Debasement Tapes

You might have expected that a teacher’s car being vandalized on school grounds would be the beginning of A Very Special FW Arc. Instead, we get the ever-more-masculine Summer Moore making her first appearance in six months, Looks like Westviewians are as slapdash at packing boxes as they are at applying Scotch tape.


…asks Les, expositionally (and wouldn’t he refer to “Lisa” as “your Mom” to Summer?). Her response nearly triggers a coronary in Les: Summer dispassionately states she’s throwing them away, implying a blasphemy second only to opening a slabbed comic book.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

30 responses to “Debasement Tapes

  1. SpacemanSpiff85

    Given the emphasis on “video tapes”, rather than just “tapes”, I have a strong, strong feeling that this is going to be a storyline about the evils of technology and how Summer’s upgraded the tapes to a new medium, like laserdisc.

  2. Why is Becky in Les’ house with two arms, carrying a box of junk? Oh wait, that’s Summer… whose entire college experience has been totally non-existent, likely by special arrangement with Kent State University.

    Because, while Batiuk continually showers the university with donations (in exchange for vanity prints of his comic strip collections that no one buys) KSU at least has some standards.

  3. bad wolf

    Hmm, i wonder where this is leading?
    Chance Summer will talk Les into moving on with his life: 1%
    Chance Les will talk Summer into maintaining weird obsession: 99%

    Still, it does make for good irony when the sickest character tries (and undoubtedly succeeds) to prevent another character from taking steps towards health. Go reread your alcoholic arcs, TB, and think a little more broadly about how “codependence” works.

  4. bigd1992

    Perhaps she transferred them to a CD or a hard drive? More likely, her girlfriend told her it was creepy and to burn the damn things.

  5. I really want to know just how in the Wide Wide World of Sports that Tom Batiuk is intent on running Funky Winkerbean in stasis until March 22, 2022.

    Les, arguably Batiuk’s self-portrait, is now seemingly incapable of tying his shoes or going to the bathroom without lording over something that most people would have moved on from… while at the same time, saying sh!t like “the Lord of Language” to high school students. This freak out, under any realistic circumstance, would have been followed by an immediate intervention, followed by Les being taken to a psychiatric ward for overnight observation. And that’s with or without Cayla finally throwing divorce papers in his face.

    It’s not that the strip presents an endless display of depression and gloom… well, it does, but it also shows that Batiuk is simply physically and mentally unable to do this strip. Handing the strip over to Frank Bolle in his current condition would be an improvement.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    The cancer book, Lisa’s death tree, those f*cking VHS tapes…apparently dying was the only noteworthy thing Lisa ever did. Oh yeah, getting pregnant in high school too. It’d almost be refreshing to see Batiuk do something with Lisa that somehow involved something else that happened in her life, but obviously he cannot. It’s not even weird and creepy anymore, just predictable and annoying.

    I like how he’s “aged” Summer by making her even more angular. There’s no way in hell she’s throwing out those Lisa tapes, as there are probably entire decades of life advice she hasn’t even gotten around to watching yet.

  7. Rusty

    Without the hoodie it could be just some random dude. Maybe Lisa had enough sense to stop making tapes addressing anything beyond high school years. Although I still want to see one about how to handle a walk of shame.

  8. And of course, she’s not throwing away the tapes. This isn’t a spoiler, it’s just a recognition of this strip and its limitations.

    Imagine a Funky Winkerbean character saying, “You know, I think comic books are garbage.”

    Never going to happen.

  9. It is utterly unrealistic for Les not to get any psychiatric treatment for Dead St. Lisa the Cancer Chew Toy Who Was Cremated. But Tom Batiuk doesn’t do a single bit of research into anything that doesn’t involve Silver Age-era comic books**, so why should anyone be surprised?

    ** And even Batiuk botches THAT subject matter up frequently (“opening a slabbed comic book” blah blah blah)…

  10. ComicTrek

    Okay, this makes no sense because…come on. Why would Summer, who we probably know better than the author, throw away the sacred Lisa tapes, and without a good reason? You could expect that over this week she’ll explain that she’s grown up and her mother has finished raising her or some stupid fake-sappy thing like that, but really. Other than that, what’s going to happen? Nothing, except maybe a few flashbacks.

