Unification Disgrace

Oh yay, comic books, it’s been so long since they’ve been mentioned in this strip that I really missed it. And of course Rocky is a massive comic nerd, since that’s the other personality trait she has other than “was in the army”.  If someone told Batiuk he had to write a character, story or even just a strip or just a single wedding that didn’t have anything to do with comics, I’m pretty sure you’d hear the sound of several fuses in his head blow and smoke would start pouring out his ears, because I do not think he’s capable of even considering that anymore.
I just Googled “‘unification display’+wedding” because I’d never heard of them before and wondered if this was something common that I just hadn’t heard of, but I really don’t think so. It only returned three results and none are remotely like what’s being portrayed here. Even less restrictive searches returned nothing close, so I really don’t think this is a thing. What I think happened is Batiuk thought it was hilarious/touching to have two people merge their comic collections and made up the concept of a “unification display” because I guess he couldn’t just have someone point and say “hey look, they combined their comic books!”. (And have them sitting out in the open in the sun where anyone can swipe one).
Is that supposed to be Summer on the right? I can’t really imagine who else it would be, even though it doesn’t look at all like Summer, and she’s not wearing a hoodie.
This is also yet another example of Batiuk’s need to have an extra line after the “punchline” of the strip. Nothing is added by having maybe-Summer tell us it’s cool and sweet. It’s like Batiuk doesn’t think the readers will be able to tell how they’re supposed to react to or feel about a joke without literally being told.

54 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

54 responses to “Unification Disgrace

  1. Y. Knott

    WHAT KIND OF UNIFICATION DISPLAY DOESN’T USE A SPINNER RACK? IT’S LIKE BATIUK CAN’T EVEN KEEP TRACK OF HIS OWN FETISHES!

  2. Epicus Doomus

    I have no idea what he’s babbling about here, and I’m seriously annoyed over having to see Les for no reason. All things considered, this is maybe the most objectionable strip of 2022 thus far. Gratuitous Les usage is always heavily frowned upon.

    • Les is here so we can hear him introduce his wife to Rocky’s mom: “Cayla, Carla…Carla, Cayla.”

      • Epicus Doomus

        I’ve always thought that given their history and all, it’s always been kind of strange how Les never acknowledged Cory’s incredible transformation from skulking hoodlum to ramrod-straight decent American. Cory came home from the army, he was completely and totally different, and no one seemed to notice. Just imagine if, for example, Dinkle took up a new, non-marching band related hobby, or if Boy Lisa suddenly became the most exciting character in the strip. Everyone would be stunned. But with Cory, everyone just shrugged.

        • spacemanspiff85

          Just wait. On their wedding night, Cory will play Rock the tape Lisa made for him that straightened him out.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            Oh, I bet Lisa made a tape for someone’s wedding night, all right. Have you ever seen Kentucky Fried Movie? I imagine it’s like the “Joy of Sex Audio Book” skit, but creepy instead of hilarious.

            I won’t post the YouTube of it here, because Kentucky Fried Movie is extremely raunchy.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Forced Les, forced comic books, a character we’ve never seen before, and a neo-Batiukism. It really touches all the bases,

  3. Captain Gladys Stoatpamphlet

    What happened with Harry’s neck? Was Ayers challenging himself to see how thin he could make it? And what are those 3 staring into the woods for? Did they see Bigfoot?

    Cayla is aghast. THIS is Cory and Rocky’s unification display?

  4. I Googled “unification display” too, it’s definitely a concept that exists nowhere outside the mind of Tom Batiuk. And only because it’s standing next to Les does that androgynous, massive headed, tiny handed figure register as Summer.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Oh my God, I had no idea. That’s easily the worst Summer drawing ever and believe me, that’s one hell of a crowded field.

    • I had never heard of a “unification display” either, but will say that as an example of The Idea The Couple Has To Make Their Wedding Unique, putting up some visible display of their lives merging together is a decent one. The symbolism is straightforward, it lets them share something meaningful to them with their family and friends, it’s unobtrusive. If I saw this at an actual wedding I wouldn’t be rolling my eyes.

      Honestly I had expected the Comic Book Quotient of this wedding to be that they had commissioned Atomik Comix to made the official graphic novel version of their wedding day.

      • Quota, not quotient, but still.

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        The first wedding I went to, at age 7, did that “light the candle” thing. The priest said something like “the bride and groom will extinguish their own candles and light one together to symbolize they are ending their separate lives and starting one combined life.”

        Even at that age, it rubbed me the wrong way. And it still does. Being in a partnership doesn’t mean you extinguish who you are. Especially 40 years later, when we have a better understanding of how harmful relationships work. Abusers and narcissists actively try to destroy your sense of self. They want you unable to function outside the relationship.

