The Secret Life of the B-Tiers.

Link to today’s interesting new wrinkle.

I mean, uh, wow. I guess that is one reason to have Maddie come back. Cross one off my list of Long Standing Funky Mysteries. For those of you more recently jumping on the Beady-Eyed-Nitpicker wagon, the Big Gay Castle Mystery goes all the way back to Summer, Keisha, Jinx, and Maddie’s senior year prom in May 2012. In that plotline two unnamed boys buy tickets to go to prom together, Becky’s mom whips up a protest, Principal Nate holds an assembly where he clarifies that there’s nothing in the Student Handbook prohibiting people taking other people of the same gender to the prom, and then everyone cheered.

Of note was a couple strips at the very end of the arc.

Who was this kid obscured by The Big Gay Castle? It could have been anyone but Keisha. For ten years I’ve wondered, and I guess we’re finally getting our answer. Maddie Klinghorn. And it makes sense, Maddie was there.

Really, I’m just relieved that it wasn’t Summer. Les didn’t need another reason to virtue signal his greatness, and I didn’t want the cliché of the sporty tomboy being a lesbian all along. Especially since Summer has been shown mooning over Masone Jarre, though I guess she could be sporty enough to play for both teams.

This does fix the most glaring issue with Batiuk’s preachy Big Gay Prom arc: that the ‘gay’ couple is a nameless prop. They show up for TWO strips, looking like they just left their Hardy Boys cosplay competition.

And then they’re just an idea, never seen again, not even at the prom. In fact, there don’t appear to be ANY gay couples at the prom, except for maybe this panel of two guys standing shoulder to shoulder.

Bumping shoulders is the height of homosexuality.

So I’m curious to see where Batiuk takes this new revelation. How will he handle his first named queer character? Is this going to be a big arc? Or are we in for a Northstar revelation, similar to Masone Jarre’s bipolar disorder, where Maddie’s sexuality is confirmed once and then dropped for years or forever?

It’s not like in the 70’s, where a Boston Marriage between socialites could be depicted in great detail in a comic strip, and yet the heteronormativity of both women strictly enforced and accepted prima facie.

These two ladies are Marcia and Jan, the two most baffling recurring characters in early Funky Winkerbean. They are introduced as Women’s Club members that run the ‘Rap Cellar’. Which seems to be some kind of afterschool program for high schoolers, that Marcia usually is the one leading.

The joke in the Rap Cellar strips are that these well-meaning but dim-witted ladies have completely different priorities, life styles, and interests than the hip kids they’re trying to counsel. They are from a decade before, not old enough to be their parents, but not young enough to understand them. And their Brady Bunch names might be a joke on their squeaky clean and sunny simple outlook.

But, the actual ‘Rap Cellar’ strips are few and far in between. Maybe a dozen or so, and they’ve mostly fallen off. Yet, these two ladies keep showing up. Talking over coffee, exercising, playing tennis, shopping, and watching TV.

Many of you have pointed out the Peanuts parallels to early Funky Winkerbean. They definitely exist, in the art style and the humor, but one big difference is that in Peanuts adults are unseen alien creatures warbling in nonsense lines, in Vintage Funky Winkerbean both the teachers and the students have equal parts as characters.

But these ladies aren’t teachers at Westview, they aren’t even parents like Roland’s Chair!Dad. The connection between Jan and Marcia and the Funky Bunch is tenuous to begin with…and by 1976 has almost completely disappeared. Yet these two ladies keep showing up for one-off gags, or a disconnected week of tennis strips.

Who are these ladies? Why are they still here? Given the eyebags on their cheek bones, is one of them Pete’s mom? Maybe they’re a weird repository for ‘upper middle class lady’ humor that Batiuk just HAD to get out there, tone and setting of his comic be damned.

I don’t know. The nicest thing I can say about them is that Batiuk usually does a good job of drawing their faces and bodies consistently different, so you can tell who is Marcia and who is Jan despite their hair being the almost the same.

Jan is also the fat one.

And in a strip where almost everyone is already cynical and jaded, they at least provide a nice contrast.

67 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

67 responses to “The Secret Life of the B-Tiers.

  1. Epicus Doomus

    Well, this is certainly unexpected. Is there another FW story arc that took this long to play out? It really aptly demonstrates just how little has actually happened over the last ten years.

