During last month’s online unveiling of his poster for the Ohioana Book Festival, the subject of Batiuk’s famous year-in-advance lead time came up. When asked if readers could expect to see his characters affected by the current pandemic, Batiuk admitted that he’d been “writing around” the subject, hoping (as we all do) that the crisis would soon run its course.  Yet  today’s strip is one of those rare  instances where Batiuk’s year-old content winds up being almost timely. The Moores were quarantined before quarantine was cool. Citizens weren’t wearing surgical masks back then, even during “a really bad flu season.” But if Les was so germ conscious about sharing a pen, you’d think he’d carry around his own.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

33 responses to “Pen-dejo

  1. William Thompson

    I’m sure Les carried around plenty of his own germs, but I’m not clear on what they saw in him. Some sort of family connection, perhaps?

  2. Epicus Doomus

    Why, it was like Les and Lisa’s very own personal pandemic, which is very sweet in a sick Batiukian way. Regaling an adoring audience with stories about how awesome Lisa was is obviously someone’s most favoritest thing in the whole world. And that goes doubly for Les.

    So apparently Les has some really hardcore fans. Just consider how implausible this premise is. Les, who published his annoying cancer book over ten years ago (shit, The Trilogy is already four or five years old), has a dedicated group of hardcore “Lisa’s Story” fans so devout that they’ll pile into Bookstore on the first non-blizzard day of the year to eagerly listen to Les tell pointless meandering Lisa stories for a few hours.

    “Oh my God! Know who’s gonna be doing a talk at Bookstore next Monday afternoon? LES MOORE!”

    “No WAY! I’m SO there! I LOVE that cancer book! I’m on my forty-fifth re-read right now!”

    “Sixty-two here! I’m gonna ask him to autograph my copy again!”

    “I’m gonna tell him about my mom’s melanoma and how “Lisa’s Story” inspired her to fight for 2/3rds of the way through!”

    “Oh man, I hope he starts wistfully reminiscing about Lisa again!”

    “(Sniff) Me too, bro, me too. She sure was one special special lady!”

    Like I said, real implausible. The author/avatar wish-fulfillment fantasy thing going on here is repugnant enough on its own but throw Dick Facey into the mix and this strip is for an audience of one and the one isn’t me, as I really hate that Les guy.

    • Charles

      they’ll pile into Bookstore on the first non-blizzard day of the year to eagerly listen to Les tell pointless meandering Lisa stories for a few hours.

      Seriously. I mean, usually these sorts of discussions are about the experience of writing the book, or what went into the decision to write it. They’re not the author coming in and repeating the vignettes that are in the book. What’s the point of buying it if he’s already spoiled the moments he found most dramatic or illuminating?

      I suppose a standard author Q&A isn’t something Batiuk would be interested in writing about, since with Les being what he is, Batiuk would just have him insult, belittle and be an insufferable ass to his audience. I mean, look at how much of a shithead he was to Mason when Mason asked him questions along a similar vein.

      • gleeb

        On the other hand, it’s not unusual to have a reading from Author X (who is secretly Speed Author’s long-lost brother Rex) from his most-recent work. It’s just that creepy Les’ most recently published work is 10 or 15 years old.

    • Jimmy

      “I’m gonna tell him about my mom’s melanoma and how “Lisa’s Story” inspired her to fight for 2/3rds of the way through!”

      That’s how you do comedy, folks.

    • spacemanspiff85

      It is pretty funny, and pretty revealing about Batiuk himself. If Les is supposed to be this grand amazing author who’s still filling the seats at book signings, shouldn’t he still be writing books? How hard would it be for Batiuk to just come up with new book titles for Les to have written? Or just refer to it as “his latest book”, if he doesn’t want to or can’t come up with titles?
      But he can’t do that, because then that would take away the focus from Lisa and Lisa’s Story, and there’s clearly no chance of Batiuk ever doing that.

  3. J.J. O'Malley

    Seriously, is there ANY logical reason in the Funkyverse for the events depicted the last two days to be occurring? Has there been some big news story about the Dead St. Lisa movie starting up shooting again, thus sending Lester on the road to promote his book yet again? Is there some anniversary tribute, or a cancer charity signing, or something that would bring out a (still noticeably unmasked and closely packed) a crowd to a bookstore in who-knows-where? Is anything about this arc going to be explained before it peters out on its own?

    Oh, and why couldn’t he have had groceries delivered, or paid with cash or credit card?

    • Westview Radiology

      That damn Bull Bushka. Brings food and groceries up the Moore’s steep steps for 22 straight days and takes a hike when the flu bug bites him.

  4. Gerard Plourde

    Quarantined at home while awaiting a clinical trial during flu season? I don’t know if that’s a thing that happens and a quick Google search doesn’t bring anything up. Is this another made-up thing (which I’m beginning to suspect)?

    • LTPFTR

      No, it’s a thing. But it’s usually not that dramatic. Les would just get a flu shot and be careful to wash up when he gets home from running errands.

  5. My Goodness, that Les is so heroic! He deserves (checks list) all the awards that there are! And kudos to Tom Batiuk, who also deserves (checks list) well…some of them, at any rate. Maybe some of those, over there in the corner, covered in dust? He should get all of those awards! And they should be cleaned, first. Dust!

