Heeeeere’s Johnny!

I can’t recall whether “Johnny” Howard was even part of the Act I cast. But as Funky Winkerbean retcons go, having young Johnny appear in today’s strip is pretty inoffensive. Though I wonder why coming into possession of what would become the most valuable comic book in history didn’t result in DSH John being “set for life,” to quote Crazy Harry. Being from the future, of course Crazy would understand the potential value of this comic. Would “Johnny’s” find inspire him to go on to open the Komix Korner? It certainly didn’t make him rich. In fact, it required the sale of a comic book from another time travel arc to keep his business from going under.

38 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

38 responses to “Heeeeere’s Johnny!

  1. William Thompson

    Oh, boy, another story about how time travel ruins the past. If Ray Bradbury had handled it this way, the title would be “The Found of Blunder.”

  2. Y. Knott

    Admittedly this day’s offering is mildly amusing, but it was a looooooong drive in for that bit of humour.

  3. Epicus Doomus

    Finally, the origin story we’ve all been dying to see. It’s so weird seeing him in different clothes. I don’t remember him being a part of Act I at all, I’ve always assumed that John was an Act III creation, although in fairness it does seem like he’s been around for centuries.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      He’s definitely around in Act II. Having cringe worthy plotlines about selling his spinner rack for an engagement ring, and then chickening out on asking Becky because Wally had just come back from the dead the first time.

      But this just makes me wonder about the age gap between him and Becks?

      • Epicus Doomus

        Interesting. I missed a few large swaths of Act II, when the melodrama was firing with both barrels. It just got to be too much, the pathos was just overwhelming. The Wally stuff was especially insane, and it went on and on forever too.

  4. Sourbelly

    The thing that bothers me is that we’re still in the past. Does this mean another goddamned week of this crap? C’mon! Let’s move on to a different goddamned week of different crap!

  5. none

    Yes, John, it’s a comic book. That comic book was in your local grocer’s spinner rack for 18 years, John. It was yours to purchase for 12 cents during those 18 years, John. You could have found 12 cents while waddling your fat ass to that store, John. You could have had that comic at any time in your life, John.

    Fuck off, John.

  6. be ware of eve hill

    Wait a minute! Please correct me if I’m wrong but wasn’t there a story arc about Funky traveling back in time to get a younger version of himself to buy that Starbuck Jones comic? It was when he was in a coma after his auto accident.

    Way to plagiarize yourself, Batty.

    ———————-
    Whatever happened to the idiot girl who was texting and wrecked into Funky? Anything?

    • billytheskink

      Not only that, Funky told his younger self to buy Starbuck Jones #1 in a drug store sometime in the mid-70s, even though the first issue of SJ was published in 1954 and Batom Comics itself went out of business in 1972 (both of these dates courtesy of TB’s own history of Batom Comics blog posts).

      So the plagiarism is even stronger than it initially appears.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Correct me if I’m wrong here, but wasn’t Starbuck Jones originally birthed in the arc where Funky sold issue #1 to save his stupid pizzeria? So the time travel arc kind of fit into the chronology at first, as back then SJ was an obscure, forgotten title from the 1970s, before it became a timeless classic title (and series of films) from the 1950s.

        • billytheskink

          I am pretty sure that’s right, I don’t believe that Starbuck Jones had ever appeared before that story.

          • Epicus Doomus

            That was before he went totally berserk with the fictional comic book sub-universes. That whole thing really began to blow up when Holly started assembling the complete SJ collection, after that it became a beloved 1950s sci-fi franchise, with reboots, Cliff Anger, decoder rings and all that crap.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I’m confused and suffering from some Batiuk-induced mental trauma. I think this calls for another glass of wine. YaY! 🥴🍷

        TGIF.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Whatever happened to the idiot girl who was texting and wrecked into Funky?

      It wasn’t Lisa, so who cares? Certainly not this comic strip.

      • Epicus Doomus

        Cell Phone Girl, never seen or mentioned again after the legendary black panel. Man, that was a real hoot.

  7. Banana Jr. 6000

    So he found an incredibly valuable comic book just sitting on a park bench. After it sat in a drug store unsold for 18 years, in a town full of comic book obsessives. Including one person who intentionally hoarded unsold comic books. And he used the proceeds from it (because it’s in gem mint condition, of course) to start his own comic book store. Which was so successful that he was still living with his mother in 2003, who called him a loser and told him he needed to get a real job. A true Westview success story.

  8. billytheskink

    I refuse to believe John Howard’s hair was ever this normal-looking.

  9. Hitorque

    1. So why isn’t John a millionaire today then?

    2. I’d have thought if some shitty rundown corner market had an original Spiderman from 1962, it’s worth investigating what kinds of other untapped treasures might be in that store… Hell, maybe they still have unsold baseball cards from the 1950s?? James Dean’s leather jacket? Little Richard’s autographed guitar? Larry Doby’s game-worn uniform?

  10. be ware of eve hill

    This may be another case of me being one of Batty’s beloved beady-eyed nitpickers.

    Batty’s bio says his family moved from Akron to Grafton when he was a child. This is confirmed by the fact he graduated from Midview High School, which is also located in Grafton.

    What’s the attraction to Captain E.Z.’s Confectionary? It was located in Elyria, a good seven miles away from Grafton. Did Batty ride his little bicycle on a 14 mile round trip to buy his comics? Weren’t there any comic books for sale in the entire town of Grafton?

    Is this yet another case of Batty’s shameless name dropping?

