The Man Who Wasn’t There

Today’s strip

Greetings, fellow snarkers–tis I, BChasm, the guy who makes Les Moore look pithy and insightful, so let’s get to today’s offering before I get punched in the heart!

When Fearless Leader and I discussed this new arc, he offered that Tom Batiuk had totally forgotten how to draw Jim Kablichnik.  I felt compelled to disagree, mentioning that Kablichnik taught science, and thus would probably be delighted that the arts-and-other-crap were being cut, thus allowing him to perhaps steal a desk to go with his new chair.

No, I had the idea that the greybeard above was actually a brand new character being introduced.  Yes, with no last name, a first name already claimed by another teacher, no reference to prior appearances, and a character design that says that Jim Kablichnik, Les Moore and Crazy Harry fell into the Brundle telepod while holding hands and smiling into each others eyes.

Now, there is an argument that this is Kablichnik, now wearing glasses and a full beard, although the case is purely Batiukian.  Check the “Jim” in the panel three word balloon.  Note the amount of white space surrounding it.  Tell me there isn’t enough room in there to name this fellow “Nathanial” or “Millicent” or “Wolverine” for crying out loud.  So it may actually be Jim, meaning Tom Batiuk’s laziness (consistent character look, or handing out names) approaches legendary levels.

If it is a new character, an art teacher, those of you with long memories might recall that the Westview art teacher we’ve seen before was far, far less hirsute than this fellow, but not to worry–if this guy’s a brand new character, he’ll be gone before we can arrange a suitable memorial tribute.  Probably in less than a week.  The other fellow only got one panel, as I recall, before disappearing forever into “Funky Winkerbean characters I like, or at least don’t hate.”

As for the content of today’s jape (aimed at illustrating the problems of young people in a sensitive way, I’ll remind you), I might almost consider this “humorous,” since the sheer number of departments being cut (including lunch, for Pete’s sake) might be evidence of exaggeration for satirical effect…except that I think none of those words I just used have any meaning in Tom Batiuk’s world.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

30 responses to “The Man Who Wasn’t There

  1. Relax, Jim (if that IS your real name). Do you honestly think Batiuk would allow two of his three sources of school “humor”* to be dropped from the curriculum? Trust me, you’ll all fret about this for a week, then the issue will disappear into the ether until Batiuk feels the need to stand on his “OUR PUBLIC SCHOOLS ARE UNDERFUNDED” soapbox again.

    *Band jokes, loser football team jokes, and condescending teachers lecturing ungrateful students

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Hmmm, no, that’s definitely not Art Teacher. The schnozz is somewhat Kablichnik-like, but unless he got a major makeover, it’s either a new character or a new low, take your pick.

    What’s weird about this one is that based on what we’ve seen over the last few weeks, perhaps cutting some miserable fat from the school budget is exactly what WHS needs. I mean I can’t recall anything about band camp or WHS football that’s the slightest bit educational, rewarding, fun or pleasant in any way. So doesn’t that kind of undermine faux-Kablichnik’s point?

    Or, failing that, maybe they could just cut English. I mean let’s face it, most of those kids at WHS are never going to read anyway, plus it’d mean Les gets bounced too. Win-win.

  3. Jeffcoat Wayne

    Well, hell — I just assumed they had cancelled Lunch back when they removed the vendos.

    Cheer up, Anonymous Arts Teacher Guy — You can always go back to your job as Frasier’s mentor.

  4. merrypookster

    Jim is Kerry’s full-brother…vs. 1/2 brother Darin.
    The 2 of them will disappear faster then a Popsicle on a hot boardwalk

  5. Well, they’re right about one thing; lunch is an art

  6. Rusty

    Becky seems to have borrowed Lisa’s profile in the last panel. Where’s old hatchet face?

  7. I hope it’s a new character, because in the space of 3 panels he hasn’t done anything to drive me into a murderous rage.

  8. bad wolf

    Perhaps Batiuk simply forgot his model sheets, which were linked on the official Funky page but now are not, even though the page is still there.

    Here ya go, TB. Now don’t make me regret this.

  9. Gyre

    So the football thing is just going to be dropped? If it is then it just confirms the theory that Batiuk doesn’t actually address teenage issues, he just uses them when he needs to drag out a story for a few days.

    And bad wolf, what the hell are you talking about? Those people are way too happy.

  10. bad wolf

    Gyre–they even have multiple angles and expressions! Another reason why some of us think it’s not Batiuk’s work at all.

  11. Wait, wait wait waitwait. How does a school system CUT LUNCH? How is that something that is even physically possible? I’m not even snarking, I’m actually, genuinely confused here! Someone want to help me out?


