Tag Archives: traveling green shirt

Book ’em, Dinkle

Just three days into my turn to “make the donuts” around here and I’m ready to throw up my hands…or just throw up. What the hell is today’s strip about, aside from padding this pointless arc out to six, maybe seven days? “Read a book in the morning”? Please tell me he’s not talking about taking a dump. I suppose a retired person has opportunity to read just about whenever they feel like it. What about “in the morning” makes Harry cock his head like that and raise his eyebrows? Where is joke?

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Not the Retiring Type

Nice to see Adeela again, wearing Montoni’s Red Apron of Shame and carrying what’s either a server book or that architect diploma she got from Westview Community College. Dinkle’s unnamed friend continues his musing about retirement. “Long days, short years” does work pretty well as a wry comeback, and we’ll start taking bets now whether Tom Batiuk uses that very same aphorism when and if he ever chooses to retire.

The part of the tablecloth is being played today by Pete’s shirt.

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Poor Prospects

Link to today’s strip

Min completes you Petey? The first time Mindy had a comics idea, it was for a kid side-kick you found so repellent you tried to erase him from your field of vision.

But, really, in the right hands a comic about blue collar space miners/treasure seekers running into adventures could be a fun, character driven, romp. I’m picturing a cross between Firefly and Farscape with a dash of Justice League International. IN THE RIGHT HANDS. With Atomik Komikxs ‘Stardusters’ we’re more likely to get something like this goofy idiot from Episode 30 of Lost in Space.

Still, whatever nightmare sideways strip we’re getting tomorrow, it has to be better than the underground comics ‘Stardusters‘ that came out in 1991. I found someone reviewing issue 3 of the series. It’s like if a Jack Chick tract fell into the creepy BDSM scene and was expecting a visit from Chris Hansen.

So the bar for ‘Stardusters’ as a concept has already gone as low as it can go. But it’s also gone as high as it can go. Because the GI Joe character Starduster is a stone cold jetpacking badass from the circus who juggles live grenades.

So I guess what I’m saying is that GI Joe comics from 80’s were pretty great. And you should read those instead.

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Gone To Starseed

Link to today’s strip

We’ve been learning too much this week. All of us! The comments have been crammed with factoids about vinyl and Marvel, basketball and Bolsheviks, GI Joe and Ohio, lounge singers and long sandwiches.

And today, we learn that every atom in our bodies with an atomic number higher than hydrogen was originally forged in the heart of our universe’s first stars.

And due to the carbon cycle, probably every cell of our body is full of recycled shit. Just like this strip.

So, for everyone’s viewing pleasure, I have random panels of Stardust The Super Wizard and his weird tiny head and single facial expression. I will trust our team of crack commenters to regale us with wonderful Fletcher Hanks factoids!

And, my personal favorite:

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Flagrant Foul

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If this is how Batiuk imagines the comic book creative process, then it’s no wonder he couldn’t get a job writing them. Pete is constantly spewing new characters based on whatever wanders through his field of vision. Even going back to his time being harried by Lord of the Late, some word association would lead him down a nightmare pun hole to a new asinine character.

I don’t need to tell any of you that compelling and exciting stories are built on conflict and plot. Maybe, in the old days, you had Plastic Man and Matter Eater Lad wackiness every month. But that was when comics were mass produced to be consumed and disposed of by children. Kids have YouTube unboxing videos to watch now. Comic books are for a niche market of teen and adult readers who will mock relentlessly stupid gimmick characters made from dumb word associations.

Speaking of stupid gimmick characters made from dumb word associations, have you guys seen Marvel’s ‘The New Warriors’? I guess morons like Pete CAN get jobs in comics.

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The music of the years gone by.

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Except he wasn’t named for a sandwich, Pete. According to the ever reliable Wikipedia, Hoagland Howard “Hoagy” Carmichael was named after a circus troupe called the “Hoaglands” that had stayed at the Carmichael house during his mother’s pregnancy.

And we keep slipping further back in musical history, because ‘Stardust’ was recorded in 1927. I expect tomorrow we’ll be referencing ‘Maple Leaf Rag’, and by June Ruby will have pulled out a phonautograph to listen to the 1860 recording of ‘Claire De La Lune’.

At least Stardust has become something of a timeless classic, with famous covers by Sinatra, Louie Armstron, Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole, Willie Nelson, and Fred Flinstone.

So don’t besmirch the Hoag for his weird name dear Pete. Then man wrote hundreds of songs, over decades, including ‘Georgia On My Mind,’ ‘Stardust’ and ‘Heart and Soul.’ HEART AND SOUL, Pete! The only song other than ‘Chopsticks’ passed around from one unlessoned kid to another via church basement pianos and children’s keyboards for decades immemorial. The song 70% of the population would try to plunk out if tied to a piano and told to play something under pain of death.

