Funky Winkerbean logo

Match to Flame 71

posted on April 19, 2018

As an aside, around this time, I also took a shot at trying to syndicate a new strip called Dick and Jane with Gerry Shamray, once again on board as the artist. It’s revelatory because it’s a full-blown example of the kind of more adult writing I wanted to do if I could do it without any of the prior constraints or expectations that Funky carried. It soon joined the other nice tries in the aforementioned drawer, but it was an obvious indication of where my interests lay. It also made apparent the fact that any change would have to take place within the Funkyverse itself. I’d already started down that path and was constructing the armature from which I could hang these new stories. The next step would be to tackle stories of substance.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Four

Match to Flame – 70

posted on April 11, 2018

Being a practical man, I realized that a major makeover wasn’t in the cards and wouldn’t be until I gained editorial control of the work, but that was still down the road a piece. What I did do, however, was to begin to slowly (with emphasis on the “slowly” part) introduce some incremental changes in the tone of the work that appears in this volume. It started with the coach’s heart attack. The piece opens with the usual surfacy stuff but soon begins to dig a little deeper as the coach’s sudden incapacitation leads him to reflect on his life and his relationships, and then he begins to plea-bargain with God. It was a baby step, but a step that felt right and that was in the direction I wanted the work to go. The shift continued with the story about one of the teachers, Ann Randall, being riffed. Ann’s story was the point where I began to experiment with work that was a little less linear. It was where I would walk away from the story, move on to something else, and then return to pick up the narrative thread at a later point. We see Ann getting fired, dealing with the emotional fallout, seeking help at the employment service, getting a temporary job at a fast-food place, joining a support group, and finally finding new work at the Lighthouse, a halfway house for troubled teens. Intertwined with all of this is Ann’s romantic relationship with Fred Fairgood, the high school’s counselor. All of it spread out over a fourteen-week story arc that is itself intertwined with other work throughout the year. It marks the shift from a sitcom mode to something more akin to a movie narrative with intertwined subplots. Along with this, the humor continues its subtle shift from gags to situational humor to behavioral humor.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Four

Match to Flame – 69

posted on March 30, 2018

 The notion that this popular mass art form might be capable of embracing higher artistic ambitions is treated with outright scorn and derision. Too many creators feeling like they’ve caught lightning in a bottle are wary about fooling with the formula. Now this is quite possibly a character flaw of some stripe on my part, but those are the kind of odds that really make it feel like, well . . . just like Christmas. I should also add that what I’ve just laid out is a broad generalization and that there remain pockets of resistance (and I’m including you here, dear reader) where people are fighting the good fight. Still, it’s called a “generalization” because it’s generally true.

From The Complete Funky Winkerbean Volume Four

1 2 3 24