Where Do We Go From Here?

Link To Today’s Strip

Every SoSF guest host after thirteen days…

Not available for preview. Maybe the ponderous CTE arc continues, maybe it’s Les raking leaves or Funky fixing the band box or Roberta finally descending from the scissor lift…who the hell knows? But, and I hate to break it to you, I don’t think this is the Big One yet, folks. Nope, there’s more water to tread here, unless that NYT interview was some sort of elaborate troll. Sigh.

UPDATE: Wow, Bull DID find the car keys! A classic morbid Sunday FW strip. I thought we still had another week of stalling but nope. We’ve already seen next Sunday’s strip so what now? A week of no one knowing where Bull is? A week of Linda reading his suicide note word by painstaking word?

Coming on Monday: billytheskink takes over for what promises to be a monumental two week stint. Or it would have been, if the Great Pulitzer Nominee didn’t stupidly gak it all up. Nevertheless, you’ll be in great hands!

85 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

85 responses to “Where Do We Go From Here?

  1. Rusty Shackleford

    Just give Batty an award already. Maybe he will stop this nonsense.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    I said it back when this thing began and I’ll say it again: spoiling this story arc was a slap in the face to any loyal readers he still might have. In his quest for cheap notoriety and award bait he didn’t even consider those who’ve been reading his comic strip for all these years or the fact that allowing the NYT to run the climactic strip wasted weeks of their time. Right now we’d have no idea where this was heading, now the only mystery is what happens after. I’m guessing three or four weeks of goofy retconned flashbacks.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      But it was the New York Times!!! How could he resist? That’s a dream come true.

      My view of the NYT is like Coach Mcgurk’s:

  3. William Thompson

    Hey, I know that song! “Where Do We Go From Here?” By Arthur Fields, from WW I. It’s on YouTube, and it’s about an Irishman who drives a horse-drawn cab in New York. Best verse? Here:

    “One fine day on Broadway Pat was driving fast
    When the road was torn to pieces by a subway blast
    Down the hole poor Paddy went thinking of his past
    Then he says ‘Poor me, I think these words will be my last:
    Where do we go from here boys, where do we go from here?
    Anywhere from Harlem to a Jersey City pier!’
    Paddy’s neck was in the wreck but still he had no fear.
    He saw a dead man next to him and whispered in his ear
    ‘Oh boy, oh joy, where do we go from here?'”

    I think this strip is going much further down than Paddy ever did.

    • comicbookharriet

      An yet..every time I read today’s post title my brain coughs up the song ‘Where do I go from Here?’ from Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World.

      But where do I go from here?
      So many voices ringing in my ear
      Which is the voice that I was meant to hear?
      How will I know?
      Where do I go from here?
      My world has changed and so have I
      I’ve learned to choose
      And even learned to say goodbye
      The path ahead’s so hard to see
      It winds and bends but where it ends
      Depends on only me
      In my heart I don’t feel part of so much I’ve known
      Now it seems it’s time to start,
      A new life on my own
      But where do I go from here?
      So many voices ringing in my ear
      Which is the voice that I was meant to hear?
      How will I know?
      Where do I go from here?

    • I thought of the song “Rock On” by David Essex: a “Where do we go from here/Which is the way that’s clear.”

  4. Thanks, ED, for a great guest stint.

    I’ll give Batty this–we know what’s going to drop tomorrow. Now, if the next few weeks show Linda being genuinely remorseful, “I wish I could have foreseen this, I wish I had been more attentive, I wish I had thought about him rather than me”–that could be good.

    And if Les makes some smirking comment, and Linda turns on him and says “How dare you? How dare you? GET OUT!!”–that could be great.

