Through the Fire and the Flames We Carry On

Link to today’s strip

I know it makes me look like a slacker to keep using other people’s comments. But you people keep predicting the plot before it even happens. Case in point, our resident Batuikstorian BillyTheSkink has downloaded so much Funky Winkerbean trivia directly into his prodigious brain that he can see the future before it happens.

You know, except for the glaring flaws of this fire somehow being viewable from a defunct watchtower, and Point Dume being an impossible origin point for a fire of this magnitude, this thing is playing out pretty much identical to the Woolsey Fire of 2018. It burning the similar places, and seems of a similar size.

That fire burned 1600 homes in Malibu and the surrounding hills, including the homes of stars like Gerard Butler and Miley Cyrus’, but miraculously only three people died. One was an old man who was trapped in his home and didn’t get the warning to evacuate.

And the other two people BURNED TO DEATH IN THEIR CAR.

A second source said Anthony Baklayan and his elderly mother, both disoriented by thick smoke and approaching flames, tried to follow a fire truck they believed was headed to safety but was instead on its way to try and save a home. The pair realized their mistake and tried to turn around in the driveway of the canyon residence, where their car became engulfed in flames, the source said. Their bodies were discovered hours later.

Batiuk has been following the Woolsey fire so closely up to this point. Is it too much to hope that he’s going to copy this little detail too?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

57 responses to “Through the Fire and the Flames We Carry On

  1. Epicus Doomus

    This is some serious Act II style FW drama right here! The fastest moving fire EVER is now officially a fire STORM and if it’s anything like those Westviewian blizzards we’re gonna see fire piled up to the rafters for months on end. Yep, the gals are back at the party mansion, sunning themselves, giggling and gossiping about the boys, blissfully unaware of the humongous fire that’s consumed the entirety of Southern California in mere seconds because (wait for it) they don’t have their phones with them, which here in 2020 is by far the most wildly implausible plot point of them all. Maybe Cindy, as she’s like 65 years old now, but Marianne? No f*cking way, in “real life” she’d have taken around 90 selfies by now, tweeted seventy-five times and posted four or five TikToks already. “Write about what you know”…well, someone doesn’t “know” anyone under seventy, apparently.

    And lest we forget, that asshole from Crankshaft is apparently still rummaging around in that stinky old cave, likewise blissfully unaware of the massive conflagration and how oxygen works. If that decoder ring of his somehow saves the day I won’t even be mildly surprised.

    Unlike Act II, though, there’s no way he’s killing anyone here. He does have an old longstanding grudge against Cindy, but it’s not at Bull-like levels of loathing, so I just can’t see it happening. I doubt we’ll even see an amputation or even severe smoke inhalation. A few coughs, tops.

    • SeaCountry

      Plus aren’t Mindy and Pete roaming around elsewhere in LA?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      It seems women of all ages are social media addicts. Cindy would most likely be using Facebook and Instagram. She would enjoy showing off to her friends…lots of bikini shots to show she is hotter, lots of pics of her and Marianne. Stupid hashtags: #60thenew30 #besties #a-list #summervibes #endlessmimosas #lesfan

  2. SeaCountry

    Way to go, BillyTheSkink!

    Also, glad you seem to have an easier time getting new comics this week.

    Burned in their car, eh….?

  3. Banana Jr. 6000

    THAT’S the fire? That puny little thing? What happened to the 200-foot-tall smoldering wall of death the news reporter was in front of?

  4. William Thompson

    I may be a vegetarian, but I can still appreciate the odor of roasting ham. And a whole roasted pig, if someone will shove an apple in Les’s mouth.

  5. Y. Knott

    Wow! A raging fire; a completely idiotic decision to fight it by, uh, by driving really, really fast, I guess? …. If someone who could write were actually writing this sequence of strips, it could potentially be marginally exciting!

  6. William Thompson

    “We’re going through! Yes, through this wall of fire and into the vast expanse of fire beyond it!”

  7. Gerard Plourde

    I can see that this is going to be another “courage through comic books” moment. Mason will relate that his will was strengthened by identifying with Starbuck Jones and that gave him the ability to rescue Cindy and Marianne.

    What I can’t figure out is why Les is tagging along. Has he been so beguiled by Marianne Winters as Lisa that he’s instinctively reprising the Great Post Office rescue of 1996?

  8. billytheskink

    If Mason keeps chewing scenery like this, the police will charge him with a 412… overacting.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Thanks and a “Tip of the Freberg” for the reference to “St. George and the Dragonet”.

      I’m again impressed by billytheskink’s knowledge base.

      • Gerard Plourde: Thanks and a “Tip of the Freberg” for the reference to “St. George and the Dragonet”.

        In addition to a burning hatred of Funky Winkerbean, the regulars here at SoSF share a deep knowledge and appreciation of brainy comedy. See also: Firesign Theater, Monty Python, et. al.

