The Death of Sense.

Link to Today’s Strip.

Comic Book Harriet, back in action. Ready to dig through the comic muck of this Inedible Pulp to, hopefully, stab at the heart of this horrifying nonsense.

First of all, I want to thank Spaceman Spiff for easing us through the shock and awe of the first ‘back from the dead’ soap opera moment I think we’ve had since Wally Winkerbean came home.

While some of you have been frustrated and angry at just how baffling the decision to retcon Phil Holt’s death is, I’ve actually been relishing the absolute stupidity of this arc. Unlike Batiuk’s biffing of Bull’s Suicide, the morally dubious resolution of the Adeela ICE arc, or the callous insensitivity of the LA Fires, the crazy on display here has no offensive real-world victims unless you find it libelous to Jack Kirby, Stan Lee, or Joe Simon.

And today, I finally get the answer to the most pressing question raised by Phil Holt’s ‘resurrection’: did he fake his death, or have a near death experience? Hanging on this question, was the interpretation of this strip from three years ago.

Spoiler Alert: Phil Holt wasn’t already dead.

With the retcon, and the knowledge that Phil was completely fine at the time, there is only one explanation for these ghosts. Darin was imagining Phil and Lisa’s spirits having this conversation as they looked on approvingly at the auction. It was a fantasy that he concocted for his own gratification.

Furthermore, this suggests that every time we see ‘ghosts’ in strip it’s just the daydreaming of a living character, comforting themselves with a lie, roleplaying a no longer possible conversation, or expressing an internal anxiety, sometimes all at the same time.

Like when Lillian was visited by ‘Lucy’ coming back from the grave to lead her on a guilt purging journey of taking an undelivered letter to a demolished building, where Lucy and her old boyfriend Eugene could finally spiritually be together (even though Eugene was still alive at the time.)

Les of course is the worst offender of this. Lisa constantly pops up around him, encouraging him, praising him, agreeing with him, and smiling while watching him make out with his hot new wife.

But even Les seems to realize that this is just him projecting what he imagines Lisa would say. And that Lisa only lives on inside his mind as a fractured reflection of his memory. She sleeps forever, in the oblivion of death.

If I could ask Batiuk a personal question, I would ask if he believes in an afterlife. Because I don’t think he really does. I think he wishes there was something after death, but has been convinced that the only immortality we actually get is the lingering echoes we leave in the hearts and minds of others.

And, in time, those people will pass away, and so then passes even memory. Life has meaning, but only temporarily.

And so all metaphysical experience is really just human consciousness and awareness fractured and reflected back on itself. When we try to conceive of or reach out to God, or dead loved ones, or eternity, the only thing that can reach back is a part of yourself.

Dead St. Lisa was only a part of imagination. She’s no more or less real than that heatstroke robot Funky imagined when running, or Jeff’s Inner Child avatar, or Les’ depression cat.

But, then again, apparently the depression cat is real and crazy old film producers can see it.

And Dead Lisa did call into an airport and talk to customer service, then Les, then called in a phony bomb threat…

The only evidence of life after death in Funky Winkerbean.

Strap in folks! It’s gonna be a fun week!

68 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

68 responses to “The Death of Sense.

  1. Epicus Doomus

    I love how the comic books are front and center in this arc while a character coming back from the dead is just a mere “oh yeah, that…” footnote in the story. I could point out that Phil could have sold his priceless comic book art and used the proceeds to rent a nice cabin in the Upper Peninsula or Maine or something, but I assume that faking his own death was just more convenient.

    And who was “bothering” Phil? Children dissatisfied with their party caricature drawings? He was living in classic FW “everything askew” poverty and total obscurity when Boy Lisa blundered into him unwittingly (and witlessly). And is he saying he faked his death only to fool Boy Lisa, a person he met exactly once? Because that doesn’t make it any less insane.

