Credit Fraud

Today’s strip concludes (we hope and pray and hope and wish) this latest visit from the Ghost of Distress Past. Her Royal Wryness. The VHSaint herself.

  • Special thanks go out to Summer for being a prop with no impact on the story whatsoever, she has already collected her prize of appearing in a full 3 panel strip this week (panels will not necessarily be consecutive).
  • Special thanks also go out to Les for having such an insatiable ego and such milquetoast friends and family that he will continue to receive the unearned praise he has been given for decades now.
  • And extra special thanks go out to Crazy Harry, who demanded nothing but 18 panels of our precious time in return for his brilliant idea of pretending Isaac Asimov invented the concept of recording video using already obsolete technology.

On the subject of 18 panels (well, 16, thanks to a couple of 2 panel strips), this new Lisa tapes origin story actually takes up more column inches than the entire original origin story AND depiction of the recording of the tapes! That took just 16 panels in four strips. For all its faults, Act II got to the point…

71 Comments

Filed under Son of Stuck Funky

71 responses to “Credit Fraud

  1. Banana Jr. 6000

    Yes, Summer, it’s great that your dad got the credit for your mom’s self-indulgent post-death nagging while spent your 20s completely atrophying as a human being. How are you even standing up?

    • billytheskink

      Summer must have watched Lisa’s tape about standing up recently…

      I don’t think we’ve ever seen a Lisa tape that covered anything post-high school. What a coincidence that Summer hasn’t done much of anything post-high school!!!

  2. Epicus Doomus

    So Harry wasn’t even telling the story, he was merely remembering it…right? So in real time, this whole story played out in a matter of seconds, yet in strip time it took six long, plodding days. IF I’m reading it right, which is hardly a given. Sigh.

    New, sleeker, more aerodynamic Summer standing there holding a box of old VHS tapes, grinning moronically. That could be the Act III official logo right there.

    • gleeb

      Needs more dead komix artists.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I feel like I’m peering into Jonestown. They both look brainwashed with those vacant idiot grins, as they robotically recite what Les wants them to recite. “Father’s idea to make these tapes for me was really special.” “Yes it was, Summer. All glory to Lisa on this day.”

      I can just see Les, dressed in full vestments, telling this story to the congregation. “And so it came to pass that Summer, the daughter of Lisa, saw the glory in the tapes that she once tried to throw out, and the tapes returned to her sevenfold. Lisa be with you.” “And also with you.”

  3. billytheskink

    Yes, Summer, so special that you didn’t notice that at least 8 tapes were missing from the collection for several years…

  4. Y. Knott

    That looks like a nice porch! I also like how there are a few leaves in the gutter.

    There is nothing else to like about this strip.

  5. be ware of eve hill

    Hey Summer, check out those tapes. There might be one you missed watching.

    Volume 9, Tape 34, Chapter 24
    How to obtain your bachelor’s degree in a four-year program.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      I’m sure there isn’t a tape called How To Separate From Toxic Parents.

    • Hitorque

      Or “How to Turn Your 49-inch Vertical Leaping Ability Into WNBA Superstardom and Olympic Gold Medals in Track and Field”…

      I mean FFS, Summer Moore is this scrawny 5’9 girl throwing down rim-rockin’ slams in high school like she was Helicopter Henderson?!

  6. So to re-re-reiterate, it’s vital that everybody thinks/pretends that it was Voldemoore’s idea to have Lisa record those tapes.

    Why? WHY? Who the hell cares whose idea it was? It was a STUPID idea to begin with.

    It’s like everything and everybody has to boost that pathetic loser’s self-importance and delicate-genius ego. As much as I despise Voldemoore, I think I despise the other characters’ obsequious fawning over the drip even moore.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      Everyone in Les’ life is an enabler. Especially Summer, who should have disowned him years ago.

