A Stroke of Bad Luck

Epicus Doomus
January 10, 2013 at 11:45 am
…Maybe it’s a new mix of meds, maybe it’s the constant online criticism but whatever it is [Batiuk]’s holding back on the “life sucks then you die” stuff for some reason…

January 15, 2013 at 9:58 am
It’s either cancer or someone’s dead. It’s been too long since we’ve had some tragedy around here.

Happy now? The Mom on the phone, of course, is not St. Lisa, but Darin’s adoptive mom, Fishstick Annie, with the news that Fishstick Fred has suffered an apparent stroke. FW‘s Era of Good Feeling that was 2012 belatedly, officially draws to a close. Jessica takes a turn chirping like a newlywed about the whole marriage vs. dorm dynamic.


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33 responses to “A Stroke of Bad Luck

  1. Rusty

    Are these kids pushing 30? No more dorm references for you, nobody loved Kent State like Les loved Kent State.

  2. I don’t know about everybody else, but from my personal experience I’m thinking we can add “how couples behave during a medical emergency involving a parent” to the very, very long list of things Batiuk is incapable of portraying with any sort of accuracy.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    And the other shoe finally drops. About time he stopped fooling around with all that Act I-esque gag-a-day bullshit and got back to what FW captures best: human misery. A serious, debilitating stroke is just the PERFECT FW illness: wheelchairs, paralysis, brain injury…it’s a wonder he didn’t come up with this sooner. Since he’s an infrequently-used character no one cares about, I’d expect it to be pretty bad, possibly even fatal. I like how he just dropped it in there out of nowhere, too, like he reviewed the last year of the strip and said “Holy shit, this has been awfully light lately. Better kill one of those Fairgoods! What’s a good old person’s malady???”. Let’s just hope he didn’t bottle up TOO much tragedy during his “lite n’ breezy” phase or things could get really ugly here in 2013.

    Why is DoomBat pretending that Boy Lisa and Narcissistic Airhead…I mean Jessica are some sort of newlyweds or something? Sorry there Pulitzer (nominee) Boy, but if you always wanted to do a newlyweds arc with these two you should have thought twice about that f*cking stupid time jump. Cut the crap, we know these two mid-thirties losers aren’t just “kids starting out on their own”: one is a convicted dullard who once needed a month to retrieve and open some mail and the other one makes him look like the brains of the operation.

  4. Jeffcoat Wayne

    Why is Ann phoning this news in to Darin and Jessica, especially at a moment when they might possibly be watching their special not-on-Monday-night show? She should have called Bull to let him know she might be on the market before year’s end.

  5. Beanie Wanker

    Jesus H. Christ. We’ve already established that these two idiots have been married about 10 years, but to hear them talk, you’d think it’s been 10 minutes. “I’ll come with you” would have been just fine. And maybe that was in his first draft, but he looked at it and said, “Nah, not clunky enough.”

    So they get to the hospital. Doctor says, “I have great news! It wasn’t a stroke. Your adoptive father has an inoperable brain tumor. High five!”

  6. Merry Pookster

    Stroke or not…. Basketball continues just a 1/4″ away in real life:
    January 13, 2013
    Rough First Half Plagues Kent State in Loss at Akron
    Akron, Ohio – A combination of a slow start by Kent State (2-13, 0-2) and a hot-shooting Akron (11-4, 2-0) resulted in a 93-58 loss for the Golden Flashes at Rhodes Arena Sunday afternoon (Jan. 13).

  7. Beanie Wanker

    By the way, if Freddie Fishstick did have a stroke, he goddam better not go around blurting out “BOXCAR!”

  8. No one ever said it wasn’t Lisa. She just learned to use her ghost powers to induce strokes and is bragging about it.

    Admit it… after spending a lifetime with passive-aggressive dullard Les, you’d be an evil ghost.

  9. Charles

    After yesterday’s, this strip is in terrible taste. He has a “joke” where a character expresses happiness, then decides he doesn’t want to tempt fate by being happy, and then, bam, news that his dad had a stroke. You shouldn’t have been happy, Darin!

    Oh well, at least Les should be able to squeeze another book out from his cheeks due to this incident.

  10. Wow…just wow. It is so depressing reading this comic and yet like a traffic accident I can’t look away despite my best intentions. Westview is a known cancer zone and now a medical health emergency zone. We will probably find that the only doctor in town/Ohio capable of curing/operating on our stroke victim died while viewing Harry’s crazy dance last week. Makes you wonder exactly what is in all those pizzas this town insist upon eating.

  11. Beanie Wanker

    Tomorow: Blondie McSmirkyface finds a Dollar bill on the sidewalk, then is immediately flattened when Cell Phone Girl jumps the curb and nails him.

  12. Helskor

    Fred didn’t have a stroke, his cheek muscles just cramped up from the constant smirking.

    This sort of magical thinking is what you’d expect from a 14-year old goth’s creative writing assignment than from a man in his 60’s: “Darren dared to express his happiness out loud. The universe punished him by giving his father a stroke.” Being intellectually stuck in one’s adolescence can be an asset for some artists if they create work intended for adolescents, like superhero comical books or lachrymose YA novels. As we’ve seen in the past 20 years of FW, it’s not so useful when attempting to depict grown-up characters and issues.

  13. Señor Tortilla

    Well, Funky Winkerbean is back to bad things and despair: I guess all is right with the world, after all.

  14. bobanero

    Not to nitpick, but a stroke is not a “put Fred in the car and toodle down to the emergency room” kind of event, it’s a “call 911 and get medical attention as soon as humanly possible” kind of event.

  15. bad wolf

    Ah, first good laugh i’ve had out of Funky in i don’t know how long. “Mom thinks my dad had a stroke…!” It doesn’t get any better than that (in Westview).

