If This Van’s A-Creakin’, Don’t Come A-Peekin’

Link To Today’s Strip

“No, no. no. He still looks too friendly and cheerful. I want the reader to see Morton as a malevolent sex machine who’s going to force himself on Lillian whether she consents or not!”

“Uh…OK, I guess. Here, let me cock up that eyebrow by 40% or so and add more sneer…and how’s that?”

“No no NO! MORE sneer! MORE eyebrow! And Lillian should appear frightened, like she knows she can’t say no!”

“Hmmm (sigh). OK (sigh).”

Once again Morton is inexplicably leering in unrestrained lustful malevolence, but what really sends this one caroming over that fine line between gross and disturbing is Lillian’s line about needing to go to confession, which is just completely unnecessary. The guy is supposed to be an “elderly ladies’ man”, not a coercive sex offender. Doing an arc about Morton trying to score a “date” is one thing, but having him luring old ladies into vans is, uh, something else entirely.

I can’t believe he’s actually doing a sub-arc about Morton trying to bang Lillian in the Bedside Manor van. I’m not sure which is more disturbing, the artist’s decision to draw Mort with that demonic leer of unbridled lust or BatYam thinking this is “cute”. In fact, this one is so far “out there” it might be the highlight of the entire year so far. It’s almost like he did this one as a test, to see if anyone was still paying attention.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

60 responses to “If This Van’s A-Creakin’, Don’t Come A-Peekin’

  1. Say, wasn’t this the same scenario that traumatized Lisa? Yeah, let’s play it for laughs!

    The tonal shifts in this comic are several parsecs in length.

  2. William Thompson

    Morton is the salt of the earth, and we all know what salt does to the earth.

    Now, where is the van’s driver? Or anybody else from the nursing home? Bedside Manor should have an employee or two there to keep the elders from wandering off. Hell, someone should have kept them from climbing the stairs to the choir loft. Looking at this offering is like playing “How many impending accidents and lawsuits can you count?”

    • spacemanspiff85

      I was really wondering how Morton has the keys to the van. And how Morton lured Lillian out there in the first place. “Hey, want to go outside alone with me, woman I first met seconds ago and haven’t stopped leering at?”

  3. Sourbelly

    OK. So it’s a full week of Rapey McRapeface and his sex-abuse antics.
    I don’t want to overreact, but I can’t help thinking this is just plain evil. Like, does Batdick think this is funny or charming in any way?

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      The fact that I’m concerned about Lillian, who is utterly despicable, is kind of impressive.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        There’s no character in the Funkyverse that’s so horrible that Batiuk can’t create a worse one.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Not to read too much into things, but these strips do seem like the kind of thing they’d show on an episode of Dateline or 20/20 with someone talking about how they should have known, and the signs were all there.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        This is the most uncomfortable and horrifying sexual harassment of an elder since that ‘very special’ episode of All In The Family.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          It reminds me of the infamous Family Guy episode “Screams Of Brenda Q,” where they tried to do a serious episode about an abusive relationship. To put it mildly, it didn’t work. With this, Batiuk is going in the other direction. He now wants us to laugh at the depiction of a serious social problem, that we were supposed to take so seriously when he had it happen to Lisa.

          • The Duck of Death

            As mentioned earlier this week, Batiuk has already done a joke about how an old woman doesn’t need mace (or was it pepper spray), because it’s not as if, ha ha, anyone would want to actually rape a woman who’s not super-nubile and sexy, ha ha ha, as if.

            Never mind that this betrays a willful, studied ignorance of the motives behind rape. Never mind that if the jerk bothered to open one of his precious, endangered newspapers and actually read the thing, he’d immediately see that women, and girls, and men and boys, of all ages, can be subjected to rape, and looking like a “hot” model has no bearing on the matter.

            Doesn’t he even realize that (as also pointed out by others) the teenage Lisa, who was retcon-raped by the predatory Frankie, was portrayed as ugly, mousy, and sexually undesirable? This was his own storyline, and he’s already forgotten it.