You will never, in your entire life, do anything that could even come close. Stardust was chosen by Library of Congress for the National Recording Registery. All you’ve done is come up with a handful of pathetic comic characters with even stupider names than Hoagland flailing their way through inane plots, barely earning you a footnote in history, Tom.

Um, I mean, Pete.

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Nitpicking Ev’ry Little Thing

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Wow. Ruby is listening to some GOLDEN oldies. When I first saw the label, I wondered if it was a Batiuk pastiche of some kind of folksy Byrds rip off. But sure enough, panel 3 is a loving detailed recreation of an actual record label.

Kids, that there is no LP. That is a 78 RPM record. If Ruby had this on her turntable she’d be clocking lots of steps on her fitbit, because each side of has a single song, less than three minutes long. According to 45worlds the 10″ record was pressed in 1941. As in, the record is older than than the 73-year-old man who put it in this strip.

Which begs the question, how old is Ruby supposed to be? Her flashbacks looked to me like they could have been from any time from the 40’s to the early 60’s. Is this her parents’ record? I have my mom’s old Michael Jackson’s Off The Wall album in a box somewhere. Maybe she just kept her parents stuff. Or decided she really liked music from the same year as Pearl Harbor. Or she is literally in her nineties, and Tom continues salving his fear of aging with an ever expanding cast of limber and active nonagenarians.

If any of you want to hear the charming song ‘Ev’ry Little Thing’, sung by Don Lawrence with The Ramblers on instrumentals, I found it on the internet archive. It’s a cute lounge band type number that really took me back to watching Lawrence Welk with my grandma on Saturday night.

The song on the other side…um… Always Too Tired. Which is a joke song full of double entendre. Really. REALLY. If you’re only going to listen to one dirty song from the 40’s, you owe it to yourself to click that link and listen to the whole glorious thing. And then imagine it playing loudly in the office.

From one temporal non-sequitur to another. Because if Ruby is inexplicably stuck in the 40’s, then Pete is definitely stuck in the Aughts. An I-Pod? In 2020? MP3 players have been around for nearly 20 years. They peaked 12 years ago and have been on the way down ever since. Why don’t you just suggest she get 8-tracks of her favorite records?

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The Lost Generation.

Link to today’s strip

Pete has totally declared himself forever stuck in the nineties, the only decade when a child might not recognize a box of LPs on sight. “What are these?” There’s a record player on the friggen desk you dunce! With music coming out! Ruby has worked in the same office with you for how long? Pete comes across as a amnesiac toddler pointing to things he has to have seen a million times before and asking, “Wat dat?”

And all to cover the limitations of sloppy artwork. A more natural beginning to the conversation would be. “Hey Ruby, why did you bring your old record player in?”

The strip is nonsensical all across the board. Every panel has something either inane or baffling.

Everyone likes to listen to music while working. Find me a person who enjoys working in complete silence and I’ll have another name to add to my list of suspected pod-people.

And the record player is ON HER DESK, she might not even need to stand to flip that LP over. Does standing register steps on a fitbit? I’m guessing that Batiuk wanted to give an interesting juxtaposition of old and new technology to show that Ruby is hip with the times. But for THIS joke to work the record player would need to be on a separate table a few feet away. Which would have been doable, but Batiuk and Ayers didn’t even bother.

Strap in folks. It’s going to be a bumpy week.

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Meeting the Four Hundred

Les just continues to mock Batton in today’s strip. Sheesh, whadda jerk! Apparently newspaper cartoonists were the original social distancing champions, which you probably would be seeing memes about if you were Facebook friends with one. Unfortunately, gags this terrible are not a rare sight in Funky Winkerbean

Emily or, uh Amelia… whichever one wears pink and doesn’t act like what TB imagines a Hot Topic shopper to be, asks a perfectly reasonable question for a “kids these days” kid. Seriously, it is a good question and it demonstrates a knowledge of what a comic strip is, how it is distributed, and its primary measure of success. Batton, of course spins this perfectly fine question into a self-pitying humblebrag so deftly that even Les seems impressed. Newspapers may be dying, but his comic strip is in EVERY SINGLE ONE of the ones that remain! What’re you gonna accomplish in your life, Blondie?

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The Thousand Panel Stare

Kids don’t read newspapers or newspaper comics these days… Boo hoo, so sad, this generation is killing the papers and the cartoonists, blah blah blah yackity smackity… Sorry, don’t care. I’ve heard it all before, and in better comic strips to boot.

Today’s strip is bland, rote filler in a dumb, overplayed story arc, but… that second panel. Chuck Ayers artwork since taking over duties in Funky a couple years ago has taken a good step back from the solid work he did for many years in Crankshaft I would argue, but the second panel in today’s strip is a genuinely excellent piece of cartooning. The beady eyes, the nonplussed expressions, the unrealistic density of students packed into every millimeter of the panel… you can practically hear the crickets chirping in background of this non-reaction. It is an extremely rare and truly good thing to see in Funky Winkerbean. What a pity it isn’t in the service of a better joke.

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