Gless Joe Vs. Bald Bull

Our old friend the park bench returns from a long absence in today’s strip. A pity that these two are disturbing its peace. Or were disturbing its peace, rather, as Les and Durwood are STILL flipping through old photographs.

You could probably argue that they are flipping through new photographs staged to look like old photographs, as TB redraws all of these flashback panels, but then you’d be debating the semantics of Funky Winkerbean, which (speaking from experience) won’t get you invited to many parties.

Anyways, today’s flashback panels pretty accurately replicate the original strip from August 1993 (The Westview High School class of 1992 1988 had a 5 year reunion? Weird.)

TB has, of course, recapped Les punching out Bull at the five year reunion before, though not with these same panels. It was part of Les’ reminiscence of his time with then-fiancé Lisa after she was injured in the 1996 Westview post office bombing. This was less than three years after the famous punch, by the way. Again, it was a fairly faithful reproduction of the original strip except that Lisa gets a snarkier 3rd panel line in the flashback.

Oh, and if you are wondering what awful thing Bull said about Lisa to deserve being punched… Uh, I’m not sure, honestly. At the most, he was being patronizing to Les while making a mildly unwelcome but factual statement about Lisa. Anyways, Bull was remarkably cool about the whole thing, in an early example of the common Act II trope where Les’ haplessness was played to make others look bad instead of for humor.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

22 responses to “Gless Joe Vs. Bald Bull

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Amazing post! Act II is exactly like I remember it. Les the White Knight always defending Lisa’s honor, Lisa the Pious always bravely facing adversity, a love that burns brightly forever and so forth. Typical Les, always wildly overreacting when someone pokes fun at his high school dorkiness. I guess the five year class reunion came before we learned that Bull’s issues all stemmed from an abusive and contrived upbringing, because after that everyone liked him.

  2. spacemanspiff85

    “Hey, Les . . . isn’t that girl you’re with the one who went on that solo car date in high school?”

  3. billytheskink

    While it isn’t technically a retcon, the whole “Les was the only one who stood by pregnant teen Lisa” angle loses a bit of its impact when you go back and see how little time TB actually left the Lisa pregnancy story in the pot.

    Les goes over to Lisa’s house to find her pregnant in early November. He goes to a couple of Lamaze classes with her and then in mid-December she goes into labor at Montoni’s (naturally). Tony drives her to the hospital, the baby arrives, Fred Fairgood makes his “I helped with the delivery” joke, and Lisa is shipped off to her grandparents for the rest of Act I… all by new years.

    So Lisa was close to 8 months pregnant when Les enters the picture. Outside of Lisa mentioning that her father has stopped speaking to her, we are given no indication of how anyone else reacted when “everyone found out”. Classic “tell, don’t show” situation.

    The crazy thing about all of this is that there are probably 5 times as many FW strips about Starbuck Jones than there are Act I strips that Lisa appears in.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    billytheskink: I had no idea the infamous pregnancy arc played out that quickly. So he really CAN start a story, tell it and wrap it the f*ck up without starting and stopping twenty times to run totally unrelated arcs for no real reason! Seriously though, he’s re-hashed it all so many times now he’s turned it into a vital piece of FW mythology, just like he’s doing with “Lisa’s Story” (again) right now.

    During the Act I gag-a-day era the FW characters weren’t really defined much beyond being broad high school archetypes…the bully, the geek, the cool kid, the hot girl and so on. When he started to expand upon those characters and (ugh) give them back stories, those back stories were more or less rooted in those original archetypes. The brainy geek, the average Joe, the weirdo and etc.

    But Lisa was the first main character he contrived together from the ground up. He had a blank slate there to create any kind of character he liked with no restraints that would clash with continuity. I mean no one would buy it if Act II began with Les suddenly “swanning out” or if it turned out that Crazy Harry became a successful trial lawyer, but with Lisa the sky was the limit.

    Yet in spite of all that, when she returns to WHS a totally different person the very first idea BanTom has is to tag her as “the girl who got pregnant that time”. He’s so maddeningly contrary in that bizarre circular way of his, the alien logic behind it all just ties my brain into knots.

