Wheel! Of! Torture!

Greetings, dear snarkers, hate-readers, and beady-eyed nitpickers. Please allow me to share with you my horrifying realization: with Cody, Owen, Wedgeman, et al, having finally graduated from Westview High, Tom Batiuk no longer needs to depict “contemporary issues affecting young adults”. After forty-four years, Batty’s decided to ditch the high school madness plotlines and focus full-time on what he really wants to write about: the Starbuck Jones universe. Brace yourself for strip after strip about how TB imagines Hollywood movies are made. At least he used to take the trouble of lurking around his old high school to glean details of “real” high school life (and he’d still get it wrong).

With such thin material from which to spin the Starbuck saga, Batiuk’s going to need to pad and plod even more than he typically does, which brings us to today’s strip, which starts out promisingly with a cameo from Pat Sajak. Turns out to be more of Batty’s bait-and-switch, and not to spoil it for you but I feel I must: this whole week revolves around Mason considering adding an “e” to his last name.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

31 responses to “Wheel! Of! Torture!

  1. I suppose he’ll be related to Maurice and Jean Michel, then.

    You know, I don’t mind him detailing the Stabuck Jones universe. It at least has the potential to be interesting, far more interesting than the clods that make up his regular cast. (The only interesting thing they can do is die, and yes, we’re all waiting.)

    The problem is that he won’t detail the Starbuck Jones universe in any interesting way. Instead of learning about the characters or the setting, or–gasp!–getting an interesting story, we’ll hear nothing except how Starbuck Jones affected someone’s childhood. And that will be just chatter–even the “stabbing a comic book” bit (not detailed in this strip, of course) just led to more gabbing and muttering and comic books comic books comic books.

  2. Yeah, I just realized that the Seattle P-I has removed the “contemporary issues involved young adults” copy for its FW page. And I don’t see it on the Comics Kingdom page. Maybe somebody at KFS is actually paying attention.

    And once again, I’m amazed at the “Spore of Madness” TB is unleashing for us this week.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    He’s just like a kid keeping himself busy by doing absolutely everything but sitting down at his desk and tackling that book report that’s due tomorrow. Decoder rings, Jeff, Cliff Anger, Vera Nash, anything to avoid having to put together a real story.

    I do not get the joke here. Why would “Jarre” be funnier than “Jarr”? Is this some weird riff of his based on a name tag he saw on a waitress at Olive Garden or something? “Ha ha, her name is Aimee and not Amy! Man, these kids today, ending everything in vowels!”. I mean wow, thin isn’t even the word.

  4. spacemanspiff85

    Mason Jarer? Doesn’t sound any better or worse than his name now.

  5. Epicus Doomus

    dougputhoff: “Funky Winkerbean is a comic strip about whatever happens to be in the author’s field of vision while he’s writing it. Trees, leaves, TV, whatever”. Fixed it.

  6. billytheskink

    The Pat Sajak Show ran for just a single year on CBS. Funky Winkerbean has been running in the papers for 44 years.
    Sajak’s late night foray was no great shakes, an uninspired rip-off of Carson’s format, but I think we’d all be comfortable if those durations were swapped…

    Oh, and Sajak, who is slightly older than TB, seems to be the only person he has ever drawn to look younger than their intended age.

  7. Sufferinge succotashe! It’ll be Mason Ejarr. Duhe!

    He has a sister, you know.

    Dora Jarr.

  8. Jarre Lewis

    And once again Batiuk tops himself in the wrong direction.

  9. Oh goody, an entire week about Mason figuring out how he wants his name spelled on all the movie posters. What is he, ten?

  10. spacemanspiff85

    It really does amaze me that Batiuk thinks this is enough for a day’s strip. Does he think that there are Mason Jarr groupies out there whose minds are blown by this? Does he just think the thought of someone adding a letter to their name is just so hilarious by itself? It’s more likely that he just doesn’t give a crap and was watching Wheel of Fortune when he drew this one.
    So many of these strips seem like they’re missing the third panel, where the joke would be, or something remotely interesting.

