Netbusters and Chill

For all of us who tell Tom Batiuk “write what you know!” Who doesn’t know what a pain in the ass it is, having to enter your login credentials using an onscreen “keyboard”? For once, we feel the Funkman’s frustration at being randomly required to sign in, even if his overreaction spoils their relaxing evening.

Signing in tomorrow (if he can remember his %#*@$$ password) will be the Silvio Dante to my Tony Soprano, Epicus Doomus. Epicus makes the trains run on time here at SoSF, and devotes much thankless effort to managing the guest author rotation and flagging the occasional errant spam comment. He’s done more than anyone, myself included, to keep this blog going for 12 years. We stand in line.



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

43 responses to “Netbusters and Chill

  1. William Thompson

    I guess “writing it down” isn’t old-fashioned enough for Funky, even though it would give him the chance to whine that he lost his list.

  2. Hitorque

    How the hell does Funkensteiger manage a popular business in 2022 if he’s this technology-adverse? Who does Montoni’s expenses accounts and payroll??

    • Hitorque
      April 30, 2022 at 3:56 pm
      I never read that Kilimanjaro storyline, but let me guess — There isn’t a single black face to be seen for the whole journey? What is this, “The Phantom”? (God, I had to quit hate-reading that strip out of pure rage)…

      You asked for it: from the summer of 2012, here is the Les and Summer conquer Kilimanjaro arc: I Les the Rains Down in Africa

      • billytheskink

        1,000,000 internet points for that title!

      • Epicus Doomus

        You included the car-naming arc too, it’s so weird how that arc doesn’t interrupt the flow of the Kilimanjaro story at all, isn’t it? At the time it was baffling, but in retrospect it’s totally in character.

        Man, that was one long-ass f*cking arc, too. I vividly remember that deranged Crazy Harry Tarzan Sunday strip, truly the stuff of nightmares. No one knew it at the time but that arc was kind of Summer’s swan song, as after that she was suddenly relegated to being a bit player, at best. If you missed the Summer years, consider yourself fortunate, as at one time she was almost as annoying as Les is, no lie. Summer was originally sort of Batiuk’s idea of the Anti-Les, in that she was outgoing, popular and really good at sports, unlike Nerdlinger. And he milked that premise for the first five years of Act III, but then he lost interest. And I’m not complaining, mind you, just pointing out how odd it is.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        Ugh, that is painful. Les says “I presume” two days in a row and isn’t immediately fed to crocodiles? Lava and lavatory? Trip-idation? And of course, Les showing up in Westview in the middle of it to make a stupid, smarmy remark on the sad state of the educational system. You’re the English teacher, asshole! And the cat that’s brought home, given a name, and never seen or spoken of again until Batiuk needs to write his way out of another shitty, pointless trip.

      • Hitorque

        Unbelievable… Thanks for this.

        And even if Kilimanjaro is a “walk-up” I’m still trying to figure out how Mr. “Scared of the Gym Rope in P.E. Class” got the idea of scaling a mountain in his head…

        • none

          Just another case of FW characters being amoebas.

          One day, Les gets tangled by gymnastic equipment. The next, he’s on the football team. Then, he gets scared of a rope. Twenty years later, he can outrun an ambulance to bring Susan Smith to a hospital. Ten years after that, we have this Kilimanjaro sequence. Ten years after that, he carries Movie Pete out of a burning home that’s owned by a person who was only ever depicted of being insanely jealous of her every single time.

          All the characters are character-fluid.

  3. robertodobbs

    Calvin and Hobbes offered whimsy, fantasy, amusing irony, innocence, and warm humor. FW again dishes out frustration, disappointment, anger, even cursing. Why is this strip always so negative and depressing? Is it supposed to be funny in some sort of “They’ll Do it Every Time” way? It isn’t.

  4. Epicus Doomus

    Thanks TFH, and extra thanks for not saying Paulie. The commenters (friends of mine) and our guest hosts (friends of ours) make it a breeze. The hardest thing about this thing of ours is actually having to read the strip every day, and I say that in all seriousness. The comic strip itself is the least entertaining thing about the Batiukiverse, by far, so much so that it transcends its own shittiness to a point where it’s almost a deeply warped artistic achievement of sorts. And it’s been around for so long that it’s managed to suck in distinctly different ways, too. You had late Act I’s stupid little morality plays, Act II’s deranged melodrama, and now Act III’s grinding, incessant tedium. Act II drove me away twice, for years at a time, so I totally understand how FW can just break you down over time.

