From Here to Punchternity

Link to today’s strip.

Poor Cayla.  Doomed forever to live in Lisa’s shadow.   Of course, she brought it on herself so it’s difficult to feel any sympathy when Les realizes, “Hey, this might get expensive, and she’s not Lisa, so why did I even bother telling her I’d take her overseas.  I’ll buy her dinner somewhere.  At the Paris Bar-B-Que & Bar-B-Beer-o-Rama in nearby Flungdown, Ohio.  And I’ll pretend it’s Paris, France, and she’ll be just floored by how clever I am.  She’s already happy with everything I do, so even if I instead spend the Beer-O-Rama’s five bucks on framing a Lisa picture, she’ll smile in delight.

“And if she insists on China–ha, like she’d insist on anything–I’ll take her to the Golden China Dump in Wastelife, Ohio and she’ll think I’m double clever.  She always does.”

My brother went to China a couple of years ago, and it’s not the sort of trip a cheapskate Wetviewian would undertake.  According to my brother, you’d be wise to go first class, because you can develop some severe health problems in a cramped lower-class seat.  Although, come to think of it, if Cayla got severe health problems…


So, I went to Priceline (because Captain Kirk is cool), plugged in my nearest airport, put in Hong Kong as the destination and selected the dates of November 12 – 18.  (I think Les’ anniversary is around that time.  Like Les himself, I can’t remember.)  The result–

Whoa.  Let’s try something a little more reasonable.  I plugged in my numbers for a late-August, early-September trip to Beijing.

Still up there in “Yikes!” territory for a Language Arts teacher who doesn’t make a lot of money (as the teachers continuously point out).  Keep in mind, in both cases that’s per person, so Les is going to be out anywhere from $25 to $16 grand*.  This is a guy who wouldn’t bother to warn his first wife that she might die–and he’s going to spend that much money on Cayla?   Somehow I think the excuses will come a’runnin’ and Cayla will meekly accept them, now that she understands that she’s worthless.  (Sure seems like Les has been far more damaging than her old typing teacher could ever hope to be.)

Observe that she’s just now moving next to Les on the porch swing, now that Darin has left.  My assumption is that she was afraid she might distract attention away from Les, and that would never do.  Cayla is symptomatic of some kind of syndrome, that’s for sure.  I think it’s Lack of Pulitzer Nomination Syndrome, and I hear it’s pretty wearisome.

*Some might suggest that Les’ publishers would foot the bill.   In the real world, an author who had deliberately sabotaged a movie adaptation of his own work would be lucky to get a second book, and he’d be flung out a window if he asked for a free trip to China.  In the fantasy world of Westview, they’d not only foot the bill, they’d make sure it was national television news.  I don’t feel bound by Tom Batiuk’s logic, however…one of the main reasons this strip consistently fails to impress.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

28 responses to “From Here to Punchternity

  1. The Dreamer

    Whats this second book supposed to be about?

  2. SpacemanSpiff85

    You’re really overestimating Les. “Dinner in Paris” will no doubt be at Montoni’s, with a fifty-cent French flag on the table, pizza with French Roast coffee to drink, and the soundtrack from Ratatouille on the jukebox. And probably Funky or Wally wearing a beret.

  3. SpacemanSpiff85

    And Batiuk’s blog entry from the other day is extremely telling, for a couple of reasons:
    “If Lisa’s Story one day turns out to be the apotheosis of my time on Funky (not my call… I’m just sayin’ as I occupy myself these days playing with comic book characters I created in the fifth grade)”
    I love how he’s acting like his legions of fans are still applauding him for Lisa’s Story, and it’s not himself who keeps harping about how great it is, at the same exact time as his strip is revolving yet again around Lisa’s Story.
    Obviously his passion is with the superheroes he created. Which is perfectly fine, if it wasn’t taking over FW, and every plot revolved around comics. But I’m kind of perplexed why he keeps bringing it up. Maybe we’re supposed to be amazed that he could create The Amazing Mister Sponge at such a young age? Who knows.

  4. Forget punching. Les’s face is deserving of a cast-iron frying pan.

  5. Guest Page Turner Author

    Uggh! No pasty faced white man ever looks good in a yellow shirt!

    I bet he is also wearing dirty white sneakers and white socks.

  6. If Lisa’s Story one day turns out to be the apotheosis of my time on Funky…

    Oh, it will be, Tom Batiuk. Because you completely ran out of ideas and are blatantly phoning it in until March 26, 2022.

  7. bad wolf

    Last night i dreamt we went to Manderley again.

    Wow. Just when i thought we hit Peak Les with the time travel cowardice, we find as ever new depth to which he can sink. The whole point of the anniversary gift last year was that he’d forgotten their first anniversary, so pulling the rug out from his make up gift is just… wow. I really can’t imagine how The Last Leaf reads as anything but the story of a naive divorcee/widow(?) who marries a weirdo obsessing over his dead wife until you think she’s been gaslit into insanity.

    As for the rest their anniversary is Oct 15th, which sadly is memorable to me because they were married on my own anniversary. And Mrs Wolf and i went to Taiwan a couple of years ago and i assure you the price wasn’t that bad; i think $2K / person or less would be sufficient for the flight.

