It Don’t Come EZ

Looks like Harry’s already gotten over having blown an opportunity to potentially spare his friend a miserable death…

Any time a person or a place in the Funkiverse gets lovingly, weirdly specifically rendered, it sends me down the rabbit hole to investigate. Captain E-Z’s Confectionery, according to an April 15, 2018 story in the Chronicle, stood on Middle Avenue in the Cleveland suburb of Elyria, and was “popular with Elyria High School students for the close proximity it offered to candy, pop and comic books.” On Instagram, I came across an undated image of what appears to be the real place in Ohio. The (poorly taped!) sign in the window advertises milk at $1.55 a gallon, suggesting that this pic dates to circa 1975.

Crazy Harry is excited to get his hands on Amazing Fantasy #15. Last September, a near-mint copy of this comic, which introduced the Amazing Spider Man, sold at auction for a record-setting $3.6 million dollars. Of course, that comic was graded CGC 9.6, and one of only four known copies in such near-mint condition. It’s doubtful that the comic Crazy is drooling over is anywhere near that kind of condition, if it’s been sitting in the spinner rack since it was published in 1962.

58 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

58 responses to “It Don’t Come EZ

  1. Epicus Doomus

    “After leaving Lisa to her fate, Crazy buys a Silver Age comic book”…yes, that was exactly what I expected to happen. Finally, Batiuk has gotten this story back on course. It sure took him long enough.

    • Y. Knott

      I knew Tom could take it to a deeper level of stupid!

      And in seeing Tom bring things to another nadir, I have now realized something. The Batiuk family lets Tom continue writing this awful, nonsensical, repetitive comic that’s endlessly fixated on the same four, maybe five tired subjects for one reason, and one reason only.

      It’s not because the comic makes money. C’mon, once Tom gives Chuck his cut and pays for any tiny, indistinct Rose Bowl banners that some con artist sold him, he’s probably only making a modest amount anyway. And it certainly isn’t because the family feels the work has merit. They’re probably just extremely thankful that no-one actually reads it, which means they can live their life in relative anonymity and they won’t need to change their family name.

      No, they let Tom continue on with his work because toiling away on the comics and the blog and the introductions to the multiple “Complete Funky Winkerbean” volumes means that Tom has far less time to endlessly talk to them about his fixations on the same four or five tired subjects.

      I mean, can you imagine trying to put up with what this guy thinks scintillating conversation might be? Ugh….

      • be ware of eve hill

        I have several theories on why Kings Features Syndicate keeps Funky Winkerbean around despite how crappy it has become.

        Theory #1 (Not very likely)
        Kings Features Syndicate wanted to end Batty’s contract for Funky Winkerbean but was deterred when Batty offered to submit it for free. After several decades in the comic strip industry, Batty has made a comfortable life for his family and can easily live off the income from just Crankshaft. Despite not earning any income for Funky Winkerbean, Batty’s ego wouldn’t allow the title to be discontinued.

        Theory #2 (Slightly more likely)
        Kings Features Syndicate wanted to end Batty’s contract for Funky Winkerbean but was discouraged when Batty threatened to sue and/or pull Crankshaft from KFS. Remember, Batty has a history of legal disputes with a prior comic syndicate, this website’s predecessor, and other entities. He killed off John Darling in a snit when he didn’t get his way.

        Theory #3 (More likely)
        Funky Winkerbean despite its ineptitude is one of the most read titles in The Comics Kingdom. Sure, the majority of readers are snarkers and most of the votes in the What Do You Think? poll are ‘Angry’ and ‘Sad’, but pages views are page views. CK wants views of its pages for the advertising revenue. I have to confess, one of the first things I do in the morning, after making my coffee, is read Funky Winkerbean snark.

        There are a lot of titles in the CK like FW. Have you read Mary Worth, Judge Parker or Mark Trail lately? Dreadful stuff, but man are those strips snark magnets. They’re just as bad as FW.

        What is the CK going to replace Funky Winkerbean with? Have you read some of more recent titles to the Comics Kingdom? You think FW is bad? Hoo boy! These titles are poorly drawn, make very little sense, and attract no discussion whatsoever.