  16. Smirks 'R Us

    I’ll admit Fred’s stroke caught me by surprise. I expected disaster of course, but I thought for sure it would be some type of drive-by shooting as Fred offered his twice daily tours of their first apartment in the ‘hood.

  17. @Beanie: I’d forgotten that Lynn Johnston did “stroke” first!

  18. billytheskink

    There are only two possible outcomes of this.

    1.) Fred’s stroke results in significant loss of speach, motor skills, and other Pulitzer bait.
    2.) Fred’s stroke inexplicably requires a liver transplant, which is successful. A recovering Fred tells everyone possible that helped with the “de-liver-y”.

  19. Duane

    I’m predicting he skipped his blood pressure medication and took Viagara to have a “special evening” and it caused a stroke.

  20. The Dreamer

    Maybe since Fred is near death, his long lost first wife, who got smart and divorced him, will re-appear.

    But with Fred’s bad luck, he’ll survive instead of dying, but need 24 hour medical care end up in the hospice with old Crankshaft as his roommate.

  21. Jimmy

    What a self-centered little bitch. Dump her now, Dunderhead.

  22. Duane

    Fred’s stroke inexplicably requires a liver transplant, which is successful. A recovering Fred tells everyone possible that helped with the “de-liver-y”

    We know Funky won’t be a donor.

  23. John

    …and Tom continues to depict wives as something extra, trophies or tag-a-longs who husbands can take or leave, or need to be reminded they exist in the first place.

    Feel sorry about Fred? It’s hard to. Fred’s barely been around these past several years.

    Heck, -Darin’s- barely been around these past several years.

    And since Tom’s already made it quite clear that his sympathies are only with the “suffering” of children inconvenienced by ailing parents, never with the sick and afflicted themselves, well, I have to call baloney on him.


    Oh, and the comments from non-ironic readers/Tom Batiuk under various aliases about how “You’re not allowed to dislike it if you’re not a syndicated cartoonist yourself!” Um, no. Cartoonists are NOT HOLY SAINTS. To hell with this “I’m creative! That means you CAN’T CRITICIZE ME” garbage! That means you so -can- be criticized, Tom!

    …otherwise just admit you stopped creating for an audience decades ago and now simply masturbate about how awesome you are. Hypocrite.

  24. John

    “Being intellectually stuck in one’s adolescence can be an asset for some artists if they create work intended for adolescents, like superhero comical books ”

    Sadly, most super-hero comics these days (at least the Marvel/DC ones) are aimed only at bitter, jaded, angry and exclusionary old fanboys aged somewhere between 42 and death.

    Don’t be Tom Batiuk. Teens stopped caring about comics twenty years ago.

    The “loser outcasts” who inexplicably used to flock around John (and who have dwindled to Cody Owen and No Name Blue Hoodie) are a major sign Tom hasn’t updated his understanding of teens since at leadt 1993.

  25. John

    Man, I can’t help but think that if this really was Act 1-tone FW, then Fishtick and Pizza App would find out Fred had just pulled a muscle while working on his Billy Squier impression.

    o/` Stroke me-stroke me! o/`

  26. Señor Tortilla

    With strips like these, it makes me wonder how Tom Batiuk’s own marriage is. Or was.

  27. Yaoi Huntress Earth

    I call the stroke wrecking Fred’s body so badly they may have to pull the plug on him. That way Batiuk can make a strawman and pat himself on the back for being so daring to take on the subject.

  28. Sgt. Saunders

    It may turn out that is wasn’t Fred who had the stroke, it was 1/2-unnamed-gay-couple, and now his arm is permanently extended. Fishstick Annie happened upon him behind a rampart, and now it’s off to the ER! Aw, man, gay-stroke – I mean, edgy, amiright? You go, TomBat! Whoa!

  29. $$$Westview Oncologist$$$$$

    Speaking of strokes, Conrad Bain of Different Stroke’s fame passed away today. RIP. Played Mr. Drummound, a character infinitely more likeable than anyone in Funky Winkerbean.

  30. Epicus Doomus

    Boy Lisa will arrive too late and Fred will die. Then, at his mother’s urging, he will begin to actively seek out his biological dad with help from (who else?) Les. This will lead to two months of retro-Lisa flashbacks until the fateful moment when the letter containing his bio-dad’s info finally arrives. The rest of 2013 will feature Boy Lisa opening that letter and watching the special VHS tape Lisa made to commemorate the occasion.

  31. Charles

    Fishtick and Pizza App would find out Fred had just pulled a muscle while working on his Billy Squier impression.

    I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that Crazy’s Happy Dance started an epidemic of embarrassing, inadvertently sexual dances all across Westview. “When Fred put on those pink spandex leggings, I knew I had to call the ambulance.”

    I see Jessica has adopted the mandatory wifey “touching your face as your manly man manfully faces adversity” pose. Could the massive weight gain and bad hair be far behind?

  32. BeckoningChasm

    Epicus–it’s worse than that. The ret-conning will lead to the revelation that the guy who knocked up Lisa in the van was actually a sensitive, caring person who wanted Les to experience fatherhood, despite the fact that everyone in Westview found Les to loathsome to conjugate with–meaning he would never pass his genes on (obviously unacceptable).

    This will end when Darin’s real dad shows up to point out how he was always looking out for Les, all the time, and maybe even provided the bag of yellow dye that helped Bull’s thugs to call off their attack.

    Everyone who hated Les “Back in the day” is now good, while those who befriended Les “Back in the day” are horribly sycophants wanting to gain a few dimes from Les’ fame.

  33. sourbelly

    Yeah, this whole “we’re a married couple, not dorm roommates” thing was a real non-starter.

    Nature hates a vacuum, so the absence of comedy will be filled with maudlin tragedy. The Cosmic Dance continues.