October 25th, 2007


I Have Figured Out Funky Winkerbean.

Andrew and I have developed a theory to explain Funky Winkerbean. In brief, Funky is the Picture of Dorian Gray of the comic-strip page. It takes onto itself the sins of other comic strips so that they can remain forever youthful and beautiful, reflecting those sins in its own cast's withered and twisted countenances. The people of Westview lose limbs, waste away from terminal diseases, and age decades in a flash, all so that Dagwood and Hagar the Horrible might never age.

Was Lisa's teen pregnancy in the 1990s caused by lustful thoughts Opus harbored for Lola Granola? Did Sarge's wrath toward Beetle Baily result in Wally's near-death from a landmine, or Becky's loss of an arm? I don't think there can be any doubt that Funky himself became an alcoholic as punishment for years of moonshine indulgence in Li'l Abner and Snuffy Smith, but what massive backlog of comic-strip sin gave Lisa terminal cancer? Will Tony Montoni someday pay for Garfield's gluttony with a tragic heart attack? And what monstrous crime against four-panel decency was vast enough to wipe out not only newscaster John Darling but his entire spinoff comic, Crisis on Infinite Earths-style? Also, what's up with Crankshaft?

Questions abound, but for now I advise readers simply to keep an eye on the funny pages. Wally is missing from the new "ten years later" cast, and that means somebody--I'm looking at you, Jeffy and PJ--has done something reeeeal bad.

New Smithson!

Do college students even have CDs anymore? Probably not, but clicking around on iTunes just isn't as strong a visual. Also, should I have followed the mention of rocksteady with a line about the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles?


And what's this? Why, it's a new installment of The Chronicles of William Bazillion! Darryl's a survivor.

I've got a new biweekly column at Comixology.com called All the Comics in the World. It'll appear every other Thursday; on alternate Thursdays, there's a column by the awesome Kristy Valenti, who has been wisely covering mad genius Jason Shiga. For my first column, I talk about the Stumptown Comics Fest, All-Star Batman and Robin, and, of course, Tristram Shandy. Like you can get me to stop talking about Tristram Shandy.

Would you like a copy of this year's Marvel Holiday Special signed by Andrew and myself? Paypal $6.00 (the cover price is $3.99, so the extra two bucks ought to cover S&H) to narbonic (at) sbcglobal.net. We'll be preordering copies from Al's Comics, a good store in our neighborhood that needs a little extra business right now. Deadline for orders is November 10.

Okay, let's get to the Overlooked Manga Festival!

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