    • Charles

      What’s remarkable too is that Les went along with it. In a question about telling the truth and sharing credit, or lying and taking all the credit, Les agrees to lie. Why does he care whose idea it was? The more important thing to him should be that Lisa makes these tapes for Summer (and Darin, and Les, and Cayla, and Nate, and Funky, and Holly, and Fred, and Fishstick, and Mason *Jarre* and Marianne and Cindy and…). It’s an ugly character trait and it’s remarkable that Batiuk doesn’t even see it.

      The only analogy that occurs to me in reference to this is a Dad buying a birthday gift on behalf of a very young child for Mom, and then not taking credit for doing so, despite knowing that the child is too young to acknowledge Dad’s role. Of course, in that situation we’re talking about a totally dependent child, and a circumstance where every adult involved would know the truth anyway.

      But in a way, isn’t that what Les is anyway – an utterly needy young child whose world revolves exclusively around his feelings, and is too immature to recognize and acknowledge everything that everyone does for him?

      • Charles

        Of course, in that situation we’re talking about a totally dependent child, and a circumstance where every adult involved would know the truth anyway.

        Oof, and forgot this: that Dad getting appropriate credit doesn’t fucking matter. And that causes the problem with the analogy, that if it doesn’t matter, what’s the point in lying about it then?

        • William Thompson

          Maybe what really matters about the tapes is this: they are a way to make it impossible for the child to refuse parental advice. “Your mommy dedicated the last days of her life to making these tapes! They prove she wuvved you! How can you not submit to her will, you horrible little ingrate?”

          “Because she was stoned on painkillers when she told me to marry the boy I crushed on in the sixth grade?”

          Other than the tapes, has Batiuk ever shown any FW parents giving advice to their children?

  7. William Thompson

    Poor Summer. She comes across as an abused kid with a desperate need to find some evidence that daddy cared about her. Maybe that’s why we never saw the part of her life that the time-jump skipped ver.

    • ComicTrek

      Man, that was such a cop-out. And now that I think of it, when was the last time we saw Les actually showing affection to his kid? Besides just nagging and comparing her to Lisa.

    • Charles

      Yeah, I remember writing about that years ago, that is Batiuk keeps Les’s character consistent with what he’s later shown to be, instead of puzzlingly regressing him, then Les would come across as a total monster. I suspect that if we were to see those years, it’d be a lot of 7 year old Summer parenting the grieving adult Les and managing the household.

      The ol’ “hot dogs and peas” joke is a whole lot less funny when it’s addressing you shirking your responsibility to a child who’s so young she can barely dress herself.

      • batgirl

        Yeah, that bothered me, too. Especially after that “for my widower’s second wife” tape, where Not-Dead-Yet-Lisa basically says ‘never mind the kid, she’s tough, but treat my darling Les like the prince he is or I’ll haunt you.”
        I really hope Summer hung out at the Bushkas’ home for a lot of her childhood. Heck, maybe that’s why she became such a jock? Because the coach actually noticed her?
        In my head-canon, the reason Summer was so dismissive at Bull’s funeral is because Les was there and she knew he’d pitch a fit and sulk for days if she showed any grief for his high school nemesis.

        • Charles

          Yeah, and another thing that’s really terrible about that message is that Lisa doesn’t even acknowledge the possibility that her death, *the trauma of the death of a young child’s mother*, might affect Summer.

          One of the few things that can really change a kid and who they are, especially a very young child, is the loss of a parent. That “tough” kid who confidently dealt with all kinds of stuff can very easily be turned into an emotional wreck who’s afraid to even go to school, or something similar. It’s not something a 6 year old’s equipped to just shrug off.

  8. Well, this week has revolutionized my understanding of the origin of something I didn’t think needed to be explained.

  9. As Banana Jr. 6000 pointed out yesterday, Batiuk has launched his redesigned website: tombatiuk.com. The old funkywinkerbean.com and crankshaftcomic.com homepages are still up, but the new site unites those franchises, along with John Darling and a separate section for the Lisa books. BJ6K happened to like the font choice of Permanent Marker for the headings on the site. Unfortunately that cool font is mixed with Comic Neue, a more refined version of the hated Comic Sans.

