Banana Jr. 6000
December 4, 2020 at 12:36 pm
…The joke is so mild and so botched, and the reaction is so ridiculously oversold, that the strip should be funny for how misguided it is.
Does anyone else think that Darin in the last panel looks like he was drawn by MAD’s Maddest Artist, Don Martin?
Tom Batiuk has frequently expressed, in his work and in interviews, that even though we call them “comics,” they don’t necessarily have to be “funny.” “I don’t see why a comic strip can’t carry the weight of substantial ideas,” he once said. But even a storyteller like Batiuk must cleanse the palate with the occasional standalone gag, or even a week’s worth of them. Everything about Pete’s “holiday joke” is lame, and the smugness with which he delivers it is just off the charts. Of course, the response is a hearty HA! HA! HA! from all but one of the Atomik staff. At first, it looked to me as if Chester was the one admonishing Pete to “stick to writing drama,” which would make sense as he’s Pete’s boss. Naturally, as his fiancé, Mindy must come to Pete’s defense. But nobody knows better that his real soulmate, Darin, that flighty, distractible Pete needs help with focus. And anyway, his jokes suck.
Something that does not suck is the way Beckoning Chasm goes to work on Funky Winkerbean with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch, and his authoring stint begins with Monday’s comic. Stay safe and well and happy, people. –TFH
As silly and lame as this story has been, I do like the second panel, where Pete’s girlfriend (fiancee?) is genuinely worried he’s not going to ask her to attend the red carpet premiere with him. Because of course she’s concerned he’d ask Darrin instead of her. I still think at least part of the reason she exists in this strip is because Batiuk finally realized how weird it looked having Pete and Darrin take trips together to buy dollies, and Darrin spending all of his time with Pete when his wife was staying in California for some unknown reason.
I do not understand Pete’s expression in the last panel. Is it smugness, like “I’m a heck of a guy, inviting my girlfriend on a trip for two someone else is paying for”? Or is he just closing his eyes and imagining fighting Zeton warriors?
Oh yay, just what any story needs, Manic Pete. Of course it was just a matter of time before Pete, and then Darrin, and inevitable Harry and John are out in Hollywood involved in all this for some reason. How many imaginary movie titles do you think Batiuk has? I picture a sheet of paper in his studio with a “Batom Cinematic Universe” breakdown of 20+ titles, involving the Inedible Pulp, Rip Tide, Wayback Wendy, and heck, he’d probably have Lisa’s Story tie into it too. It still just baffles my mind how much time has been spent on Starbuck Jones, and how we’ve seen basically nothing of it beyond a few titles and covers Batiuk got someone else to draw.
I do love how weary Les looks in the first panel. Poor guy. Look at all he’s been through. Getting a vanity cameo in the movie he’s being paid no doubt way too much money to option. And now he’s having to drink wine on a couch with the hot blonde girl from school he still has the hots for. Why can’t anything ever go his way?
Link to today’s strip
We’ve been learning too much this week. All of us! The comments have been crammed with factoids about vinyl and Marvel, basketball and Bolsheviks, GI Joe and Ohio, lounge singers and long sandwiches.
And today, we learn that every atom in our bodies with an atomic number higher than hydrogen was originally forged in the heart of our universe’s first stars.
And due to the carbon cycle, probably every cell of our body is full of recycled shit. Just like this strip.
So, for everyone’s viewing pleasure, I have random panels of Stardust The Super Wizard and his weird tiny head and single facial expression. I will trust our team of crack commenters to regale us with wonderful Fletcher Hanks factoids!
And, my personal favorite:
Last week’s running gag had Dinkle and Becky walking around reading signs. This week is shaping up to be a series of people letting themselves into the Atomik Komix office and being greeted with “Hey!” Superb draftsmanship today in panel 1: Kitch Swoon appears to be standing in the doorway of an airplane in flight, and Pete is so excited he’s morphed into Shemp Howard. Our colorist gives even less of a damn, leaving Ms. Swoon with white hair rather than the blonde hair she had when we met her last summer. At least Batiuk hasn’t altered or forgotten her name.
