It Keeps You Running

Jeez, that’s quite a list of ailments. Can you imagine what kind of shape Funky would be in if he didn’t exercise regularly?


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

51 responses to “It Keeps You Running

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Sad-sack Funky, always with the litany of sorrows and woe. This is a really, really lazy gag, even by Batiuk’s unbelievably loose standards. Dick Facey’s comma-eyed disdain and smug smirk of bemused superiority aren’t helping either. He’s probably done variations of this exact same gag hundreds of times over the course of Act III, easily.

    It was speculated yesterday that maybe this whole Rotary thing was some sort of contractual obligation or something, which might help to explain why the cancer fun run had to happen right now, smack dab in the middle of a totally unrelated arc AND sub-arc. Or maybe he has one of those countdown signs in his studio…”it’s been __ days since your last sad-sack Funky gag” and it only has two spots for the numbers so when he gets to 99 he immediately needs to do one so the countdown board doesn’t distract him while he creates. Although that scenario seems rather far-fetched.

  2. William Thompson

    Funky, look at those malformed creatures running with you. You don’t hear them complaining about their distorted anatomies and postures. So suck it up and leave the whining to an expert like Les.

    • billytheskink

      I especially like the skinny Yakov Smirnoff in panel 2.

      “In Soviet Russia you run from things, mostly secret police, but you cannot run FOR them. But In America you can run for everything! Congress, mayor, school board, neighborhood association secretary… I even see sign last week in Ohio that say ‘Run For Cancer’… What a country!”

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Good work in actually capturing the essence of Yakov Smirnov’s act, and not just doing the “in Soviet Russia noun verbs you” meme.

  3. Jimmy

    Maybe stop running and try something that doesn’t destroy your body. There are plenty of low-impact, high cardio exercises out there.

  4. SeaCountry

    L*s looks disgusted with Funky, but you know, they’re running at the same pace. Probably years on his feet at Montoni’s would do that, too. It does look like Batiuk is trying for gag-a-day here, at least temporarily. Considering what’s happening to the West Coast right now, it may have been as well for his characters to leave LA.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I’ve always wondered if his regular non-ironic readers hate the inexplicable way he hopscotches around from story to story as much as I do. But I’ve never met one so I’ve been unable to ask.

      • SeaCountry

        I did meet one on Facebook in a comics group! It was pretty amazing. Not surprisingly, I think his taste is terrible all around, and he feels the same about mine.

        • We’ve had them show up here from time to time. “Hey, I like this comic, you should stop making fun of it.” We’re always very polite and respectful, and always ask the same question: “What is it you like about Funky Winkerbean?”

          The answer, each time, is always some variant of “Oh, I’m just nostalgic about it because it was funny when I was growing up.”

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Our local donut shop would have newspapers on the counter for customers to read. If I saw someone reading the comics I would ask if they read FW. Most would say that they didn’t understand it. But all of the old guys there really did like Crankshaft.

  5. Banana Jr. 6000

    Oh, look, it’s the Mentor Rotary logo AGAIN. And the runners are running parallel to the banner instead of under it, which makes no sense.

  6. Gerard Plourde

    Some odd facts – Mentor Rotary is not having the Lisa run this year. Even stranger, the certificate for that he’s included with today’s strip expired on September 10, 2019, apparently not having been renewed by University Hospitals in Cleveland. Going to that web site, it still shows the information about the 2019 run. I’ve also been perplexed about the coda remark that he made about the cover that’s appearing on Sunday. So what is going on here? The mystery deepens. Could TomBa be retiring before the FW 50th? Thoughts?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      And the certificate for the website has expired (as has Lisa). I know that their new cancer center has artwork from Batty and other local artists including Bill Watterson.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I’ve worked in web hosting, and with security certs. If one expires, you absolutely get it fixed ASAP. Especially if you’re taking online donations! That this cert has been expired since 2019 indicates that the website is intentionally being left dormant.

      On top of that, throws the same certificate errors as does. If I go to the front page of and navigate to the giving page, it’s now under Furthermore, “Lisa’s Legacy Fund” isn’t a choice of the entities you can donate to, though other named funds are available.

