Rotary Sojac

This year’s Lisa’s Legacy event is taking place rather early. When the Act III curtain rose twelve years ago, Bull Bushka presided over the Lisa’s Legacy Walk while Les and Summer took part in the Making Strides walk in Central Park. Let’s recap events of the years since.

2008: Cory steals the cigar box containing over a grand in registration fees; Funky writes a check to keep his delinquent son out of trouble.

2009: Cayla and Keisha get roped in to volunteering; Cayla’s reward is to get schooled by Les on exactly how Lisa made a peanut  butter and jelly sandwich.

2010: Even ten years ago, Funky was complaining of his physical ailments.

2011: It rains.

2012: Instead of a week-long arc, the Run occupies a Sunday strip in fiery autumn hues.

2013: This time Funky needs to be attended to by an EMT.

2014: The 15th annual LLR is noteworthy for the black, not primarily pink, tee shirts worn by the participants, and the black comic border and muted palette; not TB’s usual fall riot o’ color.

The Run wasn’t featured in 2015, and again was a Sunday-only in 2016. The Mentor (Ohio) Rotary took over the event in 2017, in order to allow Les more time for his book tour.

In 2018 and 2019, The Run was apparently pre-empted by prestige arcs: Wally and Adeela and the Death of Bull, respectively. This year’s real-life event doesn’t appear to be happening, no doubt on account of Covid.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

58 responses to “Rotary Sojac

  1. Epicus Doomus

    The Funky Winkerbean daily comic strip lately has been using some sentences that were not constructed too good. And does every single FW character absolutely have to emphasize their one main character trait every single time they appear? Yeah, Funky is fat, old and decrepit…that’s been pretty well f*cking established over the last (sigh) thirteen years. Mason is rich, Cindy is shallow, Marianne is a showbiz phony, Funky is a fat mess, Les is a smug bearded dick with ears who can’t keep himself from standing around in outrageously annoying poses…we get it.

    • SeaCountry

      I didn’t think the “editing to make us look fast” line was so much Marianne being phony as making something joke-like. I guess people will interpret things differently. Though it would be nice if Funky got to comment on more than how getting old sucks.

      • Mela

        Yes, I interpreted that as a joke too, but a “we can’t run fast because we’re old” joke doesn’t work as well coming from the gal who is anywhere from 10-25 years younger than the other three people she’s talking to.

      • Epicus Doomus

        I see your point, but the gag itself was centered around the thought that Hollywood is fake and full of deceit and trickery and the fact that he felt it necessary to ram that sentiment in there just grinds my gears. Just give her a line of normal dialog, there was just no need to cram that dumb agenda in there. Then again I’m a tremendous cynic where BatYap is concerned, which I can’t deny.

    • spacemanspiff85

      That’s the main thing that was a huge, and pleasant, surprise when I went back and read the older strips online. Back in Act II, especially pre-Lisa’s Story, there was actually a story and character growth in this strip. Things happened. Storylines like Funky running Montoni’s and dealing with alcoholism and meeting Cindy were actually kind of interesting and it was nice seeing change over time.
      Now most of this strip is just each character beating the same one note over and over and over. Mason’s an actor! Cindy is vain and haggard! Funky is dumb and decrepit! Les is amazing and LISA LISA LISA! Pete/Darin/Mindy love comics!

      • Epicus Doomus

        This is a great description. He had a post-Lisa’s Story head of steam going into the second time jump but it petered out around 2010 or so and it all kind of flattened out into the plodding exposition-laden drag it is today, with the cheap time-killing tactics and stories that take years to go nowhere. The strip used to be way too busy, now it’s not busy at all.

        Character development in Act III is just non-existent. Look at Cindy, who’s still the exact same insecure vapid dunderhead she was when she re-appeared in Act III. Or Boy Lisa and Jessica, who’ve been “a young couple just starting out” for like nine years now. The one character who’s changed the most over the course of Act III is probably Mort Winkerbean, who miraculously beat Alzheimer’s with no explanation. Which is, of course, a perfect example of BatHam’s total disregard for continuity. So basically the best example of character development in Act III is an accident borne of ineptitude and/or a lack of effort.

