Time in a Bottle.

Link to Today’s Strip.

For the best part of 10 years, I thought I understood the Funkyverse.

Crankshaft and Funky Winkerbean take place in two neighboring towns, Centerview and Westview. They both take place in roughly ‘present day’ in terms of technology and occasional oblique references to current events. But they also take place roughly ten years apart. Crankshaft is set in the past of Funky Winkerbean. It really wasn’t that hard to understand.

Crankshaft takes a picture.

Crankshaft. September 3, 2011

And Les looks at it framed on a mantle.

Funky Winkerbean. September 3, 2011

Jeff reminisces about his old Starbuck Jones comic. And considers buying the last issue of an Action Comics storyline he never finished.

Crankshaft. March 20, 2014
Crankshaft. March 28, 2014

And years later he gifts the Starbuck Jones comic to Holly for Cory’s collection. And she gifts him the end of the ‘Congorilla’ story in return.

Funky Winkerbean. April 4, 2014
Funky Winkerbean. September 5, 2014

Crankshaft and his Bus Barn buddies complete in a bowing competition against a younger Montoni’s Pizza crew.

Crankshaft. December 2, 2015

And Funky recalls the same event from his perspective in flashback. Complete with old timey photo corners.

Funky Winkerbean. November 30, 2015
Funky Winkerbean. December 2, 2015

Crankshaft’s secret hoard of Bean’s End back catalogues is discovered. And his daughter sells them to a strangely young and buff Chester Hagglemore.

Crankshaft. June 7, 2018
Crankshaft. June 9, 2018

Years later, Chester puts the entire collection up for sale to fund his new comics empire. And Morton Winkerbean buys Crankshaft back his favorite issue.

Funky Winkerbean. June 12, 2018
Funky Winkerbean. June 22, 2018

Simple. One is past. One is future. In fact. I would almost nearly give it credit for being clever. A weird way to tell a story non-linearly. But it adds a certain depth to the proceedings if you’re in the mood to be charitable to Batiuk’s intended sentiments.

For example, the county fair arcs.

Funky Winkerbean. August 13, 2019
Crankshaft. August 15, 2019
Crankshaft. August 16, 2019
Funky Winkerbean. August 16, 2019.

Taken alone, they’re a bunch of bland fair puns on the Crankshaft end, and an awkward date ending in an even more awkward wedding proposal between Mopey Pete and Minty in Funky Winkerbean. But I’ve got a soft spot for grandparents. Seeing the younger Mindy enjoy the fair with the ‘Gramps’ that loves her, simultaneous to seeing an older Mindy fondly remember those moments years and years into the future when he can no longer be there…It kinda gets me in the feels. She’s trying to pass on to her boyfriend the vital essence of a person she loves who is now a weakened shell of what she once knew.

We get on Mindy for being boring and stupid. And it’s true. Because she is bland af. But this is the closest she comes to being a character to me. Because I get it. We’re seeing both sides of a painful transition, where a precious adult goes from being a childhood pillar, to a fragile keepsake. The story is greater than the sum of it’s parts.

So there. I’ve complimented Batiuk for something. Stop the presses. I’ve complimented him for using the time skip well. And he’s even done it more than once. It’s interesting, and occasionally sometimes even approaching good.

So why? Why by all that is sweet and bright? Is he throwing it all away over the pandemic!?! WHAT IS EVEN THE POINT?!?

When I heard that The Valentine was closing in Crankshaft, I could still make it work in my mind. Yeah, the location has showed up multiple times in Funky Winkerbean, still owned by an older Max Murdoch. Yeah, THE STARBUCK JONES PREMIERE was held there. But maybe, I thought, he would find a way to give Max back the theater after a while. Max has years and years to get that theatre back in time for it’s appearances in Funky Winkerbean. I can’t blame Batiuk for wanting to be topical, and hey, it’s conflict at least, so yeah, sure, let him lose the theater for a few years…

But then…then there was that fateful day in May.

Crankshaft. May 24, 2021.

Jeff shows up at the Valentine theatre with a rock he’s not supposed to get FOR MORE THAN A DECADE.

Funky Winkerbean. September 6, 2020.

