Welp, anyone who guessed Cory Winkerbean over the last few days, I’m sorry but we have to cross him off our list. He’s appeared in the same panel as the Pizza Monster, so now has a better alibi than dead characters, like Bull. We’ve had inexplicable resurrections numerous times, but only one instance of quantum superposition.
Not that I thought Cory was a likely candidate. Though he might have strong means and motive, we can rule him out for the simple reason that Cory Winkerbean is the smallest adult in this strip (ever since that actual dwarf stopped hanging around with John circa 2011.) Cory may be a former military man in his mid twenties, but he has the appearance and build of an old-timey malnourished newspaper boy.
And while yesterday we confirmed that the Pizza Monster could not be someone fat, he also cannot be someone short. Even given the artistic license of comic body proportions, the dramatic angles used in the framing, and the fact that the pizza box head could be taller than the wearer, if we use the shoulders as a measuring stick the Pizza Monster Person has to be as tall, if not taller than Funky.
We can also tell from their ankles and footwear, that the Pizza Monster never wears shoes that would significantly increase their height.
In the often sloppy art of this sloppy strip, it is hard to gague how tall people are by measuring them against objects, but in my exhaustive research I’ve discovered that there does tend to be consistency on which characters are drawn taller than others when multiple characters are standing in a panel.
The comparison seems to be: Tony < All Other Women < Summer < Les </= Wally </= Funky < Mason < Darin.
Funky is portrayed as a tall guy. Wally is usually drawn about equal if not a hair shorter, with Les another notch lower. Mason and Darin are taller. I would feel safe crossing off our list of suspects any character shorter than Les Moore. So, Pizza Monster’s gender mindscrew last year notwithstanding, I am confidently crossing off the list all women. Though the idea of Cindy borrowing Traffic Helicopter 1 to prank her X-man has it’s allure, let’s be real, she wouldn’t be caught dead in pure white sneakers, even if her face was obscured.
So, we’ve narrowed Pizza Monster down to a tall, slim, limber, lighter skinned man. We’ve got several suspects left, and as commenter Suicide Squirrel pointed out yesterday believable motives for this prank are varied enough to make it hard to narrow down based on the crime itself.
1). Funky’s increasing agitation. It’s fun messing with the fat man’s head.
3.) Montoni’s staff getting revenge on Funky for unfair working conditions and/or low pay.
4). Revenge on Montoni’s for their rancid cardboard pizza.
5.) Revenge for the Great Westview Salmonella Outbreak of 2018.
6.) It’s Halloween.
But I’m sure we’ve got more clues to find if we just look closely enough. The dossiers and profiles in the comments yesterday were creative, thoughtful, fun, and wacky….everything Funky Winkerbean isn’t. If you’re not reading the comments of Son of Stuck Funky you’re doing this wrong.
A few commenters yesterday quipped that this dumb, lazy, illogical storyline doesn’t deserve this level of analysis. And they’re completely right. This material probably doesn’t deserve the consideration we’re giving to it. But there are only so many times you can write a blog post saying: “This just isn’t funny. Boy, Tom sure is lazy and self-absorbed.”
So, I try to limit criticism like that to the strips where it is most effective; not more than a couple times a shift. I would get tired of writing it, you would get tired of reading it, and this wonderful little place would die. It’s why the rotation of writers is so gosh darn important.
Every couple weeks, one of us poor saps gets locked in a room with a big stack of whatever wisps of brittle, old barnyard bedding Batiuk saw fit to rake together and shovel out. And we’re told, ‘make something of it.’ And while no one would really blame us if we just flopped down a took a nap, we all set to spinning anyway. We spin poems and jokes, analysis and observations, vitriol and sarcasm. And I usually end up selling out to the twisted little man named Grandpa Google, hoping he’ll give me some gold.
The straw does not deserve to be spun into anything. It’s straw. It’s a filthy mass of tangled and broken stems, something that hasn’t been alive in years, all puffed up with air. But this blog is all about digging through that to find the kernel of something maybe interesting hiding underneath, and growing that seed into the madness you’re now witnessing. It’s exhausting. Sometimes you fail. It’s why we all take the burden in shifts. But it’s worth it. Because when it works, it is a wonder to behold: straw into gold.
I saw so much gold in the comments yesterday. Beautiful, glorious, shining nuggets of hilarity. And it makes all the spinning worthwhile. Spin on, you crazy diamonds….spin on.
44 responses to “That’s A Tall Order.”
