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.
Here is today’s strip. You all go ahead and tear into it. Not sure I could do much better than the post title anyways.
Sorry, two days to go on my stint and I’m already running on fumes. Even WordPress knows this, somehow. It’s kind of creepy, to be honest… I’ll press on these next two days, but I’m going to set a spell today and see you in the comments.
Speaking of running on empty (and burying the lede, for that matter), Tom Batiuk dropped some news late yesterday that may or may not be relevant to this story arc, the last several months of speculation in the comments, and the future of this website. Some of you all commented on it yesterday. I have plenty of thoughts on this, as I am sure many of you all do. As with today’s strip, I’ll see you in the comments to discuss.
I’m guessing this will get more ink than the strip…
Pete should leave the snark to us. For one thing, baked potatoes are delicious and this strip suffers greatly in comparison to them. For another, all this damate climage comic business was Pete’s idea in the first place. And above all, Ruby’s given him some prime snark ammunition by drawing some planet that does not appear in almost any way to be earth and he just completely misses it. Leave the wisecracks to the professionals in our comment section next time, Pete.
Ruby has got to be regretting speaking up a few days ago because, as we see in today’s strip, she’s being told to… do her job?!
I know, I’m as shocked as any of you that someone at Atomik Komix is even suggesting the idea of doing work. Granted, Phil is suggesting that someone other than himself work, but still… This will probably work better for the deadline anyways, Phil is not known for his speed. Flash being kind of a jerk and everyone else standing around like this place has no editor in chief, or leadership of any kind – now that is the Atomik Komix we all know and love.
Anyways, we’re back from “the climage damate comics aren’t optimistic enough” to “the damate climage comics aren’t, uh, something about women I think”. Are we supposed to see these two complaints as the same thing?
So much for Summer’s reappearance… with today’s strip we’re now seven panels removed from Monday’s “Hey Harry! What Brings?” with no end in sight to the sepia-toned sadness blocking Ms. Moore from view. If that’s not bad enough for poor Summer, Lisa can’t be bothered to even mention “her daughter” by name in the word salad she spits out in panel 2.
Are we headed toward another unnecessary and uninteresting retcon?
“Bunged up”? Is Funky continuing to morph into Crankshaft or is he suddenly a British chap with a bit of a knee allergy? Either way, Funky has apparently had the kind of knee trouble that keeps you off the tennis court for over four years (shout out to that Rick Burchett artwork). And, of course, Les got better results from tennis lessons than Funky did. Of course.
Today’s strip is all about the numbers for me… and not just the zip code of “Boston, Mass”. We’ve got 3 faculty on stage here, which is what… half of WHS’ known paid staff these days (along with Les, Cayla, and Lefty)? Of course, maybe you only need 4 teachers, 2 administrators, and a Dinkle when you only have 16 students in your senior class. To be fair, only nerds would show up for a school assembly during the last weeks of their senior year, so maybe these are just all the nerds (that would explain why Maris Rogers is having to plan on crashing graduation parties instead of hosting them).
Wait a second, this is the Senior Honors assembly. That explains it…
The good news is we can all boot up our Packard Bells and our MS Paints and join Bernie out in Tinseltown, where we’ll be paid handsomely for our rudimentary green screen skills (citation needed). Here’s a blank Bernie to start with:
In today’s strip Les, appropriately, puts all of his stolen Hollywood paraphernalia in same place.
Marianne doesn’t appear to understand the concepts of opacity and walls.
Cayla plans to monetize this display even though presently no one seems willing to visit the Moore house for free (and peoplearewilling tovisitDinkle!).
Why am I blandly narrating this strip in lieu of hard-hitting commentary and rapier wit? Because I know my limits. Why is Les blandly narrating his actions in the first panel? Because there is no limit to his disdain for even those that worship him.
Ah, the classic tug-of-war between privacy-invading exuberance and false modesty… who wins that race to the bottom in today’s strip?
Les’ false modesty does, of course. For one thing, it’s coming from Les, which makes it an additionally off-putting version of an already off-putting behavior. The biggest reason, though, is that Cayla’s desire to “let people know” is essentially moot, everyone already knows. Anyone who cares saw Marianne tell the television cameras that she was coming to give her Oscar away to Les this week. Yeah, if she’s trying to organize a mob to meet Marianne then that might not work if by “on the way” Marianne means that she’ll be there within the hour… but with Marianne’s very public announcement of her planned visit and the relatively specific time frame she gave, the Taj Moore-hal should have been descended upon by pushy celebrity obsessives and Starbuck Jones fans days ago. Where are they? Where’s Lenny and Frankie and (ugh) DMZ? Why am I asking you?