  2. Charles

    Yeah, I’ll buy this notion the moment Batiuk does something with it. As it is, I’m more inclined to look at it as similar to the strip earlier this week attempting to explain why Donna’s mom called her Donald. People point out Batiuk’s cynical insincerity about his Gay Prom arc and this one element of it just really sticks out. So he addresses this one hanging question and thinks that’s that. He doesn’t have to hear that criticism again.

    Color me surprised that he answered this question, but it’s really not meaningful until it becomes an actual part of his “rich tapestry of characters who form his own Winesburg/Yoknapatawpha-type community”. It’s really not saying anything at all.

    Which pretty much follows how it went with the two guys at the prom. At least we’ve got a name this time.

  3. none

    “I ‘had to’ conceal my identity because I was a female who was good at playing video games.”

    versus

    “I had to literally hide from the public at a public event, knowing that doing so would effectively render the purpose of attending the event to be pointless, because I was aware of the negative social ramifications of doing this on the basis of having to outwardly express my innate desire to only have romantic and sexual relations with a person of the same gender as myself.”

    Yep, totally the same thing.

    Just the latest entry in “things he writes which would get someone who is actually culturally relevant to be canceled overnight”. I’m glad he did this now as opposed to before the 50th so that no softball articles would cite this about how he talked about “gender equality issues” in his strip. For fucks sake.

    • none

      Mr. Batiuk suddenly cut the Fox interviewer off mid question to say the following:
      “And this is why I don’t listen to a single god damned thing from those jackass trolls online. Look at this. See this? I didn’t even write this strip and they’re still responding to it as if I had! See! Look how easily they’re misled into pouring hate onto my work that isn’t even something I did! There’s literally nothing I can do to make these miserable worthless shitstains happy, so why should I remotely care about them? Anyway, yes, about my CTE arc…”

  4. The Dreamer

    I bet it turns out that Maddie and Summer are a couple now and will get married Making Les and Crazy family. Summer having out’ed herself during her brief WNBA career 🙂

    • erdmann

      It could be like one of those movies where a uptight, stick-in-the-mud gets saddled with a wacky new in-law that immediately decides they’re best friends. Of course, Mr. Wacky accidentally wrecks Mr. Uptight’s life, but in the end they overcome their differences to become buddies and ultra-successful business partners and live happily ever after.
      However, in this version, Harry destroys Les’ life so Les tries to murder Harry, only to end up impaled on Marianne’s Oscar and WE all live happily ever after.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      If Batiuk is going to do a WNBA story, it’s more his style for one of them to get detained in Russia. Except he’ll call it “Rushya” or something. Funky will secure her release by sending them some Montoni’s pizza. Then Flash and Phil will create a comic book cover about it. This will take three weeks total.

  5. William Thompson

    So Batiuk revealed the Stonewall-costumed character’s name in less than a decade? One month less than a decade, but, still, impressive speed for this strip.

    • William Thompson

      BTW, are we sure this isn’t an April Fool’s prank? Was today’s guest artist Loof Lirpa?

      • gleeb

        See, I read the actual strip before turning to this place. Besides, I was asleep when this was published.

      • Sourbelly

        Tomorrow, Maddie breaks the 4th wall: “April Fool’s, readers! I’m actually totally straight and into guys! Gotcha, didn’t I?”

      • Epicus Doomus

        Note how the copyright info on the fake strip says “BatYam”. It’s the details…

  6. sorialpromise

    Typical for Mr. Batiuk. If we are right, (“no one can underwhelm like Mr. Batiuk.” I am quoting Epicus Doomus.) she is revealed to be gay in a flashback. Instead of writing a current story, that could carry weight, provide some conflict and tension, and be entertaining, he goes back in time.
    Don’t gay people have enough troubles without Tom Batiuk defending them. There’s no push for this reveal. Had it happened in 2014 or 2015, it would have been relevant. The hospital I worked at, finally had their first Gay Pride Day in 2019. Only 20 to 30 years too late to matter.
    Still, this could end up being a good story. Lots of humor. Good characters. Loaded with tremendous punchlines. Are we taking any bets?

