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The bursting of the pizza bubble

Funky Winkerbean, 4/21/10

Funky Winkerbean’s trip to New York featured a few moments of publishing hope for long-suffering victim Les (though surely we’ll see those dreams get squashed later), but we’ve quickly moved back to familiar territory: impotent, misplaced rage. Actually, “rage” is the wrong word: the dialogue seems rage-y enough, but the slouchy body language and numb faces denote a total absence of the passion that is rage’s necessary prerequisite. I stand by the impotence, though.

And the misplacement. There are any number of greedy, amoral morons who can be blamed for our current macroeconomic state of affairs; but, assuming that Funky is maundering about the failure of the Montoni’s franchise in New York to take off, I think it’s unlikely that, even in the best of economies, crappy midwestern pizza would have been a big hit in a city well known for its many well-established and much-loved pizza vendors. It’s not like Goldman Sachs was nefariously creating synthetic CDOs based on pizza futures and then betting against them.

Beetle Bailey, 4/21/10

Towards the end of Tony Kushner’s Angels in America, God is briefly depicted as an enormous flaming aleph, the first letter of the Hebrew alphabet. The God of Beetle Bailey is much less impressive, consisting merely of the tiny and non-fiery Name of the strip’s creator. Today, God is attempting to make Beetle sound like someone you might actually want to go on a date with, with mixed results.

Mark Trail, 4/21/10

From my long and dedicated observation of the fauna in this strip, I’ve learned that when a senator starts emitting visible sweatballs, he is on the verge of a heart attack. This is a good illustration of the moral difference between our two rival lawmakers: Senator Good Senator only suffered a cardiac event after engaging in righteous fisticuffs with some longhair, while Senator Bad Senator’s heart is going south as soon as he realizes that arrest and/or punching might be in his future.

B.C., 4/21/10

Ha ha! The bird is afraid of being killed and eaten, but the snake thinks that the bird is afraid of being sexually assaulted!

Marmaduke, 4/21/10

Yeah, so, uh, this happened. Let’s never speak of it again, shall we?

222 responses to “The bursting of the pizza bubble”

  1. Ned Ryerson
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:09 pm [Reply]

    Ha Ha… Marmaduke got a rusty trombone!

  2. Baka Gaijin
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:10 pm [Reply]

    Dennis the Menace: Isn’t that kid a little large to be in a high chair? Sorry, everyone took all the good snark yesterthread.

  3. Christian
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:11 pm [Reply]

    I’m disappointed that you failed to comment on Beetle’s deliciously tempting booty in the first panel. I’d hit that!

  4. Sue D. Nymme
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:12 pm [Reply]

    MT: Does Baldy have some sort of dementia, where he can recognize an accusation but cannot put the words together to figure out what their very plain meaning is?

  5. True Fable
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:13 pm [Reply]

    It’s not just that Mr. Hitler is humping Big Dog; it’s the very satisfied expression on Big Dog’s face that has me squicked the hell out.

  6. Beachfox
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:15 pm [Reply]

    *jawdrops* Whole-E…

    It’s Marmaduke’s sultry bedroom eyes that put the capstone on the horror that is this frustrated attempt at sliding furry porn past the censors.

    Now I’m forced to wonder. Ces has his own stance on Sally Forth that comes out only under the auspices of Medium Large. What dark imaginings are lurking in the depths of the internet that Marmaduke’s artist hasn’t been able to get in the papers? I’m afraid to even search…

  7. McManx
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:15 pm [Reply]

    Marmaduke — Mr. Hitler thinks he can establish Alpha Male status by dominating the Great Dane, and thus avoid being eaten. Judging from the look on Marm’s snout, Mr. Hitler would be better off letting the dog bugger him.

  8. SF_Reader
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:16 pm [Reply]

    RMMD – “…and get started on those tarantulas tonight!”
    Totally hot!

  9. UncleJeff
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:16 pm [Reply]

    Love Is….dropping her naked butt off at the curb even after a satisfying tryst.

  10. zenvelo
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:16 pm [Reply]

    I’m impressed with the beaver in Mark Trail building a dam in Central Park.

  11. zenvelo
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:17 pm [Reply]

    Beetle is the only one that has ever suggested Mort Walker is funny.

  12. Uncle Lumpy
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:18 pm [Reply]

    “The bursting of the pizza bubble” sounds like some kind of disgusting adolescent skin-care practice. And yet somehow it still manages to be more appetizing than the idea of eating Montoni’s pizza, or carrying on a conversation with either of these self-obsessed whiny losers.

  13. Sequitur
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:20 pm [Reply]

    That Marmaduke episode could give us “Baka Gaijin-saw-a-clown” type reactions. Yeeech.

  14. Patrick
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:20 pm [Reply]

    What bothers me about B.C. is that the snake takes an entire panel to think of that lame punchline. I like to think of that third panel as spanning several hours, where the bird stares straight ahead and the snake thinks, “Then stay away from…bears! NO! Crap! Have you tried staying out of mortgage brokers’ offices…DAMNIT! LAME! Wait…wait…I have it! The INTERNET! Yes, the internet is always funny!”

  15. Steve S
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:22 pm [Reply]

    While I appreciate Beetle Bailey‘s attempt to do something a little outside its norm, the only Beetle line of dialogue that would be an appropriate lead-in to “That’s my job” is “Stop cranking out strips in five minutes so you can hit the golf course, Mort!”

  16. Uncle Lumpy
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:23 pm [Reply]

    And another thing. Even if we stipulate “greedy” and “amoral”, and accept the ham-handed “stick it to the man” casuistry — who’s got whose money, Funky, and who exactly is the moron?

  17. Sequitur
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:24 pm [Reply]

    BC: Back in BC’s time, wouldn’t the internet have been relatively safe?

  18. Pozzo
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:24 pm [Reply]

    BC: Wow, is that really four panels’ worth of joke? Where’s the Silent Penultimate Panel blogspot when you really need it?

  19. Chyron HR
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:25 pm [Reply]

    FW – I think Funky is blaming the con artists who opened up Famous Original Famous Montoni’s just across the street.

    MT – That’s why Japanese restaurants offer the “Omakase” (“I leave it up to you”) option. “Deer? Whale? Giant Beaver? I know not of which you speak. It is only chef’s choice offering.”

  20. Sarah
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:26 pm [Reply]

    WTH… I am so grateful that Marmaduke had a caption that did not involve man-on-dog action, b/c man-on-dog action is the absolute first thing that would have popped into my head upon seeing a caption-less version of that panel.

  21. bad wolf
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:28 pm [Reply]

    FW: I wonder if there’s some rationale for the blame game here, like that Funky’s was offered a low introductory ARM for his NYC pizza location that he had to foreclose on when he couldn’t meet the balloon payments. Then again, it’s FW, who cares.

  22. Shawn S.
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:28 pm [Reply]

    Marmaduke looks so unsatisfied in that panel; clearly the only thing that gets him excited is when he’s making the advances.

  23. Megan (Best of Fates)
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:29 pm [Reply]

    Am I the only one to see a strong resemblance between the word “life” as written in Funky Winkerbean, and “wife.”

    Nah, nevermind, that’s just silly. While it’d certainly add another level of misogyny and hopelessness, Funky doesn’t put up with hiding such things. Depression isn’t real unless it’s explicitly expressed.

  24. Skeltometer
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:31 pm [Reply]

    Too bad the Hitler family does not have a sectional to accommodate the missus in what could have been a menage-a-trois of hellish, poorly-drawn proportions. As it stands, she just has to wait her turn with arms crossed and looking thoroughly bored/disgusted/misshapen.

  25. Cranky
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:32 pm [Reply]

    That Marmaduke is CRYING OUT for the “Christ, what an asshole” treatment. In fact, it takes the meme to a whole new level. A low, low, low level.

  26. tb4000
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:32 pm [Reply]

    B.C. talking about pedophiles, Marmaduke openly showing graphic man on dog bestiality…. I understand these funny pages are trying to cash in on that edgy AMC/FX demographic, but goddamn.

  27. Pozzo
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:33 pm [Reply]

    FW: Look, why don’t you just play a game of chess with Death and get it over with? Wait, that would only take care of one of you. Better make it Chinese Checkers.

  28. Stroker Ace
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:35 pm [Reply]

    MT – Senator Bad Senator is wiping off a smudge of mayo from his bald eagle sandwich.

  29. Calico
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:39 pm [Reply]

    Marm and Phil sitting on a…couch.
    Not kissing.

  30. bunivasal
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:40 pm [Reply]

    Given the absence of anything genuinely funny coming from Beetle, we’re left to assume that far from actually writing a ridiculous thing for him to say Mr. Walker simply reads Beetle’s word balloons in a silly voice.

    Mark Trail, on the other hand is at least mildly entertaining, given that Senator Sweaty up there apparently carries an infant around to dab the sweat from his jowls.

  31. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:40 pm [Reply]

    Archie – We’re positively teeming with signs and signifiers in the artwork today, all nestling in unobtrusively. There’s definitely an order of magnitude of difference between this and, say, Will Elder’s MAD work, but that’s what happens when you’re publishing in an ever-shrinking medium. You have to lose some detail (or, in the case of Judge Parker, you should upsize your lettering) or you lose the whole picture.

    Beetle – “And another thing, Mort: stop watching Buxley in the shower. That’s not your job.”

    Con: No police station or office in the world would have a sign like that.
    Pro: It helps make the building look a little less like it’s going to start talking in a minute and reveal that it’s Dick’s newest nemesis: Building Face!

    Smirky – It’s called “platitudinizing.”

  32. Bootsy
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:41 pm [Reply]

    Leave Baka alone! I have the same to reaction to angels that he has to clowns. They weird me out.

  33. Calico
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:41 pm [Reply]

    @Baka Gaijin (#2): \
    I agree, when I saw this 6 year-old in a high chair, I thought *squick*, most definitely.
    Regress, young man! : P

  34. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:43 pm [Reply]

    Luann – “Why, Gunther! We really go well together as long as you’re bent over at a 45° angle!”

