Where there’s an ill there’s a way

So much for Summer’s reappearance… with today’s strip we’re now seven panels removed from Monday’s “Hey Harry! What Brings?” with no end in sight to the sepia-toned sadness blocking Ms. Moore from view. If that’s not bad enough for poor Summer, Lisa can’t be bothered to even mention “her daughter” by name in the word salad she spits out in panel 2.

Are we headed toward another unnecessary and uninteresting retcon?

For years, mankind thought they knew the origin of the Lisa tapes… but they were WRONG.

WHAT IF… recording an incessant number of Lisa’s final few hours on earth wasn’t Les’ idea at all, but instead, the brainchild of a completely different nerdy MAN?

The TRUE origin of the Lisa tapes revealed… This August. Playing exclusively in Funky Winkerbean.

[read in movie trailer voiceover voice]



Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

38 responses to “Where there’s an ill there’s a way

  1. Epicus Doomus

    I’m with those of you who are rooting for her to just die again already. This is just awful. Lisa, interestingly enough, doesn’t seem terribly concerned about the stuff she’ll miss that happens during the time skip, instead choosing to skip that stuff and focus on Summer in high school instead. I wonder where she got THAT idea?

    It’s always so annoying when he just ignores continuity and plausibility, and instead chooses to sledgehammer his warped agenda home regardless of whether it makes any sense or not. It makes no sense that a) Harry was the one responsible for the video tapes idea or b) he chose not to share this story with anyone until now, during a random chance encounter with Summer, who just happens to be hanging around Les’ house after a ten year absence. He’s exhausted every conceivable angle with these ridiculous tapes, so now he’s just wildly retconning everything to keep them alive. He’ll never, ever let that stupid arc go.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s really in line with the strip”s ethos, isn’t it? Children between ages 1 and 14 are just annoyances to be dropped off at your parent’s house, while you pursue your writing or comic book career. You have to start caring about them again when they reach high school, because Dinkle needs a 7th chair glockenspiel player/candy salesman and it’s your job to provide their transportation at 5 am and midnight.

  2. William Thompson

    There won’t be an interesting explanation for this retcon. Nothing like “Crazy Harry jumped back and forth though his Time Locker* in an effort to prevent Not-Dead-Yet Lisa from destroying Summer’s destiny as the Chosen One” or “Crazy Harry travelled time to prevent Les from turning the tapes into insipid crap.” Just “Hey, useless little girl, you need a man to think of these things for you!”

    * — which, alas, has nothing to do with the Lewis Padgett story, where a man uses a multidimensional locker to reach into the future and accidentally kill himself.


    We all get it. Lisa died of cancer. It sucked. It was awful. Life can be horrible. You’ve already covered this in lavish, macabre detail, Batdick. You offer nothing of interest to this subject. Nothing. Go back to jokes about sick animals and scary diving boards.

    • Epicus Doomus

      “Lisa’s Story” is BatHam’s version of Al Bundy’s four touchdowns in one game story. It was the highlight of his life and he’s never, ever going to stop taking these victory laps.

      It’s interesting, but I can’t recall a single instance of seeing anyone reminiscing about young happy Lisa, which would be the period between when she (ugh) married Les up to the touch football game, minus the post office bombing, of course. No one remembers THAT Lisa. They either remember her as an easily-victimized schlub who made poor life choices or a wry, dying husk, all wrapped up in cancer blankets and chemo caps.

      And I HATED that Lisa, so it’s not like I’m clamoring for her or anything here. But enough with the cancer already, man.

      • billytheskink

        This flashback version comes across as an even worse version of shriveling Lisa than the original, I think. Originally, her lament was at least partially focused on Summer and how her daughter might not have a mother’s support at critical moments in adolescence. In this flashback, though, the lament is all about the experiences SHE will miss. She doesn’t even mention Summer by name.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Lisa really is a terrible, selfish person, isn’t she? One of her last acts was to co-opt another group’s Washington DC trip, to make it all about herself. Never showed a drop of concern for how the family was going to continue without her, or even spent much time with them.

          Hell, she’s largely to blame for what a shithead Les is. She made herself a massive spectacle that fueled Les’ white knight syndrome. They are co-enablers par excellence. She had a victim complex and he had a hero complex.

  4. Gerrard Plourde

    Kudos to Billytheskink for seeing the retcon coming!

    I’m struggling to find the right word to describe this turn of events. Unmitigated gall? Total lack of new ideas for storylines? Lazy writing? A combination of all three?

  5. Jeff M

    In panel 1 she looks like Calvin Coolidge announcing that he chooses not to run for a second term in 1928.

  6. Lord Flatulence

    Read in the Batman TV series narrator voice.

