My mother, the car

Quite the crowd on hand in today’s strip, with the first panel serving as the Batiukverse equivalent of the semi-famous crowd reaction photo from the 2017 Academy Awards’ wrong envelope incident. While the crowd of stars watching Marianne are not quite of the same wattage as those in the 2017 audience, I still spy some big names.

  1. OK, I don’t know who this is, but his mouth is huge
  2. The shirtless Nazi who gets shredded by a propeller in Raiders Of The Lost Ark
  3. George Foreman
  4. Dorothy Hamill (what’s with all the sports people?)
  5. The giraffe that stole David Cassidy’s hair
  6. A Dilbert cosplayer
  7. General/President Ulysses S. Grant
  8. Who invited Creepy Pete?
  9. Christopher Columbus (not that one)
  10. Soft-serve ice cream
  11. SHEMP!

Quite the menagerie present to hear Marianne call back to the time she went AWOL, nearly committed suicide, and then quoted her mother quoting an actress who was one of Hollywood’s most famous suicides. Anything to fulfill your parent’s dreams. How inspiring!



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

46 responses to “My mother, the car

  1. DickJohnson

    2. Pat “Bomber’ Roach was a legend.

  2. KMD

    1 is legendary Sesame Street figure Bob McGrath.

  3. billytheskink

    On second thought, #9 might be the New England Patriots logo.

  4. William Thompson

    “Sure, when mom told people about our dream they said she was crazy, but what did all those therapists know?”

  5. Epicus Doomus

    It’s interesting that she apparently grew up in the general vicinity of Hollywood, yet carries herself like she just stepped off the Greyhound from Altoona. I mean, I realize California is quite diverse, but come on.

    On the plus side, it’s noteworthy how Marianne is actually behaving like a “real” person might, instead of being all hapless and whatnot. And her mother did appear in the strip during the infamous Food Film arc, so there’s some continuity here, which is rare. This one is like the eye of the hurricane, it’s just a lull before things go rapidly downhill again.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I dunno, I think referencing the site of your suicide attempt is so pathologically stupid that I can’t give her any points for earnestness. To say nothing of the “I’m picturing you naked” joke in front of the Harvey Weinstein victim pool.

  6. Epicus Doomus

    Number seven is uncanny, it really does look like Grant. And I have to admit, this one is a rare example of a flashback panel being done effectively, although I’m not sure how I feel about combining the traditional wavy line/memory cloud effect with photo album corner thingies. It just seems really lazy to me. Either finish the wavy lines or use photo album corner thingies, don’t half-ass it like this.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The photo corners violated Batiuk’s Rule of Cartooning #8: “Anything that’s simple and effective must not be used in Funky Winkerbean.”

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      William S. McFeely’s biography of Ulysses S. Grant won the 1981 Pulizer Prize.

      Ron Chernow, who won the 20917 Pulitzer Prize for his biography of George Washington, also wrote a biography of Grant.

      I left my love, my love I left a sleepin’ in her bed.
      I turned my back on my true love when fightin’ Johnny Reb.
      I left my love a letter in the holler of a tree.
      I told her she would find me in the US Cavalry.

      Hi-Yo! Down they go, there’s no such word as “can’t”.
      We’ll ride clean down to Hell and Back for Ulysses Simpson Grant.

      Hi-Yo! Down they go, there’s no such word as “can’t”.
      We’ll ride clean down to Hell and Back for Ulysses Simpson Grant.

      I left my love, my love I left a sleepin’ in her bed.
      I turned my back on my true love when fightin’ Johnny Reb.
      I left my love a letter in the holler of a tree.
      I told her she would find me in the US Cavalry.

      Hi-Yo! Down they go, there’s no such word as “can’t”.
      We’ll ride clean down to Hell and Back for Ulysses Simpson Grant.

      Hi-Yo! Down they go, there’s no such word as “can’t”.
      We’ll ride clean down to Hell and Back for Ulysses Simpson Grant.

      I left my love, my love I left a sleepin’ in her bed.
      I turned my back on my true love when fightin’ Johnny Reb.
      I left my love a letter in the holler of a tree.
      I told her she would find me in the US Cavalry, in the US Cavalry.

      Hi-Yo! Down they go, there’s no such word as “can’t”.
      We’ll ride clean down to New Orleans for Ulysses Simpson Grant.

  7. Sourbelly

    “…my mother, who when I was little would drive us up into the hills to park and look up at the Hollywood sign.”

    It’s called writing, bitches. It’s. Called. Writing.

    Good call on #7, U.S. Grant. I’m thinking #9 might be Franklin Pierce.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      Yeah, crappy writing. Good thing for Batty that he doesn’t have a real job where a certain level of performance is expected.

      How does looking at a stupid sign inspire you to do anything?

      Speaking of bad writing, check out the latest BattyBlog entries.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        It’s revealing that Batiuk would rather push the lowest-selling books in his low-selling repertoire, than say anything at all about the culmination of a story arc that’s been going on for years. When his blog had oodles to say about Dinkle being in the Rose Parade.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Franklin Pierce was a friend of Nathaniel Hawthorne and appointed him U.S. Consul at Liverpool. Hawthorne’s comment on his friend’s election o the Presidency?

