Today’s strip is what passes for levity in Funky Winkerbean these days, I guess. Buck was apparently disturbed by a commonly-milked farm animal when he really should have been disturbed by the complete lack of almost everything at this football game. There appears to be no crowd, no officials, almost no players (look at that empty bench behind Stropp), and apparently no one else but Bull around to wrangle a loose mascot. Was Westview’s football stadium nicknamed “Uncanny Valley”?
Oh, and did you know that the Scapegoat mascot had a name back in Act I? It’s Billy, much to my chagrin… He once appeared on a book cover with Erma Bombeck’s name.
Today’s strip was not available for preview, but it is easy to speculate on what it will involve based on yesterday’s “hat”-focused anti-humor. Bull will be there, Buck will be there, and a retcon may well show up too…
Bull’s football career has been one of the most heavily-retconned aspects of this strip in recent years, with much of this re-written continuity in the service of the super-serious CTE story arc. Bull went from simply being contacted by a St. Louis Football Cardinals scout before he hurt his knee to actually trying out for the team (presumably during the 1982 strike) after suffering a major knee injury in college. The recently and incessantly-discussed goal line officiating screw up game was originally said to have been Coach Stropp’s final game against Big Walnut Tech, not Bull’s. This goal line play situation’s only actual roots in Act I are a 1980 “Casey At The Bat” parody arc called “Westview At The Goal” (much thanks to SOSFer Don for pointing this out a few weeks back) which was nobody’s final game against Big Walnut Tech. Heck, even the backward-facing emu seen on Bull’s college helmet in yesterday’s strip was originally forward-facing.
Frankly, I wouldn’t comment that much on these retcons if they weren’t being used to try to punch up the maudlin nature of a story that doesn’t need any re-written history to be maudlin. Are we supposed to take everything in this strip seriously except its continuity? Please.
Happy Monday SOSFers (well, happy until you read today’s strip…), billytheskink here to take us all into February. February is typically Funky Winkerbean‘s best month, by the way, as no month sees fewer FW strips published… Much thanks to Charles, who endured the last two weeks stalking the halls of Westview High School to set our daily snark tone. Your efforts are much appreciated.
Speaking of two weeks… Two weeks back, when TFH handed the reigns over to Charles, he implored us all to wear a helmet. Alas, that wouldn’t have done us any good. Not in this universe.
Les finally remembers his creepy Centerville contemporary in today’s strip, something he lied about just two strips ago.
While this comic would like you to believe that Les’ memory was jogged by this girl’s foolish belief that she was going to meet George Clinton and Co. on a school-arranged trip to Washington DC, let’s be honest here. Les really remembers her because she looked like a proto-Lisa back then.
Today’s strip was not available for preview. If this week’s trend holds true, we’ll be seeing another Les-Lisa milestone. The most likely possibilities:
– Les’ European adventure from 1995 – Where he chased Lisa across Europe to propose to her after Susan sabotaged his original audiocassette proposal.
– The post office bombing that injured Lisa in August 1996 – You can read the whole thing right here on SOSF.
– The Halloween 1996 wedding – With Funky Winkerbean as Spider-Man in the DC-Marvel crossover no one asked for!
– The strip that launched TB’s opus – You know the one…
In case my guesses are totally off, and so no one visiting SOSF today leaves empty-handed, here is Lisa’s very first appearance in Funky Winkerbean:
And as an added bonus, I regret to inform you that you will be able to own your very own hard copy of the strip above (and many others) come October with the release of Prelude: Lisa’s Story Begins, available for pre-order NOW on Amazon!
Our old friend the park bench returns from a long absence in today’s strip. A pity that these two are disturbing its peace. Or were disturbing its peace, rather, as Les and Durwood are STILL flipping through old photographs.
You could probably argue that they are flipping through new photographs staged to look like old photographs, as TB redraws all of these flashback panels, but then you’d be debating the semantics of Funky Winkerbean, which (speaking from experience) won’t get you invited to many parties.
Anyways, today’s flashback panels pretty accurately replicate the original strip from August 1993 (The Westview High School class of 1992 1988 had a 5 year reunion? Weird.)
TB has, of course, recapped Les punching out Bull at the five year reunion before, though not with these same panels. It was part of Les’ reminiscence of his time with then-fiancé Lisa after she was injured in the 1996 Westview post office bombing. This was less than three years after the famous punch, by the way. Again, it was a fairly faithful reproduction of the original strip except that Lisa gets a snarkier 3rd panel line in the flashback.
Oh, and if you are wondering what awful thing Bull said about Lisa to deserve being punched… Uh, I’m not sure, honestly. At the most, he was being patronizing to Les while making a mildly unwelcome but factual statement about Lisa. Anyways, Bull was remarkably cool about the whole thing, in an early example of the common Act II trope where Les’ haplessness was played to make others look bad instead of for humor.
I will give Tom Batiuk this, he rarely reuses artwork. Story arcs, dialogue, themes, comic book references, potentially fatal diseases, and whatnot, sure… but not artwork. No, he loves redrawing Act I scenes in his current “realistic” style.
Which we see in today’s strip, where he has redrawn a pair of panels to almost exactly match the strip from May 10, 1985.
Lisa appears less desperate in the 2017 panel than she did in 1985, though one could say she appeared Les desperate in 1985… On the Funky Winkerbean retcon scale this is RETCON NINETY-FIVE. Today’s strip hits RETCON ONE in panel 3, though.
Les, who alleges that he was so in love with Lisa back when this happened, actually asked three other girls to prom before he asked her: Cindy, who Les files a sex discrimination suit against after she turns him down; Allison, who Les asks via world’s worst wingman Crazy Harry; and Tracy, who Les openly insults before asking.
Oh, and he doesn’t appear to know or remember Lisa’s name until after they dance, (in some pre-prom dance in the gym that they are both attending? I can’t quite figure out what is going on.) referring to her as “that girl” in his thoughts before asking her to dance.