Please no more Lesday, October 10

Today’s strip was not available for preview. I considered waiting for it become available to post, but with the possibility of more Les on the table… I am sorry but I am not willing to burn the 11:00 PM oil potentially posting about a despicable character in a despicable situation.

However, true believers, just so I don’t send you to the comments section empty-handed… here, in honor of the late Jerome Bushka, is Bull’s very first appearance in Funky Winkerbean:

FW5-3-72

Oh, sorry, that’s the first mention of Bull, May 3 of 1972, in classic TB tell-don’t-show style. Here’s his first appearance, on September 23 of 1972 (Wait, why doesn’t Funky have CTE too, being a football sporto?):

FW9-23-72

And the first time he appears and is named, on September 26, 1972 (Until 2013, this was the canonical reason Fred Fairgood was estranged from his daughter Kerry. No, really!):

FW9-26-72

43 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

43 responses to “Please no more Lesday, October 10

  1. Epicus Doomus

    So Coach Stropp kidnapped Fred’s daughter? I did not know that. Man this strip has such a deep and weird history to mine for material, too bad BatYak is so focused on bad wordplay and wry banter. Speaking of which, look how wry Funky is in the first strip. Even back then wryness was the glue that held it all together.

    WTF? He’s flashing back again? Good God man, just tell the f*cking story. Check out that tree in the background, its dying foliage symbolizing Bull’s final hours or something. Blech.

  2. billytheskink

    Well, no Les today is welcome, but these constant time hops and flashbacks are giving me whiplash! And I think that is saying something coming from me, the fellow who fished 3 strips out of 1972 for today’s post. This story arc has seen more flashbacks than I have ever posted on SOSF, and I’ve been a guest author here for close to 5 years.

    Anyways, the way TB is unfolding this narrative is just plain awful.

    • Epicus Doomus

      It would appear that this sudden car-tinkering will turn out to be the “big reveal” here, as obviously Bull overheard Linda’s complaining and decided right then and there he’d kill himself and make it look like an accident to secure Linda the insurance money she needed to, uh, take care of him. There’s a pretty blatant flaw in that story, but that never stopped Pulitzer (nominee) Boy before.

      • Max Power

        With all the nonsequential flashbacks it’s like we’re finally getting a Watchmen-Funky Winkerbean crossover. Apparently Dr. Manhattan got very bored and decided to narrate the Bullpocolypse.

      • Andrew

        Such a stupid plan that classic literature exposed it ages ago.
        (Seriously, copying Death of a Salesman?!)

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Which blatant flaw did you mean? That CTE gave Bull the ability to customize cars? That Linda lets Bull fix the car when she doesn’t let him drive it? That she welcomes his tinkering instead of fearing for her life? Seriously, how are we supposed to interpret panel 2?

        If I interpret this correctly, Bull really does have CTE, because what is told takes prcedence over what can plainly be seen. That being established, how stupid is Linda now? She just let him do this? To a car he calls “the car”, implying they only own one, which she must drive also?! That’s horrifying! And would be the center of a great story.

        If this story is going where we all know it’s going, Linda must be an emotional wreck. It’s normal for people to feel guilt when a loved one commits suicide, but she actively failed to prevent it. How is she coping? We don’t know, because the strip hasn’t shown us. But it showed us Les fucking Moore still working through his feelings about being bullied 40 years ago.

        Then you think maybe the story is setting up a counter-narrative where Bull really doesn’t have CTE, or Linda is afraid of Bull, or Linda secretly wants rid of him, or Linda is having affair with Buck. But it kills that too, by not developing those possibilities, and showing us things that contradict them.

        The story is so poorly told we can’t follow it, and yet we know exactly where it’s going! Bull tampered with the car so his death would look accidental, and wore a helmet to preserve his brain for research. Which CONTRADICT EACH OTHER. Sweet Jesus, how does this crap go on?

        • William Thompson

          Ratiuk sez, “What contradictions? It’s the result of his CTE!”

        • Epicus Doomus

          Well, we’ve been led to believe that Linda needs help re: caring for Bull. However if he’s dead she doesn’t need said help. So perhaps she could get the bathroom re-tiled or something. Maybe there’s a support group she could turn to for advice.

  3. William Thompson

    Twelve days ago? Is that when Linda was whining on-line? Or when she felt delight that Bull was doing something positive? Are we supposed to see Bull’s good mood as a sign he’s about to kill himself? That probably makes sense in the Funkyverse.

    • William Thompson

      What did Batiuk do? Write each day’s installment on a separate 3×5 card, then shuffle the cards?

    • comicbookharriet

      Actually. That can be some truth in advertising. Depending on their ‘reasons’ once someone has decided to kill themselves, there can be a boost in mood because they no longer feel the anxieties of whatever burden they’re trying to escape. It’s on some warning lists for suicide.

  4. I believe this is called “spinning one’s wheels.”

  5. William Thompson

    Congratulations, Batiuk. You’ve made a story about CTE more brain-damaging than CTE itself.

  6. Doghouse Reilly

    Thanks for the look back at the “Origin of Bull” strips, especially the “this is a football” speech from September of 1972. How interesting to know that back in the day TB thought it was clever to rip off an actual incident involving coach Vince Lombardi at the Green Bay Packers’ 1961 training camp (complete with a variation of the actual player comeback).

  7. ian'sdrunkenbeard

  8. Paul Jones

    The hidden subtext is that she’s so desperate for any sign of a good mood that she has no idea what is going to get him there. In this case, it’s probably removing the cut-off switch to the car.

    • William Thompson

      Or draining the brake fluid from the master cylinder, so it will look like an accident when his brakes fail. Because sabotaged brakes fail when it’s convenient, and no insurance investigator would think to notice recent work in the engine compartment. And Linda isn’t going to drive the sabotaged car to the grocery store.