        • Bad wolf

          I’ve said it before and i’ll say it again: he cut his own throat trying to do Real-time progression getting Summer et al through high school. He was set up with a generation of new characters, rushed through them, then had to jump to Glasses & Chullo, then they were gone and no one’s seen the inside of a school since. Everyone’s running around in circles waiting for the next one to get killed off.

          On the upside TB really does sell the idea of someone (“Les”) as a person who checked out of their “Life’s passion”(public union job) mentally decades ahead of their retirement date.

  2. SeaCountry

    Oh hey, there’s Funky! And Mason still looks weird.

    Damn, Cayla should have backed out right then. I’d have been like, “It’s PB&J. You want help or not?”

    I wond…dread what Batiuk has in mind since he did this so early. (And right after weeks of filming a movie about Lisa & regaling Marianne with stories.)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Lisa’s legacy run is Les at his humblebragging, ego tripping worst. The whole town comes together to tell him how great he is for putting together this ordinary civic event (and he doesn’t even do that half the time). And he gets to be told how strong and sensitive he is for having endured something so unspeakable. Plus his three books, two movie attempts, and two celebrities he needs to be congratulated for.

      Look at the maniacal joy in his face in that past panel, where he says the run is “getting bigger every year!” It’s a cancer memorial fundraiser, not an awesome new rock band, asshole.

    • Hitorque

      I don’t know what’s worse: Fuckin’ PB+J sammies at a fun run instead of the usual PowerBars, Gatorade, etc., The fact that the Fun Run is potluck instead of professionally catered, or Les lecturing his wife on how to make PB+J the Saint Lisa way… Cayla should have slapped the ever-living piss outta him

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It’s all so juvenile, isn’t it? Making PB&Js for everyone is something you do when you’re ten. Not at a professional event that a group like Rotary would put its name on.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          And Cayla can’t even do that as well as wife number1. At least she still had her racial identity back then.

        • SeaCountry

          But that was before the Rotary took over, right? It looks like an ill-advised expense-cutting move.

    • Jimmy

      After reading that 2009 strip, I revoke any sympathy I have for Cayla. She knew this guy is a neurotic chump who could never really love him, but she still went ahead with it.

      • Jimmy

        “…who could never really love her…” Freudian slip because, as we all know, Les loves only himself.

      • SeaCountry

        It would still be cool if, as the run was going on, Cayla was taking her baseball bat (which she has named “Hot Sauce”) to objects and windows around the house. Someone gets a cell phone call at the run and gleefully yells “Cayla finally snapped!” Everyone fun runs to the Moore house. But by that point, she’s calmed down. The rings and divorce papers are on the coffee table. Cayla, Hot Sauce, and her suitcases are in her car. L*s runs to the driver’s side to talk to her. She runs over his foot on the way out.

  3. William Thompson

    Do they still keep the registration fees in a cigar box? Would any real-world event that takes in a thousand dollars do that? Wouldn’t they use an actual cash box, with sorting trays for bills and coins and a locking lid? Seriously, “cigar box” is what you’d expect at a children’s lemonade stand–oh. That’s what Batiuk was doing when he was six, wasn’t it? I wonder how many survivors remember that summer.

    • Hitorque

      Are “cigar boxes” even a thing anymore?? I mean damn, even a shoebox would have made infinitely more logical sense

      • batgirl

        Cigar boxes do still exist – I have a lovely wooden one (empty) gift from a friend who special-orders expensive imported cigars. Which raises the question – where the heck did this cigar box come from? The only cigar smoker I’ve seen in FW is the photo-corners boss of the original Batom Comics.
        Using a non-lockable box for cash is such a half-ass thing to do, but I bet TB thinks it’s charmingly unpretentious, like putting up a sign with crooked sellotape.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    Pretty strange how in 2020 the cancer fun run is interrupting a prestige arc instead of the other way around. It’s always jarring (or Jarre-ing) when he abruptly changes locations like this, like that time Les climbed back down Kilimanjaro and raced home to help Funky name his car before racing back to finish the climb. I wonder what (if anything) compelled him to run this right now? There could be a reason, but there probably isn’t.

