Wow. Major Act II flashbacks, man. I didn’t think he’d go THERE with this story, but once again I vastly underestimated his shamelessness. He could have chosen to go with some nice breast cancer awareness platitudes and how “Lisa’s Story” was ultimately helping people and so forth. But, with his usual sledgehammer-like subtlety, he decided to go ahead and GIVE MARIANNE CANCER instead. So now she really is just like Lisa, except hotter and, you know, alive and everything.
Even after all these years and all the tedium, this is still one weird-ass f*cking comic strip, I’ll tell you what. This is just ghastly and the fact that BatYam doesn’t know this makes it even more twisted and strange. It doesn’t insult your intelligence, it shoots your intelligence in the back, rummages through its pockets and leaves it for dead. Ham-fisted, heavy-handed, this one is as tone-deaf and ridiculous as it gets. Once again BatYarn goes in a direction no one else would have even considered.
Has any comic strip ever used the word “lump” more than FW has? “Maybe For Better Or For Worse” did, but most of that strip’s tragedies weren’t cancer related, so I dunno. If it’s “Crankshaft” I definitely don’t want to know.
71 responses to “Some Like It Lumpy”
Just a big F! U! to BatHack, this is the worst, most insulting comic ever in Funkyuniverse.
What next? In a fit of jealous rage, Cayla announces she has two lumps in her breast? (Okay, it’s a lot more likely that she’ll corner Les and get all jealous on him, then look shamefaced when Les tells her the glorious news.)
And won’t this make wonderful advertising for the movie?
If he’s going to keep doing shit like this then why not do a Cayla cancer arc? It could be the complete opposite. She’d detect a lump, immediately see a competent caring doctor, get stronger and stronger during her treatment, then become officially cancer-free. Then Les would never speak of it or write about it again. It’d be a refreshing change of pace for Batiuk.
She’s lump. She’s lump. She’s lump. She might be dead.
I almost used that as a post title today. Great minds…
“Lumpy Space Princess” would also have worked.
In hindsight, “she’s going to tell Les that she has cancer” seems so incredibly obvious now, doesn’t it? The thing is, though, that no one else thinks quite like BatHead does, so the thought never enters your mind. Then it happens and you’re like “duh, of course!”.
“Wow” is the only word for it. This universe really does revolve around Les, doesn’t it? It gave him another woman with cancer to react to.
And now, a terrible thought: is Marianne about to thank Les for saving her life? Because if it wasn’t for him, she wouldn’t have been doing this movie, so she wouldn’t have been thinking about breast cancer, so she wouldn’t have noticed the lump that early or taken it that seriously…
Hell yes, Marianne is going to thank Les for saving her life! Regardless of box office numbers, the healing, life-saving properties of the “Lisa’s Story” movie will propel Voldemoore to a sweep of next year’s Oscars. Les will become the World Hero he was always meant to be! To Hell with all those who thought he was just a self-centered, self-pitying nebbish!
Also: Fuck you, Tom Batiuk. Seriously.
Yep, Les is a hero.
PS: FU Tom.
Kind of like how the Lisa’s Story film didn’t make any real progress until the cancer went back home to Westview.
Marianne should have asked that doctor to examine her freakishly long arms while she was at it!
I’m just more appalled by her excessive shabbiness. Looks like she just pulled out of the middle of a hair session with a stylist who hated her, went to bed and upon waking up, just threw on whatever and went, not showering or styling her hair.
And yet Batiuk’s trying to claim this is a hot young actress in great demand. She’s the Ashlee’s singlewide trailer of actresses.
“For her, it was the worst day of her life. For me, it was pay day.”
I faintly recall someone here a few weeks ago musing that the strip has grown away from being Cancer Cancerbean. Looks like he responded to the complaint.
If you want a vision of this strip’s future, imagine cancer being inflicted on everyone – forever.
Fun Fact: In the early 20th century, one of America’s most popular comic strips was Sidney Smith’s “The Gumps,” a humorous look at a typical middle-class family whose patriarch was the chinless, oddly mustached Andy Gump (draw your own parallels to Les Moore). The tone turned serious in April of 1929, when a beloved character named Mary Gold took ill and, at the end of month, passed away, the first major death in the “funnies.” Smith, the syndicate distributing “The Gumps,” and newspapers around the country received thousands of phone calls, letters, and telegrams filled with shock and outrage, and people actually took to wearing black buttons or armbands on the street as a memorial.
