The Weed of Crime Bears Bitter…Hey Wait a Minute!

Link to today’s strip.

Ah, so finally we know why Chester the Chiseller is considered pure, unadulterated evil.

He’s a success.

Why, the blackguard!  How dare he!

If ever there was a “victimless crime,” this sure fits the definition.  John said yesterday that Chester’s pilfering didn’t impact the store to any noticeable degree, so I don’t see any high crimes and misdemeanors here.  And I’d almost be willing to bet that Chester made sure he did a lot of business with Danford, just to “show” his appreciation.

My question is this:  in order to sell comics for “an incredible sum of money,” I would assume that Chester would have to have a lot of them, and they’d be more valuable if they were old.  How many years did he sweep that floor?  If he took ten a month (five to sell, five to his own collection), his yearly take would be sixty, and after ten years he’d have six hundred.  That’s a lot of sweeping.

Secondly, how long does it take for a comic to become valuable?  What would, say, Fantastic Four #1 or Amazing Fantasy #15 be worth ten years later in 1972 (again assuming a ten-year career in floor maintenance)?  “An incredible sum of money”?  Perhaps–but I’m thinking that any Batom comic wouldn’t worth nearly as much, fifty years after publication, except if the bathroom was out of toilet paper.

Things I Like Dept:  Pete’s face in panel one is perfect.  “What?  Are you still talking?  I’m trying to read, pal.”  This is probably the only time I’ve liked Pete at all.

And look at Chester, too–happily enjoying ice cream while reading a comic book.  First of all, the book isn’t sealed away, as I would suspect all his books to be, but out to be enjoyed. Given his reaction to Holly’s opening a sealed book, this is something I would not suspect.  I would have thought Tom Batiuk would draw Chester admiring his collection through glass cabinets and pointedly not having fun; maybe the new guy slipped up.

Secondly, he’s going to eat ice cream in close proximity to a comic book.  I have a feeling that John, Harry, Pete or Tom Batiuk would be shrieking if anyone brought ice cream into the Korner.  “Get that out of here!  What if it drips on one of the books!”  And the offender’s face would turn ghostly white.   Oh my God, I almost ruined a comic book!

How rare indeed it is to see someone enjoying himself.  Happily and non-cynically, with not a smirk to be seen.  It’s refreshing.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

26 responses to “The Weed of Crime Bears Bitter…Hey Wait a Minute!

  1. Gerard Plourde

    So it appears that Chester’s butler is Alfred Pennyworth. Does that mean that his wise investment was in surveillance equipment which allowed him to blackmail Bruce Wayne, thereby acquiring a stream of income for life?

  2. spacemanspiff85

    As to how much people would pay for Batom comics, I’m sure people would pay quite a bit to ensure they were destroyed.

    • billytheskink

      The Chicago White Sox famously held a “Batom Comics Demolition Night” in the late 1970’s. It went… quite well actually. The fans had a great time, and the mayor’s office issued the Sox a commendation.

      Turns out the destruction of trash is good clean family fun.

  3. Folks, this is Batiuk “writing what he knows“…and it’s still an illogical, incomprehensible mess.

    • Epicus Doomus

      And it’s just taking FOREVER too. I mean sure, no one can drag out a story like the BanMan can but this is really pushing the envelope. He needed SIX DAYS to explain Chester’s childhood comic book scam, a plot point anyone else could have spelled out in a few panels.

      He’s wearing T shirts from the 70s and working in a 1950s-style drugstore while stealing comics from the 30s. Perhaps he found the infamous time pool. Which would have been a more interesting story…maybe. I really can’t tell what he’s aiming for here. Are we supposed to dislike Chester and if so, why? Pete and Darin cashed in on their love of comic books. So did Holly and Cory. Even Crazy Harry found gainful long-term employment in the comic book game. I left John out on purpose, as there’s no evidence he’s ever really “cashed in” at all, but I digress. So what did Chester do that’s so detestable?

      Maybe he’s trying to paint Chester as something of a sympathetic figure here, but I just don’t think Batom is capable of nuance like that. So for now I’m assuming he’s just half-assing it as usual with no real “goal” here at all other than indulging his strange comic book fantasies again.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        It’s just an excuse to show a young Crankshaft and his daughter. We are supposed to marvel at the deep, rich , tapestry of characters he has created. We are to marvel as the whole comes into being in the shape of a crossover strip. Something like this will show up on his blog soon.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Writing what you know only helps if you give a crap about your writing to start with.

  4. erdmann

    That’s my secret, Cap. Last night, I really did eat a bowl of ice cream while reading the latest “Star Wars” comic. It had raspberry sauce on it. The ice cream, that is. Not the comic. I’m not a savage, after all.

  5. Having your butler serve you an ice cream soda while you wear a lavender suit and read a comic book? Welcome to “Lifestyles of the Rich and Jethro.”

  6. And we still have no idea of what his stupid plan is.This is possibly because Batiuk had no idea of what his stupid plan was when he was cooking up this week’s exercise in envy and conjecture.

  7. Rusty Shackleford

    Hagglemore: I asked for no sundae, now away with you lest my cane finds your backside!

  8. From the FW blog comes a teaser that Rana, the daughter whom Wally and Becky traveled to Iraquistan to adopt, is appearing in November after an absence of six years. A note on the model sheet reads “Was a cheeleader–she’s more Americanized”. She’s wearing a hijab and a Kent State t-shirt.

    • comicbookharriet

      Color me stunned! After many dramatic life events she should have at least been in the background for, ie the remarriage of her adopted father, I just assumed she went down the memory hole.

