Forward, into the Past

Link to today’s strip.

Funny how we never saw Holly working on her book, but here it is, all published and printed and–for some reason–for sale at OMEA. I wouldn’t think cheerleading would have much of an audience there, as cheerleading is typically an athletic activity.

Anyway, here she is. And does this mean we can look forward to strips where Funky complains about Holly going on another book tour? “Oh, for heaven’s sake, Funky, there are plenty of peas and hot dogs in the fridge.” Yikes. And now that she’s a published author, will she be given the same respect as Lillian?

Oh, and what are our characters talking about today? Things that happened long ago…which seems to be the main topic of conversation in Funky Winkerbean. Things that readers actually enjoyed, back when Batiuk’s objective was to entertain, and back when the strip had readers.

For a strip known for its ham-handed dialogue, today really stands out. Two people yelling things that they both already know at each other. And which has no relevance to what we’re seeing. “At least I never bought bread from the auto parts store!” “That’s because their bread was made from oil filters!”

It’s like an Abbott and Costello movie where they’re talking about how funny their early movies were. Not doing the routines, mind you, just chatting about them. This strip would be baffling if you were someone who knew nothing about Funky Winkerbean. On the plus side, I envy you.


Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

58 responses to “Forward, into the Past

  1. Sorry this one is a TL;DR entry. I actually cut it down a lot.

    • Y. Knott

      No need to apologize. There is much to dislike about this strip; your restraint in touching on only the broad outlines of its ineptitude is admirable.

      Incidentally. though there have been Funky Winkerbean books in the real world (Volume 11! Available to order now!), within the Funky Winkerbean universe, will Funky Winkerbean be the only character in Funky Winkerbean not to have written his own book?

      • be ware of eve hill

        Batty’s blog on Jan. 31 said that “the book dropped.”

        What the hell does that even mean? It sounds like the books were air dropped from an airplane as it passed over his house.

        • Gerard Plourde

          Is it coincidence that Holly’s pushing her book the same week that the latest volume of The Complete FW is released? I tend to doubt it.

        • Rob

          That’s a perfectly normal phrase, and shockingly contemporary coming from Batiuk! Probably most common in a music context (“new album drops 2/22”, what have you)

          • be ware of eve hill

            I asked my DH, a much cooler streetwise person than myself, about a “book dropping.” He seemed perplexed until I mentioned your example of a music album (musical bum, as Benny Hill, would say). He agrees with you. A music “album dropping” means the album will be put out on a specific or scheduled date.

            He also said a “book drop” is the chute at your local library where you can return books after the library closes.

            The term “dropping” seems to be used when the product is eagerly awaited by customers. I suppose Batty believes his fans are eagerly awaiting yet another Funky Winkerbean compilation. Maybe he’s just trying to sound hip.


          • When I think of Funky Winkerbean, the only “droppings” that come to mind are the ones associated with birds.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            I suppose Batty believes his fans


          • Anonymous Sparrow

            Giving birth is sometimes considered “dropping,’ at least in British medical terminology: “Sue Jenkins’s ready to drop her third,” for instance.

            (Thank you, John Mortimer.)

      • Professor Fate

        It’s on Amazon for preorder at 45 bucks a pop.
        The opening line of the book description is something of minor classic in completely missing the point –
        “Long-running character Funky Winkerbean reminds us that we all have to grow up” – honestly have any FW Character grown up? Sure they’ve gotten older but that’s it.
        And it ranks #24,020 in Graphic Novels (Books)
        Not exactly flying out of the warehouse are they?


          That’s the funniest thing associated with Funky Winkerbean in over 45 years.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            That’s because Tom Batiuk (or possibly Kent State University press) will only sell the FW compilation books as overpriced hardcover editions. There are no softcover versions of the FW collection I can find. Only the Dinkle-specific, Crankshaft, and early FW books, all from different publishers, are in the more affordable and convenient soft-cover format.

            And I’m not opposed to hardback editions in principle. I spent some serious coin to get the complete Calvin and Hobbes and Peanuts collections in hardcover form. Those are pieces of literature that have a worthy place on my fancy bookshelf, and someday will be enjoyed by my descendants. Funky goddam Winkerbean is not.