Since for 14 years, and up to this very day, Battyuk has tried desperately to coax the same kind of reaction out of his readers and garner the same attention and acclaim–and since he always says he hates the “Funky Winkerbean” name the strip got stuck with–might I suggest he change its moniker to “The Lumps” and focus on a different person from Les’ social circle come down with a terminal illness. We can see how each death affects him, how he manages to overcome his grief, and how many books he can pen before he runs out of friends and family.
J.J., I never knew about this, thank you!
Your excellent link led me to the article shown right below it on Twitter, titled “Comics’ Highest Profile Moments.” Two very interesting things about the article:
1. I’ve never been a Doonsbury fan, so I had no idea a character had died of AIDS in 1990. So much for Batiuk bragging in 2007 about how he believed the comics were ready for his brave, groundbreaking boldness blah blah blah.
2. 18 incidents are mentioned in the article, covering a century or so of comics history. No mention of Dead St. Lisa or The Cancer Story of Dead St. Lisa. HAH! Suck it, Bathack. You just don’t rate, no matter how many cancer cases you manage to cram into your ghoulfest.
That’s right! I wasn’t a regular reader of Doonsbury but I do remember that they often had serious topics there, so yes, Batty was late to that party.
Not only have other strips dealt with serious issues, they were more original and better written than this crap.
Ah yes, Andy from Doonesbury. I remember that storyline from my college days. I read that strip occasionally, but I really followed that particular story because it was so well done. It seems that one of the groundbreaking parts of that story (aside from AIDS being a comic strip plot) was that the character dared to joke about his condition-he still found humor and joy in life despite having a terrible disease that he knew was going to eventually take him. Google the strips online-they’re marvelous.
a different person from Les’ social circle come down with a terminal illness.
Who hasn’t already had one?
Lisa – cancer (dead, canonized)
Bull – CTE (dead, vilified)
Holly – cancer (remission)
Marianne – cancer (TBD)
Becky – dismemberment
Dinkle – deafness (cured by unknown means)
Mort Winkerbean – dementia (cured by unknown means), also broke a hip
Wally Winkerbean – PTSD
Adeela – PTSD
Funky – alcoholism
Kablichnik – implied alcoholism
Susan Smith – depressed, suicidal
Phil Holt – dead, unknown cause (recovered)
And there’s probably more. The only people in the Funkyverse who aren’t walking disease factories are the goddam 90-year-olds.
“Ted, take a look at this.”
“What am I looking at, Professor?”
“Well, the Electric Brain is measuring thought output. This is the ‘Ego’ section.”
“Is it usually that high?”
“No Ted…usually it’s down here, at this level, where it doesn’t interfere with writing or creative energy. But here–it’s been like that for nearly a month!”
“Good lord, Professor! What does this mean?”
“Well, Ted…it means the entire universe may be destroyed!”
–from “Terror of the Batiuk Monster” (1954, B&W, Italy), produced by Stanley Schlock.
1. Seriously? Breast cancer at age 22-23???
2. And why in the fuck would it be any of Lester’s business at any rate??
3. Doesn’t this now mean Lisa’s Story is officially cursed like Macbeth? Or is this some kind of delayed Karma for Lester’s infamous “kill fee’…
4. The hottest up and coming starlet in Hollywood gets cancer while playing a cancer patient… No way is the studio not going to exploit the fuck out of this to generate ticket sales…
That’s why theatrical superstition finds showfolk speaking of “The Scottish Play” or “The Scottish Tragedy.”
Should we therefore speak of
“The Cancer Book,” “The Cancer Movie” or “The Cancer Project”?
The only safe course of action is to never speak of it at all!
1. Seriously? Breast cancer at age 22-23???
A woman her age, even if we give Batiuk some benefit of the doubt and grant that she’s 28 or something, would be in real trouble if she had developed a cancerous lump at that age. It’s not even precancerous; it’s cancerous. That’s extraordinarily serious and dire.