    And, of course, Ghost Phil. I guess Batty assumes we’ll just forget and/or overlook that little anomaly. Fat chance, Pulitzer (nominee) Boy. We all saw Ghost Phil hanging with Ghost Lisa, which would be impossible if he wasn’t dead, as the only other way to meet Ghost Lisa is to write a book about her.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      He wanted to work without being bothered, even though he wasn’t working and nobody was bothering him. He asked his friend who runs a comics shop to help him give away six figures’ worth of comic book-related collectibles. All while he lived in poverty and humiliation. Makes perfect sense.

      And I love how stupid Pete’s comment is. He already told you the part where he “got better”, moron.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Also, he faked his death to work without being bothered. But when the work was finished, what then? Was he going to announce that he wasn’t really dead, and that everyone’s grief and heartbreak was unnecessary, and he doesn’t care if his lie hurt you, and please buy my new book?

      • Epicus Doomus

        Consider this: Phil and Flash’s decades-long feud AND Phil faking his own death were both “resolved” in maybe two and a half minutes of “real time”. Decades of their lives just wiped away in seconds with barely a shrug.

        So Phil fake-bequeathed a minor fortune’s worth of comic book art to a guy he just met in order to fool that guy into believing he was dead. Apparently, convincing Boy Lisa that he was dead was an integral part of the plan. But he couldn’t have known what Boy Lisa was going to do with the artwork, so what purpose did that part of his scheme serve? I have to admit, watching BatYam trying to dig his way out of massive plot holes is very amusing, like watching a chubby toddler trying to claw his way out of a mud-hole.

      • hitorque

        Pete should excuse himself to the restroom and get himself together — His nerd-boner is starting to make his guests feel uncomfortable

  2. William Thompson

    How does a lawyer help someone fake his death and not get disbarred? Why fake Holt’s death at all? Why not help him change his name? For that matter, why not pretend he’s just another guy named Phil Holt? “I never shoulda taken up drawing. Turns out there was this old-time comic-book guy with my name. I’m sick of having t explain this once every other decade!”

    • Charles

      What would happen to the lawyer would depend on how far the fraud goes. Who did he lie to and what was the harm from that lie? It’s fraud, but it’s a matter of just how significant the fraud was. Did he just lie to Darin, or did he lie to the government as well?

      I’m just sad that Batiuk’s so ignorant that he’s not going to consider the fact that those comic covers given to Darin were not a bequest, but a gift, so the tax implications are a lot more severe. Darin could conceivably be owing a huge amount of money in back taxes. And the whole thing makes Phil’s fraud a lot worse. That Darin would have already taken the charitable deduction years ago means that he’d be on the hook for the full amount. And if he had a problem, it’s a conflict with Phil, not the government. So he’d have to sue Phil if he wanted to avoid having to pay out thousands of dollars.

      • William Thompson

        And thus the story becomes far more interesting than what Batiuk wrote. The backstabbings alone would be a laugh riot.

    • Thing is, once you get Judge Alan Parker started on faking deaths there’s just no stopping him.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Now THERE is a crossover I’d love to see.

      • hitorque

        My Judge Parker and Rex Morgan rants were so over-the-top and long-winded it’s one of the reasons why I’m no longer allowed on the *other* website

        • hitorque

          And yes, a few years back, Rex Morgan did have a dumbassed storyline about some reclusive long-forgotten golden age comics fossil who was living in near-poverty and depression until he discovered the tons of original artwork he stockpiled over the decades was worth millions… So then the fossil decides to live it up in his twilight years by buying an RV and seeing the whole U.S. like Charles Kuralt… Except he wanted to make a special stop at some old-timey Route 66 diner in some flyspeck town in the Great Midwest middle of nowhere, just to look up some waitress he had a short fling with the last time he passed through, fifty-something years ago… And OF COURSE the diner was still in business after all those years, and of course his old flame was still slinging hash and cheap java and pie ala mode at the spry age of 82… And I stopped reading the strip for good at that point because I was beginning to wonder if TomBa was a guest writer or something.

          • ComicBookHarriet

            I think you’re remembering it a little wrong. The old comic book artist actually went on to have a successful career as a dentist or doctor or something, got married, had kids, and a generally fulfilling and socially active life until he was rediscovered.