    As far as today’s strip is concerned, I’ve seen worse. Really recently, too. I mean it’s pretty trite and hardly original, but I (sigh) do know people who lose their passwords all the time, then lose the little piece of paper where you wrote down the new password the last time you reset it for them. So what I’m saying here is that this easily could have been an “Eliminator” comic book cover featuring a sub-moronic reality bubble, so there is that.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The comic strip transcends its own shittiness to a point where it’s almost a deeply warped artistic achievement of sorts.

      It really is. There’s nothing like Funky Winkerbean anywhere. It’s so uninteresting that it’s fascinating. It rejects the most basic storytelling conventions so completely that it’s difficult to explain to people, or even describe what Funky Winkerbean is. It’s not narrative, but it’s not anti-narrative either. It’s not humor, but it’s not anti-humor. It’s not meta-anything. It’s anti-anti-everything. It’s almost alien.

      Even its TVTropes page isn’t much help. Batiuk only uses tropes inadvertently, by mistake, or because he thinks he’s doing something else. Find me one thing in that list that Batiuk uses intentionally, and understands how it works. Or any of the ways listed here that tropes can be applied. I dare you.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        His motive is not to tell a story, it is to puff up his accomplishments and interests. This is why he awkwardly uses big words when simpler words would be more clear. He thinks it makes him look intellectual.

        His second guiding principle is to use his strip to kiss up to the people and things he looks up to. This leads to more unnatural dialogue and even weirder storylines.

        Those introductions to his books are monstrous creations written in a sort of zombie language.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Well, that’s what he so smugly calls himself: “I’m a storyteller.” So that’s the standard I’m going to hold him to.

          You’re completely right, though.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            Yes, true, he says that all the time and so he should be held to that standard. I was more trying to show his motivation.

      • be ware of eve hill

        I admire everyone’s dedication to reading FW every day and making yourselves come up with something to snark about. Reading FW is like gawking at the scene of an accident. You know it will most likely be unpleasant, but you can’t help but take a peek anyway.

        Batty inflicts upon the public his nostalgic fantasy world about which literally only he understands or cares. At this point, FW resembles the work of a schizophrenic covering the walls of his cell with sentences in his private made-up language. (Thanks for sharing your comic panel featuring Les/Batiuk, BJr6K. It was perfect.).

        Only a comic strip creator with as much tenure as Batty could this much self-indulgent wankery be tolerated by the syndicate. At times I think people commenting on it only encourages him. He’d have to have superhuman reserves of discipline not to peek at the comments, even occasionally.

  5. Sourbelly

    Eh, I’ll give Batdick this one. I write down my various passwords, but usually on random sticky notes and whatnot that get lost with a quickness. So as someone as stupid as Funky, I relate.

  6. I’m very surprised we don’t yet have Tom Batiuk’s take on the passing of Neal Adams, who gave us the greatest Batom cover of all time.

    • Epicus Doomus

      I can’t believe I’m saying this, but the fictional comic book covers were better before he started adding those horrible reality bubbles. All they do is draw your attention away from the art and annoy you with their inevitable stupidity. You could comb through every reality bubble ever and not come close to finding anything resembling a real joke.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        They also used to have something to do with the story. That one was in service of the “Cindy is jealous” arc. It was almost a point-of-view shot: he sees Mason’s costars as these absurdly sexy, tarted-up women in tight space clothes. The whole arc was stupid and juvenile (sheesh, what if the biggest hunk in Hollywood has to do a sex scene?) but it served a narrative purpose. Now the comic book exists just because Batiuk loves comic books. And because it’s easier to pay Tom Zahler and Rob Ro to do his work for him. It’s yet another abuse of his position the syndicate should put an end to.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      I believe that might have also been the high seller when he auctioned them off. And it’s easy to see why.

    • Suicide Squirrel

      Sorry. I made a similar post. I should have realized you guys were all over it.

  7. billytheskink

    “Our favorite show”? What is this, Herb & Jamaal? Cut the asinine non-specificity, TB, especially after you unleashed “Netbusters” on us.

    Unless tomorrow’s strip reveals that these two finally logged into Netbusters and are starting to watch something called Our Favorite Show, TB deserves all the daggers Funky’s furrowed brow is delivering to his smartphone in today’s strip.

    • Epicus Doomus

      “Our Favorite Show”, starring Mason Jarre as Chad Everyman, with Marianne Winters as his wife Betty Sue. With Skyler Fairgood as Junior and Cliff Anger as Roscoe, the eccentric neighbor. In this week’s episode, Roscoe attempts to sell Chad a rare old comic book, much to Betty Sue’s dismay.