    Mark – Senator, are you hard of hearing? They just said that you own a popular restaurant that sells illegal wild game which comes from your camp! Do you think they’re accusing you of mopery with intent to peep?

    Marmaduke – Holy mother of god, Dottie! If you’d throw Adolf a piece once in a while, he wouldn’t have to bugger the damned dog.

    I realize I’m just piling on, at this late date (ewww!), but this drawing calls out for a big black rectangle of censoring.

    Mary“These bills… they’re bigger than I thought they’d be!” Looks like Bonnie’s found where Mary keeps the pelicans.

  35. yellojkt
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:43 pm [Reply]

    Funky Winkerbean has become Waiting For Godot without all the snappy uplifting patter.

  36. One-eyed Wolfdog
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:43 pm [Reply]

    Ah, and here I thought that “greedy amoral morons” referred to comic syndicates, newspaper editors, and so-far-past-their-prime-that-their-expiration-date-is-printed-in-roman-numerals cartoonists who don’t know when to let the hell go and let someone else have a chance.

  37. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:45 pm [Reply]

    Momma – “Everybody my kids date is a worthless scumbag, and I tell them so every time I see them. And why don’t I have any grandkids?”

    R=R – It’s barely funny because… um, there’s a lot of junk in that hole. Wait, is this a comic, or a sleep aid?

    Slylock – [pre-empted by Kanomi @y215, so I'll just say "I agree!"]

    Zits – You’d better die, Jeremy. Otherwise the day will come when you actually do care about how you shit, and everything that used to sustain you will try to kill you and you’ll only be able to stay alive by doing things you hate. And they’ll call you Crankshaft. Crankshaft the goddamn plugger.

    @wossname (#y285): I think that was me. Was I wearing a hat?

  38. BigTed
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:46 pm [Reply]

    “Greedy, amoral morons ruin life for people”? All this strip is missing is a word balloon from Batiuk’s signature saying, “That’s my job.”

  39. Sequitur
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:46 pm [Reply]

  40. yellojkt
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:46 pm [Reply]

    So Paradise Lake is where you have to go now for good komodo dragon?

    I can hear Bert Parks singing already.

  41. One-eyed Wolfdog
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:48 pm [Reply]

    “Confess, Senator! You’ve been illegally trapping spotted owls and turning them into fabulous bow ties.”

  42. bunivasal
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:48 pm [Reply]

    The neat thing about basing a movie on a pre-existing franchise is the knowledge that the franchise brings its own fans, who simultaneous serve as guaranteed seat fillers and unpaid viral promoters.

    Whoever greenlit the Marmaduke movie apparently didn’t realize that this is not the case with Marmaduke and rushed to correct it by forcing Mr. Anderson to appeal to whatever grim demographic is drawn in by the horror presented today.

  43. BigTed
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:51 pm [Reply]

    After all this time, Miss Buxley is still working at a tiny desk with nothing on it but a single sheet of blank paper. She really is just there for decoration, isn’t she?

  44. Sequitur
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:53 pm [Reply]

  45. One-eyed Wolfdog
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:55 pm [Reply]

    “Phil, the trainer said give him a ‘gentle leash correction’. I’m not sure what you heard, but…”

  46. These Strange Worlds
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:55 pm [Reply]

    Mark Trail:

    Today’s strip provides highly suggestive, if not definitive evidence concerning the whereabouts of Lost Forest. Where else is there a state house right next to beaver ponds? Where but Saint Paul, Minnesota? In fact, I think the view is from Pigs Eye Lake, just outside of town.

  47. Foolkiller
    April 21st, 2010 at 3:59 pm [Reply]

    Where did Betty get her AJGLU-3000 shirt in today’s Archie?

  48. Sequitur
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:03 pm [Reply]

  49. skullcrusherjones
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:11 pm [Reply]

    Funny, I always pictured Hell as Hitler being sodomized by a pitiless houndbeast, not the other way around.

  50. skullcrusherjones
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:12 pm [Reply]

    That beaver isn’t building a dam, he’s making a funeral pyre for Senator Flopsweat.

  51. tekende
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:14 pm [Reply]

    I rather like the presumably intentional vagueness in this Funky Winkerbean installment. No matter what your political philosophy is, this one can work for you. “Greedy amoral morons” could refer to politicians, crooked bankers, people who bought houses they couldn’t afford, or crooked Wall Street investors. Well done, Funky. Your unwillingness to offend someone has taken whatever timely commentary this strip might have held away, leaving a broken husk of what this strip could–maybe–have been.

  52. AMc
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:17 pm [Reply]

    Damn. Is there bad European jazz coming from that Marmaduke comic, or am I just hearing it in my head?

  53. Farley's Revenge
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:21 pm [Reply]

    BB: I thought Mort Walker was dead. If he is, it explains a lot about this strip. Gotta be tough coming up with jokes when you’re no longer interested in living people.

  54. Baka Gaijin
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:21 pm [Reply]

    @Sequitur (#13): I’m pretty sure something’s going to get half-lodged in the dog’s ass but it’s not going to be a turkey leg.

  55. bats :[
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:24 pm [Reply]

    F- : funny, Dingo never mentioned “tickle and release.” Is it something new, or a secret technique of master fishermen?

  56. SF_Reader
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:24 pm [Reply]

    @These Strange Worlds (#46):
    The Mississippi river beavers have all been wiped out. Also Norm Coleman has been out of office for over a year so the corrupt senator story line doesn’t cut it either.

  57. Mibbitmaker
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:25 pm [Reply]

    A3G: “… it’s so gauche!”

    BBlues: Of course, those cartoons were originally theatrical, from a mainly pre-TV era…

    BBailey: Wasn’t that Howard Morris’s job at one time?

    Curtis: “Lopsided heads, no problem”? Linus VanPelt is all set, then.

    FW: You know what else is unfair, benchwhiners? This strip was pretty good in the ’70s and ’80s, until some self-important, rationalizing moron ruined it. Batiuk is like the Jay Leno of comics.

    Luann: Who, Chevy Chase back there?

    MT: I‘m accusing him of wrongful bolding! And he showed such promise yesterday, too *sigh!*

    MW: Even now that it’s not the same drawing over and over now, those outside-the-Johnsons’-place panels are all just inherently funny.

    Phantom: The whole truth??? No! No! AAAUUGGGHH!! C’mon, Undead Lee Falk, where are you when we NEED you? Hat shopping??

  58. Edgy DC
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:32 pm [Reply]

    Dialogue, shmialogue. Check out Beetle… showing Ms. Buxley the boo-tay as he mops. Who needs words? We’ve got act one of a porno.

  59. Sequitur
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:33 pm [Reply]

    @Baka Gaijin (#54): You said “half-lodged” and it reminded me of Veronica Lodge but I don’t want to go there.

  60. Paddy
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:34 pm [Reply]

    That’s supposed to be a snake? I was wondering why a giant poop was talking to a…a….whatever that other thing is…ostrich, coyote, offensive Jewish caricature? Who knows?
    In Mark Trail news, the Honorable Senator Badguy McSweatballs sure did grab that hanky fast. Where was it, spring-loaded in his sleeve?

  61. Canaduck
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:35 pm [Reply]

    Okay, I sort of liked the breaking-the-third wall joke in Beetle Bailey today. Sort of. It wasn’t all that well done, but I appreciated the effort and it didn’t annoy me as much as BB usually does. It’s kind of like when someone kicks you repeatedly in the stomach, then follows it up by punching you in the arm. The second one seems sort of nice in comparison even though it’s not really all that great. That’s what today’s Beetle Bailey is like.

  62. Baka Gaijin
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:35 pm [Reply]

    @Sequitur (#59): But Betty loves the “half-lodged Veronica” and Archie’s just the man to give it to her! Did I just say that? Eww.

  63. Sequitur
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:36 pm [Reply]

  64. Sequitur
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:38 pm [Reply]

    @Baka Gaijin (#62): What did you say? I didn’t hear you say anything. Nope, nothing at all. Silence. Dear, sweet, silence.

  65. Joseph J. Finn
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:41 pm [Reply]

    Silly Josh; everyone knows the only good pizza is in the Midwest, despite New Yorkers attempts to pass off flatbread with red sauce splashed on it as “pizza.” Chicagoans laugh at such things.

  66. These Strange Worlds
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:44 pm [Reply]

    @SF_Reader (#56):

    Thats a shame! (about the beavers I mean). Ah, but were they wiped out in the Seventies, when this story arc originally took place? Or in the Thirties… the period I suspect the author(s) still consider to be canon?

  67. These Strange Worlds
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:48 pm [Reply]


    Goldman Sachs cratering the pizza market through a calculated campaign of deceit, bribery, and market manipulation? Preposterous! Impossible. besides, we all know it was the Mafia:

  68. Shadow Newport
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:52 pm [Reply]

    Marmaduke: Yeah, those big dog jokes never get old. He may look like an oversexed Great Dane but he’s really a one “trick” pony.

    RMMD: Tarantulas. Huh. I did not see that coming.

    JP: More Neddy lounging in her teddy, please. Of course, these gratuitous scenes have to be interspersed with a moral lesson for Sophie, a lesson in tolerance for Sam, a lesson in the various modern methods of birth control for Abby, and hopefully a kick in the ass for Jules, who’s already taking up space I’d reserved for Cedric.

  69. These Strange Worlds
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:53 pm [Reply]

    Note to self: Don’t google “Saint Paul Beavers” at work with safe filter turned off.

    But I did find this:

    I remember seeing them when I consulted there in 2000, and I guess they were still around in 2005. Don’t the Minnesotans know that if the forest catches on fire, the beaver lakes will come in handy?

  70. Phred22
    April 21st, 2010 at 4:54 pm [Reply]

    Marmaduke: As Groucho once put it: “I have an explanation for this but even I don’t believe it.”

  71. commodorejohn
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:06 pm [Reply]

    @Joseph J. Finn (#65): It wouldn’t matter either way. Thin-crust or deep-dish, just about wherever you get it, it’s still going to be better than the reheated, goopy mess exported from Cancerville.

