The Way You Punch Tonight

Link to today’s strip.

Thursday’s strip was not available for preview, so instead I’m going to speculate a bit.

Apparently Les is serious about writing Lisa’s Story – The First Shoe, a book about how he first met Lisa.  And I’ll be damned if I can figure out what he can put into it.

Oh, I know he’ll talk about himself and his feelings.  That’s no mystery.  But I’m thinking that the events he can talk about would already be in the first book.

I know that in the real world, it’s a selection of newspaper comics, but in universe, it’s supposed to be a moving story of how Les suffered and yet was so caring and witty while terrible things happened around him.  But again, in universe, wouldn’t he have provided some portrait of Lisa, telling how they’d met, how their relationship developed, and so on?  Even if only in a forward, or a prologue?  Otherwise, the reader is given a dying woman with no real reason to care at all.  He has to have personalized her so that the reader can see what she means to him and thus connect to her story.  That’s the title of the book after all.

…Though as we later saw, when he was writing the script he had no idea how to portray Lisa until Cayla dug out her diary.  Honestly, that makes the in universe book even worse in my opinion–it is nothing but all Les, all the time.

Here’s my crack at the opening of the in universe Lisa’s Story.  Feel free to submit your own in the comments!

“This is a story of unbelievable pain, unbelievable suffering, yet holding aloft the intelligence, the humility, and the wit to survive it all.  It’s also the story of how my wife died, and how I was there for here…even before she knew me.

“To begin at the beginning, I always found high school to be beneath my natural gifts.  Because I couldn’t conform downward, I naturally became the outcast.  Barely understood by most, yet mindful of their jealousy, I did my best to keep my grades up and my sights higher.  Unappreciated by the teachers, I was well on my way to a ‘mediocre’ high school experience when one day I met someone who I knew would love me.   Unlike those damnable others.

“Her name was Lisa.  And I was the best thing that ever happened to her.”

I think I’ll stop here, I’m creeping myself out.

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27 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

27 responses to “The Way You Punch Tonight

  1. SpacemanSpiff85

    That’s the absolute weirdest thing about LIsa’s Story, to me. For as much as it’s presented as the greatest literary work in English or any other language, and as many plots as have revolved around it, I don’t think we’ve ever actually been shown any of the actual writing. The closest thing I can think of is the abysmal home run line of “I’m here for you, even if I don’t know what to say”, but that was for the script. In all of the book signings, I don’t recall Les being shown reading the book, but instead just him rambling on to fans about his writing process. It’s possible that I missed it somewhere, but I highly doubt it, and even if it was mentioned somewhere, it couldn’t have been that much. Batiuk just thinks it’s enough for us to be told what a great writer Les is, which would be one thing if that book wasn’t constantly featured and presented as a masterpiece. Let us read it, then! Family Circus has shown more of one of it’s character’s writing skills when Billy takes over, and I guarantee he’s a better writer than Les.

  2. bad wolf

    “What can you say about a twenty-five year old girl that died?” Quite a lot, apparently, if you’re Les Moore. I always thought Lisa’s Story was probably a rewrite of Erich Segal’s Love Story, which begins with the narrator meeting the girl and ends with her death (i think–never read it actually). Maybe it’s just endless descriptions of chemo therapy sessions.

    This brings to mind a question for the CK cognoscenti–wasn’t Lisa pregnant in high school? That’s what i assumed but in looking at the cast page for Act III, Darin was said to be 28 and the 2008 Class Reunion was supposed to be the 30th. So… am i counting that wrong?

  3. Charles

    It IS pretty amazing how he can keep coming back to this, his favorite of all stories, and yet each time he does he screws it up more and more.

    It’s remarkable because that “home run” line that Les congratulated himself over writing, the only writing in “Lisa’s Story” we actually saw, was in fact a word for word repeat from something Cindy said in a strip where she was on the porch with Lisa, Les and Funky. So Les wasn’t congratulating himself on writing a perfect line. He was congratulating himself for remembering what Cindy said years after she said it. At least that’s consistent with his odd need for fidelity to the truth rather than telling a compelling story.

    There was also that nostalgia strip from when Les was on one of his many appearance tours where he started his lecture with how he and Lisa met in high school. I assumed that covered something that was in the book because it’d otherwise be irrelevant.

    And in a moment of hypocrisy, around the time of that strip Les called Summer in a panic when she was at school because he didn’t know how to turn his laptop into a projector. Considering that Les was shown at least once, and probably more than once, being a complete prick to other kids when they received calls at school, well, I was just sad that Bull or Jim Dumbshitdick didn’t grab Summer’s phone away from her and turn Les’s increasing panic into a joke for the whole class.

  4. Rusty

    “The wind blows hard and cold off Lake Erie in October, a preview of the coming winter. The last of the maple leaves stubbornly clung to their branches, fighting an ultimately futile battle against the inevitable end. She stumbled off the school bus, wrapped in a crocheted shawl, hair tightly wound in impenetrable curls. I could see her blinking through her smudged wire frame granny glasses, looking like a field mouse who had entered a closely mown field with no place to hide from the predators that came from above. It is she, I thought to myself. An unlikely muse, but I was an unlikely artist.”

  5. Epicus Doomus

    Oh, that stroke-addled Fred, always so funny when he struggles to speak. A lazy joke from the pen of a lazy, lazy man. Just reprehensible. But on the plus side, at least Boy Lisa bothered to acknowledge his bogus, inferior adoptive parents this time, even though he scampered off to share his big news with his dick-faced “step bio-dad” first. I figured he’d ignore them altogether, what with their loveless sham of a marriage and all. He’s really Lisa’s long-lost son, you know.

