So You Tell Me Funky Winkerbean Was Written By A White Guy?


I apologize, I just have been frightfully busy trying to process the realization that I am about to post my greatest service ever to humanity, or at least the Internet. I mean, you know the feeling when you have run across the thing that you will be remembered for indefinitely far into the future? The thing that will become a heaping mass of links from people in search of a desperately needed answer to their most pressing yet ridiculous question? I’m in that state right now. So I’m very busy enjoying that feeling and meanwhile also trying to get it actually organized.

So please here instead enjoy my noticing that Comics Kingdom has started running Vintage Funky Winkerbean from the comic strip’s start in 1972, long before it discovered misery porn and then depression porn and then, most recently, comic books.

Black Kid whose name I haven't caught: 'This school newspaper is the biggest collection of trite garbage I've ever seen! Why don't you do an issue on something relevant ... like what's happening with my brothers and sisters at this school?' Les: 'Strange ... , I thought you were an only child!'
Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean for the 5th of April, 1972, and rerun the 23rd of March, 2018. It’s only a few weeks into the strip’s run and yet Les Moore is already extremely punchable!

(I’m sorry; I know Les Moore even in this form but I don’t know who he’s talking to yet. Might be someone dropped from the strip; might be someone redesigned into a character I’m just not thinking of. The strip hasn’t done much naming of characters apart from the immortal initial fab-four classic lineup quartet of Funky himself, Les Moore, … Roland … and … Livinia? Y’know, I drive past Livinia, Michigan, about once a month for the pinball league at Marvin’s Marvellous Mechanical Museum. Great spot.). (The reason that this is a correctly formed joke structure and is therefore hilarious is that the city is actually named Livonia so you should now laugh uproariously at how one name looks a lot like another.)

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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. He/him.

11 thoughts on “So You Tell Me Funky Winkerbean Was Written By A White Guy?”

  1. I believe there was a female African American character named Junebug ,but at my age when I read the strip regularly,I pretty much ignored any character who wasn’t a Star Trek obsessed school computer.

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    1. At the time, I did read the strip pretty reliably, but what I mostly remembered from it were Les being caught on the gym rope; the Star Trek-obsessed computer; and the weeks of Jedi Jokes that I thought were pretty great when I was eleven and, it turns out, completely wrong about everything I liked.

      Except that I was not wrong about Automan being the most awesome thing humanity has ever produced and no I still have not watched the DVD set I got of that show.

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      1. I remember thinking it was edgy writing when the school computer booked the “ET” background aliens (aka the extra Extra Terresterals)as the Trek convention guests. What can I say, I was young and foolish.

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        1. Oh, no, I wouldn’t call that foolish. Booking extraterrestrials for a Star Trek convention makes sense. The different fandoms ought to overcome their differences, and instead bond on what they have in common: eating small, finger-sized wedges of strangely-colored food. So some like cubes and some like ellipsoids; the important thing is never eating something that looks like a vegetable.

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  2. He’s already wrestling with the big issues, like whether to put the ellipsis before the comma or after the comma. Or, just possibly, the idea might form you might not NEED an ellipsis when you already have a COMMA.

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    1. I am a big fan of the ellipsis. And I have a problem of using it to end sentences, even when I’m speaking out loud. This usually marks when I figure I’ve passed the interesting parts of whatever I might want to say and should let the conversation quietly die instead.

      But yeah, the ellipsis right before a comma is really weird and I didn’t realize how much it was going to rile me up until I transcribed the dialogue for the image’s alt-text.

      If it were a little bit over I’d have thought maybe the comma was a bigger-than-I-meant dot over the I in ‘WITH’, not fixed because it was 1972 and there’s only so much that humanity can do to fix art errors.

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  3. Derek is the name of the character talking to Les here. I believe he hooked up and eventually married Junebug, who was WHS cheerleader.

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    1. Thank you! I’m always embarrassed when I have to reveal I don’t actually know everything about every comic strip ever.

      (I’m surprised Batiuk didn’t have the characters address each other by name, especially since this was apparently Derek’s introduction to the strip. But maybe he hadn’t realized this would be a recurring character, or maybe he hadn’t found a name he liked yet. Or found he couldn’t fit the name in the word balloon sensibly.)

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  4. Found a vaguely mathematics comic for you –Funky Winklebean July 5,1973– Les is daydreaming with a giant addition sign in his thought bubble, Funky comes by and asks Les what he’s doing andLes says “Just doing some positive thinking.”

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