            It may not have been TB’s decision, but FW being in hardcover format only fits in perfectly with TB’s tendency to overstate his own cultural importance. As if existing in such a temporary form is beneath FW, when it’s not beneath any other comic strip.

          • The thing is, the Peanuts volumes (which appear to be the same size and cover the same time, strip-wise) are thirty dollars, in hardback. And those are worthwhile. Funky at forty-five is way overpriced.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            @BeckoningChasm I thought it may be the economics of a university publisher, as opposed to a mass-market publisher. But KSU Press publishes paperback books. Especially for mainstream topics, like histories of sports teams. Why do they publish this in such a pricey format?

            Hell, why do they publish it at all? The “Humor” section of their website consists entirely of Tom Batiuk books. James Thurber he is not.

    • be ware of eve hill

      It’s okay.

      I noticed yesterday’s blog was a little short. Was it due to disgust? Dinkle, a man and his ego.

      As I said the other day, you drew the short straw with Dinkle at OMEA.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      You call THAT a TL;DR?


  2. Epicus Doomus

    I had the same thought: do they just allow anyone to set up a table at OMEA and start selling shit? Holly is not a music educator and baton twirling, in and of itself, has nothing to do with music. So why in God’s name would she be there? Could it be because Batom has already run out of OMEA gags and it’s only Wednesday? Uh-huh.

    I do like how this strip totally underscores Becky’s complete uselessness and all-around lack of utility in the strip. Dinkle once again makes it all about him and there she is, smirking away in that placid agreeable way of hers. Can’t she muster up an eye roll or something every once in a while?

    Coming tomorrow: Mason flies into town for OMEA and offers to turn “Singed Hair” into a motion picture starring a now almost cancer-free Marianne Winters. The filming is 100% fire-free and goes off without a hitch, and the film attains blockbuster status. Les sneers derisively.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Unfortunately the fumes from the mock ‘flaming’ batons Marianne uses in the movie turn out to be carcinogenic…

      Three years later, Les comes out with a new book. “Lisa’s Ghost: The Tragic Death of Marianne Winters.”

    • Professor Fate

      My only suggestion is after the film they decide to turn “Singed Hair” into a musical which is then optioned to Broadway and it wins a Tony and is filmed – again. Holly divorces Funky and leaves Westville never to return again. Les refuses to show any sympathy Holly is alive after all

  3. billytheskink

    The memoir of a high school baton twirler? What possible audience could there be for something like that? I suppose one could say the same thing about Funky Winkerbean

    • Epicus Doomus

      I mean, it might make a little sense if they were at a marching band convention, I guess. But they aren’t, which makes me wonder if he either forgot that fact or decided to just ignore it.

      • billytheskink

        I suppose I was more struck by why Holly in particular would be an interesting subject for a memoir, especially one focusing primarily on her baton twirling days. She twirled batons and got burned a lot. She’s pretty insufferably boring nowadays, but she’s done things at least as interesting as that in past decade.

        Here’s a baton twirler who, as far as I know, did not wind up writing a memoir…

        But if he had written a memoir it would have covered a journey from champion baton twirler to a long and varied career as a sheriff’s deputy, radio reporter, sensationalist tabloid photographer, and eventually a decades-long run as a local TV news icon… nationally known as the man who helped shut down the “ranch” that inspired The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas and locally beloved for telling Houstonians what restaurants failed health inspections due to having “slime in the ice machine!!!”

        But sure, people would want to read about how Holly regularly failed to twirl a flaming baton and how she never took her stupid uniform off or whatever.

  4. Sourbelly

    Aside from Grade-D-But-Edible pizza and amateur comics, Westview’s main business is shipping self-published garbage from garages to landfills.

  5. erdmann

    Let’s see… if I imagine Holly saying “Singed my hair!” with the same fanatic enthusiasm as SpongeBob saying “Ripped my pants!” then maybe….
    Nope. Still stupid and unfunny. Sorry, Batty. I gave it my best shot.

  6. RudimentaryLathe?

    My plan was to just ignore the annual OMEA arc but what what. The Actual. Fuck. Is this?!?!?

