The great Christmas gift-giver strikes again in today’s strip. No, I’m not talking about Santa Claus or Crazy Claus (or Pete… I would never talk about Pete in this way), I’m talking about the nerd with the polecat on his scalp.
Dead Skunk Head John has a long long history of giving his wares away for free, and not just at Free Comic Book Day (which allegedly put him near bankruptcy). DSH pulled this exact same bit back during the yuletide of 2013 too, and that time his crazy skunk head did it in front of other customers! And that wasn’t the only time he gave Holly a break during her Starbuck Jones quest. Heck, he even murdered Tony Isabella for her. Seemed a little much to me, but he’s a generous guy.
Generous to a fault, it would seem, as Komix Korner has been depicted in financial peril many times, going as far back as the Clinton administration. DSH’s inability to pay his rent once almost sunk Montoni’s and the Winkerbean family as well… only the sale of a mint condition copy of Starbuck Jones #1 saved both businesses (even if DSH’s greasy hands devalued the issue).
48 responses to “On the house… of (rare, gem mint, limited edition foil pack, holographic) cards”
That ugly look on that ugly face* tells me all I can stand to know about Mopey Pete. He wants that Spidey-doll for himself and he’ll find a way to cheat Skylark out of it.
* Sorry, I forgot this strip is replete with ugly faces. I meant Mopey Pete.
The smirk between him and his fiancee tells me that both statues will be up on Fleabay within the hour.
I like the way you think!
Here’s my question: WHO exactly is Mopey looking at in Panel One? If he’s talking to DSH John, shouldn’t his half-open peepers be focused on him? If he’s glancing at Mindy and Sky Chief, they’re off in the opposite direction. It looks for all the world like he’s staring directly at us, the readers, as if we’re supposed to be in on his “joke”? It’s a basic drawing trick that BatAyers can’t seem to get right.
Well, you can’t make money from comic book collecting, as that would be wrong. You can write them, draw them, ink them, option them, adapt them, but you can’t cash in on collecting them, as that ruins it for everyone else. Every regular FW reader knows that.
Comic book collecting is another thing Batiuk has a strange relationship. There are clearly some cases where it’s okay.
Chester stole comic books from a store as a kid and saved them, and became amazingly wealthy as a result. But I guess that’s OK because he waste– er, “re-invests” that money into making new comic books.
“Sold his comic books” is a routine explanation for how people raise large amounts of cash in the Funkyverse, like when Crazy Harry needed to pay for his honeymoon, and (as mentioned above) the Komix Korner was low on cash.
Cory got the thumbs-up for selling the Starbuck Jones collection his own mother lovingly curated for him while he was in the military, supposedly to buy an engagement ring for Rocky. This is a noble reason, but Holly paid $50,000 for one of those books. A ring doesn’t cost a tenth of that.
John routinely marvels at the cash value of comic books with customers, like when Batton Thomas wandered in to drone on about Flash #123. (These are completely unrealistic, but that’s another story.)
Comic books are practically currency in Westview. And yet, there’s a tone of “people should enjoy and read comic books, not keep them for money” that permeates the Funkyerse.
Wasn’t it $50grand that Holly paid for the comic collection that went to auction in the Dick Tracy crossover arc? Then she just gave the collection to John, and it was never explained where she got that money from or whether she expected John to pay it back?
More than $50,000, apparently, as that figure was a losing bid from “Chester The Chiseler”.
She did expect DSH to pay her back as he sold off the comics, though it was never mentioned again, like… um, most lingering story arcs in this strip.
One thing I wonder about is, how many Fifties-era comic books go for anything like fifty grand?
Very few, and then only if they’re in ridiculously good condition. This extends to things like minor printing imperfections, and (in the case of trading cards, anyway) age-related color fading. Tom Batiuk’s precious Flash #123 maxed at $23K, and loses 95% of that value if it’s only a 6.0 Fine, which means “slightly above-average with a major defect and some smaller defects, or a significant accumulation of small defects.” And that’s a
pretty good condition for an object that saw any childhood usage. (But $1,150 is nothing to sneeze at.)
The notion of FW characters constantly pulling small fortunes out of old shoeboxes, from books they read obsessively as children, is pure idiocy.
Yes the message is that the worship of comic books must not be sullied by commerce unless the contrivance filled plot requires it.
