Tag Archives: squiggly lines used to denote texture

The Death of Sense.

Link to Today’s Strip.

Comic Book Harriet, back in action. Ready to dig through the comic muck of this Inedible Pulp to, hopefully, stab at the heart of this horrifying nonsense.

First of all, I want to thank Spaceman Spiff for easing us through the shock and awe of the first ‘back from the dead’ soap opera moment I think we’ve had since Wally Winkerbean came home.

While some of you have been frustrated and angry at just how baffling the decision to retcon Phil Holt’s death is, I’ve actually been relishing the absolute stupidity of this arc. Unlike Batiuk’s biffing of Bull’s Suicide, the morally dubious resolution of the Adeela ICE arc, or the callous insensitivity of the LA Fires, the crazy on display here has no offensive real-world victims unless you find it libelous to Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, or Joe Simon.

And today, I finally get the answer to the most pressing question raised by Phil Holt’s ‘resurrection’: did he fake his death, or have a near death experience? Hanging on this question, was the interpretation of this strip from three years ago.

Spoiler Alert: Phil Holt wasn’t already dead.

With the retcon, and the knowledge that Phil was completely fine at the time, there is only one explanation for these ghosts. Darin was imagining Phil and Lisa’s spirits having this conversation as they looked on approvingly at the auction. It was a fantasy that he concocted for his own gratification.

Furthermore, this suggests that every time we see ‘ghosts’ in strip it’s just the daydreaming of a living character, comforting themselves with a lie, roleplaying a no longer possible conversation, or expressing an internal anxiety, sometimes all at the same time.

Like when Lillian was visited by ‘Lucy’ coming back from the grave to lead her on a guilt purging journey of taking an undelivered letter to a demolished building, where Lucy and her old boyfriend Eugene could finally spiritually be together (even though Eugene was still alive at the time.)

Les of course is the worst offender of this. Lisa constantly pops up around him, encouraging him, praising him, agreeing with him, and smiling while watching him make out with his hot new wife.

But even Les seems to realize that this is just him projecting what he imagines Lisa would say. And that Lisa only lives on inside his mind as a fractured reflection of his memory. She sleeps forever, in the oblivion of death.

If I could ask Batiuk a personal question, I would ask if he believes in an afterlife. Because I don’t think he really does. I think he wishes there was something after death, but has been convinced that the only immortality we actually get is the lingering echoes we leave in the hearts and minds of others.

And, in time, those people will pass away, and so then passes even memory. Life has meaning, but only temporarily.

And so all metaphysical experience is really just human consciousness and awareness fractured and reflected back on itself. When we try to conceive of or reach out to God, or dead loved ones, or eternity, the only thing that can reach back is a part of yourself.

Dead St. Lisa was only a part of imagination. She’s no more or less real than that heatstroke robot Funky imagined when running, or Jeff’s Inner Child avatar, or Les’ depression cat.

But, then again, apparently the depression cat is real and crazy old film producers can see it.

And Dead Lisa did call into an airport and talk to customer service, then Les, then called in a phony bomb threat…

The only evidence of life after death in Funky Winkerbean.

Strap in folks! It’s gonna be a fun week!

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Give ‘er a Ring!

Link to Today’s Strip.

I want to thank everyone in the comments yesterday for completely ruining what I was going to post today. I was going to go on and on about how Dinkle has learned all about online fundraising multiple times over the past few years, and pull up the strips to prove it. But our crack commenters Billy the Skink and Banana Jr. already discussed it in depth. Jerks.

I mean, what am I supposed to talk about today? The fact that Dinkle couldn’t wait to call his wife over his viral cat video epiphany, and is postponing practice to do it? The fact that he apparently called his wife on a Playstation Vita? The fact that Lillian is now carrying the pineapple laptop around one handed, and it made me question if she’s been doing that all week?

While going mad trying to scrape together something passing for an amusing thought, my eyes were drawn to the wedding rings Dinkle and Harriet are wearing. It’s an interesting detail to include when the art so often seems quarter-assed. Scrolling through the strips this arc, the ring is inconsistent. It showed up Sunday, but the art on the Sunday strips is always higher effort. It showed up on Monday April, 12. But after that, it was nowhere to be seen, even when the hands were in focus.

Slipping off the ring to pick up chicks? What a sly lad.