            The sad truth is that often it’s unconfident women who don’t feel attractive or loved who are most easily conned by predacious, sociopathic scum like Frankie… and Mort.

            Sorry for monologuing again, but playing this for laughs is egregious and just pisses me off. I can feel my sense of humor evaporating the moment my eyes fall on the strip.

  4. RudimentaryLathe?

    A few days ago Crankshaft ran a strip that joked about last year’s toilet paper shortage; it (A) treated the pandemic as a cutesy “in-the-past” problem (B) joked about supplier shortages which have recently become an issue again. And I thought “This is it. This is as tone-deaf as Batiuk can possibly get.”

    I blame myself.

    • The Nelson Puppet

      Don’t take it too badly! Do you know what Emile Zola did when he got stressed out and felt like blaming himself? Why, he got right into the J’Accuzi and his troubles just bubbled away!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I feel like the toilet paper shortage IS fair game for a joke. I’ve certainly had my share of laughs about it. But, of course, Batiuk is ALWAYS tone deaf, so he treats laughing about hording tissue, and laughing about predatory seniors, the same.

  5. erdmann

    Isn’t confession a strictly Catholic thing? I thought this was some sort of Protestant church.
    Also, will Mort try to lure Lillian into the van with the promise of candy and a puppy? Or, considering their ages, Hershey bars and nylons? This is just so very wrong.

    • spacemanspiff85

      Add religion to the long, long list of things Batiuk is clueless about.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Really, there’s been a few hints that this is supposed to be a Catholic Church. Including mentioning of nuns once, if I remember right.

      • Gerard Plourde

        From the information TomBa supplied on his blog, the real church St. Spires is modeled on is a Catholic one (I think it’s St. Martin of Tours in Valley City. Wikipedia link below). But the black pulpit gown the minister wore at services a few weeks ago would never be worn by a Catholic priest (or a High Church Episcopal priest, for that matter). Whether that was intentional or it’s an error due to lack of research or sloppy execution is par for the course.


  6. Gerard Plourde

    I find it hard to believe that TomBa is this clueless but I also find it hard to believe that he could be so offensive intentionally. How he could work on something like this a year ago when Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell, and Keith Raniere and Alllison Mack were front page news is mind-boggling.

    • spacemanspiff85

      One of China’s top tennis stars accused a party official of sexual abuse two weeks ago and disappeared later that day and hasn’t been heard from or seen since.

      • spacemanspiff85

        We’ll find out in twelve months or so if Batiuk heard about that story, because judging by this week, I’m just he’d think it was good material for a gag or two. (I accidentally hit enter before finishing.)

    • Charles

      I just think he has a blind spot where telling his brand of jokes is involved. He thinks Mort perving it up is hysterical stuff, so he’s going to show Mort perving, and he doesn’t even think about how the people around him would react. They’re not important. He only cares about showing Mort moving in on a lady, because that’s hilarious, and isn’t that all that matters?

      Again, I don’t think he can even conceive of someone viewing his strip differently than he intended. It never occurs to him that someone would look at this and think about what Lillian is going through. Why would anyone do that when Mort being horny is so hilarious?

      • William Thompson

        I’m going to guess that Batiuk thinks “Alzheimer’s has destroyed Mort’s self-control, so you can’t blame him for how he acts.” Or blame Batiuk for writing this. It makes me think that Batty has no personal experience with the behavioral problems that the elderly can have.

    • batgirl

      Too bad Lillian doesn’t have #metoo on speed dial, as Ruby Lith claimed to have. But even that showed that TB had no idea what #metoo was about, so he probably never heard of #timesup.
      And obviously it’s different when down-home folksy salt-of-the-earth Mort behaves this way, not at all like those evil decadent Hollywood scum who didn’t like Lisa’s Story.

      • The Duck of Death

        Yes, somehow Westviewian Mort is down-home folksy salt-of-the-earth, while Westviewian Frankie was a slippery, hair-slicked-back slimeball. Frankie actually had more of an excuse, if anything — he was younger (therefore dumber and more selfish by default) and chock full of testosterone. (And also, as we know, he didn’t rape Lisa… until it was convenient for him to have raped her.)