  7. J.J. O'Malley

    Does anyone out there who reads Batty’s blog know if he ever commented on one particular Silver Age Flash comic, issue 167 from 1967? In its cover story, “The Real Origin of the Flash,” Barry Allen is visited by an extradimensional seraph named Mopee (“Initiate Tenth Class of the Heavenly Helpmates”) who claims to have been responsible for the lab accident that give Allen his super-speed. The tale was roundly booed upon its release and pretty much ignored by DC’s creators thereafter, garnering infamy as one of the poorest and most unnecessary comic-book retcons of all time. I wonder what Silver Age purist Batiuk thinks of that story, and why he is so darned eager to follow in its footsteps with this ham-fisted rewriting of FW lore that no one–not even people who read the strip without snarking–asked for.

    So far this year we have seen Crazy Harry make half-hearted attempts to warn 1980s Lisa about the need for mammograms before he ran off to buy Spider-Man comics, and now he’s the impetus behind the 2000s Dead St. Lisa videos. Anybody want to wager that before 2022 is over we’ll find out Harry was also Summer’s biological father, he built the Central Park bench with Lisa’s name on it, and he secretly arranged for Les and Lisa to meet in high school so that he could become an Initiate Ninth Class of the Heavenly Helpmates?

    • erdmann

      Funny, I was just thinking of that story and how this is exactly the sort of thing DC would’ve done during the Silver Age.
      “But Julie (or Mort or Jack), this story manages to both duplicate and contradict one we published 10 years ago!”
      “Feh! That was 10 years ago! You think anyone reading these books will remember that?”
      Of course, they did remember, and it fell to E. Nelson Bridwell or Jack C. Harris to explain during the early Bronze Age that the earlier story actually took place on Earth-42 or some such. The difference is they would’ve made the explanation entertaining. Here, in the unlikely event we get an explanation, it will be anything but entertaining.

      • sorialpromise

        I followed your link and read it. “Quasi-science”? A lightning bolt goes through a small window. Hits just the right chemicals. A police lab technician just (scientifically) happens to be standing by the case. This explanation Mr. TB accepts.
        As JJ O’Malley writes, TB already gives us his retcon. Tom could have given us a story of CH saving Lisa by warning her in her past, but that got moved aside by CH finding an 18 year old hugely valuable classic comic book still sitting on a newsstand for 12¢. Yet a heavenly creature named Mopee is unbelievable!
        How does it go: quarter inch from…

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Yeah, it is really a piece of work, isn’t it? It’s almost as bad as his screed about the Batman TV show https://funkywinkerbean.com/wpblog/match-to-flame-73/

          “cultivating a bright young audience of readers”? “loyal followers who had come to expect scientific premises and solutions”? “drove a lot of Flascinados to despair”? “blood on (their) hands?” Tom Batiuk is way, way, way too emotionally invested in a media product for 8-year-olds. If he was talking about My Little Pony, the other bronies would tell him to dial it back.

          • Gerard Plourde

            “Insipid, foolish writing coupled with garishly colored costumes and sets, and, worst of all, sound effects that popped up graphically in special effects comic balloons.“

            Reality check – what elements did the comic book and the series share?

            Garishly colored costumes (for both our heroes and the villains) – yes

            Garishly colored sets – yes (along with ridiculous oversized props in most of the comic stories, i.e. oversized penny that later was kept as a memento in the Bat Cave)

            Visual sound effects – yes

            Admittedly the tv show played these up for cartoon effect but Batman isn’t Dashiell Hammett or Raymond Chandler.

            His outrage at this nearly a half-century later has always troubled me.

            And why on earth did he think he’d have to show up 2 1/2 hours early to get a front-row seat in the tv lounge?

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            What irritates me is Batiuk’s attitude that he’s the Arbiter of All Comic Books. He gets up on his soapbox and acts like he’s the voice of a faceless legion of “Flashcionados” – a word I doubt anyone else has ever used. He lectures the world for not adhering to his personal preferences – which are laughably out of touch.

            He’s taken a stand against alternate universes, which are bog-standard nowadays. He can’t even see that they’re a necessary tool to expand how comic publishers can use characters. He thinks if Batman dies, that’s it, there can never be any more Batman stories, the end. It all stems from his “I’m so realistic” conceit… which, of course, he isn’t in the least. He’s an obnoxious, self-important, overzealous hypocrite.

          • Y. Knott

            That Batman entry is really something. So many details in the story that brand Batiuk as an unlikable jerk, and he’s totally unaware of it.

            I’m now thinking Check Ayers took the drawing gig so he has updates he can provide for Kent State reunions:

            “Hey, Chuck, do you know what ever happened to that hilarious loser … Ratfink? Batfink? Something like that? … y’know, the guy who sat in front of the TV for like a whole day, guarding his spot, and then stormed out in a huff when we were laughing at Batman?”

            “Oh, I know what happened to him. Gather round. I have stories….”

          • Jeff M

            That Batman story is so fucking sad. Just flat out sad.

  8. Rusty

    Lisa might not be the best choice for prom advice.