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    Umm, has anyone else noticed that this is NOT the “FW” strip appearing this morning on the Comics Kingdom site? Over there Donna and Maddie are back home and sitting on a pubic hair-covered sofa, and the lengthy “Eliminator” conversation is still going on with a non-joke about 25-cent video game machines. Both that strip and the one featured here with Maddie’s revelation, I see, are dated 4-1. Could one be an April Fools joke? Did they come up with an alternate strip for papers that would be offended by a character not seen in a decade coming out? Am I hallucinating? Inquiring minds want to know!

    • Y. Knott

      Look at the date. Then look very, very carefully at the copyright for the FW strip that’s been linked to up top.

      CBH, I stand in line!

      • J.J. O'Malley

        Wow, is my face red! Pardon me while I get in line behind Y.K. Well played, CBH.

        • ComicBookHarriet

          I cannot take credit for this quality photoshop work. This work of genius that fooled even me at first read was whipped up by our esteemed TFHackett.

          • Sourbelly

            Why you scoundrel! I’m always on high alert for April Fool’s day, but this place has fooled me two years in a row!

            I stand (shamefully) in line.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Gah! Ya got me. (hanging head in shame)

            In retrospect, I should have realized the April Fools strip was too adventurous for Batty.

            I, too, stand in line. A line that is now extended down the street and around the block.

        • Maxine of Arc

          I, too, stand in an increasingly long line.

          • Mela

            I’m right behind ya! I have been duped successfully for two years in a row, and I’m generally a skeptic about most online content. Such a shame though, because it would have been a much more intriguing story. Brilliantly executed CBH and TFH!

      • Charles

        Oh man, that line over there? I’m going to go stand in it.

        This one was so much more sophisticated than your previous April Fool’s. I see the reused art now, but you changed it so much more than the others, and the other clues I’ve used before aren’t present here.

        However, I will say that it’s not an indictment of me to think that Batiuk would drop a bomb like this during a dumb, going-nowhere story like this and not do anything with it. Also, my first impression with the incongruity between here and CK was to think “maybe Batiuk/Ayers drew two strips to placate the more squeamish in the audience.”

        Anyway, well done. You got me baaaaad.

    • Suicide Squirrel

      Yeah. I read the CK version first. You’ve got company.

      Needless to say, I was perplexed when I read CBH’s blog. I thought she might have accidentally written about Saturday’s FW comic strip. Big Gay Castle? Where did that come from? Who’s coming out? What ye be jabbering about? Am I at the right website? Am I looking at the correct day? Was I abducted by aliens and am now experiencing the phenomena of missing time?

      Hardly anybody ever plays an April fools’ joke on me, so I confess not making the connection to April First until I read @WilliamThompson’s comment.

      I’m glad not to be suffering from a stroke or something. Does anybody else smell something burning?

  8. sorialpromise

    As if we did not have enough reasons to admire you, CBH! You and TF make a great team.

  9. Bad wolf

    Amazing work everyone. Truly had me going! The saddest part being how something makes sense and pays off an old strip, should have been the biggest clue to me.

    FWIW my guess at the time that Rana, the nominally Muslim character, was the mystery’s solution will remain unsubstantiated in perpetuity. Alas.

  10. erdmann

    Boy, did you ever get me! Good one, CBH.
    And it makes better sense that the real strip.

  11. Outstanding prank today! I typically read the next day’s SoSF post as an email on my phone right before I go to sleep, so I had no clue that it was not the real strip and spent all night thinking about the ramifications of TB outing Maddie. I should have expected this, as this has been TF’s M.O. for every April 1st post since he started.

  12. It’s not easy to pull the wool over the beady eyes of you nitpickers! Our April Fools fake strips (usually involving the death of the titular character) typically get shot down in short order. So I went to great pains in Photoshopping this one (how I’d love to get my hands on that custom font Batiuk uses!). Then I turned things over to CBH, who crafted another inspired, in-depth post. Glad you snarkers enjoyed our little gag!

    • ComicBookHarriet

      As someone who spent way too long last week messing with MSPaint…your edit of the strip was amazing. Absolutely flawless. That car flip and face swap is insane.

      • The car flip took a lot of doing. Below is the original panel from Wednesday’s strip, and the flipped version. Now that you know this is fake, note how distorted the roof line is.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          I stand in line for your Photoshop skills.

