Radio For Help Ranch.

Link to today’s strip

Decided to wait until tonight strip dropped, and holy cow is this strip going to be confusing to all but the most informed and astute Winkerbean readers.

Most of the readership are going to wonder who this little kid is, and why he knows anything about The Phantom Empire, and why he’s wandering through Bronson canyon with an elderly unrelated man.

And how long has Jeff been standing outside the cave muttering to himself about Murania? When he first approached the cave last Thursday there was no fire in sight. That fire has snuck up on him faster than The Thunder Riders. I wonder if the old coot has a cell phone?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

47 responses to “Radio For Help Ranch.

  1. J.J. O'Malley

    …the Hell? He’s talking to his imaginary younger self, who is answering back? Is Battyuk kidding with this nonsense?

    • SeaCountry

      You can’t even blame hallucinations or anything. The smoke isn’t affecting him yet and he’s not in the cave.

    • William Thompson

      Jff has seen his younger self before, like on a visit to his childhood home, and interacted with him. This might be a symptom of Dissociative Identity Disorder. It’s a serious and disabling condition, but it isn’t cancer so Batiuk treats it as a joke.

      • SeaCountry

        Jesus please us, that’s so sad to contemplate. (And it’s not unheard of in people who grew up with violence and abuse.) Just one more way Batty majors on minors and minors on majors.

    • Chyron HR

      “That’s completely normal, you beady-eyed nitpickers. I do it all the time.” – Tom Batiuk, probably

  2. SeaCountry

    It literally does look like Jeff is with a little boy (one who unfortunately already has a receding hairline). Agreed, this will confuse people who haven’t been reading this daily for weeks. The rendering of Jeff’s excited inner child wasn’t even all that clear when Jeff first approached the cave. And now he’s not even in the cave?! Not even seeing Murania or whatever? While this is ultimately beneficial for Jeff, it also eliminates any real drama that might have remained in this plot.

    I’m going to go ahead and assume that Mindy or Pete told Mason they were OK and Jeff was the one he should worry about. (Again, Batiuk really forces the reader to assume way too often. Good panel comics are *clear* and leave little room for doubt.) The Starbuck-mobile should arrive for Jeff and his inner child shortly. And then the fire will miraculously die down as events transpire on the yacht.

    • Mela

      Probably. I don’t think the sci-fi/comic book loving characters are going to be seriously harmed in this arc. Maybe Cayla will somehow see news footage of the fire with Mason driving around like a lunatic trying to save people and assume that Les is with him; thus prompting her to worry and call him while he’s just hanging out on the yacht right now.

      • SeaCountry

        I figure that’s what will happen, too. Comic book people are good people, after all. TMZ is too modern a reference for Batiuk and even they might have limits if this fire was blazing. so nobody will be taking photos or videos of what is supposed to be a hot young actress alone on a yacht with an unknown and much older man. Plus it would also run the risk of becoming an interesting story.

  3. Hitorque

    Wait… So the old guy goes to the one place in California he’s wanted to see all his life and instead of going in he spent the entire day gawking at the entrance??

    2. Why is he still talking to the ghost of his childhood like it’s a real person?? And don’t tell me that’s a real kid all of a sudden because no kid has that messed up of a hairline, no kid would have been out of sight of his parents and if that was a real kid, the old man wouldn’t have passed up the chance to flash his decoder ring…

    • Hitorque

      3. It goes without saying that if an old man is having full conversations with the ghost of his inner child, he needs a comprehensive mental health evaluation from a trained professional

      • William Thompson

        3, continued: Assuming Jff lives through this. Whatever his psychiatric problem might be, I don’t think the condition would be called “functional” or “survival-oriented.”

      • Epicus Doomus

        Seriously, the guy is like seventy years old AND he’s in the middle of a raging wildfire. Perhaps it’s not the best time to wallow in his childhood enthusiasm over pop culture from fifteen years before he was born.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    I realize he thinks this is a “cute” storytelling gimmick but, as usual, he’s wildly incorrect. CBH is correct, only daily FW analysts would have any idea what’s happening here. And even then it’s iffy. This sub-arc is exactly the sort of thing a good editor would advise him to shelve but, as usual, no one’s paying any attention to this madman’s deranged tangents.

