’m honestly dying from boredom just looking at this one. I do like the drawing of the house and the environs in panel one–it’s simple and slapdash but it’s nice, including the squiggle birds and the hinted-at ocean. A decent looking house right on the beach–Starbuck Jones has been very good to Mason. And it’s nice of Les to change from the yellow shirt he was wearing yesterday to a blue version of the same thing. I suppose he did that on the ride over, and thank you to Tom Batiuk for not showing that, and also not showing Mason saying, “Wow, Les, you’re really ripped. I could get you into the movies easily, as a sensitive and caring guy who ends up with the girl in the end!” And also not showing Les being all humble and yet unable to say No. So that’s three good things Tom Batiuk did in just this one episode!
Anyway, I get that Les and Mason are pals due to suffering through the abortive “Lust for Lisa” project, but Cayla and Cindy don’t really seem like the type to pal around. Have they ever actually met?
As for the dialogue, ugh. Dullard told Mason that he and Les were up for an award. Cindy took that as a way to catch up on Ohio. Because, as I think the Comics Curmudgeon pointed out, phones can never be used in the Funkyverse. And everything always happens in Ohio…the place Mason wanted to retire to, if I remember correctly. Yeah, no one uses phones, except Les, just yesterday to text Cindy. So he has her number stored in his phone. And…
This strip is like a shelf full of boxes that all get knocked to the floor, contents scattered everywhere. And the person assigned to pick everything up just doesn’t care where things are supposed to go.
Still, I think the point of this episode is to present something so dull and uninteresting that no one can really criticize it. If so, mission accomplished.
“I’ll take ‘Depictions Of Dining That Compare Unfavorably To Those Seen In Mary Worth‘ for $600, Alex.”
“This comic was drawn by someone who has never seen a real person eat a taco.”
“What is today’s strip, Alex?”
“Alright, I’ll move over to ‘The Trite Lights Of Hollywood’ for $400.”
“Fictional movie star Masone Jarre compared launching a doomed comic book company to the life stages of a commonly eaten shellfish in this recent work.”
“What is today’s strip, again?”
“I’ll take, uh… how ’bout ‘Dreck’ for $800.”
“You’ve found our first Daily Double… what do you want to risk?”
“Let’s make it a true Daily Double, Alex.”
“OK, and the answer is ‘Dreck.'”
“What is every Funky Winkerbean strip since February 2018, Alex?”
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.
Today’s strip was not available for preview, which I’m sure suits Cindy and her allegedly flagging beauty just fine, so I’m going to do what I pretty much always do when there is no strip to preview… post an old strip.
I wonder what was going on in Funky Winkerbean on this date back in, oh… let’s say 1991.
Cindy was grounded for two weeks due to her poor grades and couldn’t go to the mall (the horror!), so when her grounding finally ended the mall threw a celebration for her return. Westview’s mall hasn’t been seen or mentioned in years (last appearance: Father’s Day 2012, maybe?). With the struggles malls are facing nationally, the general economic climate in Westview, and the apparent fact that no-longer-a-resident Cindy was responsible for a significant amount of their business, I think it is safe to say it has long since been shuttered.