Fortunately, today’s strip stays in one time line. It also quotes one of Bob Dylan’s best-reviewed songs. Well, that’s two positives to the… end-ish? of this very
maudlin special story arc. FYI: A donation has been made to the Boston University CTE center, presumably so readers will remember what this story arc was about last month.
So was Bull a member of the local Dylanist congregation or is that the only house of worship in Westview anymore? Both?
And with that, I am relieved… both to be done with my posting stint and, come tomorrow, by the incomparable Spacemanspiff85.
Hey, remember when this story arc was about Bull?
Today’s strip sure doesn’t.
Look, I’m just going to gloss over the fact that Dinkle was actually introduced well over a year into this strip’s existence and just give TB credit for remembering that Funky Winkerbean itself is 47 (and a half) years old… And with that out of the way I’ll go right into wondering what the heck this has to do with Bull, his condition, his life, or anything. I guess if you twist your neck 117 degrees and squint until you experience sharp pain in your temples it appears the notoriously egotistical Dinkle (or is that Buck?) is paying Bull a compliment by saying they were equals despite his long and incessant history of considering all things inferior to himself and his marching band. But really this is just TB repackaging his biggest hit.
Dinkle is the only thing about this strip that has ever moved merchandise. His “football fields are for band practice!” bit covers books and t-shirts, and even serves as his character’s introductory line in the stage play Funky Winkerbean’s Homecoming. Dinkle’s shtick has sold band posters (“Dinkle wants your horn to twinkle”) and shoes, and no less than 9 Dinkle-specific collections of FW strips have been published! No, seriously, there have been 4 Lisa books and 9 Dinkle books.
Football Fields are for Band Practice!
Harry L. Dinkle Live at Carnegie Hall
I Never Promised You a Rose Parade
Gone with The Woodwinds
Would the Ushers Please Lock the Doors!
Attack of the Band Moms
The Grass is Always Greener on the Other Side of the Football Field
Music is Worth it… Music is Worth it… Music is…
This is nothing more than TB pushing his most-recognized character/cash cow into a story the New York Times inexplicably gave him ink for. Ugh!
Today’s strip was not available for preview. One can reasonably assume it will involve Lefty continuing to torture the poor folks who agreed to play in this alumni band.
So, without the current strip, let’s take a quick look back at Lefty in late Act II, who had just been named Westview High’s band director. Dinkle tries to get her killed for the sake of a bad pun. He is a monster.
I do not even want to know what Lefty and Dinkle were doing in the band office prior to today’s strip that alumni band practice so rudely interrupted. Whatever it was, it was surely negative amounts of interesting, and we are better off having missed it. If only that could have continued for three more panels…
I’m amazed that TB hasn’t hatched this alumni band thing before. It is full of his favorite FW comfort foods: Dinkle, Lefty’s pinned-up sleeve, old old old people, wistful reminiscence about high school band, petty high school grudges, more Dinkle… Just throw in cancer, comic books, and Les smirking a couple times and you’ve got the complete FW meal.
I suppose it is too much to hope for an appearance by Jon Glaser’s “Score Settler”.
Alas, there is no gold to be found here… there’s not even a creek.
Take a gander at today’s strip. Truly fowl, it swan of the worst yet. Remarkably, it manages to come across more dated than the similarly-themed 43 year-old strip seen below:
Dinkle can’t write despite making an honest(ly awful) effort, Les couldn’t-can’t-won’t write unless it is about someone who died a decade prior, the late Livinia wouldn’t write… I’m starting to see a pattern here.
Claude Barlow’s “tectonic scale” could probably be applied to today’s strip, and this week in general, which feels like it has been going on for eons.
What really throws me in these Dinkle-Barlow strips is that they come across simply as vehicles to deliver TB’s puns. That concept struggles when Dinkle is a character who otherwise isn’t at all disposed to being a mirthful pun-maker. It struggles further when Barlow, as an unseen character, seems to slide from being an unwitting pun set up to an unwitting pun-maker to a “humorously” terrible composer just to suit Dinkle’s TB’s mood. I get that the Barlow shtick was supposed to add to Dinkle’s over-the-top nature, and that kid of worked back in Acts I and II when he was an over-the-top character. Now, though, he’s a character that used to be over-the-top, like a guy who still wants his nickname to be “Animal” even though the only time he really got crazy was at a couple of parties in college. Now, this is just listless and out of whatever character Dinkle has remaining.