Why?

Why?

Why?

And my only hope, was maybe he forgot. Maybe, just once, he forgot which strip was supposed to be the past of which. Maybe, just maybe, this dumb rock from Bronson Canyon was not the rock that shattered the temporal pane that separates past from future in the Funkyverse. I begged. I pleaded. Please don’t do this, Tom. Please, don’t rip away the final shreds of sense propping up the cardboard walls of your paper doll playhouse. Don’t be like this. Make the right choice, and tell me that you will stick with what you’ve established.

And today…

He told me no.

WHY ARE YOU LIKE THIS TOM WHY

54 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

54 responses to “Time in a Bottle.

  1. Epicus Doomus

    “Maybe Marianne’s cancer treatment was a complete success and she’s back at 100% again!”

    “Actually, it’s metastasized to her lungs, liver, spleen, pancreas, brain and big toe. She’s in the ICU and has less than a week to live. Now help me lift this stupid pumpkin YOU had to have, lesser second wife.”

    “Maybe Mason can find a way to successfully market “Lisa’s Story” as a home video release and it’ll become a cult classic like “Donnie Darko!”

    “Mason is an imbecilic tool, you clod. He didn’t even play me right. Now get in the car, inferior replacement wife.”

    “I was thinking about the chicken for dinner tonight, with the garlic potatoes you like and some fresh greens I grew and picked myself just for you!”

    “Blech. Your chicken is always way too dry and I only said I liked your shitty potatoes to get you off my back for a second. Just make me my hot dogs and peas and leave it on a tray outside my studio door, second wife I was forced to settle for.”

    He’s just unbearable. I always find it astounding that BatYam thinks this jerk is someone his readers like, enjoy and relate to. He’s either doing it deliberately to troll the world or he has no idea how totally detestable Les is. I can never tell. And no matter how hard he tries or how many times he references it in FW, I’m never going to read his other comic strip. I assume he must have done some sappy maudlin “Crankshaft” arc about that stinky old movie house finally going out of business and how “modern life” is viciously trampling his nostalgic childhood memories with its crass vulgar boot and so forth. Don’t care, not reading it.

    • Sourbelly

      Thumbs up for the two MAD references: “clod” and “blech”. And the rest of your comment, of course.

      • Epicus Doomus

        If I was more artistically inclined I’d draw a big collage full of ICU units, wheelchairs, cemeteries, grave markers, weeping people and falling leaves and when you fold it in it becomes a portrait of Les.

        “What horrible, unspeakable tragedy makes the worst human suffering and misery seem tolerable and even preferable to enduring it?

        “Les Moore”

        • The Duck of Death

          Looking for misery? Seek out someone who adores
          Moping and smirking. He’s like a human bedsore!

  2. none

    The simplest solution would have been to keep Crankshaft permanently set within a single year, like 1994.

    Go to the wikipedia entry on the strip and here’s the first sentence to describe him:
    “Ed (Edward Roger Dale) Crankshaft, Sr., is a widower with two daughters and a son (Eddie) who died as an infant. Crankshaft is a World War II veteran.., ”
    and we know that the prior Sunday strip where he refers to admiring mid-50’s Indians players as a child is not going to stop him from posting future strips where Ed is a WW2 vet again.

    But he won’t do that. Much like he won’t refrain from one or both strips referring to the pandemic, particularly at the same time. Much like he won’t edit or redo strips written months in advance which refer to aspects of the pandemic which make zero logical sense by the time they’re published. Observe that I said “won’t”, not “can’t”. He could. But, as he stated in his blog posts about Batom, it’s all made up and it doesn’t matter anyway. There’s a deadline to make and a check to cash and if you care about his bullshit more than he does, that’s your fault.

    Meanwhile every now and then some newspaper will interview him with for some ultra-softball fluff piece about some “topical” arc which either strip will have, and beneath his demure candor combined with his exaltation for the storytelling behind the strips, he is laughing. Silently laughing at the top of his lungs. Can you hear it?

    • Unca $crooge

      I asked Todd about the Cranky age thing and he surprisingly responded:

      “Just recalibrating time a bit to keep Ed around age wise. House rules.
      T. B.”