  8. bad wolf

    Ah, i see–you put in first class. Admittedly the leg room is a thing, because it is a long long long flight. We got by with those emergency exit rows with extra legroom, i think. In any case, we’re of modest means ourselves although we don’t have tenure or a house with multiple empty rooms that’s probably paid for.

  9. “That reminds me, did I tell you how I once chased Lisa all over Europe? That was long before she died of cancer, of course….”
    *Cayla beats Les’ face in with a tire iron*

  10. @bad wolf — that’s what my brother told me. He said some finance officer from some bank had tried the same thing in “tourist” and ended up with some terrible lung infection which invalidated any savings he might have had, and then some.
    Mind, I speak as someone to whom the lunch choice is frequently “Risk the rent on Subway, or live with a vocal stomach until I can ply it with saltines.” In other words, it’s all out of my league.

  11. Rusty

    As summer winds down in Westview, their children have not managed to make it home from about 20 miles down the road at Kent State. Oh, well, will it be their junior or senior year? Who knows?

    And why on earth would the printing of a limited run “graphic novel” have to be outsourced to Hong Kong. Has the American printing industry been shuttered?

  12. Epicus Doomus

    Good ol’ Cayla, always content to be Les Moore’s good-natured doormat. It’s pretty much her default setting and always has been. “Obsessing about Lisa again? Oh, that Les! I’ll make some lemonade!”. And Batiuk is every bit as clueless. Maybe SHE’S his real avatar here.

  13. What would be the point of reminding Les that he has a duty to remember things like anniversaries in the first? We know that having to make a decision like “paper or plastic” would make the fist magnet so paralyzed with fear, he’d piss himself so it’s probably best to sit back and watch the baby pose like a man.

  14. Rusty Shackleford

    Batty, as usual, comes up with this complicated scheme to get a book published. Of course, in 2015, you can just self-publish. No need to travel to China.

    Like anybody is going to read Les’ crappy book anyways.

  15. Rusty Shackleford

    Panel 1: Les sits on the couch smirking as he watches his neighbor cut the grass. He thinks to himself, I’m so much better than you.

    Panel 2: Cayla storms out of the house. Les, you idiot, we’ve got kids in college and you are jerking around your publisher with all this prequel nonsense. Get your stupid white a$$ back in the house and get to work. If you piss away this opportunity, I’m leaving you.

    Panel 3: Les is sitting at his typewriter (what real writers use) looking out the window with a look of shame on his face. His neighbor stares back and gives Les the finger. A leaf falls in the background.

  16. @Rusty:

    As summer winds down in Westview, their children have not managed to make it home from about 20 miles down the road at Kent State. Oh, well, will it be their junior or senior year? Who knows?

    It was conditional with their inclusion on the KSU Funky Winkerbean mural… they needed to be written out of the strip entirely a la Chuck Cunningham. And so it came to pass.


    And why on earth would the printing of a limited run “graphic novel” have to be outsourced to Hong Kong. Has the American printing industry been shuttered?

    It must have sounded like a funny plot device to Batiuk, but he obviously got bored/uninterested and is sweeping it under the rug entirely.

    Don’t be surprised if the Cayla comic book NEVER sees the light of day, but the Lisa tome is also printed in real life (as another crappy comic strip collection vanity printed through KSU).

  17. Chyron HR

    Christ, what an asshole.

  18. Rusty

    @Nathan: Batiuk had a collection of Crankshaft strips about Alhzeimer’s (fun!) come out this year titled Roses in December. So that’s the Cayla “book”.


    Hopefully if this book gets printed it will be justification for Les to be put in a old Maoist Re-Eduction Camp.

  20. Maybe he’ll take her to this Paris for the world’s largest Fish Fry.

  21. billytheskink

    Roses In December, incidentally, is also the name of the book Les is signing (or “booksigning” as the sign says) in one of those Kent State Murals.

    Be sure to drink your Ovaltine…

  22. As shitty as this development is, I at least have to give the tiniest sliver of credit to Batiuk — I fully expected him to let the anniversary trip to China fall down the memory hole without ever being mentioned again…

  23. Jim in Wisc.

    @billytheskink: And after extensive research (I searched Amazon for “Roses in December”), I conclude that’s it’s not even a very original title, as I found at least 10 or 12 other books with that name.

  24. Jimmy

    I can’t wait for the story where Les gives Cayla a book of coupons for a “free hug” and “10 minutes with me on the porch swing”.

    Don’t worry, though. Les is going to treat her to a classy French dinner

  25. bayoustu

    Here’s hoping that “someone” is Owen.

  26. Of course in the real world, if you make a statement like “you never know when someone might take you to dinner in Paris” after blowing off the Hong Kong trip, you’d better have the plane tickets in your hand if you want to have any hope of ever getting laid again.

  27. I can’t believe I didn’t notice this…but it sure is odd that Darin gets to hear about the book’s delay before Cayla does. She really is nothing other than a doormat to Les.

  28. 7dials

    I think I speak for married people everywhere when I say that this had damn well better be leading up to a Very Special (you hear me, Pulitzer committee?!) Arc about spousal murder, or at the very least an acrimonious divorce.