The Helmet of DEATH

Link to today’s strip.

Is that the helmet that Bull was wearing when he died?  That seems like a remarkably tasteless gift, to be honest.

Of course, Buck’s line is rather tasteless as well–“I was one of the guys who gave your husband the CTE that killed him!”

I guess “tastelessness” is a characteristic; it’s certainly better than the boredom and uninteresting trivia we’ve been served thus far.   But you’d think Tom Batiuk would reach for something a bit more positive.  Hey, remember when he used to be funny?  Those days are rapidly receding in the rearview mirror, soon to be forgotten by all.

It makes me wonder why he decided to do this comic strip in the first place.  Did he really want to take uninteresting stories and stretch them to tedious length?  Because that’s exactly what he’s doing.

I honestly don’t know what the point is to any of this.  And really, I could say that about any Funky Winkerbean strip from the past few years, come to think.

40 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

40 responses to “The Helmet of DEATH

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Once again Buck is all kindly and round, not all angular and block-headed like he was before. I guess that’s why everyone has to keep using his name, as otherwise how would we know? Yeah, this is disturbing on a number of levels, the whole “it was the 1980s, we weren’t aware of the importance of the brain back then” thing is pretty warped too. “The Westview Sports Hall Of Fame”…there’s an exclusive club, eh?

  2. ian'sdrunkenbeard

  3. William Thompson

    Look inside the goddamned thing and see if Bull left a suicide note in the webbing If he did, you can bet the “note” will be long enough to fill a whole squadron of word zeppelins.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Coming in 2022: Weeks after discovering Buck’s mummified remains, his step-nephew Brock tosses Bull’s old helmet in a dumpster while demo-ing his house, in a Sunday strip mostly played for laughs.

    • Saturnino

      Sunday sideways strip!

  4. billytheskink

    To paraphrase the late, beloved Houston Oilers coach Bum Phillips:

    At the Westview Sports Hall Of Fame, I don’t know if Bull’s in a class by himself, but I do know that when that class gets together, it sure don’t take long to call the roll… because Bull is dead and the only successful teams the school has ever had were coached by him.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Based on everything we know, the Westview Sports Hall Of Fame would probably consist of Jack Stropp, Fishstick Annie, Bull Bushka, Summer Moore and maybe Jarod Posey. Maybe Keisha too, I guess. That’s a motley crew right there. You could easily fit the whole thing in a small trophy case over by where the pay phones (or “payos” as the case may be) used to be.

      The official FW “cast pic” still features someone named Sally Kearns, girls basketball coach. Apparently she was one of the “old” new Act III characters and, to no one’s surprise, he either lost or forgot about that thread. So no WHOF nod for her.

      • hitorque

        1. A tribute to Sally Kearns Goodwin perhaps??

        2. Holy fuck that’s bad art — Doesn’t even look female?… It’s like Batiuk decided to give all his characters generic male haircuts so all he’d have to change are the faces…

      • billytheskink

        And let us all remember that likely member Jack Stropp was depicted as winning only a single game as Scapegoats football coach, a win that was forfeited because Bull was ineligible. The Westview Sports Hall Of Fame sounds even less impressive than the Washington Generals Hall Of Fame…

    • CRM114

      “Is this dried blood on his helmet?”.. “Yeah, well, by the time the patrol got to him rigor mortis had set in. They had to use a crowbar to get the helmet off. Still can’t get the damn blood stains outa my new carpet. Might see if I can find a sucker on fleabay who’ll take it. You know, ‘own a piece of gory Westview history.’ And don’t get me started on the damn game films…”

      • Epicus Doomus

        “Whoa! The helmet Bull Bushka died in! And look, it’s Summer Moore’s knee brace and vomit pail! Wow! Part of the fish stick! It’s like WHS sports history is coming alive!”

