Tag Archives: Phil

Head and Hearts

Banana Jr. 6000
July 29, 2022 at 5:02 am
Who the hell would go to this exhibition? Both these men now live in this town, and have spent a lifetime putting out the comic book equivalent of shovelware.

Maybe people are coming out just to gawk at Flash “Fairfield’s” towering head. It’s the most interesting detail in today’s strip. Not a hell of a lot else to comment about here.

What is “show-offy” of even writerly about Pete’s comment? That paragraph that Darin has to lean in closely and squint to read is a little flowery (“its special magic”) but otherwise inoffensive and succinct. How is “From the hearts of Phil and Flash” an improvement?

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Fair Flashfield

The day of the big gallery opening has come at last. On the walls of the Dibbs Gallery are famous Phil’s Batom covers: Charlie & Chuck, the Cockroach, Starbuck Jones, and, of course, the Amazing Mr. Sponge. If they look familiar, it’s because these are the artworks which Phil Holt inexplicably bequeathed to Boy Lisa, who decided they should be auctioned off  to benefit Lisa’s Legacy, and which were bought, every last one, by Hagglemore, who happens to be Phil and Flash’s employer. There! I’ve explained how Phil’s sold-off covers are still available for this gallery show.

Now: can anyone explain how, after Batiuk has spent 8 years establishing his canon, Flash Freeman’s is now Flash Fairfield?

Comic Book Harriet commented the other day about Batiuk “[giving] Flash and Phil the same backstory as Darin and Pete.” Maybe by bestowing on him an alternate last name, Batiuk’s just giving Flash one more thing in common with Pete Roberts Reynolds.

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Future Schlock

“Hey Siri. Look up ‘futurians’ on Wikipedia.” I’m still tuckered out from researching Charlton Comics, a franchise which a surprising number of you were familiar with. Wikipedia has not one but three “futurians” articles. Let’s leave aside the New Zealand sci-fi punk band by that name. TB’s musical tastes are certainly varied, but I doubt that’s who he’s cribbing here.

Continue reading

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Flash ♥ Phil

Well if today’s panel 3 ain’t just the purest distillation of Tom Batiuk’s raison d’être over the last couple decades of Funky Winkerbean…Which is why I used that quote in the header of this page. Anyway, “that place” that Batty is trying to get back to doesn’t exist, and it really never did. Continue reading

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With the Markers and the Colored Balloons

Girls are either natural-born comic book colorists or complete screw-ups.

Like most people who will read today’s strip, I never heard of Charlton Comics, so once again, off to Aunt Wikipedia I go to glean some knowledge about yet another one of Batty’s obscure cultural touchstones. Though young Phil dismisses them as “crummy,” Charlton’s history is rather more colorful that the one TB dreamed up for Batom Comics. Continue reading

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Making Book

Chuck Ayers’ name is misspelled here. Discuss.

Kudos to the our newest bullpen addition BananaJr6000 for a stellar debut. Is it too late to hold him over for another week? Because I was hoping that by the time it was my turn in the barrel, this Phil + Flash + Kitch arc would be concluded, and I would get to write about something, anything else besides Batty’s imaginary comix universe. Continue reading

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Why Is There A Raccoon’s Ass On Your Shelf?

Link to today’s strip

I don’t know why Phil’s bringing up that anecdote about Picasso moving rather than cleaning his studio. Apparently he moved to Ohio less than a year ago, and his new home has become this cluttered in that little time.

One of Tom Batiuk’s favorite tropes is on display today: elderly men acting like teenaged boys. Phil Holt is ancient, and he’s also an analog to one of Batiuk’s real-life comic book heroes. And this is how he gets portrayed? Like a 15-year-old who’s had a girl show up at his house unexpectedly? But of course, she thinks it’s cute and endearing. Ugh.

This doesn’t feel right for either character. Phil seems more like a neat freak to me. Like he stores all his pencils in the box they came in. Kitch runs a highfalutin’ art gallery. She might be used to the eccentricities of artists, but she wouldn’t find them charming. This is a great example of how all 300 characters in Funky Winkerbean are all the same person, differentiated only by gender.

