TB goes full on meta in today’s strip… could this be a preview of what we’ll see over the next few weeks? Is everything else from here on going to be bizarrely (and blandly) self-referential? Are we in for even more unnecessary acknowledgements that these characters all of a sudden know they are in a comic strip? I suppose we will have to wait and see, though the wait won’t be too long now.
Meta references can certainly work, but are not inherently interesting or funny, nor are they funny in the context of this strip and story arc, or in the context of TB’s real life partial retirement for that matter. What is funny, however, is that Ruby joined Atomik Komix over 3 years ago to much fanfare, specifically to draw Wayback Wendy I might add, and she’s peacing out after drawing the cover of issue #4! And we all thought Phil Holt was a slow worker…
And that’s a wrap for my latest and possibly last time blogging here at Son Of Stuck Funky. No goodbyes here, but I do want to thank some folks. Thank you to TFH and Epicus for running this place for the past 12 and a half years and for trusting me as a guest writer here over the past 8 years. Thanks to my fellow guest writers for keeping this site reliably humming for years and much thanks to all of you SOSFers for coming back and reading day after day in spite of my silly wonderings and regular typos. I’ve written over 500 of these things, believe it or not! But for me these posts are mostly a glorified header, the best content generally comes from you all in the comments. I can only hope that you have enjoyed reading some of my words even 1/100th as much as I have enjoyed being a part of this community.
In case you missed it, we are in the final weeks of Funky Winkerbean. Tom Batiuk appears to be reluctantly retiring the strip much in the same way he’s written Ruby as reluctantly retiring from Atomik Komix this week and in today’s strip. The timing of this thin gruel of a story arc and TB’s fairly muted announcement is certainly no coincidence. Most all of us here at SOSF, despite speculating for over a decade on when and how this thing would end, are probably still processing the suddenness of the announcement, how soon it will become reality, and what that means for this wonderful community going forward.
But enough wallowing about, let’s leave that to the strip and try to get back to business as usual. I guess today’s strip is aiming for bittersweet, but it largely is coming across as just bitter. You can’t mask your true feelings in a wall of smirks, TB… And even if the strip wasn’t ending at the close of this year, I’m guessing we were never going to see Chester meet with the building manager by looking in a mirror anyways. I’d say “a pity”, but, you know, it’s not. It’s really not.
I’d argue that today’s strip is the product of an AI tasked with generating images for the word “wistful”… but that’s an insult to artificial intelligence and I don’t want to be responsible for unleashing Skynet. This is just completely sad, but in the stupidest way.
Mindy is the one that really punches up the stupidity here. First, “when” Ruby retires is essentially right now, it doesn’t need to be discussed as if it is well in the future. Second, Mindy also draws a paycheck from Atomik Komix… so does she dramatically underestimate the financial resources it takes to travel extensively or does Chester really pay that well?
And if Chester pays that well, why can’t he spend some money on an office that doesn’t look like a dungeon crawl game being played on a vintage grayscale Macintosh? Maybe everything in the office is made of stone. So that’s why they called him “Chester the Chiseler”!
Are we STILL on this?
More on Ruby's retirement
Here in today's strip
Batton butts right in
Again, he does NOT work here
Who asked him to speak?
A reflection of TB?
Is the strip's end near?
Or is this resolve?
Tom writing his thoughts in strip
Eff-ing ponderousA warning haiku
The link above has cussing
With Dinkle, Linda
And others who fake retire
Do we believe this?
We probably should
Not like TB gave Ruby
Chester looks depressed
I mean, he's just despondent
In his sad jacket
Wait, is today’s strip taking place on the exact same day that Ruby drew Sunday’s Scorch cover?! Ruby drew a whole cover in a matter of hours?! Maybe that’s not at all surprising for a real life comic cover artist at a real life comic book company, but at Atomik Komix it sure is. These folks make “Turtle Thompson” look like AJ Foyt.
I mean, Batton is still there treadmilling and everyone is wearing the exact same things they were wearing in last week’s strips, give or take some colorist’s liberty… ok, scratch that, Mindy is wearing a skirt in today’s strip and clearly has on pants in last Saturday’s strip. Different day, I guess. In either scenario, though, we’re left to note how ridiculous it is that Batton spends so much time in the Atomik Komix bullpen. He, ostensibly, has a job drawing a comic strip, but we’ve never seen him do it. Heck, we’ve never even seen the strip-within-a-strip… and it’s not like Funky Winkerbean is above that kind of thing. He likes comic books and frequents Komix Korner from time-to-time (SUCH a unique trait in the Batiukverse, I know), but he doesn’t appear to be a regular there like he is here at the Atomik Komix bullpen. He likes or feels obligated to jog. And that’s it. That is everything we know about the guy. I don’t necessarily care to know more, but if TB insists on having his author avatar hang around places where it makes no obvious sense for him to hang around then Batton needs some purpose and motivation.
Oh yeah, also… Ruby is old, water is wet, and Chester now wears the look of someone clinically depressed.