“This is the voice of World Control”

Link to today’s strip.

Mason:  “So, Lisa made some videos before she died?”

Cayla:  “Yes, hundreds of them.  We’re all required to watch them.  They cover every aspect of our existence.”

Mason:  “…what?”

Cayla:  “Yes, we can’t make any kind of move, or any decisions at all, really, until we consult the library and find the tape that deals with the issue.  It’s Lisa’s way of making sure she always watches over us, always takes care of us.  I don’t know what we’d do without Lisa.”

Mason:  “Hmm…let me see if I understand.  When she knew she was dying, instead of being a loving wife and mother, she neglected both her husband and her child so she could sit in front of a camera and make films.   Instead of treasuring the time left, she decided to map out the future for her husband and child, by instructing them in how they should act and behave for the rest of their lives.”

Cayla:  “My life, too.  And I didn’t even know her.  Well, I didn’t know her then…but I know her now.”

Mason:  “What happens if you don’t do what she says?”

Cayla:  “I don’t know.  That never occurred to any of us.  All we can do is obey.  Besides, Les would probably get peeved, and that is forbidden.”

Mason:  (after a long pause) “My God.  I had no idea I was making a horror movie.  Welp, I’ve gotta go–gotta break some contracts and make a bunch of apologies.  Don’t call me!”

PS:  Is Les getting ready to jerk off in panel three?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

63 responses to ““This is the voice of World Control”

  1. Epicus Doomus

    If Les doesn’t want anyone to see the Lisa tapes why are they on a shelf in his living room? Why would Cayla ever allow this? Why is Mason wandering around Les’ house pawing at everything? Has BatYam ever spent any time at all with real people?

    Over the last two weeks BatHam has mentioned four old arcs: Frankie, Jarod Posey, Teen Pregnancy and now The Lisa Tapes. I don’t know what it means, only that it’s highly unusual.

  2. billytheskink

    As opposed to the videos Lisa made after she died, which are much more interesting…

  3. Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

    A better question: Why is Les doing “jazz hands” in panel two?

  4. Doghouse Reilly (Philadelphia)

    Really, though, when does it seem like Les isn’t preparing to pleasure himself in one form or another?

    Well, now I guess Friday’s strip will show Masonne taking a box full of the Holy Tapes of Dead St. Lisa to the Komix Korner and asking Krazy…er, Crazy Harry to transfer them to DVD so that he can watch them in case he has to also play Dead St. Lisa as well as Les. Heck, why not have Mr. Jarre play all the key roles, like Alec Guinness in “Kind Hearts and Coronets” or Eddie Murphy in “The Nutty Professor”?

    • justifiable

      Except that Todd seems to have forgotten that he already converted them to digital format back in 2015. I’m praying Crazy Harry degaussed them in the process of “finding Easter eggs,” so now they’re all just sweet, sweet hiss and static.

  5. spacemanspiff85

    If Les is near the Lisa Tapes, you’d damn well better believe he’s about to jerk off.

  6. William Thompson

    Relax, Les! Watch the “What To Do When An Unbeliever Discovers These Tapes” tape.

  7. AmigoLupus

    As weird and stalker-y Mason gets here, at least he’s trying to find SOME WAY to make the Cancerwife movie slightly more interesting. If this had been a straight adaptation of the dreck that Les wrote then it’s just a movie about someone slowly dying from cancer while focusing on her husband’s man-pain. At least including subplots about reuniting with a long-lost son, or Lisa filming a goodbye video could induce an emotion other than depression to viewers.

    • hitorque

      The irony is Masone gives less than a rat’s ass about making the story “interesting” — He just want to tick all the dramatic boxes for the Academy Awards committee.

      • bigd1992

        Hmm, like the way a certain author wanted to tick all of the dramatic boxes for the Pulitzer Prize committee?

  8. William Thompson

    So, Les, why don’t you want Mason to watch the Dead Lisa tapes? Was your plan to astonish your fan base by revealing their existence, then writing a trilogy about them?

  9. CRM114

    Help me here. Wasn’t there a video where Lisa threatened in some type of warped and cackling way? One the made her look totally wacko? Can’t remember. It was Batuik deranged.

    • CRM114

      Something to do with Summer?

    • I think it was “For the other woman,” i.e. Cayla. I think it was something about “If you ever make Les sad, I’ll haunt you.”

      • justifiable

        What are the odds of THREE of us posting the answer at the same time? You know what they say, “Great minds think alike…

        …and so do ours!”