            Even the old lady at the diner talked about how she had moved on with her life, had a fulfilling marriage, children, enjoyed her business, and what not. She was touched to be remembered, but didn’t waste her life in pining away like stupid Lucy.

            It’s one way that THAT storyline was superior to every Batiukian attempt at a similar tale. Horrible Hank wasn’t bitter about his old comics work being forgotten, he was just bemused and pleased to be rediscovered.

  3. Mr. A

    I love the implication that the only thing Phil did to fake his death was to play a trick on Darin. “I’m sure he’ll spread the word.”

    • Epicus Doomus

      And who was he going to tell? Pete? Chester? His wife? Phil had no way of knowing what Boy Lisa was going to do with the artwork. And wouldn’t people attempt to verify that news?

      “Hey Nerdlinger, jack up the prices on those old “Mr. Sponge” books, cuz Phil Holt died.”

      “No way! I didn’t see anything about that on nerdgeekdork.com! Where’d you hear that?”

      “That boring asshole who illustrated that horrible Les Moore graphic novel told me.”

      “Oh, well that makes it official! Rest in peace, Phil!”

    • billytheskink

      Not to mention the implication that wanting “to work without being bothered” carries when the only person we ever saw converse with Phil before his “death” was Darin.

      • Epicus Doomus

        That’s another good point. This must be wreaking havoc on Boy Lisa’s self-esteem, assuming he has some, that is. I’ve never seen any actual proof of it, but nonetheless. Boy Lisa finally makes a new friend and the guy fakes his own death immediately after. I haven’t seen a FW character so desperate to shake off another character since Bull drove off that cliff…IF he did in fact do so.

        • Charles

          “I met my hero, and he immediately faked his death because he, and I quote, ‘wanted to work without being bothered.'” Meeting Darin was the trigger. He faked his death because after meeting Darin, he decided “I don’t want that happening again.”

          Fits too, because who’s the one guy he decided to inform of his death before everyone else? The prick who accosted him.

      • Charles

        “You did want to be bothered? You were working as a glorified party clown, old man.”

  4. Epicus Doomus

    And on top of everything else there’s already a character named Mickey, the field goal kicking girl. It’s like having two Owens or two Khans.

  5. billytheskink

    No, Pete, no… Like a true superhero, Phil “committed fraud”.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Didn’t Chester win the valuable comic book art? Regardless of who submitted the highest bid, they did so under the assumption that Phil was dead, which in theory made the artwork that much more valuable. Then those proceeds, collected under false pretenses, were given to a charity run by Boy Lisa’s bio-stepfather. In “real life” this would appear sketchy as all f*ck and probably leave Phil, his lawyer, Boy Lisa (the source who declared Phil dead), the auction house and “Lisa’s Legacy” open to the possibility of litigation, at the least.

    • Charles

      Seeing as how Phil’s an elderly prick, I would have preferred to see him respond to Mopey with, “Don’t interrupt me, you disrespectful son of a bitch.”

      Mopey would leap off the Coranado Bridge in shame.

  6. William Thompson

    How did Social Security and the IRS take it when they heard he was dead? What did he tell them? “Don’t blame me, government guys, everyone was just being wildly optimistic!”

  7. Once again, this is all wish-fulfillment. Batiuk wants the world to work in this completely nonsensical way, because that’s what he wants and he’s got a comic strip he could put it in. And he’s really got some chutzpah saying how he wanted to make the comics page more “realistic.”

  8. Banana Jr. 6000

    I really like the theory Comic Book Harriet proposes here: that “ghosts” in the Funkyverse represent characters’ own imaginations, as they try to self-justify their deeply shitty behavior.

    Jeff hallucinates his younger self at Bronson Canyon, because he’s still throwing a snit about what he couldn’t do in his childhood.

    Darren is gifted a huge piece of comic book history from a man he barely knew, just because he took the time to appreciate him in his last days. Darren’s response is to immediately cash it in. And not even for his family or his child’s future, but for the goddam Dead Lisa Foundation. He doesn’t even loan the artwork to a museum for the public to enjoy, or take any steps to preserve it. So he imagines Dead Lisa and Dead Phil Holt tacitly approving what he’s done, even though they had nothing in common and no reason to be conversing in the afterlife.

