Memories… Summer good, Summer not

It’s back to the WABAC machine in today’s strip. No, I’m not talking about the flashback to “five years ago…”, I’m talking about Bull’s funeral, which has itself moved two-and-a-half years backward in time in order to accommodate a five years ago flashback featuring players Bull last coached in the spring of 2012. Well, at least we are getting something that is actually about Bull in this one… that’s so damning with faint praise that it could keep an ocean at bay. (“Billy was a special blogger”, they said at his funeral.)

Also, I tagged both Keisha and Linda in this, because I’m not sure which one of them is standing next to Summer in panel 3.

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39 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

39 responses to “Memories… Summer good, Summer not

  1. This was the very same Summer that Bull helped through rehab after her knee injury? And who helped Les prepare for his Mt. Kilimanjaro hike?

    Wow, Summer. You’re welcome.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I forgot all about Kilimanjaro but you are correct. After seeking and getting Les’ forgiveness, Bull was nothing but kind to the Moores. He saved Les hundreds of thousands of dollars in physical therapy and tuition costs. And how do they remember him? As a roaring buffoon, that’s how. Cold as ice.

      • William Thompson

        Batiuk will say “But I’m trying to present him as a human being, not a plaster saint!” Because he’s saving that for Les, come the happy day that he goes to his eternal punishment.

        • comicbookharriet

          Are you kidding? Les won’t die. On the last day of the strip Dead St. Lisa will descend from the clouds and ascend him bodily to heaven.

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Yes, I could point out that after Summer’s knee tragically exploded near the end of the Original Book Tour arc, Les’ shitty insurance wouldn’t cover her physical therapy, at which point Bull selflessly stepped up and offered his PT services free of charge, which resulted in a full recovery and secured her a valuable college scholarship. But Batiuk doesn’t give a shit, so why even bother? Summer = basketball, Bull = malapropism and it’s a wrap. It’s all so cold-blooded, just icy.

    It’s just weird when she pops up these days. Ten years ago Summer was a mainstay character and ostensibly the whole reason Act III existed in the future to begin with, but when she left for college he just dropped her like a hot rock for reasons BatYak himself probably doesn’t understand. It’s nice to see Keisha still sidekicking, though. She’s just like her mother, always with the sidekick dialog, never with a real line of her own.

    I wonder if they’re both still in college?

    “Hey man, those older girls in room 4B, what are they, like a couple or something?”

    “I dunno man, they were seniors like three years ago but they just never left. I don’t know if they’re together or anything but the black one is the white chick’s sidekick.”

    It’s one of FW’s greatest running anomalies. Of course Summer graduating did more or less coincide with BatWad’s surging interest in comic books which means there’s just simply not enough time to catch up with and develop Summer when you have a thirty week long arc (with multiple sub-arcs) about a new comic book company to write. Plus she was almost entirely about basketball and Lisa, which did limit her character somewhat (guffaw).

    • Charles

      It’s incredible that he leads in with “Five years ago…” since there’s nothing that’s stopping him from going back and checking just how long ago it was when Summer and Keisha played for Bull. I keep saying that Batiuk screws up due to his own laziness and even after saying it time and time again I can still be surprised by the depth of his laziness.

      Staying with that topic and responding to a response of yours from yesterday (since it’s unlikely many people will read it if I post it there):

      She’s (Cindy) an Emmy-winning former national TV network news anchor who’s married to a Hollywood superstar, yet even she just can’t let her pathetic high school identity go all these years later.

      I think part of this is due to his laziness. He doesn’t seem to appreciate just how committed and how much work it takes to get to the top of a competitive field. I’d say he doesn’t respect the amount of great work an entire team of people would have to do to win an Emmy, but he doesn’t even seem to comprehend it in the first place. He doesn’t seem to understand just how much work and talent it takes to be a professional athlete.

      So he has his characters essentially just back into success like this. Because he doesn’t understand it, he doesn’t respect it. Because he doesn’t respect it, he doesn’t appreciate the effect it has on the person’s life. That’s how he can have someone who wins an Emmy still being deeply concerned about who she was in high school. Making that documentary is no bigger deal to Cindy than being named Most Popular Girl in her high school class. Bull can get an NFL camp invite, which requires a successful college football career, but he’s still more consumed with his performance in high school games.

