Union Pathetic

If you are reading this, I’ve been stuck on the road quite a lot longer than I anticipated and was not able to preview or provide anything more than this filler post for today’s strip. I do apologize, but I know it is the commenters who are the real draw to this site and that you all will bail me out with some top shelf snark. Thank you in advance.

I wrote the italicized text above in case I was not able to get back to the computer in time to type something relevant about the strip before publishing time. I leave it up here, even after getting to a computer in a timely manner, because it’s as relevant as anything else I could write about this strip.  Fire away everyone.

Thanks for putting up with me for a couple of weeks. The always-excellent BC takes the ringleader’s top hat starting tomorrow.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

25 responses to “Union Pathetic

  1. sgtsaunders

    It is an overly long, boring few panels leading up to a dimwit’s lament, as usual, but Bats stopped too soon. The money shot should have been Les and Funky getting run over by the creepy brown sedan that is so rudely blocked by these two dullards cooling their heels int he middle of a traffic lane. Cayla, is that you?

  2. SpacemanSpiff85

    I’d love it if this was the beginning of a Crankshaft crossover (timeline be damned, yet again). Tomorrow Ed’s in the bus bitching about these two old farts lamely jogging in the road in front of him. The next day is just a big, one panel “THUMP!!!” and Les and Funky are never mentioned or seen in the strip again.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    It’s not the worst FW gag ever or anything, but it’s noteworthy how lovingly-rendered those trains are. Looks like someone has a new hobby.

    Coming next week: A train carrying comic books and pizza making supplies nearly derails, but is saved by a timely phone call from a certain long-dead character, who wisely has everything transferred to a different train just in time to avoid disaster.

  4. A HREF

    That would have been a slightly amusing weekday strip.

    I hope Corey goes out Monday buys some dry ice and a bone saw or two along with some butcher knives.

    And Funky ends up in the box.

    A3G gets retired yet this goes on. I wish that Francesco Marciuliano and Jim Keefe would take that over–they do a pretty good job with Hillary and her friends now or even the Mark Trail guy.

    Too bad, A3G is horrible and has been that way for years but it has potential.

    And yet TB take sup space.

  5. I initially thought the train had crashed in front of them. It says something about this strip that I wasn’t surprised by the development.

  6. This strip highlights an ongoing incongruity. If Funky runs regularly (and has been for decades if the number of times he’s been shown running with the head of Dead St. Lisa’s cult is any indication), shouldn’t he be in better condition than The Author posits for him? He certainly shouldn’t have the pot-belly.

  7. SpacemanSpiff85

    @Gerard Plourde:
    That’s one of the many annoying things about Batiuk’s writing. Funky and Les have essentially the same diet. And Funky has been shown working out over and over, belongs to a gym and has a person trainer. And yet he’s still the tub of lard, and Les is rail thin.

  8. Epicus Doomus

    SpacemanSpiff85: It’s BanTom’s “Revenge Of The Nerds” fantasy. Les’ superior intellect may have been ignored in high school but it’s paying big dividends for him now, what with his prestigious teaching job and author credits and all. Meanwhile Funky, who was way cooler than Les in high school, is an unhealthy troubled slob who can’t wipe down the Montoni’s counter without sweating. The always-fit Les is married to the svelte Cayla, Funky is married to the bulbous Holly. Les looks his age, Funky looks exactly like his eighty year old dad. I could probably go on but I won’t.

  9. Rembrandt36

    I give today a pass. The joke’s okay and the art is incredible.

  10. Jim in Wisc.

    Oh! The falling leaves! What a profound statement on the fleeting transience of life!

  11. Jim in Wisc.

    @ A HREF: According to Josh over at CC, James Allen, who is now doing Mark Trail, actually contacted CK about taking over A3G, but they passed on the offer. I would assume that the strip has slipped so far, that reestablishing a meaningful readership for it would be close to impossible.

  12. Wow. A strip that people can almost relate to. That’s what we get when Funky shows up: the ability to almost relate to his problems but not quite making it because he’s not an especially appealing person. Granted, he’s not a fist magnet like Les but all the same, he’s just someone no one could like.

  13. I wouldn’t be surprised if Chuck Ayers penciled in the trains. That’s too much detail for someone of Tom Batiuk’s caliber.

    The trains are a perfect metaphor for Funky Winkerbean as a whole: lumbering, slow, and a relief to all when it finally passes by.

  14. ComicTrek

    Huh. Except for seeing Les (grrrr) in that last panel, I actually can’t complain about today’s strip! 🙂 Best one yet!

