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Saturday bafflement

Ziggy, 4/30/11

This Ziggy really just raises a lot more questions than it answers. What is the nature of this “phony,” exactly? Is it a mere stuffed horse, which stands there unmoving, thus providing a singularly unimpressive “ride,” even at the very low proposed price? Or is that a horse costume, with someone inside of it? Either way, is there some significance to the long, lush lashes on the phony’s eyes, which is generally cartoon shorthand for “sexy lady”? And what are we to make of the smiling, guileless expression on face of the phony’s handler? The level of unseemly horror lurking just below the surface of this Ziggy panel is really off the charts.

Funky Winkerbean, 4/30/11

Funky Winkerbean similarly seems to promise some hidden payoff that doesn’t quite come into focus. Are we meant to contrast the present day, when technology is a deadly serious part of even the smallest business’s operations, with the gentler decades past, when nefarious computers were restricted only to video gaming? Or maybe there isn’t any point here at all. Maybe Montoni just got tired of talking to Funky about this computer business, went downstairs, and blew off some steam by playing video games, wiling away the hours before his inevitable tragic death.

Dennis the Menace, 4/30/11

Chicks dig it when a dude just insouciantly chugs down a frosty drink and then stone cold throws the glass on the floor, because he just doesn’t give a shit. Mrs. Wilson knows the score!

61 responses to “Saturday bafflement”

  1. Rocky Stoneaxe
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:25 pm [Reply]

    I think I’ve found the inspiration for Ludwig, the cat in Arlo & Janis:

    http://www.lambiek.net/artists/m/marcus_jerry/marcus_fatcat.jpg

    It’s “Fatkat” from the Jerry Marcus comic strip, Trudy (1963-2005).

  2. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:26 pm [Reply]

    Ziggy may be even more disturbing than you fear, Josh. I think Ziggy’s at a rural furry convention.

  3. Roto13
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:27 pm [Reply]

    Saturday’s Funky Winkerbean is about the death of the American arcade. I don’t know what game this guy is playing, though. “Kish kish kish”? Is just purposefully losing at Frogger or something? Is this the comic sections answer to cutting?

  4. Rusty
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:28 pm [Reply]

    FW: Nobody has ever fallen down that cellar stairwell and cracked their skull open? You could slip 2 Wally’s in the gap where the risers should be.

    DtW:An adult Dennis would be the hunkiest character in many strips, including Foob, 9CL, Luann and Spiderman. Hell, little boy Dennis could kick every character’s ass except Dirk.

  5. pugfuggly
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:29 pm [Reply]

    To answer the mystery of today’s Ziggy, the horse is just an inanimate stuffed decoy, and the ‘phony’ is the grinning carny. And you just yourself bought a ride, all right….

  6. S. Stout
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:32 pm [Reply]

    Ziggy’s never ridden anyone in his life and likely never will, so this is his big chance! With the cost priced at Ziggy’s income level and his pants already off, Ziggy is ready for action.

  7. Lorne
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:33 pm [Reply]

    @Roto13 (#3): The game is the original Space Invaders.

  8. BigTed
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:33 pm [Reply]

    I think Mr. Wilson wins the menacing contest here. It would be awfully hard to break a drinking glass on a carpet (or blue linoleum floor, it’s hard to tell). So clearly Dennis has been given one of the Acme Slip ‘n’ Shatter Novelty Glasses the old man keeps on hand for just this purpose. Soon he’ll develop such a reputation for clumsiness that his folks will have no choice but to start him on ADHD meds years ahead of schedule.

  9. Andie
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:34 pm [Reply]

    re: Ziggy. I just had the oddest urge to watch Clerks 2.

  10. Mars
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:37 pm [Reply]

    @Lorne (#7): I thought, based on the cabinet art, it was Berzerk.

  11. Lorne
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:38 pm [Reply]

    The most disturbing thing about the “Phony” in the Ziggy cartoon?
    That’s not a tail!

  12. SamECircle
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:38 pm [Reply]

    WHY IN THE HECK DID TODAY’S ZIGGY MAKE ME LAUGH???
    I just looked at it, and chuckled. I wasn’t even feeling all that happy today, but that Ziggy just brought a smile to my face. I CAN’T FIGURE OUT WHY! The pun’s not funny, the premise doesn’t make sense, but that, for me, and for NO GOOD REASON, is a really funny cartoon! Theories?

  13. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:43 pm [Reply]

    @SamECircle (#12): The one joke that made my wife laugh hardest goes like this:

    “Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?”
    “I don’t know. Why did the monkey fall out of the tree?”
    “Because it was dead.”

    Sometimes nonsense works. Just ask Charles Dodgson.

  14. Robert
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:44 pm [Reply]

    Oooh! Oooh! Mr. Kotter! I know this one!