This would be kinda sweet if Pete and Mindy (and both Skynet’s parents) weren’t this universe’s equivalent of Joss Whedon. FFS John, he’s loaded! Give him the “friends and family” 500% markup!
Whole lotta smirkin’ going on today. Two panels, six smirks. But Mopete’s evil smirk at the audience is the most unsettling. “I scored a Baby Yoda AND a collectable Spideyman figure for fuckin’ free! I love this Skunk Head dipshit!”
In other news, the punchline makes no sense (go figure). “Santa Claus doesn’t charge.” Qwazy Harry is the Santa Claus in this scenario, right? Not DSH. Oh well, at least we don’t have to see or hear that tragic time-reversed child-baby reverting to cooing, drooling, and babbling.
“…at least we don’t have to see or hear that tragic time-reversed child-baby reverting to cooing, drooling, and babbling.”
I’m sorry, are you referring to Skyler or Mopey Pete?
Isn’t Pete supposed to be very well-paid? Isn’t he one of the few in this strip who could easily afford to *buy* gifts? Aren’t there lots of other people in the strip who might be able to legitimately use a little Christmas gift boost?
Not knocking the gift-giver here — he can be generous to whomever he wants. But if the guy receiving the gift made as much this week as the gift giver made all year…shouldn’t he be saying “Thanks, friend. And, oh, don’t forget to make sure Santa gets this money I’m giving you so he can buy reindeer chow. Don’t want those reindeer going hungry!”
I really hope tomorrow’s strip is John laughing at Crazy Harry and telling him he’s not getting paid for the next months to cover the cost of the statue.
So I can go to my local comic book shoppe and paw the books until they turn blue with filth, get into fights with paying customers, pressure the staff into taking over my babysitting job… And then the manager will give me free shit to get me to leave? Awesome!!
Thanks, billy, for that…er, enlightening trip down Komix Korner’s financial history. I confess I wasn’t an FW reader for most of the 2000s and early ’10s, and it’s fascinating to see how Batiuk showed off a fundamental lack of knowledge regarding the collectibles market, the restaurant business, and anything else regarding money. Dear Lord, he really did make Westview’s entire economy revolve around “Starsux Jones,” didn’t he?
Tomorrow’s strip: Becky talks about what a week she had working overtime without pay to get the Westview High band ready for its annual holiday concert, to which hubby DSH John casually mentions how he gave away a pair of pricey collector’s figurines to a kid whose dad makes good money as a professional artist.
Also, shouldn’t those Grogu and Spider-Man (or, as Skycap would say, Goo-Goo and Spidey-Man) statues be put in protective boxes so that the little twerp doesn’t see them while Pete and Mindy are stuffing his face with Montoni’s?
So, on Christmas day, is Skyler supposed to be surprised when he opens these presents? I mean, he sees them right there, and…oh God, he is going to be surprised, isn’t he.
Damn, Tom, you should meet some humans now and then.
1. Yeah, forget about gift wrapping or God forbid making the entitled brat wait until Christmas morning, just buy him his shit now, even though he’ll be bored with it before they hit the parking lot… Somebody should have reminded him that since Santa “delivered” his gifts early, he shouldn’t be expecting anything on the 25th except a sweater from grandma and maybe an autographed copy of “Lisa’s Story”…
2. As others have already mentioned, the only thing a 5-year-old can do with a $283 static figurine is A. Find an interesting way to break it, or B. Cram it into the body orifice of his choice…
3. DSH Jack is an even shittier businessman than the entire Winkerbean clan combined… He lets the millionaire whizz kid running the hottest indie comics label in the industry have some really expensive kitsch for free… AND he let him walk out without even announcing his presence to other patrons, sharing selfies on social media or even begging him to autograph a ton of stuff, which I thought was a no-brainer for any comics/collectibles geek of basic intelligence (but then again, Batton Thomas is a regular visitor and he’s never been asked to sign anything either despite DSH Jack rolling out the red carpet celebrity treatment)…
4. Hey Mindy… In case you haven’t fucking realized yet, you’re officially a member of the moneyed class now — Top tax bracket and all that. So when some lowly peon hourly wage earner DOES YOUR FUCKING JOB FOR YOU, WHICH WAS TO ENTERTAIN THE DUMB BRAT YOU’RE SUPPOSED TO BE SHOWING A FUN TIME, a simple smirk as you’re walking out the door isn’t enough… Please reach your short-ass cheapskate alligator arms into your purse, peel off a couple of c-notes from your money roll, and *THANK* that Harry for his time and trouble by bailing your ass out of a potential toddler tantrum and playing along with your Santa bullshittery for a half hour. Tip generously, especially during the holidays and double especially when you and Pete have money to burn… At least pretend to have some fuckin’ class and take care of people…
4a. And just a final word of advice: Pete, for the love of Christ please throw out these raggedy ass clothes you’ve been wearing since college freshman year and buy a proper wardrobe… Ask to visit Chester’s tailor and stylist if you have to. And Mindy, holy hell you’re way overdue for a complete makeover.
