It took all of a month, but at last the Point Dume Fire is finally out. And Jeff is alive. And Skppy is a real boy, and Murania really exists as a city thousands of feet below the earth’s crust. Thus winds up an arc that Batiuk teased last month (with Dan Davis’ much more competent artwork) in Crankshaft. You might also recall a Sunday four years ago when Batom Comics editor Brady Wentworth dragged his staff (retro Darin and Pete) to a Phantom Empire screening for some inspiration.
Today’s strip is likely the last we’ll see of Murania. Batiuk and Ayers could have spent a little time showing Jfff and his youthful alter ego Skppy exploring the fantastic underground city and interacting with the Queen and her subjects. But after all the buildup, the climax has Jeff meeting the queen on Friday and then waking up oustide the cave on Saturday. And as far as what we got to see of the underground city:
Banana Jr. 6000
August 26, 2020 at 8:08 am
Murania just looks like The Jetsons moved to Detroit.
If you want to see a place that looks even worse than Detroit, this week we get a look at what the fire did to Masone’s place in the hills!
August 26, 2020 at 1:31 am
Even money that Queen Tika will be played by the actress-queen who had lunch with Les. It’s a dead certainty that she’ll smirk at her guests and offer them hot chocolate.
A big missed opportunity for Batiuk right there. The Mauve Queen’s ostensibly Elizabethan attire looked much more sci-fi than those renfaire rental robes that Queen Tika’s wearing. Wikipedia calls her “the icy, blonde, evil Queen Tika,” but in today’s strip she comes across as downright friendly (aaaand, brunette).
For cryin’ out loud, boys, Her Majesty’s eyes are up here! If Nancy creator Ernie Bushmiller had drawn today’s strip, there’d be bold, dotted lines going from their eyes directly to Queen Tika’s rather modest bosom. You guys haven’t been out in the desert that long! Meanwhile, old Jff, “real” Jff, wears the same frightened expression that’s been on his face since the smoke and flames started closing in. This queen and these friendly, helpful robots most likely will be revealed to be figments of his boyhood fantasy, come to life! Shouldn’t adult Jff be the one wearing the excited grin?
*Congrats to Y. Knott for coming up with the winning nickname Skppy for Jff’s boyhood alter ego!
Some optional reading for you, in the unlikely event you have nothing better to do than wait for today’s strip to drop after midnight EDT.
Readers, earlier I touched upon recent changes at the syndicate’s website that make it impossible to view some strips ahead of time. I won’t bore you with the behind the scenes, nor do I wish to once again run afoul of Batiuk’s lawyers, and so I’ll spare you the minutiae. Simply stated, we here at SoSF use a weird trick to peep each day’s strip a couple days ahead of time. If we didn’t, our dedicated team of writers would have to stay up very late to compose each day’s analysis. I know very many of you live outside the GMT-5 time zone, and/or are night owls, so we’re happy to let you all have at each day’s Funky as early as we can bring it to you. Here on the east coast, when I check SoSF I see dozens of comments. Lately in fact, we’re getting more comments, and a rash of former lurkers turned eloquent and valued commenters. The volume of traffic is not anywhere near what you’d find at the Comics Curmudgeon or Comics Kingdom (both which I know many of us read and comment upon). But this little comics snark blog over which I’ve presided for the past ten years is the funniest and friendliest online community I’ve ever known.
And we intend to keep bringing you Son of Stuck Funky at least up until FW hits fifty years on Sunday, March 27, 2022, or whenever Mr. Thomas Martin Batuik puts down the Funky Felt Tip. Kindly note, however, that for the first ten days of each new month, each day’s strip won’t appear online until after midnight. After that first week and a half, we start getting strips in dribs and drabs. And Sunday and Wednesday strips are never accessible ahead of time.
So now you know why you sometimes find a “today’s strip is unavailable” link. It’s also why we’re switching up the author rotation a bit: myself or Epicus will take turns covering that first week and a half of new strips. So that no guest author will ever again get stuck like poor spacemanspiff1985 getting stuck with a week and a half of nothing to write about (and Spiff did an outstanding job as he always does). Look for a placeholder post with that magic link that should take you to the latest fresh Funky hell, at midnight or shortly thereafter. Subsequent days will be covered by the rest of our awesome, unpaid staff in ten- or eleven-day stints (instead of the former two weeks).
As always, my most humble thanks to Team SoSF and to everyone here who faithfully reads and/or comments.
August 24, 2020 at 12:56 am
You know, if you sit on the ground coughing while a massive wall of fire comes towards, and you have your back to a cave that you know is there and actually came to visit, and you just sit there and wait for the fire to take you rather than running away from it, like, maybe, into the cave, I think you deserve what happens.
I’m beginning to suspect that, in his solo travels thru the Cali desert, Jff might’ve accidentally ingested some peyote. ‘Cause he is just trippin’ balls. Pretty much the state yours truly must have been in when first viewing The Phantom Empire. The frail, Benday-cheeked elder Jff seems quite apprehensive about being swept up in robot arms, while Jff’s boyhood alter ego eagerly throws his arms around the robot, which must feel like hugging ductwork.
A programming note: The comic for next Wednesday (and for every Wednesday going forward) will not drop until after midnight Eastern, so look for a placeholder post. Kyping the daily Funky strips in advance recently became harder to do; more about that when we roll into September.
Maddest of mad props to ComicBookHarriet for her timely and courageous reporting on this wildfire that has ravaged a huge swath of southern California.
If I can ever replicate and distribute this font, I shall name this font Reckless Death Stunts.
OK: well, I sorta lied yesterday when I commented about having watched The Phantom Empire (heretoafter referred to as TPE) as part of a midnight show at the old Capitol Theatre in Passaic, New Jersey. There I may indeed have taken in an episode or two, mixed in with some choice Three Stooges shorts, wacky commercials, and Star Trek bloopers. But this was the late 1970’s, kids. And, blame the microdot I guess, but for the life of me I cannot recall a whole helluva lot about TPE. Do you suppose Tom Batiuk get turned on to The Phantom Empire as a stoned young Kent Stater, maybe as part of a midnight show at the Agora? Or did he discover it as a striped shirted, balding young boy, much like the one he draws as Jff’s boyhood alter ego in today’s strip? So stressed out by the obtruding smoke and flame is Jeff that now his hallucination is having hallucinations. Come to think of it, back in May we had Funky hallucinating a robot while jogging. That’s kind of an odd thematic well to which to return. These humanoid, robotic apparitions, then, will likely turn out to be in reality some abandoned movie gear that Jff spotted while hiking in.
Anyway, I never did watch my dollar store TPE DVD, and I’m not about to YouTube all “Twelve Dazzling Chapters” (each between 20-30 minutes in length; the Wikipedia entry about TPE has a link to a 70-minute feature edited from the serial). The Phantom Empire trailer that I’ve shared below makes the serial look much more like an oater than a sci fi thriller: more Roy Rogers than Buck Rogers, more Buffalo Bill Cody than Commander Cody. As you watch the trailer, be sure to savor the truly excellent typography of the title cards.
Surprise, today’s strip wasn’t available for preview. My guess is it’ll either be Jeff in the back of a taxi telling the driver he needs to be/just peed (possible “so that’s why the cab is yellow” gag), or Pete sitting on the beach with Mindy moaning about how he wishes he was with her dad instead.
Today’s strip was not available for preview. It will no doubt be very disappointing.