A Nice Solid Number Two

Link To Today’s Strip

Oh dear, sweet, innocent, frumpy Marianne, totally unconcerned with shallow Hollywood things like her appearance and how her career is going. One has to wonder how someone so hopelessly naive and frumpy stumbled into a film career in the first place. Fortunately for her, she has Mason Jarre to mentor her and explain how movies and showbiz works, so at least she’s in very capable male hands. After all, Mason has played Les Moore TWICE, thus his veracity and integrity is obviously beyond reproach.

That Marianne drawing in panel two is just awful. She looks like Rocky’s harried, weather beaten mother, a far cry from the sexy sex vixen who played the vivacious Jupiter Moon just a few short years ago. She might as well just move to Westview and take a job teaching drama at the high school or slinging pies at Montoni’s, as she’d fit right in. And it’d only really be confusing when Summer was in town, but that rarely happens anyhow.

NEWS FLASH: You’ve got to check out the official BatBlog, which has been updated with an absolutely epic “Lisa’s Story” retrospective victory lap of truly Batiukian proportions. It’s the REAL “Never-Ending Story”.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

76 responses to “A Nice Solid Number Two

  1. Tom Batiuk really does think “Lisa’s Story” is the greatest gift mankind has been blessed to receive.

    • Epicus Doomus

      The entire world stood up and rebelled when he courageously re-defined what comic strips could be, but after he refused to lower his guns and refrain from elevating the art form, the ever-fickle public took notice and embraced his bold new direction.

      IMO the most amazing revelation in that post is that he didn’t have a copy of “Lisa’s Story” and had to hunt one down online. I mean, that seems totally impossible, doesn’t it?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        What seems impossible? That TB wouldn’t have a copy of it, or that someone else would?

        • Epicus Doomus

          I’ve always assumed that he has cases of them in the garage, much to Mrs. B’s chagrin.

          “THOMAS! Are you EVER going to move those boxes of unsold books? They’re attracting silverfish!”

          “Not yet, if I keep pimping this thing it could “go viral” at any time!”

          The idea that he didn’t have a reference copy of “Lisa’s Story” lying around in his studio is just unfathomable, I just cannot believe that’s possible. I mean, no way. It totally defies belief.

          • spacemanspiff85

            I kind of assumed the only things he ever reads are decades-old Flash comics and passages from Lisa’s Story, like scripture.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            I always assumed he grabbed the first book off the presses and placed it front and center in his studio.

          • erdmann

            I figured the references to all the band turkeys and candy Dinkle has stored at his house are inspired by the boxes of “Lisa’s Story” Batty has on hand in his basement, his garage, a couple of U-Store-It units…

            Oh, and it’s nice to see Debbie Downvoter is back. Hey, Debbie! How’s it hanging?

          • Charles

            Oh, and it’s nice to see Debbie Downvoter is back. Hey, Debbie! How’s it hanging?

            I’m much more intrigued by the person who faithfully shows up every single day to downvote each ED comment. I think I know who it is, but I have nothing more than suspicions.

          • Epicus Doomus

            You can’t please everyone, I suppose. I’m probably number one on the all-time downvote list, which is like being the pitcher who’s committed the most balks.

      • Y. Knott

        It’s right out of O. Henry. In giving his gift to the world, he neglected to keep for himself the thing he most loved.

        So then he had to spend $4.98 + shipping on Ebay to get it back.

  2. Sourbelly

    84 (and counting) comments yesterday. Say what you will; but Batdick knows that stories about Lisa’s deadness and Les’ triumphantness move the meters in terms of snark.

    • Hitorque

      I forget which storyline it was (Phil Holt returns at Comicon?) but one week last year comments were over 100 for a few days…

  3. Lord Flatulence

    Number Two. Perfect.

  4. Banana Jr. 6000

    ““So, let me hang up the laptop I was using yesterday, and call you on my tablet.”

    • Mr. A

      Nah, Mason was holding his laptop by its screen yesterday. It puts my teeth on edge if I look at it for too long, but not because it’s unrealistic. Some people do not know how to handle electronics (and Ayers is apparently one of them).

  5. billytheskink

    What does this have to do with Marianne possibly getting an Oscar nomination?

    • Epicus Doomus

      The most annoying thing about this one is how he uses the first panel to recap yesterday’s third panel. Once again, BatYam assumes his readers are imbeciles who can’t recall the events of yesterday without being brought up to speed again today. I mean it’s literally the previous panel, it’s the most gratuitous and shameless filler I’ve ever seen.

