Tag Archives: video games

The Eliminatrix

sorialpromise
April 26, 2022 at 11:10 pm
As great as our bloggers and posters are on SOSF, we still need material. That is Mr. Batiuk’s job. Boy has he failed his best audience…there are no nits to pick…Someday soon, Mr. Batiuk will raise his level of mediocrity back up to our standards.

Here’s a reminder why your friends here at SoSF limit ourselves and one another to to two-week shifts. Because you get strips like today’s strip that do nothing to advance the plot, such as it is. And Harry didn’t exactly say Donna was the better gamer; only that she “usually” posted a high score.

“You have no idea” must be the wacky catchphrase around the Klinghorn household.

While these three panels only serve to pad out this limping story arc through Saturday, they’re not visually unsatisfying, and yes, that is the strongest praise I can muster.

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YMMV

Unlike other initialisms, which were invented and grown on the internet, “your mileage may vary” goes back to the 1970s and ’80s in the U.S. During that time, automobile manufacturers frequently promoted their estimated mileages to compete…However, due to the variations in driving conditions, they had no way of guaranteeing the exact mileage customers would actually get. Therefore, these ads would feature the disclaimer, “Your mileage may vary.”

What Does “YMMV” Mean, and How Do You Use It?, Vann Vicente, howtogeek.com

What a weird taunt. “Beat that!” is sufficient…adding “your mileage may vary” suggests that you can score as well or even higher than me, but maybe that phrase was just coming into vogue. Batiuk’s been getting considerable mileage out of sending his Act I characters back in time. It’s been nearly 12 years since Funky’s car accident sent him back to the town square of late ’70’s Westview, where he would encounter his teenaged self as well as his future mate, before checking out the comics spinner rack. Five years later, the entire gang got to meet their middle aged selves (except Lisa LOL)  during another month-consuming story arc that was the Time Pool Reunion.

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Blippin’ and Trippin’

Sourbelly
April 23, 2022 at 10:53 pm
Passing out from wearing a cheap stupid helmet 18 sizes too small may have had more of an impact on Kwazy Harry’s boring, stupid, pointless psychotic embolism. Whatever. It’s over, right? On to the next thing!

If only. If only! Ya know, snarkers, I was secretly kinda hoping that Tom Batiuk would drag Funky across the fifty year goal line, accept his Gold T-Square (to put with his Inkpot Award), call it a career, and live off the (surely massive) proceeds of the Complete FW volumes he so incessantly flogs. If only! Instead, the comic strip creator who crowed about allowing his characters to age and even to die, has given himeself carte blanche to run around tying up his strip’s countless loose plot threads. And in the cheapest way possible: “it was all just a dream/coma/toxic fume induced fainting spell.”

July 1982

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Actually, No, You Don’t Have It, Maddie’s Adopted

(If you saw a different post earlier, it’s because you’re getting caught in a time vortex and totally not that I got my days mixed up.)

So Young Harry, who was completely baffled by the concept of “comic book store”, can think of nothing more important to ask his future self than “does my mom throw away all my comic books?”.  And Old Harry’s response is basically “no, but your wife does, because wives are just like moms, basically, making you get rid of what really brings you joy”.

I could really do without that last panel, honestly.  I know they’re technically the same person, but a teenager talking about sex with a strange old man he just met is a bit uncomfortable, and Young Harry’s face really does not help it.

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Funky Pops

So we’re now in day two of Young Harry being baffled that a thing such as “comic book store” exists. And we also have Old Harry naming John Howard to someone in the past, which is extra funny because he still hasn’t mentioned having a wife or daughter.
And it’s also just a terrible thing to do if you’ve travelled back in time to the past. I expect tomorrow that he’ll tell his young self about the collapse of the USSR, 9/11 and COVID-19. Who am I kidding, I doubt Harry cares about those or even noticed they happened. This week will probably just end with the two of them hugging and consoling each other about the Death of Superman.

I feel like Batiuk missed a major setup for a Funko Pop related joke, given that one of Harry’s closest friends is named Funky.

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But Basically Everybody Gets Cancer

“The best news is when you retire you get to keep working!  I mean yeah, you’re still close to all your high school friends, and get married and have a kid, but the best part is you get to work for minimum wage and touch comic books all day!”

So after yesterday, when Young Crazy Harry had no problem believing this random old guy he met was himself from the future, today he has no idea at all what a “comic book store” is. It’s one of the most self-explanatory names possible. If you know what a “comic book” and what a “store” is, you should be able to figure out what a “comic book store” is.
I really don’t think this is the first time Batiuk’s had someone be totally baffled by the idea of a comic book store before. I feel like it wasn’t too long ago when Batton Thomas was rambling on about how he still couldn’t believe such things existed. I did some quick Googling, and the first official comic book store was founded in 1968, and their heyday was in the late 70s and 80s, so I find it extremely hard to believe that a teenager would react that way.
It’s also funny how quickly he goes from having no idea what “comic book store” means to wanting to know if you can get rich going it. Maybe it’s just me but it seems a bit weird that the kid who skips school regularly to play arcade games in a pizzeria would be so concerned about getting rich.
Another thing I tried searching for was the phrase Harry is saying in the third panel. I thought maybe it’s a regional thing, but I couldn’t find it. Apparently it’s just rephrasing “you can’t get everything” or “you can’t have it all” for some reason, but it just sounds awkward.

