Old Feller

Today’s strip

Ah, this, this is always a sad moment:  the moment when we say “Goodbye” to a character we’ve come to know and love.  I mean, aside from the “know and love” bit, and the fact that we were never given time to come to care for this HarryLes amalgamation.  Here he was given to us, and now taken away prematurely, before his true, inner loathsomeness could be allowed to flower, before we were given a chance to hate his every appearance.   Why, yes, it is just as sad as all those times we wept over those Disney characters when they were slaughtered, or married off, or adopted, or (give me a moment to stem the tide of tears) hired at Sprawl Mart.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

27 responses to “Old Feller

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Ahhh, thanks for clearing this up, Beckoning! See, I thought this was another in a series of annual “budget cuts” arcs but actually it was the self-contained story of “Jim”…the guy who presumably took over for the departed Art Teacher (current whereabouts: unknown). So Jim’s been WHS’ art teacher (as opposed to Art Teacher) for about a year or so, which is more than enough time to learn how to properly slouch, skulk and set up your unsuspecting coworkers for really stupid and depressing “punch lines”.

    But now Jim sees the writing on the wall. The evil and stingy local school board is tightening the noose and art class is next to go. Jim knows that if he stays at WHS there are only two options. One, the school board axes him because he’s a new character the author doesn’t care about. Or two, they never come to their senses and he remains at WHS for the next forty or so years, moping around between infrequent bits of wry weary banter during the annual “budget woes” arc and maybe carrying a picket sign in the background if he’s lucky. Just ask Klabinchnik how that’s worked out for him. Art Teacher too, if you can find him.

    So, presumably because Montoni’s, Komix Korner, Citizen Khan’s, that motel Frankie stayed at and that travel agency Funky shook down for basketball cash that time were already wildly overstaffed, he took his only other option: the greeter’s job at Sprawl-Mart. And I for one applaud his decision. He refused to wallow in the WHS pit of despair, he took the initiative and now, unlike the rest of them, he has a real shot at getting out. Jim may just be the most likeable character in the history of the strip just based on that alone. Hang in there Jim, we’re pulling for ya, buddy.

  2. John

    It really is pathetic that Tom is so violently averse to creating new characters that frickin’ -Owen- is now a football bully jock and that Jim has been retconned into an art teacher.

  3. Jeffcoat Wayne

    Key word: APPLIED. Which is to suggest that he won’t get the job at Sprawl-Mart, and the self-pity of having neither job will lead him to commit suicide. Either way, a win-win, such as it were, for Tom Batiuk the world’s leading comic authority on human suffering and misery.

  4. Or you could draw unemployment from your union while you look for a position at a less financially strapped school, or possibly look for another means of applying your talents…nah, that would make sense.

  5. Gyre

    So what was the point of the previous strip? He was gung-ho and fired up to go push this plan forward and now he’s ‘nah, I don’t feel like actually suggesting this to the people in charge’?

  6. flappy

    come on , theres got to be room for at least job at montonys our comic store ,that would be cool having 2 krazy Harrys at Komic korner

  7. Here 4 The Comments

    LMAO at the Wal Mart or Sprawl Mart picture! That is great!


    Well at least we know there is at least one thriving business other than Montoni’s. Unfortunately it’s an even more evil version of Walmart known as SprawlMart. Which has probably sucked the life out of any chance of any business to grow in Westview. It’s also even more depressing to realize that in Westview your career options are
    1. Work at Montoni’s and be Funky Winkerbean’s indentured servant till you die
    2. Be part of Westview High School…till you die(or get laid off..whatever happens first) Spending every day recreating the hell you’ve tried to escape
    3. Or you can become a Sprawl Mart android and work along side the very same brats that you taught.

    ..oh…or you could find someway to profit of St. Lisa’s death..problem is that cash cow is reserved only for douchebag’s named Les Moore.


    BTW..I can’t think of any people LESS qualified to be greeters than a Westview citizen!
    “Hello, Welcome to SprawlMart” ‘Where literally “sprawling” up the walls to greet you!! *Inappropriately uncomfortable smirk*
    “Now if you don’t mind I’m going to mix myself a cocktail of roach spray and oven cleaner and leave this goddamn world! Here have a coupon flier!!!!