  72. JupiterPluvius
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:08 pm [Reply]

    @Farley’s Revenge (#53): I don’t think Mort Walker is dead. I think he is Death Itself.

    The name is an obvious pseud for the Death (“mort” en français) that WALKS among us.

    This strip is just a nod to the obvious truth that our mortality makes idiots of us all. Very clever, Mr. Death. You win this round.

  73. Dingo, the Essence of Purity and Virtue Incarnate™
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:08 pm [Reply]

    Wow. Never in my wildest dreams would I ever think that I shared an inclination with Marmaduke but today I was proved wrong. Then again, I’ve never had a fantasy about being sodomized by Hitler.

  74. SF_Reader
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:09 pm [Reply]

    @These Strange Worlds (#69): That’s why they’ll all gone now. I think they moved them up to Lake of the Woods where no one lives.

  75. cheech wizard
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:15 pm [Reply]

    Marmaduke – What is this, a New Yorker-style caption contest shout-out to us Mudges? Talk about a fat pitch over the plate. Then again, how many jokes can you make about a guy fucking his dog?

  76. curlyfries
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:17 pm [Reply]

    FW: I don’t know what makes me more bemused: Funky’s self-pitying image that he’s “someone who plays by the rules” and that apparently his ruined life is a result of Bernie Madoff, Goldman Sachs and the Tri-Lateral Commision’s hellbent vendetta on keeping him in his place; or that life and business are supposed to be played with a referee, and according to Hoyle. Honestly, I’d rather hang out with Job and watch his pizza bubble boils burst. Job at least grasped the concept that life isn’t fair and that shit happens no matter how much you “play by the rules”.

    Les, as usual, goes for a painfully self-evident observation that every child (except apparently these two) learned the first time they wanted ice cream for dinner. Funky will ignore it now, as he probably did then, because it’s more productive to blame everyone else. Les won’t mind since it will allow him to hijack the conversation back to his own neverending misery.

    MT: I think Senator Shvitzer’s impending coronary is actually caused by fear that his stuck-on hair and eyebrows are about to become flood victims.

    Either that or he’s openly smuggling two rare albino caterpillars for salad garnishes and knows he’s about to be busted.

  77. cheech wizard
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:22 pm [Reply]

    Josh: Chicago pizza is Midwest pizza. Detroit pizza is Midwest pizza. Both kick the crap out of New York pizza, which hasn’t been great since the 1960s.

    I don’t know what Cleveland pizza is like. But given his ex-business partner’s reaction to it, I’m sure Funky’s version blows.

  78. Master Softheart
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:23 pm [Reply]

    FW: I honestly don’t understand. The character speaking has been portrayed ever since the time jump as some kind of unholy mixture of Scrooge McDuck, Gordon Gekko, and Jabba the Hutt. He sidelined the original “Montoni” to retirement in Florida then degraded the quality of the old man’s signature pizza with cheap frozen ingredients and Chinese paint chips (there was a plotline about this). Becoming emotionally distant and cold, he ignored his wife and (step-?)son for the several years it took to plan and execute deals that franchised his pizza chain into several locations across the country, resulting in a strained marriage and contributing to his son’s descent into crime and hateful misanthropy. After his son stole thousands of dollars in cancer research money raised by Les, Funky chose to allow his best friend to suffer humiliation and self-loathing in the belief that he had somehow incompetently lost all that money in New York and simper gratefully when Funky ‘generously’ offered to personally donate enough money to make up for the ‘missing’ funds (presumably taking a large tax break for charitable donation for covering up his son’s theft from cancer victims).

    In case anyone doubted the characterization that was being set up, his relative heartlessness was emphasized by the Wally storyline. Funky ignored his brother or cousin or whatever for several months after he returned from a ridiculously implausible decade in captivity in East Terrorstan and was sequentially forgotten by the Army and the VA system, found to suffer a rare and ridiculous form of prosopagnosia, lost any back pay or benefits he might have been owed for reasons no one ever explained, and was snubbed and dumped by his own gravesite by his armless ex-wife. Funky the Hutt left Wally happily to his own poverty-stricken devices in a sunless efficiency to split his time between drinking, masturbation, and Russian Roulette until Wally suffered a public breakdown that only narrowly avoided a mass shooting at a high school basketball game, after which Funky grudgingly took some time out to drive Wally to the VA hospital and offered him a minimum wage job washing dishes.

    There are other examples, but if writing means anything, Batiuk has spent the last several months clearly and unambiguously establishing that the titular character in his comic is a heartless, unsympathetic, calculating bastard who values money and convenience over human connections. It was my assumption that the drawn-out death rattle of this strip would consist of some kind of moral redemption for Funky in which he rediscovered his humanity and the value of friendship – given the author, presumably through immense personal suffering ending in a melodramatic death.

    But whatever else, I do not recall any indication in this comic strip that the author of Funky’s misery and failure is anyone aside from Funky himself. Unlike Les and Lisa, he was not a victim of some implausible mix-up of medical records that result in death and tragedy. Unlike Wally, he is not a tragic sacrifice to the horrors of war and the bureaucracy of the military. Unlike Montoni, he has not had his American dream hijacked by a money-grubbing hack and turned into a Pizza-hut clone. Unlike deaf bad leader guy, he is not suffering a Beethoven-esque ironic tragedy of losing the sensory ability to do the one thing that has given his life meaning.

    In fact, uniquely in this strip, the arbitrary and heavy handed Batiuk Dildo of Fate has not singled him out for some implausible and morally undeserved suffering. So, really, seeing him blubbering from his rolls of decaying fat about the tragic loss of one of his business subsidiaries in a recession. The only plausible interpretation of this panel requires a level of subtlety that – honestly – is not the norm for this strip: deadpan irony. You see, I can think of few more accurate ways to describe Funky himself since the time-jump than a “greedy, amoral moron” whose actions have helped to ruin the lives of others who are “working hard and playing by the rules.” By this interpretation, there is a clever artistic ambiguity in whether Les is unaware of the irony and responding with generic human sympathy for a friend or is actually pointing out that the unfairness is for everyone else – especially those who have to listen to the whining of failed capitalists who are convinced that they were entitled to endless wealth and success and want to complain bitterly about how they have been somehow unfairly deprived.

    But if I have to believe Batiuk has written a degree of thematic abstraction into this strip that would be more at home in some obscure but clever Norwegian realist film, I will have to re-examine how I think about this comic.

    Archie: The joke is above average for Archie, but the reason to read this strip lies in the incidental details. I was most taken with the expression on the face of the inexplicable jumping fish at the bottom of panel 1, but the running joke of deranged, leering images on Betty’s shirts was also worthwhile.

    Phantom: Wait a minute, you randomly signed up as a crewman on a yacht to escape your guilt and grief, then destroyed a small independent pirate navy while fighting off the limpet-like advances of the sociopathic Captain Savarna, and now it occurs to you that maybe you should go talk to the in-laws? Note to self: never let my child marry a super-hero.

    JP: Manley is making our female leads his own, and I suppose I can live with that, but the beefcake needs work. Sam may be a condescending, emotionally disengaged slab of granite, but he was always easy on the eyes: Exhibit 1. In fact, the entire Napa Valley storyline was fantastic – both characters and composition.

  79. Digger
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:28 pm [Reply]

    MT: It looks like the Senator’s politcal career will soon be over. Luckily, he’s already dressed for his next job, Ice Cream Man!

    Things in today’s comics which I would rather eat than a Montoni’s pizza:
    -that scrawny, trans-fat loaded bird
    -a stick with a beaver’s teeth marks in it
    -a mop
    as for Marmaduke’s ass, that’s a tough call.

  80. Fashion Police
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:30 pm [Reply]

    It is entirely possible that the beads of sweat are forming on Bad Senator Wallace’s brow because he suddenly realized that everyone is smirking at his baby-turquoise suit.

  81. Lolsworth
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:33 pm [Reply]

    Oh, that’s rage alright in FW. Just entirely internalised rage. The kind of rage that smoulders inside you, pulling you tighter and tighter, burning you from the inside out until you’re nothing but an exhausted hollow human-shaped casket full of ashes and despair. (I may have just spoiled the eventual final Funky Winkerbean storyarc).

  82. ElkMeadow
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:39 pm [Reply]

    @One-eyed Wolfdog (#36):

    One of the letters today at the FBOFW web-site’s “Coffee Talk” announced that Dubuque Herald (Illinois) is dropping FBFW because the strip consists of mainly reruns. So not all the newspaper editors are all that bad. I’ve been told “Dustin” will be taking its place.

    And as for MW, just take the stuff back, Bonnie. It’s not like you have to walk through the searing desert to get back to the mall.

  83. Maggie
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:40 pm [Reply]

    FW: Les could’ve used that “chickens today, feathers tomorrow” line again today. In fact, he can probably just use it for the rest of the week. Or life.
    “Your business shut down? Chickens today, feathers tomorrow!”
    “You lost the basketball championship? Chickens today, feathers tomorrow!”
    “You won a baseball game? Lap it up now girl, because you’re gonna be sucking feathers tomorrow!”

  84. Josh
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:40 pm [Reply]

    @Joseph J. Finn (#65) and @cheech wizard (#77): I grew up in Buffalo, which has its own pizza variety about halfway between New York thin crust and Chicago deep dish; I imagine that Cleveland’s is probably similar. Frankly, I consider myself capable of appreciating the entire spectrum of the pizza experience, and I think there are good and bad exemplars of pizzas at all crust depths. I realize that I didn’t phrase it felicitously, but by “crappy midwestern pizza,” I meant not that midwestern pizza is crappy by definition, but that Montoni’s is a crappy version of the midwestern variety — both bad in and of itself and unfamiliar to the local palate to boot, thus consigning it to total failure. (Often something subpar gets a pass if it’s at least familiar; see for instance the surfeit of crappy thin-crust pizza places in NY or thick-crust pizza places in Chicago, or pretty much all fast food chains.) As Master Softheart points out in his masterpiece of a comment above, the objective shittiness of a Montoni’s pizza isn’t just me being mean; it’s an actual plot point that’s been established in the strip.