1. Considering that little Skybar’s grandma is Dead St. Lisa Who Died, that would be great a fantastic strip for the 25th, as the little brat opens a box and finds a copy of the book signed by her…plus a matching ugly sweater with the logo “This Playground Is Closed.”
2. Don’t forget C. Color it with crayons or magic markers.
3. “Other patrons”? DSH Lad did nothing while Min-dull chased out the only other patron, and apparently a steady paying customer at that!
Don’t forget also that Skyler’s grandfather is Jessica’s father-who-was-murdered John Darling. So Skybar also needs a signed copy of Fallen Star giftwrapped and put under the tree… along with a can of ozone-destroying hairspray.
Good point, billy. Change that Dec. 25th strip to Skylab opening his presents as the ghosts of Dead St. Lisa and John Darling, who was murdered, look on lovingly. Then on New Year’s Day Batiuk can start 2022 off with a bang by revealing that they’re both still alive and they faked their own demises so that they could give up on lawyering and TV journalism and go work where the real money is: writing comic boo…er, graphic novels!
Considering that Skyler is the grandchild of both St. Dead Lisa Who Died and My father, John Darling, who died, the paucity of stories involving him, and the lack of things for him to say and do in those rare strips where he shows up, demonstrates just how little use Batiuk has for children/young people in his strip. Skyler should be Batiuk’s own Personal Jesus.
On the other hand, if Skyler was 87 years old he’d have at least four sequences a year devoted to him and the stupid wacky things Batiuk would come up for him to do.
New BattyBlog entry has been posted. Just try to find meaning in his seemingly random collection of words he pulled together. Wow. Just wow.
His blog entry reflects his FW storytelling style. He sure loves the way he writes and, from his inserted parenthetical remarks, wants his readers to recognize his prowess, too.
Word choice is also a huge problem. “Grodd shows up in a flyer.” I didn’t know what he meant at first. For awhile I had this mental image of Gorilla Grodd popping out of the Target “holiday bargains” newspaper insert. Which was amusing, at least. I suspect Batiuk meant “flying machine.” And since we’re taking about a flying machine built by a sentient gorilla, he could have fleshed out the description a little. But he never tells you what you actually want to know.
Then “a battle royal between the two ensues.” A battle royale involves a large number of participants with only one winner, a la Squid Game or Fortnite. A fight between two competitors is not a battle royale.
“The Flash captures his ship in a super speed tornado which tears apart the flyer leaving Grodd in a tornado of white snow crystals.” As opposed to those slow tornadoes, I guess. And it changes from ‘super speed’ to being wintry in the same sentence. This man is such a bad writer that I simply don’t understand he’s trying to describe here. And he’s retelling a comic book story for 8-year-olds.
“The Flash has returned to form in a big way. And it looks like the transformation isn’t over since (the promotion for the next issue) announces…” Why must Batiuk use the present perfect tense to talk about things that were published in 1981? “The Flash returned to form and the transformation wasn’t over because” is fine. He’s trying to make it all sound more alive than it really is.
“…the Elongated Man (the reason I have a source of the stretching serum ginkgo tree in my yard, remember?)” No, Tom, I don’t remember one blog post you made in September 2015 about the foliage near your house. Which itself was #112 in a series that’s now at #295. It’s incredible what he expects his readers to remember, when he constantly loses track of his own characters and stories in Funky Winkerbean.
And yes, Tom Batiuk really did plant a tree in his yard because of a minor Flash villain. “I planted a ginkgo tree in honor of the Elongated man’s power source.” Good Lord.
Damn it, I hate that I know this, but the Elongated Man is a hero, not a villain.
Didn’t he start off as a petty crook, though, before he got superpowered? Dang, now I have to go and look him up.