    • gleeb

      There is still no earthly, heavenly, or diabolic power that will make me read Tom Batiuk’s weblog. And that stands for a neat new typeface.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        While I agree with the others that the new website looks nice, you aren’t missing anything. His commentaries are all over the place.

        Funny that he devotes page after page of discussing comics, but can’t put together anything interesting about his strips.

        • The Duck of Death

          It looks okay for something designed in 2003.

          In the meantime, is the latest blog post really his “Lastest blog post”? What is the meaning of the two dots after it? “••” in Morse code means “I.” Is it just a wink at his egomania? Very clever, Tom!

          Well, if it truly is his lastest blog post, then I guess we should be grateful he wrapped up his posting with showstoppers like the photo of people waiting outside the airport terminal for the hotel shuttle bus.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            You can tell his mind is always working, always looking for new stories to tell.

            Can’t wait for the arc where Funky and Holly are waiting for their shuttle.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          The content seems to be exactly the same as the old Funkyblog.

    • billytheskink

      He’s really all-in on the word “komix”, isn’t he?

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The faux Comic Sans really speaks for itself, doesn’t it? It practically screams. “I know people don’t like Comic Sans, and I use Permanent Marker so I know better font choices exist, but… gosh darn it, I just like Comic Sans so much!” It’s honestly a perfect choice, but not for the reason Batiuk thinks.

      • The Duck of Death

        Obligatory Achewood.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          Absolutely obligatory. And 100% correct.

          It’s interesting how much hatred Comic Sans inspired in the Windows-using world. And it wasn’t just because people used it wrong. It had a perfectly valid purpose, but it was no less annoying when used correctly. There’s something smarmy and condescending about it, as if anything written in Comic Sans thinks it’s a lot funnier than it really is.

          But I couldn’t tell you why, It’s not some identifiable physical trait. There are plenty of handwriting fonts nowadays, and none of them inspire this reaction. Maybe it’s an uncanny valley thing, where we know Comic Sans is pretending to be humoros and personal when it’s obviously neither. And it won’t drop the act when it’s clear nobody’s buying it.

          Which is a lot like Funky Winkerbean, really. “Oh look, it’s a flashback to poor Lisa in her cancer wig, isn’t that so sad?” Batiuk is constantly trying to manipulate sentiments he hasn’t earned. It’s glurge. That article gives 27 forms that glurge can take. The Funkyverse checks off at least 20 of them.

          • Rusty Shackleford

            Batty is a master at writing glurge. Those Whoopi Epiphany Speeches caused me to tune out on a whole season of Star Trek Next Generation.

        • It’s always a good time for Achewood!

    • The first thing I noticed was the virtual spinner rack for those Sunday strip comic covers. And the navigation arrows are…black on a dark, dark gray, because this is the Funkyverse and why should anything be easy?

    • Cabbage Jack

      Holy crap – that is a seriously over-engineered website! The dropping headers, the clickable “Komix Raxks” that don’t respond fluidly, the slow loading pages. It’s like he hired some kid studying for an HTML/CSS certification and the kid practiced _everything_ on that site. It’s one step up from Geocities.

      Yeah, the content is trash on the old and new sites alike, but at least the old trash was accessible and easy to use.

  10. ComicBookHarriet

    This arc is weirdly reminiscent of the arc earlier this year where Summer learns a previously unheard of neighbor lady fed the birds for Les when Lisa died.

    Is this building to something? Some horrific Lisaversarry party where all the people who secretly coddled Les’ fragile ego through the loss of his wife are invited by Summer to a glurge filled celebration?

    I shudder at the thought.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      He wouldn’t do that to us, would he? It’s not like Batty is going to get re-nominated for a Pulitzer.

  11. Rusty Shackleford

    Crankshaft: Mitch is reverse aging and is back in a high chair. I really can’t figure out Batty’s time jumps.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      wat

    • Mela

      It’s been a great week with Mitch & Crankshaft at the fair: Crankshaft got a sore back going down the slide with Mitch while his two able-bodied parents watched and later in the week was scalping carnival ride tickets.

