What Came First? Plus, The Usual


So, Wednesday’s Funky Winkerbean, by noted depression advocate Tom Batiuk. It’s not funny, to start with. It’s less so because a couple months ago Batiuk ran a sequence where the coach was recruited by the head of the Diversity University-Ironton — GET IT? GET IT? BETTER SAY YES — “Fighting Consensus Builders”, which was apparently intended to be the actual literal name of the Diversity University-Ironton DO YOU GET IT YET? [1] football team, and because the team at the high school where all the characters slouch towards death together is literally the “Scapegoats”, so with “Scapegoats” and “Consensus Builders” as actual team names is “Chances” really that inherently implausible?

Mason Jarr, sitting at a teeny-tiny little-bitty dinner table, claims he went to Optimism High, where the team was named the Fighting Chances, and that this was a joke.
Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean for the 4th of February, 2015. It looks like a joke, until you actually read it.

Anyway, I’m captivated not simply by its general badness, or how everyone is gathered around the world’s itty-bittiest dining table ever, but by wondering what was the topic of conversation which caused the long-faced Optimism High character, whose name, and I swear I am not making this up, was “Mason Jarr”, to decide the logical next thing to say was, “My high school was called `Optimism High’ and the football team was `The Fighting Chances’.” And now that I hopefully have infected you with the problem of worrying what the setup was, I hope that I don’t have to think about it any further. Thank you.

[1] See, the reason this is funny is because the comic strip’s title character is a recovering alcoholic, and another character lost her arm, and her ability to play the flute, and her chance to go to Julliard, to an accident caused by drunk driving. The drunk driver then joined the Army and went to Afghanistan where he was kidnapped and held prisoner for years. After his release he was sent to Iraq where he was kidnapped and held prisoner again, for even more years, after which he came home to find his wife, thinking him dead, had remarried and wanted nothing to do with him, and I am not making up a syllable of this. See how funny a name Diversity University-Ironton is now?


Meanwhile, over on my mathematics blog I had the chance to show off Hagar the Horrible, and to learn that there’s a connection between blackjack and Cervantes, so that’s nice. If you might be interested please go over and give that a little examination. And then another bunch of mathematics-themed comic strips came in, although that one doesn’t have Hagar the Horrible to show. Sorry.

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Author: Joseph Nebus

I was born 198 years to the day after Johnny Appleseed. The differences between us do not end there.

7 thoughts on “What Came First? Plus, The Usual”

  1. Good Lord… I doubt I’ve seen Funky Winkerbean in about 30 years, but it used to be kind of funny and surreal when I was in high school, and still read a physical newspaper. I recall especially the majorette and her foredoomed Flaming Baton Trick. Looking at it now… Something happened to the author, I have no doubt. Nothing good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It did, yes, used to be a whimsical and slightly surreal comic strip. The best anyone can figure is that Tom Batiuk got bitten by the Very Special Episode bug. In the 90s, he turned the strip from a timeless-unchanging-gag-a-day thing into a humorous, time-progressing, story-focused strip (like For Better Or For Worse) he found that having bad stuff happen to people could make for compelling drama, and then just went way, way overboard. Somewhere in the 2000s he forgot about the part where sometimes people come out happy at the end of adversity, and now he’s just entered this weird nihilistic void of depression and comic books.

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        1. Oh, not to worry. You’ve missed a lot of strange and generally sad things going on in Funky Winkerbean and I suspect its main draw these days is hate-reading it. There’s fun in that, but we don’t need too much of it either.

          Liked by 1 person

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