Actually, Plastic Man started out as a crook. I don’t know Elongated Man’s backstory, though if TB reads this comic we’re sure to get a couple of weeks of Batton Thomas gushing over him.
Here’s some comics related content Batiuk might want to familiarize himself with:
OMG. He really did it. Oh man…. I surrender. I have no words…
You have to wonder if he survived a traumatic childhood. Seriously, is this why he made Jff Fairgood into a nervous twitch who’s obsessed with comic books and Radio Ranch? Plus all the other comic-book-centric antics in FW and CS? It’s like a prolonged plea for help.
What’s on funkywinkerbean.com about Tom Batiuk’s childhood suggests a happy, positive one. “Match To Flame 4” talks about buying his first comic book, becoming interested in them, and wanting to become a cartoonist as a result. There’s an NPR interview from 2008 where Batiuk is quoted about drawing Superman until his red and blue crayons gave out. So he doesn’t seem to have been unduly restricted from comic book-adjacent activities.
There are anecdotes about sharing his father’s sense of humor, and that this tended to annoy his mother, who he doesn’t talk much about. My guess is that his comic book monomania became an issue at some point in his childhood. And he can’t let it go, just like he can’t let go of any perceived slight.
Sheesh, you’re not even going to give the kid a new one in the box? You’re just going to take the display model? And why is Pete buying Yoda in addition to Spider-Man? And why would that be free? The kid never expressed any interest in Yoda, and he only expressed interest in “Spidey-Man” because he was frog-marched in front of it. And speaking of things Pete won’t spend any money on, I notice that Mindy’s left hand still doesn’t have a ring on it. Could someone in this comic strip not be the absolute worst?
Could someone in this comic strip not be the absolute worst?
That competition is the only thing Westviewans strive for.
“Could someone in this comic strip not be the absolute worst?”
Moving on now.
Thing is, Gross John’s gesture is utterly meaningless. It’s nothing more than a cynical attempt by Batiuk to convince his readers that John’s a great and generous guy. But he didn’t set it up properly.
There’s no suggestion of what value any of these objects have for John. The implicit conclusion that they’re expensive is worthless because Batiuk can and will give Gross John whatever financial disposition he feels like. It’s not a sacrifice for John: the things didn’t even exist before yesterday and today.
He could have given Gross John more explicit, immediate reasons for not giving those items away, but he didn’t bother. Gross John could have been saving up to buy those items for his step-child (ed. note: HA) and now he’s not going to be able to. He could have revealed that he forgot to set aside that item because Chester said he was going to come in and pay three times its actual sales price. He could have given it sentimental value or something. Anything, but he didn’t do so. Batiuk just manufactured some presumably valuable item for John so John could give it away in order to lionize himself. It’s just cynical and lazy.
Not to mention that, let’s be honest, Gross John’s giving away expensive collector’s items to a kid whose parents are presumably well-off. Not only are they well-off, but they’re also notorious moochers who now owe their entire financial situation to ridiculous gift jobs given to them by their friends. So even if Batiuk were to indicate some tangible sacrifice that Gross John would be making with this gesture, it’s a lot less heartwarming than he presumes.
Well, the characters sure think it’s meaningful. Look at them all congratulating themselves. Pete is practically making eye contact with the reader with that “look how generous I am” smirk.
And none of this has anything to do with what the child wants or needs. It’s what THEY want him to be interested in. As if a child born in Westview couldn’t possibly be interested in cars, or sports, or animals, or anything on earth that isn’t comic books. Or high school band, after they turn 14 and are conscripted by Dinkle.
It’s a typical Batuikian paradox. DSH is simultaneously struggling to make his rent and flush enough with cash to be giving away pricey figurines.
I don’t know how much those (weirdly tall) Baby Yoda’s go for, but that “Spidey Mans” worth about a c note and a half. Very generous of John.
Based on the necklace, I would say it’s probably this (search on Amazon)
“Star Wars The Child Animatronic Edition 7.2-Inch-Tall Toy by Hasbro with Over 25 Sound and Motion Combinations, Toys for Kids Ages 4 and Up , Green”
Which is about 50 bucks. And, can I just point out how terrible that drawing is? It looks like two figures mashed together.
Wearing a fur coat, I thought Yoda was.
First: The detective work here is A. MAZE. BALLS.