        Theory #4 (Most likely)
        Despite its present day craptitude, Funky Winkerbean is one of the most venerable titles in comics. There are readers who would scream bloody murder if Funky Winkerbean was ever cancelled. These people aren’t particularly big fans of the strip, but would inevitably say, “Funky Winkerbean has always been on the comics page, cancel my subscription immediately.” Face it, as long as Tom Batiuk is alive, Funky Winkerbean will be on the comics page.

        • be ware of eve hill

          Dammit. My preceding post was meant to be a reply to BJr6K, who asked Why hasn’t Tom Batiuk been fired?

          Note to self: Always double-check who you’re replying to before clicking on ‘Post Comment’.
          Gilbert Gottfried: You fool!

          • Suicide Squirrel

            I don’t mean to step on any toes, but inquiring minds want to know. How in the heck do you reply to the wrong comment? 🤔

            Did the webpage move? 😕

          • be ware of eve hill

            I usually read through all of the comments first to ensure I don’t duplicate anyones’ comments. While reading through them, I note the ones I want to reply to.

            Today, there were a few posts I wanted to reply to, but I mixed up the order. There were several interruptions during my lunch break, and I got distracted. I failed to reread the person’s comment to make sure I was replying to the right one. 🤪

            I’m having a hard time explaining what happened. Let’s just say I was sloppy. May I have a do-over?

            Quick, pass me the Eliminator helmet. I want to go back in time and fix this.

          • sorialpromise

            To be ware of Eve hill,
            Sometimes it is difficult to be pretty and functional.
            Your average is very high!

          • be ware of eve hill

            To sorialpromise,

            So nice of you to say. Thank you!

            Sometimes I hate having a job. It interferes with my commenting here. 😉

        • ComicBookHarriet

          I think a combo of 3 and 4 is where it at. FW gets CK traffic. Really it generates more online interest from the snarkers than many of their other offerings. Also remember that Crankshaft is generally liked by the plebs not ‘in the know’. I would venture that Crankshaft is probably carried in more papers at this point than FW. They let FW continue because they also want to keep Crankshaft.

          • Y. Knott

            Absolutely — King Features keeps FW going because it still makes revenue for them. I mean, that’s it, full stop. They’ll keep ANYTHING going if it’s pulling in revenue.

            I also agree with the idea that FW probably isn’t making as much revenue as Crankshaft. And although I doubt FW’s a loss leader just so King Features can keep Crankshaft around … it’s probably pulling far less weight as a revenue generator than Crankshaft is.

          • be ware of eve hill

            Thanks, CBH.

            I’m often flabbergasted to see someone reply to a snarky FW comment by asking, “If you don’t like it, why do you read it?” Talk about inability to read a room. Dozens of people are enjoying themselves in the discussion by snarking on the comic strip. They DO enjoy Funky Winkerbean. They enjoy ripping it to pieces!

            Some people just can’t comprehend the attraction of snarking on comic strips. They fail to understand there’s more than one way to enjoy it.

            I used to snark on Crankshaft on CK, but left the discussion a couple of years ago. To me, it seemed the snarkers were getting outnumbered by the non-ironic readers. To be honest, I like Crankshaft a lot more than contemporary Funky Winkerbean too.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I mean, can you imagine trying to put up with what this guy thinks scintillating conversation might be? Ugh….

        I pondered that question to myself the other day. I called Tom ‘Blah Blah Blah Batiuk’ because there’s never any action in his strip, just talk.

        Talkative Tommy, the master of all talk, no action. Just pull his string, and it’s nothing but comic books, his comic strip and pizza.

        Can you imagine if you invited Batty to go bowling? You’d never throw a bowling ball. You’d just sit at the scorer’s table eating cheap bowling alley pizza, with Batty talking endlessly about comic books and his FW compilations.

        Skiing? You’d spend hundreds of dollars on a flight just to sit in the ski lodge eating overpriced resort pizza, with Batty talking endlessly about comic books and his FW compilations.

        If he invited you over to his house, he’d talk about his comic collection and his FW compilations. Afterwards, he’d take you to Luigi’s for dinner.
        😱😱😱

        • Y. Knott

          That’s just it. Can you imagine putting up with this for 12-16 hours a day?