      • Gerard Plourde

        Color me confused! How old would Rana be? She was adopted by Wally and Becky before his second stint in captivity and was apparently older than Summer and company, so one would think she would have graduated already. And, what’s with the “more Americanized” thing? Given that she’s lived in the U.S. for over a decade it would be startling if she still remained unchanged. (Except, of course, no one in this strip is permitted to develop as a character. Any adaptation is dealt with as a retcon.)

        • comicbookharriet

          Oh boy! A hijab wearing young woman! I can’t wait to get blandly preached at about anti-muslim bigotry by some doofus who noticed it was trending in the news a year ago, and only wants to talk about it so he can pretend his strip is ‘topical’ and ‘important’! I expect lots of empty platitudes and puns on buzzwords like ‘tolerance’ delivered wry grins with sad empty eyes and. It will all be very ‘nordic’!

        • billytheskink

          Rana would probably be 20-whatever like the others in her Act III-Phase I high school generation. She and Summer (and Jinx, Maddie, Cory, and later Keisha) were established to be the same age, said to be 15, and in the same high school class at the beginning of Act III. How does that jibe with their Act II introductions? Ha, well…

          Rana was introduced at an undetermined age back in May 2003 (via near-term flashback from Wally). She appeared to be 4-5 years old, but seemed wise beyond that as, by herself, she helped Wally evade capture by the Khahn’s band of bandits by leading him across rickety rope bridges and through minefields. In August 2005, Wally and Lefty adopted her (she looked about the same age as she did in 2003) after her parents were killed by an IED right after Wally and Lefty had helped them obtain visas to come to the US (because no one could have nice things in Act II).

          Summer was born in late August 2002, and was as still depicted as being in diapers and not sleeping through the night when Rana lead Wally through the Afghan wilderness all the way to Kabul. That time jump business is kind to some folks (Rana, Les) and no so much to others (Funky, Holly, Donna).

          • Gerard Plourde

            “That time jump business is kind to some folks (Rana, Les) and no so much to others (Funky, Holly, Donna).”

            True. Then factor in the timeframe mashup that is Crankshaft who simultaneously deals with contemporary things like cell phones and drones in his eponymous strip while appearing in Funky as a decrepit inmate of Bedside Manor. According to The Author, he is a veteran of D-Day and was a talented minor league prospect who pitched for the Toledo Mud Hens with Bull’s grandfather (presumably prior to World War II, making the arc where he’s a teammate of Cayla’s father highly improbable, given the existence of the color line).

          • Charles

            She appeared to be 4-5 years old, but seemed wise beyond that as, by herself, she helped Wally evade capture by the Khahn’s band of bandits by leading him across rickety rope bridges and through minefields.

            Actually, I believe that was Rana’s older sister, who was blown up in the embassy car bomb with the rest of Rana’s family. Rana and Becky survived because Rana ran away from her family waiting in line at the embassy, as kids would no doubt do in that situation.

            Meanwhile, Wally had stepped on a landmine.

            Just an ordinary day in the Funkyverse.

          • Hitorque

            And of course there’s Cindy Sommers, presently aged 24 with a perfect sag-free bikini bod straight out of Vivid Video…

          • billytheskink

            You are correct sir, Charles. My memory is not as good as I’d like to believe. That would still make Rana a bit older than Summer in real time, though.

            Just an ordinary day indeed…

    • Oh, for fuck’s sake. Just what no one needs: a steaming hot mess that’ll probably end up making 45’s xenophobic outrages look plausible and possibly also a damned good idea. He’s already turned Doctor Worthless into a prophet so why not John Birch?

    • Double Sided Scooby Snack

      Also from BatWit’s blog:


      I set up Les in a trendy, but extremely edgy, interracial marriage, then waited patiently for the phone to ring, telling me I’d won an award from the NC-Double-A-CP or one of that crowd. I had the teachers beat the drum for a tax increase, then waited for a call from the labor unions or the Ohio Democratic Party praising me for my heroism and courage.At one point, I didn’t shut up about about Global Warming for about three months straight. I sat by the phone day and night, expecting to hear about an award from whoever still believes in that kind of stuff. NOTHING! Quite frankly, I thought my stirring and beautiful Gay Prom arc would make me an overnight sensation, and maybe even get me asked to speak at the Oscars or something. Not a peep from anybody!

      Just when I thought I was through trying to call attention to myself, it hit me like a ton of bricks. MOSLEMS!! I’ve noticed that it’s become EXTREMELY chic not only to defend Moslems for all their terrorist stuff, but also to try to imitate them. Remember all those girls at the Ladies March wearing Moslem head scarves, or whatever they’re called?That was pretty hip, wasn’t it?? I’ll have Raina come back all Moselmed up. She’ll turn every conversation to how badly understood Moslems are, and how peace loving they really are. Raina will come to spread the message that at least in the Moslem World, women are seen as equals to men. I think Hollywood loves this Moslem stuff almost as much as they love Gay Stuff, so look out, world! Here I come!

  9. Don

    How much could he get in 1972? Well, correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Action Comics #1 going for “only” $400 or so in the late 1970s?

    Also, how old is Chester? If the Golden Age ends around 1950, then he was born no later than 1940, so he should be over 75 years old – and that assumes the last time jump was only an age jump.

  10. Hitorque

    1. Who still uses tuxedo-clad butlers these days?

    2. Why are his moustache and goatee different colors?

    3. Where is Mrs. Hagglemore? Certainly a shrewd savvy wealthy investor nabbed him a Victoria’s Secret model for a wifey, right?

    4. Why can’t Funkyverse adults ever once pretend to be adults? Why does everyone revert to age 10 when comic are near?

    5. Since the comic book market didn’t blow up until Chester was presumably in his 30s at the minimum, what did he do until then? Did he go to college? Was he still sweeping the floor?