Over the past 40 years, Tom Batiuk’s Funky Winkerbean has transitioned from a gag-a-day comic strip about a high school to an ongoing chronicle of pure, abject misery. Thanks to the ongoing commentary on Josh Fruhlinger’s Comics Curmudgeon, I am now completely obsessed with it, which is why I spend a little time every month rounding up its finest examples of crushing despair.
This month, things are obviously a little shaky for me, but as is so often the case, I find that it’s pretty easy to take solace in the misery of others, especially when “others” means “Les Moore and his infinitely punchable face,” and I gotta say: Over the past few weeks, this thing has been in rare form. Evil fathers! Memories of cancer! The phrase “he was murdered when I was a baby!” It’s a good one. For certain values of “good.”
Funky Winkerbean, April 12:
For those of you who haven’t been obsessing over this strip for the past two years, Lisa’s Story is the memoir Les wrote about how his first wife died of breast cancer, and is, to date, the only bit of success that he’s had in his career as a writer. The big development in April has been that it’s finally been optioned for a movie — or in this case, a made-for-cable deathstravaganza — and that Les himself has been given the job of writing the screenplay.
This is important information to know, because what you see above is a strip where we find out that Les’s reaction to the prospect of sitting down and reliving his first wife’s slow, painful death is to get horny enough to start straight up pawing at his current wife until she physically shoves him out of the room.