“The Pizza Monster! It–it’s here! And it stole the background!”
A Great Writer like Batiuk can stretch this scene for a week, right? “What are you looking at, Cody? Or are you Cory? Come on, talk! And don’t give me that old he’s-right-behind-you schtick!”
Dare I say, I almost kind of sort of miss ol’ Owen and Cody. I wonder what they’re doing now? I assume Owen works at the local vape shop, selling Delta-8 and kratom to local hooligans who mercilessly mock his dated Spin Doctors hat, while Cody was just kicked out of community college again for lurking outside the ladies’ room door…again. I mean, I can’t lie and say I ever genuinely enjoyed their imbecilic antics, but they were like f*cking Martin & Lewis next to the current sad-sack lot of WHS kids.
Funky Winkerbean: The Comic Strip So Bad, It Can Always Get Worse.
If I absolutely had to guess, I’d say Batom himself doesn’t know who Pizza Monster is. I genuinely don’t think he’s thought it out much beyond that, at least not yet. I also assume that if he ever does unveil PM it’ll be someone unbelievably lame, like maybe Batton Thomas or some “Crankshaft” character or something. I mean, it’s not like he’s suddenly going to break out an interesting plot development now, as it’d be wildly out of character and would fly in the face of everything we know about FW.
If somebody put a gun to Batiuk’s head and forced him to reveal the Pizza Monster’s identity, I’d expect it to be the most ham-fisted and ridiculous reveal ever.
I could see Batiuk revealing the Pizza Monster to be someone like Bernie Silver. Bernie is too short, too fat, and most likely can’t see two feet in front of his face without his glasses. He’d need his inhaler after climbing down the ladder from the rooftop. Bernie would also need his mother’s permission to be away from home after dark.
The mental image of Bernie as the Pizza Monster would be adorable. His little love-handles peeking out from between the boxes surrounding his torso. His little arms flailing as he tries to regain his balance. His eyeglasses on the outside of the boxes on his head, kept in place by the eyeholes.
Sorry to embarrass you, Bernie. Cheer up. I’ll buy you a pizza.
I see the Pizza Monster has already taken Cory’s soul, and Funky’s old soul is next. He’ll be disappointed when he gets to Les, though.
Of course this dumb non-story arc doesn’t deserve this level of analysis, that’s what makes your efforts so entertaining, CBH.
If I could bring this to a quarter-inch within reality for a moment–
I’ve never seen the Luigi’s Monster in motion, just still pictures. But that has to be an awkward costume to move around in, let alone hang from helicopters while wearing.
I keep picturing Frankenstein’s monster, in a suit of armor three sizes too big for him, and still strapped to the gurney where he was brought to life. And he’s trying to run a forty-yard pass in the third quarter of the big game.
I have to imagine that the real Luigi Monster…well, he has to be assisted in everything. Someone has to open the door for him, and someone else has to lead him to his yearly pizza. And that person leads him back to the door, where the first person holds it open again, and helps him step through it. And there’s another person who has to carry the pizza while he slowly shambles away.
And all the while people are telling him directions. “No, no, not that way, Mr. Muckle. Not that way, honey. That’s right, a bit more left, Mr. Muckle. Just keep steady on, dear.”
In short, we’re not looking for a person wearing the corresponding Montoni Monster. We’re looking for a team.
The entire town is in on it, except for Funky.
Upvote for everything…but especially for the “It’s a Gift” reference.
If BatYam reads SoSF (and I very seriously doubt he does) he’d be LOVING all the speculation, as it’s no doubt what he thinks his “regular readers” are doing, but non-ironically. Another beloved running gag, like band turkeys, Claude Barlow, no one ever remembering Crankshaft’s name and Funky’s ongoing heart woes.
Just speaking for myself, if I was working in a pizzeria and was suddenly confronted by someone wearing a costume made from pizza boxes, my first impulse would either be to spray them with water or set them on fire. But that’s just me, Mr. Socially Awkward.
I was also thinking about the “real” PM, BC. That costume would be carried in the trunk of the car, and put on in the parking lot. They would probably put on the head just before entering Luigi’s. Maybe Luigi’s lets them get ready in the back and enter and leave the dining area through the kitchen, but that doesn’t seem likely.
I only live about 5 miles from Luigi’s. A few years ago on Halloween (I posted about this nothing burger at the time) I was going to Jilly’s Music Room, the bar next door to Luigi’s. Just for the hell of it I went into Luigi’s and asked the cashier if the PM had been in yet. She said the PM had made an appearance at six o’clock, but alas, I was there about nine.