  15. Periwinkle

    David Willis (cartoonist behind “Shortpacked!”, “Dumbing of Age”, et al.) has posted a simultaneous burn against today’s strip and himself. Except, how do locomotive numbers work? In the year of the strip, is it possible for locomotive #5315 to have been replaced by a different model?

    What is the year of the strip, anyway? I know it skipped ahead, but between timeskips it appears slower than real time, so has 2015 caught up with it yet?

  16. Saturnino

    “That’s one of the many annoying things about Batiuk’s writing. Funky and Les have essentially the same diet. And Funky has been shown working out over and over, belongs to a gym and has a person trainer. And yet he’s still the tub of lard, and Les is rail thin.”

    Well. Les is the strip intellectual, which means he uses the vast fund of knowledge in his brain. The brain is an energy hog, so all that thought, and possibly the sucking out of energy by DSL keeps him thin.

    Funky OTOH, uses the guilt compensation afforded him by running, to eat all sorts of garbage in great quantities. He figures the steps he runs on the wrong side of the road (in many states) are ample compensation for his festivals of gluttony.

  17. Hannibal's Lectern

    It is a bit disconcerting that in panels three and four the road does not seem to exist on the other side of the tracks. In the fourth panel, nothing is beyond the tracks but a featureless green void, symbolic perhaps of the fact that in Westview both sides of the tracks are the wrong side.

  18. Jason

    Ah, the self-centered whine of the self-appointed guru of health and exercise.

    Nice looking railroad cars though. Too bad CSX 5315 is a completely different style locomotive.

  19. @ Periwinkle,

    David Willis is referring to the fact that the locomotive depicted looks like a model from the GP series produced by Geeneral Motors’ Electro-Motive Division last produced in 1989. The cab portion (where the engineer sits) depicted was redesigned and looks very different for more recent locomotives.


    The number is the railroad’s ID number for that particular locomotive. David’s post shows the actual locomotive #5315 belonging to CSX (the freight rail company depicted in the strip). It is one of the later models and doesn’t look like the one pulling the train in today’s strip.

    The vintage locomotive does raise an interesting question. Is the Funkyverse stuck in one calendar year like some kind of weird “Twighlight Zone” episode? Could they be aging but the calendar not advancing, like some variation of “Groundhog Day”? Does the calendar year always says 1988? And is this intentional or just an indication of sloppy work?

  20. DOlz

    “Gasoline Alley” has thrown down the gauntlet today. TB you need to up your game or “leaf” it alone.


  21. Nicely drawn train, though strangely lacking the graffiti that I see adorning the boxcars when I’m stopped at a crossing. It’s kind of interesting that here’s an entire Sunday strip used to draw out a one-panel gag.

    And if those dimwits are jogging in the middle of the road, I hope they get hit. Supposedly they have a jogging trail there in Westview, but I guess since everyone uses it, it’s way too common for Les.

  22. @Gerard Plourde: The thing is, Tom Batiuk is only just drawing Funky Winkerbean so he can stretch this out to March 22, 2022. He obviously doesn’t care about any semblance of continuity or any timeframe the strip takes in, as both Crankshaft and FW clearly take place in the present day.

    As for the locomotives and trains depicted, it’s apparent that these are two different trains, but Batiuk selected the CSX locomotive as it is more colorful. Oh, and CSX is the dominant freight train line in Medina County, Ohio. (There are also a few bike-and-hike rail trails that parallel active rail lines in rural Medina County.)

  23. @ Nathan Obral

    You’re right that any semblance of continuity or time-frame is ignored. Both engines are CSX, formerly known as the C & O, which increased its alredy substantial presence in eastern Ohio when it acquired lines in the breakup of Conrail (which itself had been assembled as a quasi-governmental entity from the bankruptcies of a number of eastern railroads in the 1970’s).

  24. Epicus Doomus

    Seriously though, the train IS very well-drawn, gotta give him that. If FW just did goofy gags like this one every day, we probably wouldn’t be here. But alas, tomorrow will probably feature a two week arc about Les’ dead wife giving out sex tips or Holly discovering that her precious comic books are gone and all the good vibes will be gone faster than that train moves.

  25. Epicus Doomus

    To expand on my post above a little bit: I’ve gone on at length in the past re: “gag-a-day” vs. “1/4 inch from reality” and IMO the 1/4″ approach is way, way easier than coming up with a decent joke every day. Hell, trying to come up with something modestly amusing to say about FW every day is sometimes a chore itself. It’s why I’ve always considered the 1/4″ approach to be a cop-out, especially given how he goes about telling his boring little stories.