      • Mela

        Throw some Tom Lehrer in with Freberg and I may never leave this forum!

  9. Charles

    You know Les I know that you’re someone who doesn’t like to rock the boat, as this whole LISA’S STORY THE MOVIEING REDUX has shown, but you might want to speak up here. You’ve made it quite clear that you think Mason’s an idiot and that you don’t trust his judgment at all, and he’s about to do something that could get you killed. Don’t you think you should maybe weigh in here?

    I mean, you’ve got a cipher wife back in Ohio who appears incapable of leaving the house without your guidance, and a daughter in her eighth year of college with no end in sight. They might need you to do your best to stay alive in this situation.

    Just kidding, I know Les doesn’t give a shit about Cayla or Summer. Instead, do it because your lying dead as a burning husk in the middle of a street in the decadent sleazy hellhole of Los Angeles is definitely something Lisa would *NOT* have liked.

  10. J.J. O'Malley

    Tell ya what; after that helpful lobbing of exposition by Masonne to Les–who should have already known everything Mr. Jarre just yelled at him–that second panel really gives you an idea of where our Dim-namic Duo, the Hollywoodland Studios complex, the Point Dunce Fire, and the Damsels in Distress are in relation to each other. Was that Wall O’ Flame in the studio parking lot (at which point the director and crew should have been warned), on the road to Mansionne Masonne, or somewhere in between?
    Frankly, I’ll be happy with this storyline if the fire burns off Jarre’s hair horn and Les’s goatee.

    • Charles

      What kills me about panel 2 is the detail of the shoulders of the road, which shows nothing but dry scrub vegetation.

      Apparently on the way from the studio to Mason’s house, Mason took a detour to Kingman, Arizona, where coincidentally they’re also having a massive wildfire.

  11. William Thompson

    The car’s sound system is playing a classic MTV song: Def Leppard, “It Is Better To Burn Out Than Fade Away.” Go for it, guys!

  12. Hitorque

    1. Where did this black SUV come from? What happened to Masone’s Porsche Carrera GT? If he left it at the condo Cindye and Marianne can just drive away themselves, right?

    2. Am I to assume that’s Hollywood Boulevard that’s on fire?

    3. Why the fuck is Les going? It’s not like he gives a shit about either woman… Oh, right — so he can bask in the heroic glory afterwards.

    4. Of course in a halfway sane alternate timeline, Cindye and Marianne would have woken from their wine naps and driven away themselves, meaning Masone and Les risked critical injury and possibly death for no reason whatsoever… Reminds me of the time I worked at the oceanfront as a young man and with more courage and adrenaline than actual ability, I jumped into the ocean fully clothed trying to save a drowning person. Except by the time I got halfway to him I realized I made a horrible mistake underestimating the drag of my heavy clothes, the current and my energy level and soon that meant I was fighting for my own life. Luckily a much better swimmer jumped in and dragged the drowning man to safety while I *barely* dragged myself back to shore and instantly collapsed…

    5. What about the safety of that blonde producer lady? What about Marianne’s mom? Or do they not exist anymore?

    • William Thompson

      I’m hoping that the black SUV is there for the filming of “Bull’s Song,” and its gas tank is rigged to explode when it goes over the cliff. Or catches fire. Explosives are so tempermental.

  13. William Thompson

    All we need now is Harry Dinkle’s marching band to play “There’ll Be A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight.”

  14. Professor Harlan Grankle

    Boy, oh boy, is this just plain DUMB!

    This bonehead is going to drive through flames to then run through flames to then carry two “helpless females” through flames to…face flames?

    All while Les pouts?

    • SeaCountry

      “We will ride historic on the Fury Road! Pass me that silver spray paint, Les.” Alas, that is my pop culture obsession and way too current for Batty.

  15. Paul Jones

    And yes, here we are with Mason thinking that it would unman him to let people who know how to do this and have a healthy respect for fire to do their jobs while leaving an amateur like him on the sidelines. Barry Allen wouldn’t sit back and let a cop or a paramedic or a firefighter be the one to save Cindy and Marianne because he wants to be the one who everyone looks up to.

    • Hitorque

      Especially given the fact that Masone Jarre hasn’t shown the capacity for being anything other than a vain, shallow, self-centered asshole and a D-list actor who just happened to get a billion dollar movie role thrown in his lap. He doesn’t seem to understand that this ain’t a movie set.

  16. William Thompson

    The only way this arc works as a story is if Marianne and Cindy end up rescuing Les and Mason from their mutual idiocy. Because there’s never enough low comedy in the arts and entertainment.

  17. Banana Jr. 6000

    This is how people get killed in natural disasters: by making assumptions, and attempting things beyond their competence.

