Wow, It’s Montoni’s Again

Harry used to skip school to “play videos” at Montoni’s? It’s possible I’m forgetting something, and Harry watching VHS tapes was a regular thing, but it seems like this is referring to “video games”. I’m not sure if this is a typo or it’s deliberately meant to be shortened like this, but it’s confusing regardless.
I think it speaks to the quality of the storytelling here that the expression “play videos” is what most caught my attention in a time travel story. I do think it says a lot about Harry that his first instinct isn’t to see or talk to his parents or grandparents or other loved ones that aren’t around any more, but just to talk to himself and see Montoni’s.
I really don’t like the third panel. The art is weird to me. I assume it’s going for a dramatic close up, but it’s just kind of strange to me. And the whole “if I meet my past self, will I create a temporal paradox” is a really really tired time travel trope. (And speaking of temporal paradoxes, maybe don’t ramble things out loud to yourself that make it super obvious you’re from the future?  Why does Batiuk hate thought balloons so much?)  Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but it seems like every time Batiuk does a story that could actually be interesting, it does it in the least interesting way possible.

35 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

35 responses to “Wow, It’s Montoni’s Again

  1. Epicus Doomus

    I had the exact same thought…why is he speaking out loud? What’s wrong with thought bubbles? Why is everyone in Westview so dull and unambitious? Can’t they think of ANYTHING else to do other than visiting that pizzeria?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Can’t they think of ANYTHING else to do other than visiting that pizzeria?

      Yes, they can buy comic books. Judging from the banner quote, that’s next week’s plot.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Honestly, I’d be stunned if he didn’t. I mean, why else would anyone in the Funkyverse time travel?

  2. Sourbelly

    Panel 1 Four-Fingered Harry looks a lot like a 1980 video game rendition of a human, so that’s fitting I guess.

    And Harry, if you do meet your younger self in Montoni’s, go ahead and hug him tight. You’ll annihilate each other, and the strip will become slightly less awful. Speaking of Less, before you do that, invite him and all the other characters from Act III into your dimension. Total character obliteration would be a great way to celebrate 50 years of this…stuff.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      If any property needs the Newhart/St. Elsewhere finale, it’s Funky Winkerbean. The final strip should be Act I Les waking up at his desk at Westview High School, having imagined the entire last 30 years.

      • Anonymous Sparrow

        And the machine gun of the hall monitor plays the school song, and then this gem from “The 5000 Fingers of Dr. T”:

        Hail to thee, O hallowed halls
        We’ve got poison ivy walls
        Foo on Harvard, Yale and such!
        We’ve got ivy they can’t touch!”

  3. billytheskink

    “Just the way”? I seem to recall Montoni’s having even MORE brick back in the day…

    I guess people stopped playing videos at Montoni’s because Tony refused to abandon Betamax.

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      If that were the case, of course Batty would have to give the format a clever name like “Maxabate.” Which, I guess, would make Tony a Maxabater.

      Of course, I feel like a Maxabater every time I read this comic…

  4. Y. Knott

    Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way, but it seems like every time Batiuk does a story that could actually be interesting, it does it in the least interesting way possible.

    The only people who feel this way? Just you, me, and everyone else who has read his work.

  5. erdmann

    There are several people I’d look up if I ever found myself back in 1980 — and rest assured young erdmann is high on that list. I’ve wanted to give that little idiot a piece of my mind for decades.
    But don’t worry. I’ll be very careful. I don’t wanna have to memorize a lot of new kings when I get back.

  6. Gerard Plourde

    What an original idea! It’s not like Funky didn’t meet his younger self during his car accident coma to advise him to buy the first issue of Starbuck Jones. (It was Starbuck Jones, wasn’t it?)

  7. The Dreamer

    Why is Crazy wasting time at Montoni’s?! He knows the winners of every major sports event of the last forty years! He can make a fortune gambling! Crazy should be on a plane to Vegas!

    • Y. Knott

      Well, c’mon — he IS crazy.

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      Except that he’s not carrying any currency that would be accepted in 1980. Today’s cash looks different enough from 1980’s that it would be immediately spotted as counterfeit (I’m talking things like the sizes of the presidential portraits and the multi-colored security features, not just the obviously future dates on the notes). And I’m sure his current chip-type credit card wouldn’t be valid back then.