  6. Epicus Doomus

    I know I mentioned this before way back when but what if the people at Les’ book signings are all the same people who follow him from gig to gig? Like Deadheads, but with Les. KSU sweaters, yellow dress shirts, sensible adult slacks and lots of free angst and self-pity, man. And if you’re a Les-head it goes without saying that you’ll be leaving your spouse at home as after all, it’ll really be more of a nearly unbearable chore than anything else.

    • Gerard Plourde

      “ what if the people at Les’ book signings are all the same people who follow him from gig to gig?”

      A pack of Les groupies! Truly a scary thought, but one that actually makes sense. Not that it would cross TomBa’s mind to create such an interesting thing, though.

    • J.J. O'Malley

      Les Moore-ons?

    • LTPFTR

      Can you imagine what a Les Moore OnlyFans would be like?

  7. William Thompson

    I got that reference! And “ground zero” is . . . . well, it’s either from 2001 or the Cold War, depending on whether you’re talking about a terrorist or nuclear attack. Either way it’s suitably outdated for Batiuk.

  8. genericusername1548

    I may have said this before, but there is no elegant way to split the difference between writing topical content and writing a year in advance. This strip proves it.

    We all know that this strip is about COVID. You know it, I know it, Batiuk knows it. And yet, we have to simultaneously accept that COVID does not exist in Westview, and most likely never will. There is no in-universe reason why Les chose this particular moment to share a decades-old memory that parallels our own recent experiences. It is pure coincidence that Les, who has never heard of COVID, has stories of what it is like to live in a pandemic-stricken world.

    What I’m saying is, this strip may have strained my suspension of disbelief.

    • “genericusername1548” is me, by the way. I decided I wanted a cool user pic, but I’m still learning how to specify my local alias instead of my “official” WordPress user name.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I’m amazed that he is so lazy that he couldn’t write a few new strips and drop them into the rotation. It’s not like he would interrupt anything special.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Well, we asked about a COVID arc. And guess what we’re getting? A COVID arc about Lisa. Who died 12 years before COVID. Which Les is using to tell us once again how what a great person he is.

      This is so brazen and perverse that I’m almost impressed. If there was an Olympic event for Making Everything About Yourself, this would win.

  9. Billy McCoy, the Musical Boy

    I’ll hand it to Ayers. The bookstore audience looks about as enthralled with this rambling dipshit as we all are.

  10. The Dreamer

    TomBats next compilation, the logical sequel to Lisa’s Story, is likely to be “The Death of Bull Bushka”. TomBat knows tragedy sells, so he will compile every one of the Bull gets CTE panels, which went in for years So it follows that Les has probably written a “Bull’s Story” book

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    And in today’s Crankshaft, someone keeled over dead in a church. But don’t worry, Ed Crankshaft and Lillian are fine.

  12. hitorque

    1. LOLOLOLOL Les claims to be a fucking writer yet he doesn’t know any writer worth his salt would have a pen on him at all times and in any situation (this is a 100% real rule and I’m sure it’s written down somewhere)…

    2. I realize Covid doesn’t exist in the Funkyverse, but seeing Les doing all this bitching and moaning during flu season seems kinda tone deaf from Batiuk…

    3. Lisa must have been an incredibly boring and unremarkable person for Les to not tell us any stories about her, EVER… In fact, it makes me wonder exactly what makes her story Hollywood material in the first place since her only claims to fame are having a rapist’s baby in high school, getting cancer around age 30, and leaving behind a shitload of hidden videocassettes with messages from beyond the grave… If nothing else, you’d think the medical malpractice angle would be an interesting cautionary tale for the public to hear about.

    4. As an aside, I still want to know why if the general public is still THIS interested in Lisa’s Story 15+ years later, why hasn’t Les released at least SOME of the Lisa tapes as a fan service if nothing else? Today’s reality TV crowd would lap it up like crazy…

    5. Can Cayla please end this charade and just divorce his ass already? The most important people in Les’ life are, in order:


    Les’ reflection in the mirror

    Les’ finely tuned sense of indignation

    Anybody who happens to be talking about Les at the given moment

    Les’ intellectual property rights on the Lisa franchise

    Lisa’s videotape collection

    Cindy Sommers-Winkerbeane-Jarre

    That crazy agent lady up in New York

    That daughter who can’t graduate from Toledo

    Marianne Winters (who looks 100% like said daughter)

    Les’ trusty M60E4 back when he patrolled the halls like it was the Berlin Wall

    Lisa’s decomposed corpse

    The anatomically-correct lifelike Lisa android Les has on order from Japan as soon as the technology is perfected

    Montoni’s coffee

    Mason Jarre


    • The Dreamer

      As for why the public is again interested in Lisa’s Story, you are forgetting that Hollywood’s favorite superstar actor, Mason Jarr has optioned the book for a second go round at making the movie. With him playing Les again. Which would mean Cindy Summers in her sixties is now dating the guy playing Les Moore in his twenties. But nevertheless if the movie is coming out, the book would’ve reissued ad a tie-in

  13. Don

    More timely than you might think. I went to a doctor’s office yesterday, and there was a cup with pens marked “Clean Pens” next to a basket marked “Used Pens.”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I thought that was commonplace by now. Even the restaurants in my neighborhood have been doing that the past year.

  14. Dood

    “Clinical trial”? Was Lisa a drug being tested? Makes sense, I guess.

  15. Perfect Tommy

    First rule of Bookstore:
    Never talk about Bookstore.

  16. Count of Tower Grove

    BWAWHAWHAWHAW! It’s funny because Less thinks he’s special about being in quarantine!