Silly monikers have been Funky Winkerbean‘s stock in trade for nearly a half century, from the title character and his friend “Less More,” to the late Coach “Jack Stropp” and forgotten teacher “Rita Wrighton.” These names were semi-witty, facile wordplay. But I’m at a loss to tease sense out of “Kitch [sic] Swoon.” She’s an artsy type for sure (she’s wearing a beret). Does she specialize in “tacky,” lowbrow, populist art? Does the sight of kitsch make her feel like she’s going to faint?
Link To Today’s Strip
* Nope, not letting it go.
Linda reading Batiuk’s NYT interview.
“And then I asked my cognitively impaired husband for a bite. So he bit me! (rimshot)”. Apparently Linda’s online support group is all about one-upmanship and exchanging daffy anecdotes about who’s got it worse. Sounds real helpful. No wonder she’s so miserable all the time, even her “my husband is so cognitively impaired…” gags aren’t that good. Leave it to Linda to find the wryest support group on the internet. In any other support group she’d undoubtedly be the wryest by far, but not this one.
“Take my CTE-afflicted husband…please! Why did my CTE-afflicted husband cross the road? He doesn’t remember! But seriously folks, is this thing on?”
This weird mix of weak sad gags and unbearable human misery has always been FW’s stock in trade but man, it sure does take a terrible toll on the readers. Perhaps he feels that by zany-ing things up a little it’ll increase the dramatic impact when Bull dies. And maybe it would have, if he didn’t go and spoil the whole story for no good reason like an imbecile. But alas, we’ll never know.
Link To Today’s Strip
* When I find a post title theme I like I stick with it, dammit.
Ooooh-fa. Yet another poorly-placed and totally unnecessary joke that just kills the Very Serious mood here. While endlessly doing laundry and watching old football games is somewhat disturbing behavior, it COULD be worse, you know. I mean why not have friends and neighbors drop off their laundry and slip it into Bull’s daily wash pile? Monetize it, Linda! And it’s not like he’s wagering on those old football games, he’s just watching them. And seriously, is that all that much different than what pre-CTE Bull would have done? Methinks not. Anyhow, Batiuk is once again just treading water here until the Big Payoff, which will apparently consist of Bull killing himself to spare his long-suffering wife the burden of unnecessary appliance repairs. This comic strip really goes to some dark, dark places sometimes.
Link To Today’s Strip
I suppose one could make the argument that this installment does actually move the story forward, albeit very slightly. I mean one COULD make that argument, but let’s be real here…no one will. Anyhow the real issue here is the incredibly annoying way that Linda feels compelled to make these dumb feeble jokes to punctuate everything she says. An “anger board of directors”…yeah, hilarious. Would their also be anger stockholders who receive quarterly anger dividends too? It’s supposed to be a Very Serious story yet BatYak just can’t holster the wry wordplay for even a day. I mean come on, no actual people speak (or type or think) like this. What’s next, a gag about Bull being “tackled for a memory loss”? (If he uses that one I will demand compensation). It’s interesting how he supposedly DOES have an editor yet no one ever stops him and says “hey, maybe tone down the wordplay a little and just do some plain old dialog for once”. Sigh.
Link To Today’s Strip
Uh, it’s called “moral support”, Linda. It “helps” you by connecting with others in similar situations. If the other people in the support group could magically help you, they probably would have already helped themselves too, thus they wouldn’t need a support group. See how that works?
Well, if you thought the Big Moment was coming anytime soon, guess again sucker, because it looks like we’re in for a week of typing. It’s typically Batiukian how Linda’s last-ditch Hail Mary plea to the NFL represented her last glimmer of hope, as in the Funkyverse it’s always something and it’s never, ever your fault. One thing I find baffling is how the entire town just totally deserted Bull after he retired. No one wanted to organize a fund raiser or help Linda mow the lawn? Could his multi-decade tenure as head sports coach and athletic director really have made THAT little of an impact? Wait…don’t answer that.
Coming tomorrow: FW at long last answers the question that’s been plaguing FW scholars since Darin found out the identity of his birth mother, that being is watching a FW character opening and reading mail more interesting, less interesting or equally as interesting as watching them type on a laptop computer?
Link to today’s strip.
Monday’s strip was not available for preview. I’m going to guess it’ll be the start of the threatened “Funky-Crankshaft” crossover, and it will involve Pete and Mindy going to the state fair. There, they’ll talk about how melancholy it all is.
Sorry for pulling a Batiukian move like this, but I’ve got early morning work tomorrow and can’t stay late enough for the thing to drop.