Yesterday we looked at entire arcs, complete stories, weeks of strips at a time.
Today, we do the opposite. Yesterday was all about the story. Today it is the art of comics. True, the context behind some of these snapshots aided them in getting a nomination. Panels that contained the climax of their entire arc.
But the single panel must be unique on it’s own. It must have merit apart. The staging, the artistry, the dialogue, something within the borders of four thin black lines, that is just as important. And panels from strips that didn’t even have arcs were also considered.
For example, this panel made the shortlist, though not the final cut.
A lot of you predicted this development, and today we get it as the “memorabilia auction” starts. This is the kind of detail Funky Winkerbean never gets wrong. Characters fluctuate between being dead and alive, and their surnames randomly change. But it would never forget the memorabilia preferences of a comic book artist!
Beyond that, this scene raises so many questions. What’s in all those boxes? It looks like framed pictures and rolled-up posters. Is Funky selling memorabilia that wasn’t even good enough to put on the walls? “Now up for sale, this historically relevant artifact we took off our history wall to make room for a third picture of Tony Montoni. The bidding starts at $10,000.”
How – and why – did Montoni’s con Lillian out of her tiffany lamp? That anecdote has more story potential than anything we’ve seen all week.
Where are any of the regulars? Where’s Les, who wanted to buy the sign? Where Summer, who’s supposed to be recording all this history before it’s lost forever? Where’s Crazy Harry, who spent so much time at Montoni’s he forgot to do his job?
Is “Ferris Wheeler” the best punny name Tom Batiuk can come up with anymore? He doesn’t sound like an auctioneer, he sounds like a carnie played by Matthew Broderick. At least “Amicus Brief” got his profession right. And when I’m holding up Amicus Brief as an example of how Funky Winkerbean used to do something better, there’s a real problem.
I feel like I’m watching Funky Winkerbean deteriorate in real time. It can’t even be bothered to follow up its own self-serving story points, which it just introduced last week. Did Tom Batiuk forget he has to make Summer famous? Or does he think he did enough already?
The strip’s laziness, lack of focus, and emphasis on all the wrong things, are getting worse.
If comic strips can have clip shows. I guess they can have voice overs, too.
No characters are visible today, as (presumably) Funky rambles about how great Montoni’s history wall is. It’s the same irrelevant junk we saw Sunday, except that Mason Jarre is up there now. It’s not even drawn with much more detail.
And it feels out of order in the narrative. Summer has spent the last two days interviewing Tony about Montoni’s history, so she doesn’t need to be convinced Montoni’s has a lot of history she should investigate. Was this supposed to be Monday’s strip?
It even has another rewriting of its own history, calling John Darling a “TV celeb.” Oh, come on! The man’s dying words were a lament that he never got to become a celebrity:
“Bummer Batton”…LOL, I get it. Batiuk is always at his weirdest when he tries to get all “meta”. Once again he’s gently poking fun at himself in that wry, self-effacing way of his, and once again, it just sets my teeth on edge and makes my fillings hurt. Making fun of FW is OUR thing, Tom, so either do it right or stay in your goddamned lane, you big, overly-sincere lug.
It bears repeating to once again mention how, once again, TomYam deftly avoids the whole “climate change” kerfuffle by a) calling it “climate damage”, which no one else does, and b) never really taking any kind of concrete stand one way or the other. He acknowledges that it exists, but that’s it. He knows who butters his toast, and he’s not going to risk generating a tide (half a dozen) hand-written letters to the editor complaining about those damned hippie comic strips that bumped “Gasoline Alley” from the local funny page. Better to be incredibly vague, thus dodging that whole issue entirely. He’s kind of good at that, actually. In another life, I bet you that BatHam would have made quite a cunning local politician, like a state assemblyman or something, carving out an unremarkable but incredibly long-lived career by deftly straddling both sides of every issue, and that’s it.
“Assemblyman BattonTom! Channel One News. Where does your office stand with the controversial “Books For Orphans” program and the controversy swirling around it ever since the allegations were made public.?”
“It’s something I’ll need to look at. We might not have many tomorrows left, you know. I think voters should be hearing about this.”
He’d have been really good at it. And he’s real sincere and self-effacing too, in case you failed to notice. One can’t help but wonder what might have happened if BatYarn had put this unique talent of his to some kind of good use, instead of squandering it on a f*cking comic strip, of all things.
Back-to-back single panel strips in a garbage dump arc…for shame, Tom, for shame. More wry self-deprecation AND a malaprop, too, plus, as an added bonus, Batton Thomas just inexplicably standing there, grinning stupidly. Maybe his dumb comic strip wouldn’t be in “the last row” if he’d go home and, you know, work on the damn thing instead of loitering around a comic book studio all day.