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah it’s kind of a slap in the face to the OMEA people. If you are a music teacher, you would actually enjoy the event. Besides the guest performances, there are some wonderful clinics hosted by great musicians.

      Batty shows the event as focused on Marching Band activities, but the actual event is more well rounded and offers a lot more.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Amazingly, this year’s OMEA week isn’t even about band directors. It’s just Batiuk glorifying himself to them, and repeating his tired old tropes. They’re just another bunch of people to be talked at. Tomorrow, the Pizza Box Monster visits the OMEA. Friday, Atomik Comix has a booth at the OMEA. Saturday, Les gives the keynote OMEA speech: Lisa had a musical instrument.

        Reading FW is like watching a man drive his last few friends away. Are Luigi’s, band directors, and Kent State ever going to get tired of being unflatteringly depicted, and used as props to feed TB’s massive ego?

  7. none

    page 105:
    “… and there I was, standing in the rain. A sixty five year old woman in a majorette uniform, standing in the rain at a half time show for some football game of a high school for a town that’s a speck of dust on the map. There were more lights on me than fans in the stands. There was no cheering, and I could hear their eyes on me. The routine started and ended as they had so many times before, with my brain misjudging my body and my bones shattered to pieces. I think I might have heard some cheering then. Did they always enjoy to see me suffer?

    Did Melinda Budd, my Mom, enjoy seeing me suffer? To contemplate such sadism seems abhorrent but there she was with me in the ambulance as we rode away with pearled whites gleaming through her encrusted visage, saying some such platitude about this being ‘just like old times’, as if I couldn’t forget, despite my desires. Despite my desires, I went ahead and did this. Despite my desires, my past and present failures were little more than a joke to this hag. Not even my husband was around to offer any objection to this harpy’s sadism. I don’t think he was even in the stands…”

    page 112:
    “… later that day, he had me climb up that creaky wooden staircase, one hop up at a time, my hands never with his but on the guardrail as he smirked behind me. We finally reached the top of that place and it took every effort of restraint to hold my breath long enough in that putrid box of decrepit comics and manchild body odor for me to stand next to some statute of some metal person of some sort. Since when did he even care about this garbage? Oh, I smiled for him. I smiled. Sure, honey, take that picture.”

    page 136:
    “Some days I went around the house without the crutches at all. He didn’t even so much as pause to look at me. There was nothing. No words of surprise or encouragement or support. But he did make sure to give me grief about eating more food than he deemed necessary.”

    Hi, I’m Holly Budd! My book is about 50 years of physical pain and misery! I hope you enjoy reading my verbose details for the extent of my injuries! Let me sign your copy today!

  8. I merely tolerate all the Mary Worth chatter that goes on around here…but Firesign Theater influenced post titles are always welcome. I stand in line, BC.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      My apologies as I have brought some of that Mary Worth talk over here. I guess I always wondered if the audience here felt the same way about Mary Worth as I did, considering we all hold the same views towards FW.

      I will only point out that today’s Mary Worth features some major league dysfunction.

      I received a collection of Mary Worth love stories as a birthday gift and can’t wait to dig in to it during the upcoming winter storm. So glad I did not get a collection of FW strips!

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I think it’s relevant to bring up Mary Worth this week. Because this Wilbur arc looks exactly like Tom Batiuk wrote it.

        It’s telling us so hard that we’re supposed to like this immature, detestable, pet-bullying alcoholic jackass, because of his “good side” that we’ve never seen any evidence of. He falls to an overdramatized apparent death, but miraculously survives in illogical ways the story can’t be bothered to explain. There’s even a geography error! Unless they were cruising somewhere other than California, there are no “cruise ship islands” he could have washed up on.

        And what’s going on in Gasoline Alley today? Why, Hollywood has come to their podunk town to make a movie about a completely unremarkable person! And they dropped a 300-page script on him with instructions to “correct any inaccuracies.” Apparently, Walt Wallet’s story must also be told correctly! Whatever the hell it is besides “lived to be 146 years old.”

        It also looks like Les is going to appear in Crankshaft. I feel like I’m watching the virus spread in “Plague Inc.”