    Lillian interferes with her sister’s romance because she’s a jealous, petty bitch from hell. She never admits her misdeed, never tries to get them back together, never does jack shit during her sister’s life. Yes, Lillian supposedly take did care of her sister off camera. But even that’s a bit like helping a handicapped person when you’re the one who handicapped them. So Lillian’s imagination makes up this fairy story where she can get rid of all her guilt just by doing an empty, meaningless act.

    And, oh Lord, Les. Have you ever known someone who thinks God talks to them personally, but all God ever does is encourage their worst instincts? That’s Les. He has severe guilt. He killed Lisa, through his own selfishness and incompetence. There was no reason for Lisa to stop treatment, and she was willing to keep fighting until Les said “it’s okay for you to go.” So she went! As much as everyone in Westview worships Lisa, have you noticed no one ever talks about her decision to stop treatment? They know. Everybody knows. It’s the town’s dirty little secret. Cancer is listed on the death certificate, but Lisa died of a broken heart. So now Les has these rich fantasies where Lisa is constantly showing up to give the thumbs-up to whatever dumbass thing he and his ego wants to do next. Even things she would have no opinion about, like Les dating Cayla, FFS. And like Lillian, he assigns himself meaningless tasks to do “for Lisa.” He’s too weak to face his own evil.

  9. Gerard Plourde

    I think that this confirms that TomBa makes no investment in his work. I find it inconceivable that he could possibly believe that what he described would be sufficient for the comics world to learn of and, more importantly, to accept the report of Phil Holt’s death to be accurate.

    Further, to be able to sell the cover art, there would have to be someone appointed with the power to provide that ownership of the works could legally be transferred.

    But none of that matters to TomBa.

    • I think he’s just lazy. He wants to focus on the things that will win him praise, and if he has to fudge reality around to do that, then he’ll do that.

      I think the whole “Dullard sells comic book covers” wasn’t supposed to talk about Holt, or comics, or anything than what it did highlight–the Lisa’s Legacy Fund. The important thing.

  10. J.J. O'Malley

    First, I’d like to congratulate c.b.harriet for what couldn’t have been a pleasant task, slogging through all those past FW strips for a review of how
    Battyuk handles the afterlife and its connection to the living. What a surprise, he does it in the most cloying and ham-handed ways imaginable.

    And Mopey, the “I got better” joke comes from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” not from your beloved comic books where every time a character (Bucky Barnes, Gwen Stacy, The Flash, Superman, Captain America, Batman, most of the Justice League, Avengers, and X-Men at one time or another, et al) is killed off then brought back there’s generally a convoluted explanation (alternate universes, clones, magic, acts of God or the Devil, and so on).

    Can’t wait to see what Phil Holt has been “working” on for four years.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      If Batty wants to work without being bothered, then maybe he should fake his death. It’s critic like us that are keeping him from his best work, or so he thinks.

  11. Phyllis Dillweed

    So basically, arc=pretzel.

  12. Hitorque

    1. What fucking “work” is he talking about? Four years ago Phillip Holt was 84 goddamned years old and forced to do sketches at kiddie birthday parties just to make ends meet. Why isn’t he out fishing or golfing or sailing or taking road trips to the Pacific Northwest or whatever it is able-bodied retired folks do?

    2. If he was still writing or publishing comics, I presume he did it under a pen name? So where is his new work, since it just became a hell of a lot more valuable? And if he was getting paid for this new work and I assume had ‘ownership’ of these characters and titles, what the fuckin’ hell was he so angry about during the build-up?

