Tag Archives: The Valentine

Time in a Bottle.

Link to Today’s Strip.

For the best part of 10 years, I thought I understood the Funkyverse.

Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean take place in two neighboring towns, Centerview and Westview. They both take place in roughly ‘present day’ in terms of technology and occasional oblique references to current events. But they also take place roughly ten years apart. Crankshaft is set in the past of Funky Winkerbean. It really wasn’t that hard to understand.

Crankshaft takes a picture.

Crankshaft. September 3, 2011

And Les looks at it framed on a mantle.

Funky Winkerbean. September 3, 2011

Jeff reminisces about his old Starbuck Jones comic. And considers buying the last issue of an Action Comics storyline he never finished.

Crankshaft. March 20, 2014
Crankshaft. March 28, 2014

And years later he gifts the Starbuck Jones comic to Holly for Cory’s collection. And she gifts him the end of the ‘Congorilla’ story in return.

Funky Winkerbean. April 4, 2014
Funky Winkerbean. September 5, 2014

Crankshaft and his Bus Barn buddies complete in a bowing competition against a younger Montoni’s Pizza crew.

Crankshaft. December 2, 2015

And Funky recalls the same event from his perspective in flashback. Complete with old timey photo corners.

Funky Winkerbean. November 30, 2015
Funky Winkerbean. December 2, 2015

Crankshaft’s secret hoard of Bean’s End back catalogues is discovered. And his daughter sells them to a strangely young and buff Chester Hagglemore.

Crankshaft. June 7, 2018
Crankshaft. June 9, 2018

Years later, Chester puts the entire collection up for sale to fund his new comics empire. And Morton Winkerbean buys Crankshaft back his favorite issue.

Funky Winkerbean. June 12, 2018
Funky Winkerbean. June 22, 2018

Simple. One is past. One is future. In fact. I would almost nearly give it credit for being clever. A weird way to tell a story non-linearly. But it adds a certain depth to the proceedings if you’re in the mood to be charitable to Batiuk’s intended sentiments.

For example, the county fair arcs.

Funky Winkerbean. August 13, 2019
Crankshaft. August 15, 2019
Crankshaft. August 16, 2019
Funky Winkerbean. August 16, 2019.

Taken alone, they’re a bunch of bland fair puns on the Crankshaft end, and an awkward date ending in an even more awkward wedding proposal between Mopey Pete and Minty in Funky Winkerbean. But I’ve got a soft spot for grandparents. Seeing the younger Mindy enjoy the fair with the ‘Gramps’ that loves her, simultaneous to seeing an older Mindy fondly remember those moments years and years into the future when he can no longer be there…It kinda gets me in the feels. She’s trying to pass on to her boyfriend the vital essence of a person she loves who is now a weakened shell of what she once knew.

We get on Mindy for being boring and stupid. And it’s true. Because she is bland af. But this is the closest she comes to being a character to me. Because I get it. We’re seeing both sides of a painful transition, where a precious adult goes from being a childhood pillar, to a fragile keepsake. The story is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

So there. I’ve complimented Batiuk for something. Stop the presses. I’ve complimented him for using the time skip well. And he’s even done it more than once. It’s interesting, and occasionally sometimes even approaching good.

So why? Why by all that is sweet and bright? Is he throwing it all away over the pandemic!?! WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT?!?

When I heard that The Valentine was closing in Crankshaft, I could still make it work in my mind. Yeah, the location has showed up multiple times in Funky Winkerbean, still owned by an older Max Murdoch. Yeah, THE STARBUCK JONES PREMIERE was held there. But maybe, I thought, he would find a way to give Max back the theater after a while. Max has years and years to get that theatre back in time for it’s appearances in Funky Winkerbean. I can’t blame Batiuk for wanting to be topical, and hey, it’s conflict at least, so yeah, sure, let him lose the theater for a few years…

But then…then there was that fateful day in May.

Crankshaft. May 24, 2021.

Jeff shows up at the Valentine theatre with a rock he’s not supposed to get FOR MORE THAN A DECADE.

Funky Winkerbean. September 6, 2020.

Why?

Why?

Why?

And my only hope, was maybe he forgot. Maybe, just once, he forgot which strip was supposed to be the past of which. Maybe, just maybe, this dumb rock from Bronson Canyon was not the rock that shattered the temporal pane that separates past from future in the Funkyverse. I begged. I pleaded. Please don’t do this, Tom. Please, don’t rip away the final shreds of sense propping up the cardboard walls of your paper doll playhouse. Don’t be like this. Make the right choice, and tell me that you will stick with what you’ve established.

And today…

He told me no.

WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS TOM WHY

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Development: Arrested

Link To Today’s Strip

Looks like they were going to see some weird foreign film. Anyhow, today we see a desperate and frightened Adeela reach out to the only person who could possibly help…Wally. Yep, this should end well.

Why is Rachel smirking at Buddy like that? She’s a real odd duck, that one. And check out Buddy, it’s like he KNOWS there’s trouble. What a good boy.

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That’s The Bit

Link To Today’s Strip

At first glance I was like “whoa, Wally’s cell phone vibration mode is so powerful it’s torn completely through his suit jacket!”, but then I quickly realized it was just crappy art. It’s nice to know that our beloved Buddy still exists, as he hasn’t been seen in a while, but as usual BatYap gives him absolutely nothing to do. Free Buddy!