  10. sourbelly

    Wait. Who is this? What? Never mind. “Greeter at Sprawlmart.” Now that’s fresh, bleeding-edge comedy, folks! Hyuk!

  11. Helskor
    August 26, 2013 at 8:04 am
    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.

    Well, mystery solved. I knew this Jim guy looked familiar, and not just because he resembled “a HarryLes amalgamation.” From a May 2008 interview:

    Batiuk: My art teacher in high school [Jim Mateer] was helpful, though he wouldn’t let me do cartoons….He’s been a character in Funky, the painter who painted the murals in Montoni’s Pizzeria.


    Yes, it’s the same Jim who took longer to paint the walls of Montoni’s than Michelangelo did to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel! Sadly, the real Mr. Mateer passed away in January, 2011.

    Enjoy these strips from 2006 featuring Jim.

  12. Sgt. Saunders

    Sprawl Mart is sort of OK, but I prefer Mega-Lo Mart.

  13. merrypookster

    In a drunken stupor… Funky re-painted wall beige.
    The murals haven’t been seen in 6 years.

  14. Helskor

    “…he wouldn’t let me do cartoons.” Well, thanks for trying at least, Mr. Mateer.

  15. billytheskink

    At least Jim will have a vested interest in his job as a Sprawl Mart greeter…

    Kudos to TFH for finding out the story behind this Jim character.
    Picking on your readers in-strip is bad enough, but picking on your high school art teacher because he wouldn’t let you draw cartoons is really poor form. Really, really, really poor form since the guy passed away well in advance of TB’s one-year lead time.

  16. The characters would have been easier to figure out had Jim K., the science teacher, also been present at this faculty meeting. But yeah, sweet detective work, TFH!

  17. EricW

    How do we know that Jim is resigning? On average, a teacher spends nearly $1000 a year out of pocket for classroom materials and basic necessities for the students that fell through the cracks. Maybe door greeter is the second job Jim has to take so he can afford to keep his first job?

  18. @EricW, could be, could be. But you’d think a high school art teacher could get a gig as an illustrator or, say, a syndicated cartoonist 🙂

  19. Epicus Doomus

    TFH: easily the world’s premier Funk-storian. Too bad TB isn’t looking for a continuity (LOL) editor.

    I was serious about this Jim guy, BTW. He’s at least TRYING to escape the clutches of WHS, which means he’s easily Westview’s Most Ambitious Man and I for one applaud his rugged individualism.

  20. John

    So, Jim isn’t a retconned Jim Kablichnik at all, he’s just an extremely minor character who hasn’t been seen and referred to for almost a decade in Real-LifeL, almost two decades In-Universe.

    I don’t get it. Jess can’t even speak one sentence without reminding us that she’s the daughter of John Darling, who was murdered, but MISTER OBSCURITY himself here gets ZERO in the way of being reintroduced?!?

    Tom, WTF?

  21. More from the mind of TB, courtesy the interview linked above:

    Tell me about your family: your mom, your dad, your siblings.

    My dad was probably a pretty big influence on me. He was always cracking jokes and making puns. I probably get a lot of who I am from him. [Laughs] Mom didn’t get a lot of Dad’s puns, so that prepared me for my audience.


    —Too bad TB isn’t looking for a continuity (LOL) editor—-

    Problem is you’d have to explain to TB what continuity is in the first place.
    You probably also have to explain to him what an “editor”, is too.

  23. bad wolf

    When I can no longer write about real people, about real situations, about the real world, that’s when I’ll retire.” — Tom Batiuk

    Words fail me.


    —“When I can no longer write about real people, about real situations, about the real world, that’s when I’ll retire.” —-

    I want to vote this quote for comment of the week. It really needs no additional snarking commentary.!!

  25. billytheskink

    “I went to my [art] classes and handed out pieces of paper and asked them to write down whatever they thought was a funny name. My wife and I sat at the kitchen table going over the names and out of all those suggestions came Funky Winkerbean. [Laughs] Someone’s definitely got a royalty coming,”

    Someone ought to have a cease-and-desist letter coming…

  26. Here 4 The Comments

    “When I can no longer write about real people, about real situations, about the real world, that’s when I’ll retire.”

    This makes me feel so much better because
    #1- there really are people like these characters, therefore my life is totally not pathetic compared to them
    #2 – there is hope that Batty will retire.