        Mort has been married and lived a full life, presumably including interacting with plenty of women, yet still can’t see them as real people, or anything but quivering, helpless prey to be isolated and taken.

        But as you say, batgirl, it’s okay because good old-fashioned, small-town-America, down-home folksy salt-of-the-earth old folks are totes adorbs and can do no wrong. Aw, shucks! Look, paw! That ol’ Mort’s up to his rapin’ ways agin! When ol’ Mort a-gits ta sexual assaultin’, there ain’t no stoppin’ him! Katie bar the door!

      • none

        Of course he has no idea what #metoo was about. He couldn’t even be bothered to spell the hashtag correctly on his own blog post.


        Horrible and publicly humiliating injuries for a performance? Sexual intercourse that is at best coerced if not it being outright rape? Just another month of high quality storytelling from the master.

  7. spacemanspiff85

    Earlier this week I was afraid this was leading to a bad “tromboner” pun, but at this rate, I fully expect Sunday’s strip to be a sideways panel of Walt high-fiving Morton and saying “Way to go to tromboning that choir chick in the church parking lot, Tromboner!” Although that would really be too tasteful for Batiuk, judging by this week.

  8. J.J. O'Malley

    Cushlamachree, but this is just…Sad? Infuriating? Loathsome?

    Look, I grew up reading Peanuts paperbacks, then moved on to Popeye, Pogo, Tumbleweeds, and Charles Addams collections (plus one about some kid named Barnaby). Doonesbury, Bloom County, Calvin and Hobbes…I’ve read a lot of funny strips over the years, including Act I and II Funky. When I’ve put down Battyuk here, it’s always been based on what I’ve know he’s capable of (along with a lack of humor, bad plotting, inconsistent characterizations, and similar criteria). But never have I seen such a tone-deaf display as where today’s strip is leading this storyline. Nuff ‘ced.

    • spacemanspiff85

      I have a feeling even in the bad old days of the forties and fifties where sexism was way more commonplace in media (I know it’s been common for long after, I’m just talking about when it was at it’s worst), people would have been very uncomfortable with this storyline.

  9. Rusty Shackleford

    Damn, he really is going to push this. He’s become an old person with no filter.

    Jesus, this is bad.

    • William Thompson

      It might be funny if Batiuk went meta on us and did one about an old comic-strip writer with no filter. Or is that already happening?

  10. Hitorque

    1. Confession? So St. Spires is a Catholic church?

    2. I’m not going anywhere near the rest of today’s subject matter

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    Look how alarmed Dinkle is that Mort is missing, while he doesn’t even notice that Lillian isn’t there either.

    • newagepalimpsest

      Dinkle’s alarm is what really sets the tone for today’s strip. He normally takes all of the crap that happens to his band in stride, but the second he realizes that nobody has eyes on Morton, he knows it’s going to be trouble.

    • spacemanspiff85

      “Oh, god, he’s killed again!”

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    I miss Billy and the Boingers.

    See, now that’s actually funny. It’s the same subject matter – an elderly woman behaving like a rock groupie – and I don’t feel like I need a shower after I read it. That arc satirized not just groupie culture, but everything about rock music. The role of corporations, the logistics of touring, the wild partying, the government censorship of the day, and the effeminate nature of the male performers all came up for a good roasting.

    You know that 1987 Pulitzer Prize competition Tom Batiuk is so proud of? This is what he lost to. He lost to Billy and the Boingers, one of the best and most complex arcs in recent comic strip history. Even when Funky Winkerbean had a shred of merit, which it hasn’t since October 4, 2007, it was never a tenth as good as this.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Thanks for posting these. Some of my favorite strips ever!

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I was in high school at about that time. EVERY kid I knew had a copy of Billy and the Boingers: Bootleg. Or at least was hip to Deathtongue. I remember the silly little flexi-disc the book came with, and playing it on the family record player. It had two actual songs on it! Quite the multimedia bonus for 1988. Of course there are now cover versions on YouTube:

        I suspect that, 35 years from now, Funky Winkerbean will not be remembered so fondly.