    Pizza parlors made a FORTUNE off of arcade games. FW is actually making a fairly subtle but quite valid point. The older pizza guy is saying that he believes in the new technology…because he benefited from the first big tech wave. He’s seen it done.

  15. pugfuggly
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:44 pm [Reply]

    My first thought when I saw the ominous art on the arcade game on in Saturday’s Funky was of the legend of Polybius, the mysterious, addictive game born of a massive government conspiracy. And considering that the game supposedly led people to insomnia, depression and eventually suicide, it seems possible that this single machine may have infected the entire town back in the 80s. Only Tony plays it now, feeding his playing addiction, all the while unknowingly sending further data back to Illuminati headquarters…

    (I see it’s been identified now as the original space invaders…well, good information should never get in the way of a good conspiracy story, right?

  16. Walker of Dog
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:49 pm [Reply]

    I’d feel a lot better knowing for sure that the tail is stitched on, and not attached with a zipper.

    @SamECircle (#12): You’re tweaking? Or hopped up on the internet? Something disorienting.

  17. bartcow
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:56 pm [Reply]

    Honest to God, I wasn’t seeing the side of a video game console in the basement. I saw an unspeakable mouthless demon and its familiar emerging from a closet, ready to receive its weekly sacrifice from Montoni. Ritual sacrifice makes a “kish kish kish” sound, by the way.

    Sure, demons living under a small town wreaking havoc on its citizens is a blatant Stephen King ripoff, but by god, does it explain a lot.

  18. Maggie the Cat
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:58 pm [Reply]

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#2):

    That comment gave me three chuckles. As for Ziggy attending the RFC, I think the only costume he could pull off would be a porcupine or armadillo, though they aren’t actually furry. The armadillo or porcupine would be like the leather and studded version of furries. Ziggy is one freaky cartoon.

  19. Malimar
    May 1st, 2011 at 9:59 pm [Reply]

    ogawd, I just unironically laughed aloud at Ziggy, what is wrong with me?

  20. langostino
    May 1st, 2011 at 10:05 pm [Reply]

    If there is a person inside Ziggy’s pony, it is a person who has been sewn into the costume!

    In other words, it is a furry with a level of commitment that goes far beyond mere kinky sex play.

  21. Oavis
    May 1st, 2011 at 10:38 pm [Reply]

    I see Montoni is having a go at his favorite video game, “The Spectre of Death.”

  22. Doctor Handsome
    May 1st, 2011 at 10:39 pm [Reply]

    Patients dying because their nurse is addicted to twitter I can handle, but an old man addicted to to the Space Invaders machine in a pizzeria basement? That is just unfathomably depressing.

  23. Alan's Addiction
    May 1st, 2011 at 10:40 pm [Reply]

    I applaud today’s “Ziggy” for its attempts to make defrauding children and families “cute” or “charming.”
    I have just one question about today’s “Funky Winkerbean:” what the hell kind of game is that? Based on the art on the side, it could be “Werewolf Pole-dancer,” which would be both fun and disturbing. Or maybe that’s supposed to be a large hairy hand beckoning or pointing or something. Of course, this is idle speculation, because we all know that the only constants in the Funkyverse are cancer and death. Which means that the video game is something like “Cancer: The Game,” or “Mortal Death,” or “The Hospice.”
    I like to think that Mr. Wilson’s evil, hate-filled gaze caused Dennis’s glass to implode. I think that giving Mr. Wilson freaky mind-powers would make this strip the indisputable greatest thing, ever. If you disagree with that statement, merely imagine it as, “Grumpy Old Men: Scanners.” Still don’t like the idea? That’s all right; telekinetic Mr. Wilson knows where you live and can literally change your mind.

  24. Oavis
    May 1st, 2011 at 10:43 pm [Reply]

    @SamECircle (#12): There is something funny about it. Maybe it’s the suggestion of deeper meaning offered by the identical knee patches on both the phony and its master (or slave). That means something, and I’m going to go watch “White Pongo” instead of trying to figure it out.

  25. Dr. Weird
    May 1st, 2011 at 10:48 pm [Reply]

    @Robert (#14):

    Wow, that’s a really good idea… though it does seem a bit subtle for FW. My thought is related to Josh’s: Montoni retreating from modern tech to take solace in simpler things, the three buttons of Space Invaders.

    It was a well-rendered Space Invaders cabinet, I must admit. Have to wonder how they got it down those stairs without killing someone though. Maybe that’s what happened to (that character we haven’t seen lately).

  26. FOOBed again
    May 1st, 2011 at 10:49 pm [Reply]

    @Doctor Handsome (#22): Well, everything in Westview is depressing, and it’s probably better than talking to Funky.