      I told him that bothered me because that made Ed somewhere around my age since Rocky was a fave of mine back in the day. I then asked how there was Covid in both strips with the ten-year time-gap and he didn’t answer.

  3. billytheskink

    This… this strip is why us beady-eyed nitpickers sweat the small stuff here at SOSF. TB demands his strip be taken seriously when he doesn’t take it seriously himself. He regularly and flagrantly alters the history of his universe and offers no reason why, not even an unsatisfying one.

    These continuity breaks are never for any fun or entertaining purpose, they are in the service of his latest “important” issue… that is, if they have any point at all. Oftentimes, it seems he simply forgot much of the history he is referencing and doesn’t care to check. The ONE time he did was a largely unnecessary correction to his corresponding St. Spires organist arcs. Pete “Reynolds”, Bull’s/Coach Stropp’s final game, Les and the Montoni’s fire, now this… Why? We’ll never know.

    • Epicus Doomus

      The Batiukiverse is a huge conundrum where everything contradicts something else and it’s so consistent and so uniform I sometimes believe it’s deliberate. Then I’ll see all kinds of evidence that contradicts that premise and I’m right back where I started. I find it extremely hard to believe that he doesn’t keep a “master timeline” somewhere in that studio of his but it’s pretty obvious that if he does, he rarely looks at it.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Speaking of continuity: do you remember when Ed Crankshaft couldn’t read? Apparently Tom Batiuk didn’t, because in the strips Harriet showed today, he’s got him obsessing over collecting printed catalogs decades earlier. And these aren’t minor nitpicks. He constantly forgets or ignores central details of his own lore.

      • J.J. O'Malley

        Ed’s rudimentary reading skills (which he gained in an arc years ago) are sufficient to get him through a Bean’s End catalog and place a phone or, later, online order. All he has to do is look at the pictures and give his credit card number, prices be damned.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          But Ed read the catalogs when they came out, long before he acquired his rudimentary reading skills late in life:

          And he canonically missed his shot at the major leagues because he couldn’t read. So it’s hard to imagine how he could have gotten anything out of a printed catalog.

  4. Sourbelly

    I’m pretty sure that at some point, Tomboy finally figured out that the 10-year difference between Crapshaft and FW was a stupid, pointless idea. So he’s just abandoned it without any sort of explanation, because the only audience he acknowledges is inside his own head. Those of us existing outside his skull are just there to shower him with awards. And so far we’ve been too stupid to bestow them.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      If that’s true, then it’s some point between when he was writing the strips that came out this March, and now. Because that is when we got the Cranky/Funky crossover of the organist of St. Spires dying in Crankshaft and being replaced by Lillian, and then Lillian aging out of the role in Funky Winkerbean and being replaced by Dinkle.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Nothing is ever well thought out with him. He never looks at the long range impacts, he just does what he needs to do to get the job done today. Even the name FW was a poorly thought out choice.

      But to him, he has created a rich universe with memorable characters.

  5. Hitorque

    1. So I presume the Valentine was literally the last pseudo arthouse indie theatre in the entire state and there’s no possible place to screen the movie? Hell, Lester as co-producer couldn’t get a copy and screen it at the local library auditorium?? If you make a $100 million dollar movie with a top tier cast with evidently zero distribution, zero publicity and zero public awareness, did you REALLY make a movie??

    1a. And for the record, just because a theater is older than dirt and only shows MST3K flicks not even the hipsters would watch ironically doesn’t make it “arthouse”…

    2. This is the part where Cayla should ask about pawning the movie rights off to some online streaming service, since they’ll take most anything… But then I remember it’s still 1997 in the Funkyverse as far as the internet is concerned.

    3. And the time difference between the two strips never ever made sense to me… I stopped trying to figure it out and just accepted it.

  6. J.J. O'Malley

    First, kudos to CBH for hitting it out of the park the last two days, from Tuesday’s exhaustive look at recent cancer-themed cinema to today’s exhausting chronicle of Battyuk’s self-imposed Iron Curtain of Time and how over the last few months he’s seen fit to tear it down, apparently all for the chance to run some COVID-related jokes in “Crankshaft.” For a man who places such importance on Silver Age DC Comics continuity, it’s amazing that he now presents us, sans explanation, with dual-aged characters in his strips.