    • SeaCountry

      The inner child was understandable as he approached the cave. (I’m sure everyone’s had a wonderful moment where they feel like a kid again, in a good way.) The little psychological manifestation of Jeff’s past sticking around and talking about what to do with that fire? With not even any visual representation that it’s not a real kid? Well, that’s something the hell else and takes this to some really dark territory. And Batiuk, who so desperately wants an award for telling serious, emotional stories, won’t even attempt to explore it!

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The people in this universe do nothing BUT wallow in their childhood nostalgia. Watching them get in touch with their inner child isn’t endearing, because they never left it in the first place.

        • SeaCountry

          The men do, anyway. The women smirk indulgently, enable them, act like their mamas, and/or look and act sexy for the eternally childish menfolk. My inner child recently got excited because I found a cosmetics company that makes improved versions of the flavored lip balms I adored growing up in the 1980s. None of the women in the Funkyverse would be allowed a moment like that.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Batiuk’s “magnum opus” regularly featured Les talking to a blue cat hallucination that spoke back to him. What do you expect?

  5. William Thompson

    What are you going to do? *Sigh* Run into the cave and get rescued by the Thunder Riders, who will share their surface-world breathing masks with you. (Hey, if you’re going to die, why not go out fully delusional?)

    • comicbookharriet

      He is definitely going to hallucinate that the firemen coming to rescue him are Thunder Riders. 100%

  6. Paul Jones

    If only Batiuk would realize that no one knows or cares who Jfff is. All they see is “random old people who looks like a slimmer version of Funky dying stupidly chasing nonsense.”

  7. Y. Knott

    – “We’re going to stand here and talk about the fire some more! It’s really *hot*!”
    – “The hell with that, I just realized this fire can’t hurt me at all! I’m *imaginary*!”
    – “So why are you acting so panicky and annoying?”
    – “You’re the one imagining me — you tell me! Oh, and by the way, thanks for the receding hairline. I look like Calliou somehow mated with Bobby Hill.”

  8. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    The Loyalton Fire has firenadoes. Check out these horrifying pics and vids. I’m looking to see four horsemen in the sky.

    • SeaCountry

      Prayers for anyone in the vicinity of that beast, seriously. A quick note from the syndicate reminding readers that Batiuk wrote/drew this in advance and does not mean it to 100% reflect reality would not go amiss here.

  9. ian'sdrunkenbeard

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    Look at a map, and see where Bronson Canyon is relative to Point Dume, Malibu. This fire, as depicted, would have consumed or threatened the entire city of Mailbu; the Getty art museum; the Playboy Mansion; UCLA; Interstate 405, which connects to the rest of California; the Comedy Store; the Chateau Marmont; Rodeo Drive; Hollywood & Vine; the Hollywood Bowl; the Capitol Records building; Universal Studios theme park; the Warner Brothers, CBS, and Disney studios; the rest of Griffith Park, which includes many other famous movie locations; numerous state parks and golf courses; entire zip codes of the most expensive real estate in the world; and the iconic Hollywood sign.

    Where is the story’s focus? On an imaginary child and a 1935 movie serial. While it telegraphs at every possible chance that nothing will happen to any of these people. Sheesh.

  11. William Thompson

    As Les must always be the focus, and Jff needs to be rescued (or his gruesome death smirked over) I predict that the next time we see Les he’ll be riding shotgun for Mason. No explanation as to how he displaced Cindy, but then, what can a mere Funkyverse woman have to say that matters? Batiuk won’t waste any time explaining why she Left Her Man, or why Cindy and Marianne are supposed to be safe on the yacht. (What if the marina burns?)

  12. billytheskink

    Step 1: Listen to the classic novelty song “Pico & Sepulveda”.