I wanted to see if TB was escorting the PM, because I seriously doubt if he dons the cardboard mantle of PM himself. Hell, I wonder if he even bothers to drive the 25 miles from Medina for this. He might make his grand kids do it (does he have grand kids?), or maybe poor Chuck Ayers has to take one of his grand kids. I would recognize Ayers much more readily than I would TB.
I do not plan on going to Jilly’s or Luigi’s this Halloween, so I guess the mystery will be unsovled for another year.
Wow, another Funky Winkerbean detractor who lives/has lived in the Akron area. There sure seems to be a lot of us.
Obviously a team – at the least the person flying the helicopter has to be in on it in some manner – if only because they were paid. Which is another clue – well off enough to do something like hire a helicopter.
A bit off topic but it’s irritating that Funky is show as being afraid of a man dressed in pizza boxes.
Good observations, which lead me to two likely suspects: Masone Jarre and Cliff Anger. Masone’s already been mentioned, given his well-established habit of chartering aircraft for no reason. Both he and Cliff performed action-movie roles in those “Starsuck Jones” space suits, which looked almost as awkward as the Pizza Box Monster costume.
Like everyone else here, I am WAAAY over-thinking this.
I can’t tell if the sleuthing is real or if everyone already knows it’s Wally. My sarcasm meter broke.
May I just take a moment to point out how utterly unfunny and pointless the dialogue in today’s utterly unfunny and pointless episode in this utterly unfunny and pointless arc is? Funky, if Cory had seen the PM, don’t you think he would have led with that information instead of saying “I looked for the Pizza Monster out back”? And what happened to Rachel and Holly (how far could the latter have gotten with a bum leg?)? This attempted humor isn’t even on a par with “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You?”; it’s more like “Speed Buggy” or “Goober and the Ghost Chasers.”
Goober and the Ghost Chasers sounds like a bad band name you’d come up with after getting your cat drunk on Halloween.
Myself, I would have gone with Undercover Elephant, Woofer and Wimper, or Galtar and the Golden Lance…but not Baggy Pants and the Nitwits.
If we’re going Clue Club here, Holly and Rache are appropriately poor substitutes for Pepper and Dottie.
Let’s not forget Flush Floppyface, aka Flash Freeman. In a mild breeze, his inflatable tube man body might reach a height of at least 7.5 feet. It wouldn’t work physically, and he wouldn’t have any motivation to do this…so I think that makes him a top contender.
Maybe it’s Buck. They’ll unmask him in the Sunday strip, then some Bedside Manor employees will arrive, say “he has his good days…then he has his bad days” and escort him away as everyone looks on wistfully. It’d really put a nice depressing bow on the old CTE story arc.
And he would have gotten away with it, if it weren’t for you meddling old people.
I hope our host — and others — weren’t discouraged by my stating yesterday how I didn’t think the pizza boxes were drawn with the level of rigor needed to really draw conclusions from. If you enjoy this sort of logic puzzle, by all means, enjoy it. I’m no judge of other people’s fun. I’m a person who owns more than one book written by someone with the name “Duncan” about the history of calendar reform. Different Duncans. You know fun much better than I do. I want only to express that the art can be suggestive but not conclusive.
Also I don’t mean to suggest the art is wrong for (as I think) being loose about how many pizza boxes would be needed to fit over a person. It’d be a bad use of time to make the Pizza Monster more photorealistic. It plausibly would make the cartoon too busy, with too many lines in the art, to be easily recognizable in print. The artist is right to stop at a funny picture that gets across the idea.
I agree wholeheartedly. Drawing 14 to 15 pizza boxes per torso, per panel, would not make the art better at all. The art is by no means conclusive. And the lack of consistency in those small details isn’t what makes it bad. (everyone having morphing sameface, and horrifying fleshtoned walls make it bad) I don’t even think my treatise on height today is as ironclad as I pretended.
But, boy is it fun to try and nail jello to the wall.
It’s less heartbreaking than trying to find a backbone in a chocolate eclair, that’s for sure.
I apologize if this has been posted here before, but the recent discussions made me think of this guy’s struggle to come up with something to say about the actual Luigi’s pizza. “It’s…..” Kudos to the guy for not actually saying “meh.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WL9evc0QGeg
He wasn’t very excited by the pizza and also said it was ice cold.
I noticed he said overrated a couple of times and that he found the place less than welcoming.