      “Frank, I pity you — indeed, I do, from the bottom of my heart!”

      Hawthorne would no doubt see appearing in *Funky Winkerbean* as an unpardonable sin, honest to Ethan Brand.

  8. Gerard Plourde

    I shouldn’t expect too much from a cartoonist whose major frame of reference has been SIlver Age comics, but Marianne’s dress looks like something that would be at home in an Italian-made “sword and sandals” movie from the 1960s.

    • billytheskink

      It does. It also looks like she’s auditioning to be the next Columbia Pictures logo.

    • Perfect Tommy

      Toga! Toga! Toga!

    • Maxine of Arc

      I actually think her dress is pretty. And she got her hair did, at least.

      • batgirl

        It took me a while to figure out that her hair was braided and wrapped around her head in a coronet style. It would look quite nice if the art weren’t so … ummm … variable.

    • Charles

      Probably unrelated, but he doesn’t really have any empathy either, and that seems to prohibit him from being able to imagine what this moment would mean to Marianne, and why she wouldn’t just be retelling this broad story about how her mom and she would look at the Hollywood sign a bunch. If nothing else, it would go a little farther, a specific anecdote about something one of them said, or something. But no, it’s the blandest method of telling an uninteresting story.

      This would be the biggest achievement in Marianne’s life. It’s her entire career right here. This would mean everything to her. She would not simply have had to bust her ass at work to achieve this, she’d have to have a confluence of events/actions completely out of her control in order to achieve it. If Mason’s performance is bad, Marianne won’t win. If Martin Johns fucks up the direction, Marianne doesn’t win. If the set designers or makeup artists or any one of a host of different people working on the production fuck up, Marianne doesn’t win. If some other actress turns in an extraordinary performance in a better film, Marianne doesn’t win. If she goes up against another actress who’s had a great, long career, put in a great performance but who never won an Oscar to the point that people make a big deal about it, Marianne likely doesn’t win. Basically everything has to break just right for her to win this award, the literal pinnacle of her acting career and her life.

      And this is what Batiuk thinks she’d do. This is the story she tells. This is how she reacts to it. And, as this week and the next will show, this is how little it means to her.

      It’s on Batiuk. It’s an utter failure of imagination and empathy.

  9. J.J. O'Malley

    Ooh! Ooh! I love this game…

    #2. Late Watergate legend/conservative radio host G. Gordon Liddy.
    #3. Legend silent/talkie film funnyman Butter Brinkel, who’s in town to accept his honorary Oscar. It turns out Zanzibar was a lousy shot.
    5. Ironically, it’s either 3 or 4, twin sisters of a short-lived “Peanuts” character named 5.
    #6. I’m convinced it’s Larry David, who’s having a pretty, pretty, pretty good time at the ceremony.

    So, Marianne is grateful her mom used to park their car dangerously where there’s no curb on a winding two-lane road, just so they could get close to the sign where actress Peg Entwistle leapt to her death in 1932 and inspire her to try the same thing 84 years later? Hookay, another FW female character whose life revolves around her mother’s ambitions; collect the whole set.

    Now, will tomorrow feature former on-set caterer/teaspiller Frankie leaping to the stage to announce he’s Marianne’s biological father?

    • Epicus Doomus

      That would be so awesome. The last Frankie arc never really ended. He took the photos of Marianne kissing Mason, then the focus shifted to Marianne, and as far as I can remember we never saw Frankie again. He’s way overdue for a comeback. I wonder if he draws or writes comic books?

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      Ah, 5! We’ll never forget you, or Jose Peterson!

  10. ian'sdrunkenbeard

  11. ComicBookHarriet

    Um. Wow. Marianne’s relationship with her mother sounds a 100% more toxic than Holly and Melinda.

    Her single parent mother encouraged her daughter into a notoriously soul crushing career that she herself had failed at, still has her daughter living with her, still SEWS CLOTHES for her…

    If this doesn’t end with Marianne bleeding from the eyes, pulling black feathers from under her skin, and whispering about how, “I was perfect.” I am going to be very disappointed.

    • RudimentaryLathe?

      I was thinking the same thing; serious Terry Shields vibes from this “sweet” anecdote.
      Funny thing is, a toxic stage mom would help explain why Marianne is so feckless, if Batiuk would only give his characters things like character development instead of making them all wish-fulfillment vessels.

    • be ware of eve hill

      I remember Batty’s horrible dialog in that strip where Marianne reveals her mother made her clothes. That strip gave me the most macabre of mental images.

      Red Carpet Interviewer: Tell me Marianne, who are you wearing?
      Marianne: My mom!

      I initially read it as if Marianne skinned, tanned, and made a dress out of her mother’s flesh à la Ed Gein.

      Now that’s a bad mother/daughter relationship.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        For the second straight day, you’re actually making this shit funny.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Gawrsh, Thanx. 😊(blush)

          Not too observant though. For the second straight day, I’ve mentioned a particular FW strip, not realizing somebody posted the strip earlier in the discussion (@ian’sdrunkenbeard).