        It’s not an inappropriate sentiment by itself, but it seems a little dated now. But I never married and have no desire to, so what do I know.

        • Hydromatick

          Agreed. It’s one of those things dreamt up by some wedding professional that is supposed to be highly symbolic and moving, but underneath the cloying and simple-minded sentiment betrays a creepy view of what a married relationship is supposed to be.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            I can see it being appropriate in some cases. Like if the couple have good reasons for wanting to burn their old lives. Imagine two people that met in rehab or counseling or something like that. It could be genuinely powerful. I just don’t think it works as a one-size-fits-all expression of how marriage should go. (Bear in mind I was a small child when I witnessed this, and didn’t know this ritual wasn’t universal to weddings.)

    • Captain Gladys Stoatpamphlet

      Add it to the Batiuktionary!

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s just Batiuk trying to impose his will on the world again. He thinks engaged people are going to see this strip and say “ooo, a unification display! That’s a great idea, honey! We should do that!”

      It seems redundant to me. The whole point of a wedding ceremony is to celebrate two people joining their lives in a union, making vows of their love, loyalty, and commitment until death us part, and all that. The fact that all their junk gets merged as part of the process seems like trivia not worth pointing out. Bringing all your junk to put it in a “display” people are expected to ooh and aah at it is really, really tacky.

    • Bad wolf

      The art is more like a caricature than usual. Les and family could visit the county fair and get more proportional representations. Is Ayres getting tired finally? “Hey Tom, how come you get to retire about five years earlier than me but still have your name on the strip? What do you mean i don’t have any creative rights? What’s ‘work-for-hire’?”

  5. Sourbelly

    Does anyone, anywhere on Earth find this funny or relatable? Unification Display? Shared comic book collection?

    This is Batdick exploring the inner reaches of his asshole with a flashlight.

  6. billytheskink

    I think “unification display” is what TB thinks it’s called when the marrying couple lights a candle together or pours sand into a bottle and such. It’s not called that.

    Why is Les there? I mean, I know he’s Funky’s friend and all, but he also blackmailed Cory after catching him cheating on a test rather than trying to actually set him straight.

    As far as the character on the right… she most looks like the Act III version of Wicked Wanda.

    • spacemanspiff85

      For that matter, why is Crazy Harry there? Not only do Cory and Rocky not have any backgrounds or history, they have no friends of their own.

      • J.J. O'Malley

        I hate to play Batiuk’s Advocate, but I imagine that Crazy’s constant plopping on a counter stool at Montoni’s may have given him chances to chat with Cory and Rocky and offer the couple “sage wisdom” on married life (“Don’t be afraid to surprise your spouse with a bottle of salad dressing now and then!”), and perhaps they look upon him as an eccentric uncle figure.

        I can see I’ve already given this thread more thought than TB ever did. I’ll stop now.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          It’s plausible that Harry and Les would be invited, but they shouldn’t be central to the story. We still haven’t seen a single one of Cory or Rocky’s friends. This rando in the last panel should have been depicted as one, but just looks like random Westview Middle-Aged Person #5. (Collect all 9!)

    • Mela

      It was called the Unity Candle back when my friends had their weddings. Unity Candle=Unity Comics, I guess.

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    Hey, are we sure that’s supposed to be Summer? After all, I don’t see Keisha anywhere. May I humbly suggest some other options for today’s “mystery woman”:

    1. Somehow, Becky managed to grow her arm back or is the recipient of an experimental limb transplant.

    2. Marianne Winters returned to Westview to reclaim her Academy Award from Les.

    3. After finally coming to terms with a lifelong sexual identity crisis, Mopey Pete has begun transitioning.

    Also, Cory and Rocky have been living together for nearly a decade, and they’re just now deciding to combine their funny book collections?Comic Book Guy and Kumiko did that years ago on “The Simpsons.”

  8. Author’s Note: Cayla is saying “unification display” because she has been killed and replaced by a slightly-buggy replicant in this story.

    Author’s Note: Les knows that the box contains the couple’s combined collection because he knows that Cory didn’t give a shit about comics (or anything else) until the post-military-service retcon in this story.

    Author’s Note: Summer is 35 and dresses femme in this story.

    Author’s Note: Keisha is attending the wedding but she is still invisible in this story. (Please refer to my previous fanfic “Keisha and the Haunted Lord of the Rings Cosplay Prop” for the details!)

  9. The Dreamer

    Why is Lea there? Cory *stole* the Lisa’s Legacy Run money that one year and never returned it or apologized!