      Hell, to give him credit he doesn’t deserve, at least Summer’s identity is tied to basketball in the way it would be for a girl who was the MVP on a High School Division I State Championship team. But that’s just because he hasn’t thought of anything else to do with her.

      (BTW, where are Summer and Keisha’s teammates?)

      • Epicus Doomus

        I totally missed that “five years” thing. Summer’s last game at WHS took place in spring 2012. Hard to believe it’s been seven years since she was a strip regular. It just flew right by.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Given the way time works in the Funkyverse, seven years ago may actually be five years ago.

      • bigd1992

        Perhaps because Batyuck backed into success as well?

  3. Banana Jr. 6000

    Oh look, Les is shoving his face into panel 3. Can’t even let his daughter have a moment. Where’s his hair? Did he get cancer between yesterday and today? God, I hope so.

  4. billytheskink

    I think the worst part of this strip, now that I’m reading it again, is the fact that Bull’s motivational speech is played as a confusing malapropism when it actually makes complete and total sense. Even with the pants -> dresses twist, it is cliched as all get out, but not one single word of the entire sentence is misused. The basketball team’s confusion reflects on them.

    The coloring error on the flowers is the best part, by the way. Lovely green blooms.

    • Charles

      I think the worst part of this strip, now that I’m reading it again, is the fact that Bull’s motivational speech is played as a confusing malapropism when it actually makes complete and total sense.

      It’s also at least the third time he’s used some version of “they put their pants one leg on at a time just like you!” motivational. He apparently can’t conceive of anything different for a coach to say to his charges to get them fired up.

      • Epicus Doomus

        It would seem far more likely that upon seeing his coffin she’d remember a moment with a bit more substance, like when she won her dumb championship or her rehabilitation or something. The goofy anecdotes would be more apt for the after-party at Montoni’s, not while they’re lowering the guy into the ground.

  5. William Thompson

    Careful there! Raise one good laugh and the noise will wake the dead–oh. Carry on, Batiuk.

  6. spacemanspiff85

    Yeah, he won multiple championships at a notoriously terrible school, so I’d say, yes, he was a special coach.

  7. William Thompson

    Each time I see one of Batiuk’s jokes in print, I want to check the news to find out if he died laughing at his own wit.

  8. William Thompson

    Now that the obligatory verbal joke has rolled on its back, kicked its little feet in the air and died, can we move on to the physical humor? You know, where Bull is so fat his coffin won’t fit in the grave and a steam shovel is needed to enlarge it? Where men in white coats show up with a melonballer to salvage his brain? Where someone tosses that green bouquet at the grave, but misses it and Les catches it?

  9. ComicTrek

    I thought I was officially done after the time pool crap, but this right here has got my blood close to boiling. Why does he always feel the need to retcon things to go with his crappy plots?! Especially when we know otherwise?!

    So apparently Bull never helped or supported Summer through training, a knee injury, the flu, or anything else. He *never* made a lasting, positive impression on her or Keisha, the two best players on the team (thanks in part to him), or any of the other girls he led to win CHAMPIONSHIP GAMES.
    Bull, as a girls’ basketball coach, was nothing but a babbling idiot who weirded out teenage girls and never knew what he was talking about.

    THANKS FOR THE RESPECT DUE A MAJOR CHARACTER OF YOUR STRIP, TOM BATIUK.

    And yeah, I’m sure that referring to him as “special” in such a way is NOT a slap in the face to real sufferers of sports-related brain injuries or CTE or dementia.

    THANKS AGAIN FOR A “RESPECTFUL” TAKE ON THESE ISSUES, TOM BATIUK!

  10. William Thompson

    I’m certain that the one character is Keisha, not Linda. Keisha is now as tall as Summer and as almost-dark as her mother. Linda has that axe-blow part in her hair and golden hoop earrings.

  11. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    I think the biggest affront today is the clusterflop that is Bull’s head. Alas, though many suffer the sting of male pattern baldness, his hideous gray/white hair line twists the knife. This poor, downtrodden soul looks as though a giant pigeon shat upon his pate.
    Except for that, I like today’s strip. “He was a dufus, but he was our dufus.”