    I may have harped on this before, but TB once again confuses “art house cinemas,” which generally refers to theatres specializing in showing independent and foreign films, with “rep (repertory) cinemas,” venues where vintage classics from Hollywood’s Golden Age were the order of the day. Admittedly there were a few locations that did both, but the Valentine was never seen hosting a John Woo or Coen Brothers new release, just Gene Autry serials.

    Also…is there any reason why the Valentine Gentleman’s Club STILL couldn’t have a screening of “Lisa’s Story: The Little Film That Couldn’t”?They could host a breast cancer benefit where the dancers show how to perform self-exams and the patrons could stuff pink ribbons into their G-strings. “The Valentine: Our Playground Is Never Closed for Repairs.”

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Ah, the “Iron Curtain of Time,” which the Time Trapper inflicted on the Legion of Super-Heroes! Thanks for jogging the memory banks, Mr. O’Malley.

      Somehow this reminds me of DC’s policy about Superman and Superboy. DC originally had Superboy’s adventures take place in an era prior to 1938 (when Superman debuted in *Action* #1); however, by the 1960s, “the adventures of Superman when he was a boy” seemed to take place in the 1950s (television was common in the stories) and, eventually, DC opted for a decade-plus (no more than fifteen, I believe) in the past approach. Wherever Superman was in the present, Superboy would always be that much behind.

      If we’re not going to be in *Gasoline Alley,* it’s understandable (as Bilbo Baggins says of the One Ring, it grew, I didn’t), but it makes me appreciate Sue Grafton’s choice in the Kinsey Millhone mysteries to have the action unfold in 1982-90 rather than having Kinsey go from thirty-two to sixty-seven.

      Wishing everyone truth, justice and a better tomorrow.

  7. Gerard Plourde

    I shouldn’t be amazed by his abandonment of the ten year difference, but it is interesting to note that with the timeline he described in Sunday’s Crankshaft, Ed, Jfff, and Pmm would be roughly the same age. Just a hot mess.

  8. Bobby Ewing

    Nice shower.

  9. Y. Knott

    You’ve complimented Tom Batiuk for something? Too little, too late. The only proper compilment for Tom Batiuk is total, complete, unadulterated approbation from all quarters. Anything less, and it’s obvious you all don’t *deserve* the painstaking efforts he puts into his work!

    Which, even if it’s somehow not receiving the level of praise it deserves … and even if Tom Batiuk can’t devote ALL his artistic genius to it because it’s so creatively draining trying to create art for other — and hence lesser — beings who nitpick and Do Not Get It … is still brilliant.

    And that’s not even getting into the fact it would actually be MORE brilliant if the world gave Tom Batiuk his due, because then he could *really* devote himself to his work, even though there would probably still be nitpickers who would be WRONG in their relentless nitpickery, just like the way they are WRONG now, because they pick on stuff that doesn’t matter because they’re not looking at the BIG PICTURE which is truly brilliant, or *would* be truly brilliant if the nitpickers would just SHUT UP and let me work the way I want to and praise me unceasingly for that.

    Um, hold it. I mean, uh, let TOM BATIUK work the way HE wants. And, y’know, praise him. Unceasingly.

    Tom Batiuk. *Not* me. To be clear, I’m not Tom Batiuk. Not at all. I’m just a random internet commenter.

    And I’ll bet Tom Batiuk doesn’t even *read* these comments anyway! He’s got better things to do. Like a great crossover I have planned where it will turn out that Holly had a #MeToo encounter that should really rake in some New York Times column inches…

    Wait. That TOM BATIUK has planned. Dammit!

    • LTPFTR

      *To be read in the voice of Columbo*

      Ahhhhh, I don’t wanna bother you, Mr. Notbatiuk, but one more question. How can the twins be preadolescents in Crankshaft and high schoolers in Funky Winkerbean? It’s just one of those things that gets in my head and keeps rolling around in there like a marble.