          “Seriously, Tom, don’t retire. The world needs your artistry. Stay in the studio for as many hours a day as it takes! Lock yourself in there good and tight! We’ll see you at suppertime…”

    • Mela

      Maybe the reason that nobody ever warns Lisa about the cancer is that her death is a fixed point in time. No matter what happens around her in any sort of timeline, she dies of cancer so warning her wouldn’t do any good.
      At least, that’s how it would be explained in Dr. Who. Or maybe her time traveling friends/family are just jerks in both the past and present.

  2. spacemanspiff85

    Montoni’s, Lisa’s and her cancer, and now comic books. This really is the entire Funky Winkerbean experience in one strip.
    I would really love to know what happened between yesterday’s strip and today’s Did the security guard just drag him off the school property, shake his finger at him, and tell him not to approach teenage girls and talk to them about mammograms? That seems unlikely, even for 1980.
    Oh, and why is Harry walking right in the middle of the road, when there’s clearly a sidewalk?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Any time a FW story even hints at having tension or conflict, Batiuk cuts away from it as sharply as possible. If Harry got arrested, the police would check his ID and find out who he is, someone else could take his time travel helmet, and then you’d have… an actual story. And if he didn’t get arrested, he could just find Lisa again and finish what he was going to say, even thought nobody was interrupting him in the fist place. Nope! The story goes where it always goes: straight to the comic book store! Which the story just told us doesn’t exist yet.

      Why hasn’t Tom Batiuk been fired?

      • hitorque

        God damn it, if Batiuk were to ever get fired, you realize it would be the end of SOSF, right?

      • ian'sdrunkenbeard

        When Bull committed suicide Ayers thought he was going to get to draw a flaming car plunging into the Rocky River valley. Instead he got to draw a broken guard rail with a few small wisps of dust.

  3. William Thompson

    “I’ll be set for life!” Yeah, money is the first thing the unworldly comic geek thinks of. I hope that all the comic-book fans in Worstview get hold of the time helmet. They can each visit the past, buy a mint copy of that issue, and cause the catalog price to crash when they all go to market in 2022.

    • spacemanspiff85

      I really don’t understand Batiuk’s view on comics (which is odd, given how much he rambles on about them). He’s spent so much time demonizing speculators or people who see comics as just a financial opportunity, but then has also had multiple times where his characters benefited from selling their comics. I could see having the view of “comics are for selling” or “comics are for reading”, but instead he seems to think something along the lines of “it’s only okay to sell comics if you appreciate them as an art form, otherwise it’s bad”.

      • Epicus Doomus

        You can sell your comic books, but only begrudgingly. And it has to be for a good reason, like an engagement ring or saving your business or something like that. If you’re just a speculator looking to make a profit, you’re the pure scum responsible for ruining the hobby.

      • erdmann

        This has to be a dream. Batty’s grasp on comics history has always been tenuous at best, but I can’t believe he’s really so far off that he would have a copy of “Amazing Fantasy” #15 still on the stands 18 years after it was published.
        The issue of “Amazing Spider-Man” that graced the spinner racks in April 1980 was #206. At the same time, “X-Men” #135 would’ve been available and is of considerably greater value (Dark Phoenix kills the Asparagus people of D’Bari!) — selling a mint copy today might buy groceries for the month.

      • ComicBookHarriet

        I don’t know if he really demonizes speculators. Maybe completely ‘soulless’ speculators that don’t ‘care enough’ about comics. But Chester Hagglemore is basically a Daddy Warbucks of the cast.

        • Epicus Doomus

          Remember, though, that Chester was a clear-cut villain at first, back when Holly was forced to deal with and outsmart him.

          • spacemanspiff85

            Yeah, Chester was basically the closest thing this strip had to a villain, until he decided to use his fortune to make comics.

  4. Sourbelly

    Man, Kwazy’s “keep on truckin'” pose in panel one enrages* me. As does Kwazy’s three hatchet faces and the fact that he gloats about being set for life through no effort of his own, while ignoring the fact that he failed to save Lisa from a miserable death and got carted off by a security guard for sexually harrassing high school students.

    *Not really. This is pretty much what I expect at this point. Something far worse will appear next week to make us all forget how awful this was.

    • billytheskink

      I refuse to believe Crazy spent that much time doing a Keep On Trucking’ pose in the road without anyone trying to run him over with their car.

  5. The Dreamer

    Just as at Montonis, how did Crazy pay for this comic book when he has nothing but new money? 2022 dollat bills would look like funny money in 1980 to the cashier. His credit card and his phone would not work.. How is he payin for it? Is he shoplifting the comic book?

