Tag Archives: possible copyright violations

The Saga Of The Stinging Sword

Link to today’s strip.

It’s hard to believe I once thought this bitter, hateful story would be “a love letter to something Tom Batiuk likes.”

This story had almost nothing to do with Prince Valiant, except for trashing its real-life artists. Three of the four from that era were slighted in some way. Hal Foster was depicted as unscrupulously plagiarizing someone else’s art; Gray Morrow’s name was gotten wrong; and John Cullen Murphy was conspicuously omitted. And since “King Features Syndicate” was proudly displayed on the office walls, Tom Batiuk even implicates his own employer in this fictional misdeed. And couldn’t even bothered to explain why. Continue reading

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Philholtian Legend

How gullible is this woman?

Today’s strip uses a real location to tell a cock-and-bull story. This “cartoonist hangout” is the Palm Restaurant in New York City, a real-life location. As commenter Gerard Ploude pointed out in the comments, Tom Batiuk announced this place would be part of an upcoming story. The entrance we see Phil go into is identical to the photo Batiuk showed on his blog:

The original Palm in Manhattan has since moved a few blocks, and now has locations in about a dozen major cities. They also have a tradition of artists (not just cartoonists) drawing their works on the wall instead of paying the tab. Sadly, the original location has since been remodeled, and the drawings are gone. I hope they archived them somehow.

Kitch believes this ridiculous yarn, and Phil leans back in his chair to smirk about it. This is one of Funky Winkerbean‘s most infuriating tropes: a character congratulating himself for his wit, when he hasn’t done anything remotely witty. I say “him” and “he” because it’s always a man. Women aren’t allowed to be witty in the Funkyverse.

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This Goes To Eleven

Today’s strip forced me to choose between the Spinal Tap reference and the Spaceballs reference. Tough call.

Having said that, the Spinal Tap reference in this strip offends my improv sensibilities. We call this “being too jokey.” Today’s strip tries to force a joke, in a way that undermines the reality of the scene.

Phil is right to be annoyed with Kitch here. He’s an accomplished artist. Auditioning for a comic strip is well within his ability, and it’s insulting that she’s so surprised at this. “Dial back your incredulity” is enough to make that point. If he just said that, without the tacked-on “goes to eleven” joke, it would have been much more effective.

And there’s the universal Funky Winkerbean problem of awkward dialog. Try saying this aloud: “Maybe you could dial your incredulity back from eleven just a bit.” Now say “Maybe you could dial back your disbelief a little.” That second one sounds much more like a real person talking, doesn’t it?

On top of that, “tried out to draw” is a very clunky way to say “auditioned.” Is this an Ohioism? When I was in school, people only “tried out” for a sports team, or maybe a play. The first time I read today’s strip, that phrase struck my mind as “tried to out draw,” as if Phil Holt had challenged Hal Foster to a cartooning duel at high noon. Which would have been much more fun.

I’m kind of shocked this wasn’t another comic book. It’s a comic strip, which isn’t exactly the same thing. But as usual, Tom Batiuk tipped his hand about this plot twist:

The comics that interested me the most were Flash Gordon, Dick Tracy, Terry and the Pirates, and of course the ineffable Prince Valiant by Hal Foster (shoe drop alert—the significance of the strips I’m mentioning here will drop later on, so hang with me and all will come out in the shoe store). Especially Prince Valiant, wherein classical Renaissance figures, rather than being frozen in time, came to life and moved from panel to panel.

https://funkywinkerbean.com/wpblog/match-to-flame-176/

Ugh, that’s terrible writing. But we can infer that this is going to be another love letter to something Tom Batiuk likes that hardly anyone else cares about. Fine by me. I’d much rather have a week of Prince Valiant than a week of The Phantom Empire. Or of Funky Winkerbean.

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Who was that masked shmuck?

Today’s strip is so dense, every single panel has so many things going on…

My last day of the shift and I wind up with Batton Thomas, again (it could be Jff, actually, but nah)?! I know I am no longer the only one who runs into him, as he’s inexplicably turned into a semi-regular, but I still draw his appearances all too often. What a terrible coincidence.