That’s someone who predisposed to pretty aggressive cancer. Of course, the wonder is whether Batiuk even knows what he’s portraying.
It would be awesome if this arc gets dragged out by a whole bunch of scenes where Cayla misunderstands what’s going on and loses it and then she finds out the truth and begs for forgiveness and then she finds a lump too, because marrying one wasn’t enough and then… smug smirks.
I thought I’d found a lump, but it was just Les.
I burst out laughing at Batiuk out-Batiuking himself. I don’t know whether that’s the reaction he was going for, but how could this be anything but hilarious? It’s exactly what the most cynical among us would have facetiously predicted, never expecting he could actually sink so low.
It’s as if he read all the criticism and then said, “Mawkish over-reliance on cancer and crazy melodramatic coincidences, eh? I’ll show YOU who mawkishly over-relies on cancer and crazy melodramatic coincidences!”
First time I’ve LOL’ed at the strip in years.
“One must have a heart of stone to read the death of little Nell without laughing.”
so wrote Oscar Wilde. How *Funky Winkerbean* would have comforted him at Reading Gaol.
Stage 5? This strip goes to 11 in the worst of possible ways.
This is an underrated comment.
I should just put this comment on repeat but here goes: just when you think BatHack has hit rock-bottom, out comes the shovel.
I put the over/under at beady-eyed nitpicker comments today at 50. Bet the over. Cancer porn this disgusting deserves to be railed against.
Oh dear lord – it’s moments like this that make one want to toss their hands in the air and say “I just give up.” if a comic strip is going to be THIS stupid there really is no point in commenting on it.
As others note in retrospect it’s the most obvious and vet the most the most blatantly stupid and lazy and infuriating because of that plot twist he could have come up with. I was rather hoping for the ‘Cayla misunderstands and assumes Les is cheating on her’ so i could make the stupid joke about yes Les will sleep with Marianne but only is she’s wearing the Lisa wig.
This really is a mark of just how bankrupt and out of ideas the Author is …as we all sit here angry and bored and remembering fondly the days of Zanzibar the talking murder chimp.
DRUNK talking murder chimp.
Change one word in this song, and you’ve got the big number for Lisa’s Story: The Musical.
“Well, at least you didn’t get hassled by INS.”
“Well, at least you didn’t fall off a running treadmill and break the second-to-last Sony Discman in existence!”
I actually laughed. Right out loud. I somehow doubt that’s what Batiuk was going for.
I cringed so hard I think I broke something.
I have no words. Everyone has has covered what’s wrong here. Since Act 3 seems to be about wish fulfillment, is it possible that he somehow thinks this symbolically fixes the tragedy contained in the Lisa cancer arc?
You cannot be serious! Unbelievable.
For the last month or so since I started commenting here, one of the first things I do in the morning is read this blog and comment on the strip. Today, I didn’t rail at the computer screen, rest my head on the computer desk or toss my phone on the table for a few minutes in disgust. Today, I just shut down the computer and walked away.
Yesterday I wrote:
I’m sure the story will proceed as everyone predicts. Marianne will inform Les how playing Dead St. Lisa has transformed her life. She will thank him for allowing her to play the role, blah blah blah. Just as she gives Les a big hug and a peck on the cheek, Cayla will burst through the door. J’Accuse! The conflict will then be resolved in the lamest and most forgettable way possible. A 99% chance of smirks by Saturday
Wrong again. I should have known. Every single solitary time I think I have Batty figured out, he pie-faces me, struts by and says “Hold my Funky felt tip toots, watch this”.
No subtlety whatsoever. It can’t be Helen in make-up or Delores in catering. It has to be the actress who just played Lisa. Likewise, it absolutely positively just has to be breast cancer. It can’t be cervical, ovarian cancer or any other form of cancer. Furthermore, it can’t be Mason discovering he has melanoma after getting an unusual growth on his shoulder checked out. Why not prostate cancer? That’s something Batty actually does know something about.
It has to be breast cancer. In the actress who just completed filming a title role of a woman who died from breast cancer. A little too direct, don’t you think? Nice writing, Batty. What are you, twelve years-old?