  85. Al of the Christian Singles Jungle Patrol
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:49 pm [Reply]

    @Josh (#84): Montoni’s pizza couldn’t possibly be all that bad. But then again, I have a certain fondness for Totino’s.

  86. Walker of Dog
    April 21st, 2010 at 5:52 pm [Reply]

    @These Strange Worlds (#67): I can relate, because I took a bath in the collateralized-pizza-derivatives market – a bath of rancid tomato sauce, capital losses, and despair.

    Shorter version: good pizza today, Montoni’s pizza tomorrow.

    @Phred22 (#70): The only way to tolerate today’s strip is to view it as a metaphor. Marmaduke is Poland and the couch is Danzig?

    @Master Softheart (#78): I was with you, right up until you slandered (libelled?) that sweet, sexy, crazy Captain Savarna.

  87. Pingu
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:00 pm [Reply]

    @ @Digger (#79):

    HA! The illegal poaching operation won’t end his political career. Instead, Mark will tip off Senator Sweaty’s opponent, who at the next re-election will suggest a televised debate. It will be like Nixon in 1960 all over again!

  88. curlyfries
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:02 pm [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#78): Bravo, sir. In an alternate universe, Tom Batiuk reads this brilliant anaylsis and has an epiphany because, honestly, it would be impossible not to. In real life, his stunted little brain decides some greasy microwaved pizza with Chinese red lacquer chips would be ‘specially tasty right about now.

    The classic phrase “Dildo of Fate” is also being hijacked by me for plenty of future use – where do I send the royalties?

  89. Zerowolf
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:02 pm [Reply]

    Marmaduke the Musical: bow-chicka-bow-wow

  90. Zerowolf
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:05 pm [Reply]

    A3G: Margo sensing forgiveness is like sharks sensing blood.

  91. TimSquare
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:08 pm [Reply]

    Marm: Gary Larson reprinted a comic which he drew of a dog standing on an overturned car howling in victory. He lamented that he drew motion lines around the tail and the transmission box to close to the hindquarters. He was deluged with letters (serious – not snarky) complaining about why he thinks a carchaser’s dream is to “make it” with a car.

    Archie: Notice the design on the shirt Jughead’s mom is taking out of the wash. Jughead’s mom is Lucy Brown nee Van Pelt. Luckily Jughead didn’t inherit his father Charlie’s skull shape.

    FW: The greedy, heartless morans are the liberal elite gov’ment and MSM. Funky and Les are going to join Mallard in a Tea Party Protest.

  92. Dr. Weird
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:13 pm [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#78):

    (On Funky Winkerbean)

    Now THAT is called writing!

  93. wossname
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:15 pm [Reply]

    @[Old Man] Muffaroo (#37): Yeah, yeah, a hat, and you were yelling at the kids to get off your lawn.

  94. Zerowolf
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:17 pm [Reply]

    @TimSquare (#91): It is against the rules to mention the duck that shall not be named.

  95. littlestevie
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:19 pm [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#78): Gosh, I really should of stayed awake more in my Modern American Fiction course in college. Then and only then could I have fully apprecited the depth of Batiuk’s prose that you so skillfully pointed out to me. Then again maybe not, because alas I did not go to the home of Pulitzer prize winning authors otherwise known as Kent State.

  96. Not Dead Eric
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:43 pm [Reply]

    Egads! Mort Walker is still alive, and holding the whip over several offspring and grand-offspring. Sort of charming if you go that way. (I don’t.) The problem is that the old idea of talking to your artist is badly done by almost everyone. Pastis gets a bye on that. So does Tumbleweeds (does it still exist?) So does Chickweed, which actually has elegant art. (Albeit heavyhanded stories, at times.)

    Anyway, Mr Walker is still at it. Let’s blame him.

    And by the way, Yea for the funnies!

  97. Austria
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:50 pm [Reply]

    Arch: …..The second panel…..what?

    BB: Hurr.

    BC: Personally, I like silent panels. Chuckled internally at the joke too.

    Luann: Okay, who here DIDN’T see this coming from a mile away?


    RMMD: Rex is totally flashing Toots some lip action in that first panel. “Get started on the tarantulas,” indeed.

    Tomorrow is Earth Day. That day which I dread more than any other as far as the comics page is concerned. That day when nearly every strip becomes preachy. I’m all for preserving the environment and such, but really? Earth Day on the comics page has just become anvilicious.

  98. Écureuil Écumant
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:55 pm [Reply]

    BB: We probably don’t want to know what Beetle’s mopping up there, especially given that feather-eatin’ grin on his face.

  99. Miss Othmar
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:56 pm [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#78): Well, I guess there must be something in the rules that says that a COTW should be under 10 lines long — otherwise the header would be awfully big. There should be a separate recognition category for contributions of such eloquence that are too long for COTW. Of course, when the Pope Himself refers to your post as a masterpiece, I guess that’s about as good as it gets….

  100. Citric
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:58 pm [Reply]

    Marmaduke: Because I want to make sure everyone needs therapy, the pants seem to be indicating that Marmaduke’s owner is hung like a horse. You’re welcome.

  101. Écureuil Écumant
    April 21st, 2010 at 6:59 pm [Reply]

    @86 Walker of Dog said:

    The only way to tolerate today’s strip is to view it as a metaphor. Marmaduke is Poland and the couch is Danzig?

    … Hitler is Stalin and the couch is Katyn? [*]

  102. JamesMurton
    April 21st, 2010 at 7:00 pm [Reply]

    Mark Trail: ‘By the way, we put one of Devo in a suit and got him to sit in on the meeting. Hope you don’t mind!’

  103. This Guy
    April 21st, 2010 at 7:01 pm [Reply]

    @Austria (#97): Mutts has apparently been stockpiling anvils all year and has beaten the Earth Day rush by starting on Monday.

  104. Sed
    April 21st, 2010 at 7:16 pm [Reply]

    “You also own a popular restaurant that sells illegal wild game which comes from YOUR camp – such as this succulent free-range beaver!”

    Actually, I feel like that second panel in today’s Mark Trail is reminiscent of The Flintstones – I picture the beaver responding to the bushmeat allegation sighing, “eh – it’s a living!”

  105. Lee
    April 21st, 2010 at 7:30 pm [Reply]

    @Citric (#100):
    It can’t be unseen!!

  106. Mike
    April 21st, 2010 at 7:35 pm [Reply]

    BB: I’m actually impressed… I think we’ve all watched Pastis dip into that bucket many, many times, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen it done with the artist’s signature (and not a character)… has that been done before, and where if so?

  107. gnome de blog
    April 21st, 2010 at 7:37 pm [Reply]

    Les Moore said:

    Apparently life wasn’t conceived with fairness in mind.

    If writing means anything, to borrow @Master Softheart’s (#78) phrase, no self-respecting editor anywhere would let either Les or Mr. Batiuk get away with such a prolix turn of cliché.

  108. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    April 21st, 2010 at 7:44 pm [Reply]

    @skullcrusherjones (#49): There’s gotta be a hell for hellhounds too.

    @Phred22 (#70): “Outside of a dog, a book is man’s best friend. Inside a dog, it’s too disgusting to contemplate.”

    @JupiterPluvius (#72): I once landed a job redrawing a birds-eye map of a military base (because there were new buildings and such). The original map was, I kid you not, signed by “Mori.” I thought of paying tribute to the earlier artist by drawing a small skull in where the signature had been. It didn’t matter that nobody would have gotten it.

    @Sed (#104): Perfect! Next time I see a big bird looking out of the foreground, I’ll imagine that it’s saying “Awwk! For THIS I hadda go to night school?”

  109. commodorejohn
    April 21st, 2010 at 7:55 pm [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#78): That…that was epic. Would that I could have written such a dissertation on the subject. My hat is off to you, sir.

    Of course, expecting internal consistency and coherent storytelling from a man who basically writes misery porn is like expecting nuanced social commentary from Pluggers, but somehow I keep doing it anyway.

  110. gleeb
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:00 pm [Reply]

    91, re Archie: I think that Jughead is just so gluttonous, his Mom has to take in washing to keep him fed.

    ‘bean: What, no smirking? I agree with everyone who has pointed out that Funky himself is a corner-cutting would-be sharpie, who used cheap ingredients in his Buckeye pizza, and was understandably slapped down by the pie-savvy consumers of Gotham. But no wry humor, no puns, no nothing?
    I think if we bring this panel in contact with Love Is…, they would both be annihilated in a burst of energy.

    Luann: Heck with TJ. Death to the Gunth!

    Pluggers: …scorn your hipster scooter stores, city slickers!

    Spidey: And they you get crushed by the collapse of the unbalanced machine. Nice plan, Einstein.

  111. AJ
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:01 pm [Reply]

    Archie-I noticed that in order for the cellphone to be ground up, the food dispenser had to be on, which meant that it either had to be turned on or was already on for some other reason–not sure…I did notice the Charlie Brown shirt in the second panel and the design on Betty’s shirt in the third panel. However, I can’t quite get past the fish in the first panel. Does it know about the food dispenser in the other basin? How’d it get there anyway? Did it drop out of Jughead’s sandwich?

  112. Alison
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:10 pm [Reply]

    Wow, “Funky Winkerbean”!! You mean to tell me life isn’t fair?! Oh my gosh! I’ve never thought of that in my whole life! I always just thought life was fair all the time! Your idea that life might not be fair has just blown my brain!! What an observation!!

  113. Mooncattie
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:14 pm [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#78):

    What a pleasure to read! All I can add to that is a picture of a greedy, amoral moron.

  114. professor fate
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:18 pm [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#78): Bravo!

    Just to add, that this man ranting about greed is the same guy whose picture of him tossing dollar bills about with a look of absolute complete joy graced the cover of Pizza Monthly some months back. If planned a masterwork of irony, if not well Batuik being Batiuk.

  115. Buck Ripsnort
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:23 pm [Reply]

    Judging from his grin, M-Puke has totally had bigger.