    Speaking of Lisa, I’ve always wondered where the fictional “LS” starts. Does it begin when she first learns she has cancer or does it begin when she first learns that there’s no hope and she’s going to die? Because there’s like a ten year spread there which would leave a “prequel” a little light on content. And please, don’t reference the real “LS”, as it doesn’t count as it isn’t even a book at all, just a collection of old comic strips in book form. Which I will point out every single time it’s mentioned until the day I die.

  6. Guest Page Turner Author

    No human being ever says”Break a Pencil”

    I work with CVA patients all day. All of these wonderful folks would never say something so stupid.

    Get out of Westview already fool!

  7. Um….well….at least it’s not Les, right?

  8. Batty Winkerbean

    Oh man, Fred’s totally gonna die while Darin’s in Hollywood, and Les will seize upon the opportunity to write the biography. Bonus points if wannabe-writer Ann has spent the entirety of Fred’s stroke beating Les to the punch.

  9. Epicus Doomus

    bad wolf: The funniest thing about the official FW page is that when you hover over Darin and read his bio it tells you to visit the archive section for more information. And the only thing there that’s even remotely relevant is Batiuk’s beloved teen pregnancy arc, which does feature Boy Lisa but not really. In fact, it’s not really the teen pregnancy arc either, it’s an Act II recton job about the pregnancy arc featuring lots of Les & Lisa banter which will make you gouge your own eyes from their sockets within seconds.

  10. The Defender

    You people should stop making fun of this comic. ‘Funky Winkerbean’ is the best thing in the newspaper today and Les is one of the most fully articulated characters to ever hit the funnies. I find the characters to be an inspiration. Stop being so cynical.

  11. @The Defender: Thank you, Mr Batiuk for that on-line pouting session. If these people are fully-articulated and inspiring, I’m Queen Marie of Romania. What they actually are are a depressing and unsympathetic collection of no-hopers, narcissists and imbeciles who live lives of superlative dullness. Apathy and these boring, smirking people and their repellently idiotic world go hand in glove.

  12. Also, if it’s pointed out that neither Les, Pete or Boy Lisa could actually be allowed anywhere near a studio because they aren’t Union, the Delicate Genius writing this slop would make an arch comment about how it’s “writing” in order to display his utter contempt for the truth.

  13. @Epicus Doomus:

    Speaking of Lisa, I’ve always wondered where the fictional “LS” starts. Does it begin when she first learns she has cancer or does it begin when she first learns that there’s no hope and she’s going to die? Because there’s like a ten year spread there which would leave a “prequel” a little light on content. And please, don’t reference the real “LS”, as it doesn’t count as it isn’t even a book at all, just a collection of old comic strips in book form. Which I will point out every single time it’s mentioned until the day I die.

    From the few times we’ve seen the in-panel version of “LS,” it’s shaped like the real-life vanity comic strip collection. Which is not how normal novels are shaped, assuming that it IS a novel.

    My impression has generally been that the in-panel “LS” is another ‘graphic novel’ written by Les and drawn by Boy Lisa the Fair Good Grief that closely mirrors where the real-life comic strip collection begins and ends.

  14. Rusty Shackleford

    @defender. “Funky Winkerbean is the best thing in the newspapers ”

    Well that is only because Breathed self publishes Bloom County on Facebook.

    The comics page is a reflection of the state of the newspaper industry. Tired old guys desperately thinking that newspapers are still relevant and cartoonists phoning it in, cashing their checks, and heading out to the golf course.

  15. @Rusty Shackleford: Let’s not forget the self-willed isolation from a world that’s passing them by because they let it happen. Johnston, Batiuk and McEldowney shun engagement because it exposes them to the horrible idea that their ideas aren’t as great as they think they are.

  16. bad wolf

    You know, the Luann page has dozens of irony free apologists for the strip’s contrived meanderings, and no one assumes that one must be the artist in person.

  17. I think The Defender was being ironic. No one could have a good opinion of Funky Winkerbean.

    The last person who said he liked the strip admitted that he was only nostalgic for its early years.

  18. billytheskink

    Wow, Mumbles and BB Eyes have really aged between yesterday and today’s strips. Stanton and Curtis are usually better at continuity that this.

    Wait, this isn’t Dick Tracy… Durwood actually talking to the people who adopted and raised him from infancy and almost acknowledging them as his parents really threw me off there.

  19. $$$WESTVIEW ONCOLOGIST$$$

    You people should stop making fun of this comic. ‘Funky Winkerbean’ is the best thing in the newspaper today.

    Given Yellow Journalism, Pointless Advertisements, Idiotic Editorials, Zombie Strips and reading about how terrible the Nationals baseball team is doing…..yes. Funky Winkerbean is the best thing in my newspaper today.

  20. Professor Fate

    @beckoningchasm – re your opening lines from Lisa’s Story are just painfully funny. I think you have caught the essence of Les – of course now you’ll have to live with that knowledge but thank you.

  21. @Professor Fate – well, now I have a good excuse to set myself on fire. Seriously, though, thanks. It is a bit unsettling though.

  22. “Brk e pnssl”? What‽

    Oh, pencil! “Break a pencil!” Whew!

  23. bad wolf

    @Epicus: thanks, i had trouble loading that before; the copy under “Other Stuff” here is coming up blank. It does indeed definitely describe her pregnancy as during High School, while the age/reunion would suggest that he was born two years after graduation.

    Well, why should we care about Darin’s age? The author didn’t.

  24. ComicTrek

    Wow. No words for this nonsense. Batiuk, don’t think we haven’t recovered from last week’s time warp fail.

  25. Epicus Doomus

    Dedicated to The Defender….ride, like the wind….

  26. He said: “I have no son.”

  27. “Lisa was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that . . .”