  11. The Dreamer

    I think that in honor of the Cavs winning the NBA title that Batiuk should write his fellow Akron native Lebron James into the strip. Have Lebron show up at Montonis or give him a part in the Starbuck Jones movie!

  12. 1966tvbatman

    TB never did up a style sheet for Mason – did he? I challenge anyone here to see where Mason looks the same from panel to panel ever since his introduction to the series. Today he looks like a blonde Jughead Jones. I mean, I don’t even really dislike this character. He’s written and drawn by TB so he already gets a bum wrap.

  13. Here, a week about how Hollywood actors are craaaaaazy. Elsewhere, Crankshaft has learned someone else has figured him out and plans to thwart him.

  14. Yesterday FW: GODDAMNITT THE HELL FUCK SHIT PHYSICS DON’T WORK THAT WAY!! Even Silver-Age Batman thinks this is beyond corny! Maybe it’s just me, but these professional “special guest artist covers” have been steadily getting worse, and it’s not like they were that great to begin with. I know the resident pros can only work with the ideas that Batiuk wants them to convey, so maybe that’s the real problem…

    Yesterday FW 2: GODDAMNITT THE HELL FUCK SHIT MOVIES DON’T WORK THAT WAY!! Since when did Mason and/or Cliff do westerns? Whatever happened to fucking *asking* someone to do a cameo instead of ordering them? (Or is Cliff still attached to one of those old-style 1940s studio contracts where the studio literally owned him and had total control over his role choices?) How does Mason have so much unilateral power over casting at his studio? And is anyone even going to float the idea of a cameo for Vera? Or does that not matter because women are worthless in the Funkyverse?

    Yesterday FW 3: If Cliff had legit talent, commercial success and a cult following, doesn’t there have to be some tangible, honest-to-god reason why he hasn’t gotten a single acting role in 50+ years? I mean, is he an alcoholic? A blacklisted communist? A pederast? An anti-semite?

  15. 1. Won’t people assume he’s related to Maurice Jarre if he did that? I thought Hollywood players made name changes to *reduce* confusion and ambiguity? Or is he talking about calling himself “Mason Ejarr? Even by Batuikian standards, I don’t get the joke here?

    2. Doesn’t Cindy have a job somewhere she should be doing??

    3. So now that Cleveland is (temporarily) a city of champions, does Batiuk do something to commemorate such a historic victory? Or is the Funkyverse strictly football because basketball is for sissies? I mean, think about it: As long as this strip has been running, neither Batiuk nor his characters have had any sports victories to celebrate aside from Westview High School (and possibly Ohio State, if that’s their thing)…

  16. Epicus Doomus
    June 19, 2016 at 3:36 am
    BanTom HAS created a whole magical Batom Comics universe…but it’s all on his official FW blog which no one (other than us) ever reads.

    I pity the Funky faithful who miss out on the official Funky Winkerbean blog. I even set up a changedetection.com "robot" that sends me an email whenever TB updates it, which over the last couple years has become a much more frequent occurence: he posted a total of five updates in 2013, 19 updates in 2014, 72 updates last year, and this year is already at 70 (!) posts. In addition to the whole Batom Comics fantasy, these posts also include excerpts from the forewards to his FW collections, critiques of Silver Era Flash comics, and the occasional John Darling strip, which are just as fresh and timely today as…well, no, they’re terribly dated (but well drawn)

  17. Professor Fate

    It had been established earlier that Mason was bi-polar could this be the start of a manic upswing? And since we are well into production of the SJ movie wouldn’t this require modifications to all the publicity material? And shouldn’t he be talking abut this with his agent?

  18. @TFHackett: I’ve never seen Batiuk’s blog, nor do I have any intention to — It’s hard enough for me to hate-read his daily comics…

    Why should I give him mouseclicks when he can’t even put any effort into the thing he’s being paid to do?