  27. Maggie the Cat
    May 1st, 2011 at 10:53 pm [Reply]

    If Nurse Liza were to be played on the big screen, Kristen Wigg would have to play her, IMO. Only she could be so creepily comical like Liza. That last panel in Sunday’s MW where she’s waving in a “YooooohOOOO!!!” singsong-like way is just very Kristen Wiig.

  28. Charles
    May 1st, 2011 at 10:56 pm [Reply]

    @Alan’s Addiction (#23): I would totally play a video game called “Werewolf Pole Dancer”.

  29. Dr. Weird
    May 1st, 2011 at 10:58 pm [Reply]

    @Alan’s Addiction (#23):

    No sense of history these days… It’s Space Invaders! Granted, the games themselves didn’t have much in the way of graphics, so they needed evocative cabinet art to tell the story and attract people… even if it had nothing to do with what was on the screen.

    http://farm6.static.flickr.com/5176/5491132125_33cf8eb892.jpg

    http://img.engadget.com/common/images/3060000000048027.JPG?0.5243646637858981

  30. arto
    May 1st, 2011 at 11:15 pm [Reply]

    If you really want to hear about today’s Ziggy, the first thing you probably want to hear is about where Ziggy was born, and what a lousy childhood he had, and how his parents were occupied before they had him, and all that For Better or For Worse kind of crap, but I don’t feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. That stuff kind of bores me.

  31. Chance
    May 1st, 2011 at 11:26 pm [Reply]

    @arto (#30): If only Ziggy became fixated on the totemic power of a pair of pants and not a read hunting cap with flaps.

  32. Naked Bunny with a Whip
    May 1st, 2011 at 11:28 pm [Reply]

    the leather and studded version of furries

    /me checks his Morphicon program

    Dang.

  33. Poteet
    May 1st, 2011 at 11:35 pm [Reply]

    ZIGGY — Is there a place where people really chew grass blades while wearing hats like that? I’ve never seen anyone doing it here.

  34. NoahSnark
    May 1st, 2011 at 11:37 pm [Reply]

    Being old enough to remember playing that video game when it first came out, Funky Winkerbean has dragged me into a pit of depression and despair over my own mortality. Which, admittedly, makes this one of the most light-hearted strips Tom Batiuk has ever written.

  35. [Old Man] Muffaroo
    May 1st, 2011 at 11:50 pm [Reply]

    Who’s inside the horse costume?

    Another horse.

    He’s only pretending to be two humans.

    Inside the human costume?

    Don’t ask. Really.

  36. Hoverboy
    May 1st, 2011 at 11:55 pm [Reply]

    Oh…it’s a fake pony. Ha ha ha terrible.

  37. Col. Havoc
    May 1st, 2011 at 11:56 pm [Reply]

    Hey, I’ve been taking nap. Anything important on the news tonight?

  38. Rocky Stoneaxe
    May 1st, 2011 at 11:58 pm [Reply]

    Ziggy — This particular “joke” would work better if there were two of them:

    http://stuartngbooks.com/images/detailed/18/59111_complete_panic_ec_22655.jpg

  39. bats :[
    May 1st, 2011 at 11:58 pm [Reply]

    Why does Montoni give a rat’s ass about anything that happens with the restaurant. Here it is, May 1…shouldn’t he be defecting to Florida (or is that a snowbird thing, and he’s back for the balmy summer weather and mosquitoes in Westview?)?
    As you can tell, I don’t give a rat’s ass about any of these characters, either.

  40. Maggie the Cat
    May 2nd, 2011 at 12:02 am [Reply]

    @Col. Havoc (#37):

    Well I heard there’s a new arrival somewhere real hot and fiery ;-)

  41. Artist formerly known as Ben
    May 2nd, 2011 at 12:05 am [Reply]

    Mayday comics

    HOTC: Heart is much more resistant to Royal Wedding fever than I would have guessed.

    Lio: Representing the new science fiction sub-subgenre of Stalkerpunk.

    JP: Judge Emeritus Parker is trying to talk down a suicide, and Constance’s first reaction is to Google her on her iPhone. Mary Worth, this is how technolodgy addiction is done.

    SFx: Messrs Shrew and Rat go to jail because they have no money to pay for the pizza. Max impulsively eats the last slice. Mrs Gator and her son eat Max. It’s the circle of life.

    S-M: “My spider sense is telling me that Martine just changed into a skimpier outfit. Funny, that’s not the part of me that usually tingles.”

  42. Rocky Stoneaxe
    May 2nd, 2011 at 12:11 am [Reply]

    @bats :[ (#39):

    That’s two rat’s asses… what about the third? (See below!)

    @Maggie the Cat (#40):

    And speaking of “hot and fiery”:

    http://www.peppers.com/cube/images/uploads/ratsass3.JPG

  43. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 2nd, 2011 at 12:11 am [Reply]

    @arto (#30): I saw that. Very, very nice.