      This all suggests that University Hospital moved their donations pages from “support” to “secure”, and let everything associated with “support” expire. And that Lisa’s Legacy Fund also got left behind in this move, perhaps unintentionally.

      • Keep in mind, Tom Batiuk’s website was copyright to “Bantom” for the longest time. I don’t think details are his forte.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          The setup of it all suggests that University Hospital manages it, not Batiuk. The domain has never done anything but redirect to UH donation pages. And, UH owns the domain name. Which is due to expire in 2021; it’ll be interesting to see if they keep it active. Or if Funky Winkerbean expires first.

        • SeaCountry

          Well, all the loose ends in his strips would show that, too.

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    Rejected Panel Three Word Balloon: “But at least I’ve never had cancer like the kind that killed your first wife. What was her name? You know, the dorky one from high school that had a kid and gave it up for adoption…oh, yeah, Lisa! Hey, look at the banner we just ran by! This run is for someone named Lisa, too! Boy, what are the odds?”

  8. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    I don’t know why, but today’s strip made me think of this little ditty from The Godz out of Columbus, OH.

    Gotta Keep a Runnin’
    by The Godz
    I can’t see enough I can’t feel enough
    I can’t do enough in one day
    I’m gonna use it baby I’m gonna lose it baby
    I don’t care what you say
    I’m gonna burn right up like a two dollar pistol
    rocket shot through the sun
    I’m alive and I’m a jivin’ I’m a passing you by
    I can’t stop for anyone
    I gotta live my life, can’t stop for you

    Gotta keep a runnin’ gotta keep a runnin’
    goodbye baby I’m a leaving you
    Gotta keep a runnin’ gotta keep a runnin’
    Gotta keep a runnin’

  9. Hitorque


    I’ve known hardcore runners who had it in their blood… Hell, at one workplace back in the day, I had one bunch of co-workers (and yes I’m talking dudes who were in their 40s/50s) who jogged 5k before coming to the office, and another bunch who did 5k every day during lunch hour (!) I guess my point is Dr. Funkenstein is NOT one of those types… I get it — I can swim all day, bike all day, etc. but to this day, simple running has never, ever made sense to me outside of say, 100 or 200 metre sprints.

    I know for a fact that running is one of the most damaging things you can do to your body and to top it off, I don’t enjoy it in the slightest even though I do love a good walk to clear my mind. Bottom line is Rundfunk Frankfurt needs to 1. Learn to walk, 2. Find lower-impact exercise to get into, 3. If he insists on torturing himself, he needs to damn well STFU about it.

    • Hitorque

      And yes, even though I was that kid who always ran that 16-minute mile in PE class, I let that group of running obsessed co-workers talk me into my first and only 5k charity fun run. Despite the fact that I was 28 and in the best shape of my life, I got terrible asthma so I was always going to struggle…

      You think your pride is intact until you’re huffing and puffing and get passed by an entire company of soldiers singing their cadence while wearing *full* battle gear (helmets, battle vests, and the huge assed backpacks) and they weren’t even sweating… And just like that dude yesterday, I got passed by a woman pushing a double stroller (somewhere there’s a photo of her crossing the finish line while I’m behind her looking like I’ll die before finishing the last 50 metres)…

      Oh, I also discovered the hard way that not all running shoes are created equal, and that cotton shorts can chafe your man-nips to the point of bleeding… Fun times.

      • SeaCountry

        My gym coach tried to humiliate me when I was 10 by pointing out that I finished a run last yet again. I shrugged and said “Somebody has to be last”. I swam better than any other kid in my apartment complex anyway, and I’ve simply never been inclined to take crap.

        • hitorque

          It was bad for me because I actually *was* pretty athletic in grade school… Hell, in 40-60-100 yard sprints I used to whup ass; I never, ever got thrown out when stealing bases (except ONE time when a classmate of all people pitching for a rival Little League team did a pitchout and the catcher threw a perfect laser to third) — Even harbored far off dreams of being an olympic sprinter…

      • Cabbage Jack

        I used to live near Fort Benning and I’ve been a life-long runner. Nothing would be more depressing than cruising down a trail, approaching your PR – just feeling like you were on top of the world – and then a troop would come charging past you doing their morning PT in boots and full combat gear looking like they weren’t even breaking a sweat.