  12. ian'sdrunkenbeard

  13. Epicus Doomus

    See, I thought Summer was Becky at first glance but, well, you know.

  14. 7dials

    Where are Bull’s family in all this? You know – them?

    A man is dead, Tom, violently and unexpectedly. Yes, he had a serious illness, but it was not one that meant the people around him were expecting him to die so suddenly. The circumstances strongly suggest suicide. And yet, when it comes time to bury him, we are focusing on the reactions of the former Queen Bee of his high school graduating class, a girl he coached five years ago who has apparently barely thought about him since leaving high school, and a dick with ears.

  15. Paul Jones

    Batiuk’s characters have no sense of what appropriate behaviour might be. Here, it manifests itself as stupid girls being confused by someone trying to modify a metaphor and failing and making that be what the man was about.

    In Crankshaft, it manifests itself as Max’s wife hijacking Pam’s birthday to boast about being in the family way like the biggest, stupidest jerk ever.

    This lack of any sort of grasp of what social norms are is supposedly funny…which is a judgement on the ass writing this slop.

  16. Saturnino

    “In Crankshaft, it manifests itself as Max’s wife”
    When did they get married?

  17. Smirks 'R Us

    Dear Bully who tormented Tom Batiuk in a high school in the Akron, Ohio area:

    He does NOT forgive you!

    Signed,

    The current sufferers

  18. Rusty Shackleford

    Batty has no idea what coaches do.

  19. Gerard Plourde

    TomBa’s attempt to retcon the year of Summer’s and Keisha’s graduation from Westview seems to be an attempt to make Summer’s extended attendance at Kent State less problematic. Of course he could have avoided the question arising completely if he had refrained from using her as a mouthpiece for making another gag at Bull’s expense. This isn’t to say that funny anecdotes about the deceased are absent at funerals, but they normally are told in context and in an endearing way. But what we get instead is another example of TomBa’s gratuitous use of a problematic flashback coupled with a misplaced gag.

  20. Maxine of Arc

    Okay, so Talking Drunken Murder Chimp was rushed and stupid. Batiuk’s insistence on demonstrating that he doesn’t know crap about the modern comics world is eye-rolly. But this is actually really uncomfortable to read, and not I think in the way TomBa hopes.

  21. Well, one of Bull’s trademark endearing qualities was always his use of malapropisms (mostly blatantly plagiarized from Yogi Berra), so we all knew that this funeral scene wasn’t going to go by without at least one awkwardly placed reminiscence. The big question is, will he pad out the rest of the week with more of these.

  22. The Dreamer

    Pretty soon Les will start writing his new book, “Bull’s Story” which will coincide in real life with Bull’s Story: The Complete Bull Bushka FW Strips. When TomBat kills off a major character, its always to win some award for highlighting a disease and to entice the publisher to pay him for another FW compilation. Bull died so TomBat could make some $$$

  23. Professor Fate

    So Bull was always an idiot. Got that.
    Still what does this have to do with him getting CTE – which hasn’t been mentioned in a while and that he committed suicide?
    And that is the dead elephant in the room in this arc. Suicide is a difficult and painful subject. Its effect upon the loved ones of the victim can be devastating – feelings of guilt, anger at the victim, and wondering what they missed can be overwhelming. So is the author dealing with that? No – we haven’t even had a conformation that it WAS suicide. Have we dealt with Linda’s emotions? No. What we’ve been given is stupid gags at graveside by the town’s most self absorbed people (which is saying something)
    So once again we see that the Author is in over his head with the subject matter he picked and as a result he has retreated to his gag day roots.
    .

    • William Thompson

      My theory is that Creepy Les will discover that Bull committed suicide, thereby showing up the police, medical examiner and insurance investigators. Of course this will require Les to discover evidence that was never shown to the readers, but the only way to make Les shine is to make other people look dim. Les will use this in his upcoming book about Bull’s downhill slide into dementia.

  24. Don

    Was that from the famous championship game where Summer made a shot that actually managed to regain altitude in midair (in one strip, it’s clearly going to be short, but in the next, it goes in), and Ohio’s high school athletics federation was so impressed that they gave Westview not only the Division III championship (in a daily) but the Division I title (the following Sunday) as well?