  5. William Thompson

    Look at those people under the sign. Are they auditioning for a role in the Dead Lisa movie? “Suicide by hanging victim?” That could be a ghost was meets Dead Lisa and says “Wow, you have to haunt Les Moore? Were you Hitler in an earlier incarnation?”

  6. Cabbage Jack

    I call Bullshit on that cigar box ever holding $1000.
    Cost to register in 2019: $20 ($25 on day of race)
    The Funky Winkerbean 5k (by the numbers)
    2019- 36 Participants (including Tom and Mrs Batiuk), $720 – $900 max gross (assuming they pay, which I doubt)
    2018- 58, $1160 – $1450
    2017- 86, $1720 – $2150 (Mentor Rotary Club takes over the run this year)
    2016- 34, $680 – $850
    2015- 59, $1180 – $1475
    2014- 50, $1000 – $1250

    • billytheskink

      Well then, I’m glad that the money is doing good things (if Les is to be believed), because those numbers aren’t doing much for awareness of breast cancer… or this comic strip for that matter.

      On a mildly-related note, I think I was in my 20s before I realized that the Rotary Club was not a Mazda RX-7 owners group.

      • Cabbage Jack

        Approximately 50% of gross for Rotary sponsored events make it to charity (they don’t charge any administrative fees, but the costs for a lot this are fixed, so, assuming they anticipated the small registration numbers for 2019 and didn’t over-buy supplies, around $360-$450 made it to charity after the fact.

        That’s not a lot, but if Tom wasn’t in it just for his ego, it would still be a nice gesture.

  7. none

    Funky, just because Les makes every occurrence and subject of conversation about himself doesn’t mean that you need to start doing that too. They are looking at each other. The subject of their conversation has nothing to do with you. Don’t insert yourself where you had no basis in being. Don’t be Les.

  8. Charles

    I went back and read the 2008 episode of this august occurrence and I found it so emblematic of how ill-conceived so many of Batiuk stories are.

    Cory steals the cigar box with a thousand dollars in it. Les is distraught, and Funky magnanimously offers to pay the difference through his business. Les doesn’t want to put Funky (but really, Montoni’s) out like that because it was his carelessness that led to the money being stolen, but Summer poo-poos Les’s objections and takes the check from Funky.


    So rather than everyone knowing that he caught his son and gave the money back (through his business, which is illegal) he instead leaves everyone with the impression that he’s a great guy who dropped a thousand dollars on his friend’s charity, which was in dire need. He essentially stole money from Les so he could give it back to look like a hero. And in the middle of it, he probably committed tax fraud and definitely committed corporate fraud, although I’m sure that Batiuk, through his utter ignorance, wasn’t aware of either of those things.

    • Epicus Doomus

      It was also pretty funny when Cory, the local deviant, returned from the Army an upstanding ramrod-straight citizen and no one seemed to notice. Everyone was literally like “oh, hey Cory”, like he hadn’t changed at all. Batom shipped him off to Afghanistan for essentially no reason, as nothing really ever came of it.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Something else I love about that 2008 episode: Les once again proves himself to be useless. Rather than come up with a plan to find the money, he just has a meltdown and leaves it to someone else. And he certainly wasn’t going to replace it, even though he’s profited greatly from Lisa’s story.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Identifying Cory as the thief – or Funky even hinting that he knew what happened to the money – would cause conflict between Les and the other party. And this strip fastidiously avoids conflict of any kind.

    • billytheskink

      Not only that, a couple months later it is implied that Funky used the cigar box theft to blackmail Cory into going on a “mercy date” with Summer to a school dance.