      So yeah, if he remembers, he knows all sorts of important information that he can’t use to his benefit. Which would be an interesting time-travel story. At least more interesting than this drivel.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Getting back to the original plot for a moment… if Harry has any quarters, the arcade machine would take them. Vending machines would take 2022 coins. Old change machines might even accept modern $1 bills. Nobody would notice the dates on the currency until it was a couple steps removed from Montoni’s. It’s probably been done in fiction, but this would be an interesting way for a time traveler to be discovered.

        Alternatively, the time traveler thinks ahead and brings only pre-1980 currency with him. Which he can spend when it’s worth a lot more.

        • Hannibal’s Lectern

          I’m reminded of a ‘60s vintage novel by Jack Finney, “The Woodrow Wilson Dime.” It was an alternate-universe book in which coins (like the title ten-cent piece) sometimes got carried from one alternate universe to another, and then provided a way (for those who noticed) to walk from one reality to another. The climax hinged on the question, “just who is President Coopernagel?” Seems that if you carry a fortune from one universe to another, you’d better make sure the currency is the same in both.

          Not directly related to today’s FW, but still an entertaining time-waster.

  8. Dood

    Wow, so Montoni’s was an adult movie theatre and a pizza restaurant back when console televisions were $91?

  9. Banana Jr. 6000

    I wonder if “videos” instead of “video games” is supposed to be a Batiukism like “vendos” and “reno”, but he inadvertently created a word that already has a meaning. And was too lazy to re-write it.

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      I’m wondering if Batty’s first draft of the panel included the phrase “video games,” but left out the bit of self-conscious preciousness “back then… or back now”, and when he came up with that little bit of cleverness he couldn’t bring himself to not use it… but also didn’t feel like having Chuck enlarge the already-drawn word Zeppelin. So, “video games” gets shortened to just “videos.” What’s more important, writing dialog that makes sense or showing off how “clever” you are? I think we all know the answer to that.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Batiuk’s laziness appears to be contagious. I hate to pick on Chuck Ayers because I know firsthand how much it sucks to work for friends and family. You’re often taken for granted, underappreciated, and under-compensated. Overall, Chuck’s art today looks pretty good, but some aspects demonstrate this isn’t actually a labor of love.

      Take a closer look at Crazy Harry’s left hand in panel #1. I couldn’t figure out what that cluster at the end of his arm was supposed to be. I went to FW on the Comics Kingdom to zoom in on it. Crazy Harry appears to have SIX FINGERS on his left hand. Rather than fix it, Chuck must have said to himself, “Aw, screw it. I’m not fixing it. It’s done. Close enough for Batiuk work.

      Dots for eyes and squiggles for a shadow. There appears to be more attention to detail for the backgrounds.

      We need to call an intervention for Chuck’s over-reliance on screentone (a.k.a. zip-a-tone). In panel #1 alone, screentone is used on the windows, doorway, street signpost, and even Crazy Harry’s pants. Anything in the shadows gets the screentone treatment.

      Polka dot pants? Ugh, how gauche.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        I get the feeling that FW is well beneath Ayers’ skill level, and he gets bored/frustrated with it sometimes. But it pays the bills.

        • Y. Knott

          I really can’t fault the guy. He puts in at least five times more effort into it than Batiuk does.

          Which, okay, STILL isn’t really that much. But, y’know, it’s only Funky Winkerbean, so who’s gonna pay attention anyway? I mean, why put 24-karat gold plating on a turd?

  10. Banana Jr. 6000

    Harry, you used to play pizzas on a record player. I wouldn’t worry about having to adhere to logical rules about anything.

  11. ComicBookHarriet

    “I do think it says a lot about Harry that his first instinct isn’t to see or talk to his parents or grandparents or other loved ones that aren’t around any more, but just to talk to himself and see Montoni’s.”

    Implying that anyone in Westview loves their parents more than Montoni’s? Doubful.

    And yeah. In Act I Batiuk didn’t have this pathological fear of thought bubbles that he seems to have now. I don’t get it. I wonder when it changed?

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      Has anybody checked to see whether Batiuk himself is in the habit of monologuing his stream of consciousness? Perhaps that’s how he operates himself, and just assumes everyone else does.

      The other alternative is that he’s babbling into his Bluetooth cell phone, and hasn’t noticed that there’s nobody on the other end of the call.