So they decided to skip Montoni’s and go to that stinky old decrepit movie house instead? Or will they hit Montoni’s after? I think we all know the answer to that question. I wonder what they were going to see before Adeela ruined Date Night again?

“Honey? “Doctor Obvious Versus The Time Gargoyles” is playing at The Valentine tonight! It’s a sci-fi musical from 1947 starring Wallace Beery! Can we go? Can we? Huh?”

“(Sigh) I guess.”

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Brother Popcorn

Link To Today’s Strip

At least we weren’t forced to endure watching these two imbeciles interacting with the ticket person, as he’s thoughtfully skipped ahead to the popcorn purchase. Who on God’s green earth would dare to eat ANYTHING from that crappy old movie house? I remember when “The Valentine” was a “last chance” dump that only showed films no one in their right mind would pay to see, but now suddenly it’s a bustling local theater with a functioning snack bar and everything. Good for the f*cking Valentine. I have never yearned to see a building leveled by falling space junk more than I do right now.

Pete “thoughtfully” remembered how she likes her popcorn…whoop-dee-damn-do. It’d be one thing if she always ordered it with saffron and shaved truffles, but it’s salt and butter…as if there’s any other kind. Pete gives off an air of sexual desperation that’s palpable, unless of course you reside in this bizarre soul-deadening part of Ohio, that is.

 

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Manos: The Hands Of Grate

Today’s strip finally gets to the point. Whatever.

All I see is a kid in a Davy Crockett coon-skin cap…
FWSmif

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Bored of the Rings

Today’s strip is about that dadgum decoder ring. Your mileage won’t vary, it WILL be low.

Jeff, quit teasing your wife and son with this appallingly uninteresting Starbuck Jones nostalgia trip and just tell your family what all of us readers already know the message on your phone says. You told two very interested parties that The Valentine may have gotten the miracle it needed to keep its doors open, and follow that up by leering creepily gazing at 60 year old toy that you got for free from a chocolate milk mix company.

Max, you gotta do better than this, man. If your dad knew the gibberish on his phone was the Starbuck Jones Junior Spaceman’s code then he’s a big enough nerd to know how to decipher it. He’s been waiting decades to show this stupid ring off and you are the one who had to go and give him the satisfaction.

Pam, you’re an enabler. Can’t really blame you for that, since every other woman in this universe apparently is as well.

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Hai-Code

Today’s strip contains
A couple of near-haiku
Shall we take a look?

“This text may be the
Answer you are looking for
It’s just gibberish”

“That is because it’s
Written in the Starbuck Jones
Junior Spaceman’s code”
_________________________

Jeff has just put on
That stupid decoder ring
Why does he have it?

Came from his pocket?
Does he carry it around
Annoying others?

He just got a text?
But it was a Tweet he sent
To Director Guy

I guess that Durwood
Has uncle Jeff’s phone number
As if he’s used it

Nice car on the curb
Puts Batiukmobile® to shame
Who would park it here?

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Miracu-lousy

Today’s strip severely undersells the concept of miracles.

“Hmmm… we may have just gotten one.” For serious, Jeff, that’s your reaction to information that may well have just saved your son’s livelihood and your nostalgic obsession? Let’s try that line out in some other scenarios.

Al Michaels calling the 1980 Olympic hockey semi-final, USA vs. USSR:

“Eleven seconds. You’ve got 10 seconds. The countdown going on right now. Morrow, up to Silk. Five seconds left in the game. Do you believe in miracles?

Hmmm… we may have just gotten one.

“You Sexy Thing” by Hot Chocolate:

I believe in miracles
Where you from
Hmmm… we may have just gotten one

That old Xerox commercial:

Brother Dominic: Here are your sets, Father. The 500 sets you asked for.

Father: A miracle? Hmmm… we may have just gotten one.

Inspiring.

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Valentine’s Day, August 1

Today’s strip was not available for preview. It will, almost assuredly, be about Max Murdoch’s imperiled Valentine Theater though.

But before The Valentine was Max’s imperiled theater, it was Ralph Meckler’s imperiled theater. For those of you fortunate enough to not follow Crankshaft, bespectacled and mustachioed Ralph is Crankshaft’s best only friend. Poor Ralph is a decent enough character, and is (sadly) a definite contender for the Batiukverse’s ultimate “chew toy” award.

Not only did he struggle for years to keep The Valentine afloat before unloading it on Max and his I-guess-girlfriend Hannah, he also failed in a recent bid to unseat Centerville’s corrupt, do-nothing mayor. In fact, he lost the mayoral race on a coin flip because the election was tied. The election was tied, of course, because his good “friend” Crankshaft forgot to vote. Oh, and he let Crankshaft make that fateful coin-flip call…
Also, his wife has Alzheimer’s (revisited in two different books) and his son was killed in the Vietnam War.

Sheesh. No wonder he says stuff like this

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The Loan Punman

Welcome, everyone, to that damn Crankshaft theater. Today’s strip finds us back in the middling maudlin morass that came to define this strip during Act II. It certainly says something about the relentlessly positive Comic-Con arc that it failed to provide much refreshment in its departure from this strip’s trademark tone.

“Valentine’s Day may be over.” Heh, cute. Doesn’t explain how you’ve been making your loan payments for 10 years and are only now in danger of default… maybe you’ve been driving customers away by needlessly questioning them instead of taking their money.

Meanwhile, Ann Fairgood Pm nd Jff play the “Incredible Hulk” TV show’s closing credits music in their heads as their son walks out the door with his oversize copy of yesterday’s strip.

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