If TB is going to procrastinate until 5 minutes before his deadline, as was surely the case with today’s strip, then why can’t I? Yep, I began this post at 10:25/9:25 CT and finished this up right at 10:30/9:30 CT.
Does Crazy even know who Santa Claus is? He seemed genuinely baffled that anyone would mistake him for Santa while wearing a Santa hat and Skyler has had to browbeat him into doing Santa Claus things all week. This is the fourth time in six days.
The great Christmas gift-giver strikes again in today’s strip. No, I’m not talking about Santa Claus or Crazy Claus (or Pete… I would never talk about Pete in this way), I’m talking about the nerd with the polecat on his scalp.
Dead Skunk Head John has a long long history of giving his wares away for free, and not just at Free Comic Book Day (which allegedly put him near bankruptcy). DSH pulled this exact same bit back during the yuletide of 2013 too, and that time his crazy skunk head did it in front of other customers! And that wasn’t the only time he gave Holly a break during her Starbuck Jones quest. Heck, he even murdered Tony Isabella for her. Seemed a little much to me, but he’s a generous guy.
Generous to a fault, it would seem, as Komix Korner has been depicted in financial peril many times, going as far back as the Clinton administration. DSH’s inability to pay his rent once almost sunk Montoni’s and the Winkerbean family as well… only the sale of a mint condition copy of Starbuck Jones #1 saved both businesses (even if DSH’s greasy hands devalued the issue).
I guess “sitting!” didn’t last long, and neither did the standard practice of letting the kid tell Santa what he wants. Crazy and Skyler are up and about in today’s strip, and Crazy is shamelessly shilling his employer’s wares. Really? That’s where we’re going with this? Even Hollywood was mocking this exact practice way back when Tom Batiuk was in diapers.
Speaking as someone who was once whatever age Skyler is supposed to be today: expensive static collectible figures made to sit on a shelf, as this “Spidey-Man” appears to be, are not great gifts for children. Kids want something posable that can be thrown back and forth across the living room. A Spider-Man figure that is actually fun to play with has got to be able to punch over some stacked cups, body slam Doc Ock (sold separately), and ride the Spider-Cycle (also sold separately).
So… um… uh… OK, I had a point to make about today’s strip, but I keep getting distracted by Skyler’s unnervingly tiny hands. In the first panel they look like Lyman from Garfield‘s mustache and the one in the second panel looks like Donald Trump in profile. Look, I get it, hands are hard to draw. I draw hands especially poorly, to be honest, but I really try not to make them creepy and distracting.
OK… OK, now I remember where I was going on today’s strip. Skyler might want to get his senses checked. In addition appearing clearly baffled by who this “Santa Claus” character is, Crazy surely reeks of the timelessly off-putting combination of musty newsprint and salad dressing. And yet… Skyler happily agrees to play ventriloquist dummy. Well, at least that third panel image has me thinking about something other than Skyler’s hands.
Et tu, Skyler? Crazy being baffled anyone would think he looks like Santa Claus while wearing a Santa Claus hat was bad enough… but today’s strip sees Skyler puzzled that Santa Claus spends time away from the North Pole? Has the kid never been to a mall? A store with a Salvation Army bell-ringer out front? A December Rotary Club fundraiser?
Actually, Given Westview’s general economic and retail landscape, that may be believable. The inquiry “North Pole?”, however…
As pretty much every single one of us beady-eyed nitpickers noted yesterday, Skyler was born in 2013, eight years ago (in fact, his birthday was November 22, just a few weeks ago), and has demonstrated his ability to speak in complete sentences on multiple occasions in the past. His regression to the verbal ability of a two year-old is a puzzling and insipid development, but no less so than a number of other things that have happened in this strip in Act III. Tomorrow may well find Kevin Garnett (no, not that Kevin Garnett, this guy after a visit to the Pete Reynolds New Last Name Store) correctly shouting “Anything is possible!” It’s true, we’re all living in Phil Holt’s world now.
Hi, I’m billytheskink and I love Christmastime. A lot. So folks who find me insufferably cheery at this time of year can take some solace in knowing that this year I have volunteered to take time away from playing holiday novelty records just a bit too loudly and dumping sprinkles on yet another batch of cookies to read AND write about Funky Winkerbean.
Crazy, you’ve had a beard for decades… no one has ever compared you to Santa Claus when you wear red? Not one time? Reading today’s strip, you would think Skyler is the first person ever to make the connection between a bearded man in a red hat and old Kris Kringle.
Skyler’s smarter than he looks, though. He knows that with parents like his, he’d better go straight to Santa to make sure he winds up with something good this year, and not (Starbuck Jones-themed) clothes again… or the coal that Durwood and Jess are sure to find in their stockings.
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