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      You remind me of Margaret Atwood’s comment: No Canadian will ever say they’re a great hockey fan, lest it imply that the person they’re talking to is not a great hockey fan.

      Wags call hockey Canada’s national religion. is Montoni Pizza Westview’s civic faith?

  12. Don

    I had the same reaction to “play videos.” I grew up in that era, and don’t remember that term being used about video games; a “video” was either a music video, or, when VCRs started becoming mainstream around 1985, a video tape (you “rent a video,” then you play it).

  13. hitorque

    1. “Play videos in Montoni’s?” God damnit someday I’m going to miss all these nonsensical sentences…

    1a. “There it is, just the way it used to look!” WELL HOW THE HELL ELSE WOULD YOU EXPECT IT TO LOOK YOU BRAIN DEAD WEEDHEAD STONER BURNOUT GO DROP ANOTHER TAB OF ACID

    1b. Can you imagine opening the front door of Montoni’s circa 1980 and being hit with that wall of cheap processed cheese, grease, Wrigley’s Doublemint, pubescent body odor, English Leather cologne, flat soda, Hawaiian Punch, Old Milwaukee, and secondhand cigarette smoke so thick you can’t even see…

    2. You travel back in time to your own hometown as it was in your high school years and your first thought isn’t to go home or your parents’ places of work or track down long-dead uncles, aunts, cousins, grandparents etc. Hell, he isn’t even trying to bone one of the teachers or mothers of his friends he had dirty thoughts about as a teenager… It’s to go visit freaking Montoni’s?!

    2a. Is it me, or is Westview completely deserted for the middle of the day?

    2b. I’ve only been to Ohio like once or twice in my life… But if I found myself in what is now (or at least near) suburban Cleveland in the Spring of 1980, the first thing I’m doing is checking the concert venue calendar because *EVERYBODY* came through that place at one time(!!) https://www.cleveland.com/entertainment/2016/04/50_iconic_cleveland_concerts_f.html

    2c. I’d also go to the airport so I could get in some of that sweet sweet planespotting…

    3. Harold must be suffering from severe memory loss because he of all people should know Funkyverse characters have made **MULTIPLE** trips to the past, conversed with their teenage selves of more than one occasion, and there have been no adverse effects to the time-space continuum (and that tidbit should frighten him most of all)…

  14. Professor Fate

    So this if I’m counting right is the third Time Travel story FW has had – I hopet this will fizzle out into anti-climax do most arcs and seeing as the only result of the prior two time travel arcs was Starbuck Jones being inflicted upon us and everything that followed from that and that Les didn’t tell Lisa “hey be very alert for breast cancer” because without his wife dying he has no writing career anti climax is I’d say the best we can get.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yeah, as much as they supposedly revere Lisa in the modern time, it’s interesting that nobody lifted a finger to save her life. Least of all, Les. I read a great blog post about it, which said:

      “A normal person would at least be conflicted about the stupid temporal prime directive thing as a reason for not changing history for the better. Les had no such conflict at all. (His) eagerness to let history play out as it’s supposed to is not (because he thinks) that despite everything, everything works out for the best. It’s due to his characteristic defect of character: a need to have decisions made for him because he doesn’t want to be blamed when things go wrong. Oh, he can be condescending and supercilious when he’s not on the spot but when it’s him that could face the least bit of censure, he either physically or mentally runs from the scene.”

  15. The Dreamer

    Guys Tom Batiuk is 75 years olc! Go easy on him, he cant do details like he dud thirty years ago! Actually I wonder if TomBat has, as many comic creators do, designated an heir apparent to take over ‘Funky’ when he either retires or dies Plenty of good candidates around here 🙂

    • Y. Knott

      Batiuk has made it clear that Funky Winkerbean dies with him.

      And I’m not really as upset at Batiuk for continuing to write terrible comics, as I am with his syndicate for continuing to allow them to be published (apparently unedited, and seemingly unread). King Features will apparently let any comic continue well past the point of the artist’s clear cognitive decline — witness Apartment 3-G. I don’t think they’re doing anyone any favours by allowing that to happen.

      • The Dreamer

        True Gasoline Alley is on like its fourth artist now after 100 years and its really bad But the syndicate won’t put it out of its misery

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      “Tom Batiuk dud thirty years ago?” Well, I can’t argue with that.