    • Hitorque

      THANK YOU… “trending on Netflix” doesn’t automatically mean “Oscar worthy”…

      And where are the film critics in this storyline? Even if the movie bombed, the studio would have had multiple pre-release screenings for the critics to get their reviews in… And of course we heard nothing about that.

  6. Banana Jr. 6000

    Lisa’s Story took things to another level. and, were we to simply dump the finished story arc onto the comics page, the result would have been akin to Custer’s Last Stand./

    • erdmann

      What the hell is Batty even talking about? Does anyone know? Does he even know? Did he ever know? Most of the words he’s managed to string together there are English and they seem to form sentences, yet they couldn’t be less comprehensible if they were written in some ancient, long-dead tongue once spoken by an obscure South Pacific island culture.

      • Cabbage Jack

        Yeah, Watterson, Shultz, Trudeau, hell even Larson and Breathed were light-years ahead of this mook in tackling serious issues. Only with a lighter touch and a touch of class.

        Lynn Johnston had run the Lawrence Coming Out storyline some 6 years earlier than Batty’s Lisa crap even started.

        He’s so far up his own butt and buried in his own press releases, he can’t even see that he was a follower and not a pioneer.

      • Epicus Doomus

        It wasn’t like “Lisa’s Story” was some seismic pop-culture event that rocked the funny pages and reverberated for years afterward. FW was just as unpopular then as it is now and longtime readers were already numbed beyond comprehension by decades of Act II melodrama and pathos. Sure, it was kind of ballsy of him to kill off his favorite character, but so what? It wasn’t like he hadn’t toyed with the idea before that (“USA! USA!”).

        • Y. Knott

          I can honestly say — and I’m someone who actually has an interest in comic strips — until maybe a few years ago when I stumbled across The Comics Curmudgeon, I had never even heard of Funky Winkerbean as an actual thing EXCEPT in an offhanded reference in Bloom County. That’s it. That was my total interaction with FW for the first 40+ years of its existence. I knew it was a comic strip, but had never, ever seen it. NONE of my hometown papers (and there were four) ever carried it. I worked in a bookstore for a few years … a very large one, in a large city … no FW titles were ever on the shelves. Or asked for. I frequented other bookstores that carried comics, graphic novels, and the like. Nada, Funky-wise. Nor did I ever notice the strip in a paper when I was on vacation somewhere else. Not that I was looking — it simply never, ever appeared. And I would have noticed if it had, because I have in interest in comic strips. I might not have liked it, but I would have at least checked it out.

          Lisa’s Story had even less impact than that. While I vaguely knew that FW was somehow a thing, I couldn’t have told you one single specific thing about it. Like, for instance, that it had a character named Lisa. Or that she had a story.

          Were those simpler, better times?

          Oh my, yes. Undoubtedly.

      • Charles

        Those who had been given the de facto power to define the artform (rather than those who create the art) were predictably incensed that I had once again broken my implicit deal with them.

        Jesus, this asshole….

        • be ware of eve hill

          Tom Batiuk, a legend in his own mind.

          I think I remember enough of my first aid training to tie an arm sling. Batty has surely dislocated his shoulder, patting himself on the back this time.

          I ought to buy one of those long handled back scratchers and place a stuffed glove over the claw. That way, Batty could pat himself on the back without straining himself. I could write congratulatory messages on a few balloons (“Way to go Tom”, “You’re the Greatest”, “You are a Comic Strip God”). Include a toy horn and some confetti. It would be an “Atta Boy” gift basket for whenever he feels the need to blow his own horn.

          • TimP

            When someone has won as many Reuben awards as Batiuk has, I’d say it’s fair for him to feel entitled to acknowledge his universally recognized greatness.

          • be ware of eve hill

            When someone has won as many Reuben awards as Batiuk has…

            Only in his dreams, TimP. Only in his dreams. 😉

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Batiuk will get the Silver T-Square, which I think is technically a Reuben. It’s for what he does best: existing.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Batty has won a Rueben? My mistake.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Everything is a conspiracy against Tom Batiuk’s personal tastes, isn’t it? He just will not let go of his precious little strawman of “people will angrily fight against serious stories in the comics page.” Which exists just so he can say “but I bravely did it anyway” in his self-important literary hero narrative. Never mind that many other comic artists did it earlier, better, and didn’t demand a U-Haul truck full of awards for it. What an egotistical jerk this man comes off as.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It’s completely meaningless. It’s just a list of hyperbolic cliches Batiuk’s ego thinks about his own work. Not a word of it is concrete. “Take it to another level” is the lamest, most meaningless sports cliche you ever hear. “Like Custer’s Last Stand except bloodier” makes no sense. No person actually told Tom Batiuk he was “ruining the comics”, at least not for the reason he thinks.

