Wow, That’s a Lot of Flames

Today’s strip was also not available for preview. I’m expecting it to be a single panel of every character in the strip burning in the golf club flames, while Les stands safe to the side mocking them for not remembering to stop, drop and roll. And then Monday the strip will start all over again in Act II without any kind of explanation.

36 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

36 responses to “Wow, That’s a Lot of Flames

  1. Epicus Doomus

    So basically FW is sort of an aimless compendium of things Batiuk owned as a child and did as an adult. It all almost makes sense now. And is Pete aware of how invitations work? They don’t ordinarily give the recipient free rein to just invite anyone they please. I think this is about to get really weird.

    • Jimmy

      I don’t know much about the entertainment industry, but I know etiquette, and this is not how plus 1 works.

      Maybe Hollywood is just one big free for all, like your buddy’s backyard cookout.

    • spacemanspiff85

      As if referring to your decoder ring you had as a kid once in his strip wasn’t enough, Batiuk just had to go back and do it again. I wonder how many times Batiuk made his artist redraw the decoder ring before it got it just right.
      And knowing how stupid this strip is, I’m sure Mason’s going to dedicate the movie to Jeff and split the profits from it with him, all because he had a decoder ring.

  2. The news report wafting in and out on a wavy line really gives the wildfire the feeling of Mandrake the Magician getting a telepathic message from the College of Magicians, in the last couple years before Fred Fredericks had to retire from the comic strip.

  3. billytheskink

    Pete sure didn’t think he was the only one who had a Starbuck Jones decoder ring when he built an entire ad campaign for a Mason/Cliff Anger meet-and-greet that counted on a lots of old men having decoder rings…

    It also counted on those guys reading the newspaper, recognizing the decoder ring code, knowing where their decoder ring was, taking the time to decipher the code, deciphering it correctly, and being willing to drive to the Silver Grille in northern Ohio.

    • Epicus Doomus

      It’s almost difficult to believe that he managed to work SJ decoder rings into this arc. Then again, it’s also totally expected. Even his weird tangents go off on weird tangents of their own.

      And am I nuts of was the artwork actually better back when he drew it? That…can’t be right…can it? Or maybe there’s no difference at all, I dunno. It’s just weird seeing Mason back before he turned into Darin.

    • Y. Knott

      And yet only that last one defies credibility.

    • William Thompson

      I envy Batiuk’s ability to forget what’s happened in this strip.

    • Hitorque

      Jesus Fuckin’ Christ, Pete’s punchline is lame as hell and those smirks from Masone and Cliffe are punchworthy…

      Nevermind the fact that not one of the 60-somethings in that crowd (and especially not Cliffe who was in self-imposed exile for 50+ years) would have the first clue about what a “flash mob” is…

    • Charles

      Just a standard string of absolutely absurd coincidences in a Funky Winkerbean story. I mean, look at how many times Mopey’s randomly gotten involved with his fiancee’s father over the years and never once seemed to notice the coincidence. Jfff shows up to this. It was Jfff’s tweet to Martin Johns that changed the location of the Starbuck Jones premiere to Jfff’s son’s theater. Mopey’s best friend is married to Jfff’s niece. And yet these obvious connections are never even mentioned. It’s just an absurd coincidence.

      I would have loved it if Pmm had been the one to discover that cryptogram and just assumed that it was from some guy who had threatened mass murder if newspapers around the country hadn’t printed it. In fact, how did that manage to escape that sort of notice anyway?

      “There’s a weird cryptogram inexplicably posted in the middle of the front section of the newspaper! It’s obviously a message from the Illuminati or the Lizard People or the Pedophiles! We must find the person who’s posting this and kill him for the good of society!”

  4. Hitorque

    1. Did Pete *really* think he had the only decoder ring in existence? He knows that millions were made in the 50s and 60s, right?

    2. It’s funny because it was fuckin’ Pete who came up with the grand idea of putting a SJ coded message in all the major newspapers to get all the senior citizen geeks to flock to Chicago for a fan fest complete with Ovaltine and PB+J sandwiches… Why would he do that if he thought he had the only ring?

    3. And where the hell did Pete get his ring anyway? He isn’t old enough to have gotten it through any other method except eBay… Unless his dad bequeathed it to him…

    4. I thought Pete could only bring one guest?And why would he ever take his father-in-law instead of his butt buddy Darrin?

    5. HOLY FUCK if that old man tries to smirk any harder in the second panel he’s going to suffer a stroke. And is it me or does he seem a little TOO proud over having kept a childhood toy for 60 years? Like it’s the single greatest thing he’s ever done?! I’ve known Olympic medalists and Super Bowl winners who weren’t this smug…

  5. Y. Knott

    It’s amazing to watch THREE mishandled threads here: discussing the decoder ring; the TV newscast; and “woman resentfully watches TV and silently seethes at those around her”. They all start excruciatingly slowly, somehow taper off, and then completely fizzle out with a stupid, pointless attempted “punch line”.