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Humor Fluid

So, apparently when Harry was a teenager, any random old guy could just give him change for a dollar and tell him he was him from the future and he’d believe it, no questions asked. I don’t think “Crazy” is the right adjective to describe him.
This really is reminding me of the Dick Tracy storyline, where he got to use a classic comic character and all he did with him was have him carry boxes. Batiuk is such a big sci-fi fan, but when he finally does a time travel story, all he’s done with it so far is a guy going back into the past to play an arcade game with his past self.

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Anamoly, Shmanamoly

I think that Harry has already managed to top the stupidity of abandoning the helmet that allowed him to travel through time. “I wonder if my past self seeing me will collapse the space-time continuum and destroy all life? What the heck, I’ll do it anyway!” I would have really loved if the third panel was just black, and this was a surprise end to the entire strip.

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Wow, It’s Montoni’s Again

Harry used to skip school to “play videos” at Montoni’s? It’s possible I’m forgetting something, and Harry watching VHS tapes was a regular thing, but it seems like this is referring to “video games”. I’m not sure if this is a typo or it’s deliberately meant to be shortened like this, but it’s confusing regardless.
I think it speaks to the quality of the storytelling here that the expression “play videos” is what most caught my attention in a time travel story. I do think it says a lot about Harry that his first instinct isn’t to see or talk to his parents or grandparents or other loved ones that aren’t around any more, but just to talk to himself and see Montoni’s.
I really don’t like the third panel. The art is weird to me. I assume it’s going for a dramatic close up, but it’s just kind of strange to me. And the whole “if I meet my past self, will I create a temporal paradox” is a really really tired time travel trope. (And speaking of temporal paradoxes, maybe don’t ramble things out loud to yourself that make it super obvious you’re from the future?  Why does Batiuk hate thought balloons so much?)  Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but it seems like every time Batiuk does a story that could actually be interesting, it does it in the least interesting way possible.

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That’s a Strange Way to Tell Me You Love Me…

Link to a today’s strip.

Um. Okay.

If you really break down what Crazy is saying here, it seems to imply that when he was sixteen he was attracted to an eleven year-old-child he assumed was a boy.

No Boku No Pac-Man, please…

Unfortunate implications aside, all we have here is a restatement of the week’s plot. The only thing of note is that the Sunday colorist managed to depict a redhead character correctly for once.

March of last year Tom let us know this arc was incoming, when he posted the book cover that inspired his Eliminator helmet, and said this:

I saw this book on a spinner rack at the Captain EZ Confectionery a few blocks from our first apartment. Couldn’t resist the cover. Picked it up and later “borrowed” the Hunter helmet for a character I’d just created in Funky called the Eliminator. Said helmet, coinkadinkily enough, will show-up in a Funky story arc next year.

Cover Me 143
posted on MARCH 20, 2021
“Hunter” – Art by Paul Neary and written by Rich Margopoulos, Budd Lewis and Bill DuBay. Six parts in total, appearing in issues #52-57. Set in a near-future world devastated by nuclear war, it features Damien Hunter, a half man/half demon who seeks to destroy all the demons on Earth, including his father Oephal. As a half-breed consumed by self-loathing, Hunter frequently moralized on racial issues in contemporary America.

I want to thank Banana Jr. 6000, none, Charles, Mela, as well as others for providing some background on the arcade game Defender. I didn’t grow up with video games, only picking up the habit during college, so the context was great. I hunted up a few short YouTube vids that cover the development and just how unique and challenging the game is.

Today is the last day of my shift. It has been a real treat celebrating 50 years of Funky Winkerbean by going back in time to see what a 25-year-old Tom Batiuk was capable of. Thanks everyone who enjoyed it with me!

But what did I really think of the first four years of Funky Winkerbean?

It was alright.

Not usually laugh out loud funny, certainly capable of being bad, but amusing enough. Certainly not out of place squeezed between Hagar the Horrible and Wizard of Id.

But I easily found strips where the seeds of what would grow into Batiuk’s thorniest issues were germinating.

Preachy Nihilism.
Recycled Jokes
Observational Non-Humor
Vaguely offensive portrayals of women
I mean women WANT to be sexy and hate not being sexy and hate other women for being sexy amirite?
Dinkle writing AWFUL puns.
Worshiping Les. (Okay, this one is actually funny.)

And, as I’ve said before, I think we’re sometimes too hard on modern Batiuk during those occasions when he dips his toes back into gag-a-day humor. It might not be as good as his best was back then. But his best now is as good as his average was.

So sue me, I liked this one.

There were a couple strips I stumbled across that made me cringe or shudder, knowing where the strip would eventually go.

Baby Wally was born fearing death.
Alcoholism runs in Funky’s family.
Les hopes his future wife will make him money…
Uhh…
Uhhh…..

But despite all that, there were strips that had me genuinely laughing out loud. So here they are, my favorite strips from the first few years of Funky Winkerbean.

Act I Crazy Harry is my spirit animal.
I have literally done this.

So that’s it for me this round! The esteemed SpacemanSpiff85 will be taking over the ship tomorrow, asking the hard hitting questions.

Like, when is the strip ending? Will Wally Jr. ever return? Will Mindy and Mopey ever marry? Will Summer ever graduate Kent State? We’ve reached 50 years and we’re still chugging along. Maybe someday, we’ll know, but it doesn’t look like it’ll be this year.

Comic Book Harriet, signing off.

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