        And some of the coverage doesn’t look too flattering. There’s a story with the headline “This is funny?” and the rest of the story is hidden from view. I wonder if that one might be a tad critical. The book cover blurb says “Using creative channels is often the best way to educate.” That’s not even ABOUT Lisa’s story.

        “Lisa’s Story is a welcome new tool in the fight against breast cancer.” Really, National Association of Breast Cancer Organizations? How so? What would it teach you? Don’t let your useless, blame-shifting, hero-complex, Norman Mailer wannabe husband make all your decisions? Don’t refuse treatment because you’re butthurt the doctor made a mistake?

        Tom Batiuk talks about breast cancer like he’s trying to brand it for himself. “Remember, Lisa is the Official Dead Person of breast cancer! When you think pointless despair from an incurable disease, think Lisa Crawford Moore (1960-2007)!”

        It’s all so tasteless.

    • louder

      How I miss Peanuts! Well, thought out stories, and Shultz with a healthy sense of humor. Miles above what BatHack does. I’ll think about Peanuts today and forget the trash that BatHack prints.

  7. erdmann

    Don’t listen to losers like Masonne, Marianne. Always remember: If you ain’t first, you’re last! Now, let’s all go get thrown out of Applebee’s.

  8. spacemanspiff85

    Is it me or is it weird that Batiuk is described as “Creator of Funky Winkerbean” on the cover of Lisa’s Story? It’s a Funky Winkerbean collection. It’d be like Jim Davis described as “Creator of Garfield” on the cover of “The Complete Garfield, Vol. 4”. I’m sure the idea is that it’s a magnificent work that transcends Funky Winkerbean, but it’s weird to me.
    I also like how the blurb on the cover has nothing at all to do with the literary or artistic merits. It’s basically just “yep, it’s about breast cancer”. As much as he praises his own work as high art, “Lisa’s Story” is really just the equivalent of a comic your dentist would give you about Spiderman and Wolverine teaming up to fight cavities and floss.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Spiderman and Wolverine would at least give you good flossing advice. On top of everything else that sucks about it, Lisa’s story is a master class on how not to live with cancer. These two idiots can’t cope, can’t adjust, can’t make a good decision, can’t keep their egos out of anything, and then mutually decide to just give up.

      I wonder how many cancer sufferers got this book from some well-meaning friend, and just tossed it away. It is the most tedious, rambling, depressing story i can imagine. And not depressing in a constructive, “you may have to face unpleasant truths” way. But full of cruel, pointless suffering, like the movie “Pay It Forward.”

      If you know someone with cancer and want them to hate themselves, I can’t recommend a better gift.

  9. newagepalimpsest

    Is #2 good enough? Good enough for Lisa?! I don’t think so!

    No wonder this faithless wretch wasn’t considered worthy of The Tapes.

  10. Charles

    You know, Mason’s last panel statement suggests that the movie hit #2 on Netbusters (wtf) a while ago, otherwise there’s no reason why he should be pooh-poohing its chances of hitting #1. It’s fallen off enough that Mason clearly doesn’t think it’s going to hit the top spot. And that means that the timeline he recites in today’s strip took place over a few weeks several weeks ago.

    So as this was happening, no one involved in the project was aware of this except Mason. And for some reason as this was happening, Mason felt no need to let anyone know. He had a really disappointing last telephone conversation with Les, the man who he worships, about how badly the movie did. Why wouldn’t he have called Les to let him know? Think about how thrilled they both would have been! From this sequence he’s obviously aware that Marianne doesn’t know or hear of anything unless she gets it from him, so why didn’t he call her with this news? If Marianne wasn’t nominated (excuse me, up for a nomination) for her role in the film, would everyone except Mason just have thought that this movie died commercially, wholly unaware of its massive grassroots online success?

    You know, Batiuk, this sequence failed before it even started, because you fucked the premise up. If you were even an average writer, you’d have figured that out and redone it. It’s not hard. Lisa’s Story’s online success doesn’t have to be news to Marianne here, though her hearing about her (being potentially) nominated for an Oscar from Mason is completely absurd, so I suppose you’d need to rethink that one as well. But hey, look at me! I came up with a solution that covered both weaknesses! Marianne’s (potential) nomination doesn’t have to be news to her either when Mason calls her!

    • Tom from Finland

      I’m starting to be more and more convinced that Lisa’s story really was one of those more ”artistic” p0rn films with a plot like Romance X.

