Funky Winkerbean, 4/18/14
Oh, whoops, it looks like Jess did read Les’s book after all. It’s just that she thought she could make a documentary that would explore the motivations behind her father’s murder without talking to her father’s murderer! Which seems … like it wouldn’t have worked very well? We learn by doing, I guess!
Anyway, given the air of understandable seriousness in this strip, you’re probably finding the phrase “aka the Plantman” kind of jarring. Well, thanks to faithful reader/novelty Twitter handle owner BatLesMoore, I can now reveal to you the strip where John Darling’s killer tried to take out Les:
Funky Winkerbean, 8/4/97
I have literally no idea what led up to this or followed it — presumably we’ll learn more later in this storyline — but it’s an interesting look at the Funkyverse as it transitioned from zany and whimsical to realistic and grim. Which is a nice way of saying it’s completely bonkers! Les is being tied up and held at gunpoint but a guy dressed up as a plant! I am now very much looking forward to Jess’s jailhouse interview with this maniac. The first question I’m eager to see answered: is he allowed to wear his plant costume in prison, for “religious reasons”?
Another important thing to note about that old strip is that the killer is Peter Mossman, not Pete Moss, and his alter ego was Plantman, not the Plantman, so maybe it’s more accurate to say that Jess skimmed Les’s book.
So Momma is hanging out with … Tina? Or some other random young woman who’s never been in the strip before and never will be again? Whatever, the important thing to note is that Francis is so excited about his “theme music” that he’s vibrating like a tuning fork. Psychotic breaks from reality that cause you to believe you’re on a TV show and an unseen audience is watching and enjoying your every move can be fun, kids!
Mary Worth, 4/17/14
WHAT A TWIST! It turns out that it’s not just Tommy who’s too darn lazy to get off his duff and get a job; his mom is a shiftless bum too! “I don’t want a lot of talk about putting in the effort of learning how to bake, Mary,” she thinks to herself. “Just hand over the goddamn muffins! mmm, just gonna visualize Tommy lounging around back at the apartment while I go to town on this. He sure isn’t learning how to bake! Stay strong, Iris!”
Better Half, 4/17/14
It’s true, Stanley, a cool way to lose weight would be if you were just a smooth spheroid with no openings or internal structure, just a blob of living matter with no mouth or way to digest nourishment, yep yep yep not horrifying at all no sir
Funky Winkerbean, 4/17/14
Wait, but … but … Les already solved this, in his book about John Darling? OH MY GOD NOT EVEN JESSICA READ LES’S BOOK
Funky Winkerbean, 4/10/14
If, like me, you’ve reached the Stockholm Syndrome stage of your Funky Winkerbean readership, you’ve no doubt come up with some little strategies to derive enjoyment from the unrelenting murk of gloom. What gets me through several panels a day is the knowledge that said gloom may be unrelenting, but is not without texture; we still have the opportunity to discover how exactly the characters will have their dreams crushed and their spirits broken. When it comes to Jessica, whose new motherhood is impelling her to complete her quest to document the father she never knew, her trajectory of sadness is now clear: she will slowly learn, over the course of her project, that her father was an asshole and nobody liked him.
(This is as good a context as any to note that the inimitable Chris Sims’ March Funkywatch is available for your enjoyment!)
I’m less concerned about the protection of Heathcliff’s secret identity (why did he even wear his superhero outfit to the vet in the first place?) than in his ongoing and rapid menace decay. Specifically, it bothers me that he’s wearing what’s obviously a Batman costume but the yellow disc on his chest conspicuously lacks the bat-symbol. Is Heathcliff worried about trademark violations? Is he suddenly all about respecting the intellectual property rights of DC Comics, Inc.? Is he afraid of Warner Bros. Entertainment’s lawyers? Pathetic.
“I tried to explain to her that ever since we stumbled onto that witch’s coven and our eyes were blinded and turned eerie, milky white by the burst of dark magical energy they cast at us, our other senses have become much more acute, plus we have the power to read minds! But she didn’t even listen to me, though I have a hard time distinguishing between thought-speech and voice-speech anymore, so perhaps I wasn’t actually speaking aloud to her.”
Reggie is somewhat oversexed and not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but I find it unrealistic that he’d be so desperate for romantic attention as to be an easy mark for Jughead’s scam. Still, if this is the setup we need for him to disappear screaming into a swirling, furry vortex of hungry hungry cats, I’m willing to suspend my disbelief.