    • Yeah; I forget just when the sequence was, but it was during the Great Digitization of the VHSes. There was an “Easter egg” after one of the videos where Lisa recorded some words for Whoever Might Marry Les After Me. She warned that if Not-Lisa made Les cry or something like that then she’d come haunting Not-Lisa.

      I could get behind Lisa recording this, and figuring that she was being all jovial and funny and protective of her husband, but also coming around to realize it was bad humor. When you’re good enough friends with someone you can say something threatening or insulting or even mean, and it’s fun. It’s funny because it’s ironic, depending on treating your warm relationship as hostile. And in sharing a joke you become better friends. But if you don’t have that relationship, then the irony that makes the joke funny fails. It reads as creepy instead.

      So I can imagine that Lisa figured, well, this is better off erased, but what sort of madman is going to go looking at stuff I (somehow) recorded after 15 minutes of static on a tape with a different talk? Surely nobody will ever see it. And then Crazy Harry had to go and spoil it by diligently copying the whole tapes.

    • justifiable

      It was in one of the “Easter eggs” Crazy Harry found on the VHS tapes when he converted them, even though there’s no such thing in magnetic tape format. It was titled “For The Other woman,” and in it Lisa threatens to fuck up, from beyond the grave, whoever Les marries if she mistreats “our Les.” Because knowing his personality, the certainty for payback is about 100%. (See September 20 – October 4, 2015.)

      • hitorque

        I’m glad she’s dead… Rest in pieces, Liz!

        And fuck Les for making Cayla watch that…

      • Rusty Shackleford

        And he thinks this kind of stuff helps cancer patients? No wonder he isn’t selling any books.

        Judging by his recent blog updates, there is plenty more crap in the pipeline.

        • billytheskink

          The crazy thing is, Lisa didn’t even have cancer when she recorded that tape… she was just dressed as Crankshaft for Halloween.

      • Count of Tower Grove

        “Mega” properly attributed to St. Lisa, from across the river. And to think we’ve been mocking Maranne Winters for the last five years.

      • William Thompson

        Funny how Not-Totally-Dead-Yet Lisa looks so much like Mason Jarr in panel 2.

      • batgirl

        Oh dear Christ, I remember that – and it was just after she had said something like ‘don’t worry about Summer, she’s a tough little kid’ that she went all Momma Bear about Les.
        Jesus, woman, Les was a grown-ass man. Summer was something like 4 years old, and was left to the care of a father who could only cook hotdogs.

  10. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    I don’t know how you funksters keep predicting the future. It’s like you’re psychotic!

    June 9, 2020 at 7:54 am
    I think that this two weeks is probably just an elaborate set up for introducing Mason to the Lisa video library. Keep your barf bags handy.

    • hitorque

      FWIW, I was saying back during those endless producer meetings that Les needed to dangle the tapes as the “hook” to make them buy-in…

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        Thanks. I knew there was another comment, but I couldn’t find it. You must have EST or something!

  11. Epicus Doomus

    Lisa tapes my ass. Man what an idiotic premise that was. When you look through the archives it’s amazing how well the stupidity holds up. It always seems like present-day FW is the worst FW, but you go back five, ten years and you see it was just as stupid back then too. It’s all part of the illusion.

    But seriously, thanks justifiable for posting that one. That five years really trudged right by. BatHam is such a ghoul sometimes.

    • justifiable

      You and TFHackett are the ones who should be thanked – you both nailed that arc in pun headlines, graphics and very snarky skewery. What hasn’t held up over time is “The Defender,” who was determined to make you admit that “Lisa’s Story was ‘Funky Winkerbean’s finest hour.” Christ, what an asshole.


      • Rusty Shackleford

        Most likely The Defender was Batty himself, or one of his KSU buddies. These are the same two people who leave positive reviews of Batty’s books.

        If TheDefender really liked the strip, why would he seek out a snark site?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        “The Defender” was determined to make you admit that “Lisa’s Story” was ‘Funky Winkerbean’s finest hour.”

        The sad thing is, he might be right about that.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          I liked his gag a day stuff before it morphed into “makes me gag every day”

          I even enjoyed John Darling.

          Trying to follow his stupid stories are a waste of time and can only be read for snark value. The only story comic I follow is Mary Worth. Great stuff. If you aren’t reading it, you should. A new story is just beginning.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            I enjoyed Act I as well. But it was also instantly forgettable. Even in its prime, Funky Winkerbean never had that “I hate Mondays” or “Good Grief” or “Turn the laptop upside down and shake it to reboot” moment that make it forever memorable. Nor did it have enough depth that it’s easy to remember several great moments, like The Far Side or Bloom County. It had one legit good character in Harry Dinkle, but nothing else anyone remembers.

