In Soviet Russia, the Buck Saves You!

Pity the readers of Funky Winkerbean whose newspapers do not also run Crankshaft (okay, go ahead and pity all FW readers, regardless). Of course beady-eyed, nitpicking hate-readers understand that the rapt little kid is the same one whose ghost we saw peering creepily back at Jeff from the attic window of his childhood home a couple weeks ago. And we know that the old geezer awkwardly shaking Cliff Anger’s hand is not Funky with glasses but is that same kid, now grown old. So Jeff finally achieves closure for his mommy issues, albeit in a different comic strip and ten or twenty (and one or two weeks) later. And if his gushing pronouncement sounds familiar, peep this 2011 Batiuk interview:

Interviewer: Some of the memorable storylines of that [first time jump] era, at least for me, were Lisa’s cancer and the comic book store obscenity trial that was mirroring the Jesus Castillo case. I still have Crazy’s witness stand testimony of how, when he was in high school, “…superheroes did what they did best… they saved me.” tacked up on my wall.

While he understands fuck-all about how modern motion pictures are made, and has long since abandoned any notion of continuity and character development, Batiuk maintains his laser focus on spreading the gospel of old comic books and movie serials.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

26 responses to “In Soviet Russia, the Buck Saves You!

  1. spacemanspiff85

    “I was a spaceman, jackass. Not a superhero. No superpowers. Get out of my sight.”

  2. Frank Bolton

    What was the date of the comic with the comic book stabbing? I still can’t believe that it actually happened.

    TFH sez: Frank, that took place over in Crankshaft on 5/18/16.

  3. I spend a lot of time on YouTube watching “The ten most terrifying [whatevers] ever” because who needs sleep?

    Tom Batiuk is slowly edging closer to one of those “Top Fifty Obsessed People who Became Serial Killers when Their Reality was Denied by the Real Reality.”

    Okay, now I am seriously never going to sleep again. I’m imagining the 3:44 AM pounding at the door. “It’s Les Moore” the voice will howl, “–and I have stacks of comic books!!!

    Like my cat is going to protect me in this scenario.

  4. And, of course, unless you read CRANKSHAFT, what Jff is saying means absolutely nothing to the reader. It’s as if Batiuk wants the reader to read both strip into order to understand the strip. Baiting and switching, if you ask me.

  5. spacemanspiff85

    I really kind of wonder if Batiuk is hoping for a book compiling these strips from both strips into one storyline. It’s probably just more likely that he can’t write about anything but his comic obsession, though.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    F*ck off Tom, I’m not reading it. I barely know who this imbecile is supposed to be and today I’m supposed to relate to his wide-eyed wonder that gave him something to help him survive his stupid childhood traumas? Well I don’t. And how many times has he used this “young, innocent and lost in the exploits of his favorite funny book superhero” trope already? I mean we get it, comic books played a large role in your upbringing. That’s great. Now either do something with it other than variations on “comic books saved me” or shut the f*ck up about it already.

    dougputhoff: Yes and it’s pretty annoying too. The guy has a dozen dangling SJ-related plot threads alone and he’s farting around with Jeff and his bizarre childhood, like anyone on the planet cares. I checked out that other piece of crap twice this year. The first time I see a woman stabbing a SJ comic book, then I see Les freaking Moore smugging around at some garage sale or something, it was surreal. Every force in the known universe is very clearly telling me to not read that comic strip and I’m heeding those forces.

  7. billytheskink

    So the live-action version of Moon Mile Meek looks exactly like he does in the comic book? Using 1950s-60s technology (puppet, stop-motion, or small human in a costume) and a movie serial budget? How is this possible?

    Well, maybe the legendary Starbuck Jones serial was just a Clutch Cargo ripoff that consisted entirely of still shots of comic book panels and a couple minutes of Synchro Vox of Cliff Anger’s lips.

  8. Charles

    Thing that kills me about that Crankshaft strip is how long it took me to realize that was a coloring book and not a comic book. (Okay, I just realized it now) And so when I first read it, I thought Jff’s mom was punishing him for coloring panels in his comic book. She may have been a monster, but she had her priorities in the right place. We don’t deface comic books by coloring in them!

    It’s much more mundane now that I know that we were never intended to know what Jff’s transgression was that led to his mom melodramatically destroying his coloring book.

    I also can’t imagine that Cliff would be too impressed with Jff. “Look, I was just an actor in a dumb serial. I thought I had it bad when I was living in squalor in New York City, but seeing your stunted life, I realize now how good I had it.”

    I’d like to know how Batiuk thinks a cheap-ass serial would manage the effect of that weird little monster thing. Keep in mind that this would have been 30 years or so before Return of the Jedi’s Kowakian monkey-lizard thing.

  9. You know, I know full well the therapeutic effect fiction can have when you’re dealing with real-world difficulties. And even I think this is a load of heavy-handed, saccharine sentimental glurge that makes me want to vomit.

