Hardboiled Volk

Today’s strip tells us literally the same thing that Friday’s strip did. Marianne’s fate will remain a mystery for another day… that day quite possibly being Christmas Day. We are in color again, but I’m not quite getting that infomercial tonal shift feeling I described a few days back.

I feel it my duty to point out that a story about an actress who is driven to suicide (possibly) by cyberbullies is not “hardboiled” It’s pretty much the exact opposite of hardboiled, actually. It can be many other things: sad, appalling, educational (or in TB’s hands: implausible, maudlin, and preachy), but a word meaning “tough, cynical, unsentimental” as hardboiled does? No.

Us beady-eyed nitpickers may notice that Tom Lyle’s signature offers additional proof that TB works a year ahead, not that we really needed it.


You can see the conception of this comic book cover on the official Funky Winkerbean blog


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

17 responses to “Hardboiled Volk

  1. Chyron HR

    You human mosquitoes had better not point out that this strip is “asinine” or “incoherent”, or you’ll make Tom Lyle KILL HIMSELF. Shame on you!

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Now he’s actively trying to annoy me. WTF does this have to do with anything? Nothing “mysterious” is happening here. A poorly-developed character had a ridiculous reaction to a stupid situation, that’s all. Now I’m leaning toward some sort of schmaltz involving Mrs. Winters…”then I saw Mom’s house over there on the hill…”, something like that. I mean why even introduce that character at all, right?

    “We have our best men on it…not those lesser inferior men, only the best. It was technically Shlabotnik’s case but that guy’s a joke. We put Detectives Wisesolve and Cluemaster on this one, we take it very seriously when someone doesn’t answer their phone for ninety minutes at a time.”

  3. billytheskink

    There are few things more inconspicuous in Southern California than a pipe-smoking man in a trenchcoat…


    If Marianne has successfully committed suicide, Tom Batiuk has had a character comitt suicide ..during Christmastime. What’s even more funny is that this isn’t even the most depressing Christmas Time Strip he has done.

  5. Jimmy

    I can’t be the only one seeing the sexual innuendo in this, can I? “Hardboiled” with legs splayed and something in between?

    If this is intentional, then Bravo, Batiuk! You’re one creepy individual.

    If this is unintentional, then Bravo, Jimmy! You are even creepier.

  6. Maybe we’d take these Very Special Episodes more seriously if Batiuk didn’t keep interrupting them to indulge his obsession with Silver Age comic book art.

  7. spacemanspiff85

    Can you imagine writing this crap, and then having an entire year to think about it before it’s published, and still thinking “yeah, that’s good, I’m satisfied with that”? I really can’t.

  8. Rusty Shackleford

    Jesus, this is bad. My understanding of the world is gone, I still can’t figure out how he gets paid for this crap.

  9. Charles

    You know, at first this annoyed me because all the drama in this story is around Marianne, and yet here’s Batiuk deciding that the most exciting thing to show is Mason and the Masonettes standing around like jackasses. Seriously, look at how he’s standing there. There’s no better demonstration of how useless he and the rest of them are, unless Batiuk showed him picking at his stomach or something.

    But then I realized how much better this story would be if Marianne had never been shown. Batiuk shows Mason, Cindy and The Load looking aghast at the DMZ story and fretting over how Marianne would handle it. They try to call her on the phone but she’s not answering, for an hour or two, so they basically call in a 9 alarm fire to find out what’s happened to her. Dozens of police are dispatched to find her and make sure she’s not doing something like killing herself over something someone said on the internet.

    And then they find her at the ritzy spa she frequents, and discover that she turned off her phone so she can nail her masseur. Then Mason tries to tell her how he was so worried about her because someone said some mean things about her on the internet and she gets even more pissed off.

    “You interrupted me for… this? Some random anonymous people are calling me a whore online? Because I kissed you on the cheek?”
    “Well, some of the things they were saying were very mean.”
    “Well, it’s not very nice.”

    And then she dresses them down for behaving like eleven year-olds. Seriously, they’re supposedly working on a movie with a 9 figure budget but rather than working, everyone’s reading a stupid gossip site and getting all scandalized. She can’t possibly believe that every single one of these idiots had nothing better to do.

  10. If we ever needed proof that Batiuk is a spoiled, self-absorbed and malicious infant, we have this. We have a Sunday strip published at an odd angle to thwart people he hates that also makes the few people who actually care to read his strip in print look foolish holding the newspaper sideways in the service of furthering a ridiculous and maudlin story arc that makes everyone involved look like the stupidest, most useless people on Planet Earth.

  11. But ya gotta admit, that Lyle guy can sure draw bricks!

  12. louder

    In the real world, this story is so ridiculous, it would be thought of as a publicity stunt.

  13. You have to hand it to Mr Lyle. His artwork today was pretty nice. Too bad it has nothing at all to do with the story. I think it’s pretty obvious that Tom Lyle had no idea what kind of lame story line his comic cover was going to be inserted into. I’m guessing TB just gave him some vague instructions about police, intrigue, tragic death, and Jim Volk.

    Who the fuck is Jim Volk, anyway? A google search only brings up a guy who is a local folk musician in Ohio, so I’m guessing he’s a personal acquaintance of TB, and lost a bet or something.

  14. Gerard Plourde

    If there are any papers that only carry the Sunday strip, those readers must be getting increasingly confused (not that keeping up with the daily strip isn’t confusing).

  15. The Dreamer

    Marianne jumps and dies, and her story becomes Les Moore’s new book. Les only writes about tragedies…his wife dying of cancer, john darling getting shot. he’s overdue for a third tragedy book

  16. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    MaryanneEEE actually jumps. Not a dream. Not a fake-out. Splat. She gets to the Pearly Gates.

    “So you jumped off the Hollywood sign?”

    “Yeah, it was incredible. None of the massive security and surveillance was on duty that night. You normally can’t get anywhere near the letters.”

    “Uh-huh. So why did you jump?”

    “I have Masonne Jare a peck on the cheek for being nice to my mom.”

    ” Yes. Go on.”

    “Everyone in the world condemned me as a bitch and a whore! I received thousands of threats to be beaten, raped, and killed!”

    “Wait, you mean just because…”

    “Golly, Mister Saint Peter! nobody told me when I became a Hollywood Movie Actress that people would TALK about me and say mean things!”

    “Well, usually there’s…”

    “I know what I did was terrible, sir!”

    “Well, heh, it really wasn’t such…”

    “Oh, why did I do it???? I’m so terrible!!”

    “Look, let’s just take a second here…”

    “No! I’m going to just end it all!”

    “Miss Winters, really, um, hey, please don’t climb up onto that cloud!”


  17. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    Seriously though. This is all a huge fake out. She didn’t really jump. Just wanted time to reflect. She already said she used to go out to the sign with her mom, and everything would be okay. Why that was, who knows? Who cares? But Batty thinks his readers, including the non-ironic ones who LIKE him, are idiots, and will fall for this faux suspense that’s leading nowhere. Nice try, Tommy. No sale.

    Time to sit back and wait for MaryanneE to reappear and wonder what all the fuss is about. Cindy will embrace her, and together they’ll make the bestest Starbuck Jones movie EVER!