Funky Winkerbean, 5/5/15
I vaguely remembered that this “band box” business has been in the strip before, though I’ve apparently never discussed it on my site. A little Google searching to try to find out more led to a pretty horrifying discovery, though: Luigi’s is a real pizza place in Akron, Ohio, and it’s not only the model for Montoni’s but actually boasts about that on its web site. Luigi’s mentions the band box on its site, but for a picture, you need to go to the Funky Winkerbean Wikipedia page, where it’s under the “comic book connections” heading, for some reason. Anyway, the band box presumably plays old-timey music, and it’s probably gotten more and more wobbly and off key over the years as Funky has desperately tried to keep its archaic mechanisms functioning. Just imagine its tinny, irritating background music adding another layer of unpleasantness to your visit to Westview’s Only Viable Business™! Do you think Funky can get it to play mariachi music for people to listen to while they eat their Cinco de Mayo pizza special? (The Cinco de Mayo pizza special is a pepperoni pizza with a jar of store-brand salsa dumped on top of it, or maybe a jar of store-brand mayonnaise.)
Mary Worth, 5/5/15
“I must’ve seemed like a stalker! You know, the way I tracked you down, years after our relationship ended acrimoniously, once I decided to win you back at all costs, and then I found out where you lived without asking you, and then rented an apartment there, and showed up right outside your door with no warning! Just doing the sort of things that stalkers do! I must’ve really seemed like one! I didn’t plan on coming on so strong! It was just a powerful reaction that I couldn’t or wouldn’t control!”
“And I didn’t plan on being so emotional! I should’ve been more rational. Methodical. Say, let’s drive far into the woods where nobody can hear you scream, shall we?”
How are you celebrating National Cartoonists Day, everybody? Cartoonists are celebrating National Cartoonists Day by drawing their favorite characters having hot three-way makeouts. Some of them are even getting those drawings published!
Funky Winkerbean, 5/1/15
Guys, I did not have a particularly fun time socially for a lot of high school. At one point I got voted out of my lunch table. Once I did start making friends, as a senior, many of them were kids I met through debate who went to other schools. When I was 28, I got an email via Classmates.com (haha, remember Classmates.com?) from my graduating class’s power couple, who were somehow still together and organizing the 10-year-reunion; even though I didn’t have any interest in going, my girlfriend at the time told me to write back and ask to be put on the mailing list in order to get all the good gossip. Despite my request, I was not, in fact put on the mailing list.
So you’d think I’d be primed to identify with Les in the current Funky Winkerbean storyline, in which the most popular girl from his graduating class is skipping town and strong-arming him into taking her place and organizing a reunion for a bunch of people who used to hold him in contempt. The fact that I feel not an iota of sympathy for him is a testament to his true unlikeability as a character. Even if this today’s strip is your first exposure to him, I think you can get a sense of this. Look at that face! That face is a smirk so intensely smug that it’s crossed the line into full-on muscle spasm.
Barney Google and Snuffy Smith, 5/1/15
Seems that today’s Snuffy Smith was determined to do its own version of the classic “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” gag, only to end up grappling with the fact that the only job in this impoverished subsistence-farming community that requires any degree of formal training is the lone clergyman’s post — and sadly, the current parson is a theologically unlearned grifter.
Mark Trail, 5/1/15
Oh, hello nice bureaucrat lady! Did you think you could defeat nature with some well-meaning government programs? Well you can’t. Nature is full of floods and flames and it will not obey you.
Wizard of Id, 5/1/15
Meanwhile, in the Wizard of Id, the king is going to fuck some money.
So ends the Comics Curmudgeon 2015 Spring Fundraiser. Sincere thanks to everybody for your generosity/patience. We now resume our regularly scheduled programming.
Dick Tracy, 4/25/15
Heckuva plan there, Abe. I mean, nobody coulda seen that coming, right? Also, I admire your use of “enlisted” instead of the less delicate “forced at gunpoint.”
Funky Winkerbean, 4/25/15
“Gosh, Cindy, thanks for the offer ‘n’ everything, but as it happens, Mason Jarr the Hollywood Actor and I are already on excellent terms from having collaborated for weeks on the failed movie version of my horrible misery porn book Lisa’s Story about my dead wife, Lisa, who died. You may even recall that I was the one who introduced you to him, during his implausible visit to Westview to research his part in Starbuck Jones, because that’s totally a thing, and nobody can read comic books anywhere but here. Anyway, didn’t Mason (Jarr, the Actor: he lives out west somewhere) specifically say he wanted to bring in a writer from the ‘comic book world’ a few strips back? But don’t worry – Darrin just wandered in for no reason, and his gigantic head is right behind you, hanging on our every word. So I’m sure his Skype-buddy, unemployed comic-book writer Mopey Pete, will hear about the opportunity somehow.”
You can’t just let plots develop — you gotta engineer them.
Luann shows the signs of 30 years of careful risk management — no unsettling “time jumps” here! “But wait!” you may say. “Didn’t the whole crew just graduate head off to various colleges and Peru and whatnot?” Yeahbut! No chances were taken with the franchise — the stories are the same old “romantic” entanglements, and new characters are plug-and-play replacements for worn-out old ones. For example, Luann’s eccentric fop art teacher fills in for whiny tool Mr. Fogarty, and Dez here is the Designated Ethnic Replacement for annoying prig Delta.
Caution is the watchword — even the Tarot (“Witchcraft!”) with its scary “Hanged Man” and “Death” cards gets a remake as a whimsical “Destiny Deck” (um, somehow not witchcraft?).
Anyway, just for the record, Luann’s mom’s name is “Nancy.” I don’t know how “Prudence” got in there.
Gil Thorp, 4/25/15
Despite my role as a small-c curmudgeon, I have great fondness for Gil Thorp‘s seasonal ritual, the Reading of the Roster. This one telegraphs (hell, literally states) that 2015′s Baseball Story will be about pitcher and cleanup hitter Jordy Castillo.
Slugging pitchers are rare in the majors but more common on college and high-school teams. With the Mudlarks, of course, there’s a good chance Gil and Mimi decided the positions and batting order during a drunken session of strip I-Ching.
– Uncle Lumpy