  10. spacemanspiff85

    The weird thing about that coloring book is that Rose freaked out and stabbed it, and then apparently gave it back to Jeff. Or she tossed it in the trash and Jeff dug it out and then hid it for fifty years. If she was that pissed off about it that she literally stabbed it with a knife, how did she not destroy it?

  11. Epicus Doomus

    Re: the stabbing comic. If I was one of those people with obscene amounts of money I’d definitely buy a full-sized framed print of that strip and hang it up with no explanation, just to see people react to it. It’s really bizarre imagery and dialog if you have no context whatsoever, soon your friends would be talking about your weird and unnerving taste in hipster art. You’d probably get a lot of calls from the place that prints, frames and ships those things too, you know, like “hey man, you really order this thing? Just asking”. Then of course I’d immediately move, as there was once a Crankshaft print hanging in the house.

  12. Here, we have Jffff bloviating away about how junk culture ‘saved’ him from emotional growth and empathy for a mother in the grip of mental illness. On the other side, Crankshaft angered that someone else treats him with the same disrespect he shows everyone else.

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    More like saved him the trouble of becoming a real adult who takes responsibility for his own life instead of blaming all his problems on his now deceased mother.

    Geeze, I was into model railroading as a kid. It helped launch a career for me in electrical engineering. I still like to build things, paint things, wire stuff up. But I don’t badger everybody around me about my hobby, nor do I fawn over things like a child. Those days are gone and am I just grateful for the life I have. N

  14. Rusty Shackleford

    Oh and what do you know, my mom was an alcoholic and said and did some bad things while drinking. But I made peace with this and now that I am older, I can see how the issues in her life led her to drink.

    It’s called maturity Batty. Stop wallowing in the past…it is getting old!

  15. Gerard Plourde

    Retreating into fantasy through reading or going to the movies can give a temporary respite from an intolerable situation but it’s really ridiculous to claim that this kind of behavior by itself provides the coping skills or the support systems needed for long-term mental health.

    And what about Jeff’s sister (yet another character who only exists when it’s convenient for Batty)? What effect did Rose’s bipolar disorder have on her and how did it influence her relationship with Jeff?

    This cult-like worship of comic books is getting as annoying as the cult of Daed St. Lisa the Cancer Chew Toy which it appears to have supplanted.

  16. A HREF

    So I went and read Crankshaft and Ed’s chasing a garbage truck.

    Seems about right.

  17. Can I just say once again how pathetic it is that not one person under the age of 50 is in that crowd?

  18. Who’s the fat fanboy? Can’t be Jeff unless he gained 50 pounds since June 1…

  19. @Epicus: sorry, but your friends would not see a framed version of the stabbed-coloring-book panel as hipster art. As the great Bill Watterson observed, there is a hierarchy here: a comic book panel is always lowbrow, not fine art. A painting of a comic book panel (a la Ray Lichtenstein) is fine art, but a comic strip set in a museum, where the characters are looking at a painting of a comic book panel, is again lowbrow because it’s a comic strip.

    To make proper fine hipster art from the Starbuck Stabbing Incident, you should take the Sunday strip that was just the SJ coloring book cover, properly mount and frame it, and then hammer a real knife (preferably the classic 6″ Buck) through it. Extra points if you put glass over the comic before you stabbed it.


    I’m having a strange feeling that Ed’s escapades with a garbage truck are going to lead to his current condition in the Funky timeline. I’ll admit it is appropriate that Crankshaft is felled literally by garbage.

  21. HeyItsDave

    @Hannibal’s Lectern – No wonder Jfff’s mother beat him.

  22. Professor Fate

    As others have noted — apparently ‘saved’ means arrested development resulting in a emotionally stunted man child who a) can not handle his mother’s death (gee where have we seen that before) and b) who’s greatest pleasure is to infantilize himself by sitting on the floor reading comic books(with milk and cookies brought to him by his mother surrogate).
    I don’t pretend to be psychic but I swear I can hear the sound of Freud throwing up here.
    Full disclosure – BOTH my parents were alcoholics with a host of other issues – anger, depression, and emotionally abusive at times – you name it they had it. but a) they got sober – although my dad’s anger issues never quite went away – and I got help (professional therapy) and also grew up – and understood they were just people who did the best they could and who loved me. Made peace with that and understood that yes my problems did stem from that upbringing but I also got a lot of my strengths from them as well. they have both passed away some years ago and I miss them.
    I read comic books yes – but they were always an escape not a means of self transformation .

  23. bayoustu

    I look forward to the day when EVERYONE in the Funkyverse looks like a terrifying Funky/Crankshaft hybrid!! (Heck, we’re halfway there now!) Holly, Mason Jarr The Actor, Buddy, Cayla- all of them looking like a fat, balding, hateful misanthrope with a fist-like nose! It’ll be just like that scene in “Being John Malkovich”! And finally, this strip will be amusing!

  24. @HeyItsDave: she hoped that by beating it out of him before he went to the movies, she wouldn’t have to wash it out of his shorts when he got home. But that cheap movie popcorn always found a way through in short order…

    Now that they’re old, Jff and Pmm have conversations like this:
    He: “Will you Pamper me, my dear?”
    She: “Depends…”