        • Charles

          This is what got me. I remember the “Funky has a heart attack in bed” one from a few years ago where you simply reused panels from prior strips, which I recognized immediately. But for these, I had no idea.

          Although Batiuk reusing panels isn’t exactly unheard of, so it was the varied fonts in the dialogue and the way-too-obvious-for-Batiuk-to-miss continuity errors that pushed me over the edge for that one.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I remember the fake newspaper story you did re: Batty getting another new strip, that one was legendary too. Two excellent April Fools gags in a row… next year we’re going to have to get diabolical.

      • Man oh man I wish I could find the assets from that one. I posted a fake news story announcing that Batiuk was going to spin off Starbuck Jones into a new sci-fi comic strip. I even bought the domain name “clevelanddotcom.info” and redirected it to a fake page with the article. I think what tipped people off was the reporter’s byline, “Dick Hertz.”

    • Bad wolf

      I wonder if Nick Piekos would consider making, say, a Batiuk tribute font, one that is very similar but not at all copy written or trademarked? We could take up a collection!

      https://blambot.com/pages/custom-fonts

      http://m.byrnerobotics.com/forum/forum_posts.asp?TID=28945&KW

  13. batgirl

    What I never understood about the Big Gay Prom arc was why the characters were hidden from the reader by the visual pun(?) Stonewall. They had been seen in the ticket-buying strip, and we knew they were nameless background characters – that strip suggested they were more-or-less out within the school – so why hide them in the payoff strip?
    At the time I read it as showing them being segregated from the rest of the prom-goers, which pretty much negated the tolerance message: sure, you can come to prom, but you can’t sit with the decent normal students.
    CBH’s retelling makes a much more satisfying story.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I think the implication is that the Big Gay Castle student isn’t one of the Gay Hardy Boys. The second strip implies that they’re not ‘out’ yet, and the gay boys were.

      Or the ‘gay’ boys were just trying to get an underclassman friend into the prom. In my high school there wasn’t a rule you had to take an opposite gendered person, so a lot of my gal pals took freshman or sophomore gal pal just so the whole crew was there.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Stone wall… LOL, I totally missed that at the time. What a dumb arc that one was. Once Becky’s mom got involved it was all downhill.

  14. billytheskink

    “Today’s” strip is definitely a dramatic improvement over a strip that assumes we all have intimate knowledge of the construction materials used in building Montoni’s. Does TB think we all work for county appraisal districts or something?

    On the briefly mentioned subject of Pete’s mother, and whether or not Marcia or Jan and their eyebags could be it… I made some small efforts to find her name. I came up empty (so far), but I did find this interesting tidbit from the Washington Post in 1981.

    Apparently, John Darling news director character Reed Roberts (who is Pete’s father, or at least was before TBG retabbed him as Pete Reynolds…) was a dead ringer for David Nuell, then the news director at WRC-TV in Washington D.C. (and later a producer for Entertainment Tonight and Extra). This similarity was entirely coincidental, as Nuell learned when he tracked down the Toms (Batiuk and Armstrong) who wrote and drew the strip and found out that neither lived anywhere near D.C. Tying this story back to Pete’s unnamed mother, the coincidental similarities between Nuell and Reed Roberts were so strong that a friend of Nuell’s actually expressed concern about the state of Nuell’s marriage when his John Darling doppelgänger went through a separation and divorce in the comic strip.

    The Nuell-Reed Roberts connection was not enough to keep John Darling running in the Post, though. Less than 2 months after running that tidbit, the Post dropped John Darling and 3 other strips (most notably, the long-running Moon Mullins). They received 4 letters and 10 phone calls complaining about the dropping of John DarlingMoon Mullins received 9 letters and 76 calls, Hello Carol 8 letters and 88 calls, and syndicated column feature The World of Animals received 52 calls… the repositioning of the crossword puzzle received 28 calls (which succeeded in getting the Post to move it back).

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Awww yeah…that’s the BTS history lesson good stuff I crave.

      I didn’t even know Pete’s dad WAS an established character. I just knew that he had an inexplicable name change.

      Jan seems to be in a relationship with someone named Bill, (or Bill could be a sibling or family member I guess) who bought her a raven for her birthday.

