Tag Archives: melting faces

A Breef Encounter

What’s better than four white saviors?  Five white saviors of course! That’s the gist of today’s strip, it seems… as *groan* Amicus Breef emerges from the walk-in freezer brimming with fantastic legal advice such as talking to Adeela.  Preferably by phone, no need to go down to the clink and talk to her in person if you can help it, right?  I mean, jails are full of criminals after all and you can’t be too careful.

Oy!  Amicus Breef?!  Amicus?  Stupid punny names are nothing new for this strip, but they usually at least involve a first name human beings might actually have.  Well, at least he works in a profession relevant to his stupid punny name.  What if Mason Jarr(e) was really into making homemade preserves or holding iced tea at restaurants known for their cucumber salad, or if Cliff Anger was actually a solo climber?  Or what if Ruby Lith’s job was to illustrate schlocky no-budget Silver Age comic books?  Oh wait…

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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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