And scrolling through archives, there are more disappearing wedding rings than last call at a dive bar. Wedding rings tend to appear when the person’s marriage is either being discussed, or the spouse is in the strip, and be absent otherwise. It’s like the rings exist in some kind of phantom zone and magically phase into being when contacted with an unseen magical matrimonial energy field.

This is best exemplified from Funky’s AA exercise rant from last month. Remembering his wife causes Funky to magically manifest his wedding ring mid-speech.

I don’t even know what I’m trying to say with this, just something weird I noticed.

Even weirder, did you know that Lillian magically manifested a ring yesterday in service of a crappy joke?

The Mystery Continues.

This has been your daily dose of Nitpicking News! Finding something to say about nothing since 2010.

Join us tomorrow as we veer off on oblique tangents to keep from going mad with boredom and frustration, and watch with baited breath as we wait to see if the downvote fairy will visit again tonight and slip us all a little present under our comments while we sleep.

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Gitmo Drops In

Link To Today’s Strip

I viscerally, personally know that things have been cold in the Midwest, but has anyone checked to see if the polar vortex has reached Hades?

Because, this is three days in a row now I’m not annoyed at Funky Winkerbean. This joke is tolerable. It’s kind of edgy for a guy who retconned a machine gun nest into cardboard. And its a little clunky, because obviously he’s only putting drops in the eye that was operated on, and that information is necessary for the joke, but he uses the plural in the first panel. But I can’t get mad at it.

Maybe we’re the ones who have broken under the torture. The cataract saga is nearly a month old at this point. We got a brief break from it for the most anemic OMEA arc I’ve seen in ten years. But we’ve had dozens of strips of Funky cracking wise to an annoyed health professional. Weeks of the punchline being, “This joke isn’t funny, sir.” And now, we’ve had three beautiful days of inoffensive. Yeah, we’re back to ocular humor, but this one doesn’t leave a bad taste.

You know what the difference is? Funky’s talking to Crazy Harry, his friend, and not some poor doctor, nurse or orderly. We’re not seeing two humans failing to connect, a wall slowly growing between them, as one assaults the other with misplaced quips. Friends are the kind of people you’re supposed to trade lame jokes with. The bonds of brotherhood can overcome all pun punishment, safe in the intimacy of bad humor between comrades.

I mean, it wouldn’t work as well if this was Les. His inherent Mooreness poisons his every interaction. Les is ‘best’ when he’s interacting with strangers who hate him, because it’s what he deserves. But he’s the exception. As far as I’m concerned Crazy Harry and Funky can sit here watching quality cartoons for my entire two week shift. They’re having fun, and I’ll find some tangent to run off on, and everything will be groovy.

But still, we’ll always know it can’t last. Hidden behind the panels of this strip, in the gradients at the corners and the darkness in the doorways, there’s something out there waiting for us, and it ain’t no man.

It’s Lisa’s Legacy.

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Eye am about out of eye puns

And eye (ugh) *s-eye* (no no no) *sigh* (that’s better) sorry… I am about out of patience with this anti-majestic glacier of a story line. Every single thing in today’s strip happened in yesterday’s strip as well. I’m not sure even Garfield or Family Circus recycle at this level… I don’t know if this will help, but I have cut the 62 words in these last two strips down to 20 in an attempt to make this never-ending story stronger and more concise.

Dr. Droopy: Cataract surgery is pretty common nowadays.  It is quite safe and not especially complicated.
Funky: I'm worried! WORRIED, I TELLS YA!

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Putting the “die” in dilate

Let us all sincerely hope that today’s strip is the end of “Funky terrorizes the optometrist’s office with his shmuckery.” Oh please please please! I ran out of things to say about it on Tuesday and since then I’ve been filling space with a Droopy photoshop done in Microsoft Paint, obscure 90s punk rock references, and my own experiences at the ophthalmologist. Today, I very nearly wrote 3-4 sentences in this post about what my cat was doing right now, but I’ve taken up too much of you all’s valuable time already. Well, at least I finally thought of something to say about this strip…

Speaking of drops, I’m thinking this country’s newspapers should do just that to a couple of comic strips.

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It’s What’s For Dinner

Link To Today’s Strip

Oh, that’s some real pleasant imagery there, Holly. I guess Westview doesn’t have a dry cleaner shop, which isn’t really too surprising given what these idiots wear on a daily basis. Suddenly the Winkerbeans are like a low-budget “Lockhorns”, something absolutely no one anywhere was clamoring for. Sigh.