  10. Dood

    I dunno. Watching Les weight-wrestling a pumpkin — all “eeee, aaaahhh, unhhhhh,” like he’s clean and jerking 500 pounds — is almost, almost mind you, worth the price of admission today.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I like how sheepish he is in the last panel when he’s admitting to knowing about the strip club. He looks like he’s 13. Which he is, really.

      • billytheskink

        Some folks never change… I mean, he’s clearly after Roland’s Playboys in the very first FW strip.

      • J.J. O'Malley

        “Last I heard it was a strip club or something.”

        “Really? Say, what’s this card that fell out of your pocket while you were struggling with that 12-pound pumpkin? It says ‘VALENTINE GENTLEMAN’S RETREAT CHAMPAGNE ROOM CLUB – GOLD VIP MEMBER #00069 LES MOORE,’ and your photo’s in the bottom left!”

  11. be ware of eve hill

    I think it’s kind of funny that a man who carried a movie starlet out of a burning house is struggling with a 20-pound pumpkin. Is it me, or does Les appear to have put on quite a few pounds? Especially panel #2 yesterday. He seemed to have a pot belly.

    I always get a kick out of the automobiles in Funky Winkerbean. They appear to be a sub-compact SUV clown car crossover. They’re awfully small. The Winkerbeans were shown to have a similar vehicle the other week when Funky drove Holy home from the hospital. Do they only come in light blue? Are zipatone (screentone) windows standard or an option? Do they run on gas, batteries, or do you wind them up?

    As per usual, Cayla is wearing her obligatory purple.

    As per usual, Les is an intolerable a-hole. Cayla makes a hopeful statement and Les instantly shoots her down. Kudos to Ayers for Cayla’s contrasting facial expressions.

    Question to any Ohioans: Are the trees that far along yet? Summer only ended four weeks go. I haven’t lived in Ohio since the 1980s, but it seems kind of too soon to me.

    • The Duck of Death

      According to this site, foliage in northeast Ohio is predicted to be near peak about now. https://smokymountains.com/fall-foliage-map/. However, it also says it’s “partial” in NYC, and there’s barely an orange leaf to be seen, so I can’t verify its accuracy.

    • Gerard Plourde

      I was in Buffalo over the weekend and everything was still pretty green.

    • Suicide Squirrel

      Judging by the ‘Crankshaft’ comic featuring a younger Chester Hagglemore, Dan Davis likes drawing pygmymobiles too. Check out the white minivan. I didn’t know they made minivans that short. Jump seats in the third row?

      In my suburban Akron neighborhood, the leaves are just starting to change color. I live in a relatively new development, so there aren’t any large trees like oaks that drop tons of leaves for weeks on end. I haven’t noticed the foliage elsewhere in town. Any time I leave my development, I’m too busy driving or it’s dark.

      As a former Ohioan, you probably remember brown burnt-out lawns in August. The grass has been green since early spring, and the landscapers are still cutting it every week. We’ve received more rain than usual this year.

  12. Paul Jones

    I just wonder how he will justify the messy and unnecessary mess he’s made of things. Will he drop the “it’s called writing” bomb?

  13. Smirks 'R Us

    really wondering the same thing. I think a real “writer” would be mortified at all the errors and timeline malfunctions.

    • The Duck of Death

      A “real writer” would have a functional bio of all his characters and some kind of timeline to keep the time-streams straight, so these errors wouldn’t happen.

      It’s pathetic that the snarkers here have a far better concept of Batiuk’s continuity from memory, and a far greater willingness to research past strips, than Batiuk himself.

      • Suicide Squirrel

        There used to be character bios on funkywinkerbean.com (Meet the Cast), but they were from Act II. The bios were woefully obsolete and were removed a few years ago. They appeared to have been drawn by famous comic book artist John Byrne. The crankshaftcomic.com website hasn’t been updated in a very long time.

        I’ve never seen anything from Batyuk resembling a Funky Winkerbean timeline.

        There is a timeline maintained here on Son of Stuck Funky. See the Act III tab at the top of the page.

        • The Duck of Death

          Yes, it’s kinda sad how neglected most of the FW site is, but that’s not what I was thinking of; I mean that most writers will literally write notes and biographies for major characters, in order to keep their continuity straight. It’s common for writers to write lengthy bios that include details they never use. It’s just a way to help flesh out the character to make the character easier to write. It also helps ensure that you don’t contradict yourself.