      Then when it was released in Nutbuster, someone noticed that it actually has artistic value worth an Oscar nomination.
      That’s why being considered for an Oscar nomination is a thing worth mentioning to Marianne and that’s why only Mason knows of it at this point, since it is not something that usually happens to p0rn films.
      It also explains why the movie was not shown in theaters and why the ”raw cut” they showed to Les was more like a trailer (they had cut out the p0rn parts, so that Les would not know)

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It has to be news to Marianne for one reason: because Tom Batiuk’s gender attitudes are still stuck in the 1950s. The 1950s in Saudi Arabia.

      Look at this fragile little waif. Marianne still lives with her mom. Her mom drives her to the studio. She has no friends other than Mason, of any gender. She has no agent, manager, or professional contacts. She has no ability to remain aware of happenings in her own industry, even when it’s widely published. And of course she needs every last detail of it mansplained to her. What’s a 29-year-old single woman supposed to do, drive a car? Rent an apartment? Read a book? By herself?

      This week isn’t just an infodump so Batiuk can retcon his past infodumps and give Les an undeserved award. It shows us how backwards his attitudes really are. And how phony all of his white knighting is.

      • This would make sense under one condition: if Marianne was on location somewhere in Costa Rica or Tunisia or something. She’d be too busy to keep on top of the news. But that would require her to have a life independent of men, and that’s not possible.

        • Maxine of Arc

          And then her agents, publicists, stylists, personal assistants, and other employees would be keeping on top of the news for her.

      • Charles

        Thing that amazes me about this appalling portrayal of Marianne is both how obvious it is, and yet how oblivious Batiuk is about it.

        I doubt that Batiuk’s decision to make Marianne useless, ignorant and undefined/unrealized was a deliberate act. I don’t believe that he looked at actual successful actresses and decided to make Marianne as unlike them as he has. I think he just thinks this is how a woman in Marianne’s situation would be: knowing nothing and constantly needing everything explained to her. And his belief in this is so strong that it’s not overridden by the fact that he presents Marianne as a massively successful professional actress otherwise. It makes me wonder if he really does look at real life successful actresses under the age of 30 and thinks that this is how they are.

        And it’s not really limited to actresses. See how Becky needs everything explained to her by Dinkle. Or Cayla needs everything explained to her by Les. The only person who bucks this trend is Linda, but she’s essentially smug-ass Les in a dress, right down to tragically losing a spouse.

  11. gleeb

    No, I do not have to read the Batiukblog, and I will defy everything up to and including a court order that tries to make me do so.

    Also, is that everyman character actor Ed Binns in the masthead?

    • You’ll have to wait until Tuesday to find out! I think he kinda looks like Luca Brasi from The Godfather.

      • Charles

        Thought he kind of looked like Phil’s unnamed helper who conveniently vanished the moment Phil revealed himself to Flash, but who am I kidding – that guy’s never showing up again.

  12. “One reader went so far as to claim that I was ruining comics for everyone.”

    “Hey, Chuck? Tom here. Can you do me a favor? I need you to write me a letter, for a project I’m working on. Here’s what I need you to say…”

    • Mr. A

      Eh, I’m not shocked that one person in America wrote Batiuk an angry letter. Some people have too much time on their hands (says the man sitting in his glass house).

  13. Hitorque

    It’s funny because Marianne has no friends, no family, no agent, no publicist

    • Hitorque

      How is the current reigning hottest actress in Hollywood this shut off and isolated from the world around her? Marianne might as well be living full-time on the International Space Station…

      • be ware of eve hill

        Marianne broke curfew and her mommy grounded her for a couple of weeks. She’s not allowed out of the house and can only use the internet with mommy’s official okey-dokey.

    • Maxine of Arc

      When she was introduced, everybody had heard of her and she was the hot new thing. She was Scarlett Johanssen. Now she lives in, I assume, a treehouse in the middle of Alaska where she can only receive calls from Masone and apparently doesn’t even have Netflix.

  14. be ware of eve hill

    Oh, only #2 on the Netbusters trending chart? Is this Batty’s way of appearing humble? Typical annoying Funky Winkerbean humblebragging.

    Go ahead, make it #1. It’s not like we weren’t expecting it.

    BTW, what’s a “trending chart”? Do you mean a Top 100 List? Geez, Batty.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Just like when Les didn’t win the Eisner Award. (Surely you remember, the *third* different medium in which “Lisa’s Story” received a major award nomination.) Batiuk spends weeks setting up new ways to award Les because of Lisa, and then doesn’t give it to him. It is a weird kind of humblebragging.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I was never clear on that whole Eisner awards business. What was the third format of Lisa’s Story? Was it a comic book or a graphic novel? A collection of comic strips? Did Darin make illustrations for Les’s book? Was the Eisner Award Darin’s to lose, or both Darin and Les?