        • Rusty Shackleford

          Heck if it weren’t for this page, FW would be largely unknown these days….save for KSU alums and band directors.

    • TimP

      Somewhere, lost to time and myself is a copy of the vinyl single (with B-side!) from the Billy and the Boingers book. My recollection is that they were some pretty fun tunes.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Aack! That’s good stuff!

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    The Funkyblog has another “idea I got from a reader” post. Batiuk is strangely proud of these. And it’s another perfectly bland idea: “Dinkle goes to Carnegie Hall,” Because of course it’s about Dinkle. Funky Winkerbean is boring, maudlin, self-serving, and tasteless, and it’s heavily dependent on reader suggestions to even reach those heights. It makes Pluggers look like high art.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Weird that band directors have his phone number. I guess he hands out business cards at the OMEA convention.

      I do agree that those old Dinkle strips were good. But nowadays these Dinkle arcs are dumb and dreary. Shouldn’t the strip be focusing on the new band director? Oh but nobody cares about her…or any of the new characters. By advancing time, Batty made it so that he needs new characters to cycle through the strip…but he is unable to create new, memorable characters, and so he has to have these awkward situations where the old guys can come in and do something.

      He is not up to writing interesting things, he should have kept things the way they were.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      I worked on a renovation of Carnegie Hall in the 1980s, where the goal was to “make it as good as old.” Somehow, the notion of “making it safe for Dinkle” doesn’t have the same appeal.

      In the early days of the pandemic, the answer to the celebrated question — “how do you get to Carnegie Hall?” — changed from “practice, practice, practice” to “patience, patience, patience.”

    • The Duck of Death

      Yes, and he gets in a little blurb about how he took a trip to NYC to get “reference photos” of Carnegie Hall, ARE YOU READING, MISTER IRS MAN? IT WAS A LEGIT TAX DEDUCTION, it’s not as if Carnegie Hall has ever been documented with photos before, so what was I supposed to do?

  14. You know, I could understand Ayers’ drawing Bingo differently yesterday from the way he appeared months ago, because he probably forgot all about how he looked and refused to look it up.

    What’s the excuse for today, the very next day?

  15. Green Luthor

    So what are the odds that the phrase “solo van date” shows up in this story. Ugh.

  16. Hannibal's Lectern

    To me, by far the creepiest thing about today’s strip is that the van doesn’t appear to have blacked-out windows.

    As for the “confession” line, I would take that to mean Lilliopsaurus is afraid she might consent and then need absolution, more than she’s afraid Mor(t)on might attack her. In most religions, being victimized against your will is not a sin.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      “We assert, then, that when the body is overpowered but the resolve to remain chaste stands firm, unaltered by any consent to evil, the crime belongs only to the man who took the woman by force and not at all to the woman who was taken by force, without her consent and without her will.” (St. Augustine. City of God, 1.19)

  17. Mr. A

    Aside from the utter grossness of the “joke” (if anything can be aside from that), I have no clue how Mort convinced Lillian to leave the practice and come outside with him in the first place.

  18. Professor Fate

    Rape is NOT FUNNY
    Moving on now.
    Oh yes one last thing.
    Go to hell

  19. be ware of eve hill

    This morning I…

    Read today’s Funky Winkerbean.
    Closed the browser tab.
    Closed the browser.
    Shut down the laptop.
    Closed the laptop’s lid.
    Walked from the kitchen to the master bedroom.
    Shut the master bedroom door.
    Shut the master bathroom door.
    Took a shower.

    An excellent blog and a lot of great comments. I agree. A hundred percent. This isn’t proper content for a newspaper cartoon.

    Can we nominate Batiuk for the Golden Crackpipe award? He can only be high if he thinks this was a good idea.

  20. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Maybe Mort will get his comeuppance, and the arc will end with a PSA something like this:

    Oh, who am I kidding? A conclusion? Like so many arcs, this one will just end abruptly.