    • Green Luthor

      Eh, Amazing Fantasy #15 had a cover price of 12 cents; literally pocket change. And it’s doubtful a cashier would look at the dates on the coins unless they had a reason to; so as long as he’s using coins whose designs aren’t too far off from what they would have been in 1980, he would probably be fine. (I mean, the dime hasn’t been redesigned since 1946, and the date on those is rather tiny…)

      (Just looking at the change I have in my pocket, and 2/3rds of the coins there have the same design as a 1980 coin would have. Heck, I happened to have a nickel from 1970! As long as Harry’s quarters are pre-1999, nickels pre-2004, and pennies pre-2009, there likely wouldn’t be an issue.) (Well, assuming Harry doesn’t do anything idiotic like using paper money or shiny new coins that are obviously different, but what are the odds of Harry doing something idiotic? Actually, he’s doomed, never mind.)

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Where was Chester Hagglemore in 1980? Remember his backstory? He supposedly took all the unsold comic books from the store he worked in, and kept them all until they were worth $80 gajillion dollars. There’s no way he would have let this one go unsold. Spider-Man had an animated TV show as early as 1967, so ordinary people would have known who the character was.

        Or were there multiple comic book stores in this tiny town? This tiny town where kids don’t know the concept of a comic book store even exists?

  6. The Dreamer

    Actually that would be a good gag. Crazy tries to buy the comic book but the cashier won’t take his cash or coins that are all dated 30-40 years in the future His credit cards won’t work. Desperate, Crazy pulls out his cellphone, flips it open, ‘where’s your scanner’ he says The girl behind the register says ‘what is that? You’ve got a Star Trek communicator!! Cool!! ‘

  7. Hitorque

    Do I have this straight? An original Spiderman comic has been sitting unbought on the rack of some dilapidated corner store for almost 18 years?!

    I know this is supposed to be a dream, but come the hell on… It would have taken 45 seconds for Batiuk to search online to see what the biggest collectors titles would have been at the local 7-11 in circa 1980… Or since this is a dream he might as well go all out and put an autographed original Superman #1 on the rack on sale for a nickel…

    Hell, why even stop at comics? Maybe that store is selling the real Mona Lisa for ten bucks… Diamonds for a penny… Ingots of gold bullion for $4.99… Or why even have a store? Just let the entire town of Westview get flooded three feet deep with $100 bills and be done with it (fwiw, that’s how MY dreams go… And then I’m elected president of Planet Earth).

    • Anonymous Sparrow

      When you take the oath of office, will you swear or affirm?

      • hitorque

        In my dream there’s never an inauguration ceremony… I’m way too humble and noble for that kind of self-serving spectacle!

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          Ah, someone who should be President as opposed to someone who wants to be President! Nothin’ but good times ahead!

          To date, Franklin Pierce is he only President who “affirmed” at his inauguration.

  8. Gerard Plourde

    I agree with erdmann that this shows it’s a dream sequence. In fact, I’ll even go so far to posit that the whole arc may be an intentional setup to find “Easter Eggs” for beedy-eyed nit pickers. That would explain why he specified the date of Harry’s visit. April 15, 1980 doesn’t match up with the FW canon which set the main characters’ high school graduation year as 1988. Harry couldn’t possibly meet his teen-aged younger self or teen-aged Lisa on that day and he wouldn’t find Amazing Fantasy #15 on the spinner rack. If that is the case, then my hat’s off to The Author.

    • Green Luthor

      He also couldn’t play Defender, as the game wasn’t released until 1981.

      Honestly, your theory makes a lot of sense; the only problem (for Batiuk) is that his intentional “Easter eggs” look just like his usual “didn’t do the research mistakes”. If the comic says the mistakes were intentional… okay, then that’s probably right (since the comics were made months ago). Otherwise, any attempt he makes to say “I meant to do that” is going to sound like he heard all the criticisms and is now pretending to have done it on purpose to save face.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Batiuk will never commit to using an idea, or rejecting an idea. The “time travel anomalies” stuff this week is a perfect example. Harry was initially worried about causing them, and now could care less as he causes them left and right. At the comic book store the story said doesn’t exist.