    • erdmann

      Les: Yes, it’s their combined comic book collection. Cayla, go start the car. Summer, or whoever you are, when I give the signal, grab the box and run. I’ll teach that little $#%@! to desecrate my… I mean, Lisa’s legacy!

    • billytheskink

      Les never found out about that, though. Funky and Holly covered for him and then later used the incident to blackmail Cory into taking Summer to a school dance.

  10. Rusty Shackleford

    This is a classic. Poorly drawn characters, stupid premise, impossible dialogue, Les, ugly not-Cindy ladies. It’s all here. This is how not to write a strip!

  11. Banana Jr. 6000

    Well, at least the comic books will be happy.

  12. Doghouse Reilly (Minneapolis)

    Is it Free Komix Book Day already?

  13. batgirl

    The actual phrase is “unity ceremony” (eg: 13 Unity Ceremonies to consider for your Wedding: Brides Magazine)
    So either he screwed up or this is one of his ‘clever’ rephrasings like Fleabay.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The key word being “ceremony.” A box of comic books is not a ceremony. Your article is at https://www.brides.com/unity-ceremony-ideas-5077244 and it lists some little rituals that would be appropriate, and actually mean something. They’re actions, not things.

      It’s not just that he got the word wrong. He got the entire concept wrong.

      • batgirl

        Late reply but yeah, you’ve hit the heart of it. Display is static, ceremony is active. The Funkyverse is still Stuck.

  14. be ware of eve hill

    Oh, look, comic books. What a surprise. /S

    Batty never learned there’s a fine line between sharing your hobby and being a complete bore. What’s next?

    With this comic book, I thee wed.
    I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may read the comic.
    The bridal car drives away dragging several comic book long boxes.

    Thank goodness we saw Rocky in her wedding dress. I can’t take another comic book character themed wedding.

  15. Dood

    Meanwhile, Crazy’s hair expresses what we all think of this strip.

  16. be ware of eve hill

    I’m not a comic book collector, but I can’t imagine exposing them to the elements is a good thing. I’ve seen what the sun can do to a newspaper if you leave it out in the sun too long. Yellow, faded, dried out pages, etc.

    I hope it doesn’t rain, or they get pooped on by a bird.

    Chester Hagglemore would be apoplectic if he saw how those comic books were treated.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      He wouldn’t, actually, because everything Chester touches is gem mint at all times. It’s like Batiuk doesn’t even know what the term means. Or any of the most basic things about collecting. Like “don’t needlessly expose your comic books to the sun.”

      My headcanon is that Chester is involved in some kind of collectible grading scam. This has been a big problem in sports cards; I presume it is in comics too. The grading companies can basically print money by giving elite grades to things they or their friends own. And the differences are so minute you can pass it off as a difference of opinion. If you can even see the difference.

      Because there’s no way in hell junk Chester stole off a spinner rack in a grocery store is “gem mint.” That condition extends to things like how well-printed the page is. The tiniest bit of imperfect coloration or centering can cost you that grade.

      • be ware of eve hill

        LOL. Good point. All comic books are in mint condition in the Battyverse.

        Comic books in the Battyverse are indestructible. If you shoot them, the bullets merely bounce off. Lighting them on fire is impossible. Read them as often as you like, they’ll never show any wear and tear.

        Every comic is a priceless first edition. In a financial bind? Sell your collection and take home thousands of dollars.

        When Cory sold his Starbuck Jones comics to DeadSkunkhead, Chester was the one who bought all or some of them. I remember that strip where he is laughing sinisterly and yelling, “I have them all! I rule the world!” Chester most likely bought those SJ issues for pennies on the dollar. We’ve all seen what a lousy businessman DSH is.

        Cheers

  17. Banana Jr. 6000

    The “extra line after the punchline” is fine in principle. Bloom Countydid this to good effect. The problem in this strip is a common one in FW: it has nothing to say. A line like “our unification display was of our kitchen appliances” would have added something to the scene, resembled a real conversation, and further explained this unclear concept. It would also make more sense if a married couple were in this scene instead of one single woman. But one massive flaw at a time.

  18. hitorque

    1. I haven’t heard the term “unification display” since that night they started chopping down the Berlin Wall… But hey, I get it – If I ever marry the right kind of lady I fully intend to “merge” our PlayStation Network accounts and trophy history…

    2. You know, for a couple of supposed hardcore comic geek nerds, their “combined” collection is pretty damned thin… And what’s the point of such a display if you can’t tell which issues belong to who? And what is this supposed to mean for guests who don’t even read comics?

