Link to today’s strip.
Normally, a Funky Winkerbean reader would see today’s episode as one of those typical Sunday “filler” strips that has nothing to do with anything, but is just supposed to be lighthearted and fun.
But Tom Batiuk can’t resist tipping his heavy hand when he’s about to get serious. I guess it’s his way of saying “Polish off those awards, boys, the Batiuk shelf is ready for ’em!”
So we see Adeela all happy and carefree, just before the mean ol’ USA comes crashing down on her, for no reason at all (I’m guessing; there could be a reason that will turn out to be incredibly stupid). Maybe she has a brother who’s bombed here and there, and she’s guilty by association. Or it might be something we’ve never guessed (because it has never been shown.) As I mentioned yesterday, whatever it is will be so inaccurate and poorly thought-out that it should win awards–just not the good kind. The point is that Batiuk will make her life living hell, for no other reason than that’s the only kind of life available in this strip…and, for that, he should win an award. A good award, too. He thinks.
Seems odd that we had to go through nine years two weeks of talking about driver’s licenses to get here, but there you go in Batiukland.
And that’s all from me for now. Thank you for your indulgence; I appreciate your comments and your insights, and I also appreciate those who read but do not comment. And now, please welcome back reigning champion Epicus Doomus, who returns tomorrow.
Let’s have Peter Gabriel sing us out of here…
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… or July 11th’s strip? YOU make the call!
This time warping stuff is getting really really old, especially when it makes negative amounts of sense. At least with Tuesday’s “five years ago” mishap you could chalk it up to the strip’s time simply not matching real time even while matching real time’s seasons (not an uncommon thing at all in comic strips). This strip has long done that, though not in a consistent way – Summer’s generation was in high school for 5 years, Pete and Durwood’s for almost a decade, and the Act I gang was there for 20 of course.
Today, though, we’re at “three months ago”. That places this flashback in early July, and yet both Buck and Bull are wearing coats? I mean, this is presumably still an October funeral, right, what with the falling leaves colored a bright orange hue? Heck, this doesn’t even line up with Buck’s mid-September visit, where he and Bull stroll out to Jerome T. Bushka A&L Automotive Stadium, as neither man is wearing a coat then.
Is this beady-eyed nitpickiness? Maybe, but when there are little errors like this in nearly every strip it starts to add up to genuine distraction. This is especially true when the story hops all over the calendar, which *gasp* makes invested readers hop through the calendar with it in an attempt to understand what is going on.
It’s back to the WABAC machine in today’s strip. No, I’m not talking about the flashback to “five years ago…”, I’m talking about Bull’s funeral, which has itself moved two-and-a-half years backward in time in order to accommodate a five years ago flashback featuring players Bull last coached in the spring of 2012. Well, at least we are getting something that is actually about Bull in this one… that’s so damning with faint praise that it could keep an ocean at bay. (“Billy was a special blogger”, they said at his funeral.)
Also, I tagged both Keisha and Linda in this, because I’m not sure which one of them is standing next to Summer in panel 3.
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?
I am only going to focus on the positives in today’s strip.
Yessiree, just the positives today. Things like… uh… hmmm… well… Darin using “mom” to refer to the woman that raised him instead of Lisa. Yeah, that’s one! There is also… ummm… these two shmucks getting themselves soaked to the bone walking back to the Eaton Building because they naturally forgot to bring their umbrellas in perpetually sunny Cleveland. I can dig that.
So yeah, I’m only talking about the positive things today. You won’t see me mention any negative aspects. Nope, not a single one. I won’t mention at all how Durwood appears to have brought “Sky” back with him to Ohio solely so he could take advantage of his aging mother for free child care. I also won’t mention how he has put both his young son and disabled father in danger by working the only caregiver in their house to exhaustion. Nor will I mention how disingenuous it is for Durwood to talk about how important it is for “Sky” to be cared for while he is working after he just shot the breeze with Pete for who knows how long at an offsite coffeeshop on company time. No, I will not mention any of those things, only the positive stuff… the sunshine, lollipops, rainbows, safety, laughter, and skip to-and-fro.
Funny, I thought focusing on the positives would improve this strip. But alas, no such luck…
Yesterday’s discussion of exactly just how Rip Tide: Scuba Cop goes about scuba cop-ing understandably exhausted our tedious twosome, and they take a well-earned coffee break in today’s strip.
I suppose that now that they are living the life of 1950s-ish Batom Comics writers, Pete and Durwood no longer need to daydream about being 1950s-ish Batom Comics writers. Naturally, they have channeled most of their energy into finding new ways to procrastinate… though shuffling down to the struggling coffeeshop on the corner earns them no points for creativity.
Nevertheless, today’s strip is not without educational value. I, for one, learned that the key difference between Los Angeles and Northern Ohio is that no one has dreams or ambition in Northern Ohio.
Sosfdavido here, barely to update after a long power outage in the Santa Cruz mountains! Here’s a post for today from my cell phone but HTML doesn’t show up from my phone.