Seriously, What the Absolute Flipping Heck Is WRONG With You, Funky Winkerbean?


OK, I need to postpone my recap of Gil Thorp a day. First, it’s become a complicated strip and I’m adjusting to that. Second, while I don’t want to turn into a Funky Winkerbean snark blog — Son Of Stuck Funky is infinitely better than I could be at that, not least for their deep knowledge of Funky lore — I do sometimes need to holler when the story is getting somehow even more like that.

As has gone before, a content warning. The story was motivated by talking about the (fictional) victim of murder, and the strip I want to whinge about includes the gun used for that murder. If that isn’t your idea of recreational reading skip this and we’ll meet up tomorrow in Milford. Promise.

So it turns out I just assumed that Jessica Darling, in her search for some artifact of My Father John Darling, did not want the gun used to kill My Father John Darling. Nope! She took it, as well as a cracked coffee mug from the set of My Father John Darling’s talk show. And she has a plan for her husband, whom we snarkers all call Boy Lisa because he’s Dead Lisa Moore’s son and we can’t remember his actual name, about what to do with it. It is ‘Darin’. I think. Something like that, anyway. The plan has to be kept secret from us in the audience, because …

Boy Lisa, awkwardly holding a gun, hiding it behind Jessica out of view of their kid: 'Why did you want this thing anyway?' She whispers something into Boy Lisa's ear, and then holds up Phil Holt's drawing of a 1950s Googie-style spaceship, whispering: 'Just like this one.' Boy Lisa smiles.
Tom Batiuk and Chuck Ayers’s Funky Winkerbean for the 27th of September, 2022. The piece that I can explain is the drawing in that last panel. At the start of this story, as part of leading Jessica to Mitchell Knox, old comic book guy Phil Holt, returned from the dead (it’s a dumb story) drew a spaceship for their kid. By the kid’s request. (A couple days earlier Holt thanked him for not saying a ‘horsey’ and Holt’s writing partner said how Holt can’t draw horses. This is some good snark fodder as a recent story told of the time Holt tried out to be the artist for Prince Valiant, a comic where you can’t get away without drawing horses. I am willing to treat this as colleagues razzing each other, but if I get much angrier at the comic I may rescind that charitable reading.)

And just, I mean, you know? What the heck? What the absolute flipping heck is all this?

So I have no explanation for why she would take the gun used to kill My Father John Darling. Nor why she would bring it in to a home with an extremely young kid. I grant she could not possibly have been expecting to bring this home when she went out to meet Mitchell Knox, and can’t have got a secure space prepared. (And we still have not had it confirmed on-screen that there’s no bullets in there.) But I have no guesses at all what direction this story is going.

I have not seen a comic strip that hits this combination of being appalling and also compelling since the winding-down of For Better Or For Worse, around the time Lynn Johnston warned Lizabeth that if she didn’t give up on life and marry Granthony already she was going to kill Grandpa Jim.

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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.

3 thoughts on “Seriously, What the Absolute Flipping Heck Is WRONG With You, Funky Winkerbean?”

  1. During a Columbo commercial, I turned on DECADES ‘ “Laugh-In” marathon and happened upon Leonard Nimoy in a turtleneck saying ” If Lady Bird Johnson married Admiral Byrd she’d be Lady Bird Byrd”. Makes me wonder what else I’m missing during commercials.

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    1. Oh, I can say! Because there was this Laugh-In episode where … I want to say Joann Worley … observed that if Kay Ballard were to marry astronaut Wally Schirra, and then divorce him and marry his brother Thomas, then she would be Kay Schirra-Schirra, whatever will be, will be …

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