Archive: Funky Winkerbean

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Sherman’s Lagoon, 8/30/22

Sharks mate only rarely and in the murky ocean depths, so Megan is understandably fascinated by Make-Out Island. “But where do the claspers go?” she muses, “What? Oh my God ick, ick, ick, ick, ICK!

Sally Forth, 8/30/22

While Flesh-Ted is busy with his existential terror, Psyche-Ted presents some interesting perspectives on Mind-Body duality. Which entity has agency for, say, body-leaving? Surely not the body itself; that leads only to paradox! So is Psyche-Ted here addressing himself, or instead Consciousness-Ted, an unseen third entity capable of a) falling and b) influencing Psyche-Ted in some unspecified way.

Perhaps we can resolve the issue empirically! Suppose Psyche-Ted lets go, taking with him all Ted’s whimsy, pop-culture trivia, and manchild traits. Will he leave behind a pragmatic, hardworking, down-to-earth adult (i.e., a plugger), or instead a soulless zombie? And who in this family could tell them apart?

Some ride, huh?

Funky Winkerbean, 8/30/22

Oh, here we go again. During her high-school years, Cindy Summers was the Popular Girl; it was her entire identity. She failed to “fit in” exactly once, when all the guys assumed she already had a date and didn’t ask her to the Big Dance, so she had to endure an all-night mope-fest choking down bad pizza with loser Les.

Yet during the Time-Travel Reunion seven years ago, Old Cindy tried to peddle “popularity is just a mask we wear to cover up self-loathing” to Young Cindy, who was clearly not in a self-loathing frame of mind. Now going-on-sixty looking-like-thirty, married to a young movie star and the envy of her peers, Cindy tries to retcon herself as an outcast? Sorry, girl— Les Moore is the Outcast. You’re the Popular Girl. Shoulder the burden and move on.

The Phantom, 8/30/22

“Mozz predicts the death of the Phantom again … and again … and again …” began back in 2017. And by now Diana, Babudan, Guran and the others have got to be questioning the old man’s motivations. I mean, he’s scribbling his “Death of the Phantom” fanfic directly into the Chronicles, the official historical record of Phantomry, in a desperate third attempt to make it happen.

Who’s bankrolling all this? My guess: Mozz is in league with The Cobra, The Nomad, and the criminal elite running Rhodia to return the Phantom dynasty—under son, heir, and 22nd Phantom Kit—to its birthplace on the Indian subcontinent, leaving Bangalla open to their predations.


–Uncle Lumpy

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Gil Thorp, 8/29/22

Seems its new author is transforming Gil Thorp from one of newspaper comics’ few remaining sports strips into a full-blown soaper, and at breakneck speed.

In just five weeks, we’ve seen Gil ambiguously flirt with Barkeep Bethany and mysterious blonde “Ms. Holmes,” and Coach Ms. Coach Thorp disappear with the kids on the one weekend Gil would be in town, explaining (?) that “I need Coach Gil to be more at home sometimes.” Luke Martinez, new coach at Valley Tech, is a thoroughgoing jackass who drunkenly insults Gil in a bar, libels him in a Marty Moon podcast, compulsively brags about his own athletic, coaching, and intellectual prowess, and here humiliates his teenage son (“Haha! Dad! Haha! You asshole!”). His wife Francesca humblebrags about being “just a heart surgeon” and subtly negs Mimi about being a “stay-at-home mom.” All the ingredients of an explosive melodrama!

Hey, maybe instead of the Homecoming celebration we’ll get an emotional bonfire this fall!

Crankshaft, 8/29/22

Let me save you a couple brain cells looking for a joke here: searching “kids play servers” will get you mostly family-friendly Minecraft sites, and “restaurants where the waitstaff also babysits” are very rare, imagine that.

My real interest here is Max and Hannah’s car. I get a strong “1996 Hyundai Accent” vibe, which fits their “failed movie theater entrepreneurs living with his parents” demographic. The odd thing is, everybody in Centerville and Westview seems to drive the exact same car. Check out Crankshaft himself, Ralph Meckler, and the Winkerbeans:

Crankshaft, 7/10/22 and 7/9/18; Funky Winkerbean, 8/24/22 (panels)

Did they get some sort of group discount? Was it part of Hyundai’s Rust-Belt marketing strategy? Do they pass cars back and forth between the strips? Does the Ohio UAW’s “Buy American” office know about this? Maybe they all just share one car? That last one wouldn’t surprise me; I mean none of them is going anywhere.

Curtis, 8/29/22

Free availability of an essential good mitigates absolute poverty but ruins local suppliers and distorts unrelated markets as families reallocate spending. Next up: “Ma, the rent is too damn high for no good reason,” brought to you by Ray Billingsley and Thomas Sowell.

9 Chickweed Lane, 8/29/22

When these two aren’t talking about sex, they’re talking about nothing. It’s an improvement!


–Uncle Lumpy

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Arctic Circle, 8/27/22

Arctic Circle boldly swerves out of its lane (preachy environmental half-jokes) directly into the oncoming traffic of toilet humor. Meanwhile back over in Marvin, Jeff and Jenny Miller return the tribute by composting their son.

Funky Winkerbean, 8/27/22

Hey, anybody remember Roland Mathews, the curly-haired “activist” hypocrite with a belligerent father and a blind spot for women’s rights? No? A solid number-three character during Funky Winkerbean‘s first year, Roland faded out during the strip’s evolution from political themes to high-school hijinx, reappearing once in 2008 for a reunion cameo (back row, second from right).

But the 50-year mark is a time for tying up loose ends, so here’s Rolanda! Will she recount the harrowing yet heartwarming details of her life’s journey? Will she at last unpack her complex issues with Roland’s old nemesis “Wicked” Wanda Waskowski, Westview’s no-nonsense sign-wielding “Girls’ Libber”? Most of all, will she deliver anything even remotely resembling a punchline?

Jury’s out on those first two.

Curtis, 8/27/22

On The Mickey Mouse Club of my longago youth, my least favorite day was Wednesday—”Anything Can Happen Day”—because, well, anything could happen. Mondays reliably delivered Fun With Music, and Thursday predictably brought in clowns, acrobats, animal acts, and circus paraphernalia. Wednesday? Total crapshoot, and very unsettling to the young psyche: these were the Cold War years, after all, and nuclear annihilation was on the table:

    Today is the day that is filled with surprises
    Nobody knows what’s gonna happen!
    Why you might wake to see the Russian missiles raining down
    Each one with several warheads to obliterate your town!
    When they hit their mark
    You will glow in the dark—
    On the Mouseketeers’ Anything-Can-Happen Day!

So it is whenever Gunk arrives from Flyspeck Island to disrupt Curtis. His current gimmick is a self-filling salad bowl backed up by a salad-bowl-replicating suitcase, so that no one need ever again want for salad, or for that matter bowls. In today’s strip, Upper Manhattan’s Big Salad cartel predictably launches a witch-hunt to protect its business. But the kindly hardware-store owner begs off, since he… wait, what? “Ma! The writers murdered that kindly hardware-store owner for no good reason!” Anything can happen: this is what it looks like, people.


Many thanks to the indispensable ComicBookHarriet over at sonofstuckfunky.com for character histories of Roland, Wanda, and poor, dead, “I coulda been Lisa” Livinia Swenson.

–Uncle Lumpy