    Alas, we know the limits of Batty’s talent, and I suspect we’re in for a huge disappointment.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Thanks BC! I’ll be here until the day after the last ever FW strip runs. I feel it’s my duty. In fact when I stop to think about it my grudge against FW is possibly my longest surviving held grudge of them all. As long as there’s breath in my lungs and an internet to complain on I’ll be right here, making sure this BatGak guy isn’t getting away with it criticism-free.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Speaking of Les, I really foresee a strip where Les pines nostalgically to Cayla on his porch swing about when they were in high school, Bull used to pick on Les and call him a wimp and a weakling. And then he smirks and makes some witticism about how Bull turned out to be the weak one.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I was hoping Les was tied up and stuffed into the trunk of the car.

    • comicbookharriet

      Seconded! Great stint Epicus!

  5. Banana Jr. 6000

    And… the strip is released on nj.com. It’s not the one we’ve been shown.

    • Epicus Doomus

      That’s the one where the police notify Linda. I guessed he wouldn’t actually show Bull’s death, however I was (sigh) wrong.

      • 7dials

        So, if it’s the middle of the night in this strip, and it will presumably take the police some hours to find the car, examine the scene and reach the point of being able to notify next of kin; and it’s also night time when they arrive at Bull’s home to speak to Linda; and it’s presumably been night all the while Linda was waxing solipsistic, given that she spent the best part of a week sitting in a midnight-black void illuminated only by her lonely laptop screen…

        When exactly did she find the time to prepare and cook a meatloaf, why was she making meatloaf in the middle of the night, and why is it still in the oven when the police arrive?

      • Saturnino

        Is there that kind of terrain in the FW part of Ahia?

      • That strip isn’t due out till NEXT Sunday (10-6).

  6. CRM114

    He found the keys, then? This is it???

  7. bayoustu

    Is it Buck?!

  8. William Thompson

    So Bull makes an ass of himself on Nobottom Road? That’s the way to work a crappy pun into it, Bathack!

  9. CRM114

    My bad. It’s the Aldo Kelrast tribute from Mary Worth, part of the Funky-Mary mashup.

    • billytheskink

      What synergy!

    • ian'sdrunkenbeard

      Wasn’t it Johnnie Walker that Aldo was swilling right before he took the plunge?

      I just looked it up. http://www.zubbie.com/stuff/mw/

      Look at September 21, 22, and 23. This is how you do it! He’s drinking, he’s driving over a cliff, we see the wrecked car! I loved that story line so much I’m going to have to go back and read it.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It’s not just the ending – that story is a hundred times better than this. Every day advances the story; some days are even little cliffhangers, like Aldo’s shocked reaction to the intervention the audience doesn’t know about yet..

        Mary’s friends have a serious discussion about whether their actions drove Aldo to his death, and whether they were right to do so. They show more concern about Aldo, a creep they barely knew, than Linda shows for Bull, beyond him being a mechanism to feel sorry for herself. And the story doesn’t try to force comic relief where it doesn’t belong. We see the characters’ thoughts, and they’re more deep than “what about meeeeeee?”

        Oh yeah, and THE AUTHOR DIDN’T GIVE AWAY THE ENDING. Or book self-important interviews with the New York Times.

    • Jimmy

      I was thinking Also Kelrast too (I should have known this group would get such as esoteric reference).

      Then I thought of this:

  10. billytheskink

    I’m confused, isn’t this a Mary Worth rerun? Isn’t this infamous end of Aldo Kerlast?

    • The Nelson Puppet

      He went full Kelrast. You never go full Kelrast. …oh, no…

      • comicbookharriet

        Everyone beat me to the Aldo jokes. 😦

        Batiuk really really botched this one by having Bull off himself in the same way as one of the most memed soap strip deaths in decades. Comics Kingdom just released Aldo merchandise! More than then years since his pseudosuicide! Both Moy and ComicsCurmudgeon sold Aldo merch. Was a tree too good for Bull?

        He was going for pathos. He’s getting 10 year old Aldomania jokes.

        In retrospect he should have necked himself off the goalpost.

  11. spacemanspiff85

    Haha, Nobottom, how hilarious.
    I like how the moon has moved quite a bit in what’s surely supposed to be just a few seconds.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      And I just love the scary font on that NOBOTTOM ROAD sign. Bull can’t drive off a cliiff on a normally-named road with a normal sign that says “drive with caution”. Every detail has to be milked for pathos, to the point of making the whole thing ridiculous.