    3. By all accounts, Phillip Holt is an abrasive, unlikable, quick-tempered cranky asshole loner that even his friends and colleagues didn’t want to be around… So tell me exactly WHO IN FUCK’S NAME WAS “BOTHERING” HIM TO THE POINT THAT HE HAD TO FAKE HIS DEATH? And now that he’s chosen to come back to life at the biggest comics event on the planet, Phil knows a thousand times more people are going to be “bothering” him now, right? Just change your phone number already, dumbass…

    • hitorque

      4. So what the hell happened to the “Sub-Terranian?”

      5. God, I hate that dinner table that looks exactly 16 inches wide…

      6. Yeah, I know California is supposed to be all laid back and come-as-you-are, but I’ll be damned if a couple of old fossils can’t be bothered to dress up and at least make themselves presentable on the DAY THEY’RE GETTING INDUCTED INTO THE GODDAMNED HALL OF FAME(!) Yeah, the Atomikkk Komixxx crew are all stupid and wouldn’t know any better, but Flash and Ruby Tuesday spent most of their professional careers in an era where you didn’t even leave the house without your suit jacket, a tie, a white starched shirt and a *hat*; along with whatever the hell women of that era had to wear…

  13. Rusty Shackleford

    Mondays are bad enough without reliving all those horrid ghost strips. You know Batty thinks that this is deep stuff, everyone else thinks WTF?

    I know the only reason I still read this strip is this blog.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Apologies for the agony. I’m hoping not to deal with Les’ ghost threesomes for the rest of my two week tenure.

  14. Batiuk wanted a decades-long feud between his version of Lee and Kirby, but once it came down to it, he couldn’t go with his original reason (Flash took all the credit for Phil’s work) so he brought up his own bugaboo–ownership of characters.

    Which others have pointed out, unless Flash was the publisher, he had nothing to do with this.

    And he faked his death so he wouldn’t be “bothered”? What did he suppose would happen when he “unfaked” his death? Seems to me that would start a massive amount of “bothering.” “Cartoonist fakes own death” headlines, at least in the comics world.

    None of this makes any kind of sense at all. It’s just that Batiuk wanted a bitter old man who threw his life away (like Cliff Anger), and Batiuk himself was unavailable, as he was already playing the part of Batton Thomas.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      I’m always amazed by the baggage Batty apparently carries around with him. All the perceived slights, disappointment, grudges, beefs, and dissatisfaction must really be clouding his thinking. Does anybody do anything right in this world? Can anyone, save for Lisa, please him?

      To have your own syndicated strip is something special, but he pisses it all away with this petty crap. Contrast this to Breathed and Watterson’s friendly little spats….those guys are having fun. And Watterson wanted to do his own work without being bothered, so he quit and did it. Batty is all talk.

      • People who do things right in Batiuk’s world: people who made silver age Flash comics, and the people who made Radio Ranch.

        One thing these people have in common is that they’re all dead, so they can’t disappoint him.

      • See/Hear/Speak No Eve Hill

        Last week, some folks mentioned that Calvin and Hobbes characters were in a crossover with Bloom County. I’ve been reading it and anxiously await every new strip. It reminds me of my favorite crossover of all time. Bill Watterson drew a few strips in Pearls Before Swine for Stephan Pastis. It was hilarious.

        Here’s the link to the first strip.
        https://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2014/06/02

        Stephan Pastis frequently ridicules himself in his strip as a joke. Can you imagine Batiuk presenting himself in Funky Winkerbean that way? Not bloody likely. What’s the point of Batton Thomas anyway?

      • See/Hear/Speak No Eve Hill

        Last week some folks mentioned that Calvin and Hobbes characters were featured in a crossover with Bloom County. I look forward to each new strip in that story arc with great anticipation (work faster, dammit).

        The story arc reminds me of my favorite crossover of all time. Bill Watterson drew a few strips in Pearls Before Swine for Stephan Pastis. It was hilarious.
        Here’s a link to the first strip in the sequence.
        https://www.gocomics.com/pearlsbeforeswine/2014/06/02
        (Sorry, I’m new here and not the most computer literate. I’m not sure how to make a clickable link.)

        Stephan Pastis frequently ridicules himself in his strip. Can you imagine Batiuk presenting himself in Funky Winkerbean that way? Not bloody likely. What’s the purpose of Batton Thomas anyway?

      • My Name is Pig, I like Cheese

        Last week, some folks mentioned that Calvin and Hobbes characters were featured in a crossover with Bloom County. The story arc reminds me of my favorite crossover of all time. Bill Watterson drew a few strips in Pearls Before Swine for Stephan Pastis. It was hilarious.