        How many literary books are adapted into graphic novels in real-life?

        Horrifying Discovery of the Day: There is an award for audiobooks named The Audie Awards. 😱

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I meant book, movie, and graphic novel as the three formats. I honestly wonder if there’s a fourth one I’m forgetting. Has Les won a Grammy yet?

          • be ware of eve hill

            There’s the Audie Awards I mentioned for audiobooks.

            A Grammy? I can only imagine Les “singing” songs in a live cocktail lounge setting, in a monotone deadpan like Bill Shatner. Interspersed a thousand times with the questions, “Have I told you about Lisa?”, “Have you read my book about my dead wife, Lisa?”, “Have you seen the movie about my dead wife, Lisa?” and “Would you like to buy my book about my dead wife, Lisa?”.

            The Bedside Mannerisms as the backup band, or do they have certain standards?

          • Audible, an Amazon company, is proud to present Les Moore’s “Lisa’s Story,” as read by Eddie Deezen. Complete and unabridged.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            By the way, I found a new actor for the role of Les. He’s not an actor, he’s a basketball coach named Paul Woolpert. You’ll quickly see why he’d be perfect.

  15. be ware of eve hill

    I confess. There is one thing about the funkywinkerbean blog that made me laugh today. You’d expect that clicking on a blog image, comic book cover or a John Darling comic would give you an enlarged view.

    Nope. Same size. Thanks a heap, Batty.

  16. Dood

    “This is funny?” is something I’ve asked myself since I first saw this strip in the late ‘70s.

  17. ComicBookHarriet

    As people have said before, whether or not she got an Oscar nod has almost nothing to do with how well Lisa’s Story did on FlickBusted. It is entirely dependent on if the right number of a very small and interconnected group of people praised her performance. So I don’t know what Batiuk is trying to do by connecting them.

    Having Marianne get a nom from a critically middling bomb that got dumped on streaming is the most plausible thing about this movie.

    I mean, look at the Oscar noms for best actress THIS year, not a single one of those movies had mass popularity. Half of them I hadn’t even heard of. And several of them didn’t even get real theatrical runs. And two of them weren’t even THAT well received critically.

    The Eyes of Tammy Faye. Budget unknown, but only pulled in 2.5 million. Had a 69% on RT

    Being the Ricardos. Budget unknown, limited release before going to streaming. Made about 500K. 68% RT.

    Spencer. Made 20 million on a 18 million budget. 83% RT

    Parallel Mothers. Spanish Language film. 14 million on a 13 million budget. 97% RT.

    The Lost Daughter. Got only a limited theatre release. Made 100k on 5 million, then went to streaming. 95% RT.

    • There was a time in the 80’s and 90’s when, if someone won Best Actress, her career immediately went into the toilet. That still might be the case today, I haven’t cared about the Oscars enough to check.

      • Mr. A

        That can be explained in part by “regression to the mean”. You have to have an unusually good year to win an Oscar in the first place; what are the odds you’ll get that lucky two years in a row?

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          To say nothing of all the personal politics and biases involved. The same person isn’t going to win two years in a row either, even if they deserve it. It’s always somebody’s “turn”, meaning they’ve been close a few times and them finally winning would fit the narrative. To say nothing of all the people who have pull in the selection process.

          But never mind all that, because Batiuk wants Les’ failed out-of-nowhere nothing story and the actress he didn’t want to star in it straight to the top. Against any 4 reasonable competitors, absolutely nobody would be voting for this turd.

          • There’s also a certain amount of “I just won the highest award in my profession–I can do no wrong from now on.” Plus, an Oscar winner’s price is guaranteed to go up, meaning it will take a bigger budget to afford them.

      • Hitorque

        A whole lot of first-time Oscar winners (both actors and directors) had a tradition of immediately jumping into some really questionable roles or movie projects…

        Or sometimes a middle of the pack actor/director just catches lightning in a bottle one year and becomes a critical sensation…

        And even though it’s not polite to say aloud, sometimes the Academy just straight up gets it WRONG…

        • Charles

          It’s not really a tradition, rather a consequence of the circumstance. Every director or screenwriter, and especially director/screenwriters has a project or two that they really love but they haven’t been able to get anyone interested in, because it’s bad and they can’t see it. But when they win the Oscar they’re deluged by offers giving them a tremendous amount of freedom to choose their project, so they decide to make the one that’s been getting rejected for years. After all, they’re geniuses now, so they know better what’s good and what works than all those dumbasses who’ve been rejecting it.

          And it gets made, and then they discover why everyone passed on it before.