      Les (unknowingly?) returns the favor 6 months later by letting Cory skate for writing crib notes on a water bottle label and then using it to blackmail Cory into continuing to work at Montoni’s.

      TB actually did a decent job setting up the Funky-Cory stepparent-resentful kid dynamic, Funky even laments to Les in a late Act II strip that Holly enables then-young Cory by not disciplining him while he felt uneasy taking that role as a stepparent… and then he did pretty much NOTHING with it when Act II began. Cory just became the local delinquent. No reasons stated or even hinted at, no real conflict with family or friends, no “you’re not my REAL father!” scene (Cory even took Funky’s last name during the time jump), he’s just a delinquent from the stock character department. And when he does get in trouble, he gets let off the hook until the adults in his life need a favor. The consequences of that might be interesting to explore, actually, so of course they weren’t.

      • hitorque

        Who *IS* Cory’s father? Seems like everyone in Westview was married to everybody else’s sibling or kid or ex-spouse at some point…

    • [Funky] probably committed tax fraud and definitely committed corporate fraud, although I’m sure that Batiuk, through his utter ignorance, wasn’t aware of either of those things.

      Like that time that the Ohio State Highway Patrol colluded with Linda in insurance fraud by omitting details from their accident report.

      • Charles

        Or the many times when Chester commits corporate fraud (assuming Atomik Comix is a corporation, which it would be if he were the savvy businessman Batiuk portrays him as, and which it damn well would be anyway) when he injects his personal funds into Atomik Comix whenever it needs money.

        I mean, unless those old seed catalogs (wtf) that he was shown selling on 6/12/18 belonged to Atomik Comix, he’s committing fraud in that comic.

  9. Captain Gladys Stoatpamphlet

    So Cindy is just following around someone else filming the event?

    What year did Summer stop participating?

  10. Hitorque

    Why are Masone and Marianne even there again instead of staying home and scratching out a check like every other celebrity?

  11. J.J. O'Malley

    Meanwhile, Mindy and Mopey Pete are still wandering around the fire-scorched terrain of Bronson Caves in California, searching for her missing dad. Seriously, did we ever them reuniting with him or anyone telling Mindy Jff was safe?

    • Epicus Doomus

      Yet another loose end identified. If you look hard enough you see that EVERY Batom story is ALL loose ends. It’s like every single detail of his stories are carefully engineered to make no sense or have gigantic plot and logic holes. It’s uncanny. You’d think that given the sheer volume of daily strips he’d accidentally slip up here or there and stumble into a sequence of events that makes total sense, but it never happens.

      I mean there must be at least one regular non-ironic FW reader who’s wondering why Mason Jarre is participating in a small town cancer fun run mere days after his entire mansion burned to the ground, right? There must be someone other than SoSF regulars asking why Les made a big deal out of shipping DVDs to Marianne even though they’re both at a scheduled charity fun run in Westview right now. Or so you’d think.

      • William Thompson

        Unfortunately there isn’t one single non-ironic FW creator who isn’t wondering about all that. If Batiuk ever gave all the loose ends any thought, he probably smirked and said “Patience, foolish readers! I will tie them all together in the very last strip! Such brilliant cleverness will bring me many awards!”

    • Even just a shot of Mindy and Pete unloading what’s left of their luggage in the opening panels last Sunday would have answered that question well enough…

  12. Boots Gandalf

    “Continuity is for LOSERS.” —- Tom Batiuk

    “Story development is for LOSERS.” —Tom Batiuk

    “Character development is for LOSERS.” — Tom Batiuk

    “Pulitzer Prize judges are LOSERS.” — Tom Batiuk

  13. DreadedCandiru2

    And here we are with yet another reminder that Batiuk was and is and will always be a gag-a-day man. He never had much business telling extended stories and the older he gets, the less good he is at overcoming a problem.

    • SeaCountry

      And there’s nothing in the world wrong with gag-a-day. Batiuk just went way above his weight class.