  10. Hitorque

    In other news it has come to my attention that the sky in California is fuckin’ RED(!) It’s as red as the surface of Mars in some photos… No word as to whether some weirdo sci-fi underground queen is taking in refugees again.

    I can safely assume that no residents were out tanning on a clear day only to discover an hour later that they were completely surrounded by smoke, fire, and 800-degree ambient air

    • William Thompson

      The residents who would do that are now in Ohio, running to honor the memory of a woman who did little and that badly (she can’t even do “dead” right, and she’s had years to get that one down cold).

  11. comicbookharriet

    “Are you sure you don’t just have Munchhausen’s?”

  12. Rusty Shackleford

    Over on Mary Worth, old man Saul looks like he is about to meet the masked man of death. Batty must be jealous.

  13. Dood

    Yesterday, Funky needed a “rabbit” to set his pace. Today, he’s running with Les. So, I guess Les is an adequate rabbit until he has to hraka.

  14. Count of Tower Grove

    I was starting to have some of Fungy’s problems before reaching forty. I quit running. I walk, I have an elliptical.
    Why is everyone running past the banner? I see runs in my park all the time, and they always run under the banner

  15. Professor Fate

    One wonders if he’s a slow a runner as he’s made out to be yesterday he has ended up with all these ailments. Continuity? What is that?
    I have known folks who have run themselves into physical problems but none of them looked like Funky, they all a lot thinner.
    Funky should take up biking, its easier on the knees and as an added bonus Batiuk can toss him off the bike from time to time.
    Oh yes – is there an “I’m glad Lisa is dead” run? I’d sign up for that.

  16. newagepalimpsest

    Proposal: What if the Lisa’s Legacy Run wasn’t Les’ cross to bear uphill against a cold and uncaring universe? What if “Lisa’s Legacy” was Summer’s project-turned-career?
    – Summer is a sporto, so a charity 5k is much more on-brand for her than for Les. And maybe poor Funky would feel less pressured to show up in person to pretend that he can or should do a run.
    – Under Summer’s watch, the yearly LL arc could also double as a way for other Act II characters to show up now and then to let the audience know what they’ve been up to (“So after I popped back into existence, I decided to return to the Muslim faith, reconnect with my roots, and help my dad overcome his sudden and melodramatic racism…”)
    – Cayla’s participation throughout the years becomes a bonding exercise between her and Summer, rather than… whatever the hell this thing with Les has become. For bonus points, she could be a valuable source of advice and moral support while Teen Summer is still struggling to learn the ropes of running an entire freaking marathon.
    – Ditto for Darren, who genuinely came across as involved with her life in early Act II, but who is now completely absent.
    – Tom Batiuk really seemed to like the “Keisha as Summer’s rival” dynamic when they were in school, and we could see some more of that, with the two of them having (friendly) competitions to see who can sign up the most runners, get the most sponsors, run the fastest while not expressly trying to get the sides of Les’ heart to pop like old tires…
    – Les is no longer Lisa’s sole gatekeeper, which automatically opens the door for some fresh takes on THE SADDEST STORY ABOUT CANCER EVER!
    – Well obviously, we can’t banish Les from any Lisa story entirely. But really, imagine Les being told something like “Dad, no one cares that there’s a bench in Central Park named ‘Lisa.’ Anyway, I need to get back to the Mentor Rotary Club about the pre-reg numbers for the Fall run.”
    – My understanding is that producing a 5k charity marathon is very much a calling for people who are not attached to the idea of making “money,” but it is still considerably less farcical and tragic than “Hi Dad! It’s my 15th year at Kent State!”

    I’m well aware that this approach does nothing to fix or even address the biggest Lisa-related problems (MOVE ON ALREADY,) but I genuinely think that it would improve matters a lot.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      These are all good ideas. But they address the symptoms, and not the disease. Les doesn’t need to let other people solve Lisa-related problems. Les needs to realize there are no Lisa-related problems. She’s dead. She doesn’t need to be protected from anything. Even libel or slander; those end on the person’s death, per Ohio court precedent (Oakwood v Makar, 1983).