  116. Buck Ripsnort
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:27 pm [Reply]

    DtM: Dennis is only in a high chair because the artist can’t draw sophisticated bondage equipment.

  117. Buck Ripsnort
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:38 pm [Reply]

    M-Puke is grinning because he’s re-enacting Tommy Loy the Cabin Boy.

  118. curlyfries
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:45 pm [Reply]

    @professor fate (#114): Taking that into consideration, it takes an obscene amount of crust to produce a pity-party on the scale of this one. Too bad Funky didn’t reserve any for the actual pizzas, the damn franchise might still be open.

  119. A New Day
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:45 pm [Reply]

    @[Old Man] Muffaroo (#34): Re: Mark Trail, I also wondered what response there could be to the Senator in the last panel. “Um, I’m accusing you of … what I just accused you of. Is this a trick question?”

  120. Mr. O'Malley
    April 21st, 2010 at 8:55 pm [Reply]

    MT: Talking about implausible business plans, most Americans don’t like to eat goose, legal or otherwise, so it’s hard to imagine making much of a profit on it. Perhaps the Senator grinds up the geese and markets the result as boneless chicken wings.

  121. Mr. O'Malley
    April 21st, 2010 at 9:02 pm [Reply]

    April 21st, 2010 at 9:18 pm [Reply]

    Josh….you …I’m not going to fall for your baiting comment about Midwestern pizza. I can see right through you. Trying to get the great pizza debate going. I’m not gonna do it. Having lived in Michigan, Ohio, Illinois and Indiana, I may have a little sometun to say, but nope. My time here can be more productively spent snarking on my brethren (no matter how misinformed you may be). That’s all I got to say about that…..
    Oh Ziggy, will you ever catch a break?

  123. Crankshafts Funky Smelling Corpse
    April 21st, 2010 at 9:30 pm [Reply]

    Master Softhart: I salute you.

  124. He Who Must Be Oh Never Mind
    April 21st, 2010 at 9:37 pm [Reply]

    If you take a close look at Senator Baddie’s hair — it must be a quarter-inch thick at that strangely level line where it stops — you can see he’s not actually going bald. He’s sporting a bald cut, no doubt to give himself the appearance of age and wisdom. Bet his hair isn’t white, either. He’s a nineteen-year-old sk8r who wears a buttoned-up suit no matter what the weather to hide his tribal tats. That’s why he’s sweating!

  125. bourbon babe, unbuckled
    April 21st, 2010 at 9:49 pm [Reply]

    @queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando (#y294): Thanks for the squeefest; I sort of needed it tonight. And that praying weasel is a pretty good representation of me longing for the end of the semester.

  126. Chip Whittle
    April 21st, 2010 at 9:52 pm [Reply]

    @Mike (#106):

    BB: I’m actually impressed… I think we’ve all watched Pastis dip into that bucket many, many times, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen it done with the artist’s signature (and not a character)… has that been done before, and where if so?

    I believe Elzie Segar played such games a few times, but that was a long time ago, and using his signature icon of, er, a cigar, rather than his, er, signature.

  127. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:03 pm [Reply]

    Gasoline Alley: Gertie. Walt’s like 109. I think he’s done enough walking for one lifetime, and then some. Let him watch all the damn TV he wants. Stop trying to help.

  128. The TJ
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:05 pm [Reply]

    BB: Hmm, I’d think a guy who could actually talk to GOD would be worth noting. In almost every version I can think of (Invention of Lying, Horton Hears a Who, and The Ten Commandments) anytime anyone says they can speak to a being beyond our understanding they… DO something with the information.

    Beetle Bailey used it to show Beetle sounds kinda funny. Good show.

  129. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:07 pm [Reply]

    Luann: Hm. Tiffany’s gonna use Gunther to get Quill, huh? Gunther, if you play your cards right, Tiffany’s still gonna play you, but it’ll be the best time of your life since you made bondage gear for Luann’s rendition of The Story Of O.

  130. Crunchy Frog
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:07 pm [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#78):
    “…degraded the quality of the old man’s signature pizza with cheap frozen ingredients and Chinese paint chips (there was a plotline about this)…”

    Seriously? Wait, seriously? I’ve always avoided reading Funky Winkerbean. Now you’ve gotten me all curious. How did paint chips end up in the pizza??

  131. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:10 pm [Reply]

    SF: Hm. Jackie. Don’t sleep with Ralph. Ever. Also, you should never lounge around his house wearing just your tiny wisps of underwear. Never, never do this. Gimme a few minutes and i’ll come up with other things you should never do while wearing latex.

  132. Crunchy Frog
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:12 pm [Reply]

    @Mike (#106):
    “BB: I’m actually impressed… I think we’ve all watched Pastis dip into that bucket many, many times, but I’m not sure that I’ve ever seen it done with the artist’s signature (and not a character)… has that been done before, and where if so?”

    I know I’ve seen that done before, but I can’t think when or by whom. Maybe some examples will come to me… ‘though if so, it’ll doubtless be long after this instance has been forgotten and it’ll be a moot point.

  133. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:14 pm [Reply]

    RMMD: June. Doc. Quit trying to play Prof. Higgins to Toots and Brooke’s Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady and let Brooke get drunk in her underwear. Right now.

  134. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:16 pm [Reply]

    My Cage: Norm. Bridget. Get some couple’s counseling, please. And stay away from the donuts.

  135. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:16 pm [Reply]

    MW: Bonnie. Don’t smoke so much pot. Sell some to pay those bills.

  136. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:19 pm [Reply]

    FC: Gramma Keane. Go out and have some adventures. And clean your glasses. Jeffy, you stay away from the donuts, too.

  137. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:21 pm [Reply]

    FW: Funky. Les. Go ride the subways of New York City, and get some .45 caliber revenge on those who have wronged you. It won’t do you any good, but it’ll sure as hell lighten things up since the V For Vendetta guy showed up for Lisa.

  138. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:23 pm [Reply]

    Beetle Bailey: Mort. Don’t go all meta on us. That’s just crazy shit. Animal Man’s never been right since Grant Morrison did that to him.

  139. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:24 pm [Reply]

    reFOOB: Ladies. Do not worship at the fountain of eternal youth. I forget which Greek myth warns against it, but no doubt it’ll really fuck you up.

  140. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:25 pm [Reply]

    9CL: Waitress. Call 911. Call the CIA. Ask if they can call the Mossad.

  141. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:26 pm [Reply]

    Archie: Jughead’s Mom. Leave Charlie Brown’s laundry alone.

  142. Baka Gaijin
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:28 pm [Reply]

    Luann: If Gunther’s lucky, in a few days he could write,

    “Dear Penthouse,

    My day started like any other. I dropped my books, hit my head on the water fountain picking them up, and got water sprayed onto the seat of my pants. Like I said, just like every other day. Except today the hottest cheerleader in the school and her gothy best friend came up to me and…”

  143. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:29 pm [Reply]

    DT: Dick, don’t do the play. I know you’ve gone up against, and mercilessly gunned down the likes of Flattop and Mumbles and The Brow, but you’ve never had to work with…..THEATER PEOPLE !!!.

  144. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:31 pm [Reply]

    Pluggers: Dan Dog ! Why aren’t you drinking Budweiser while riding that John Deere lawn tractor? What in hell kind of Plugger are you??

  145. Jamus The Bartender
    April 21st, 2010 at 10:32 pm [Reply]

    Marmaduke: Mister Hitler. Please stop…..ah hell, it’s all been said, really.

  146. SWMBO
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:01 pm [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#78): Kudos to you! I enjoyed reading every word. And now am wondering..irony? ..or not?

  147. Black Drazon
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:06 pm [Reply]

    Wait, so Senator Badguy here decided to run a park and then, for absolutely zero reason whatsoever decided to kick the metaphorical puppy by having its restaurant serve illegal game, yes? And despite being a politician (having to win an election, serve on the Senate) and being a Mark Trail villain (having to cackle maniacally while tying woman to train tracks, suffer from depression at his male pattern balding depressing his ability to grow the prescribed hairstyle), he has no prepared defence for being accused of his crimes? Thankfully, as far as our entertainment is concerned, he has decided to drown the other white collars in a pool of his own bodily fluids, but it might take a few days. That’s all right. I’ll wait.

  148. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:09 pm [Reply]

    @bourbon babe, unbuckled (#125): any time, bourbon babe, and glad I could help make a day a bit brighter.

  149. NoahSnark
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:09 pm [Reply]

    Mort Walker is doing an excellent job making Beetle Bailey stop being funny – though admittedly that’s like stopping a car that has been stuck in neutral for fifty years.

  150. Johnny Knuckles
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:09 pm [Reply]

    How else would one hump Marmaduke if not doggy style?

    Rage Against the Funky. Watch out capitalism. Pluggers will go after you next.

  151. commodorejohn
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:10 pm [Reply]

    @Black Drazon (#147): I’m not sure there is such a thing as a “defense” in the Mark Trail universe. I’ve seen villains lie to prevent discovery, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody try to cover for their behavior once the cat is out of the bag. I think it’s probably fundamentally impossible.

  152. Sheila Sternwell
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:16 pm [Reply]

    Speaking of Midwestern pizza, a few months ago my small Kansas town got a new pizza parlour called AJ’s New York Pizza. A competing pizza joint put up a billboard that said “NOT NEW YORK, NOT CHICAGO, BUT KANSAS STYLE PIZZA!” This was in earnest, you see, completely non-ironic and intended to make you want to purchase pizza from these fine individuals.

    I defy anyone to come up with something less appetizing than “KANSAS STYLE PIZZA” without using the word “feces.”

  153. commodorejohn
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:18 pm [Reply]

    @Sheila Sternwell (#152): Does “Marvin-style pizza” count as not using the word “feces?” Probably not.

  154. Hasty Penguin
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:19 pm [Reply]

    Are the police in the Dick Tracy universe all owned and operated by giant robot manufacturers? Seems like Diet Smith’s invention might have failed in being of use to Dick Tracy, but politically has become a dictator and now owns the police and forces the humans to use robotic phonetics in all forms of public display.