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Mr. Whole Note Takes a Week.

Link To Today’s Strip

Thanks to our glorious leader TF Hackett, who brought up yesterday that “Mr. Whole Note.” is, in fact, a song/training exercise for learning piano students. The excerpt he posted of ‘The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume 2.’ is simultaneously infuriating and fascinating. So, I’ll let you all expertly dissect Dinkle’s non-joke in the comments, and look forward to your hilarious analysis. I’m going off on a tangent again.

Like a lot of mouth breathing nerds, I am a huge Tolkien fan. Like, I’ve read The Silmarillion more than ONCE kind of Tolkien fan. If you really start digging into his work, you find out that the man was a persnickety and easily distracted procrastinator who created reams and reams of unfinished material that his son, Christopher, carefully collated and annotated into multiple volumes. The famous Silmarillion is just the tip of the iceberg.

Reading through something like “The History of Middle Earth” series, and seeing his son deconstruct the evolution of his father’s work in parallel to his father’s life is to get a window into the creative process of a man. The single world that Tolkien invented is so complex, with thousands of years of history and dozens, if not hundreds, of complete stories and sagas he never thought finished enough to release. And his son spent his whole life studying and writing about his father’s work, carefully breaking down the evolution of concepts and characters. I feel like all the weird asides, and life commentary, written in the margins of The Complete Funky Winkerbean attempt to achieve the same thing for Batiuk’s massive world.

But, unlike Tolkien, who hid his unfinished material away, and really didn’t like the idea of psychoanalyzing authors to find parallels in their own work, Batiuk is compelled to write the deconstruction himself. He has to be the one to break apart and explain this weird, paper-paste, universe he’s spent his life creating, and tie it together with his own experiences. Writing paragraphs on his musical education and family life with serious self-importance, probably because there is no one out there obsessed enough to do it for him.

It’s really kind of sad. Tolkien was a deeply religious man, assured of his own immortality and humble in his act of subcreation. Even if you don’t share his belief, you can tell how his faith comforted him. His only self psychoanalysis of his work is a wonderful short story, ‘Leaf by Niggle.’ In it he writes a parable of painter that ends with the realization that even if the massive work of art he was trying to create was never finished, and never appreciated, and ultimately never remembered by anyone on this Earth, that somehow it would exist forever and finally be perfected in the world to come.

Tom Batiuk, meanwhile, has the Kent State University Press printing out an entire Midrash of Funky Winkerbean, trying to scrape together enough interest and importance for a hint of earthly immortality. And, it seems, the only ones who care enough to spend any time at all engaging with his world are a tiny cabal of beady-eyed nitpickers who he disdains.

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Coasting.

Link To Today’s Strip

Some observations about today’s strip:

1.) Dinkle’s curtains are that horrible pubic hair texture we often see on Funkyverse couches.

2.) You can faintly see leafless trees outside through the window. Which is a unusual amount of effort for a weekday strip. I’m getting used to characters conversing in strange gradient colored voids punctuated by door and window frames, like some kind of weird, artsy, theatre project.

3.) Dinkle is using a saucer under his coffee cup. When loitering needlessly at the highschool, I have never ever seen him use a saucer or coaster under his coffee cup. Instead he sticks the dang thing right on top of the piano, probably leaving behind more ugly rings than a thrice divorced Kardashian.

4.) Isn’t that just like Dinkle? To care for his own property, while treating the property of others with thoughtlessness.

5.) Seriously, Dinkle is just the worst.

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In The Garage

Link To Today’s Strip

“Cars”? You might be able to squeeze ONE Batiukmobile in that garage, but plural? No f*cking way. I can’t tell if that’s supposed to be sepia-toned Cory or Funky or what, nor can I tell how it relates in any way to the premise here, or why this wasn’t just a one-paneler, but at least it’s already Thursday which means this is hopefully almost over.

That’s a pretty decent house by Westviewian standards, definitely a home befitting the local pizza kingpin. Nice size, nice lawn, nice garage…it’s certainly better than Moore Manor, with its dead trees and weird detached office. Chester’s place is nicer, but than again he IS a renowned comic book collector and all. I’ve always wanted Batiuk to do a map of Westview and the surrounding area so I can see where everything is in relation to everything else, as this fascinates me to no end. Given his obvious refusal to put anything more than significantly less than the bare minimum into this thing, I assume I’ll be waiting for that for some time.

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