    • Professor Fate

      Shoes for Industry Comrade

    • The Duck of Death

      I seem to be the only person in the snarkiverse that thinks this, but I think Moy is fully conscious of what a horrible, incorrigible jerk Wilbur is. I think the ridiculous plot twists and indefensible defenses of Wilbur by Mary are being done on purpose. I believe Mary is now intentionally being portrayed as ridiculously out-of-touch.

      Because look at the reader engagement levels. Every new outrage brings ’em out, and people are talking about this ancient strip that goes back to the Depression!

      This is standard soap opera-level dramatic irony: Let the audience see what a terrible person someone is, but don’t let the other characters pick up on it no matter how obvious the behavior is. Get the viewers yelling at their screen. That way they’re invested, if only because they want to see the bad guy get his comeuppance.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It’s possible. At least Moy is self-aware enough to know that people SHOULDN’T like Wilbur. But Estelle better be slapping her in tomorrow’s strip.

  9. be ware of eve hill

    This is ridiculous. Only in the Batiukverse can any Tom, Dick, and Harry write a book and have a publisher instantly bend over backward to publish their book.

    My brother took a two-year sabbatical off work to research and write a book he’s dreamt about for decades. Do you think he can find a publisher that made it all worthwhile? Hell no!

    When have we ever seen anything about Holly writing a biography? Wow, that came out of nowhere. Did she write it between refilling coffee cups at Montoni’s? 🙄

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Any Tom, Dick, and Harry can get a book published in the Funkyverse. Any Jane, Beth, and Mary, not so much.

    • Charles

      Yeah, I think it stems from Batiuk’s inability to understand just how difficult these things are to accomplish. Whether it’s Cindy’s Emmy or Bull’s pro career or Summer’s state championship or now Holly publishing a memoir, he really shows his complete ignorance about how much work needs to go into these things. And also how much skill they require that he never shows any of his characters possessing or acquiring.

      I mean, Holly is often portrayed as a befuddled idiot, and we’re supposed to think that she had the ability to write an entire memoir skillfully enough that a publisher thought lots of people would want to read it?

      That said, it’s not exactly a shock, seeing as how bad Batiuk’s prose offerings are.

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    You think this is bad, Les is about to show up in Crankshaft. Didn’t realize Mrs Bowlcut was a substitute teacher, but doesn’t Lillian already know Les? I thought they did a book signing together.

    • Gerard Plourde

      Retcon Alert: If memory serves, Pmmm and Jfff first met Les, Boy Lisa and Jessica when Frankie was intent on besmirching St. Lisa. I seem to remember there was some incident they observed involving the van that old Pmmm and Jfff recounted to Boy Lisa and Jessica at the Chez Moore.

      While on the subject, didn’t Les and Lisa buy their house from Crankshaft?

      • ComicBookHarriet

        Les and Lisa toured Lillian’s house when she had it on the market. This was when Crankshaft and Funky were on the same/similar time scales. Their offer on the house was rejected, and they bought the Taj Moore hall in Westview from some old coot.

        Lillian has met Les a couple times, in both ‘timelines’. He did a book signing during the grand opening of her book store, and she attended a writer’s conference where he was on a panel of authors. Of course, HIS advice was the only advice worth taking.

        Pmmmm and JJffffff used to live in the same subdivided house as the Fairgoods. They were walking home when the Murdochs witnessed Lisabuse. It is NEVER explained how the story of them stopping Lisabuse got to the Fairgoods. I’m guessing it just seeped through the floor.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          Lillian even has his PHONE NUMBER, and they went to Montoni’s together to discuss getting a book published. I looked it up, (it’s winter, sue me) June 25, 2018.

          Now, I supposed maybe PAM doesn’t know this prior connection, and we’ll get a ‘Oh, hey, it’s you.’ moment.

          Except that would mean that Pam didn’t even peek her head in at the ‘grand opening’ of The Village Booksmith, despite the fact she has known Lillian her entire life and it was happening right next door.

        • Gerard Plourde

          “they bought the Taj Moore hall in Westview from some old coot”

          Thanks for filling in the gap, CBH. Somehow my memory conflated the FW “old coots” (it couldn’t possibly be the artwork).