    3. But hey, I get it… This is the closest we’ll ever get in the Funkyverse to “sexual innuendo between a young couple” yet of course 80-year-olds like Dinkle can talk about jamming his flute up his wife’s oboe all day, and Morton’s horndog harassment is supposed to be funny, and Saturday nights over at Bedside Manor are reportedly something out of “Caligula”….

    4. So am I really to believe that NONE of their army buddies were invited??

    5. So for all that bullshit about getting domain names organized along with hashtags and podcasts, we’ve got a ceremony in a shady forest…
    With two pink bowties on trees…
    And cheap folding chairs for a grand audience of maybe 25 guests…
    And they didn’t even give a shit about trying to find a proper, photo-worthy natural backdrop…
    And a goddamned crate of assorted comic books on a table…
    And motherfucking Lester is there…
    Yeah, that’s some great wedding planning.

    6. Is it me, or does that unidentified third person look a lot like the “UNDERSTOOD THAT REFERENCE!!” -Lady? Because I know I’ve seen that face somewhere…

  19. hitorque

    1. I haven’t heard the term “unification display” since that night they started chopping down the Berlin Wall… But hey, I get it – If I ever marry the right kind of lady I fully intend to “merge” our PlayStation Network accounts and trophy history…

    2. You know, for a couple of supposed hardcore comic geek nerds, their “combined” collection is pretty damned thin… And what’s the point of such a display if you can’t tell which issues belong to who? And what is this supposed to mean for guests who don’t even read comics?

    3. But hey, I get it… This is the closest we’ll ever get in the Funkyverse to “sexual innuendo between a young couple” yet of course 80-year-olds like Dinkle can talk about jamming his flute up his wife’s oboe all day, and Morton’s horndog harassment is supposed to be funny, and Saturday nights over at Bedside Manor are reportedly something out of “Caligula”….

    4. So am I really to believe that NONE of their army buddies were invited??

    5. So for all that bullshit about getting domain names organized along with hashtags and podcasts, we’ve got a ceremony in a shady forest…
    With two pink bowties on trees…
    And cheap folding chairs for a grand audience of maybe 25 guests…
    And they didn’t even give a shit about trying to find a proper, photo-worthy natural backdrop…
    And a goddamned crate of assorted comic books on a table…
    And motherfucking Lester is there…
    Yeah, that’s some great wedding planning.

    6. Is it me, or does that unidentified third person look a lot like the “GOT THAT REFERENCE!” –Lady? Because I know I’ve seen her somewhere…

  20. Banana Jr. 6000

    Let’s assume “unification display” is a real thing that exists. Why doesn’t it have anything to do with their military background? Isn’t that more important to their relationship than their damned comic books? It’s how they met! They served together! They literally had to keep each other alive! People they know died! How shallow can they be?

  21. Banana Jr. 6000

    Today’s strip confirms that @teaberryblue does absolutely nothing. Because how in the hell does this pass any editorial review? He’s using the wrong phrase, he completely misunderstands the concept, he’s drawn an unclear character, and comic books have hijacked the story for the 246,787th time.

    I would add that it doesn’t advance the story, but what even is the story? This is filler for filler. There’s no reason at all to see these fifth-tier characters get married. And the story itself contains nothing of value.

    • Y. Knott

      It’s long been established that “comic strip editor” is a sinecure beyond even the wildest dreams of the most corrupt mafia chieftain. It is a ‘job’ so devoid of actual work or responsibility that — as long as the holder of the sinecure recognizes the actual job description is simply to approve *anything* that fills up the space in each day’s appropriate-sized panel — even the most lazy and inept drain on the family purse couldn’t possibly screw it up. In fact, the position practically *requires* a dull, unimaginative slacker with no integrity or marketable skills … anyone with even a modicum of self-awareness would soon grow bored with the utter uselessness of the gig.

  22. Rusty Shackleford

    Please let a pop up downpour roll in quickly! Let’s see that display get soaked.

  23. none

    It takes a special kind of person to look at 50 years of work and content, and have an offshoot musical, and have an offshoot clothing brand, and have a Pulitzer nomination – and cross his arms with a pout and say “Yeah, but DC never hired me, so I’m still not happy.”

    I said before that I think he inwardly hates the Dinkle character, and strips like this are part of my proof why. Through sheer dumb luck and a lack of competition, his work with FW ended up with Dinkle being some kind of mascot for high school band directors. It has to eat at him that he’s created that kind of property for something which he never really cared about, at least not like comic books. I think he just keeps making strips like these with the desperate hope that FW becomes tangentially associated with comic books the same way as it has with high school marching band. SDCC has him as a guest speaker this year, right? He’s won those inkpot or inkblot or whatever the hell those participation trophy awards for cartoonists are a few times, right? Still not enough. Never enough.