        Here’s a link to the first strip in the sequence.
        www gocomics com/pearlsbeforeswine/2014/06/02
        (Sorry, I’m new here and not all that computer-literate. I’m not sure how to make a clickable link.)

        Stephan Pastis frequently ridicules himself in his strip. Can you imagine Batiuk presenting himself in Funky Winkerbean that way? Not bloody likely. What’s the purpose of Batton Thomas anyway?

        • ComicBookHarriet

          First of all, WELCOME TO THE MADNESS!

          Second of all, the original purpose of Batton Thomas was to ridicule himself. But now Tom uses him to pontificate on comics in words and stories he’s too lazy to translate to the lives of any of his previously established characters. Despite the fact that any one of them could plausibly spout the same sentiments.

  15. Brilliant analysis, CBH!

  16. batgirl

    Thank you, CBH, for a thoughtful and even beautiful analysis that sifted flakes of gold from the dross of the Batiukverse.
    You’ve also made it clear that Lisa will never ‘come back’. Dead Lisa, smiling and approving and hovering in the background, is far more the wife Les wants than she was when she was alive and had agency.

    • William Thompson

      Dead Lisa is a lot like the Blessed Virgin Mary, or at least the parochial-school version of her. So passive in life she doesn’t have sex; doesn’t object to her fate at God’s hands; has a largely miserable time in this life; becomes cheerful and helpful after she dies, and delivers rambling feel-good messages; gets fawned over by some very strange people who read a very strange book written by an egomaniac. It all makes me think Batiuk didn’t look far for Lisa’s role model.

  17. Smirks 'R Us

    I guarantee @CBH has spent a LOT more time thinking about a plausible explanation for this garbage than BatHack has.

  18. As others have mentioned, our boy Phil is incredibly stupid for opening himself up to charges of fraud. I’m not a lawyer, but I think Phil is in for a world of hurt. Others, including memorabilia collectors, made purchases of Phil’s work based solely on the belief that he was dead and no more of his work would ever be produced. It doesn’t matter whether Phil personally profited from his faked death, others did and now they now have liability. I’m just guessing that Phil can’t lawyer his way out of this. But in TB’s world, he will.

  19. Sourbelly

    That…thing in panel 2 is far too huge to be a Word Zeppelin. Maybe a Word Supercontinent? Held together by an isthmus in the middle of the panel?

  20. Perfect Tommy

    Came for the snark.
    Stayed for the well-reasoned monograph of comic characters being avatars for the social construct of the afterlife.

  21. Gerard Plourde

    I do wonder when he decided to bring Phil Holt back. I’m certain that it wasn’t on his mind when he created the Batom covers for the Lisa’s Legacy auction. At that point his focus was undoubtedly on finding a way to publicize the charity auction in the strip. What better way than to have illustrator Holt make a cameo appearance in order to create the publicity arc. It never entered his mind that he might want to recreate the “Batom Bullpen” at Atomik. The only remaining question is when does former wunderkind Mitch Knox come onboard?

  22. robertodobbs

    Comicbookharriet I appreciated your lengthy exposition of TB’s apparent metaphysical/theological/philosophical stances regarding life and death. It does seem as if TB’s long “sigh” about this is more nihilistic than existential. Maybe that’s why there is always a gloom behind this strip. Your post really got me thinking; thanks.

  23. Professor Fate

    Actually, I understand Phil faking his death if his desire was to avoid all future contact with Boy Lisa, seriously, that’s a motivation one can understand. Tell Boy Lisa he’s dead and throw some covers at him to keep him from looking?
    Cheap at twice the price.
    The wall o’ text explanation by Phil is absurdly laughable (the man was penniless and no lawyer fanboy or not is going to assist someone in faking their deaths – not unless there are huge dollars at stake) So what was he supposed to be doing selling ‘replicas’ of Phil Holts artwork?
    I haven’t such a confused and messy retcon since Hawkman/Hawkworld in the early 90’s and that one made just a bit more sense than this.