  44. SideshowJon
    May 2nd, 2011 at 12:18 am [Reply]

    @Frank Lee Meidere (#2): Ye Gods. He’ll certainly wish he listened to Rat’s demand that he put on pants now. Hindsight, am I right?

  45. Yr Obt Servt
    May 2nd, 2011 at 12:24 am [Reply]

    “Kish! Kish! Kish!”

    No. It should be “Ding! Ding! Thump!” Montoni’s clearly old enough to recall pinball games rather than this newfangled “video game” nonsense

    Really, you kids and your “internet”, you worry me.

  46. Frank Lee Meidere
    May 2nd, 2011 at 12:26 am [Reply]

    @SideshowJon (#44): Unless we’ve finally discovered his real reason for ignoring the advice.

  47. Crankenstank
    May 2nd, 2011 at 12:34 am [Reply]

    The key, as ever, to understanding Ziggy: the “Phony” is the hillbilly nickname of the gent on the left, not the whatever-it-is on the right.

  48. Rana the Pedantic Wet Blanket
    May 2nd, 2011 at 12:51 am [Reply]

    @Artist formerly known as Ben (#41): I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who had that reaction to the last run of Lio comics. I think it says something that while I find most of Lio endearing – a comic that features monsters, zombies, and strange violence, mind you – these ones are just creepy and gross.

    I suppose it’s because it’s too realistic. :/

  49. Lisa
    May 2nd, 2011 at 1:14 am [Reply]

    Montoni is playing a pinball machine. I remember them well.

  50. Rocky Stoneaxe
    May 2nd, 2011 at 7:33 am [Reply]

    @Col. Havoc (#37):

    Hey, I’ve been taking nap. Anything important on the news tonight?

    At least you weren’t taking a dirt nap like this Osama guy:

    http://www.tampabay.com/blogs/media/content/see-president-obamas-announcement-about-osama-bin-laden-here

  51. HappyFunky
    May 2nd, 2011 at 9:05 am [Reply]

    Is the Funky strip saying that Montoni invested in the last technology “boom” in 1983 by buying a space invaders game and just ended up with an old moneyloser in the basement? Lesson here is clearly “DO NOT INVEST IN YOUR BUSINESS! ALL EFFORT LEADS TO INEVITABLE FAILURE!” Classic Funky.

    Well, the joke, like that Amazing Stories with Mark Hamill, is that the game in that condition is probably worth a lot of money! Montoni could be rich!

  52. Binder's Butter Beans
    May 2nd, 2011 at 9:48 am [Reply]

    “Very low proposed price”? Listen, I wouldn’t pay 50 cents to sit on a stuffed animal. I’ve got better things to spend my four bits on. There’s a SpongeBob sticker calling my name, in the quarter machine just inside the Kroger.

  53. Lloyd S.
    May 2nd, 2011 at 11:48 am [Reply]

    Geez, it’s been well over 50 years that Dennis has been “menacing.” If he were going to grow up, he’d have likely done it already. They can’t even pull a Winkerbeanesque time leap on the strip, ’cause that would defeat the whole darned premise…

  54. Hamburger Cheesedoodle
    May 2nd, 2011 at 2:21 pm [Reply]

    I couldn’t help but notice that it says ©2011 Ziggy and Friends. Ziggy has friends? Since when?

  55. Mardou Fox
    May 2nd, 2011 at 2:41 pm [Reply]

    I laughed so hard at Josh’s comment on DtM that I cried. Thanks, Josh! I needed that!

  56. SamECircle
    May 2nd, 2011 at 4:05 pm [Reply]

    @Oavis (#24):
    It takes more than a shave to make a horrible, horrible movie.

  57. Oavis
    May 2nd, 2011 at 10:06 pm [Reply]

    @SamECircle (#56): Oh god, I know that now. Still, I enjoyed the climactic gorilla-fight.

  58. Birthmark Hal
    May 3rd, 2011 at 12:04 am [Reply]

    Montoni is going to come down with Pac-Man Fever and, naturally, it’s terminal.

  59. BethB
    May 3rd, 2011 at 7:16 am [Reply]

    Ziggy quietly questions the wisdom of attending the Hobbies For Rednecks convention.

  60. Greg
    May 3rd, 2011 at 3:00 pm [Reply]

    FW: But maybe this is the start of an exciting new plot development–Montoni is going to take on Billy Mitchell for the world record in… whatever that game is. And then in the championship game he dies of a heart attack! Genius!

  61. DaveyK
    May 5th, 2011 at 12:07 am [Reply]

    Kish! Kish! Kish! The unmistakable sound of Death approaching…if we assume Death is wearing slippers. Which I would not rule out, since we’re talking about Funky Winkerbean.

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