  155. Vince
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:20 pm [Reply]

    I’ll feel cheated if tomorrow’s Earth Day comics don’t include Mark Trail punching someone.

  156. The TJ
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:22 pm [Reply]

    @Sheila Sternwell (#152): ….

    “Detriot-style pizza”?

  157. DAS
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:45 pm [Reply]

    MT: > 150 comments and nobody seems to have made an “eating beaver” joke yet?

    BB: Christian @#3 — you forget — that booty belongs to Sarge.

  158. cheech wizard
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:54 pm [Reply]

    @The TJ (#156): You’ve obviously never had Detroit pizza.

  159. Steve the Pocket
    April 21st, 2010 at 11:57 pm [Reply]

    Josh, I think you’ve misinterpreted Funky’s rant. The “greedy, amoral morons” are not anyone in-universe; they’re Batiuk and his syndicate editors, who are determined to milk the Doom and Despair angle for all its worth because, apparently, it’s what the audience wants, caring not a lick for the innocent, fictional lives that are dragged through the mud along the way.

  160. Steve the Pocket
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:04 am [Reply]


    These are the words of a colossal douche. I don’t know if Batiuk has just forgotten that arc already, or if he just assumed the audience had and thought they’d respond better to a [sym]pathetic Funky than one who had gotten [poetic] justice. I’m this close to writing to the guy myself and calling him out, but I’ll give it a few more days just in case he was planning to revisit that Funky-is-a-douche angle.

  161. Master Softheart
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:13 am [Reply]

    84, 88, 92, 95, 99, 109, 123, 146: My very sincere thanks – you are more kind to my attempt to softheartedly sublimate a moment of frustration with this strip than I deserve… after posting that, I was rather frustrated with myself for inflicting such a ponderous wall of text on the commentariat (and for the two glaring grammatical errors that I only hoped the length of the comment would conceal from notice).

    This had been building up for a while; I am advising a thesis on how the VA treats PTSD and had sworn off of commenting on Funky Winkerbean while the Wally story was limping along. Strong am I with Softheartedness, but not that strong.

    113, 114: Oh, thank you! That was exactly the image I remembered while contemplating the magnitude of the irony in today’s comic, but there was no way I was going to go wandering through the archives looking for it. (Unlike the Napa Valley story in Judge Parker, which I enjoyed perusing in the archives to no end… oh, Trudi, how I will miss Barreto’s vision of you).

  162. Master Softheart
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:14 am [Reply]

    @Steve the Pocket (#160): Yes, I’d forgotten that one…

  163. The TJ
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:17 am [Reply]

    @cheech wizard (#158): I obviously haven’t, I just tried to think of an area that was commonly used as the butt of jokes and thought of the Fistful of Yen joke “No, not Detroit!”

    Maybe mississippi style pizza? I don’t even know anymore…

  164. yellojkt
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:18 am [Reply]

    @Mooncattie (#113): Wow. It’s all true. The awfulness of a Montoni pizza is canonical:

    Batuik is extending a metaphor that equates Montoni Pizza with the decline of newspapers and of comics specifically. By constantly watering down the quality they are just digging their own grave. He tirades against a dying industry knowing that he is part of the problem.

  165. True Fable
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:19 am [Reply]

    The Amazing Total Lack of Sense Yes, because not a single person in the whole Miami Fair is going to think of looking from the web-captured people back up along the webbing to the gondola where you and MJ are seated, Peter. They’ll all just scratch their heads and say “I wonder where that web came from? God knows we haven’t the sense to actually, you know, look to find out! And how does a superhero manage to swing in the kind of arcs Spidey does without scraping his ass on the pavement because we don’t have that many high buildings downtown, much less out in the suburbs?”

    I hate this comic strip. It is a complete waste of space.

  166. yellojkt
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:21 am [Reply]

    @Sheila Sternwell (#152): St. Louis style pizza, of which they are inexplicably proud, is a dry cracker style that is cut into rectangles.

  167. True Fable
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:26 am [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#78): Now THAT is a rant! My hat is off to you, good sir!

  168. Dante
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:30 am [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#161):

    I don’t normally comment here, nor do I usually find myself engrossed in the longer comments, but your commentary was no mere rant… It was a very focused, insightful, and intelligent deconstruction of FW, and some of the best writing I’ve read in a while. So I felt compelled to add to the praise. Perhaps if you were to take over for Batuik, then we might see that corner of the funny pages actually live up to its name. Well done, you are indeed the master. COTW, in my mind, despite its length.

  169. True Fable
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:31 am [Reply]

    @yellojkt (#166):

    Greater Metropolitan Roopville pizza consists of a sad half-cooked paste topped with whole tomatoes, various produce from the garden complete with vines, and stinky cheese. This we ceremoniously dump in the wastecan before turning to a piping hot Di Grigorio’s Supreme and a big plastic tub of goat cheese from Coles Lake Dairy.

  170. Soccerhead
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:40 am [Reply]

    @yellojkt (#164): I believe this was when the Funkster was being interviewed for Pizza World magazine.
    Is that a real magazine

  171. Soccerhead
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:40 am [Reply]

    @yellojkt (#164): I believe this was when the Funkster was being interviewed for Pizza World magazine.
    Is that a real magazine BTW?

  172. teddytoad
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:50 am [Reply]

    Hmmm, is it a coincidence that this Marmaduke appeared the very day after United States v. Stevens, in which the Supreme Court struck down on First Amendment grounds a law against depictions of cruelty to animals? To ask that question is to answer it.

  173. Poteet
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:58 am [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#78): I’m in awe.

  174. KarMann
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:58 am [Reply]

    @yellojkt (#164): In addition to the craptacular behaviour on display in that FW, thanks for reminding us of a splendid crotch shot of Funky! Just what I always wanted!

  175. Mr. O'Malley
    April 22nd, 2010 at 12:59 am [Reply]

    @Sheila Sternwell (#152): I remember seeing a television ad for an Australia pizza company that showed evil chuckling Yanks wheeling wheelbarrows full of cash to a waiting villainous Yankee plane that would spirit it all away to vile Yankeeland, and ended with the plea to buy Australian pizza, made in Australia by Australians for Australians.

    Maybe that was where the Kansans got the idea.

    However Australia has plenty of Italian immigrants who can supply information about making pizza, a decent cup of espresso, etc. This may be the part of the concept that they missed out on in Kansas.

  176. Poteet
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:11 am [Reply]


    MT — Wait one dang minute. Who provided all those handy photos, the Good Anti-Poaching Fairy? We seem to have skipped several steps in this so-called plot.

    MW — The alien entity we call Mary has no need to look at whatever she’s slicing. She can stare upward as she speaks to her latest victim, channeling faint vibrations from her home planet. And as a side note, I’d like to see the kind of boots Bonnie would want to buy at this time of year.

    S-M — Hey, ArachniDork, you’re in Miami, remember? You left your costume hundreds of miles away, remember? You’ve been mysteriously shooting web with NO wrist doohickies, and I know this because I’ve been looking for them. So now the wrist doohickies have magically appeared? I call bullshit, bullshit, bullshit!

  177. Poteet
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:22 am [Reply]


    FC — Jeffy, between the weird pants and the beer belly and the crying, you’ve never looked worse. Congrats.

    JP — Neddy smiles reminiscently, remembering how Jules’ back locked up the first time she showed him the Dildo of Fate.

  178. mollificent
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:23 am [Reply]

    A3G: Well, at least someone around here’s getting closure.

    Apologies if someone’s already posted this…I was too busy watching “Glee” twice to go back through comments and check. ;)

  179. curlyfries
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:33 am [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#161): And here we are, just for you…strike up the KSU Marching Band, because Funky Winkerbean, “This Is Your [Douchey] Life!”

    (I can’t find that Chinese paint ingredient bit, tho, and I left out the bits with Wally because he wouldn’t sign the release – he just kept looking at the pen and wouldn’t stop screaming.)

    I’m so glad you took the time to put that together, and “ponderous” is the last word I’d ever use to describe it. I really love a beautifully crafted nice long flamethrower of a rant, and since this one had great anaylsis while simultaneously making Jeremiah look like a piker, I nominate you for COTY (Comment of the Year). I’m really at a loss anyway to understand how a cartoonist can create a main character and then deliberately turn him into a 24 carat gold plated asshat, but what really pisses me off is that Batiuk has the gall to think he can really pull some revisionist history wool over everyone’s eyes just because it’s somehow now more topical to jump on the Failed Economy bandwagon.

  180. bats :[
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:39 am [Reply]

    @bourbon babe, unbuckled (#125): I think the praying weasel is actually an otter.
    But then again, I might be misinterpreting the beginning of the prayer as “Our Fotter, Who art in Heaven”…

  181. Ralph Kramden
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:46 am [Reply]

    @bats :[ (#180):

    Do you wanna go to the moon!? DO YOU WANNA GO TO THE MOON?

  182. Walker of Dog
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:47 am [Reply]

    @Poteet (#176): Man, you aren’t kidding – that Spider-Man is heavy with Fail. The missing fourth panel would show Peter’s delayed realization that people might, you know, look at him. His chronic fear of exposure would trigger yet another panic attack, and he would drop the riders to their deaths, start whistling and look up at the sky.

    Maybe Mary Jane keeps his web-shooters in her purse? Although, as you pointed out, when Peter rescued the lady from the burning building, he didn’t even have them on. Damned strip can’t even keep a grip on its own half-assed retconning.

  183. KarMann
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:52 am [Reply]

    DT: One of the forensics people makes a special request to the Chief about the Police Hdqtrs Muzak system: He’s really sick of hearing “Purple Rain” over and over again.

    Groovy Blinkerlegume: And the world is a much better place for it. Is this the obligatory Earth Day moment of FW, then?

    Big Dog: Unspeakable cleanliness!

    MW: Yep, that same drawing is back again, for the fourth time. The lower lines on the window are new, and the colouring is certainly different. But it’s essentially the same. Booo!

    Pluggers are completely incapable of wrapping their brains [*] around such a complicated thing as “inflation”.