  24. 1) Ugh… I hate that car date strip so much. (RIP Original Cayla.)

    2) If Darrin had two brain cells to rub together, he’d be freaking out right now at the possibility of being charged with aiding Phil’s conspiracy. Especially if Phil reveals that he always knew that the covers were worth a significant amount of money.

    3) I have never been to SDCC. Do they not have a celebrity banquet for Hall of Famers and other honorees? Did Phil ruin that for them too? No wonder Mindy said that this guy reminds her of Crankshaft.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Especially if Phil reveals that he always knew that the covers were worth a significant amount of money.

      And how could he not know this when a comic book store owner helped him get rid of it? “Mickey” would know that stuff had collector value.

      It almost looks like money laundering. Phil gives valuable collectibles to some random person, and that person immediately sells it and gives the money to an obscure “charity.”

      • hitorque

        I guess Phil was going through a divorce at the time, or he wanted to screw his kids out of their inheritance?

  25. beware of eve hill

    Huh? Phil didn’t like attention, so he fakes his death… and then he conspicuously reveals to a full house at a major convention that he’s actually alive? Uh-huh… right. Only Batiuk could write something like this? Does he actually care anymore, or is this just a paycheck? Need I ask? Slap dash and cash the check. Good enough for Batiuk work.

    Well, I assume Phil Holt’s next step is to avoid the authorities. I’m no legal expert by any means, but I can see a few cases of fraud, and the IRS may have a bone or two to pick. I’d say the next time we see ol’ Phil Holt he’ll be in Ecuador, Bolivia or some other country with no extradition treaty with the US.

  26. My guess is that none of the legal problems outlined in these comics will impact anyone in the strip. “Faked your death? Good for you! Move along, please.”

  27. hitorque

    And I don’t know what in fuck’s name was going on with Funkenstein’s “old wheat in the field” observation, but that’s one of the saddest things I’ve even seen in this strip… I mean god damn, has life been **THAT** cruel to Funkmaster? He’s got a business guaranteed to print money, a good woman in his life, the respect of his local community, he’s still in pretty good health, what else does he even want? Because if The Funkman wants to cash out of Montoni’s, sell the home and move to Scottsdale, he should easily have enough money saved up to do it.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      And so what if you are forgotten after you’re gone? Life is still worth living and enjoying. You can still have a positive impact on the world. You can be remembered by a small number of people who were close to you. It’s sad how much Tom Batiuk’s view of life revolves around fame and recognition.

  28. See/Hear/Speak No Eve Hill

    Wow, a most enjoyable blog post Comic Book Harriet. I have a feeling you couldn’t wait for your turn to start. Crouched like an Olympian, just waiting for the starter’s pistol to go off. That’s a perspective that never occurred to me. The ghosts are all in somebody’s head. To justify their actions. Especially makes sense for Les’s deplorable actions. “I’m in the clear. Lisa gave me her official okey-dokey.”

    So, Phil Holt faked his death because he desired to be left alone, yet he decides to announce he’s not dead by revealing himself to a crowded convention hall? Uh-huh… right. Why did Phil Holt make the decision to disappear shortly after meeting Darin? What was he doing all those years before he met Darin at that birthday party? What was Phil working on while he was “dead?” So many other contradictions and abandoned plot threads, as many commenters have pointed out. Errors like these make me question Batiuk’s commitment to the strip. A quarter-inch away from reality, my fanny. Slapdash, cash a check. Good enough for Batiuk work.

    I imagine Phil Holt’s next move is to have his friend Mickey contact his fanboy lawyer friend again. Several authorities would like to have a conversation with Phil about his disappearance. If we ever see Phil Holt again, it will most likely be in a country like Ecuador, Bolivia, or some other country without an extradition treaty with the US. Was it really worth it to reveal yourself, Phil?

    This story arc started out with the somewhat interesting premise of Mindy wanting to see Ruby receive some recognition. That wasn’t good enough for Batiuk. He added too many ingredients to the pot and ended up with an inedible mess.

    Ah, Lucy McKenzie. She sure got the looks in that family. Accursed Lillian had all the luck, poor Lucy had none.