Sorry to put my feminist hat on, but didn’t I just post the other day that Tom Batiuk is a blatant misogynist? His female characters are just background characters until he needs to inflict misery on someone. Batty likes making women doormats for the male characters, look like idiots, or jealous, psychotic harpies from hell. They’re always more than happy and willing to put out whenever the male characters are feeling horny.
Les Moore will never develop cancer because he’s a carrier. He IS cancer.
It has to be breast cancer because that’s the one that gets all the publicity and parades. Also possibly TB doesn’t know that women have inside parts.
Didn’t Sterling Archer, suave super spy / frat boy get breast cancer in one episode? Mason could play him in the live-action feature film adaptation.
You’re right. When people think of the pink ribbon their first thought is of breast cancer. The only reason I thought of cervical cancer is that I recently saw a GoFundMe for an acquaintance of mine. She and her husband both lost their jobs due to Covid.
I’m sure Batty refers to a woman’s genitals as her “baby-making parts”. 🙄
I always forget to look for Archer in the TV listings. It looks like a good show.
No, I think he calls them “playground parts” and weeps when they’re closed.
You’re right. 🤦
Good one. I’m still giggling.
Please do wear the feminist hat. I wish somebody in a Women’s Studies program would get hold of this comic strip and do a paper on it. I think Westview is an incel paradise. An addition to what you said about the female characters, they need male help to do almost anything; they have no agency when it comes to dating or marriage; and their role in any relationship is to serve as surrogate mommy for their assigned comic book addict. And the strip thinks it’s so empowering.
What you posted about dating and marriage in Funky Winkerbean is so true. Every male character MUST be paired up with a female character. Even characters like Mopey Pete and Dead Skunkhead, who are the epitome of incels, are paired up.
Nobody is simply dating. They’re either already married or engaged. Life isn’t like that. Several of my coworkers, especially the younger ones, are single. Some even prefer to remain single.
Linda Lopez-Bushka lost Bull. We haven’t seen her since. Sorry Linda, your services are no longer required. Good luck in your future endeavors.
Who ISN’T paired off in the Funkyverse? There’s Summer, unless you count Keisha, which hasn’t been confirmed in any way. Then there’s Cody, who isn’t even really in the strip anymore. There’s Bernie, I guess, but he’s a minor. And Chester, as far as we know. Pete was the last confirmed FW bachelor but that’s history now too.
I was primarily referring to the oft-featured adult men always getting paired up with the womenfolk. Not necessarily the gals or high school kiddies.
Chester is a good point.
Cody? He was a high school kid. Maybe he partnered up with his pal Owen. They did seem to be inseparable. I don’t think you meant Holly’s son Corey. But if you did, he’s engaged to Rocky.
There’s Flash and the freshly resurrected Phil Holt. Batty doesn’t seem to be too concerned with pairing up the oldsters. OTOH, there’s Mort Winkerbean. It’s believed he’s hooked up with Melinda Budd (or anything that lives, moves, breathes, or vegetates).
Buck Bedlow tried his best to be paired with Linda Lopez-Bushka but she rightfully shot him down. Don’t hit on the widow during the funeral, Buck. That’s tacky.
Was Tony Montoni married? He was a semi-offensive Italian stereotype so I would assume he was.
Mindy getting engaged to Mopey Pete proves she inherited her grandfather’s brains. What kind of idiot accepts a stuffed animal instead of an engagement ring.
She might change her mind about Buck Bedlow.
Cinderblock head was a real creep. I was so glad Linda told him to go pound sand.
Buck: I hit your husband so hard it caused permanent brain damage. How’s about you dump him for a real man? Dur hur hur!
My preceding comment:
Linda Lopez-Bushka lost Bull. We haven’t seen her since. Sorry Linda, your services are no longer required. Good luck in your future endeavors.
Aw, shit. I really am lousy at predicting things, aren’t I. That’s Linda Lopez in the SOSF banner at the top of the webpage, isn’t it. Harbinger of things to come.
Hi Linda. I was just talking about you.
As my Mom used to say, “Speak of the devil, you’ll smell brimstone every time.”
I’ve been doing this forever and I still can’t get a bead on this guy. Normal people simply can’t force themselves to think like he does, which makes predicting his next move futile. It’s always WAY dumber than you think it’ll be, even if you lower your expectations as far as they’ll go.