    Level of difficulty: 8.7
    Execution: -73

  6. Paul Jones

    And of course, this will lead somewhere stupid and pointless. We can at least depend on him for that.

  7. comicbookharriet

    How dense is this woman? She’s watching a news report on a fire in Southern Cali, and listening to her husband and kids talking about going to Southern Cali, and doesn’t even think to muse aloud, “I wonder if this fire will affect your plans?”

    • gleeb

      Maybe she doesn’t like them.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Judging by the way she is glued to that TV set she is getting dumber and fatter by the minute.

      On the other hand, she has to put up with these shrieking morons, so can’t blame her for wanting an escape.

  8. Scott J Lovrine

    Apparently there is a wild fire in the LA area right now.

    https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/02/us/california-apple-fire/index.html

  9. Chyron HR

    I spent ten minutes trying to think of a funny way to say, “Gee, Fred sure has recovered nicely from his debilitating stroke,” before I realized that was supposed to be a different pair of geriatrics, and I’m not sure if that reflects worse on me or Batiuk.

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    You know how Lisa tells Les “the playground will be closed for repairs”? I don’t think Pete knows Mindy has a playground.

  11. Rusty Shackleford

    From this strip and Crankshaft I get the feeling that Batty uses his friends whenever he takes a trip.

    From FW, we learn that you use friends to take you or pick you up from the airport instead of just using Uber. From today’s Crankshaft we learn that you use your neighbors to pick up your mail instead of putting a vacation hold on it. (Batty would gasp in horror that you can actually do this online instead of driving over to the post office to fill out a form.)

  12. Professor Fate

    Once again I am struck by the Author’s obsession with gimcrack pop culture trash that were popular before he was born – it’s baffling as hell.
    Just as a side note one has to note that it’s weird how few mentions of popular music there are in this strip – it’s like rock and roll never happened in this strip.
    As far as the report on the fire in the background this feels like a very unfunny and bad version of the Boy and Ray Cranberry Interview routine.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      For Batty, trivialities from the distant past are endless sources of inspiration, anything new is just gimmicky crap.

      Heck even his cancer arcs were just rehashes of Brian’s Song.

    • comicbookharriet

      Hey! They referenced Stardust just a few months ago. Cutting edge popular music there.

      • Professor Fate

        Well Nat King Cole did a cover version of it in 1956 so it’s just barely possible that it struck the then nine year old Tom Batiuk. But really it’s all part and parcel of his strange nostalgia for things from before he was born.

  13. louder

    This whole thing has a “Nathaniel West cloned to a terrible high school writer” vibe to it.

  14. Again, this is wish fulfillment world. These things happen because Batiuk wants the world to work this way, and is angry that it doesn’t.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      This is way beyond wish fulfillment. It’s some kind of unhealthy desire to return to the womb, or at least early childhood. Whoever wrote this comic strip has a SEVERE maturity problem.

      This is so wrong, and so contrary to the most basic human behavior, that I cant even process it. I want to see a man explain to his fiancee that he’s bringing a 70-year-old man on their trip together, because he has an original space hero decoder ring. Without consulting her. Two days after she squealed with joy at even being invited at all. No woman not being held at gunpoint would tolerate this. If next week she’s on the plane with these two idiots, I’m calling the Cleveland police and telling them we might have another Ariel Castro situation.

      I’m in shock at how bad this all is. I honestly can’t believe that some company paid Tom Batiuk money to publish this feature, and isn’t asking for a their money back. I can’t believe this was submitted 11 months ago, and no one in that time said, “Tom, we need to talk about this week’s story developments.” I want to find that woman who tweeted that she was Funky Winkerbean‘s editor, and ask her some very sharp questions about the editorial process.

      • Rob

        To be fair, that is his fiancee, there, in the conversation, and the old man in question is her own father. None of the rest of it makes sense, of course (perhaps most pressingly, plus-ones do not mean “invite anyone and everyone!”)

      • Y. Knott

        It has been quite obvious for some time that being an “editor” at King Features Syndicate involves no reading or vetting of work for issues of quality, comprehensibility, or reader appeal whatsoever. Witness the recent Six Chix debacle, or the painful two-year slide of Apartment 3-G into literal unchecked dementia. The job of a King Features Syndicate editor clearly consists of making sure that A) the comic has been drawn to fit within the appropriate spatial dimensions allotted to it, and B) there’s no profanity. That’s it.

        Overheard at the last contract negotiation: “Wait, you want me to actually READ Funky Winkerbean? You don’t pay me NEARLY enough for that….”

  15. Scott J Lovrine

    I like to imagine Mopey Pete’s voice sounding like Chumley from Tennessee Tuxedo.

    “Duuhhhh, I thought I was the only one who had a Starbuck Jones decoder ring.”

  16. Charles

    Jfff is prouder of that stupid ring than he is of his two children. And why shouldn’t he be?

  17. Now I actually want Crankshaft to come in and be a total asshole to everybody in the room.