  12. William Thompson

    Was it deliberate or was Bull imagining he was a teenager again? Did he hit the gas because he thought he saw Les Moore caught deerlike in his headlights?

  13. 7dials

    … and, the car keys finally safe within his grasp, Jerome ‘Bull’ Bushka swore on his life that they would NEVER BE PARTED AGAIN.

  14. spacemanspiff85

    Would you all like to know the deep and profound story behind the creation of today’s bold and shocking strip? After clearly exhausting all his ideas for this arc about Bull after a week of Linda sitting in the dark sad, Batiuk stared at the paper for a while, realized he couldn’t think of any more CTE gags or “touching observations” and said to himself “eh, I guess I’ll kill him off now”.

  15. ComicTrek

    Well, he’s gone. I don’t even know what to say.

    Rest in peace, “Bull” Bushka. I know we snark a lot, but I mean that sincerely. You didn’t ask to be in this strip, and you certainly didn’t deserve to get killed on a quick, foolish whim for cheap, soap opera-y shock value. Thrown away, and for what? It would have been better for you to have quietly faded away like the Roland guy.

    But in the first two acts, and heck, even for a few parts in the third, you were fun. A big oaf who mostly didn’t do well under the pen of your creator, but you were fun. More fun than most! Thanks for breaking up the monotony of Creepy Les arcs, especially before the Bat saw you as a new “disease target”.

    Until we meet again. ❤

    Which we most likely will, be it in the form of your ghost, or flashbacks, or ashes. Whatever comes first.

  16. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    God, I loved this strip today! I not only lol-ed, I guffawed! This is the quintessential FW. How Batuikian! We see a car, a foot, and a twisted guard rail! I roared when I saw this! The drawing was great, especially the stumpy foot tromping on the gas! What the hell is Bull driving? An ’83 Trabant? Is there any chance we’ll see Bull’s mangled corpse at the bottom of the ravine since we didn’t get to see the crash? What’s that wisp in the last panel? Bull’s last fart? Today’s strip is priceless! If you’ve ever thought about buying a print, today’s the day.

  17. Paul Jones

    The worst is yet to come. It is not bad enough that he went full Aldo.

    It is not bad enough that the only warning we got is “Where my keys, Woman?”

    Hell, even taking a creamy dump all over the loyal readers so he can yell “HEY! LOOK AT ME!!!” is not bad enough.

    The bad thing to come is that we are to be forced to agree that a steaming heap of retroactive continuity makes up for his defects as a writer.

  18. NoBaTom Road.

    Bull survives, but loses an arm.

  19. Banana Jr. 6000

    So that’s it. Bull intentionally drives off a cliff to his death while Linda is tending to her online support group.

    Apparently, Bull needed some support.

  20. Charles

    I can’t be the only person here who thought the strip included in the NYT article was going to be today’s strip, can I?

    At least my post yesterday wasn’t rendered incorrect, unless we consider a panel of Bull’s supposed foot to count as his last live appearance.

    I guess Batiuk just thinks that suffering from a brain injury is all he needs to present behind a character’s decision to kill himself.

  21. Charles

    Oh, and while Linda won’t be able to get any money from the NFL, she should be able to get money from whoever made a guardrail that did not do its job in the least as a tiny hatchback drove into it.

    That shit’s not decorative, you know.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Valid point, especially since he’s turning a corner uphill. How fast can that car possibly be going? 25, maybe 30 mph? It doesn’t even have any speed lines.

      • Charles

        Yeah, I drive up long steep hill most days out of the week and if I’m going at a speed where I can floor it and see an immediate significant increase in speed, I’m going around 30. If I’m going 60, flooring it’s not going to make much difference, because I’m already pushing the engine. There’s no way I’m getting up to 80 in two seconds or something.

        Plus, I don’t drive a little hatchback that probably can’t even hit 80 on the interstate.