          • Rusty Shackleford


            I agree. Dinkle and Crankshaft were the only memorable characters, but he ruined them too.

            Calvin and Hobbes was number 1, followed by Bloom County as my top comics.

            This article reminded me how great Watterson was:


          • Doghouse Reilly (Minneapolis)

            In about six months Madi will be wearing a little yellow bow tie like Greta.

    • hitorque

      We haven’t even gotten to the good part yet, when Cayla admits the possibility that there could be *more* undiscovered Lisa videos hidden in the house, or buried somewhere in town just so Masone can hire an army of scavengers and excavators and tear everything to shreds…

  12. Professor Fate

    I can only guess that once Mason realizes what these tapes are he will want the actress that Les hates to watch the tapes to get a better handle on Lisa’s character. Les objects and wackiness ensues.
    I hope I’m wrong but it seems too horrible a plot line for the Author not to use.

  13. hitorque

    Holy shit Les’ reaction is priceless… You’d have thought Kayla said “These are webcam videos that my stepdaughter Summer and her roommate upload to Redtube.com — And as you can see, they are the filthiest of sluts! Back when Les still had some soul in his pole, these vids were required watching every time we did it. So Masone… How would you like to play around for an hour or two before dinner while Les watches? I’ll even put on the Lisa outfit just for you!”

    I really hope that Kayla is spilling all the tea because she’s absolutely fed up with the Lisa worship and she’s trying to force a divorce from Les in that patented Funkyverse passive-aggressive manner because she wants the rest of Northeast Ohio to finally admit to itself just how fucking creepy this whole obsession has been. But knowing Batiuk, Cayla is probably just doing this so Masone can tell the story perfectly and win his 100% undeserved oscars for best actor and original screenplay…

    • bigd1992

      TomBat is preparing us for when he kills off Cayla in a few months in another attempt at that Elusive Pulitzer. Cayla gets killed by a cop, Les is free to fully worship Lisa with no interference from mere mortals, and TomBat waits for the phone to ring with the Pulitzer Committee on the line.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        He’s got time to kill off lots of characters before he is forced to get off the stage, er, I mean retire.

        That’s Batty’s top gimmick, killing people off because he knows no other way to create drama. There is still time to win some awards. Nothing will stop bloodthirsty Batty in his quest for legitimacy.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The problem with that interpretation is that Cayla is completely supportive of Les’ ridiculous needs when nobody else is around. Like that Sunday strip a couple weeks ago that was just Cayla sitting on the phone, happily listening to Les whine from Hollywood.

      People in relationships are direct with each other in private, and passive-aggressive in front of others. Batiuk does the latter but not the former. And it makes Cayla’s moments of annoyance with Les seem insincere. The overall impression is that Cayla loves worshipping at the altar of Dead Lisa as much as Les does, but pretends to be annoyed by it in front of other people. Like it’s some kind of weird game between them.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Although, I do like the way they have been drawing her lately. She looks so weary, so worn down by all of this nonsense.

        You know she’s taking a few Xanax every day as a little helper.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Cayla being tired of Les’ endless Lisa-ing would be a legit good subplot. In addition to Les’ other worries about making the movie, what if his second marriage were at risk as well? Will he have to choose between commemorating his first wife and keeping his second one? This is Conflict In Writing 101, but Batiuk avoids conflict at all costs.

          Which is why I don’t read anything into Cayla’s facial expressions. I enjoy her Xanax look too, but it’s just there for this week’s series of gags. Batiuk will never follow through with it, or give it the weight it deserves.

  14. hitorque

    1. The more I think about Masone’s Lisa obsession, the more strange it seems that he has NEVER asked his fucking wife for some background (you know, the woman who graduated in the same class as Lisa and who has never been able to let her high school days go)…

    2. I’m going to keep on asking this until I get an answer: WHERE IN THE FUCK IS MARIANNE WINTERS? Is she even in this movie or is Masone going to play the part of Lisa himself?

    • Maxine of Arc

      Nobody’s told her she’s in this movie yet, as far as I can tell. It’s possible the production company is in talks with her agent somewhere, but we’ll never see it.