  15. Banana Jr. 6000

    I have a lot to say about today’s unedited strip. It is quintessential Tom Batiuk non-writing.

    Panel 1: Forced, empty wordplay. Donna speaks about breaking through the “tin ceiling”. This is meant to be a play on the well-known metaphor “glass ceiling”, but changing it to “tin” doesn’t enhance or change the meaning. When Dilbert tells Alice says he’s stuck under the glass carpet, that actually means something. The joke is that Dilbert’s career advancement is even more suppressed than hers is. “Tin ceiling” is meaningless.

    Panel 2: Product placement. An entire panel is devoted to the irrelevant, and already implied, detail that the game was in Montoni’s. Why does this matter? Because Montoni’s has the best pizza and coffee in Westview! And a band box! Just off Route 57! We deliver! Donna is practically winking at the camera to say this. And look at that self-satisfied little smile. There’s no reason that makes sense in the narrative for her to be smiling like that.

    This line acts like it explains “tin ceiling”, but it doesn’t. I think the joke is supposed to be “Montoni’s is so cheap they have tin ceilings”, even though we’ve never seen this in the strip. Montoni’s isn’t characterized as being cheap. This joke would work for the Krusty Krab, because cheapness is Mr. Krabs’ defining trait. And tin ceilings are associated with a type of architecture Montoni’s doesn’t have. It doesn’t fit what we know about this world.

    Panel 3: Opinions no human being actually holds. “Old, rusty quarter machines?” Oh, come on! Nobody says or thinks that! Certainly not someone who was just seen playing a preview game in a movie theater! Cabinet arcade machines have always been around. People are neutral about them. They’re used to seeing them in places. It’s not even like they went away and made a comeback, like pinball machines did in the 80s and 90s, respectively.

    Ditto for the tired woe-is-me-I’m-so-old punchline. I’m about to turn 50, and a lot of things from my youth make me feel old now. Arcade cabinets are not one of them. This just doesn’t ring true in any way.

    Every single panel of this comic strip is a No Soap Radio. “Tin ceiling” isn’t a joke. “It was in Montoni’s” isn’t a joke. “Old, rusty quarter machines” isn’t a joke. “Suddenly I’m feeling very old” isn’t a joke. The story acts like they’re all jokes, but they have none of the traits of a joke.

    And many have already pointed out the overarching problem: the story has never explained why Donna felt the need to conceal who she was. Remember when Snoopy had to face the “No Dogs Allowed” sign? That story had some real emotional weight to it. This story has none. Because it’s so jokey and vacuous that it never gave us a reason to get invested.

    • William Thompson

      The “tin ceiling” is a tribute to Batiuk’s tin ear for dialog.

    • none

      100%. There’s no good reason for him to spend a week on this topic in order to deliver a strip like today which says nothing, advances nothing, elucidates nothing, and means nothing.

      P3 Maddie’s line is beneath GPT-3 standards. Who needs the Turing test when strips like this exist.

  16. Sourbelly

    My reply to CBH got eaten. I’ll try again. (Sorry if this winds up being a double post.) Ahem…

    You scoundrel! I’m always on high alert for April Fool’s Day, but this place has fooled me two years in a row! I slouch shamefully in line.

  17. Green Luthor

    Dang, I read today’s actual strip before reading this, and I STILL thought it was legit. (It wouldn’t be the first time SoSF has accidentally ran the commentary for the next day’s strip; I just figured that was how Batiuk was typing up the arc.) That was a LOT of effort to put into this prank, but… it was good a call, it was well worth it. Allow me to stand in the ever-growing line.

    (My guess as to the identity of the still-unknown “stonewall” student is… no one. Batiuk never intended them to be an actual character (much like the Gay Hardy Boys), so by not giving them a face or name, he can claim “credit” for having a “gay” character without actually, y’know… needing to have a gay character.)

    (Either that, or it’s the Pizza Monster, because why the heck not at this point?)

    • Green Luthor

      (Also: “You look pretty pleased with yourself.” “Actually, I am.” Tom Batiuk’s mission statement, nicely summed up in one panel.)

      • Charles

        Yeah, there’s no better panel of everything wrong with that sequence, and it’s such a perfect illustration of so much that’s wrong with the comic in general.