    Secondly, she looks like Cody. I’m surprised that her appearance isn’t more “Lisa”-esque these days, now that she’s in college. Instead of a Lisa Jr. type of character, what we see here is what Cody would look like if he had just gotten out of bed for a 3 A.M. pee.

  11. “Dad, it’s not like I need the “What to do on your first day of high school” video anymore…”
    “Are you kidding? That’s classic Lisa, right up there with ‘Your First Period’ and ‘Solo Car Dates and You!”

  12. A HREF

    So maybe Summer listened to This American Life?

    I think she looks like Ringo Starr in panel two.

  13. Rembrandt36

    Best comic I have seen TB do in a long time. Les looks like he just shit his pants.

  14. It is VERY telling that we’re probably not going to have her referred to as Summer’s mother at any point. It’s even more telling that we’re going to see her get bullied into mourning a woman she simply does not really remember because she died when she was four. To Les, Lisa is a tragic figure he simply could not rescue because agency is scary. To Summer, Lisa’s a vague shape in a ball cap and a face on a tape spouting nonsense. Since this is all about the viewpoint of young adults in their seventies, Summer’s view is by definition wrong.

  15. “I’m a Randian lesbian this semester, and don’t need Mom’s guidance any more,” Summer did not add, because that would be interesting, or at least have a trace of verisimilitude.

    She’d be wrong, of course, because she hasn’t yet viewed the episode about yeast.

  16. Rusty Shackleford

    If Batty can’t be bothered to write a decent strip, then don’t expect me to write decent snark. I’m out. Going outside that is, to enjoy the day.

    At least we can clip out the last portion of the strip to use as one of those all-purpose endings.

  17. Merry Pookster

    “I put them all on You Tube…or maybe it was You Porn….I forget”

  18. Ray

    Looks like Summer took that “college experimentation” phase a little too seriously. I’ll bet she’s wrapped an Ace bandage around her chest.

  19. Rusty Shackleford

    @oddnoc. This semester she’s a Randian Lesbian, next semester she will be pansexual, or a pantheist, etc. etc.

    Wish you were writing this strip! Good stuff.

  20. For the first time in a long time, we finally have to deal with “reality based scenarios” and “young adults.” The truth is those tapes were made almost 20 years ago and assuming they haven’t decayed or disintegrated, they hold very little value to Summer. We’ll see how long it takes for Summer, (who in hindsight – thanks @ComicTrek) looks more like Frankie than either Lisa or Les, to realize the error of her ways and hang on to the tapes she won’t have the ability to play in 5 years.

  21. Are we going to see the unveiling of the “Lisa’s Legacy” YouTube channel this week?

  22. @bobanero:
    He also thinks that YouTube is a fad so no. What we’re going to get is Les losing his mind and screaming about how much she hates the mother she can barely remember by downloading all of those obsolete old cassettes onto a USB drive.

  23. It would nice if TB, Les Moore and “The Defender” read Zelda Williams’ post about depression. Les seems to be suffering and could certainly use some counsel for closure.

  24. sgtsaunders

    Alright, enough funny business Pete! Put those damn tapes down!

  25. It’s hilarious that I got my first 2 down votes ever for making a joke about Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Those with no sense of humor always have the filthiest minds.

  26. The Dreamer

    Nathan Obral, Les *has* been seeing a psychiatrist. He is seen on the shrink’s couch at the beginning of the current act, when he talks in flashback about Lisa’s funeral.

    As for the tapes, VHS tapes don’t last and the Lisa tapes are getting old. IT is likely Summer has transferred them digitally and they are now on a Lisa’s Legacy website or facebook page or something. Or if she really wants to shock Les, she’s put them all on youtube!

  27. Oh, by the way, I’m on an extended visit to Ohio, and it’s not nearly as bad as Tom Batiuk makes it out to be.

  28. bad wolf

    @Oddnoc, the issue could also be that it’s one thing to be lesbian, but Randian is just too controversial.

  29. Ray

    @Oddnoc…glad you’re finding our fair state to your liking! Hope you can make a stop at the real-life “Montonis”