    Step 2: Congratulations! You have officially done more research on the geography of the greater Los Angeles area than Tom Batiuk.

  13. Dood

    Just think that only a few months ago, this guy trolled — yes, trolled — the New York Times into believing he was going to do a serious story about CTE. The Times has a long institutional memory, so it will be very interesting to see what Mr. Batiuk’s eventual obit will look like.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Tom Batiuk, Cartoonist, Dies At [Age]

      Tom Batiuk, the creator of three different comics strips including Funky Winkerbean, has passed away of cancer, dementia, CTE, amputation, hearing loss. kidnapping, hijacking, date rape, a second kind of cancer, and being shot in a fire during a school shooting while visiting the birthplace of The Flash. He accidentally stepped on a land mine.

      He is survived by some people, but he was totally mean to me in high school, and at age 56 I’m still not over that. Because even after you graduate high school, it follows you, you know? You really need to know that to understand the complexity of this story, so please buy my book High School Follows You from Buffalo State University Press.

      The service consisted of six people carrying the casket and a crowd of mourners behind. It was just like the cover of Superman: Funeral For A Friend. If this obituary was a comic book when I was a kid, I would totally buy it and read it. Here are some pictures I took of the rectangular concrete buildings near the burial site.

  14. Barnaby Scones

    I’m not surprised this creepy inner-child mess comes from the guy who gave us a jogging vacuum cleaner.

  15. Is Jeff going to run into the cave to avoid the fire? It the fire going to suck all the air out of the cave so that Jeff suffocates? Or will TB have Jeff discover a back exit to the cave and magically end up back in Westview or wherever he’s from now? It is what it is.

    • William Thompson

      I’m betting that Bronson Caves are now on the coast, and Jeff will be rescued when Les sails Mason’s yacht through a sea of flames. Bestest of all, Jeff will have discovered the long-lost original script for The Phantom Empire, which will win an Oscar when Mason films it.

  16. Banana Jr. 6000: Look at a map, and see where Bronson Canyon is relative to Point Dume, Malibu…

    The insane geography in this arc has been giving the Comics Curmudgeon fits. He apparently resides in the LA area, and has not only looked at a map, but has marked one up according to events in this plot.

    • Y. Knott

      The fire now having reached Bronson Canyon means that the orange area should be extended east even more. See that green patch just to the right of where the orange is? That’s now orange too.

  17. Charles

    I was posting like crazy on this arc earlier this week, but I’ve stopped because I’m just finding this so exhausting. If I limit my comments to one thing, like how Marianne was so overcome she couldn’t even walk out of the house under her own power and thus would NOT be okay after a drive to the marina, I’d be ignoring every other element in this arc that’s stupid and insulting, and suggests the notion that I don’t have a problem with it. Even thinking of addressing everything wrong here exhausts me.

    I mean, I can’t even go in the opposite direction and mention the rare thing that Batiuk gets right here, because everything is wrong. Hell, I can’t even say that he understands the fire is dangerous because he has more than three strips suggesting it’s no big deal.

    I do have to say that I like (you know, “like”) how big dumb Jfff needed his imaginary child self point out the flames to him, and that the raging fire escaped his notice until it was less than 100 feet away from him. It’s only burned down half of Los Angeles, after all.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      That’s why I’m so glad this community exists. The stupid in Funky Winkerbean is too densely packed for any one person to process. But as a group, we give everything the response it deserves.

      • SeaCountry

        Imagine being only one editor and trying to stay on top of this mess. It would be like shoveling elephant poop, only even more frustrating because at least you can understand that the elephant means no harm. No wonder the poor guy or gal seems to have given up.

  18. Westview Radiology

    Jfffffff looks like he’s drawn today to resemble Funky, no …. Morty Winkerbean, no … Crankshaft ….. !!!!

  19. AmigoLupus

    So the guy’s having really strong hallucinations now? If he’s in this condition it makes Pete and Mindy wildly irresponsible for letting him out of their sight. If this old man dies, it’s on them.