Worse, though, is that it is like these characters know that they just followed a week of Les and are trying to match his insufferableness. They can’t, of course, but what an effort! Hope next week finds us somewhere else, though I can never be too optimistic that a change of scenery will improve things in this strip. The good news is that we’ll have the legendary Comic Book Harriett taking us through it… and through the 50th birthday (!!!) of this comic strip.

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Shmucks in a row

Today’s strip begs the classic 5 Ws (and an H) of writing. It also begins the Oscars story Variety promised last month. Yeah, I thought that maybe if I buried the lede it would stay in the ground, but alas.

Who is Mason talking to on the left? Wait, he calls her Marianne… that’s supposed to be Marianne Winters? The lady with the pentagon head and the pigtail-bun hairstyle my niece insisted on wearing when she was a toddler is Marianne Winters?

What is with TB’s willingness to use Hulu and HBO’s trademarked names but still insist on sticking to the eyeroll-inducing “Netbusters”?

When does TB think the Academy Awards ceremony takes place? We’re three weeks out from this year’s Oscars broadcast… Does that mean? Oh no, please no. I really hope TB just got the dates wrong.

Where is the “chateau” where this “real party” is happening? Chateau Marmont? Haha, really? I guess if you don’t know… then you don’t know. I’m in no hurry to find out, either.

Why are Cliff Anger and Vera Nash here? Neither one was involved in the Lisa’s Story movie at all… well, other than inexplicably being at the film’s wrap party.

How is this story going to end? Insufferably, no doubt. I don’t think any other outcome is possible.

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Chester’s Treasure

Hat tip to iansdrunkenbeard in yesterday’s comments.

I’m just so sick of that surprised expression that’s been on Chester’s face this whole week. Who the hell goes to the time and expense of buying up copyrights and setting up a “shell corporation” and then forgets all about it? And what was the point of this shell corporation, anyway? Merely to pad out this insipid arc for a couple few more days, I guess.

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Hey Man, You Holdings?

Epicus Doomus
February 11, 2020 at 11:58 pm
I liked Chester better when he was a weird eccentric greedy dick.

Is Chester losing it? Hagglemore was introduced as an insanely wealthy and savvy comix fanboy. He’s clearly still got money to burn–keeping these useless dopes on his payroll–but he forgets that he has a holding company? Yesterday in the comments, it was proposed that “CH Holdings” might turn out to be Crazy Harry. Now that might set up generate some intrigue, laughs, whatever. We need to give a name to this rule which states that any plot event you can conceive for Funky Winkerbean that is remotely novel or entertaining will be the complete opposite of what actually happens.

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CH CH CH CH Changes

What’s going on?” asks Chester. Certainly not productivity! Grandpa Google apparently has directed Mindy to Aunt Register of Copyrights, where she’s able to look up Miss American’s first owner. This means that the copyright wasn’t secured until 1978 or later: the U.S. Copyright Office’s public catalog only goes back that far. Works registered prior to 1978 may be found only in the Copyright Public Records Reading Room in Washington, D.C. (can’t get more American than that!) Those flashbacks to Ruby’s earlier days in the business seem to take place a couple decades earlier. But hey, don’t stop Mindy from making herself useful for once.

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Ruby Tuesday

Banana Jr. 6000
February 10, 2020 at 7:01 am
[W]hy was Pete even included in last week’s arc? He never said anything, and, not being an artist, wasn’t in the running for Kitschy’s check…I know Pete can’t pry his eyes off anything comic book-related, and Mindy would have been another character to cram into an already crowded panel, but it’s just weird that she left and he didn’t.

Well, because we needed Pete to, once again, pull a brilliant idea out of his ass, and offhandedly express it in the most roundabout way. And we needed his fiancé, a comics professional whose last job was sucking farts out of the seats at the Valentine, to reveal her ignorance how copyright law works. Grandpa Google to the rescue!

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On Smolderin’ Pond

Valerie Pond’s lifeless body is discovered in today’s strip by… Super Chicken?!

You knew the job was dangerous when you took it, Val! Maybe set your stemware down before you go wrestling someone for a gun next tim… oh, sorry. I suppose it is too late for that. Brinkel wasn’t much for privacy either, his bedroom was open and his gun collection was accessible? Laughable negligence even if he was not guilty.

Have a happy 4th of July all you SOSFers! Don’t be like TB is with his story arcs, please be/travel/revel safe…

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