  5. Jimmy

    West view teacher of the year has to be billytheskink. I’m finding out so much FW I never cared to know. I thought today’s strip was another b.s. Bull retcon, then I learned it’s all part of canon. Now I can be fun at parties, too!

    I love today’s post title. It references something that provides actual joy to its end user.

  6. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “Thanks for ‘sokking” Bull, Less. He had no right to disparage me, even if I did perform my patented ‘Westview Twizzler’ move on him and the entire football team behind the bleachers. Oh yeah, the whole junior varsity team, too. Ahh, good times…”

  7. It’s just so stupid that Dullard is finding out about all of this for the very first time. Yeah, right, he had zero curiosity about his sainted birth mother. This whole arc is just dripping with contempt for anyone who reads the strip.

  8. Charles

    I think it’s quite telling that of the 15 years or so that Les and Lisa were together from high school to her death, Batiuk only has about 4 stories he can tell from it.

  9. So, lemme get this straight. Bull makes the most tepid of insinuations, Les flies off the handle like a maniac and BULL is the jerk. Typical.

  10. Ray

    I’m with Jimmy…great reference to the arcade classic “Punch-Out”!!

  11. Rusty Shackleford

    Wait, they were the class of 1988? I graduated in 1986 and none of my classmates look anywhere near as decrepit and fat as these losers. In fact, our Holly, the former head majorette, now does fitness contests and looks better than ever.

    Likewise, we had a pregnant girl in our class. She sat behind me in homeroom. I remember her being nervous about it. But she ended up getting married and at our 25th reunion she was happy that her kids were already out of the house. Now she and her husband were free to travel.

    Why does Batty always focus on the negative?

  12. Rusty Shackleford

    Thanks Billy for all of the links, it really helped jog my memory. My local library only has volume I, so I can’t read up on this stuff unless I buy his books–and I won’t be doing that.

  13. Saturnino

    “Anyways, today’s flashback panels pretty accurately replicate the original strip from August 1993 ”

    Gee, that’s the same thing Gary Trudeau is doing with Doonesbury.

    EXCEPT, those strips are noted with the date they originally appeared, and they bring back memories and make sense (at least to those of us who were young adults at the time).


    You know what’s funny? I’m wondering if Les punch is actually what caused Bull’s CTE!

  15. Hitorque

    Oddly enough, Bull was actually paying Les a *compliment*, in his own boorish locker room frat boy jock manner…

    And Les sucker punched him, too? Weak… Not sure why all of Westview turned Les into the man who shot Liberty Valence, but whatever…

    (And +1 for the Punch-Out reference)

  16. Max Power

    In the archival 1993 strip it looks like Lisa is practicing for her future career as a ghost. @beckoningchasm: Darrin is learning *everything* for the very first time from Les this week. Tomorrow Boy Lisa will be sputtering in the last panel, “You…mean I’m doing illos for the Starbuck Jones movie?!?”

  17. Jimmy

    @Rusty Shackleford: I may be wrong, but I think this strip technically takes place in 2027, per the time jump explanation. Either that, or this is current time and Crankshaft is 10 years in the past.

  18. Comic Book Harriet


    Crankshaft and Funky take place 10 years apart, but both take place in the present day. Please don’t try to wrap your brain around it.

  19. Jim in Wisc.

    @spacemanspiff85: “And instead of taking her to dinner, you cheaped out and just bought her some snacks from the vendos?”

  20. Rusty Shackleford


    Yeah, that is true. Ok, I stand corrected. I guess it is all downhill from here! Wait, no…keeping it positive.

  21. Hitorque

    Meanwhile, in Krankenschaaftenland — Who is this clown, and why is he using Crankshaft’s name and occupation for his CrossFit training without cutting him off a piece of the revenues? And why aren’t Funkmeister+Holly signing up? This guy at least seems to know what he’s doing to get results, unlike Funkman’s regular S&M dominatrix trainer…

  22. Rusty Shackleford

    Still waiting for Funky to explore that abandoned house as per the BattyBlog…