      • Saturnino

        Blood in the helmet? Well, wash it out and keep the liquid in a jar on the mantel as a relic. Or scrape the dried blood out and put in it a clear container and it will turn to liquid every anniversary of Bull’s death…

  5. William Thompson

    “Organize” the sports memorabilia? You mean stuff it in boxes and drive it to the Sporto Palace, where its large staff of largely dorks will busily fill exhibit cases and tape up commemorative signs? Yeah, that’s a demanding task you got there, Linda, if the idea is to winnow out any evidence that playing football can lead to CTE.

  6. William Thompson

    “Oh, that toy helmet Bull stole from a bobblehead! How did he ever stuff his fat head in there?”

  7. The Nelson Puppet

    The “comic strip” has been lousy for decades because Batiuk is too thin-skinned to accept any constructive criticism. You can’t make any public comments on his terribly outdated old BLOG either.

  8. Paul Jones

    Yuck. It’s as if she’s telling him how to commit suicide properly because Bull screwed it up badly.

  9. Rusty Shackleford

    The purpose of this strip is to garner awards for Batty. Someone give him a damn award already…maybe then he will retire and go away.

    • spacemanspiff85

      I’ve thought we could all pitch in $5 for a trophy to send him and say it’s the International Federation for Important Serious Art and Literature’s Most Beautiful Writing award or something, just to get him to stop.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    The point is to indulge Tom Batiuk’s sick death fetish. Look how lovingly drawn that helmet is. So much detail in it, while all the humans in the strip look like their faces are melting off. And we’re going to see it a bunch more times, I bet. Batiuk loves death fetish objects, like Dead Lisa’s park bench, and Jessica Darling Daughter Of John Darling Who Was Murdered. I think that’s her full legal name, so she can mention it every time she shows up.

    Never mind that no one on earth wants a souvenir of a loved one’s suicide! The very idea is so sick, so tasteless, and so contrary to human behavior, that I’m speechless what to say about it.

    • hitorque

      Tomorrow Linda will give him Bull’s CAT scan, X-Rays, and death certificate as keepsakes and next week Pete+Darrin will create a biographical graphic novel about Bull’s life and career and Masone will option that into another movie (which Les will direct) and then we will have reached peak Funkyverse…

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        And Les will sabotage the project throughout, because it’s being too respectful to Bull’s memory.

  11. hitorque

    1. It’s funny because that helmet is way too small for even a kid’s head… It’s one of those novelty miniatures you can get from Target…

    2. A scuffed-up helmet (and the ugly symbolism associated with it) is a really thoughtless “gift” by Linda… I’d understand if that helmet was like the only item left of his football days, but there’s mountains of old shit for her to give away: That framed jersey, a football, any number of photographs, his cleats, his coaching whistle/stopwatch, one of his minor trophies, his unwatched “Law and Order” episodes on VHS (with those wonderful vintage 1990s commercials), or that new fullsize replica Arizona Cardinals helmet Bull bought not long before he died to commemorate his TWO WEEKS in Cardinals training camp as an undrafted rookie in circa 1980 (the peak of his football career)…

    3. And of course Hank Hill has to make his response even creepier and more awkward since nobody in the Funkyverse knows how to say “thank you” and leave…

    4. Can Hank and Linda just screw already? There has to be a reason why he keeps showing up on her doorstep…

    5. LOL at the mere thought of Westview having an athletics “Hall of Fame”…
    Wait a minute — Does she mean “Westview High School” having a hall of fame, or the Westview Township?

    6. It’s official — Hank Hill has supplanted Bull Bushka, Al Bundy and, you know, the original Hank Hill as “Most Pathetic Middle Age Dude Whose Life Peaked at age 17″…

    • spacemanspiff85

      Considering the guy apparently has no friends or family at all, and his first reaction when he finds out he’s dying soon is to visit the widow of one of the hundreds of guys he played against in high school, I don’t think the word pathetic is strong enough.