      Funky Winkerbean needs to acknowledge that Les is mentally unhealthy. He has never accepted Lisa’s death. All the books, movies, tapes, runs, memorials, and his endless hairshirt act are just his way of trying to keep Lisa alive. The other characters need to acknowledge that his behavior is inappropriate, and want to help him. An intervention would not be out of line.

      I would start small, though. I would have a character refuse to assist Les in some Lisa-related task. Like Crazy Harry and copying the tapes to DVD. “I’m sorry, Les, but I can’t do that for you. I think you’re too dependent on these tapes.” “I need these VHS tapes to keep Lisa’s memory alive!” “Lisa’s memory has lived longer than VHS did.” (I still think that’s a good line.) Then have him say something to Funky or Cayla about it, and have them agree. “Well, I didn’t want to say anything, but…” Force Les to ask himself why he does these things. Have other characters get behind this idea, to the point that they refuse to run in Lisa’s legacy and all donate to cancer research instead.

      Les would slowly come to the realization that he failed Lisa. Because he absolutely did. He didn’t save her from that fire. He didn’t rescue her from that bombing. He told her “it’s okay for you to go” when she might have wanted to keep fighting. He did nothing to fight the misdiagnosis that ended up killing her. He didn’t even help her after she died! He did nothing to stop Frankie from making his slanderous reality show; Summer had to do it. He did nothing to recover the money Cory Winkerbean stole from the legacy run; Funky had to do it. And all his running around because he has to “protect Lisa” is just a manifestation of his guilt about that.

      I envision a Hawkeye Pierce scenario where Les finally realizes what’s happened, and completely breaks down. Hell, make it an outright homage to that scene. It’s devastating, and not many people under 45 are even aware it exists. And, as in M*A*S*H, someone says “now the healing can begin.” And his first task is to leave California, and let Mason and the others make the Lisa movie without his further input. It’s the first thing he has to let go of.

      Now THAT would be a fitting coda to Lisa’s Story, instead of the stupid comic book cover we’re going to get.

      • newagepalimpsest

        I guess that I was trying to leave as much of the strip as it is intact, but you’re right. As long as you’re dreaming, dream big!

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I didn’t mean to over-aggressively stomp on your ideas. I just don’t think they would help, either in Westview or for the strip as a whole. Because they further the underlying fallacy that Lisa needs all these tasks done for her. Les doesn’t need to stop being Lisa’s gatekeeper. Les needs to realize that Lisa doesn’t need any gatekeepers.

          • newagepalimpsest

            Oh, I didn’t take any offense! I’m just agreeing with you that ultimately, Lisa just needs to die and have it take this time. With or without Les torture, but I think most of the community by now would opt for “with.”

          • Gerard Plourde

            I think your observation yesterday about “product placement” was on the mark. Much of the “Lisa’s Legacy” stuff seems geared to keep the Funky Winkerbean franchise before the public eye.

      • SeaCountry

        It would be appropriate to have the Lisa’s Legacy run once a year if there wasn’t so much Lisa talk the rest of the year. Unfortunately, well, there is.

      • Mela

        I’d like to see Summer be the one to call him on it. Maybe she could miss the run one year or do something that conflicts with a Lisa moment, and when Les tries to give her grief over not being there for it she could say “Dad, Mom wouldn’t want me to grieve forever for her. She’d want me to go have a happy life. And she wanted the same for you.” She could add, “She said that in the tapes, Dad! Weren’t you listening?” Now maybe she didn’t say it in the tapes/DVD’s, I don’t remember. But it’s a thought.

        As far as Les going all Hawkeye, I dig your viewpoint. I can’t even watch that MASH episode when it’s rerun (at least the first half) because that scene is gutwrenching (followed not far behind by Winchester smashing the record). Not sure it would be as effective with Les, but it would be dark for sure.

  17. Perfect Tommy

    Dead man jogging.

  18. Westview Radiology

    Is that a Summer sighting in panel one and a Keisha sighting in panel two??