Kids don’t read newspapers or newspaper comics these days… Boo hoo, so sad, this generation is killing the papers and the cartoonists, blah blah blah yackity smackity… Sorry, don’t care. I’ve heard it all before, and in better comic strips to boot.
Today’s strip is bland, rote filler in a dumb, overplayed story arc, but… that second panel. Chuck Ayers artwork since taking over duties in Funky a couple years ago has taken a good step back from the solid work he did for many years in Crankshaft I would argue, but the second panel in today’s strip is a genuinely excellent piece of cartooning. The beady eyes, the nonplussed expressions, the unrealistic density of students packed into every millimeter of the panel… you can practically hear the crickets chirping in background of this non-reaction. It is an extremely rare and truly good thing to see in Funky Winkerbean. What a pity it isn’t in the service of a better joke.
Are you wondering how Bull’s wife and children are mourning his death? Maybe how his former players and fellow coaches, whose lives he surely had a large impact on, have reacted? Well, too bad for you, for the art of storytelling, and for general decency… because today’s strip is focused on four schmucks, only one of whom even knows Bull moderately well (and one who has NEVER once met the guy) and none of whom have talked to Bull in at least 3 full years. Heck, they aren’t even talking about Bull, they are awkwardly reminding us that Cindy was popular in high school.
Bull’s death only made page 2 of the Westview Gazette? This is a town with only five employers and Bull was the most decorated employee in the history of the largest of those. What could possibly have made the front page?
Honestly, I kinda dig the newspaper montage in the throwaway panel of today’s strip… such famous banners as the Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles Herald (known as the Herald-Express in the 40s), San Francisco Call (known as the Call-Bulletin in the 40s), and… uh, the Oxnard Daily Courier (known as the Press-Courier in the 40s). The “His Famous Smile Is Gone” headline is actually a pretty upper-middle shelf bit of stupidly maudlin 1940s newspapering. What I like ends there, though…
WILSON BELLOWS INKPOT?! Are you kidding me, Batiuk?! “Butter Brickle” was too silly a name, had to be changed to the essentially nonexistent surname “Brinkel”… but some William Randolph Hearst-Snidely Whiplash mash-up robber barron (oh, there’s a 1940s trope, not an 1890s one… no sir!) named “Bellows” AND “Inkpot” is kosher?
Why, that’s almost as asinine as Jessica, who was in the same high school class as her husband Durwood (born in 1986) comparing yellow newspaper journalism with modern online sensationalism as if she didn’t grow up with supermarket tabloids and Les Moore writing a book about her vapid TV host father’s murder. Almost…
Devoid of context, today’s strip is aimless and boring. With context, though, it’s… ummmm… I don’t really know. What is the context of this strip anyways?
We have no idea how this exchange began, unless it began like this, which means “Batton Thomas” just started spouting off trivial comic book history once Bernie and Thatsnought where within earshot. Is this what TB does at book signings and conventions?
And today’s strip is on from insulting Flash Freeman to… this… whatever this is is supposed to be.
I get the self-referential bit, of course, but what is its purpose? Is this lamenting the declining popularity of newspaper comics in the most confusing way possible? (maybe) Is this based on TB’s experience being ignored at real life comic convention functions? (definitely) What is Thatsnought’s reference to “the original guy who did that strip” all about? (probably nothing)
And Three O’Clock High? Is that supposed to be a stand in for Funky Winkerbean? Just Act I Funky Winkerbean? TB’s first published comic strip (the anti-Archie) Rapping Around?
Is it an intentional reference to the lightly-remembered 80s teen comedy of the same name that starred the guy who played the 3D glasses-wearing guy from Biff Tannen’s gang in Back To The Future? (unclear)
Whatever it is… it stinks. (apologies to Jay Sherman)
Oh yay, another in the long line of “Bull’s dumb” strips, where that’s all the joke content. In any kind of real world, Bull wouldn’t be shocked at all at someone giving an introduction for an athlete being honored, since it happens all the time. Since Bull is an athlete and likes sports he’d of course be familiar with this. Unless the “joke” really is just entirely “Bull doesn’t understand simple things anymore because he has CTE” which is about as far from humor as you can get.
It’s nice of Linda to just tell Bull Buck’s agreed to do the introduction, before even asking Bull who he’d want to introduce him, or if he even wants to attend. Given how feeble and dim he’s being portrayed I’ve got to imagine being the center of a attention of a large crowd of strangers might be something he’d want to avoid. But oh well, Linda’s there to think for him. He’s got CTE, remember?
Thanks for having me back here. I can’t guarantee I’ll be as entertaining as BeckoningChasm, but I think I can manage topping Funky Winkerbean itself.
And here we return to a Batiuk Classic, someone opening a letter silently. I’m kind of amazed he has the letter actually being opened in one day, rather than dragging it out forever like he did with Darrin back in the day. This might be the only time his writing has gotten better since Act 2.
My prediction for what the shocking letter is: a note from Bull’s doctor explaining that they got his test results switched up with someone else and Bull actually doesn’t have CTE after all.