  15. Paul Jones

    And here we are with more of Les being the worst possible person to tell Lisa’s story. Watch him freak out because Lisa might be revealed to have been a living, breathing human being with hopes, dreams and a mind of her own instead of a focus for maudlin chest-beating about how bad things only happen to a white dude.

  16. comicbookharriet

    Masone stayed over at Les’s house for like, weeks, when he was first introduced right? And this is the first time he’s noticing the altar to the video tapes?

    And Les has previously played Happy Birthday Tapes openly at parties, it’s not like the entire collection in verboten to unhallowed eyes. Give him a damn tape Les.

  17. Banana Jr. 6000

    Even more so than when Mason got caught stalking Les, the prospect of someone watching his precious Lisa tapes – and incorporating them into something for the whole world to watch – should be an absolute death blow to the movie.

    This is Tom Batiuk’s writing at its worst. He beats you over the head with some plot point or character trait, then ignores it when it becomes relevant to the story. Or it never mattered anyway, which may be the case here depending on the terms of the shopping agreement.

    In the Peanutsexample I gave yesterday, the sexist jerk Thibault got his ass handed to him by Marcie, of all people. A minor character in a minor arc stood up for herself when she got pushed too far, and it was awesome. Here, the central character of the strip can’t or won’t stand up for his desires when they’ve been the center of a months-long arc. And we’re supposed to LIKE this character? Why should the audience root for Les when he’s this whiny and spineless?

    Sheesh, even I want to see Les throw Mason out on his ass for his behavior the last two weeks. And maybe Cayla too, since she’s enjoying this way too much for someone who agreed to acknowledge the role of Lisa in her marriage to Les.

  18. louder

    Dang, if this doesn’t improve my Hallmark movie scenario! In the movie, after Lisa dies, she becomes an angel, her script in nothing but what’s in the tapes. The premise becomes if Less can do one selfless thing, she returns as Lisa, and the marriage can continue in blissful happiness as before. What about the Not-Lisa wife? you may ask. Don’t worry, Less is impossible of doing a selfless act, so no problem there.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      You know, this story is so crappy, it would be perfect for Hallmark or Lifetime.

      Shame on you for giving Batty good ideas!

  19. Count of Tower Grove

    Yea!!!!! We get to go through all this Marlon Brando advising Christopher Reeve again! I wonder if Caucayla will let Masone see that really creepy vid St. Lisa presciently left for her via “Easter egg.” Let the necromancy flourish!

  20. Gerard Plourde

    I’m at a loss to figure out what TomBa’s doing in this strip beyond making Les look like a complete lunatic. Only pathological obsession over his decades-dead first wife would explain the reaction he exhibits As others have pointed out, the existence of the Lisa tapes is widely known in Westview (even their contents are known since they’ve been digitized) and they are sitting in plain view in the living room but Les is acting like they’re a fetish object (a reaction we’re all admittedly having a great time with). Inconceivable as it might be, could TomBa actually be intentionally making fun of Les? At the rate we’re going it looks like the point of this arc is to track Les’ path to the insane asylum.

    • Smirks 'R Us

      I’m fairly certain the Dead St. Lisa tapes are shown on a loop on the Westview cable public access channel.

    • batgirl

      Look at how weird he got about Mason sitting on Dead Saint Lisa’s bench in New York. It’s pretty clear that he thinks Mason is not sufficiently pure to touch the Sacred Relics, even when they’ve been slept on by homeless people (the bench, that is, but who knows?)
      Heck, if the movie actually did get made, Les would require audience members to fill out a questionnaire before entering the theatre.

    • Charles

      Yeah, it’s remarkable to me just how tone deaf Batiuk is about this.

      My best guess is that he wants to use this excuse to bring up the Lisa tapes once again to reinforce just how much Les has lost, reinforce that Mason is a crass man who would bull right ahead using Les’s pain to further his movie-making dreams, and reinforce yet again that Les is a part of this whole Lisa’s Story movie reluctantly.

      I remain amazed at how important that last bit is to Batiuk, that Les will only participate in the making of a movie about Lisa reluctantly, especially when he made it abundantly clear from the beginning that this couldn’t possibly be done with more deference to Les and his feelings. He really doesn’t understand how bad all this makes Les look.

  21. Westview Radiology

    Is Les(toil) still married to Cayla? Who is this woman that’s drawn here?

  22. William Thompson

    That little box on the shelf? It holds Lisa’s cremains. At first I thought Les had put a couple of stones on its lid, and I wondered if Cayla would tell him to get his rocks off it. Then I realized they’re a miniature tree and park bench. Get help, Les.