  12. RudimentaryLathe?

    I’m seeing…
    2. Former wrestler & Minnesota state governor Jesse Ventura.
    3. Curly Howard
    6. Mike Dukakis
    9. Edgar Allen Poe
    7. is definitely President Grant, I think we can all agree on that one

  13. Maxine of Arc

    How many times do we have to hear about Marianne’s mother making her stare at the Hollywood sign? Does Batiuk truly think this is poignant? You can see it from all over LA.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Does Batiuk truly think this is poignant?

      Yes. Yes, he does.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I hate to be a Negative Nellie but visiting the Hollywood
        Sign in person was a bit of a disappointment. It was one of those experiences where you walk a couple of miles to the attraction, look at it, and think to yourself, “This is it?” The closest view you can get to the sign is from behind. Then you walk back to the car and wish you spent time visiting something else.

        • RudimentaryLathe?

          Speaking as a hokey Midwesterner, I don’t think it would even occur to me to visit the sign if I went to LA. The Walk of Fame and Grauman’s Chinese Theater, sure; or because I’m a dork I’d probably just spend all day at a zoo or whatever art museums were the least expensive. Batty can’t even do Midwestern hokeyness right.

    • Charles

      And told in such a desultory fashion, too. Marianne tells this supposedly heartfelt story, which is supposed to be some tribute to her mother’s influence in her life. And yet it has all the passion and love of Marianne talking about all the things she did this morning in an attempt to locate her lost keys.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        And it’s so cliche. The Hollywood sign? Really? Not Griffith Observatory, or the Walk of Fame, or Hollywood Boulevard, or any of countless other local things that might actually inspire someone? “This was our dream?” No, it’s just a bunch of letters on a hill. I know what it represents, but calling the Hollywood sign a “dream” doesn’t even make sense. Fame, fortune, wealth, and success are dreams. The Hollywood sign is just a symbol of an institution an actor would like to join, to achieve their actual dreams. It’s like LeBron James saying he dreamed of the NBA logo.

        Besides, the Hollywood sign wasn’t her dream; it was her reality! She grew up near it! She couldn’t go anywhere without it looming over her! It wouldn’t impress Marianne at this point – it would be just another ordinary thing from her childhood. That Tom Batiuk has her still oohing and aahing over it like the dullest tourist from Minnesota shows how piss-poor a writer he is. He never even gave any thought to what a character who grew up in that environment would be like. And if she grew up in Hollywood and lived in the same house there her whole life, and her mom is actively involved in her career, then why is she so damn naive about how it works?

        You remember that godawful 1990s song “Rockabye”? That song tells a better story about a girl who grew up in Hollywood than this arc does. And that song makes me want to claw my ears off. It’s more skeevy than Robin Thicke.

        But I digress. The only reason this is even happening is to give the Oscar to Les. So just stuff whatever words into her mouth, and get her on the plane to Westview. I’m sure that was Batiuk’s entire thought process.

    • be ware of eve hill

      I wonder how many real-life actors, directors, et al., have chosen that career path simply because of the Hollywood Sign?

      It seems infinitely more likely that the inspiration was a particular movie or actor.

  14. Gerard Plourde

    Today’s FW blog post is another excerpt from The Complete FW. This time he’s preparing to recite what trials and tribulations 1984 held in store for him that led him to kill John Darling.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Is it just me, or are Batty’s blogs exasperating to read?

      It’s like he’s trying to impress the reader but at the same time makes it so damn difficult to read.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Oh, they are exasperating. Tom Batiuk can never simply tell you something. That’s what writing is, at its most fundamental level. Writing’s purpose is to convey meaning. Tom Batiuk sucks at conveying meaning. He’s great at throwing a lot of words at you, some of which sound like they mean something, But very few do. “Match to Flame 75” is a great example. It’s a long string of cliches that all say “things were about to change.” The rest of the sentences are a bunch of random events of unclear relevance. It’s obvious he’s setting up yet another moan session about his contract, but he brings up writing a musical, changing artists, and other unimportant things. To say nothing of the endless strawmen he employs. Or his complete inability to edit.

        By the way, he’s got like 5 new blog posts today. There’s a new John Darling, which usually only appears on Sundays, and a comic book cover which is usually Fridays. He must have screwed up his blog scheduling.

        • Y. Knott

          The blog’s gone completely berserk with 11 — count ’em, 11 — pointless new entries in one day.

          Including one wishing us a Happy Hallowe’en.

          Yes, I think it’s safe to assume he’s screwed up his blog scheduling.

  15. be ware of eve hill

    #2: Appears to be attempting to eat his own face. Gurning?

    #4: Is that supposed to be a turban?

    #5: Looks like a department store mannequin in a cheap wig. I guess that’s one way of filling the seats.

    #6: You’ve heard of Carrot Top? Introducing his cousin, Cauliflower Top. Lumpy top?

    #9: WTF? Your guess is as good as mine. Hat or hair? Male or female? Human or animal? Vegetable or mineral?

    #11: A featureless face to take up space.

  16. Thank you, billytheskink. It’s so good to see Shemp’s lifetime achievements finally being recognized by the Academy.