    “Cindy and Marianne are at the house!” You don’t know that, Mason. Maybe they evacuated already. Maybe they went to the store. Maybe cell reception is bad. You don’t know where they are, where the fire is, where it’s going, what you’re going to do after you drive through these flames, or what they’ll do to your car. Odds are, you’re just volunteering to die with them.

    This is bad, bad, BAD storytelling. Just because the audience knows something, doesn’t mean the characters do. But these two idiots have enough plot armor to survive all 11 Star Wars movies, so they can do suicidally stupid things like this. Les getting out of his car to confront a driver who was following him was another example. That’s a good way to get killed, if only because the other driver might feel threatened by you.

    • SeaCountry

      Waitaminute, Marianne didn’t answer her phone, according to the Sunday strip. How does Mason know she was ever at his and Cindy’s house?

  18. neveralwaysdisappointed

    Cindy’s Story
    Marianne’s Story
    Mason’s Story

    Of course Les will live.

  19. Eh, Batiuk might kill Mason just so he can put the final nail in the “Lisa’s Story” movie. Other than that, this will be a huge furball of nothingness.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      No, he’ll kill Marianne so he can delay the “Lisa’s Story” movie, and then bring it back later. Lisa has become such a narrative crutch that this strip can’t function without it. The movie can never be finished, unless it’s the finale of the strip.

      • SeaCountry

        Sadly, Batiuk thinks subtlety means killing a fly with a ball peen hammer instead of a sledgehammer. So he can’t content himself with annual fun runs for breast cancer research or L*s always feeling moody on Lisa’s birthday and their anniversary (something my widowed mother dealt with even though she had boyfriends she adored later in life). No, if they’re not absolutely wallowing in grief to the point that it’s almost impossible to function in their current lives 20 years later and absolutely no other woman can compete, it wasn’t really twoo wuv.

  20. The Nelson Puppet


  21. Professor Fate

    As so many others have noted – don’t Cindy and what’s her name have their own cars? And wouldn’t there be someone fighting the fire as it’s in the middle of a major road and just what the hell is burning the asphalt? Or at the very least there should be a police car or cars blocking the road to keep folks from doing what Masonne is about to do.
    This is not heroic this is stupid.

    and yes – I’ve probably mentioned Ross MacDonald’s The Underground Man too often but anyway here’s his description of a brush fire Compare and contrast.

    “Before we reached Santa Teresa, I could smell smoke. Then I could see it dragging like a veil across the face of the mountain behind the city.
    Under and through the smoke I caught glimpses of fire like the flashes of heavy guns too far away to be heard. The Illusion of war was completed by and old two-engine bomber which flew in over the mountain’s shoulder. The plane was lost in the smoke for a long instant, then climbed out trailing a pastel red cloud of fire retardant. “

  22. Dood

    That’s it Mason, break on through to the other side. Maybe you’ll met Les’ master there.

  23. robertodobbs

    Reminds me of when Truman drove off the Truman Show island and drove over the fake fire across the road. As has been mentioned before, isn’t that house on a beach? Is that going to burn down too?

  24. I think we’re all missing the obvious question here–What award is Tom Batiuk expecting to win with this story?

    I have no idea, myself.

  25. Don

    Of course, Mason has one of those extremely expensive luxury SUVs with the mysterious tires that can drive over fire (and, presumably, the melted, and incredibly hot, pavement that it is on) without bursting…or are they?

    And aren’t we forgetting somebody? Cindy’s father is still in a cave in Bronson Canyon…

    • Margaret

      I have a little trouble remembering who’s who in this strip, especially since so many of the characters only show up every few years, if that, but I’m certain that Jeff is Mindy’s father, not Cindy’s. God knows who Cindy’s parents are or were; probably, like Les’ parents, they’ve never been seen in the strip. It’s funny how what with FW trying to be serious and realistic (trying!) extended families are so non existent in the strip. In real life, most people see grandparents sometimes, but I wonder if Summer even knows her grandparents names.

      • SeaCountry

        If the 70-something Batiuk has grandchildren and never sees or hears from them, that could account for his loose grasp on modern technology and how today’s young people act.

  26. newagepalimpsest

    I, for one, am prepared to forgive a lot about this storyline if tomorrow’s strip is Mason’s SUV doing a completely nonsensical “Dukes of Hazard” leap over what has suddenly reverted to being a 200-foot-tall inferno.

    (It’ll probably be a smash cut to Pete and Mindy at a completely normal, fireless bistro.)

  27. Petula Clark Five

    I certainly hope we’re provided with the some soot-covered smirks when this arc wraps up in 2026.

  28. Count of Tower Grove

    I bet Masone drives through puddled roads too.

  29. Westview Radiology

    It would be a blast if we could have a zoom get together as was suggested a few months ago by one of the site leaders.

  30. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    I posted this yesterday, but that was one day too soon.