  9. Charles

    He’s totally messed this up by screwing with the timeline.

    When was “twelve days ago”? How long was it before Bull died? What’s the relevance of it being twelve days and not, say eleven or six or seventeen? Where does this fit in with Linda getting the NFL letter, Buck coming over, or Bull getting a new troubling diagnosis from his doctor? Did it come before or after? How many days were supposed to pass between Bull being pulled from his car and the funeral?

    He doesn’t say, and because of that, there’s no way anyone can make sense of this strip in context with any of the other strips.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      If the “X days ago” captions are taken literally, Bull got the “there have been some changes” diagnosis on September 25 (“one week earlier” on Oct 2), decided to fix the car on September 30 (“three days ago” on Oct 3), completed fixing the car on September 30 (“12 days ago” on Oct 10 – we’ll assume it’s later in the day), and found the keys on October 1 (“one hour ago” on Oct 1). Which does add up.

      But this requires us to interpret each strip as containing one day’s events. Which makes no sense, but clearly that’s what it wants us to do. Like Batiuk is trying to prove to the audience “yes, I can get details right”, in a situation where he shouldn’t be doing so. A vague descriptor like “last week”, or wordless visual hint that this is a flashback, would be better.

      Because the strip doesn’t think we can piece together that “Bull is happy he fixed the car” comes after “Bull decides to fix the car” but before “Bull dies.” Again, this strip treats you like an idiot.

  10. Chyron HR

    The rush of adrenaline as Bull floored it triggered something in his fractured synapses, and he found his consciousness spread across every moment in history simultaneously, suspended in eternity like a candy bar that didn’t fall out of the vendo.

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    In the “this is a football” strip, I like how Bull’s jersey number changes from 11 to 71 in the middle of the speech. It’s nice to know the strip always cared about the details.

  12. bayoustu

    “Especially since the coach kidnapped my daughter… JUST KIDDING!”
    Especially since Lisa died of cancer… JUST KIDDING!
    Especially since Cayla is African-American… JUST KIDDING!
    Especially since this strip used to be funny… JUST KIDDING!

  13. comicbookharriet

    This is the only strip so far in this arc that has even a hint of what this arc should really be about. And we’re getting it three weeks too late.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I thought the September 25th “I’m becoming an accomplished liar” strip was on point. It demonstrated Bull’s angry tone and frustrating demands, the non-trivial emotional toll on Linda, and a clever observation.

      • William Thompson

        True. I’ve lost track of the times I’ve lied to mom. To get her to take a shower, to get her out of bed, to make her exercise, to avoid endlessly repeating answers to her rambling questions, to avoid arguments, to keep her from making herself sick . . . None of it may meet the technical definition of lying (the intent is to avoid harm, not allow or cause it) but it feels like lying.

  14. Gerard Plourde

    And we’re back in the garage with Bull tinkering with the car. I guess the entire arc is going to be told in this counterproductive flashback style.The choppy and disjointed course we can expect over the coming weeks is going to make the Butter Brinkel story look tightly scripted. It also makes insertion of the ridicule of Bull at his funeral and especially the final comments by Les even more petty and offensive.

    Looking at what today gives us – Is this the same incident that we’ve already seen? His introduction of “twelve days ago” is meaningless in this regard because we have no way of knowing how many days separate the car crash from the funeral. And where are any symptoms of CTE?

    Finally, BTS’s inclusion of the early strip with Fred and Bull is a reminder that the characters have never really been allowed to develop beyond their initial purpose as one dimensional mouthpieces for throwaway gags.

  15. The artwork in 1972 was far better than it is today.

    • Epicus Doomus

      You must be referring to the individually drawn character faces that could be distinguished from one another. That was done away with some time ago, right around when Darin had his nose replacement operation.

      • Exactly. Look at that first strip–the lines are clean, the facial expressions tell the story, the body language is very well done. Nothing like that in recent years.

  16. 7dials

    The more I think about Summer’s comments from a couple of days back, the more irksome and, indeed, actively offensive they become. In normal human beings capable of grasping concepts like ‘self-reflection’, ’empathy’, and ‘shame’, the realization that the guy you always thought of as a funny idiot who couldn’t quite string a sentence together had in fact been suffering from a form of progressive brain damage all along would be expected to provoke all three. Have I really spent the last few years laughing at a man with brain damage? Worse, have I been laughing at him precisely because he had brain damage? What does it say about me that I thought this was okay – even funny?

    And yet here we have Summer, unable to resist making one last quip at the expense of Bull’s poor, broken brain as she literally stands at his coffin. She’s at the mouth of the man’s open grave and she’s jokily reminding the assembled mourners of how ‘special’ he was… not only understanding that using the word ‘special’ in that context can be read as ‘retarded’, but fully expecting that everyone present will be making exactly that substitution.

    Her father would be proud.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Bull LITERALLY saved Summer’s basketball career AND stepped aside so Ann Fairgood could lead the Lady Goats to a title. Summer owes her entire seven year college career to Bull. Yet her fondest Bull memory is how dumb he was. And here I thought spending seven years in college would BROADEN one’s perspective.

  17. William Thompson

    I tried to kill myself a year ago tonight, so what better time to mention suicide in a story about suicide? During the two hours between the start and my call to 911, I snarked at myself. One of my comments was “This is taking so long . . . who knew dying could be so boring?” Well, live and learn.

  18. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Sending positive thoughts your way and thanks for your many hilarious contributions here.

    • William Thompson

      Thanks! I hope to celebrate next year’s anniversary at this strip’s grave, no matter which crossroads it’s buried at.