From Comic to Politician

It seems Al Franken isn’t the only comic (I’m sure he’d prefer “satirist”) who’s gone into politics.

Funky WinkerbeanDo you remember that guy over on the left? It’s Funky Winkerbean. Frankly, I’m not particularly familiar with the comic strip. I’m sure I’ve read it a few times, but the only thing that stands out in my memory is that name — Funky Winkerbean.

I did a little research, and found out a couple of things that really set it apart from most other comics:

    Funky Winkerbean at age 46

  • It takes place in an actual place: Ohio
  • It’s dealt with some serious issues, like war and the rights of the disabled
  • It had a major character die of breast cancer

But the thing that really struck me is that the characters have actually aged. Funky is no longer a high school student. How long has Archie Andrews been trying to get his diploma? That’s Funky Winkerbean on the right, at the age of 46, the co-owner of the pizzeria where he used to hang out. Off the top of my head, the only other comics I can think of in which the characters have aged are Doonesbury (rah!) and For Better or For Worse (blah).

Carty FinkbeinerWhat if Funky Winkerbean was some 20 years older still? I believe that may be him on the left, still living in Ohio. In fact, he’s serving as the mayor of Toledo.

Naturally, he’s changed his name. You can’t be mayor of a “Business Friendly City of the Future” with a name like Funky Winkerbean. So it just follows that, when he decided to sell the pizzeria, move to the big city and get involved in public service, ol’ Funky would drop the comical moniker and go for something a little more sophisticated.

Say hello to his honor, Mayor Carty Finkbeiner.

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Killin’ Terrist Comix

I never got into comic books as a kid. I bought a dozen or so issues of Heavy Metal in my teens, but that’s different: it was French, it was arty, and it had bare breasts. When I was about 10 my maternal grandfather gave me a Flash Gordon (king of impossible) comic, and while it didn’t thrill me, I still had it somewhere in my desk when I was in high school — probably because of my father’s story of owning the original Superman, which his mother threw away while he was in college. Oops. Of course, if that hadn’t happened to thousands of guys his age, the remaining ones wouldn’t be so valuable. I’m actually not so sure that story’s true, anyway, as my father would have been three years old when the comic came out.

Then there are graphic novels and underground stuff. I’ve got Maus and a couple of issues of Raw, and my little brother, during his dead head days, had lots of issues of the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers and similarly themed hippie crap.

comic book frame

I’ve never seen anything like this, though. Northrup Grumman have put out a series of comic books promoting advanced weapons systems. In this one, the Murcans stop the evil terrorists by bombing the bejeesus out of their hidden camp through the use of (hurrah!) Nothrup Grumman technology.

I guess you can’t make a lot of judgments about propaganda. It’s propaganda, so of course it’s not likely to employ a lot of subtlety. But look at the frame I’ve got here. Bad Swarthy Arabian Fellow #2 says, “Those Americans have foiled our evil plan to rule the world.” Are they kidding? Using the word “foiled,” as in “Curses! Foiled again!” is bad enough, but “our evil plan”? That’s just astonishingly stupid. Even if we think these people are evil, and I know many of us do, only simpletons like Bush think that they think they’re evil.

Stephen Trimble, the original poster, writes,

I am withholding judgment, except to just wonder aloud who they think is the target audience for this (… surely not the Pentagon’s weapons buyers, right?)?

Nope. This was written for people who are stupid enough to believe that somebody like Mussolini would wake up in the morning, look in the mirror and exclaim, “Good morning, you beautiful evil-doer!

Tip o’ the hat to the fine folks at Boing Boing.

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