Damning by faint praise comes to mind.
I think Luigi’s cash-only policy goes a long way towards making guests feel unwelcome. I also think this is intentional. It’s the kind of old restaurant or bar with old owners and an old clientele, that doesn’t even pretend to care about anyone who isn’t part of their little klatch. And I bet Tom Batiuk loves that. They treat him like a big shot, and indulge his irrational hatred of technology.
I’ve been to Luigi’s a few times, and I 100% agree with the Showtime Pizza Reporter that the place is overrated.
If you ever go there, do NOT sit in a booth by the entrance. Especially not the booth nearest the front door, directly across from the cash register. There is no place to wait for a table except the aisle between the booths and the bar. There is no foyer. Every time the door opens, you get hit with a blast of air, which is always freezing in the Winter (I remember frequently yelling “SHUT THE DOOR!!!”). Not only that, the people sitting in those booths have to endure being on display the entire time they are there. People are constantly checking out what you are eating and drinking. Expect to be bumped into several times by some inconsiderate clod’s backside. By all means wait for a table in one of the side dining rooms.
Speaking of the cash register, Luigi’s is a cash-only business. No credit cards or checks. I remember being held hostage for collateral with my mother and brothers while dad had to run home to get more cash because he was short (the late 1970s, pre ATMs). Thanks for coming back for us, Dad!
Of course, the Showtime Pizza Reporter likes Luigi’s salad. Their house salads are half mozzarella, half iceberg lettuce (would you like some salad with your cheese?). You do get a couple of tomato wedges and pepperoncini. Your only choice of salad dressing is the house dressing, which is Italian.
I’ve had better pizza, and most of their other entrées are baked to crisp, smothered in mozzarella and marinara.
Meh! I’d take Parasson’s in Stow, Ohio, over Luigi’s any day.
The last time I visited Luigi’s, I was with my daughter and neither of us even ordered the pizza. She had something called a meatball casserole, which was meatballs smothered in mozzarella and sauce (no pasta, weird!). Disappointed, she tried to order a vegetable like broccoli. She had to settle for a house salad (hold the cheese), Luigi’s doesn’t serve vegetable sides.
When my daughter comes back to town, she prefers Mike’s Place in Kent.
I call BS. There is no “Pizza Monster”. Where’s the pizza!? It’s a Cardboard Box Monster. However, if those are greasy-ass used pizza boxes the threat is real.
I agree. That’s no pizza monster. This is a “Pizza Monster!”
A take-off of Pyramid Head from ‘Silent Hill’ for those of you who are unfamiliar.
That is frikken brilliant!
That is a work of genius.
Ohhh I don’t want a pizza anymore actually…
It’s obvious the PM caper is being pulled off by the ICE agents! They certainly have the means and motive. The mysterious unmarked white chopper that lowered the PM was a dead giveaway. They are cheesed off because Bill Clinton sprang Adeela before they had a chance to submit her to enhanced interrogation.
Submitted for your approval:
The detainees filed a lawsuit charging ICE with torture for serving Montoni’s pizza. A lower court agreed with the detainees, and ICE immediately appealed the ruling. While the appeal works its way through the courts, the ruling stands. The agents can no longer obtain Montoni’s pizza legally, and have planned this covert op to the split second. As always, should PM or any member of the ICE force be caught or killed, the secretary will disavow any knowledge of their actions.
Only one suspect has the means to hire a helicopter. Mason Jarre.
That would be a step up–actually several steps up–from playing Les Moore.
I can’t wait for Les to get an e-mail from Mason about how well The Pizza Monster did at the box office compared to Lisa’s Story.
A great post today, ComicBookHarriet. An inspiring take on persevering in the face of this Batiuk-generated crap. I don’t post many comments anymore, because I’m nearly defeated by trying to come up with variations of “this is really terrible”, but I’m reading the site everyday, enjoying the fusillades of abuse directed at this lamest of comic strips.
Good work, everybody. Spin on, indeed.
“But it’s worth it. Because when it works, it is a wonder to behold: straw into gold.”
This week’s outing certainly proves that. With the creativity shown on this site, I hope TomBa continues to provide us with raw material for decades.
Thanks for the shout out ComicBookHarriet, even if you were pointing out my confusing shotgun approach to detective work.
I’m no Dick Tracy. If I were, the PBM would be dead by now.
Got the reference!
Has anyone guessed Batton Thomas yet? That guy seems like he has a lot of time on his hands. And like he has a bunch of old pizza boxes at his house…