      • Rusty Shackleford

        Yeah the classy thing to do would be to give your extra tickets away. At least that’s what my dad always did.

        • Green Luthor

          Of course, when it’s Crankshaft, “classy” never even approaches the picture.

          (But then, the actual joke was that Ed was deliberately buying extra tickets for the express purpose of scalping them. Because parents don’t want to wait in line to buy tickets, even though they’ll end up waiting on even longer lines for the rides themselves. It’s called writing!)

  12. Banana Jr. 6000

    “I’m not Harry, I’m ‘Crazy’!” You were “Harry” 30 seconds ago when it was a way to compliment yourself.

  13. ComicBookHarriet

    To answer some questions from yesterday via Lisa’s cancer. (Like we EVER stop talking about it.)

    Lisa was tackled by an token ethnic character and found her tumor in January 1999. She had a mastectomy, chemo, and radiation. Then had reconstructive surgery in June 2000.

    March 2006, she donates blood for a gene study on breast cancer, and discovers her cancer has returned. She is told by her doctor that metastatic breast cancer has no cure, treatment is just to extend her life. She goes on chemo, and at first seems determined to fight, trying to get into a clinical trial.

    In January 2007 Lisa’s charts got mixed up with another patient’s and they thought she was in remission again. She started growing back just a peach fuzz of hair. In May 2007, they realized the mistake and she goes back on chemo and radiation. At first she is offered a chance to get into a clinical trial, but it doesn’t pan out and she seems more discouraged and resigned to death. She quits chemo in July and dies in October.

    This week has been BAFFLING to me. Because it appeals to NO audience. Any casual readers are just going to be confused by Batiuk’s giant zeppelins tortuously inserting Crazy Harry into the Issac Asimov inspiration in order to keep continuity with a single strip from 15 years ago.

    And unless all this Summer/Lisa/Rando retrospective is going somewhere in time for the 15th anniversary of The Glorious Martyrdom of Dead St. Lisa, it serves no point for the hypothetical reader super unironically invested in the universe of Funky Winkerbean.

    The only storytelling point to having Summer learn that the tapes were Harry’s idea would be, would be to deepen the relationship between Summer and Harry for some weird reason OR to increase Summer’s knowledge of her own mother.

    But this is pointless, it adds nothing, no one has grown or changed, and our understanding of these characters hasn’t grown either. It’s like being told that Abraham Lincoln ate a bagel two weeks before being assassinated. For an entire week.

    • Charles

      To augment this lovely recounting, I believe there’s a series of strips where Batiuk reveals the bastard he is by having Lisa and Les talk about having a baby, and both of them acknowledging that one of the effects that having a baby would be raising the likelihood of Lisa’s cancer returning.

      Which is what happened. So one of the first things Summer did in her life was kill her mother.

      • William Thompson

        So Summer is the unsung hero of this strip? Can we consider it practice for offing Les?

      • Banana Jr. 6000

        This storyline was used to great effect in the video game Fallout 3. Your character’s mother dies giving birth to you. This drives your friendship with an important in-game character named Amata, who had a similar upbringing, and with your father played by Liam Neeson. It also comes up in a sarcastic, drug-fueled dream sequence.

        In a much better comic strip, Peppermint Patty’s lack of a mother figure had a large impact on her personality. Even though we were never told why her mother was absent.

        Funky Winkerbean creates this rich vein of angst, and does absolutely nothing with it. It’s far less important than retconning who got the credit for using the video camera.

    • be ware of eve hill

      Thank you for recounting the Lisa-cancer chain of events, CBH.

      That chart mix up development always bugged the hell out of me. Tom Batiuk was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2003. How does he thank the medical professionals who saved his life? How does he show his appreciation?

      By portraying them as lazy, inconsiderate incompetents who can’t even keep their files in order.

      I wonder how the doctors and nurses who saved Tom Batiuk’s life felt when they read about the chart mix up fubar in Funky Winkerbean.

      What a dick move! What an ingrate!

  14. sorialpromise

    @TF Hackett
    Posted last night about 1015pm. Nothing yet at noon. I’ve had glitches before, but nothing this long. Can you tell why it has failed to post or if I was cancelled? Thank you for checking.