        At the time it was so egregiously self-congratulatory that even 10 years later, I still remember TheDiva’s excellent comment about it.

        “No, what this arc has been about is the noble, wiser elder (the author’s mouthpiece, by his own admission) imparting his wisdom onto the masses, who then honor and esteem him as he richly deserves. This is the hugest case of artistic onanism I have ever witnessed in this strip, and that’s saying something.”

    • Green Luthor

      (Also: “You look pretty pleased with yourself.” “Actually, I am.” Tom Batiuk’s mission statement, neatly summed up in one panel.)

  18. Suicide Squirrel

    Outstanding work on the phony strip today, TBH, and way to sell it, CBH.

    Reminds me of a classic April Fools’ Day joke in the comics. Does anybody else remember the “Great April Fools’ Day Comics Switcheroonie” that occurred on April Fools’ Day 1997?
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comic_strip_switcheroo

    Batyuk was too much of a stick in the mud to swap with anyone. That doesn’t surprise me one bit.
    Batyuk: “Somebody else to create ‘Funky Winkerbean?’ Blasphemy! Where’s My lawyer.”

  19. The Dreamer

    Sorry but the April Fools Joke strip was in poor taste because it referencef a tender moment about a closeted character back in high school and used it for a joke in the present That was a serious scene back then and should not have been used for a fake outing of a character in the present

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Hi Dreamer,
      Sorry that you found the April Fool’s Joke in poor taste.

      In my opinion the tender moment of the closeted character, and the entire gay prom arc, was poorly done and worthy of criticism, because it forces the gay characters, out and closeted, to remain mostly unseen and unnamed. The entire arc becomes about the performative activism of the straight characters on the invisible gay characters behalf.

      In showing a hidden character talking to Principal Nate, Batiuk was implying that one of his current cast of kids was not straight, and subtly promising that this would be revealed at some point in the future. Ten years on from that arc, and LGBTQ issues haven’t been brought up since. TFH and I meant this April Fool’s gag to not only be funny, but also to highlight this passive progressive stance Batiuk has taken.

      You are, of course, welcome to disagree, and to state your opinion. Thanks for the feedback.

    • none

      Part of what makes the joke work so well is because it exhibits precisely the kind of absolute tone deafness of which the author infuses into his work time and time again. I bought it wholesale because I keep forgetting that this site does 4/1 wackiness on its eve and because it had the exact kind of content which I would expect from TB.

      It’s difficult to respect the original content as a tender moment and a serious scene when nobody was visually depicted or mentioned by name.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Valid point, The. Please be aware that the intent was merely to prank, there was no malice involved at all.

      Aside from the entire arc, the thing I found most irksome about the infamous same-sex prom arc was how quickly the actual same-sex couple was shoved aside and ignored in favor of Becky’s meddlesome old bag of a mother, her camera-addled father, Becky, Summer, Nate and a hidden character who went out of their way to firmly establish that they weren’t officially gay yet. IMO it might have been more impactful and less silly if the actual same-sex couple thanked Nate for his remarkably half-assed support, but apparently that was deemed too risque for BatHam, so he took the cheap way out instead.

      Given how incredibly regressive BatYam is with stuff like that, an openly gay FW character would spend the vast bulk of his or her “screen time” reminding everyone that he/she was the GAY CHARACTER, to the point where we’d all literally be begging him to stop every time that character appeared. And given how, for example, all the women in the strip are jealous, vain, helpless shopaholics, a gay FW character would no doubt embody every “gay character” trope there is.

      “Hey, it’s Stan, our openly gay friend! We don’t even care that he’s gay! You’re looking quite stylish today, Stan!”

      “Thanks, Funky! Just doing some antiquing, then it’s off to the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” showing at the Valentine! It’s date night! Is my Quiché pizza ready? ”

      Shudder. Maybe the same-sex couple got lucky there.

  20. be ware of eve hill

    Damn. I’m still kicking myself for falling for today’s April Fools Day strip.

    On April Fools Day, I’m on the lookout for pranks to the point of paranoia. At work, people will try to tell me they’re quitting, they’ve been fired, they’re pregnant, or something. My boss will try to tell me somebody in I.T. FUBARed the database, and we’ll be fixing the data over the weekend. I didn’t fall for any of their shenanigans today, but I’ll feel bad if the woman who called off with the flu is actually sick.

