Valentine’s Day, August 1

Today’s strip was not available for preview. It will, almost assuredly, be about Max Murdoch’s imperiled Valentine Theater though.

But before The Valentine was Max’s imperiled theater, it was Ralph Meckler’s imperiled theater. For those of you fortunate enough to not follow Crankshaft, bespectacled and mustachioed Ralph is Crankshaft’s best only friend. Poor Ralph is a decent enough character, and is (sadly) a definite contender for the Batiukverse’s ultimate “chew toy” award.

Not only did he struggle for years to keep The Valentine afloat before unloading it on Max and his I-guess-girlfriend Hannah, he also failed in a recent bid to unseat Centerville’s corrupt, do-nothing mayor. In fact, he lost the mayoral race on a coin flip because the election was tied. The election was tied, of course, because his good “friend” Crankshaft forgot to vote. Oh, and he let Crankshaft make that fateful coin-flip call…
Also, his wife has Alzheimer’s (revisited in two different books) and his son was killed in the Vietnam War.

Sheesh. No wonder he says stuff like this


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

17 responses to “Valentine’s Day, August 1

  1. Thank you for your research into this stuff, BillyTheSkink. Having a character’s terrible life story laid out like this contrasts very poorly with the arc a month or so ago about a couple of unlikable losers who were practically orgasmic about visiting The Flash Museum.

    Tom Batiuk’s brain must be like a Stephen King book. One of the early ones, when his stuff was actually scary.

    …wow, wouldn’t that be something? “Coming this fall, story by Tom Batiuk, screenplay by Stephen King, directed by Tommy Wiseau–YOU THOUGHT YOU KNEW WHAT FEAR WAS. BUT YOU HAD NO IDEA WHAT DEPRESSION WAS LIKE!”

  2. SpacemanSpiff85

    I’m holding out hope that Jeff and Max are screaming stop at Crankshaft’s bus that’s about to plow into the Valentine, demolishing it.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      It then becomes overflow parking for the Komix Korner, because you know the movie about s going drive interest in comic books.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    billytheskink: That Crankshaft summary is one of the funniest things I’ve ever read. Does Batiuk seriously believe that his loyal FW readers also read CS regularly? That’s an unfair assumption to make about those three people IMO.

    They sell “drugs” right next door, which is probably good to know if your life has reached a point where you’re watching crappy old forgotten films at that decrepit old movie house. Also hilarious is everyone reaction re: whoever that is telling his SJ story again, which we can obviously all strongly identify with.

    Wasn’t there once a Styx album with this exact same premise? He treats these dumb pop-culture artifacts like they’re ancient Greek ruins or something, like somehow it’s vitally important to keep those old nostalgic memories of fads gone by alive to pass on to future generations, who clearly don’t care to the point where they’re perfectly OK with never visiting that shitty old theater that’s never playing anything good anyway. It’s all so bizarre yet annoyingly familiar.

    • “Paradise Theatre is the tenth album by the rock band Styx, released in January 1981. A concept album, the album is a fictional account of Chicago’s Paradise Theatre from its opening to closing (and eventual abandonment), used as a metaphor for America’s changing times from the late 1970s into the 1980s.”

      • Epicus Doomus

        LOL…all the rage when I was a sophomore in high school but I was too busy with my punk rock and Motorhead records to notice. Same basic concept though, let’s hope the closing and abandonment plays out the same way too.

  4. billytheskink

    Yeah Jeff, it would be a shame to see The Valentine close because it was where you saw the first Starbuck Jones serial… not because it is your son’s passion project and possibly only source of income or anything like that.

  5. DOlz

    Wow! When did TB start doing fan service?

  6. ian'sdrunkenbeard

  7. It amazes me that he decided to give Ed Crankshaft that trauma conga line back story in order to explain why he’s an asshole. I mean, really. Some people are just assholes. Case in point: the three tiresome nobodies waiting to be saved by “Starbuck Jones: Vagueness Ensues”

  8. I don’t understand this Valentine Theater in Centerville. The only Valentine Theater I can find in Ohio is in downtown Toledo (it is a very old theater).

    • @susan Many of the locales in Funky Winkerbean are based on places that exist in Batiuk’s home state. Montoni’s pizzeria is based on Luigi’s Restaurant in Akron, and Westview’s gazebo is modeled after the one in Medina, where TB now resides. Toledo’s Valentine Theater is over 120 years old but according to Wikipedia underwent a $28 million renovation. The Valentine in Centerville may be almost as old and underwent a thorough cleaning from Pam Murdoch.


    This is like watching a movie about someone dying of a fatal disease, but you know early in the story that the person gets saved by a miracle cure. Now that I say that…that would actually be a pretty good retcon on the whole Lisa cancer saga.

  10. Professor Fate

    Yes please stop. For all out sakes. just stop.

  11. Smirks 'R Us

    I would ask who the heck that kid is in the masthead but, based on recent history, it could be the latest renderings of Vera Nash or Marianne Winters for all I know.

  12. Don

    Stop complaining – would you rather have the theater saved (assuming that’s the case) by the alternative method for raising money, last seen when Summer’s basketball team was about to cancel its season, and end up with Les and Funky climbing another mountain?