          I mean, assuming you care. We’re dealing here with someone who doesn’t.

  14. Don

    “Lisa’s Story” is going to end up as a sleeper hit on Amazon Prime, especially after its Oscar nomination(s) (“Oh, did we forget to mention the original song at the end of the film that we never bothered to mention before this moment? It got nominated as well, in addition to the writing!”), and thanks to some fine print in the contract, Les is going to start getting reasonably-sized royalty checks just when he is about to have to sell the house to pay for Summer’s and Keisha’s extended college education when their athletic scholarships run out…oh, wait, they won’t need do, as Summer and Keisha will get paid for use of their name/image/likeness by, wait for it, Montoni’s Pizza and Atomik Comix.

  15. Banana Jr. 6000

    I think there’s an underlying cause to all of the continuity problems in the Funkyverse: Tom Batiuk can’t say no to an idea. If he gets an idea he likes, it’s going into the strip. He doesn’t care how much it violates long-established canon, contradicts yesterday’s strip, hjiacks the current arc, or makes no sense. You’ve heard of the writing advice “kill your darlings”? Batiuk nurtures his monstrosities.

    • The Duck of Death

      I really think on some level it’s not that he doesn’t care about canon or contradictions; on some level, he’s not even aware of them. Have you ever heard a little kid tell a story? Kid stories aren’t linear; they are just blurted litanies of fragmentary thoughts or things that seem cool to them. Batiuk’s arcs remind me of stories a 7-year-old might tell about the world of their toys.

      What’s especially odd is that Batiuk has backslid so far. He started out as a competent gag-a-day writer. My high school experience was so different from Act I FW that for all I know, he might have even been a quite good gag-a-day writer. Some of the gags in Act I are interesting and surprising, and there were good running gags, too. I remember a strip where Crazy Harry’s locker, which he lived in, was being shown by a real estate agent to a young couple looking for a starter home. A joke like that shows an awareness of how to nurture a running gag by going in unexpected directions and heightening it to absurd levels.

      Act II held together reasonably well, by and large. Wally and Cindy’s marriage, Funky’s alcohol problems, etc, were all competently handled in arcs that didn’t swerve off the road or peter out to nothing in the middle. Lisa’s story, yes, made me want to send Summer out to play and then fiercely bitchslap everyone involved, but at least it had a beginning, middle, and end, nonsensical as parts of it were.

      The trouble started when Batiuk skipped the hard part — how do you put the pieces back together when someone dies too young? Guilt, anger, depression, fear — raising a daughter who’s lost her mother, which is about the most devastating thing that can happen to a little kid — all skipped right over in the most cowardly way.

      And ever since then, it’s been Attention Deficit Self-Indulgence nonstop, and every character has slowly morphed into an author avatar.

      What happened? Seriously. What happened here? A stroke? A blow to the head? Alcoholic wet brain? Joining a cult? How do you explain this late-in-life incompetence? Most people get better with practice. This is the only guy who gets worse.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I think “what happened” is Tom Batiuk stopped having any supervision. And he just did whatever he wanted to after that. His blog mentioned two particular editors who supported his desire to do more serious stories. The most recent one died in 2006: about 11 months before the strip started going downhill. Since then, Batiuk has never mentioned needing anyone’s permission or support to do anything. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that this is when Funky Winkerbean began its rapid descent.

        I see no evidence that Batiuk is losing mental acuity. I’ve speculated about autism, but that’s not a condition you acquire later in life. And he didn’t show signs of it earlier in FW’s run. So I don’t know what’s driving all this strangeness.

        I think he needs an editor again. Somebody at the syndicate needs to take an interest in his work, and have the power to direct it.

        • Gerard Plourde

          His May 13, 2008 blog entry mentioned his being in a car accident recently (which would be early 2008) from which he was still recovering in March of 2009 (March 1, 2009 mentions rehab that was either still ongoing or had recently ended). The November 6, 2012 Blog entry mentions his first return to the Buckeye Book Fair since the accident. That’s held in Wooster, OH, less than 30 miles from Medina. I’ve often wondered how serious his injurie were to cause such a curtailment in his touring.