Second: I see that when it comes time to find references for figurines of Disney properties, the author/illustrator of this strip are Internet whizzes. When it comes to anything else at all — questions of gardening, choir robe costs, availability of Discmans — they seem to have no ability to do the most cursory of Web searches.
UNLESS… they actually own these things themselves?
The terrible drawing looks like Baby Yoda’s head got stuck onto the neck of one of those Beethoven busts.
“Santa sure is generous,” whispers Popey Meat to DSHJ.
“Wanna know my secret?” replies DSHJ, leaning in close. With a wink and a finger aside his nose, he says, “This stuff ‘fell off a truck.’ That’s how I get most of my merch. Plus, a couple friends and I regularly go into Cleveland and take advantage of the five-finger discounts at the big stores. That’s why I can afford to give stuff away. No invoices from the wholesalers! I learned all the tricks from Chester Bestertester.”
“What a heartwarming story!” cries Minty, overhearing the explanation. “Everybody wins! Merry Christmas! God bless us, every one!”
From the Too Little Too Late department. My snark generator appears to be on the fritz this week.
Here are a few anecdotes and observations, so I don’t get completely shut out this week.
I see that Skyhook is once again being drawn in somewhat human proportions. With that orange coat, I was convinced he was transforming into a basketball.
Here’s a memory from when I was a little girl. I’m sure some of you can recall something similar from your parent.
My family was Christmas shopping downtown when I witnessed two different Salvation Army Santas a block or two apart. I asked my mother how there could be two Santas. My mother told me that neither was Santa himself but two of his helpers. If Mindy had any brains, she could have explained to Skyhook that Harry was not Santa but just one of his helpers.
It’s in the realm of possibility that Jessica and Darin will take Skyhook to see a Santa somewhere. Mall Santa, Christmas Fair Santa, etc.
I can see Skyler now.
Skyler: I met Santa with Aunty Mindy and Uncle Pete. That’s not him. Why are you lying to me? 😭
Just sharing another memory.
Four-year-olds can speak a hell of a lot more than just two words at a time. I can remember taking my four-year-old son Christmas shopping at the mall with me. We had quite a day. I did all my shopping, we had lunch and I purchased him a Christmas book, a stuffed reindeer and a few candies (carmallows).
Later on, we were walking through a department store back to the car. He saw a toy he really wanted, but I refused to buy it for him. He proceeded to yell at me, “You’re stingy! You’re selfish! You’re mean! You never buy me anything I want”.
After we exited the store, he continued to berate me from three feet behind. I kind of pretended he wasn’t mine. Not my best moment as a parent.
My son disavows any knowledge of the incident.
It’s been mentioned in the discussion that Skyhook was born eight years ago in the comic.
If Mindy is of average height for a woman, about 5′ 6”, an eight-year-old Skyhook should be about as tall as Mindy’s shoulder (between 46 and 52 inches tall).
As an eight-year-old, Skyhook should not be speaking in one or two-word sentences. He should be a lot more talkative. When my little brother was about 8 years old, he was very talkative. My mother called him “my little chatterbox.”
It’s somewhat ironic nowadays. My little brother doesn’t speak much at all. Our weekly phone calls are very short, about five or ten minutes long. I have to twist his arm to get him to talk about himself.
My little brother jokes that everybody has a lifetime allotment of words to use. He says he must have used up the majority of his when he was young.
Maybe it was the embarrassment of being called “my little chatterbox.” 😁
I’m not surprised the Komix Korner is giving away merchandise. I always figured the entire Montoni’s/Komix Korner block is just a front for the Montoni crime syndicate. Why else would they be selling inedible pizza? Why else are both businesses always bereft of customers?
DSH has clearly mastered the art of how NOT to make a sale.
There. Got that out of my system
Shutting up now. It’s Friday, and I’m done working for the year. Time to grab a glass of wine and look at the pretty Christmas lights from across the “river” from our little balcony. The hubby is cooking his famous Salmon patties tonight. Yum.
Just curious. How many eight-year-olds still believe in Santa? I didn’t. I had a big-mouth big brother who blew it for me at age six.
I remember my two brothers and I were sitting on our great aunt’s porch at Christmas time, just talking. My older brother blurted out how astonished he was that a friend of his (age eight) still believed in Santa. I still believed in Santa at the time and was devastated, almost crying.
Quite a blow for my little brother too, age five. How many five-year-olds DON’T believe in Santa?