    RMMD: Wow! Fastest lipstick application ever between the second & third panels!

    SM: Well, I think we can now officially say that Spidey’s web-shooters work on pure magic, since they were completely absent as recently as Sunday. I suppose we might get some excuse about their having been in his pockets, but I’d never buy that he’d have time to get them on his wrist(s) before those people splatted.

  184. Master Softheart
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:59 am [Reply]

    @curlyfries (#179): You… you have undertaken a dark and harrowing journey. I think I might have damaged myself if I had tried to sift through 8 months of 2008 Funk to dredge out those putrescent, sickly-glistening comic portrayals. Though I fear for your mental health, I admire your perseverance.

    I choose to believe that no one can be so lacking in self-awareness as to not provide some payoff to the carefully crafted though repulsive portrayal of Funky that has been built up over the last few years. Today’s strip must be part of a distasteful but artistically coherent development. Even if no one else who reads this forsaken and hateful little comic notices or appreciates it, I will at least give the author credit for a true mastery of contemptuous irony.

    And I might have been exaggerating very slightly about the paint chips.

    167 (True Fable) and 173 (Poteet): The praise of the praiseworthy is beyond price. Thank you, and may you invoke the Dildo of Fate to better ends than those imagined by Batiuk.

  185. Poteet
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:59 am [Reply]

    @Walker of Dog (#182): Thank you. I needed to read that.

  186. This Guy
    April 22nd, 2010 at 2:07 am [Reply]

    @KarMann (#183): I think the Mary Worth artist is gradually trying to make this strip part of the “constrained comics” movement. Or he’s been secretly replaced by David Lynch. It’s hard to tell which.

    FW – Not pictured: God saying “I am so close to victory!”

  187. Jason1981
    April 22nd, 2010 at 2:26 am [Reply]


    JP: “No, kiddo, actually his back locked up ’cause I kept him tied up too long in one position. I guess that’s what happens when you try to role-play as Counselor Troy, Wonder Woman and June Morgan all at once”

    “…Ah, so THAT’S why you’re dressed like that!”

    RMMD: “And soon, she’ll have her own little slaves to collar. …Oh wait, you meant the fingernail thing, right? ”

    Spider-douche: Yeah, you also hoped you wouldn’t be tempted to become Spider-Man on vacation and look how THAT turned out, dumb-ass.

    Luann: Umm..Crystal, you might want to suggest someone OTHER than Gunther to make Quill jealous. …And how’s it gonna work anyway, when Tiff already said other guys like her?!

    reFOOB: “STOP!” Hammer Time!

  188. its Stephen
    April 22nd, 2010 at 2:40 am [Reply]

    I’m trying to think of what I would say if, after I yelled “You own a popular restaurant that sells illegal wild game which comes from your camp,” someone asked me what I was accusing them of. The only answer I can come up with is “You own a popular restaurant that sells illegal wild game which comes from your camp.”

  189. Master Softheart
    April 22nd, 2010 at 2:57 am [Reply]

    Thursday Phantom: I will suspend a great deal of disbelief for the Phantom, but flying a helicopter from the coast of Africa to New York (set aside the fact that the decision to make the flight seems based on information from the different continuity of the Sunday strips) makes this difficult. Let us ignore the visual differences and grant the assumption that the African pirates attacking Savarna’s ship had a Sikorsky HH-3E helicopter on deck equipped with pontoons. So far as I know, the “Pelican” has the longest range of any service helicopter commonly used over water at 779 miles. Further assuming that Savarna’s ship was attacked off the coast of Dakar, perhaps near the Cape Verde islands, the minimum flight distance to White Plains, NY, is over 3,700 miles. This distance would require slightly less than five full refuelings. If flown straight, the entire journey would be over water with no obvious opportunities for refueling from external sources.

    But aha! The Phantom salvaged a few barrels of fuel from the sinking freighter before taking off. The fuel tank capacity of the Pelican is 3180 liters (roughly 840 gallons). Ignoring the problems of actually conducting the refueling, this would require that the Phantom salvage nearly 4200 gallons of fuel from the sinking hulk and load it on the helicopter. At a liquid weight of 6.5 pounds per gallon, this works out to the Phantom transporting 27,300 pounds of fuel in barrels, carrying it from the hold of a sinking ship to a floating helicopter. Okay, he’s a superhero, but even so the maximum takeoff weight of the Pelican is 22,050 pounds!

    So what’s my point? My point is that I never would have spent this much time thinking about Spider Man. The Phantom is just that awesome.

  190. curlyfries
    April 22nd, 2010 at 3:48 am [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#189): Uh, forgive me for pointing out that other than a very slight over gross weight problem of about 2.5 tons that the Phantom’s awesomeness might be able to overcome, the HH3E is powered by two T58-GE-5 engines – which, being turbines, run on JetA fuel. The fuel salvaged from the sinking freighter is probably what’s termed “bunker 380″, a cheap low-grade fuel that’s actually the gunky residue that’s left after all the more valuable distillates have been removed from the oil refining process. It’s incredibily viscous and about as close to Jet A or kerosene as onions are to billiard balls. Furthermore, bunker 380 has to be heated to reduce its viscosity before you can even pump it though a fuel tank, and heated again before it’s thin enough to run it though an engine.

    Now, I figure The Plantom could rig up a sort of Bunsen Burner dealie to accomplish this, seeing how he’s smarter than that numbnuts Spider-Man, but if he’s going to throw that crap into engines that run on Jet A he’ll have the thin the mix with some gasoline or else he’ll be piloting a smoking stink bomb all the way across the Atlantic. (Always assuming they could cope with that degraded gunge rather than a decent grade of diesel, that is.) And unfortunately I don’t see a Shell station anywhere.

    This would definitely not be great for the environment in a general global-warming sense, but that’s nothing compared to the reception he’d get when he landed this stinker on his hostile and grieving in-laws’ front lawn, killing every Garden Club prize-winning azalea within a 75 mile radius of White Plains, to say nothing of giving all the neighborhood kids black lung.

    Anyway. I figured you’d secretly want to know all this – just in case, you know, he did solve that weight problem.

  191. Master Softheart
    April 22nd, 2010 at 4:11 am [Reply]

    @curlyfries (#190): I admit I’d assumed that the freighter had a supply of aviation fuel for its indigenous helicopter aboard and that this was the cache raided by the Ghost-Who-Understands-Rotary-Wing-Logistics. This assumption seemed supported by the fact that Kit found barrels of fuel stored in rooms 1-2 levels below the ersatz flight deck – convenient for the pirates who presumably used the helicopter to support raids and transport raiders and captured crew members between mother ship and captured prizes. Had the Phantom raided the bunkers holding the ship’s own fuel supplies, he would have had to transfer fuel (presumably diesel in a converted bulk carrier) from the ship’s own bunkers to barrels for transport back to the helicopter.

    And, really, who would believe something that implausible?

  192. Mr. O'Malley
    April 22nd, 2010 at 4:20 am [Reply]

    A-3G: Which is more hard-core? Getting a mugger to sell you his gun, or getting a cop to dispose of an illegal firearm for you?

    FC: You are about to experience a “sudden acceleration” to the ass.

    FW: When I come home from a trip out of town, I always take my suitcase in to work too!

    It’s us against the world! The last bastion of low-quality reheated frozen pizza! And Toxic Taco and Parma Perogies are kicking our ass!

    Luann: …because this school has only three male students. Isn’t that right? Gunther, Quill and Knute? And five female students.

    MT: There’s no possible way this could be cost-effective. Even if the poachers worked for free, the transportation costs would be higher than buying legal meat. “We make it up in volume!”

    MW: I hope that some day we will see someone try to sit on that two-legged stool.

    Pluggers remember the days before television. Who can calculate the minimum age of a Plugger?

    RwO: Best “Earth Day” cartoon.

    Phantom: Thank you, @Master Softheart (#189), for your excellent analysis. The only plausible scenario I can come up with is that the Phantom brought up some of the pirates’ loot—say a chest of blood diamonds—and landed on the deck of a tramp steamer and paid them handsomely to transport him to within a couple hundred miles of New York.

    A lot of people around here are complaining that our local airport is losing flights because the city is not investing enough to keep the airport up to date. I can see now how far we are falling behind—they haven’t even made a start on installing the anti-aircraft guns.

  193. curlyfries
    April 22nd, 2010 at 5:13 am [Reply]

    @Master Softheart (#191): Normally I’d say that I’d sooner believe Tom Batiuk had the foresight to envision a payoff for Funky’s colossal assiness then I’d believe that, except that The-Ghost-Who-Had-The-Foresight-To-Untie-The-Helicopter-But-Neglected-To-Really-Investigate-His-Wife’s-Death is clearly slogging through a waterlogged freighter engine room on April 2nd (seriously, it is: toting yet another barrel of fuel. Your assumption that Jet A would most probably be stored 1-2 decks below topside is probably correct, but the visuals prove that The-Ghost-Who-Does-Everything-The-Hard-Way headed straight for the thick molasses diesel stores in the belly of the ship rather than look for barrels of cleaner burning Jet A and a goddamn hose.

    Which is really terribly disillusioning, because it means that Kit Walker is really just another man who won’t stop and ask for directions.

  194. Lesser Whark
    April 22nd, 2010 at 5:50 am [Reply]

    @curlyfries (#193): Well spotted. I think most of us assumed the Phantom was still outdoors beneath the helipad, because going inside would be (1) STUPID, and (2) dark. Seriously, where’s the light coming from? Also, I thought the scenes involved generic machinery, but your photo shows that the artist did his homework properly – so why couldn’t they come up with a more plausible plot?

    Even if we assume that The Phantom Universe uses Hollywood fuel (refuels everything from mopeds to oil tankers, but explodes in spectacular cinematic fireballs at the slightest provocation), how did the helicopter not slide into the superstructure and smash into a pieces? If it was so easy to launch, why did the pirates not do so?