    My husband and I frequently play April Fools Day jokes on one another. Usually, our pranks involve food or drinks. Sugar in the salt shaker, salt in the sugar bowl, etc. Sometimes my husband will replace my wine with grape juice. I’ll retaliate by replacing his Vodka with water. More than once have I asked him if he wanted a beer and shook it before handing it to him. One time, the can erupted like Old Faithful, and the plume of beer hit the ceiling.
    * sigh * We drink too much.

    Sometimes we go too far. One year, I replaced his Scotch with apple juice. He playfully shoved me outside the house, and locked the door. I had no keys and no phone. After yelling and pounding on the door for about five minutes, he let me back in. Several minutes later, a policeman rang our doorbell because a neighbor had called in a complaint. Oopsy.

    He tried an oldy but goody this morning by turning on my car’s wipers, activating the turn signal, and turning on both the stereo and heater at full blast. I retaliated by taking his spare keys, driving to his place of business, and moving his truck to the shopping plaza across the street.

    I think I got him good today.

    • sorialpromise

      :-D! The stress level in your home must be enormous, Eve! Yesterday, I told my wife of 47 years that as someone living rent free in my home there were certain expectations. (I am retired. She is still working.) She was quite clear what I could do and where I could place my expectations.

      • be ware of eve hill

        That expectations line wouldn’t go over well in this household, either. 😂

        Mr. BWOEH retired several years ago after putting in his 38 years with his company (maximum benefits). He now works part-time at a gun shop, one of his passions. I still work full time, though I only have to report to the office on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Retirement is still several years away for me. * sigh *

        After 35 years of marriage, I think our pranks are getting somewhat predictable. As I said, he’s done the bit before where my car goes absolutely nuts when I start it up. Tonight, shortly after his shift ended, he called to say he found his truck fairly quickly and thanked me for not moving it too far. Oh well, there’s always next year.

        He also mentioned he was getting his dinner on the way home. The coward. To be fair, he asked if he could pick up anything for me. I passed.

  21. Rusty Shackleford

    I spoiled last year’s April fools bit so I refrained from posting anything earlier.

    Great gag CBH, thanks!

  22. Rusty Shackleford

    Today’s BattyBlog entry is pretty good, because he is featuring the strips that ran next to his during his first week.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      And those strips all look a hell of a lot better than Funky Winkerbean. They were taken from a good quality copy of the newspaper. FW looks like it was scanned into an Apple Newton and printed on a dot matrix printer.

  23. be ware of eve hill

    Sad. Nobody wanted to discuss Jan and Marcia with CBH.

    Were they sisters, or was there an issue drawing unique faces back in those days too? Jan and Marcia’s outlook on life was too bright, so they had to go.

    How the heck did Batty give Mopey Pete two different last names? Roberts? Reynolds? Eh, close enough for Batiuk work.

    • Bad wolf

      I’d never heard the term “Boston Marriage” before so it was a learning experience for me! They weren’t the most interesting (for me) characters we’ve been introduced to this week but for sheer variety and a glimpse into the past they represent it was delightful.

      Gotta admit this week’s made me a little tempted to get a CK membership again, even though you yourself said it is worse than ever.

      • be ware of eve hill

        To be honest, the issues have subsided lately. Knock wood.

        What I like the best is the feature where you can select all of your ‘favorites’ and have them displayed on one webpage. For some people, that alone is worth the less than $2 a month (6¢ a day).

        I’m rather disappointed that CK reduced the archive from 7 days to 3 for free readers. You’re screwed if you go on vacation and don’t read the comics for a week.

        I don’t know updating databases can cause such turmoil, but CK is almost back up to snuff.

    • Y. Knott

      The April Fool’s joke was so good that the J&M stuff got overlooked. But it WAS interesting, in a baffling sort of way. I mean, it’s hard to imagine anyone thinking “All right! The Rap Around Ladies are featured this week! This is gonna be GREAT!”

      Still, I am enjoying the on-going parade of failed Funky Winkerbean characters … and especially the CBH commentary!

      • be ware of eve hill

        Still, I am enjoying the on-going parade of failed Funky Winkerbean characters … and especially the CBH commentary!

        Agreed! CBH has a gift.