Tag Archives: steam line (singular)

As Alike as Two Bothers.

Link To Today’s Strip

Only now, at the end of the week, do we get a name for our little future Motzart. Robbie even has a brother. A brother in Mopey Pete cosplay.

I wonder if Alex and Robbie are intended to become recurring characters? I mean, regardless of intent, we probably will never see them again. Because even when Batiuk seems like he’s carefully introducing another actor into this slice of life drama, he invariably forgets about them. But it would be interesting if Batiuk figures piano lessons are a good way to milk the remaining Dinkle market?

As for the art, Dinkle’s huge flesh-toned couch is hideous. The little specks on it give the appearance that the furniture has been molded from sand.

But Dinkle’s face in panel 3 makes this whole week worthwhile. The man is scrumptiously morose; hunched over, tired , his lips pursed into a thin line as he tastes the bitter defeat coating his tongue. Never has disdain looked so exhausting. When Ayers delivers, he delivers, and he always puts that effort into envisaging misery.

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The Ultimate Racketeer.

Link To Today’s Strip

Potted plant is back!

I wonder if we’ve been a little harsh in our criticism of the bland offering of jokes this week. I showed the strips to a friend and they got a mild chuckle from her.

Our palates have really been ruined by consuming and analyzing EVERYTHING Batiuk provides in his greasy spoon buffet. When you’ve gagged over creamed corn that’s been congealing under a heat lamp for eight hours, it becomes so much easier to find problems with the innocent loaf of off-the-shelf white bread splayed out in slices at the end of the table.

I think it’s easy for us, deep in the lore, and with years and layers to our disdain for some of these characters, to forget that a week of strips like this is probably the only enjoyment casual readers get out of these comics, smiling half heartedly as they accidently let their eyes drift over Funky Winkerbean while searching for the obituaries.

Can you imagine being an average Joe, not a weirdo commenting obsessively over a comic strip online, and opening your local fishwrap to randomly read a strip from the L.A. Fire arc? Or Bull’s suicide? Or Zanzibar the talking murder chimp blessed be his name? Your brain would spit that wad of nonsense right back out to protect itself, like slamming the door on a Jehovah’s Witness.

But today’s strip? This is the kind of strip destined to be cut out of the paper and put on the fridge by kindly little old music teachers who paid for their grandkids’ Christmas presents with piano lessons. It’s a stolen joke, told with a microgram of charm, that will get a few smiles.

I talked earlier this week about Batiuk’s immortality. And, as much as he’d like it to be cancer or PTSD or teen pregnancy, it’s really one-off Dinkle type gags. I remember Dinkle strips posted in my own music teacher’s office. Tom’s real legacy isn’t massive volumes of collected comics, it’s yellowed strips of newsprint taped haphazardly to a filing cabinet beside a pile of music stands.

I can imagine, fifty years from now, a kid opening a cupboard in the attic of my old band room, where the retired uniforms and broken instruments are left to rot, and inside are a pile of dusty worn out band shoes, a few tarnished majorette hats, and, pasted to the door, a browned and crumbling clipping of Harry Dinkle, screaming at children in the pouring rain.

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Fourth Wall Frown

Link To Today’s Strip

Sure looks like Dinkle is ALWAYS ENJOYING giving piano lessons here. In panel two his face looks like it’s about to melt right off from all the pleasure teaching this child has given him. He stares out at us, his droopy face limp from all the aching joy coursing through him.

Kids today, amirite? What with their lazy ability to access nearly the sum total of the world’s knowledge through advanced pocket sized electronics connected to an invisible network of radio signals wirelessly transmitting nearly instantaneously across the entire nation. How annoying, that they can use this vast storehouse of information to interpret things they encounter that they don’t completely understand.

Back in Dinkle’s day, if someone purporting to be an expert told you something, you believed him. If you didn’t know the answer to a question, and you weren’t within arms reach of 100 pounds worth of encyclopedias, you lived with your ignorance. You didn’t get to instantly know why the sky is blue, or why mules are sterile, or when The Pet Shop Boys released the single, “I’m in Love with a German Film Star.”

So no, you snot nosed brat, you can’t ‘google’ it! You don’t get to know about Mr. Piano’s Mr. Middle C key until Mr. Harry Dinkle, The World’s Greatest Band Director, tells you!

And don’t you dare ask where my potted piano plant went!

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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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Patience Zero

Today’s strip is filler. Total filler. In fact, it is possibly the filleriest filler that ever filled four panel borders. Filler filler filler filler…

The idiocy of Winkerbeans here is wearing the same clothes they were back before Wally and Amicus visited Adeela in jail, so it is presumably the same night/day that Adeela was arrested and President Clinton was called. Why are they all so resigned? Just how quickly do these people think Federal agencies work? And they expect a call back from Mr. Clinton himself, assuming failure when that doesn’t happen within an hour? Between yesterday’s strip and this one, there is probably a long list of right-leaning organizations that have more trust in the Clintons than these five.

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Polish Joke

Link To Today’s Strip

It’s hilarious because she’s a woman and you know how “they” are, always all insecure and mixed-up and such. Sigh. This is what happens when you hire writers who’ve NEVER WRITTEN A SINGLE THING IN THEIR ENTIRE LIFE. Then again, SOME “writers” have forty-seven years worth of experience and still somehow manage to cock everything all up, so there you go.

“Wayback Wendy”…man, that really stinks even by FW comic book sub-universe standards. That makes “Rip Tide” seem like sheer genius in comparison. What does Wendy do, go back in time and re-visit high school? And if so, why not just call it “Wendy Winkerbean”? Who’d even know the difference?

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