  22. More ineptness. All we saw of Bull–or whoever drove off the cliff–was his sneakers. We don’t even know if it is Bull.

    And, since the last two Sunday strips were filler, the Sunday-only readers probably don’t know WTF is going on.

  23. Gerard Plourde

    It just dawned on me how this arc might play itself out. TomBa May have learned that CTE is only definitively diagnosed postmortem. There are examples of players who, when planning their suicides, chose methods that would ensure their brains would be intact for study by the Boston University lab. I suspect we’ll learn that Bull was wearing his Westview helmet during the crash with the inference that he did so to allow for an examination by B.U. There may even be a note found that specifies this.

    The following weeks could take the reader through B.U.’s process.

    If my hunch is right and the strip makes even a less than perfect but intelligible and accurate effort to explain the research being done in the area of CTE, I’ll applaud and forgive today’s plot holes.

  24. Count of Tower Grove

    Meanwhile. . . back at the house. . . the pizzas are piling up. . .

  25. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    Wait… I’m just curious. What exactly is the purpose of guard rails? I’ve never worked for the Highway Department, so I’m just a little unclear on this. I mean, here we are on a typical mountain road in Ohio (???). Looks to me like this is a place twhere, if you left the road, you’d get a little banged up.

    If only there were something you could put on the side of the road to keep you from going off a cliff. Maybe one day some smart thinker will come up with something.

    Yeah, seriously though, if a 97 pound, 4 cylinder East German Batyuckmobile can hit a guardrail at an angle and still blow a giant hole in it, there isn’t much point in having that particular guardrail there in the first place.

    Oh, wait. It’s called “writing.”

    • Gerard Plourde

      Odd as it may sound, eastern Ohio has highlands. There’s an escarpment that divides the higher ground south of Lake Ontario that continues along Lake Erie as well that follows the western side of the Appalachian Mountains. It actually traverses the area around Akron and Kent. I don’t know if what’s depicted here exists but it’s not out of the realm of possibility.

      • Charles

        Yeah, I don’t want to say it can’t exist, but I do live around mountains and I can tell you that no road that travels along a cliff face exists around here. You generally avoid laying down roads like that for the simple reason that building that road’s a logistical nightmare and that the drop is a great threat to anyone driving along who might blow a tire or is distracted.

        Around me, the only spots where you could dump your car and *know* that you’re going to die are bridges, and you’re not going to be able to destroy the guardrails seeing as how they run perpendicular to the road. Anything else and it’s you plunge into a river/lake and drown, or you fall down a steep hillside and take so much internal damage that you bleed to death at the bottom. Or, but this isn’t going to happen here, you get trapped in your car and die from exposure.

  26. You know what this means. Bull had given NO indication he was suicidal in the previous weeks. Which means…he left a note.

    A note it will take Linda an entire week to read, including repeating whole sentences.

    • CRM114

      Kinda off topic but…it always saddened me that Aldo looked so very much like Captain Kangaroo 🦘. I imagined The Captain, Mr. GreenJeans and BunnyRabbit stalking Mary.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I’m expecting a bunch of silent strips, like a passing cop noticing the guardrail, a confused Linda noticing the keys are gone, then probably finding the note. Because nothing spells “storytelling” like dialog-free strips drawn by some other guy.

  27. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Ayers: Great! So I get to draw a car crashing! Finally some action!
    TB: Not exactly. How are you at drawing bent guard rails?

  28. I have a question that I really don’t expect an answer to, but this question is going to gnaw at me all day. The state trooper returns to Linda a Westview football helmet recovered from the accident scene. Why was the helmet in the car? Bull wasn’t wearing it and we know that because there was no blood on it and it didn’t appear to be damaged at all from the mountain-side crash. He wasn’t heading to the high school football field where I initially thought he’d meet his end, so why did he have his high school helmet in the car and not his college helmet or even an NFL helmet? Why did he have a helmet in the car at all. Like I said, I don’t expect answers, but I am curious.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Probably because high school was the absolute highlight of every single Westviewian’s otherwise banal and pointless life. Except for Les, of course. I likewise have wondered why Bull’s college football days are so rarely mentioned. No old teammates or an alumni foundation?