    In the real world, if you ever find yourself on a sinking ship with a helicopter, find a lifeboat instead. The crew of HMS Coventry tried, and despite being a well-drilled team, rapidly found it just wasn’t feasible. One officer under instruction did remember that the useless helicopter contained a life raft for the pilot – so he floated off in style while everyone else was crowding into 50-person rafts from the ship. The Captain later described him as ‘enterprising’.

  195. Lucky
    April 22nd, 2010 at 6:07 am [Reply]

    Funky Winkerbean – Unfortunately the same cannot be said about Batiuk comics.

    One Big Happy – And by TV, Ruthie means Jersey Shore.

    Pluggers – …and they won’t shut up about it!

  196. Lesser Whark
    April 22nd, 2010 at 6:27 am [Reply]

    @Walker of Dog (#86): Why is calling Captain Savarna a sociopath slanderous? Isn’t that why we love her? It’s also why she deserves better than the milquetoast in purple.

    Phatom: Meanwhile, the milquetoast in purple has crossed an ocean unnoticed, but hasn’t had time to ask for clearance. Then again, I think he is contractually obligated to bail out of every second aeroplane he boards.

    RM: I know some artists paint murals as a sideline, but is there anywhere on Earth you can ‘make a living’ as a ‘muralist’? If there is, I’m pretty sure it’s a long, long way from the Morgans’ WASPish suburbia. Also, why is there a black sine wave of doom in the last panel? Is the first trump sounding, because June’s black lips forming a smile herald the coming of the apocalypse?

  197. John C Fremont
    April 22nd, 2010 at 6:31 am [Reply]

    Remembering when theaters showed newsreels doesn’t make you a Plugger.
    It makes you Uncle Walt.

  198. Braniff
    April 22nd, 2010 at 6:32 am [Reply]

    FC: I see the creator (?) of this cartoon is trying to be topical, but doesn’t it (the creator that is) realize that today is Earth Day? Or am I missing something

  199. Mela
    April 22nd, 2010 at 7:28 am [Reply]


    A3G: I’m not talented enough to write a whole “Margo’s Got a Gun” parody. Any takers? Or has it been done already? Either way, we know she’s gonna hunt her roomies for sport sometime soon.

    Baldo: Yes, sometimes moving on means maintaining the status quo at all costs, even if the shock kills your weak-hearted would-be fiance.

    Bizarro: For some reason, I got a kick out of this.

    Edge: Leave it to this strip to forcibly suck the humor out of the never-ending battle to keep squirrels out of birdfeeders.

    ReFOOB: THANK YOU, Annie! Now put your kid down and punch her for me.

    FW: “Now people can’t get frozen, pre-made tasteless pizza anywhere but here and the freezer sections at their local grocery stores & discount marts, so we’ll have the market cornered. Wait…”
    Seriously, I hate you, Tom Batiuk, and I look forward to the day newspapers finally wise up about the current content of your strip and cancel enough subscriptions to force you in a miserable, self-pitying, impoverished retirment.

    GA: “Sudden bouts of interestingness” is not a bad thing… except in this strip.

    Luann: Ah, we’re getting a “women who actually ‘flaunt it’ are evil” story. Again. Evans, please keep your weird-ass stereotypes and fetishes to yourself.

    MT: “And here’s a picture of you eating a whole raw goose on the plane – what about that?”

    MG&G: Ew…

    MC: God, that’s funny.

    OBH: Ruthie & her friend are ready for the cast of “Jersey Shore”. Sadly.

    PBS: Wait, does this count as them finally getting in Zebra’s house? Did the crocs’ plan actually work?

    Pluggers: Pluggers pre-date talkies.

    6Chix: Blithe pessimism, defined.

    Snuffy: “Earth Day?! We have to reference Earth Day in a strip nebulously set before the TVA was enacted? Well, okay…”


  200. Brick Bradford
    April 22nd, 2010 at 8:15 am [Reply]

    MW I’m stunned. No cracks about Mary slicing up Dr. Jeff’s manhood for dinner?

    JP Nothing makes ‘em forget Paris quite like going to Denny’s.

    RMMD Boy, June and Rex seem to be the new Monarchs of Meddling in comic strip land. No wonder Mary seems a little frantic in her efforts to “help” the Dumpykeisters or whatever their names are.

  201. fahrenheit451
    April 22nd, 2010 at 8:16 am [Reply]

    @cheech wizard (#77):

    I moved to Cleveland in the mid-’70′s and from what I remember, the pizza was horrible! Haven’t lived there in a long time, so I have no idea what it’s like now.
    IMHO-Buffalo NY Pizza rules!

  202. bourbon babe, unbuckled
    April 22nd, 2010 at 8:19 am [Reply]

    MW: April 22, 2010: The day that Mary Worth disposed of what was left of Dr. Jeff’s manhood.

    JP: Everyone looks pretty happy about poor Jules’ problems. “And I’m guessing he has a touch of obsessive-compulsive disorder, too, right? Oh, this will be the best family weekend ever!”

    A3G: Sending a murderous nutcase to Happy Farms Asylum upstate instead of to jail? Arranging with a police officer to dispose of a gun used in a crime? LoFo Fisty Justice and the Pretty People Judicial System of Parkerville have got nothin’ on Margo’s Manhattan!

    FC: The tears might have something to do with the fact that you twisted his right foot around backwards.

    Curtis: Okay, I admit: I was never a 12-year-old boy. But I can’t imagine a kid being enthralled by a grown-up bitching about his credit problems: “Tell me about the time you were charged late fees, Grandpa!”

  203. bourbon babe, unbuckled
    April 22nd, 2010 at 8:19 am [Reply]

    @Brick Bradford (#200): re: MW: Oops! Timing is everything!

  204. FafMor
    April 22nd, 2010 at 8:20 am [Reply]

    SM: “Shh! I’m hoping nobody’ll notice where this webbing came from!”. Well, looking at the comic, the webbing came from MaryJane’s right shoulder.

    Still, subtely is never Peter’s strong point.

  205. sully
    April 22nd, 2010 at 8:40 am [Reply]

    Beetle Bailey is the equivalent of a bad stand-up comic laughing at his own jokes. Just because you tell us it’s funny doesn’t mean it is. In fact, it’s pitiful. Throw down the mop, and toss Ms. Booty over her empty desk and have at her, fer chrissakes.

  206. Traveler
    April 22nd, 2010 at 8:52 am [Reply]

    As far as I’m concerned, the pizza from Mr. Gatti’s in Killeen Texas is great!

  207. queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando
    April 22nd, 2010 at 9:04 am [Reply]

    @bats :[ (#180): It is an otter, and otters are members of the weasel clan. :-)

    big wet weasels, FTW!

  208. TruthOfAngels
    April 22nd, 2010 at 9:43 am [Reply]

    It is no great surprise to me that Hitler is attempting to mount Marmaduke from the rear for the eighth time that day. What does disgust me, however, is that Marmaduke is so filled with ennui from the endless man-on-dog sex that Eva Braun no longer looks like an appetising starter. My world is empty now.

  209. Sequitur
    April 22nd, 2010 at 10:09 am [Reply]

    @Traveler (#206): My wife and her sister recently stopped at the Killeen Mr. Gatti’s on a trip. They both said the food was crap.

  210. bats :[
    April 22nd, 2010 at 11:28 am [Reply]

    @queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando (#207): I just like to be specific (although when I took Mammalogy a long time ago, we only had to learn the 110 genera of U.S. mammals — fun until you got to the &#*#*%$&# tiny rodents, which all look alike). Otters are the best of the weasely ones IMHO (those rascally mustelids!).
    And imagine my surprise, having taken the class so long ago that I only recently discovered that skunks had been given their own Family, away from Mustelidae. Huh!

    (Anyway, I stand by my pun :)

  211. Carlo
    April 22nd, 2010 at 11:58 am [Reply]

    MT: You can imagine patrons’ surprise when they go to the restaurant to “eat beaver” only to find that greasy thing on the plate.

  212. curlyfries
    April 22nd, 2010 at 1:10 pm [Reply]

    @queek, source of Cuteness, Kawaii Commando (#207): And now, an Earth Day Squee Posting. Even though I otter be working, I decided to try to ferret out a picture of nice wet weasel for you. How great to find out that they are nature’s bulwark against poachers! And, it appears, late night skinny dippers who pee in our precious lakes and water sources.

  213. Not Dead Eric
    April 22nd, 2010 at 2:19 pm [Reply]

    @Mike (#106): Been done many times, especially in the sixties/seventies with Tumbleweeds.

  214. curlyfries
    April 22nd, 2010 at 3:16 pm [Reply]

    @curlyfries (#212): Great, my first hyperlink and I screw it up. At least I didn’t accidentally direct anyone to lemonparty or twogirlsonecup. Not that I, uh, actually, um, know what those are or anything.

    Here’s the Luddite version.

  215. Anonymous
    April 22nd, 2010 at 6:53 pm [Reply]

    “Stop making me sound heterosexual, Mort!”

  216. Carly
    April 23rd, 2010 at 11:11 pm [Reply]

    “What are you accusing me of?”
    Um, owning a restaurant that sells illegal wild game.
    Next time I accuse Mark of being dumb, remind me that he’s probably simplifying things for the local politicians. (P.S., Mark, feel free to punch the of off the end of that sentence since it doesn’t belong there. Not that my grammar is perfect either, but I do enjoy the mental image.)

  217. Dennis
    April 24th, 2010 at 6:31 am [Reply]

    I think that town in Mark Trail has bigger problems than corrupt politicians, namely giant wild animals that look capable of devouring a volkswagen. That beaver is probably building his dam out of telephone poles.

  218. pingo1387
    September 5th, 2011 at 8:54 pm [Reply]

    The sad thing about this Marmaduke is that I am unable to tell which one is “doing it”.

  219. docmagnus
    April 28th, 2012 at 4:10 pm [Reply]

    On today’s Marmaduke: Is the cartoonist trying to one-up himself in the bad taste category? I mean, having the characters be Adolf Hitler and a slavering demonic monster disguised as a Great Dane is bad enough, but depicting Herr Hitler engaged in man-on-dog action? Sick. And. WRONG!

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