    • billytheskink

      Oh good night… “an English teacher at Westview High” may be even worse than the dreaded “that cranky bus driver guy from Centerville” in TB’s repertoire of pointlessly coy crossover references. I honestly did not think that was possible.

  11. Chyron HR

    Buddwinkerbean? No thanks, I can drink water at home.

    • LTPFTR

      It’s the perfect touch that they ran out of space on Holly’s sign to include her full name and had to cram it in like a 5-year-old making a birthday card.

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    Yeah, what’s the point of doing anything unless you’re going to write a book about it?

  13. Dood

    Maybe all these memoirs and reflections are leading up to a grand farewell of some sort.

    Ha, I crack myself up.

  14. The Duck of Death

    We’ve been subjected to dribs and drabs of the 9,000-volume Claude Barlow biography for years, maybe decades. Yet not a whiff of Holly’s tome? She didn’t even mention it at any time during the saga of the broken footankleleg.

    Ironically, if Batiuk had every single main character writing an idiotic biography or autobiography filled with hideous puns, that might constitute a meta-joke in itself, and start to verge on funny. Holly could always be writing “Singed Hair.” Funky could always be writing “One with Sausage.” Crazy Harry could be writing “Memoirs of an Air Guitar God.” Etc.

    Not only would it be a meta-joke that makes fun of itself, it would also give Batiuk free reign to shoehorn in every crappy pun and shitty joke, without having to twist his timeline into a pretzel just for one lousy punchline.

    • The Duck of Death

      Ugh! Free rein. <–(beady-eyed nitpicking my own self)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s obvious TB didn’t put any thought into this. For every other character, publishing a book is a huge process that must talked about for weeks. But all of a sudden Holly already has one ready to sell. Even though she was just injured for several months. And when you’ve got a broken bone, it’s hard to get ANYTHING done. And for what? As BC said, a “gag” where two characters tell each other things they already know, so the strip can go HURR DURR I AM SO WACKY. Holly’s talked about being set on fire a lot more times than she’s actually set on fire. Especially when the FOOM always happens off-panel.

      This shit is terrible. Tom Batiuk needs an editor, and if he won’t agree to one then he needs to be fired.

      • The Duck of Death

        The whole purpose of this event was to repeat, for probably literally the three hundredth time, one of FW’s best-known schticks: It always pours rain during the most crucial band performances!

        And to think, this gag wasn’t even funny the first time!

        But somehow repeating it was worth shattering whatever fragile scintilla of reality TB had managed to construct for one of his key characters.

        Something tells me we won’t see any more references to this book. (Unlike other Winkshaftiverse books I could name 🙄…)

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          There’d a George Carlin bit where he says that being “remembered” to someone is the lowest possible form of communicating about another person.

          “Remember me to Dave!”
          “Okay. Dave, you remember Susan?”
          “Well, that’s it.”

          That’s all this is. Remember when Holly set her hair on fire? Remember when Les couldn’t climb the rope? Remember when Crazy Harry played a pizza like a record? Remember when Lisa died? Well, that’s it. There’s nothing more to any of those stories.

  15. hitorque

    1. I can’t imagine anybody at OMEA giving a shit about a majorette’s memoir (much less giving her a table to hawk her book) since it has jack shit to do with music education. Holly is at the wrong convention.

    2. I can’t imagine any publisher anywhere showing interest in this period, much less giving Holly the full-on premium hardback cover treatment — Unless of course her book is a tell-all about the legendary totally unreal erotic exploits of a hot-to-trot teenaged blonde PAWG in 1980s Suburban Cleveland culminating in being named Penthouse Pet of the Year with the requisite succession of celebrity lovers… In which case, Holly is STILL at the wrong convention…

    3. I give less that a rat’s ass — Unless she’s had multiple secret lives, there’s no way in hell Holly has had an eventful enough life to fill what looks like 350 pages…

    4. It’s funny because neither Holly nor Funkmaster has ever mentioned that she was even writing a book and she churns it out like it was nothing?

    5. It’s funny because Holly is a good 35+ years removed from her flaming baton twirling days, but who’s counting amirite?

    6. It’s funny because naturally The Big Dink didn’t have the common courtesy to ask Holly about her ankle after that half-assed stunt at homecoming… Am I the only one who remembers??