  9. KMD

    The endless saga of the “Lisa Tapes” continues. Perhaps TB watched “My Life” with Michael Keaton and Nicole Kidman yet again. Who knows why he brought this angle back but it’s as appalling as ever. He also keeps trying to beat us to death with the idea that Crazy Harry and Lisa were close–yet another eye-rolling retcon to add with the rest of them.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Lisa and Les weren’t even close! Despite Batiuk trying to spin them as the greatest romance in history, everything they did together was distant and transactional. It’s not even much of a contrast with Les’ distant, transactional marriage to Cayla. To say nothing of how co-dependent the marriage was. Or how little interest either of them ever showed in Summer, except for Les’ endless instructions to her on How To Feel Correctly About Lisa.

      I can’t even imagine why Summer would have any connection with her mother. Summer was only about 6 when she died, and Lisa was far too busy being a professional cancer victim to spend any time with her. Even today, they’re hashing out a plan to make videotapes to solve problems Lisa won’t even live to see, while Summer is… well, you tell me where she is or what she’s doing.

      Someone said it yesterday, but it’s true: Summer should be an absolute train wreck. Not because her mother died at a young age, but because of her father’s complete inability to deal with it. And his pathological need to inject Lisa into every moment of life. If Summer really did become a well-rounded person, she’d have disowned her useless, toxic father long ago. And she’d be able to do that, because she wouldn’t still be a Kent State undergrad at age 30.

  10. In panel three, the patented Shoe (r) Goggle Eyes of Horror (c) are fully warranted.

  11. RudimentaryLathe?

    It is extremely telling that Lisa bemoans “I won’t to give advice on x y and z” instead of “I won’t get to see my daughter experience x y and z”

  12. Perfect Tommy

    Even Tom Hanks, cobbling a raft together in “Cast Away”, would of thrown those tapes back into the ocean.

  13. Maxine of Arc

    I’ve gone from “I hate everything about this” to “this actively makes me angry and sad but not in the way the author intended.”

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It really is insulting that Batiuk keeps revisiting this. There’s absolutely nothing left to talk about. Batiuk just used these damn tapes to gave himself an Oscar, for God’s sake. And here we are again, talking about them as slowly and pointlessly as ever.

      • Y. Knott

        Hey, he’s only a quarter of the way to an EGOT. And after that, there’s still a Nobel Peace Prize to go for.

        And the X-prize, when the tapes are sent into space…

        • billytheskink

          I’d be happy to award Les the X-Prize provided the tapes are sent into the sun.

          • Banana Jr. 6000

            “Now Les, it’s very important that you travel with Lisa’s tapes to protect them on their journey to… um… the… Lisa memorial colony we’re building on the moon! Get in the spaceship now.”

  14. newagepalimpsest

    “Okay Harry, I’ll just drag my dying ass out to the flea market to look for VHS tapes in 1998 or whenever the hell we are. Hey, did I ever tell you how much you look like this creepy old man who attacked me outside of the high school? I think that incident scarred me for life and taught me to settle for useless and selfish men.”

  15. sorialpromise

    Researched Mopee, (or how a retired guy can fill up an hour!) and decided to check out “Tom Batiuk” “letters to the Editor” This came up from a national comics dealer. Can any of you find and post the cover? The cover, which I have no idea how to post pictures or how to use Imgur, is the Flash chasing the Trickster running on air, who is cutting a telephone wire that the Flash is running on. (Quarter inch from reality!! Far more realistic than the great Batman TV show.)
    This is the posting:

    Flash (1959 1st Series DC) #121
    Tags: Flash
    Published Jun 1961 by DC.

    Cover pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Joe Giella. The Trickster Strikes Back!, script by John Broome, pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Joe Giella; the Trickster breaks out of jail and begins a crime rampage. Secret of the Stolen Blueprint!, script by John Broome, pencils by Carmine Infantino, inks by Murphy Anderson; Barry goes to his college reunion and must help his ex-roommate recover stolen blueprints. Letter to the editor from Funky Winkerbean artist Tom Batiuk. Infantino/Giella cover. Palisades Amusement Park ad with Superman. Flash Facts filler page. 36 Pages, Full Color. Cover price $0.10.

    My only problem is the Date 1961 for the comic. Mr. Batiuk would have to be fairly young when he wrote it.
    I am not a “Flashcionado”, so I do not own the copy. Do any of you, and can you print the letter?

  16. Y. Knott

    “Dear Flash Editors:

    My name is Tom. I’m 14 and I think The Flash is really neat! Once day I hope to apply to work for your comic, get turned down, and be bitter about it for the next 50 years. But I’ll get revenge by writing my own cartoon! How does Groovy Frankenstein sound? Okay, fine, it’s a work in progress.

    Tommy Batiuk
    Akron, Ohio

    (Thanks, Tommy! Don’t call us….we’ll call you. – Ed.)