        Back To The Future was great about explaining how the time travel rules worked, so we could just enjoy the story. Here it changes every day. And Batiuk could care less.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      The other explanation, given the supposition that this is a ‘dream sequence’ is the “A Christmas Story” style. In that movie there are several conflicting bits of dating evidence that make the exact year the movie is set in hard to pin down, but it fits with it being the reminiscence of an adult smooshing together his childhood.

      It’s why the Eliminator 1980 vs 1982 gaffe bothers me the least. And this comic book malarkey bothers me the most.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Well yeah, of course, it’s a dream or hallucination. Do you believe a gussied-up helmet owned by an adolescent girl would be capable of time travel? Even Mr. ‘A Quarter Inch from Reality’ would never write a story like that. Would he?

      I’m guessing the helmet is cutting off the blood supply to Crazy Harry’s brain and he passed out. Either that or he couldn’t see out of the helmet, fell down the attic stairs and knocked himself out.

      Perhaps Maddie wanted to test out the structural integrity of the helmet by bashing dear old dad in the melon with a baseball bat.

      Stay tuned for the lame-o ‘Wizard of Oz’ style conclusion when Harry wakes up. “You were there! And you were there too! Oh, I’m so glad to be back home!”

      Harry doesn’t even need a magic helmet. He can just click his heels three times together and end up back in the attic (or a hospital bed).

    • be ware of eve hill

      Gerard,

      Upon further inspection, my reply seems a little harsh and disrespectful. I profusely apologize if you were offended.

      Sorry.
      😔🙏

  9. vince

    so who’s the other kid viewing comics? I’m assuming he’d be too lazy to draw someone unless it’s important. I thought maybe it was supposed to be an anachronistic author insert, but on closer inspection maybe it’s a girl? I dread thinking the Eliminator origin story is about to happen.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      Yup. Because, as he stated last year when he ‘teased’ on his blog this exciting tale….EZ is where HE bought the original Eliminator cover that inspired this insipid tale.

      https://funkywinkerbean.com/wpblog/cover-me-143/

    • Hannibal’s Lectern

      Prediction: the girl will turn out to be Donna. She wants to buy a comic but spent all her change playing the Defenders [sic] game. Harry gives her a dime and nickel (both pre-2005) and she skips away happily with her book. Then he takes The Precious to the counter and discovers he has no more pocket change, and the clerk won’t accept his (obviously counterfeit) 2022 money. He returns to the future, having held the Holy Grail briefly, but unable to possess it.

      Next week he will be telling this story to DSH.

      Because Batiuk.

    • hitorque

      1. Yeah, the generic “star shirt” is a giveaway (since Batiuk teased it a few Sundays ago), but I thought Donna was blonde??

      2. I presume Donna is also cutting class? Not to do something interesting mind you, but to loiter in some corner convenience mart all day?? She and Harold fucking deserve each other.

      3. Even at her age (which I guess is maybe 13-14?) She’s starting to show the definite indicators of “feminine development” shall we say, around the chest area?? Once again I have to ask how she was able to fool people for years… Did she throw her voice, or just gesticulate silently? What initials did she put into the top score screen on “Defender”? Because only a very few games back then let you put in more that three letters and “Eliminator” wouldn’t fit in any regard… I mean, FFS women even SMELL different no matter how they’re disguised and I’m supposed to believe NOBODY picked up on this…??

  10. Maxine of Arc

    Max’s Shiny Nickel ™ today bets that putting on the Eliminator helmet caused an electrical spark that conked Harry out and somehow sparked this… whatever this is.

  11. batgirl

    Yeah, I’m betting that’s Don/nald – but the colourist screwed up her hair.
    And s/he’s being retconned as a comic book fan, though s/he was established before as only being into video games. (As modern Donna explained to modern Holly “girls can totally enjoy comic books: that’s why I had to conceal my gender to play video games!”

  12. robertodobbs

    I have a 1977 Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide. In ’77, Amazing Fantasy #15 was worth $85 (good), $170 (Fine), and $255 (mint). Zero chance it would be in some spinner anywhere.

  13. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    “Nothin’ comes easy for Easy Company.”
    Sgt. Rock

  14. ian'sdrunkenbeard

    Correction:
    “Nothin’s easy in Easy Company”.
    Sgt. Rock
    It’s called research.