    • ComicBookHarriet

      #FreeSP, #westandwithbasedgrandpas #ontopicisastateofmind #1stamendmentrighttoshitpost

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      The spam filter eats posts sometimes. It’s happened to me. I doubt it had anything to do with your comment.

      • sorialpromise

        It’s a shame! I am sure everyone would have seen it as a competitor to the Gettysburg Address in glory. Alas, I did not save it. It is lost to the ether.

        • be ware of eve hill

          It’s “gone to bit heaven”, as my wee bro likes to say.

          Don’t abandon all ye hope yet. We haven’t heard from @TFHackett yet. Also, the last time a post of mine “got stuck”, I complained and @Epicus Doomus freed it.

          They might not be aware of the issue.

          • sorialpromise

            “Gone to ‘bit’ heaven.”
            You, CBH, and BJ 6000 should be writers.
            Hopefully, @TFHackett will see this.
            I love you guys!

    • Hey @sorialpromise! From time to time a comment, even from a known regular like yourself, will wind up in the moderation queue. Epicus and I will get an alert, and can approve the comments so it shows up. However, I checked the queue and your comment was not in there, so I’m not sure where it went. sorry about that!

      • sorialpromise

        i appreciate you looking!

        Perhaps it is better this way. Anticipation often exceeds the actual post. A wise man would say, (I’m looking at you, Banana Jr. 6000) Consider it like the lost book of the Kings of Israel. “Oh, if only we could have read its wisdom!”

        Light and Life to all.

    • Epicus Doomus

      Sometimes a legit comment will get caught up in the spam filter or held for moderation when it shouldn’t be. Last night, for whatever reason, the site was hit with hundreds of spam comments, and there was no other option but to mass delete them all. So it’s possible that yours got caught up in that. My apologies, the issue seems to have resolved itself, so hopefully it’ll be easier to catch those anomalies going forward.

  15. batgirl

    So Les had a camcorder, whether his own or borrowed from Harry. Did he ever use it to make recordings of little Summer, the way any loving dad would?
    I’m guessing no.

    • Rusty Shackleford

      You know, this makes me feel bad for summer. She had a narcissistic mother and has a self-absorbed father. No wonder she hasn’t done anything with her life.

      The only person who seems to have cared about her was her coach Bull, but he was a dumb jock and so he gets no credit.

  16. be ware of eve hill

    I know this post is a little late for the Foundation discussion, but I thought it was so Batiuk.

    As I said the other day, I didn’t know anything about Asimov’s Foundation series. Out of curiosity, I read a few of Batty’s blogs on them (I’m a glutton for punishment).

    One of the blogs included Batty’s critique of the ‘Foundation’ series on Apple TV+.

    I mentioned last time my fears for TV Foundation experience based on the trailers I’d seen. Well, folks, it turns out that my fears were not unfounded. After forcing myself to watch four episodes of Foundation, each time hoping things would get better and start to make sense and failing to find anything remotely akin to the core novels, I opened the airlock and abandoned ship. Asimov’s core work would have survived the transition to the screen just find if only the producers/writers had trusted it. The TV experience lacks intelligence and heart and a basic understanding of the work on which it purports to be based. Again, do yourself a favor and read the books.

    The ‘Foundation’ series on Apple TV+ has a 7.4 rating on IMDB. That’s an above-average rating based on over 56k reviews. There are a lot of viewers who enjoy the series.

    I know everybody is entitled to their opinion, but it seems Batiuk had his mind already made up before he even watched a single episode. He predetermined that the show was going to disappoint and “forced” himself to watch a handful of episodes. Of course, the writers made some changes. It’s what they do. They want to make the series entertaining to all audiences. There might be casual viewers who might not have read the books or have any desire to do so.

    Pardon me if I don’t take your opinion seriously, Tom. It’s hard to trust the opinion of somebody who claims to be a writer, yet continually flogs the same old story. You seem to believe Lisa’s Story is the best story ever told, and you’re going to keep telling us until we submit.