Seriously, though: why does Phil Holt have a raccoon’s ass on his shelf?

That’s not a cat or dog. Phil doesn’t seem like a pet owner anyway, and he’s certainly not Ace Ventura. It’s the kind of detail that doesn’t belong in a quarter-inch-from-reality strip. If you want to make Phil messy (and ignore all the problems with that I already mentioned), then he should be messy in ways that make sense for his snippy personality. A random raccoon is the kind of detail you see in Animal House, to show how bonkers the frat party was. Or in Bloom County.

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Su-Su-Studio

Link to today’s strip

Well, now Phil’s just being a jerk. We saw last year that his studio is in a home near some palm trees, somewhere drivable from San Diego Comic-Con. Is that going to be Thursday’s joke? Does Kitch have to get into the car before she learns it’s a cross-country road trip? What does any of this have to do with Kitch’s initial goal of returning to the source of Dibbs Gallery’s Roy Lichtenstein prints? That was only two days ago.

Today’s strip reminds me of the infamous “Me Too on speed dial” strip, where Chester Hagglemore made Ruby Lith get into his car and go to his home for undisclosed reasons. (Spoiler: it was about comic books.) Now Kitch, a woman, has initiated a car trip to a man’s house. (Spoiler: it’ll be about comic books.)

It could have been interesting to re-create that situation, with the genders reversed, as an exploration of sexual double standards. But Funky Winkerbean isn’t nearly that ambitious. For which I am thankful, considering how badly it botched a simple “Me Too” reference. But they could have done this:

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Together Again For The First Time At Last

Link to today’s strip

And there’s Atomik Komix’ lead art forger Darin, looking like a cat who’s just heard someone open a tin of Fancy Feast. But Phil Holt’s reaction is much more interesting.

“Slumming again?” Phil, you only joined Atomik Komix ten months ago. How often does this woman visit that you can say that? It can’t be that many times, because she buys comic book art, and Tom Batiuk didn’t obsessively catalog every step of the transaction process. The contract signing alone would take a week.

Kitch’s playful response suggests that she knows Phil, too. But how? From 2017 to 2020, Phil was pretending to be dead. Before that, he was doing caricatures for kiddie birthday parties. He was also shown to have a home somewhere that clearly wasn’t Ohio. Flash Freeman, Phil Holt’s closest companion as far as we know, hadn’t seen him since he stomped off with The Subterranean in the 1950s, and spoke of Phil rather negatively

But Kitch seems to know how toothless Phil’s “grumpy” act really is. And she’s right. There are at least five old people in the Funkyverse who are much worse than Phil. Harry Dinkle, Ed Crankshaft, Lillian McKenzie, Mort Winkerbean, Melinda Budd.

To make another movie comparison: this is the “you two know each other” scene. A new character enters the movie; an existing character greets them in overly familiar way; and someone says “you two know each other?” One of them says “yes, we were in the Army together,“ and exposition is achieved. This interaction appears to be setting that up. But it probably isn’t.

Tom Batiuk is just filling the word balloons with whatever meaningless drivel he thinks will let him get on to the comic books, which is the only thing he wants to talk about. But he’s inadvertently implying that Kitch and Phil have a history, and that this is going to be relevant to the story. 98% of the time in Funky Winkerbean, it’s not.

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In Fact, Terrible

Link To The Sunday Strip

Four generic superheroes battling four generic super villains in front of a plain background…THIS is what they toiled over all week? And look at Flash in the reality bubble, all smug and self-satisfied, like he actually accomplished something. I wish he’d do an arc where Chester shits himself over the astoundingly terrible work these imbeciles keep cranking out. “Wayback Wendy”, “Pion”, “Scorch”…I mean come on. Chester has to be losing money hand over fist on this horseshit.

I really, really need for this arc to be over. I mean yes, it’ll take way more than that to truly break me, but this one really tested my patience. Fortunately, it would appear that Mason Jarre is on deck, to take us in a “different direction”, hopefully a direction that has nothing to do with comic books or marching bands. If it turns out he wants to do an animated film about a marching band composed entirely of superheroes, that might be all for me.

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