          • The Duck of Death

            That’s interesting, and I wonder if there was some lasting change or impairment, neurological or psychological, that might have affected the quality of the strip. He did do a somewhat spooky arc about Funky being in an auto accident and regressing to adolescence. It’s an intriguing parallel, because I feel in latter years Batiuk’s work has swung from crotchety get-off-my-lawn-itude to arrested-development adolescent obsessions.

          • Gerard Plourde

            The Duck of Death:

            I did a Google search and found this in a May, 2018 article on Cleveland.com –
            “Also in 2008, Batiuk was involved in a head-on collision and was laid up for a long period of time with head, neck and shoulder injuries. To recover from the accident, he decided to train for a climb of Africa’s Mount Kilimanjaro, a dream of his for years.”

            That describes a serious accident. And I think it would have lasting effects in all three areas you mentioned.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Aw, fudge. I wish read this before I made my last post. Bummer, I had no idea Batiuk was traumatized by a horrific automobile accident. Last December, I was in a bad automobile accident and I purposely haven’t driven much since. It was six months before replaced my vehicle, which was totaled. I kind of know what it’s like for him. I feel bad now.

            Where’s the comment delete function?

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Wow, I didn’t know that either. Now I feel like I ought to ease up on the guy. My dad had a bad accident with some head trauma, and he just wasn’t the same man after that.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        He got nominated for a Pulitzer. Been chasing awards ever since.

      • be ware of eve hill

        We all know Batty’s preferred writing style is “Tell, don’t show” but his work covering the period between a few weeks after Lisa’s death to the beginning of Act III is his Magnum Opus. It is Batty’s unique “Don’t tell, don’t show” period. It’s absolutely the best work he’s ever done.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      May I borrow “nurtures his monstrosities” some time? I think it’s a wonderful term.

      It made me think of William Blake.

      A Poison Tree
      By William Blake
      I was angry with my friend;
      I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
      I was angry with my foe:
      I told it not, my wrath did grow.

      And I waterd it in fears,
      Night & morning with my tears:
      And I sunned it with smiles,
      And with soft deceitful wiles.

      And it grew both day and night.
      Till it bore an apple bright.
      And my foe beheld it shine,
      And he knew that it was mine.

      And into my garden stole,
      When the night had veild the pole;
      In the morning glad I see;
      My foe outstretched beneath the tree.

      Must…not…try…to…imagine…what…Les…would…teach…his…class…about…Blake…(I shall think of Julie Walters and Michael Caine in “Educating Rita” instead.)

  16. Suicide Squirrel

    I’ve learned not to dwell on the continuity of the Batiukverse. That place only leads to madness.

  17. Cabbage Jack

    “Your dad brought his lucky rock!” followed by Jeff mutely holding it up in the apparently serious expectation it would save the movie theater is simultaneously the saddest and accidently funniest thing I’ve read in the Funkyverse since Act I

  18. Hitorque

    And as a wearer of eyeglasses, can I say how much I fucking despise the trope of “guy takes off his glasses to reveal pea-sized eyes?

  19. The sad thing is the rupturing of the space-time continuum doesn’t even qualify for the top five things that bug me about this storyline. Ending a multi-year yarn offstage with a resigned shrug, on the other hand, definitely makes the list.

  20. Mr. A

    Dangit, I don’t read the blog for one day and I miss this level of timeline shenanigans? I thought this was going to be a boring week…

    • Mr. A

      (In terms of the strip, I mean. CBH’s writing is always on point.)

    • Mr. A

      Here’s my baseless speculation (I announce to an empty room). After writing the Valentine-goes-out-of-business arc, Batiuk realized, as we did, that the Starbuck Jones premiere four years ago didn’t place at a strip club. On the one hand, he could have ignored this entirely and moved on; on the other hand, he could have “repaired” the contradiction by using a later story arc to re-open the Valentine at an appropriate point in the futurepast. Instead, he had his characters make a passing remark to establish that the Valentine shut down four years after the premiere, at the cost of screwing up his screwy timelines even further.