      • hitorque

        That’s what I don’t get, either… Whatever town or city 15 miles up the interstate Big Walnut Tech is in, that has to be where Hank Hill is from, right?? He has no friends, family, former teammates, coworkers, etc?? Does he have ANY backstory besides “Middle Linebacker for BWT who played Westview four straight years and beat them four straight years because Coach Jack Stropp’s playbook was infamously one page long?”

      • hitorque

        But seriously, as I noted earlier Hank Hill is clearly there to get balls deep into Linda’s ass… He just doesn’t know how to put it into words…

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Buck wanting to bone Linda is really the only explanation for his continued presence, but Batiuk would never take the story in that direction. Athletes can bond over a moment that tied them together; there’s a great conversation between Kirk Gibson and Dennis Eckersley floating around on YouTube. But… high school? And this late in life? As you said, doesn’t Buck have any friends or family of his own?

  12. hitorque

    7. Batiuk missed a trick… He could have had Bull pull a “Lisa” and record 30+ hours of messages to friends and family from beyond the grave and hidden them all around Westview…

  13. Merry Pookster

    Again I ask…. does anyone at CK preview this shalock?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The entire comics page seems to have no editorial oversight of any kind. Batiuk isn’t the only one who runs endless self-indulgent plots, name drops his friends, airs petty grudges, and makes zero effort to tell a joke or a story. These benighted cretins can just crap whatever they want onto the page and the syndicate will distribute it, and newspapers will pay for the privilege to print it, no questions asked.

      It’s a symptom of why newspapers are dying. They publish outdated, worthless content, and pay too much money to its creators.

  14. Professor Fate

    What he had only the one helmet his entire highschool career? Sorry that doesn’t make any sense.

    • hitorque

      If anything, I’d think that was he senior year helmet that the school let him keep on Senior Day as an honor for the dubious distinction of rushing for 4,000 yards in his high school career on 4,001 carries…

  15. Charles

    What the fuck is wrong with Batiuk? Gifting the helmet that the deceased was wearing when he was killed to his friend? How does Batiuk not understand how weird and unsettling this is?

    “Oh, and here are the underpants Bull was wearing when he plummeted off that cliff to his death! He would want you to have them.”

    • Charles

      “And here’s a box full of all the jock straps Bull used throughout his playing days. Something this special should go to you, Buck!”

    • It’s even worse when you consider the phrasing–“I thought you might want this.” Not, “He’d have liked you to have this,” or “perhaps you could take this,” as a kind of final wish from Bull. No, Linda has figured this bashed up helmet is naturally the one object Buck just has to have.

      • Charles

        (Buck stares at the helmet on the mantel Bull was wearing when he crashed his car and died)
        *thinks*
        ~~Damn, that would be a cool thing to have.~~

  16. Don

    Yes, because the school has nothing better to do than honor the person solely responsible for costing the school its only football win in the early 1980s (when they had to forfeit the win because his GPA was too low)

    • hitorque

      And yet they DIDN’T have to forfeit for putting a non-player into the game WEARING A MASCOT COSTUME and he catches a game-winning Hail Mary on the final play? Or that girl quarterback wearing A HOMECOMING DRESS sneaking the ball in for a 1-yd touchdown?

      (Sorry, I’m not letting Batiuk ever forget about that bullshit)

  17. Double Sided Scooby Snack

    “I was probably responsible for some of those scrapes on there. Oh, like this big dent in the front. Yeeeaaah, I remember that one! I hit him so hard, his head spun all the way around three times. Haw haw haw… Know how they show tweeting birds when someone gets their head slammed in a cartoon? I could actually SEE the birds! Lemme tell ya, I whacked his melon so hard, his whole family got knocked unconscious. He could have caught the CTE from just that hit! Man, that felt good. Maybe my best hit ever. Too bad he pointed his toes the way he did. That wasn’t too smart.”

    “Maybe you should go.”

    “Anyhoo, no thanks on the helmet. Hey, can I have that couch over there?”