  19. @Professor Fate: Yeah, I’d forgotten about that… How the hell is someone bipolar when he never has a “down” phase?? If *any* character is close to the definition of bipolar, it’s Pete Rattabastardo…

  20. @TFHackett: Y’know, I fell for the claim that “BanTom HAS created a whole magical Batom Comics universe…but it’s all on his official FW blog which no one (other than us) ever reads,” and wasted some time that could have been put to more profitable use reading–well, skimming, anyway–four pages of blog entries about the “Batom Comics Story.” And when I was done, I had learned exactly NOTHING about the actual content, stories, worlds within those comics. For a guy whose life seems to revolve around comic books comic books comic books comic books comic books (and, in his free time, comic books), and who regularly runs covers to fictitious comic books as Sunday “strips,” T-Bats seems to have remarkably little interest in the actual stories between those covers. He seems more interested in the process of making comics–or more precisely, his fantasies about how the comic business works.

    Funny thing is, there’s no reason that a comic book about the business of making comic books couldn’t be a ripping yarn. Heck, Michael Chabon wrote a best-selling novel about the comic book industry, “The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay.” It even won a Pulitzer…

  21. ComicBookHarriet

    I would put a moderate amount of money on Vera never saying a word again in this strip. If she shows up again it will be silently smirking on Cliff’s arm at the premiere of the movie. But more likely, without her ever appearing again, two men in conversation will simply mention offhand that she has become Cliff’s official takeaway prize for his cameo role.


    Your name is Mason “Fuckin” Jarr and adding an E to your last name is the biggest adjustment you can think of??

  23. The thing is, an actor’s name is how the public (and the studios) perceive him. Changing it now makes no sense; he’s the star of a big budget comic book movie (in theory) and when Jarre appears, the studios will say, “No, we want the Starbuck Jones guy; this ‘Jarre’ guy is clearly someone hoping to cash in on his success.”

  24. If it weren’t for the “year in advance” thing, I would suspect that this storyline was prompted by Batiuk hearing the news of Prince’s death: “He was the one who changed his name to a symbol, right? Oh, those kooky showbiz people…maybe I should do a story about Mason Jarr changing his name, since that’s the sort of crazy thing those people do.”

  25. Epicus Doomus

    Hannibal’s Lectern: As incoherent as his little blog world is, it’s WAY more fleshed-out than anything he features in his comic strips. If I didn’t know better (har) I’d assume that he just doesn’t think his regular (ha) readers are capable of following the simplest of stories, so he dumbs them down until they’re unrecognizable puddles of mush.

  26. Chyron HR

    From now on, he will be known as Samuel Goldberge. Or you can continue calling him by his stage name, Mason Jarr. Actually, just do that.

  27. You know, I hate to bring this up so late because I’m sure TB has researched this, but shouldn’t our hero kind of clear this with the union formerly known as the Screen Actor’s Guild? I’m pretty sure they’d have some say on his name change. But then, I’m sure TB has worked all this out in his mind.

  28. HeyItsDave

    I’m not sitting this one out, folks. I just got to it too late. Snarky parodies coming in tomorrow’s exciting installment!

  29. The Dreamer

    What I want to know is when Pete and Darrin had time to write this second movie, that they are filming at the same time? They were only told there was going to be a 2nd movie right before they left for Cleveland in Mason’s private jet to go find the original Starbuck Jones, and then they planned that gathering for him. When have they had any time to go back to Hollywood and write the 2nd movie?

  30. Gerard Plourde

    Like HeyItsDave I’m late to the party. Now we appear to be getting to the point where seeing the connection between the two panels requires interpretation (since Mason isn’t really doing “Wheel of Fortune” but apparently made the “buying a vowel” remark to her as a Humorous(?) intro to the name change idea.).