      • Cabbage Jack

        Exactly! That’s what’s so frustrating is that he was a very good gag-a-day guy back in Act I. Like, it was a fun comic that legitimately brightened people’s days – no small accomplishment – and for some reason, that wasn’t enough. So he’s spent the last 30 years destroying his own works trying to be A Serious Artist when that just isn’t what he’s good at. AT ALL.

        • SeaCountry

          Creators like Mort Walker built legendary careers on gag-a-day. Jim Davis showed that a gag-a-day creator can throw an occasional curve ball at the reader without losing what readers liked about the strip. Creators of strips with short, humorous plots like Sally Forth and Wallace the Brave can introduce subtle changes while keeping the core intact. Knowing your strengths and playing to them are good things!

  14. Gerard Plourde

    I’m wondering whether the run was even scheduled for this year. I found the site that gives information about Greater Cleveland races and even though events are happening this month the link for Lisa’s Legacy only shows the information for last year’s event. Also, the last run-related Lisa’s Legacy post occurred almost a year ago. (Also noteworthy is the fact that the last Lisa’s Legacy-tagged story is from November 2019 announcing that a Spanish publisher purchased the rights for a Spanish language version to be published in 2020.)

    Just kind of mysterious.

    • Cabbage Jack

      It wouldn’t shock me if they quietly dropped it (and this out of nowhere arc popped up to try and gin up support for a 2021 run? I don’t know what goes through Batty’s head). Participation was on a sharp downward arc 86 in 2017 to 36 in 2019. That’s a lot of work for that little return (my brother organized a 5k for a number of years and he always felt 50 runners was ‘break even,’ but I don’t know what the cost differences for supplies, permits, etc…would be)

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Interesting theory. Batiuk certainly does use Funky Winkerbean to shill his pet causes. It would explain why this sprawling story arc took yet another ridiculous turn. And why the strip’s legacy run is happening a month earlier than usual.

        I wonder if people are just tired of it. The idea of a writer promoting a “legacy run” for his dead fictional character is problematic to begin with. Yes, sometimes a fictional entity can come to symbolize something greater (e.g., Charlie Hebdo). But both Les and Batiuk use Lisa’s association with cancer in a way that feels like product placement. “Accept no substitutes! insist on Lisa(TM) brand statues, memorials, and legacy runs!”

  15. Perfect Tommy

    Cayla, muttering through clenched teeth: “I’m not F-ing Lisa, dickweed!”

  16. 2008: Uh, hey Crazy Harry, maybe you should grab Les some Gatorade and bring him to the cool-down room.

    2009: “Well that’s real neato Les, but this sandwich isn’t for Lisa BECAUSE SHE DIED! SHE FUCKING DIED! SHE DOESN’T WANT A FUCKING SANDWICH FUCK YOU FUCK YOU FUCK YOUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!”

    2010: Geez Funky, just roll with the dungball you started in 2008 and write a check to LL each year if you’re that out of shape.

    2011: Zzzzzzzz

    2012: This is a good strip with a lovely sentiment that is immediately ruined by Les’ presence.

    2013: Uh, hey Holly, that actually sounds serious and kind of scary, and maybe Funky might appreciate some emotional support more than Les appreciates that wordplay.

    2014: The black motif is interesting, but it really is an unusual choice for depicting a local charity fun-run. And again, the sentiment expressed in the strip is nice, but Les (and his exceedingly obvious ulterior motives) ruin it.

    2016: I presume that Ron and Maureen are real life friends of Tom Batiuk’s who get to hear about Lisa’s Legacy all of the time. Cheers to you, Ron and Maureen! St. Lisa knows you need it.

    2017: “FUCK YOUUUUUUUUU!!!!!!!!!”

    2020: Uh, hey, Holly… Did Funky just fall off the wagon? Judging by the look of Mason there, I blame him. Also wtf is with Les’ pose? He and Mason honestly look like they’re about to make out.