    • Tom from Finland

      Here is my intepretation of the storyline:

      – Batiuk has owned Amazing Fantasy #15

      – He bought it from Captain E.Z.’s Confectionary. It wasn’t his usual place to buy comics, but it’s a comic book sanctuary for him, since that’s where he got his holy grail comic

      – April 15 1980 is the day when Batiuk learned that his mother had thrown all his comic books away.

      – That’s when Batiuk became obsessed with getting rich by selling comic books, when he realized how much money he had lost. And it has gotten worse as the value of old comic books has increased

      – That is also why he is obsessed about people throwing away other people’s comic book collections

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        How much money Batiuk thinks he lost. He just assumes that anything he owned would automatically get the highest grade possible. The most common grade of Amazing Fantasy #154 is 3 on a 10 scale. Here’s what those numbers mean.That condition has a typical sale price south of $72,000. Not bad, but Harry is hardly “set for life.” And this doesn’t account for Batiuk’s obsessive reading and re-reading of them, or them being stored in poor display units. Both of which are treated as a positive in Funky Winkerbean.

        For all Batiuk’s monomania with comic books, he is stunningly ignorant about them.

      • batgirl

        If I recall correctly, TB had the chance to buy the comic with Spidey’s first appearance, but chose instead to buy the issue of the Flash where the Flash suddenly weighs hundreds of pounds and looks spherical.
        He claims not to regret this.
        I think ‘not buying the first Spiderman’ also came up with Batton Thomas at some point, but I may be making that up.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      If you want the true story, Batiuk lived in Elyria when he was just starting out, in an apartment with his wife a few blocks away from EZ’s. He bought the Eerie Magazine with Hunter wearing The Eliminator helmet on the cover at EZ’s.

      His own nostalgia for his early married experiences power him just as much as his childhood. It’s why every young couple starts out in an apartment, and why every couple is usually only raising one kid at a time. With any additional children shoved down a memory hole.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        his early married experiences power him just as much as his childhood.

        What’s the difference? They both revolve around buying comic books.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Sorry CBH, I stand corrected.

        I found a ‘biography lite’ of Batty’s on a publisher’s website.

        Okay, here we go, gang, biography lite. I was born in Akron, Ohio, in 1947. After graduating from Kent State University in 1969 with a BFA and a certificate in education, I taught art in Elyria, Ohio at Eastern Heights Jr. High.

        In 1970, while I was teaching, I began drawing a panel for the teen page of the Elyria Chronicle-Telegram. Those strips led to the creation of Funky Winkerbean in 1972.

        My bad. Hanging head in shame.

  11. The Dreamer

    When Harry gets back to the future, he will discover John is now fabulously wealthy because he found the Amazing Fantasy #15 that Harry left and sold it years later for $2 million and subsequently made some shrewd investments. Harry finds that all the money has made John insufferable John has now bought Montoni’s and half of Westview including the comics office where Pete and Darrin work. John is out of control and ruining the whole town His wife has left him

    When John tells Harry how he found the comic book that made him rich, Harry realizes its all his fault, and that he must put the helmet back on and go back to 1980 and *stop* John from finding that comic. It is Back to Westview Part II!

  12. Gerard Plourde

    Just to recap – Based on the event depicted in today’s strip, TomBa wants us to believe that Donna’s Eliminator helmet is a real time travel device and that Harry did visit Westview on April 15, 1980. Nothing else would explain how DSH could find the copy of Amazing Fantasy #15 that Harry just left on Lisa’s Westview Bench when he prematurely teleported.

    Does this mean we’ll get an answer next week to explain the origin of Donna’s helmet? Or, more likely, that we’ve hit the end of this arc and we’ll move to something totally unrelated?

    • Epicus Doomus

      I hate to repeat myself and no spoilers, but it’s going to be way, way dumber than that.

      • sorialpromise

        I refuse to believe that there are levels of dumbness in FW, that we have never mined before. Perhaps, Epicus, you are writing this on a local Opposite Day where bad means good, and dumber means brilliant! Yes! That’s the ticket!

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          There are always more levels of dumbness. It’s dumbness all the way down.

        • Epicus Doomus

          It’s like a super massive black hole of stupidity. You can sort of grasp the concept, but you’re bound by the limitations of the human mind.

      • Gerard Plourde

        I’m almost afraid to imagine how dumb this can get.

        • Y. Knott

          “It’s going to be way, way dumber than that.”

          When discussing future FW plots? Even if you do not have access to future strips, this is always a safe statement to make.

          It is also the only rational path to follow. Trying to guess the specifics of how future FW strips will surpass themselves in dumbness is a futile exercise…and one that can only lead to frustration, heartache and sorrow. For no matter what you come up with … it’s going to be way, way dumber than that.

          But even worse — in the cosmically unlikely event you DO get it right? What then is your reward?

          You are hit with the realization that you think like Tom Batiuk.

          There is no coming back from that.

  13. Banana Jr. 6000

    This arc made me think of this great Twilight Zone scene:

    Like Harry, the main character Martin has traveled back in time, and met his childhood self. In this scene, he’s been taken aside by his father from the same time period. They have a brief conversation. Take two minutes out of your day and watch it.

    When I say Tom Batiuk has nothing to say, this is what I mean. Rod Serling is a writer who damn well DID have something to say, about life. He used the very same plot to explore something about the human condition, that still rings true 60 years after it was made. Where did Funky Winkerbean take this story? Straight to the comic book store.

    There’s no need to denigrate Tom Batiuk. He denigrates himself.