  8. Y. Knott

    Watch as Funky continues to morph into another character, in this week’s installment of Funky Winkerbean: The Crankshaftening.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      You either die a Lisa, or you live long enough to see yourself become Crankshaft.

  9. sgtsaunders

    You write them down, numbnuts.

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    Crankshaft: Just get a real haircut and some new glasses. Problem solved.

  11. Gerard Plourde

    The exchange between Funky and Holly is another example of the sexism and weird concept of marriage that annoys me in the Funkyverse. Are we to believe Holly doesn’t know the sign-in for whatever service they’re going to watch? Doesn’t she ever watch TV on her own? Is TomBa’s vision of marriage that they do everything in lockstep? Does she possess no independent agency?

    TomBa’s of the generation that adopted Kahlil Gibran’s “The Prophet” as one of its popular “new-agey’ guides for living. It advises married couples to “let there be spaces in your togetherness, And let the winds of the heavens dance between you…And stand together yet not too near together: For the pillars of the temple stand apart, And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.”

    Sorry if the quote is hokey and banal. It does reflect a fundamental truth about what sustains a healthy intimate relationship. And the fact that TomBa appears not to know this in spite of being in a marriage during the entire run of Funky Winkerbean is another puzzle.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      If it’s Funky’s “job” to manage their shared credentials, fine. But he’s not doing his job, is he? And that’s the sexism of Funky Winkerbean: responsibility in relationships only flows in one direction. Husbands are never held to any standards of performance or behavior. Only wives are. Funky knew his password that day, didn’t he?Today’s situation is entirely his fault, and he’s ruined their evening by throwing a tantrum instead of solving a simple problem. And Holly stifles.

      Same thing with Cayla and Les’ endless caterwauling over Lisa. Same thing with Durwood spending their windfall on comic book art instead of their child’s future. Same thing with Harry giving Donna salad dressing for her anniversary, so he could make a stupid joke. Same thing with John having his stupid comic book store even though Becky has said it causes them financial problems. Same thing with Jff giving Pmm a rock as a souvenir from nearly getting his dumb ass killed over a 1935 Gene Autry serial. Same thing with every other stupid comic book-related indulgence the women of Westview have to silently tolerate.

      The strip makes a big show out of combating sexism, but what it shows us happening day-to-day is a very different story.

  12. be ware of eve hill

    Hey Funky, if remembering login IDs and passwords is such a hardship, why don’t you download a password app for your smartphone.

    Funky: Smart phone? App?

    Yes, download a password application from the web store for your smartphone.

    Funky: Down load? Web store?

    Yes, are you bloody stupid or something?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Yes. Yes, he is bloody stupid.

      Forgetting your password is an annoyance, but it’s pretty easy to solve nowadays. Look at You don’t even have to call the help desk anymore!

      Furthermore, the term “binge watch” has only been in common usage since 2013, and requires 2013 technology to do. If Funky doesn’t want to be bothered to manage his own password, he can pop in a DVD. Or a VHS tape. Or watch the show when it comes on. He demands modern luxuries while stubbornly refusing to learn how to use them.

      This strip tries to make a virtue out of willful ignorance and self-entitled consumerism. Like so much else in America these days.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Sometimes I wonder how technologically inept Batty is. It seems to be a common theme in both of his comic strips. He seems to treat technology as evil.

        I’m kind of shocked that Lillian didn’t have a tech issue with her Ohioana web conference this week on Crankshaft. I would have bet money on it. Instead, Lillian is now allegedly a “real pro.” 🙄

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          “Technology is evil” is pretty much it. He doesn’t know how it works, doesn’t want to know, and judges anyone who does.

          This strip is framed all wrong. Losing your password is a annoyance, and something a modern person could have a valid beef about. The problem is that Funky’s demanding to use a modern feature that by its nature demands he manage his password. It’s not like he can say “I remember when I didn’t have to enter my password to binge-watch!” He’s not a victim of technology; he’s grossly dependent on it. And then he throws a tantrum about it. He makes a reasonably point of view unsympathetic.

  13. Suicide Squirrel

    I just thought I’d share this if people hadn’t heard. Comic book legend Neal Adams passed away on April 28. He was one of my favorite artists.

    I’m only posting this here because Batiuk blogged that Neal was a friend of his. Neal did a Starbuck Jones Sunday cover for Batiuk several years ago.


  14. Gerard Plourde

    And to date, no acknowledgement of Adams’ death on the blog.