    • comicbookharriet

      Bull wore the helmet during the crash to protect the brain he had already promised to donate to research.

    • Charles

      Good point. If Bull was wearing it during the crash it’d be a terribly insensitive thing for the police to do to pull it off dead Bull’s head and take it over, like a trophy, to his wife to inform her of his death.

      But if Bull was wearing it and died in the crash, how was it not damaged at all? So he died without sustaining any head injuries? Did he die from a broken neck? If that’s what happened, yanking the helmet off him so that it’s still in one piece wouldn’t have been proper protocol. If he’s not dead but sustained a neck injury, that could have killed him. If he’s already been determined to be dead, they’re mistreating his body. (ie. they’re not going to dismember you even if you’re dead no matter how much more convenient that would make extracting your body from the wreckage. They’re not going to damage his already broken neck further just so they can take a football helmet to his wife to inform her of the crash)

      But this opens up so many more questions. I’m sure Batiuk thinks that this accident would look like an accident from Toonces the Driving Cat, but it’s much more likely that Bull’s car just slides down the side of the hill bouncing off rocks and trees and things. So he’s much more likely to sustain injuries that aren’t immediately fatal, especially if he’s wearing a football helmet and his car is equipped with a standard airbag. If he’s upset with the burden he’s placing on his wife with his CTE, how would he feel about the additional burden of caring for him when he’s got a broken pelvis and two broken legs and won’t ever walk properly again?

  29. Count of Tower Grove

    Meanwhile, if you grandpa google Nobottom Road, you will see that nearby is Cookies by Karen. Something Linda should think about serving at the wake.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Holy cow, there really is a Nobottom Road! And it’s near Cleveland, in Berea. There’s nothing you could plummet off of to your death, but he did pick a real location.

      Probably so the town of Berea can wet themselves with joy over being mentioned in Funky Winkerbean. Which will lead to even more undeserved news stories and praise for Tom Batiuk.

      People in northeast Ohio are way too flattered by this dumb comic strip. Did you know the real-life Toledo Mud Hens retired a jersey number for Ed Crankshaft? Seriously, they did. Hell, I expect a Bull Bushka historical marker on Nobottom Road within a year.

      • Count of Tower Grove

        At CK, there’s a respondent who says that years ago it was in fact, a Signal 30 kind of road, and he says he lost a high school friend in a crash there.

      • ComicTrek

        As someone who lives in northeast Ohio, I think it’s more that people are glad that this area is even being acknowledged.

  30. It just occurred to me that today’s strip would make absolutely no sense to a typical reader if Batiuk hadn’t already spoiled the ending.

    It’s a story that depends on every spoiler being pre-spoiled.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      We really wouldn’t! There’s no indication Bull left the house. We don’t know whose car or whose ankles those are. Most importantly, there’s no indication this crash is intentional! We see him apply the gas, but that could be mental confusion rather than an intentional attempt to end his life.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Great point. It’s a WTF? moment now, imagine if we had no idea Bull was going to die? Mind blown.

  31. Professor Fate

    Late to the party of course but dear lord he really has no idea how to tell a story does he? 1) we’ve not a had hint that Bull was contemplating suicide – we were treated to exactly ONE strip of him being enraged by not being able to find the car keys and the rest had Linda drowning in self pity. Honestly Linda’s despair seemed deep enough for a reader who didn’t know what was coming would be worried about HER.
    2) The strip we do see raises so many questions? When did Bull decide to kill himself? What made him decide? And how did Bull find the keys? When did he find them? And what did Linda do when she found out that Bull had the keys? Log on to bitch about how Bull has the keys?
    3) i suppose that we will treated to Bull’s suicide note – or knowing FW’s penchant for creepy use of video he’ll have taped it. Which will NOT answer a single question and merely load more misery upon Linda who is the actual center of the story.
    4) Love the Aldo callback – not intentional of course but still wonderful.