    Perhaps Batiuk no longer trusts TV adaptations after being scarred for life by the Batman series from the 1960s. It’s been over fifty years, Tom. It’s time to move on.

    • Banana Jr. 6000

      It’s like Batiuk doesn’t understand you can’t just take a novel and use it as a script. Which is exactly what Les demanded Hollywood do with Lisa’s Story, even though that would make zero sense. Even very sober biopics take a lot of liberties with events and characters, and introduce fictional elements to the real story. Never mind that this “novel” has no substance whatsoever.

      • be ware of eve hill

        It’s often not feasible to take a novel and use it as a script. If the movie director filmed everything in the book, the movie might be ten hours long. I think that’s why there’s been a movement in television entertainment to produce miniseries rather than movies.

        The Foundation books might be too complex to film. There are budgets, etc. Sometimes the director has to sacrifice contextual accuracy for the sake of thematic accuracy.

        If Hollywood tried filming the actual Lisa’s Story that appeared in the FW comic, it would have been about a half-hour long.

        • Banana Jr. 6000

          It would have been the wheelchair/fountain in the park shot. For 14 hours.

        • Anonymous Sparrow

          David O. Selznick said that a movie cannot give a whole book; however, if the movie is good, it will give the illusion of the whole book.

          One of the most faithful adaptations of a book to film is the 1941 “Maltese Falcon.” It leaves out the Flitcraft parable, Rhea Gutman, Sid Wise and ends with Spade taking the stairs rather than telling Effie to send in Iva.

          I don’t think the greatest admirer of Dashiell Hammett’s novel will complain about that.

          Or the greatest admirer of *Gone with the Wind* will resent the loss of Wade Hampton Hamilton and Ella Lorena Kennedy…or Wlll Benteen, who loved Careen O’Hara but married Suellen… or that Scarlett donated her ring to the cause before Melanie.

          Smokey Robinson said that the love I saw in you was just a mirage.

          With Les and Lisa, it’s not even a mirage. It’s the Zombies tuning up to play “She’s Not There.”

          • be ware of eve hill

            Batty would have panned ‘The Maltese Falcon’ for not being completely faithful to the book and say Bogey was a substandard Sam Spade. He’d say they should have cast Gene Autry.

            Despite ‘Gone with the Wind’ timing out at almost four hours, Batty would complain they butchered it. I love GWTW, but I’d be lying if I claimed to have watched the movie all the way through in one sitting. I’ve also read the book and enjoyed both.

            My two cents worth, 1939 was the greatest year in Hollywood history. Like GWTW, my favorite movie of all time, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was released. When I was little, ‘The Wizard of Oz’ was aired on network TV every year. My mom used to complain that I saw the movie so much I could act it out.

            Add ‘Citizen Kane’, ‘Wuthering Heights’, ‘Gunga Din’, ‘The Grapes of Wrath’, and ‘Young Mr. Lincoln’. What a year!

    • William Thompson

      Batiuk is angry because Hober Mallow wasn’t played by Mason Jarre.

      • be ware of eve hill

        Ha ha.

        I’ll have to read ‘The Foundation Trilogy’ some day. To be honest, I’m not much of a book reader. My Mom lent me the entire Harry Potter collection ten years ago, and I haven’t read a book. Seen all the movies though. 😁

  17. None of you invented this stupid idea! It was on an episode of “Oprah” and a whole bunch of hospital dramas and romcoms!

    And not to beat a dead horse or anything, but Les is the worst.

    • Charles

      I used to think Lisa was the worst, because this whole scheme was so self-indulgent and megalomaniacal. But now that we see Les almost literally shoving people out of the way to claim credit for coming up with this scheme I think he’s retaken the lead.

  18. Westview Radiology

    Did Dead Saint Lisa plop herself on porch so that her adoring minions could worship her as she heroically let herself die? Also in the present day panel I notice the book DSL had propped on her quilted lap still sits on the swing as a relic. p.s. What’s with the hair horn growing out of Crazy Harry’s head??