I have to confess that It crossed my mind during this story arc that Marianne might develop breast cancer. Method actor and all that. Haha. I never believed Batiuk would sink this low and actually go there.
Batty probably believes he is performing some sort of public service. He lacks a filter (or an editor) to tell him that a lot of people would find today’s strip offensive.
I’m officially out of the Batiuk prediction business. The man clearly has no boundaries when it comes to matters of good taste. To predict him, I’d have to think like him. It’s not possible. It seems I have some sense of decency and the common sense he lacks.
Please, please let it go like this:
1. Marianne says the lumpectomy was successful and all seems ok.
2. Later, doctor finds that films/results were mixed up and Marianne is Stage IV, inoperable.
3. Les takes care of her as she dies, Masky McDeath claims another one, Les mourns, all celebrate Les’ wonderfulness.
4. Time skip. Les is 10 years older, Summer (seen briefly in one strip) is still in college.
5. Les writes Marianne’s Story. Hollywood beats down his door. Young Marianne-look-alike ingenue, Tika Fantom, is cast in the role of Marianne.
6. At the Oscars ceremony, as Les clutches his Oscars, Tika pulls him aside to confess she’s found a lump, but it was excised and all is okay now.
No doubt, Les was disappointed when Marianne told him she had a lumpectomy. He was so turned-on until she said that.
And now he wants details: “How bad was it?” (smirk) “One lump or two?”
I’d like to give Les’s head some lumps.
Is it canon now that Les causes cancer?
How is it that nobody at the studio knew about this, including Mason Jar? Unlike Batiuk’s writing a lumpectomy isn’t a trivia thing. It’s surgery and recovery can take a minimum of several days. It carries a risk of infection. There’s a bandage and, possibly, a drainage tube. If MW had any scenes that required her to strip down (an examination room or bathing) people are going to notice something. There’s also fatigue and pain medications, both of which are going to slow her down. She should have told the director and studio executives about this, because it’s obviously going to effect her performance.
“… Anyway, my doctor said that at my age, and with my family history, the most likely culprit was all of the carcinogenic material in Mason and Cindy’s burning house. I’m suing them for everything they’re worth and retiring to Maui. There will be no ‘Starbuck Jones 3.’”
That wasn’t supposed to be a reply…
Murphy Brown had a lumpectomy in 1997, the same year Charles M. Schulz wrote Tom Batiuk a letter.
Prediction: In-universe, “Lisa’s Story: The Motion Picture” will only do extremely modest business, though it will somehow have a ten-year release cycle and be playing local theaters even after it’s issued on DVD and Blu-ray. It will get some bad reviews from critics who don’t understand its beauty and purpose — although the reviews from “real people” and non-Hollywood sources will be gushing. It will not win any mainstream industry awards, crushing some spirits, but will get some recognition from cancer awareness organizations (perhaps in a ceremony at Montoni’s) and everyone will eventually agree that this is the REAL prize. Those involved with making LS:TMP will agree that the movie was a painful struggle to make, and was financially unrewarding — but if it saved one life (Marianne’s), it was worth it. Les is saint for having made the picture, for it all was really done by him.
I’ll just wait until we’re in a crowd so I can draw away a sniveling, woe-is-me, narcissistic douchebag to give him this very personal update on my health because I guess he matters the world to me(?)
Marianne, honey, you are carrying this Method Acting thing way too far.
There is something very creepy about this “comic strip”. Today’s wretched dialogue and artwork is beyond insulting a readers intelligence. The look of concern on Les face is a premonition of the Sisphysian arc to come.
WHY is she telling Les this? WHY would she think he needs to know? She barely knows him. They’ve met what, twice? Ok they spent time together on that boat during the burning of LA, and talked for a while. Does that mean that he’s now an intimate confidante that she shares her personal medical history with? Will she be calling him in Westview with regular updates?
Oh wait, it’s because he carried her out of Mason’s mansion when she was unconscious, I guess. That whole arc was so stupid I forgot about it. He saved her life so now they’re forever connected. Good grief.
Was it Mason or Les who talked her down from the Hollywood sign? Obvs it was a male character, and not her mom or anyone like that.
Seventy comments! Well done, you magnificent bastards!