    The financial situation of Westview municipal government has always intrigued me. They either pay the lowest taxes in the history of Ohio..or so many taxpayers leave Westview every year that there is literally no tax base. Must be the latter, cause I can’t imagine any sane person moving to Westview or staying in town unless they are forced to. There are also no businesses other than Montoni’s and Comics Corner…and since Funky gives himself tax breaks with his monumental influence…that leaves a few piddling businesses like Comics Corner.

    My suggestion on improving the Westview economy would be to bring in the US government. Westview would make a great place for weapons testing. Heck, you could even use it for bio-warfare testing. Kind of like a Three Mile Island situation.

  13. John

    Nothing to do now but have another raffle! *rubs knuckles*

    Someone head off to the Komix Korner to see what extremely valuable but they still don’t have enough money to pay rent back issue John is hoarding!

    Meanwhile, I’ll go off and contact the President of the local Chamber of Commerce, unless he’s busy in another Winkerboard meeting.

  14. Gyre

    Critic, presumably it means that they won’t serve lunches.

  15. Strap yourselves in, folks, we’re in for a week in the teachers’ lounge! Yay, people complaining, so entertaining to read! Sorry – forgot for a moment there that Funky Winkerbean is high art and treats only in meaningful subjects, therefore it shouldn’t, by the author’s redefining of the word “comics” be expected to entertain.

  16. Helskor

    This “Jim” person has to be one of Batiuk’s real-life cronies or a hardcore fan who has dropsy or Bright’s Disease and wants to be immortalized with a cameo appearance before he goes. Like that female basketball player at the state championship last year who was name checked in one strip and never mentioned again or his white-haired music publisher buddy at Dinkle’s anniversary party.

  17. apauled

    “… immortalized with a cameo appearance …”

    Kind of like a restaurant naming a sandwich after you.

  18. billytheskink

    Westview Public Schools: in financial peril since 1972

  19. Rusty

    Les Moore: Annoying friends and relatives since 1972.

  20. We’ve seen hardly any of Summer and Keisha since they went off to KSU. I for one actually DO want to know what they’re up to there (besides basketball). And were we ever told what they’re even majoring in? And if Batiuk even hints at Sports Studies or Sports Medicine I’ll punch him in the throat.

  21. Katia

    I don’t really understand how this could be a thing — that you could start a schoolyear and then suddenly be cutting classes (and presumably teachers). Generally schools have money budgeted for the FY in advance. If you don’t, then you don’t open, or you vote on levying a last-minute millage so that you can. You don’t start the school year and then be all “herp derp!”

    Of course, you also don’t just lose your job entirely if a branch of the post office closes, either, so …

  22. John

    Exactly, Katia. Such funds would be already be allocated (and any cuts or additions announced) several months in advance of the start of the school year.

    Methinks Tom’s too stubborn to do a little something called “research”…then again, we’re talking about a guy who can’t even remember that the inflatable football helmet was destroyed and certainly not something a cash-strapped school would purchase.

  23. I don’t really understand how this could be a thing — that you could start a schoolyear and then suddenly be cutting classes (and presumably teachers).

    Not to mention having said teachers learn about this from the newspaper.

  24. I usually snark on Batominc’s failure to fix boneheaded errors despite a vaunted year of lead time. But now, thanks to @billytheskink, the bar has been raised (lowered?) when it comes to auctorial sloth: 41 years he’s had to learn how school funding works, and nothing! Nothing has changed. Not for 41 years. This auteur of a serial art form about an educational institution seems incapable of education.


  25. Sgt. Saunders

    This new schmuck should be clubbed with glee.

  26. Epicus Doomus

    The one consistent thing about every Act III WHS arc is that WHS’ woes are NEVER the fault of the faculty. The kids are lazy morons, the taxpayers won’t fund the school, even when Susan skulked off in shame it was mostly because a video clip was uploaded to the internet, not simply because she liked (ugh) Les. And here we go again, a bunch of teachers moaning and groaning about “budget cuts” while working at their old high school, a place whose ways they ought to be quite familiar with by this point.

  27. Don

    Remember the last time the school tried to cut something – the marching band? Also remember the reasoning that saved it – “if you cancel it, you’ll have to pay for three new teachers, which will cost more than what band costs now”? (And how nobody bothered countering, “Why pay for three new teachers if band practice is after school, or at most one period, in which case, why are we paying for three full-time teachers”?)

  28. Given how Becky has probably cost the school a lot of money in water-damaged instruments during monsoon season, firing her would save them a lot of money.

    This new arc just makes me wish we could bring over the principal from “Lean On Me” to come over and fix things.


    —-This new arc just makes me wish we could bring over the principal from “Lean On Me” to come over and fix things.—-

    Joe Clark? I don’t know if he would fix things, but he sure could put that bat of his to good use.